Music has a big influence on your wedding day. From walking down the aisle to partying on the dance floor, the soundtrack of your wedding will forever embody the feelings from one of the most life altering moments you’ll ever experience. With so much weighing on your musical decisions, we decided to ask the professionals for help. Let us introduce you to a few of our favorite Sound In Motion D.J.s: Andy, Andrew, Adam, and Frank. Trust us, they know what they’re talking about.
If couples are having a difficult time designing their soundtrack, what are some tips you have to help them?
“I actually have a couple of google docs full of songs other couples have used, and also drawing on my experience for different parts of the day/night: whether it be ceremony, entrance, cake cutting…all the way to the last song of the night. People find this helpful when they’re stuck. Otherwise it’s great to get to know folks musically so that I can apply my DJ and event experience, as well as an encyclopedic knowledge of music to what they need. Often it’s about asking the right questions and really listening to my clients: especially regarding what they want AND what they don’t want. I also let folks know that, since I’m keeping their preferences in mind but also working in the moment as I DJ, that a typical reception results with 1/3 bride & groom requests, 1/3 guest requests, and 1/3 DJ experience on the dance floor. Usually!” –Andy
“Meet with your DJ and have them really get to know you! This is super important! We, as the DJ, can learn what you like, dislike, the feeling you want for your wedding, the demographics of your crowd, etc. Then, as a team, the DJ can use their experience, mixed with the information you give them, and help design the special soundtrack that is unique and specific to you and your wedding.
Next would be to pick the songs you love! Love a song for your first dance but it’s too long? I can edit it down for you so you aren’t stranded on the dance floor for the full 5 minutes. Love a bunch of songs but you can’t really dance to them? Let’s play them for background music during cocktail hour, or at the cake cutting, or as part of the ceremony, etc. There are tons of opportunities and different ways to play your favorite songs and make them fit your wedding soundtrack.”-Andrew
“If there’s difficulty designing their soundtrack, there are a few options. Option 1: Let the DJ take care of it! Work with the DJ on general genres you like, and they can build a soundtrack that way. Option 2: Ask Google. The internet is full of lists of “top wedding songs to dance to” for every type of couple. Option 3: Look at through your playlists on Spotify/Apple Music/Google Music/etc. and pick songs that you think would be fun to groove to. You can also do a search for pre-made playlists from these services which generally have great suggestions.
For ceremony music, grand intro, and family dances, a quick search on Google will do the trick! For example, “top [fill in the blank, i.e. ceremony] songs”. Or again, consult with the DJ – they’ve experienced a lot and can give good suggestions.”-Adam
“Listen to the songs you love, do they make you want to dance or are they more for listening? That helps with dinner and dance floor selections. Ask your parents what their 1st Dance song was. Ask friends & family for some of their favorite tunes. If you come to me with a handful of songs or genres I can fill in the rest.”-Frank
What are some of your favorite music choices for a wedding?
“I love touching it all (it’s one of the best things about weddings- the variety of tunes): oldies/motown, swing, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, 00’s, 10’s, jazz, international styles (Bollywood, Latin, etc.), electronic/EDM, Alternative/Indie, Classic rock, Top 40, Hip Hop…the list goes on. I actually look at the “must plays” that bride and grooms list out, and make playlists based on that: and I tweak it AS the reception develops, by the way, to continually meet the mood as it evolves and changes. I have my favorite go-to’s, though, for background & dance: such as a Jason Mraz/Jack Johnson/Ed Sheeran/Lumineers/ The Civil Wars bundle for a certain background music feel, or a Miles Davis/ John Coltrane/ Dave Brubeck mix for another group, or even a Thievery Corporation/ Bonobo/ Nightmares on Wax mix for yet another gathering. Recently I’ve been enjoying throwing in “Respect” by Aretha Franklin early-on for the dancefloor: people love that one! And whenever I hit people with Bruno Mars’ “24k Magic,” right now later-on, it’s pretty much a guaranteed revival on the floor. (But that’s what I’m doing now in 2018- will probably change later). Throwbacks are always a plus: whether pop hits or randoms favorites from the past. Each couple -and their crew- needs a slightly different blend: much of the time we plan it out, but then find out what shape things will take as we go day-of. “-Andy
“Throwbacks! I love being up on new music but finding the certain throwback tracks for a specific group, whether that be Motown, 80’s, 90’s, 00’s etc., which connect both the young and old crowd on the dance floor, is the absolute best!”-Andrew
“I love the Top 40 hits (Uptown Funk, Justin Timberlake, Party in the USA, Love Shack, etc.) because they are fun and everyone recognizes them. In general, anything that gets the crowd going is awesome to me! I work with the crowd to give them the best show possible.”-Adam
“Upbeat Top-40 and classic throwbacks from different generations. I love the idea of starting off a dance set with classic songs for the older guests to feel welcome, then ramping it up as the night goes on.”-Frank
What are some of your most memorable moments from working a wedding?
