Angie Thebaud to Derek Janssen
150 guests at the bride's parents' home in Heathrow, FL
The choice: A DJ from White Rose Entertainment. It was a difficult decision because live music is great for ambience, but in the end it was important to us that people stay on the dance floor throughout the night. Plus, we had specific songs and musical genres that we wanted to be played, and felt that a DJ would be more flexible with our requests. White Rose played pop, early-90s hip-hop, some 80s dance songs, disco/funk hits (lots of James Brown), and Caribbean music to get my extended family dancing.
The instructions: We gave our DJ an exhaustive list of songs, and he played about 90 percent of them. The only time he deviated from the list was if he noticed that not many people were on the dance floor.
The additions: We did want a live-music element, so we had a harpist play during cocktail hour. And for our first dance, we hired a vocalist to perform the song. The DJ played an instrumental version of the song while the singer performed.
The results: Our DJ did a great job of introducing the wedding party to the guests, and he introduced the best man and maids of honor before they gave their toasts. Also, he played the kind of soft music that we had specified during dinner and then used our playlist during the rest of the reception.
The lesson learned: Make sure you meet your DJ. Take the time to make sure he understands what you're looking for. And don't be afraid to create your own playlist—the DJ will appreciate having direction, and it's great if every song that comes on is one you want to dance to.