How To Select The Best Music For Your Wedding

Music is a staple of any wedding or party.  It sets the mood via beat, melody and lyrics.  Choosing the right songs can make or break the whole event.  Focusing on Weddings, lets see how the music can enhance the day.

Ceremony - The guests are arriving and the DJ is playing some pre ceremony selections.  The setting is a beautiful country barn setting, fields in the background.  What style of music would you expect to hear? Many of you probably are thinking Country, which would be the obvious choice.  But don't rule out other styles.  Instrumentals versions of soft love songs would also fit well, along with classical pieces, especially if you are walking down the aisle to something classical/traditional or a soft Pop song.  You want the Pre Ceremony music to complete your setting.

Cocktail/Dinner Music - Like Pre Ceremony music, it is something to be played softly in the background - not to interfere with conversation. Can be a grouping of easy listening songs or something more upbeat. But you want the guests to enjoy their meal and converse - so saving the heavier dance tunes for the dancing hours is recommended.
Cocktail/Dinner hour is the one part of the day your older guests will be there for, so it is also recommended to take them into consideration when selecting the music.

Your "Special" Songs - The First dance, Father and bride dance, Mother and groom dance.   All should have special meaning to you.  Traditionally the song is something slow and romantic, with lyrics that express the love and emotions the pair dancing have for one another.  
Granted, you and your spouse may have a private special meaning of a song, lets say for example - "I Love The Way You Lie" - but your guests may not 'get it'.
Now, say the Groom and Mom can really tear up the dance floor to a Jive or Cha Cha.  Should they? Sure! Why not!  Same goes for the happy couple.  Making it fun can be a reflection of your love.

General Dance Music - When selecting your music for your dancing hours - remember your guests.  You want everyone to have fun right?  So a wide variety of songs is highly recommended.  You know that your Aunt Mary and Uncle Joe love to waltz? Consider adding "Could I Have This Dance?" (Ann Murray)  - Mom and Dad love to Two Step? - "Forever and Ever, Amen (Randy Travis)  etc.  You want to keep the dancing going - so be sure many of the songs are upbeat, fun and sprinkle in some of the wonderful romantic slow songs (like Wonderful Tonight) that even Grandpa will want to dance to.  The main thing is to remember - ask yourself - can people dance to it?  And don't forget the fun line dances - The Cha Cha Slide, Cupid Shuffle, even the YMCA can be fun for all ages.

There are some songs that maybe not so much good 'dance songs' - but more along the lines of 'sing along songs' - Living on a Prayer, Wagon Wheel, Don't Stop Believin, Sweet Home Alabama to name a few - that everyone enjoys singing along to while dancing.  Always a fun time.

Two main things to guarantee a wedding to remember - Allow guests to request some songs and choose a Good DJ that will not only help you with your music - but will screen the guests requests for any song that may not 'fit' your reception . You don't want Rap at a country wedding nor do you want songs with F-Bombs around the older guests and or children.

Don't overwork yourself trying to come up with a ton of tunes.  A good DJ can take a few selections from you and put together a night filled with great music that truly reflects you and your wedding.

After all ... the music is an very important part - The songs when heard again will bring back memories of your special day for both you and your guests.  So choose your DJ wisely.

By: Susan Giles - DJ/customer relations - 2 Wolves DJ Service

What you are paying for when you hire a DJ

So many people think DJs are over paid.  They think the only work involved is the pushing of buttons and playing music for four hours.  That, my friends, is the easy part of the job.  There is so much more that goes into every Wedding or party.  So, what are you actually paying for when you hire a DJ?

First - The Basics
1. Professional Grade Equipment 
The Basics would be - Laptops - Speaker System - Controller/ Mixer -Lighting - Microphones - Stands - Cables -and a backup system if needed.


2.  Music
A vast library of music is needed if you want everyone from your Great Aunt down to your little cousins to have a good time.  Most DJs have well over 10,000 songs with them. And no - the music is not "free" - we buy every song.  Even at $1.29  a download - it adds up.

Now for the things you may not realize that is in the "package"  

3. MC for your event
Who is it that introduces you at your Grand Entrance?, Announces the cake cutting?,the first dance?  - Yep - your DJ.  The DJ is often the one keeping the evening flowing smoothly.

