Laura Gutin to Craig Peterson
100 guests at the Figueroa Hotel in downtown Los Angeles
The search: The owner of the hotel recommended a DJ to us, and after checking out his website, we thought his music style matched ours. He's not your typical wedding DJ—he mostly plays at clubs around L.A.
The choice: DJ Shark. Craig and I love music, and we felt that a band would limit the kinds of music we could play. We wanted a wide range of genres—from Motown and standards to Daft Punk—and thought a DJ was the best way to go. In addition, he suggested adding live percussionists to perform with the deejayed music. Once we decided to hire them, DJ Shark handled the rest—we paid him for his services, and he paid the percussionists.
The instructions: We gave DJ Shark a CD of a dozen songs we wanted played, including those for our first dance and the parent dances. We also met with him a few weeks before the wedding to talk about our general musical interests so that he'd understand what we wanted. He played most of the songs on the CD, but otherwise we trusted him to gauge the mood of the party and play what he felt would work best.
The results: The tricky part was transitioning from dinner to dancing, because the meal was upstairs while dancing was downstairs, and the guests were not aware of this. Once dinner was over, Craig and I thanked everyone and then the percussionists began to play. They led everyone in a line, drumming and dancing, down the stairs and into the room where DJ Shark was spinning. The percussionists played for the entire evening along with the deejayed music, which created this awesome hybrid of recorded and live music. Some of our guests even got up and tried their hand at drumming.
The memorable moment: At one point we were surrounded by the percussionists drumming along to "Cecilia" by Simon & Garfunkel. Every guest, from youngest to oldest, went crazy on the dance floor.
The lesson learned: Find a DJ who really gets you and your musical tastes. We were on the same wavelength as DJ Shark, and never felt like he was going to spring a surprise "Hokey Pokey" on us or play a cheesy song that we hated.