“I’ll never forget when a groom who hadn’t planned on walking his mother down the aisle before his ceremony, had a change of heart just before. “What should I walk with my mother to?” He asked. Given our previous meetings, I knew he was a HUGE Aphex Twin fan, and I had a melodic, light piano piece called “Avril 14th” all ready to go on my hard drive. He LOVED it and was moved to tears- giving me a huge hug. I’ll never forget that: it was perfectly in line with what he loves, and what was appropriate for his day. And I knew this based on our client meetings! This is the level of personalization I aspire to.”-Andy
“One that sticks out for me was from a wedding very early on in my career. All the guests were gathered around the bride and groom to watch the couple cut their wedding cake. The cake cutting ended up taking slightly longer than the song they had chosen for it. So, I picked a song to fill the gap that the couple had mentioned they really liked – “Under The Bridge” by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. When the first verse kicked in, the bridal party impromptu started to singing along to it. As the song kept going, more people started singing it, and then people started putting their arms around each other and swaying from side to side. Turns out this was a huge song for the couple! By the end of the song, all the guests had locked arms around the couple and were swaying and singing. It was just a magic moment that to me embodies what is awesome about weddings, which is family and friends coming together to celebrate two people.”-Andrew
“One time, a 12 year old boy gave an ad hoc toast to the bride and groom that was one of the best toasts I’ve seen – completely unplanned! That boy has a bright future ahead of him.”-Adam
“When the dance floor is jam packed and on fire till the last song plays. When you and the guests wish you could keep the party going even longer!”-Frank
Are you married, and if so, what were some of the songs you had at your wedding (first dance, grand entrance, last dance, ceremony, etc.)?
“Yep! My wife and I will actually be celebrating our 2 year anniversary this Saturday. Our first dance was “Coming Home” by Leon Bridges and our last dance, which was a bit ridiculous, was Usher’s “Nice & Slow” because on our first date we had a very memorable conversation about that song.”-Andrew
“Not married, but would probably play a Louis Armstrong song for first dance :)”-Adam
“I’m not married but if I had to pick my Grand Intro song, it would be “The Dream Team Is In the House” by LA Dream Team. It’s perfect!”-Frank
What is the best part of being a DJ at weddings?
“I get the chance to connect with ALL different kinds of people: ages, parts of the U.S., other countries, socio-economic backgrounds, etc…all through the lens of one of my greatest loves- music. I love it when guests are engaged and we find what brings them alive. I then get to use the DJ chops to mix it up into a unique blend for them.”-Andy
“DJ’ing weddings are really fun for me because I can really be creative and find ways to utilize my technical ability to mix in and out of a very wide variety of music styles that I don’t really usually get the opportunity to play every day.”-Andrew
There’s nothing like being a positive part of an experience that everyone will remember, using music as a gateway to the unwavering happiness of a community of old friends and family. That’s the best part about being a DJ at a wedding.”-Adam
“The dance floor. I love it when I mix in a song then audibly hear the crowd get excited cause it’s their jam too!”-Frank