4.  Keeping the guests happy
If people don't have a good time at your party, the DJ is the one that often gets blamed.  No one ever says - the wedding wasn't fun because the flowers sucked.  The DJ needs to have the ability to 'read the crowd' , and know what song is going to get people dancing. 

Now for the things you don't think about at all:

5. Consulting with the Client: 
whether it is email, phone, or face to face meeting, the time spent discussing what you want your wedding or party to be like, what music you want, don't want etc.

6.  Preparing
Hours are spent taking your list of songs and arranging them in a playlist.  Then count in searching for and buying that 'special song' we may have already 15 versions of, but not the version you really want.  Then judging from your selections, adding in more songs that will fit in and allow for enough music to fill the entire evening.  In addition to preparing a separate set for Cocktail or Dinner.

Now add in:

7. Before and after - the day of your party:
 Loading up all the equipment, travel time, unloading, set up time, breakdown time, drive home, unloading.

8. Knowing the Music:
 Knowing "Rollin' on the River" is really "Proud Mary" ,  "Time Of Your Life" may mean Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life) by Green Day or (I've Had) The Time of My Life by Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes (Dirty Dancing) or "The Time (The Dirty Bit)" by Black Eyed Peas.  Not to mention the ones that are requested by people actually trying to hum a few bars of the song.

Granted some DJ services charge an outrageous fee,  others charge next to nothing.  It is up to you to find out just what you will be getting for your money.

Your choice of DJ is one of your most important things for a successful wedding or party.  
Be sure to find the one that will help you make your event exactly the way you envision it to be.

 Written by: 
Susan Giles - DJ/Customer Relations - 2 Wolves DJ Service - Fort Payne, AL

Allowing Guests to Request Music Without Worry - Let The DJ Handle It

At any party, be it a wedding reception, prom, birthday or company event, your main concern is for everyone to have a good time.  When it comes to the music, one way is to allow the DJ to take requests.

  But, is that always a good idea?

Lets see.....
1. If you allow requests - you will not have to worry about selecting many songs, nor will you have to worry about the DJ playing some obscure dub-step version of something you never heard of.
BUT - your guests just may request a strange song you never heard of.

2. If you allow requests - there is a chance your guests will ask for songs you totally forgot about and love.
BUT - they may ask for songs you totally hate.

3. If you allow requests- you friends may request songs that bring back some great memories
BUT - they may be memories you don't want.

4. If you allow requests - it insures everyone gets a chance to hear their favorite song
BUT - their favorite song maybe too vulgar, a break-up song (Big no-no at weddings), or something no one can dance to.

How can you allow Requests and avoid such issues?

1. Start with a Must Play List - submit a list of at least 10 - 20 songs to your DJ that he/she Must Play.
2. Add in another 10-20 songs that you would like to hear if possible.
3. Go over with your DJ what you envision the event to be like.  Fun, with alot of fast songs,..... romantic, with mostly slower songs, .... or a nice balanced mix ( recommended )  Be sure to let your DJ know if you like Country , Pop, Hip Hop, etc
4. Have a Do Not Play List - If you will gag if you hear Bieber's "Baby, Baby" or the "Chicken Dance" ... be sure to add to this list.
5. Ask you DJ how they handle requests.  Do they have 'clean' versions of the songs?  How do they handle those 'non dance-able' song requests?  Request from children? etc
6. Set an age limit - Kids can take over a wedding or family gathering with requests. Setting an age limit can help prevent that - or a limit to number of requests.

One way to keep requests to a minimum is to keep in mind your guests when selecting songs.  Include songs you know Grandma will love as well as the younger crowd.
We have a list of tips on How to Select Music here : Tips on Choosing Music for Wedding Reception 
Good tips for any event.

A good DJ can help you find the right balance of music you want to hear and requests from your guests.  Be sure to discuss requests and how they handle them before hiring.

