To DJ or not to DJ? That is the question.

I’ve been to ten weddings in the past two years and the ones that immediately jump to my mind and conjure up memories of an unforgettable night were not the ones where the flowers were shipped in from Uruguay, nor the ones where the best cut of meat was served – rather, they are the ones where I ditched my heels half way through the night and danced until the sun came up.

I want that party.

We chose our venue because we wanted to throw a huge party.  We want people to stay until the end, in our case 2 o’clock in the morning.  Having a seperate loft space JUST for just dancing and drinks, our venue begs us to give it good music.

And so the ultimate question came to light.

DJ or band?

After numerous arguments with my parents (who insisted classy weddings only have bands) my fiance and I, for the first time, didn’t listen and did out own thing.  We hired a DJ.   After reviewing some of the recent weddings we went too, we realized that we did indeed dance the most at the receptions where a DJ performed (in our experience).  It was as simple as that.

Mind you – we compromised.  We ARE going to have some live music.   Live music that incorporates our culture.  My maid-of-honor’s family friends are part of a traveling Polish folk band (yep, it’s true) and she has generously offered their 5 piece ensemble for our ceremony (adding some of my cultural flair).  They will be decked out in Polish folk costumes, complete with an authentic polka playing accordion and several fiddles, and will play festive polka when are exiting the church ceremony.

During cocktails (in the same loft space that will later be used for dancing) a 3 piece Chicago blues band playing, what else, Chicago wedding blues will greet our guests ;)

Given our dinner is on the 2nd floor, and our dancing in the 3rd floor loft, we were a little apprehensive on how we would get all of our guests OUT of the dinner room and up to the dance floor.  Our DJ, who will also act as MC, suggested we get our Senegalese friends who play the Djembes (African drums) to perform a 5-10 minute jam session to get the guests’ adrenaline pumping right after dinner and right before we move upstairs(and giving our wedding the African flair we so desperately want since that is what brought us together).

Then, finally, after dinner – our DJ will turn our loft into a proxy-nightclub complete with lights and bass.

As for our DJ – we hired one.  I wasn’t expecting too so soon, but after hearing about him and meeting him, I had to save him for our wedding.   It is extremely difficult to know whether or not you’ve got a good DJ unless of course you’ve seen him/her at an event already.  I didn’t have that luxury.

However, my good friend Jen from college told me about a DJ she was seriously considering flying out for her wedding Mexico last year  She insisted, “He’s the one for you.  He is the BOMB.”  This is coming from a girl who hired a Michael Jackson impersonator to dance at her wedding – ahem, she knows how to party.  I trust her DJ recommendation more than my doctor’s diagnosis.

Jen with her MJ impersonator

Not only did she insist my DJ was the bomb, she told me that he speaks Polish.  Just like me, Mark (our DJ) was raised in Chicago by Polish parents, so although he speaks English fluently, is essentially American, even  DJing for Northwestern Kellogg Business School events, and he speaks Polish too! (and he is affordable!). BONUS.  So not only will he hopefully transform our wedding reception to a hip, swanky night club, but he will MC in both English and Polish.

After I found him, my parents were so happy that they dropped the argument for the band.  It may not be as classy, but I’ll take the blame for that.  I like it better this way.

What was your final choice – DJ or band – and why?