Photo: Maya Myers Photography
It's true that hiring the right DJ can make or break your big day, however, remember that it takes two to tango so it's up to you to clearly communicate your wishes in advance. Don't just play it by ear...seriously, don't! Here are seven things you should tell your wedding DJ to get the party popping and keep it going strong.
1. When to play the important songs and for how long
For starters, you'll absolutely want to fill your DJ in on what songs you've picked for the major moments (think wedding party introduction, first dance, father/daughter and mother/son dance, cake cutting, bouquet and garter toss if you're doing them and the last song), says event planner and designer Stacy Wichelhaus of They So Loved Events. Timing is also critical, and not just in regards to the actual day-of timeline and what songs to play when. For example, will you and your hubby dance the full five minutes or have your DJ fade out at the three-minute mark?
2. How to pronounce your names
Definitely give your DJ a phonetic spelling of any unusual names (first and/or last) in your wedding party, advises Phoenix, Arizona-based wedding planner Chandra Keel, owner of Chandra Keel Events. "While it's nice to have the correct spelling, what he really needs to know is how to correctly pronounce it for the grand entrance introductions."
3. The context for any song requests
As opposed to just a general list of songs you'd like to hear, Erica Taylor, co-founding partner of New York City-based Tinsel & Twine, encourages her clients to provide some context. "For instance, 'Hot In Herre' by Nelly was our high school anthem and will keep my girls on the dance floor or my mom just loves Stevie Wonder so she'll get a kick out of anything by him."
4. Your "do not play" list
Oftentimes, this is even more important than your playlist, notes DC wedding and event planner Sandy Malone. "Try to leave room for the DJ to take requests, but don't hesitate to list anything you hate (e.g. no line dances) as off the table. The DJ should simply tell guests requesting those particular songs that he doesn't have them available." No harm done and no hurt feelings.
5. To MC or to not MC
Aside from introductions, let your DJ know if you're down with a lot of MC chatter and encouragement for guests, says Malone. "Some of them just naturally do this if you don't ask them not to," she warns. Also, tell your DJ how comfortable you and your fiancé are being the center of attention at the party. As Lynn Jawitz, owner of Florisan Wedding and Event Design in NYC, points out, some people thrive on it, while others cringe at the whole thing so it's best your DJ have the heads up as to where you lie on the spectrum.
6. Any volume/language sensitivities
In addition to certain songs that are off limits, be sure to get specific about language (AKA dirty words) and/or volume preferences. "If you don't want to hear any music that could be considered suggestive, don't just assume your DJ can read your mind," cautions Florida-based wedding planner Aviva Samuels of Kiss The Planner. "And if you love really loud music or hate it, let him know!"
7. Bad blood in the family
Strained relationships between members of your bridal party or family, including divorces, separations or other things that could cause awkwardness? Then Samuels strongly suggests making your DJ aware of them so he or she can use the utmost care and sensitivity while interacting with those folks and in making announcements at your reception.