By: Susan Giles - 2 Wolves DJ Service - Fort Payne, AL

Planning a Wedding Reception

Wedding - Black and White Theme

So you are getting married! Congrats! Now the fun begins on the planning of your special day. No big deal, right?  You just pick a date, place, flowers etc and party.   Not that easy.  Don't get me wrong, have seen beautiful weddings and fabulous receptions put together in a matter of hours (Literally the day of in one case!) - but for MOST weddings, it takes a lot of planning.  Lets focus in on the reception.  Hopefully these tips will help you cut down on stress.

1. Which is most important to you - the date or the venue? -  No guarantee the venue you would like will be available on your date, if you are not planning a year or two in advance.  And many venues charge more for the primo days - Saturdays or Holidays.  So, the more flexible you are on the day, the better deal and better chance you will be able to book that perfect place.

2. Venue - Indoors vs Outdoor - Outdoor receptions are becoming very popular.  Brides either romantically envision a beautiful outdoor party - with perfect sunny weather and beautiful starlit night, or choose to have a backyard affair to help on costs. Which would be great, IF Mother Nature wasn't so fickle.
Indoor receptions you have a controlled climate (so what if its windy/cold/rainy outside?), but prices can vary, and every venue does have its own set of dos and don'ts.
If you DO opt for an outdoor affair, please review our tips on Outdoor Weddings.

3. More on the Venues:
size DOES matter - Meet with the venues and check to see if the place is the right size.  Putting 200 people in a room is one thing - putting 200 in a room with cake table, buffet, bar, dance floor, Head table, DJ area etc is another.  And along the same line - putting 100 into a large grand ballroom that could hold 300 is just as bad.  Too much space and 'mingling' of guests tend to be cut way back, with people staying within their own circle so to speak.

Barn Receptions -  Becoming an extremely popular setting are Barns.  You can even find many that are set up for weddings.  Things to consider with a Barn venue are :
     1. Is it enclosed or an open "pole barn"?
     2. Does it have heat? AC?
     3. What kind of floor?  (Some have sawdust or dirt)  Sawdust, hay, etc can cause problems with those who have respiratory problems.
     4. Electricity - will the venue allow for a band or DJ and special lights?

Now that you have your Date and Venue, lets move on.

4.  Book your Caterer and DJ - Do not think you "have plenty of time" for this.  Caterers and DJs fill in dates fast, often only booking one event per day.

Caterers:  First you must decide - Buffet? Sit down/ Served meal? Appetizers/finger foods only?  There is not 'right or wrong' here - the choice is yours.  But do think of your guests (and the fact you will be in white) as to what foods you will serve.  Also:
     1. check with the venue - some do not allow outside caterers in.
     2. Ask how they keep the food hot/cold.
     3. Do they supply plates, utensils etc
     4. Do they serve it or just drop off they food?

Now for the DJ:  The DJ can make or break your reception, so choose wisely.  Things to look for in a DJ service are:
     1. What kind of music do they have? - Most have every genre.
     2. Do they supply dance floor lighting?  Up lighting? Video Screens? Your name in lights? Bubbles? - Not all have all the 'bells and whistles'.  And just how fancy you want your affair is your choice.
     3.  Do the offers MC services? - Will they make all announcements such as cake cutting, bouquet toss etc?
     4. What is their "style" ?  What do they wear, how do they make announcements, interact with your guest etc.  You will not want one that is in a tux and formal if you are wanting your guests to "let their hair down" nor would you want a ball cap wearing 'Club style' DJ at a wedding reception doing the Yo Yo Yo into the mic with older adults as guests.  How much DO they talk on mic during a reception? ( some tend to be too chatty, others not enough)
     5.  How is the music selected? - Do you have control over what gets played?  What doesn't get played?
     6. Can they do requests that day?
     7. Do they offer day of Coordination? - Will they keep things running smooth for you?

After you get Date - Venue - Caterer - DJ locked in - then you can worry about making it all pretty.  The florists can do both your bouquet and centerpieces or a party rental place that specializes in wedding decor can transform any place into something special.

Just remember - not everyone will remember where it was held, how pretty the centerpieces where, or even what the food was like - but they all will remember how much fun they had.   So, whether its a fancy affair in a grand Ballroom with filet mignon , or a simple backyard reception with BBQ - the DJ will be your most important decision.

For more information on 2 Wolves DJ Service visit our website: