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Common mistakes at a wedding reception from the DJ’s point of view

After 26 years of being a wedding DJ here are some of my observations

1) Plan out where the dance floor area will be.  Place the DJ next to the dance floor and leave room for his speakers at the edge of the dance area. It is not a good idea to have speakers 5 feet from anyone’s table. You will want the background music audible to all the tables which means it will be the loudest directly in front of the speakers. Dance floors in the middle of the room are the hardest since there is no good place to put the speakers and wiring in the middle of the room.

2). Don’t seat the older guests directly in front of the music entertainment. Older generations are at a wedding typically to socialize with their family and friends. If they cannot hear each other talk, an unhappy situation may occur. So, if by choice, seat the young at heart near the wedding party but away from the entertainer’s speakers.

3). Don’t have one particular type of music. There are many different types of people in the world. And yes, they include your family and friends. For example, the bride and groom may love country music. It doesn’t mean you have to play country music the whole night. There is a lot of celebration music besides what you like. Your DJ plays hundreds of parties and knows what people will actually dance to and what they won’t-Use him.

4). Have a long dinner time. Typically this is where the bride and groom get to do most of the personal contact with the guests. Once the dance floor starts it moves very quickly from dancing to cake, to bouquet toss, dancing fun, line dances, and then it’s over. Have an extra half hour in there to mingle.

5). Don’t leave early. Your guests came from near and far to see you on your wedding day. This will be the only time most of your family and friends will be able to see you as you will be very busy with last minute preparations the days leading up to the wedding. Then of course there is the “6 month twilight zone”, where couples are busy in the new life and are rarely seen.

6). Have a 3rd speaker if you have more than one big reception room. Many reception locations are broken up to smaller rooms. This is great for having an interesting and diverse wedding. It can be a challenge for the following reasons: 1) No background music in the other rooms. 2. Guests can’t hear the announcements. 3) Gusts don’t know when to come to the main room for the traditional events. 4) You may need a microphone or music in a separate dining area. Renting a 3rd speaker from the DJ can be very worth the small amount for it.

7). Don’t give the DJ an exact and only list for dance time. It happens once in a while that a couple gives a very detailed list to the DJ of exactly what to play and when, this can kill the dance floor and sometimes the whole event. Do give him your likes and dislikes along with several requests but let him work the room. A good DJ will know when to use your list and when to break from it to play the right hits for all those different ages and types of people at the wedding.

8). If you are having a band get a DJ too. Bands can be great at playing music and getting you into their music. They are typically not so great at announcements. They really don’t care how to pronounce your last name or who your parents are. They also love to take breaks 20 minutes at a time and down a few. Have your DJ play different styles while they are on break. They can also be very loud for dinner time and cocktails.

9). Get a coordinator or someone dedicated to being the help. There is too much to mention here on what a coordinator will do. Let’s just say this: Much like a runway fashion sow, they work behind the scenes getting everything to come together on the big day and no one see’s them until the very end of the event. Be the runway model and let them do all the stressful stuff that day.

10). Preplan with your vendors a day or two before the wedding. Be sure all your wedding vendors know exactly what you want. Clarify times and location so you don’t need to worry about them.

Patrick Pake