Here in the PNW, we are rapidly approaching wedding season. This means that our couples are heading into finalization meeting after finalization meeting and we are getting some of the same questions in preparation. Rather than answer these questions ourselves, we figured we would reach out to one of our favorite DJs Braden Landon to find out his answers and some of the fun ideas he has thanks to his years of experience.
What are the top 5 (or 3) things a couple should consider and make sure to tell their DJ at their finalization meeting?
- Go over the program for the evening together before the wedding in its entirety to make sure that the DJ knows everything that will be happening, what music is needed for each moment or period of time and what he or she will be announcing.
- How to correctly pronounce people’s names
- How many spaces at the venue guests will be gathering in throughout the wedding
- If there is a Do Not Play List, then that is certainly important
- Whether or not a couple would like their DJ to take requests
How early do you suggest getting all of their songs and any requests on play/don’t play over to you?
When I first team up with a new couple, I tell them right away that we will want to either meet or schedule a phone call to finalize their music usually 1-2 weeks prior to the wedding. Every couple works on music at their own pace and that is totally ok. Some couples have all of their music decided on months in advance, and then sometimes I have couples who still don’t know their first dance just days before their wedding. Honestly, I want people to have fun with their music and I definitely don’t want anyone to stress about picking every single song, so even if a couple only picks the five or six most important songs for the entire evening, I can easily fill in the rest with similar music to what I know they like.
How do you decide what to play during dancing?
My approach to music for a wedding is prepare everything ahead of time except for a couple’s dance music. Prelude, processional, bride’s song, grand entrance, first dance, etc. are all specific songs you need to know you have, know exactly when to play them, where to start them and when to fade them out in order be ready for those moments. When people are dancing it’s much different. Their energy can change at any moment and even though it’s easy for anyone to see when it happens, you just can’t predict when it will happen or what song will best fit each change in energy throughout the night. The best way to be prepared for a dance party is to have and to know a wide variety of music so that you can mix something like The Beatles with Taylor Swift Maroon 5 with Barry White if you have to. It’s a lot of fun.
What is your favorite part of the entertainment for the night?
My favorite point of entertainment before getting the dance party started are the toasts. I always encourage my couples to have fun with the way we introduce each toast, and my style is to make them very much like late night show introductions where the host says a quick intro about the guest who is about to speak and then play them up to the mic with music. The couple can write the intros any way they’d like and then, of course, pick whatever music they feel best fits each of they’re guests.
On the surface, it just seems like a fun way to bring entertainment to the end of dinner, but really it’s a great way to break the ice for those VIP guests who are usually nervous to speak in front of a crowd. If you surprise them with this intro and they walk up to a crowd who is already smiling, laughing and applauding, it instantly helps calm most Toaster’s nerves.
I also totally love sparkler send-offs. They are so much fun for everyone and the pictures always look amazing!
ONE FINAL PRO TIP FROM ME!
Consider the fact that your DJ is also your MC and therefore the voice of your party. Consider their personality and ask about how they like to run the evening before choosing someone to join your wedding team. For example, if you are looking for someone that can throw an epic dance party [not kidding!], is laid back, and keeps all the announcements focused on the couple by saying “The Newlyweds invite you to be seated for dinner” then Braden is your guy!