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THERE ARE NO SET RULES WHEN IT COMES TO MUSIC

HERE IS AN EXPLANATION  A COMMON WEDDING FORMAT WITH LINKS TO GREAT SONG IDEAS.

Pre Ceremony 

The music for this part of of the day is very low key, we commonly use special stripped down instrumental versions of contemporary and classic hit songs. They usually have a guitar or piano as the lead and a violin or flute backing up. The tone is very mellow. Some couples prefer a more traditional style of music and request classical music. The general idea is to just put a little music in the air as guests arrive to be seated for the ceremony. Common artists we use include The Vitamin String Quartet, Lindsey Sterling, and The Piano Brothers. 

Ceremony 

You normally need three songs for a ceremony.  A processional is what you walk down the aisle to and a recessional which plays as you exit the ceremony after you are pronounced husband and wife and introduced to the guests. You will need a processional for the parents and bridesmaids and one for the bride. Processionals are usually instrumental and low key. A recessional is usually upbeat and it is very common to choose a regular version of the song. 

https://www.theknot.com/content/ceremony-processional-selections

https://www.brides.com/story/wedding-ceremony-recessional-music-ideas


Cocktail hour

The music during this period is generally low key and allows your guests to mingle without having to worry about loud music. Volume control is key and we generally play a combination of old and new laid back selections with or without lyrics. Most couples ask that the DJ chooses the music for this time. Some couples prefer to set a guideline which sometimes corresponds to the theme. For example you may ask to play Caribbean music if cocktail hour is on or overlooking a beach.

https://www.brides.com/story/best-wedding-playlist-cocktail-hour

Grand Entrance 

The grand introduction happens right before dinner and is when the entire bridal party is announced into the room. The people involved include parents of the bride & groom, flower girl & ring bearer, bridesmaids & groomsmen, maid/matron of honor & best man and of course the bride & groom. The order I've listed above is the most common way the bridal party enters the room and this segment can be customized in many ways.

The music is typically very upbeat and most times modern such as Pitbull or Justin Timberlake. Generally we have one song for the entire group, but it is common to have one song for the bridal party and one for the bride & groom.

There is no right or wrong way to do this but the general idea is to keep it very high energy and have fun with it. The introduction can set the tone for the reception and helps to communicate to your guests that you really want them to have an amazing night.

https://www.theknot.com/content/wedding-reception-entrance-songs

First Dance

The most common time for this to take place is right after the grand introduction. The reasons for this include the amount of energy in the room from the intro and because more than likely your whole bridal party will be on the dance floor and serve as a great back drop for photos.

Generally a couple will select a song which is very popular at the time. This year it was Ed Sheeran "Perfect" while this is totally fine keep in mind if your guests have gone to several weddings that year they may have heard that as a first dance. We generally recommend choosing something a little bit different for example the  Ed Sheeran and BeyoncĂ© duet of "Perfect". While it still fits the segment it also has a little twist that will set it apart and if you have not heard it definitely go check it out!


https://www.theknot.com/content/romantic-first-dance-songs

Dinner

Dinner is a critical time for our DJ's because it is where we lay the foundation for the rest of the evening. This is where we focus on the transition from a more reserved volume and vibe to a warm up for dancing. The volume is still at a very comfortable level to allow for talking between guests to occur and this is also the time where the DJ will begin to ask for and play requests. As dinner winds down it is very common to see lots of foot tapping and guests singing along as the volume comes up a bit and the selections become increasingly more geared towards dancing. 

Cake Cutting

Usually the cake is cut at the end of dinner just before the parent dances. The common theme is to pick a song that has some reference to sweet, sugar or candy. Some examples include Maroon 5 "Sugar", The Archies "Sugar Sugar" or Def Leppard "Pour Some Sugar on Me"

 Most  couples indicate "let the DJ pick the song" because they do not have a preference as it is not a really personal moment!


https://www.weddingwire.com/wedding-songs/cake-cutting-music

Dancing

Now it is time to get the dance floor moving. This is a very controlled time for the DJ to execute a calculated plan based on what he is observing in the room. He is very focused on guest body language and even monitoring their fatigue level to make adjustments in the speed, style and volume of the music.

Requests are filtered into the mix at the most appropriate time to allow for maximum impact. Everything we do during this time is  based on years of experience at thousands of events and with a deep understanding of what works best.

The music can vary quiet a bit and the goals are very clear keep people engaged and dancing. 

Parent Dances

The parent dances commonly occur just after dinner. We will not announce this until we have confirmed everyone including the photographer is ready.  The music choice is usually classic slow song, but not romantic in nature. 

As with the first dance, we see trends. For example, "My Wish" by the Rascal Flatts is very popular for the Groom and Mother dance. While completely acceptable to use a popular song, in our experience, guest reaction is stronger when something less common is used.

https://www.theknot.com/content/perfect-tunes-for-parent-dances

https://apracticalwedding.com/nontraditional-parent-dance-songs/

Last Dance

This is the last "formal dance" for the bride & groom that evening. The two common ways this occurs are a slow song or a fast song. If the song is slow usually it is a good idea for the DJ to play one high energy song right after to finish the night on a high note. If the last dance is a fast song typically we like to end the evening there. In our experience the psychological effect of ending the night in such fashion really leaves your guests with a feeling that they've just attended the best wedding ever.

Most of the time we start the song off with just the Bride & Groom dancing and then ask the guests to join in. 

https://www.weddingwire.com/wedding-ideas/wedding-last-dance-song-ideas-from-the-experts/

https://apracticalwedding.com/last-dance-songs-wedding/

Games

Some couples want to incorporate games and giveaways into their special day. Common ones include bouquet toss,  garter removal, the shoe game and centerpiece giveaway. These can be great for breaking up the evening and adding a twist to make it special. Songs and games can vary widely and there is no standard set of guidelines so we suggest mentioning your interest in having these at your wedding when you call to book

Downloadable list 

This is one of the resources we use for creative inspiration and to help our clients select music. 

https://www.djintelligence.com/charts/

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