Let the Music Play

After deciding to hire a DJ over a live band (mostly due to our budget), we started asking around for recommendations. Hiring a DJ is unlike hiring other vendors. You can taste food prepared by your caterer and look at pictures taken by your photographer and even see bouquets arranged by your florist, but what qualifications do you use to measure your DJ?

If a name has anything to do with it, then we knew we were in for a treat when we arranged a meeting with Wild Bill. He was recommended to us by friends, and they assured us that his primary goal at a wedding reception is to get everyone on their feet. Sounds good to us! There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing a full dance floor at a wedding reception. We want our guests to let loose and celebrate!

Bill invited us to his home, and he sat with us in his living room among old record players and photos of him dressed in costume. He’s retired from the Air Force and has a firm handshake and a friendly smile. And we immediately appreciated his quirky sense of humor.

He walked us through a typical wedding reception from the introduction of the bride and groom to the final song of the night. I’ll give you details soon about our introduction and first dance … but for now let’s move right into dinner music.

Bill likes to begin the evening with mellow music of our choice. (Norah Jones, James Taylor, and Jack Johnson are some options.) He remains nondescript through dinner, and when the bride and groom are ready, he gets the party started!

He suggested we submit a playlist and a do not play list. I’m sure we’ll hear the likes of Bon Jovi, Lynard Skynard, Tom Petty, and maybe even a little Justin Timberlake and Beyonce. We want a mix that is appreciated by everyone from my 81-year-old grandmother to my 17-year-old sister.

And what about group dances like the Chicken Dance and Cha-Cha? Well, we’re not completely ruling them out. They may be silly, but they’re also a good way to encourage guests who may not dance to get up and out of their chairs. I don’t want to go overboard, though. Maybe we’ll choose the least cheesy of the bunch and play it and only it.

Now let’s talk about the traditional parts of a wedding reception.

Father-Daughter Dance: We haven’t yet chosen our song, but check out some ideas on this post by Offbeat Bride.

Mother-Son Dance: I suspect it will be either Celine Dion or Josh Groban. Both were on the soundtrack of Nick’s and his mother’s cross-country road trip a few years ago.

Bouquet/Garter Toss vs. Anniversary Dance: We’re still unsure of whether we want to do a bouquet or garter toss (despite really wanting to see my girls dance to “Single Ladies”), and so Bill suggested inviting couples to join us on the floor for the anniversary dance, and then giving the bouquet to the couple who has been married the longest. I think songs by Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, or Tony Bennett would be appropriate for the anniversary dance.

And instead of the garter toss, the groom and groomsmen could serenade the bride with a song. I wouldn’t put it past Nick and the guys to plan something similar seeing as how they previously learned the Napoleon Dynamite dance to perform at a friend’s wedding!

Dollar Dance: Do it or skip it? We’ll probably do it. I think the grandparents and little kids get most excited to share a dance with the bride and groom.

Cake Cutting: We definitely want to hear “How Sweet It Is” by James Taylor for the cutting of the cake. It may seem cliché, but it’s one of our favorite songs. It’s even my ringtone for Nick!

We’re pretty excited that Wild Bill will be serving as our DJ and MC. He’s the perfect combination of goofy and classy. Our reception is starting to take shape! At least the entertainment portion of it. We still have A LOT of work to do on the aesthetics.

So tell me … What songs are on your playlist and do not playlist? Are you forgoing any traditions for alternatives?