Your wedding day is approaching. The cars are booked. Speeches are written. Your grotty Uncle Neil has RSVP’d and, sadly, he’s coming.
There’s just one more thing you need to make sure your party goes with a bang: a killer wedding playlist.
At Event Lounge, our professional wedding DJs are always ready to get your guests up and dancing, but you (probably) know them better than we do: you know which songs are always sung at every family party, or the weird obsession your schoolfriends have with that one country music tune. This is where the wedding playlist comes in.
In the age of streaming, you’d think a wedding DJ would be able to summon up any track on demand: this isn’t the case. Professional wedding DJs use special software that needs a song to be in in their library to be able to play it - and all music files need to be of a certain high quality in order to sound good. All Event Lounge DJs take tens of thousands of songs with them to gigs, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to have every track you want. (And in line with most professional wedding DJs, we can’t plug phones in to our systems, nor can we accept music from CDs or Memory Sticks on the night.)
So here are our seven top tips for picking the perfect wedding playlist...
Although it’s your big day, the evening belongs to everyone: you want your guests to go away having been to the best wedding ever, right? So when picking your playlist, bear in mind that this is a wedding, and guests tend to want big songs they know and can dance to. Your guests will be a wide mix of people, from your Aunts and Uncles to Big Jim who you used to play football with and only really invited because you invited Hairy Dave and he’s mates with him still and you felt guilty. You and your beloved might love thrash metal, but will Great Aunt Sarah have even heard of Napalm Death, let alone dance to them? Likewise, you might be goths but will your work colleagues follow you on to the floor for The Cure, or are they looking for more of a disco night out? As you choose, ask yourself what is going to help the biggest number of people have the best time. Anything you’re not sure about, cut.
Since you’re planning on spending the rest of your lives together, start by picking your playlist together. Different songs will mean different things to each of you: it could be there is a song which brings back an embarrassing teenage memory, and your partner has no idea. You probably won’t want to be reminded of that on your wedding day.
Here’s a cautionary tale: we heard of one couple who asked their DJ not to play any music released after 1990. The DJ filled his hard drive with tunes from the first four decades of pop music, and set off for the gig. It soon became clear the groom had done the playlist without asking the bride, who was a massive fan of 1990s boyband 911. Needless to say, the DJ did not have any 911 ready: cue one unhappy bride. Also, the guests were unaware of the ‘no current music’ policy, and spent the night asking for the hits of the day. The result: an empty dancefloor for most of the night.
While we’re on the subject of telling us what you don’t want to hear: if you’re making a general request like ‘no rap’, say, or ‘no dance music’ - it’s a good idea to be specific. Many modern songs include a rapped verse: are they banned? If you don’t like ‘dance music’, give us examples: a trance tune is very different to the latest Calvin Harris smash.
If you’re stuck for ideas, why not ask your friends and family? Perhaps there was a song that was big on the stag or hen night you’ve forgotten about? You’ll want to edit their suggestions before you submit your playlist, though: there will be at least one person who’ll suggest Crazy Frog or something similiar ‘for a laugh’.
It also helps your DJ to know why those special songs are so special: whether it’s a tune dedicated to all the bridesmaids, or if you want Valerie to go out to Auntie Val, tell us. The better prepared we are, the more personal we’ll be able to make your evening.
Beware the ballads. If everyone is up, they probably won’t want to be brought down with a blast of Bridge Over Troubled Water. There are love songs you’ll want to hear on your big day, but straight after Uptown Funk is probably not the right place for them. Instead, why not compile a playlist to play in the background during the wedding meal? You could even hire a PA system from Event Lounge for just £100. Perfect for making your dinner music - and your speeches - sound great.
Don’t feel like you have to fill every slot on your playlist. We recommend picking around twenty songs, which will give your DJ a good idea of what you’re into while also giving them room to take requests and to change things around if necessary. But if you can’t think of all twenty, or even if you don’t want to give us a playlist at all, that’s ok: Event Lounge DJs are experienced at playing to mixed crowds, and our professional wedding DJs are always ready to bring the party!
Be careful of choosing too many songs. There is a reason you want a professional wedding DJ to do your disco, and it’s this: a human can read a room, see what works, and pick the right tune to get your crowd dancing the night away. If you give your DJ too long a playlist, you might as well create one on Spotify, and watch while the computer selects songs at random to a mostly empty dance floor. This may also mean not every song on your list gets played: perhaps your DJ has seen the crowd is in more of a Motown mood, and can’t quite find time for that electropop banger from 2007 you asked for. If there’s anything that absolutely cannot be left out, tell us.
Finally, if you have surprises planned, let us in on the secret. We won’t tell your guests, and there’s nothing to be gained by keeping it from us. If you’ve planned a comedy striptease, a dance tribute to Michael Jackson, or a fireworks display that relies on 150 guests moving outside at precisely 10pm (all real-life examples of surprises sprung on us), tell us in advance: it will help us prepare the right songs to soundtrack your night. And since we’re event experts, we may even be able to advise you on timing and presentation to give your special-extra-something maximum impact.
So there you go: your complete guide to the perfect wedding playlist. Remember these are guidelines, not rules: so if you have any special requests, or want to ignore the guide, that’s fine too. If you’ve booked Event Lounge, you’ve booked an amazing night, and we want to do everything we can to make it one you’ll Never Forget…
© Event Lounge 2019