Request to Impress: A Guide for Wedding Guests
The greatest thrill for a wedding DJ is spinning up a tune and hearing the dance floor explode with excitement as guests voice their approval. Wedding DJs want to keep dance floor packed throughout the evening and play the right songs, and we absolutely appreciate getting feedback and suggestions from wedding guests. Unfortunately, not all requests are particularly thoughtful or helpful. This list of suggestions may help you contribute to the success of an event and keep the party raging until last call!
- Before you approach the DJ to request a song, always consider whether the song will turbo-charge a dance party. If you have never heard the song at a wedding reception before, there may be a good reason. When the dance floor is packed, I don’t want risk clearing the floor for an offbeat multi-movement rocker like “Bohemian Rhapsody” or a laidback classic like “Sugar Magnolia.” Guests want to dance a wedding reception. Request dance songs!
- Guests at a wedding reception are not always hip to the newest song in the clubs or the Top 40 charts, and playing an unfamiliar song is the most reliable way to the DJ to clear a dance floor. It’s better to suggest a song that has been relatively well-known for six months or more. (Exceptions exist, but they are rare.)
- Do not request a song because you think it will be funny. I won’t drop everything to play a Milli Vanilli song because one of the groomsmen will do a goofy dance — unless, of course, the bride and groom make the request so they can see the goofy dance!
- Slow dance songs are worked into the dance set every 30 minutes or so, when the dance floor has thinned out or people seem to be getting tired from nonstop booty-shaking. In general, I don’t want to chase away a crowd of happy dancers to play “Unchained Melody” and kill that vibe.
- If you want to hear a certain genre of music, be specific. I often hear “Play something Latin!” with zero guidance about the artist or the song that you think of as “Latin.” Should I play Marc Anthony or Shakira? Celia Cruz or the Gipsy Kings? Traditional music? If you’re not specific enough, I am probably going to disappoint you.
- Similarly, “Play something from the ’80s!” is an easy request to make, but I won’t know if you’re thinking of Madonna or the Violent Femmes or Bon Jovi or Lionel Richie or Journey. A decade is not discernable a style of music, so once again — be specific.
- When you are politely told that your request is on the bride and groom’s “Do Not Play” list, that should be the end of the discussion. I have been hired by the bride and groom to give them the party of their dreams, and the decision to avoid those songs have been made by the most important people in the room. Please don’t second-guess or challenge those choices.
- Have faith in the DJ’s expertise. If I tell you that I have tried playing your request a number of times over the years and it always clears the dance floor, believe me. I absolutely want to play songs that will make the crowd go wild, so I will only resist playing a song if I have good reason to resist it.
- A wedding DJ does not simply put a playlist on shuffle and take a nap. Picking the next song to play is a science and an art, and we leverage our experience to build a set that will keep the dance floor engaged. If I do not play your request immediately, I’m probably trying to work it into the formula. Be patient!
- Unless a karaoke DJ has been hired, don’t expect karaoke at the wedding reception. The microphone and speakers are not designed for it, and be honest — do wedding guests really want to hear you sing along to “Mustang Sally”?
- We all want the party to go on forever, but please refrain from demanding “one more song” after I have announced and played the last dance. In most cases, the last dance song has been chosen by the bride and groom, and they should be the ones to choose how their reception ends. You should also consider that the venue was booked for a certain period of time, and the DJ does not have any wiggle room in how long we can play. It’s much better to end the day on a high note than to set yourself up for disappointment.