First Dance at Your Wedding
A DJ or band will set the tempo and mood of your wedding.Â Music is one of the first impressions your guests experience when they arrive.Â It pays to do your homework when hiring a DJ and band.Â You do get what you pay for, if it appears to be too good, it probably is.Â The personality, knowledge, and expertise of your DJ and band will make your event.Â A professional DJ and band will be able give you guidelines on the flow of your wedding, and to assist you as you select your â€śmust playâ€ť songs and your â€śmust NOT playâ€ť songs.
Select Music for a Diverse Group of family and friends.Â As a bride and groom, you have your favorite songs, yet your parents and grandparents may have an entirely different song list.Â Review your guest list to see what type of music will work best, and ask your DJ and band for recommendations.Â As you review your guest list, it normally narrows down to a diverse group of family and friends, which translates to a diverse group of music selections.Â Â You may want live music for a portion, and a DJ for another portion. Music played during dinner will be an entirely different selection compared to the last hour for dance music.
Load In and Set Up.Â Your DJ and band need to be scheduled to have enough time to load in, set up, have a sound check, trouble shoot, change clothes, and be ready for the arrival of your guests.Â Â The last thing you want is your DJ or band loading in as your guests arrive.Â If you have a band, they will have multiple breaks.Â Make sure you have someone play music during breaks.
Are you a musiczilla?Â As a wedding planner, always have lots of stories!Â One bride had a song list of what she wanted played to the minute for her entire three hour wedding reception.Â This is not recommended!Â As her wedding planner, let her know it was not recommended, yet the DJ would follow her plan â€śher wayâ€ť, yet she needed to understand if it wasnâ€™t working we needed a Plan B.Â Plan B was the most of the same songs, yet played in an order and timing the DJ felt worked best for the flow.Â After 10 minutes of no one dancing, I approached the bride, and she agreed to go to Plan B.Â Please remember you hire a professional for a reason, and each song may be three to four minutes long.Â If you have a MUST PLAY list of 150 songs, you may have 600 minutes of music, translating to 10 hours of music.Â Allow your DJ or band leader to guide you in selections which will get your guests up on the dance floor.Â If there are songs which you do NOT want played, even if requested by a guest, make sure they honor your requests first.
Team and Timeline.Â As your wedding planner, one crucial item requested of you is to be respectful to your vendors and give them a realistic timeframe to do what they feel they need to do it in.Â You will need a timeline from your photographer to know how much time they need to photograph you, your wedding party, your family, and Â your room before guests enter.Â Depending on your menu selection and service style, you may want to position songs like the Father/Daughter dance after the servers have cleared tables, while everyone is waiting for your next course to be served.Â You want your vendors to be able to do their personal best in a realistic timeframe.
Cake Cutting vs. Cake Service.Â One of the key issues when timing your dinner is when to cut the cake.Â Many feel when you cut the cake, your guests leave.Â There is a â€śgapâ€ť in time from when you physically â€ścut the cakeâ€ť, to when the cake is â€śservedâ€ť to your guests.Â Most people eat dessert and have coffee after their entrĂ©e (they donâ€™t wait an hour or two for dessert).Â Would recommend the bride and groom to cut their cake when most of the guests are finished eating their entrĂ©e.Â Once the cake is cut, then have the DJ and band open the dance floor for dancing (approximately 20 â€“ 30 minutes) while the catering staff disassembles, cuts, and prepares the cake to be served to the guests.Â After 20 – 30 minutes of dancing, your guests are normally ready to take a break, and return to their table to eat their cake.
Check references, and meet with the DJ and band directly.Â Â The DJ and band leader should give you recommendations or a guideline to help you with song selections for your:
- Grand Entrance
- Dinner Music
- First Dance
- Father/Daughter Dance
- Mother/Son Dance
- Cake Cutting Song
- Dance Music (slow and fast selections)
- Last Dance
Read and understand your agreement before signing it.
What time will they start and end?
What is included in their fee?
What is an additional fee?
Who is your DJ?
Who is your emcee?
Who are your band members and what instrumentation or vocals will they include?
What are overtime charges?
What will they wear?
If it is a band, how many breaks do they have and for how long?
What and who will be play on band breaks (or do they have a DJ to handle this)?
If it is a band, are they willing to learn the music of your First Dance, and other special requested dances?
Do they have a wireless microphone for announcements?
Do they include lighting, or is it extra?
Two recommended DJ companies:
http://www.CitronSound.com (ask for Jon)
http://www.RayTheDJ.com (ask for Ray)
Copyright 2012, Kim Horn, MBCâ„˘
To hire Kim as your wedding planner, call 480.921.7891 or text your name, wedding date, and wedding planner request to 602.418.9089.
Kim M. Horn, MBCâ„˘
Master Bridal Consultant | 1 of 61 in the World
Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Chandler, Phoenix and Destination Weddings
Publisher | Pres. | ArizonaBridalSource.com
AZ State Coordinator | Assoc. of Bridal Consultants May 2003 â€“ April 2012
ABC 2010 Conference Chair worked with David Tutera