Choosing a first dance song is one of the biggest musical decisions you’ll make for your big day, but don’t overlook the smaller (and still important!) ones like what song to play when you cut the cake and the overall atmosphere you hope to create with music.
We talked to Steve Brodd of Pro Sound DJ Entertainment for tips and tricks to avoid the big stress that comes with little details.
What new trends have you noticed with wedding music?
It’s always trendy to play the newest hits. We are always asked, ‘do you have that new song by so-and-so that just came out?’ But remixes are popular as well. Playing an updated version of a traditional wedding song is a surefire way to get guests of all ages on the dance floor.
What should the couple consider when deciding between a band and DJ?
It’s important to keep your budget in mind. While bands bring tons of energy, they tend to be more expensive than DJs. Also consider the style of music you want played throughout the day. Bands have their own style and can play most song requests, but not all. If you hire a jazz band and request a country song, you will get a jazz-hybrid version of the song, which — in my opinion — sounds pretty cool. On the other hand, a DJ will have the exact song you’re looking for. Another consideration is the amount of room your venue has. If you’re a little shy on space, an eight-piece band will not perform the same if they have to drop to a four-piece, but a DJ can compact his equipment to fit just about anywhere.
What should the couple know before selecting songs for important moments throughout the wedding day?
We advise picking songs that have meaning or which hold a special memory of a moment or place. That way each minute of the reception is tied to an even deeper emotion, creating the perfect recipe for memories that’ll last a lifetime.
How involved with the music do couples tend to be?
Couples are increasingly involved with the music, with many creating ‘do not play’ lists for the DJ. If you’re unsure about the type of music to play, or the overall atmosphere you’re hoping to create, ask your DJ (or band) to make song suggestions from a professional angle.
What should a couple consider when choosing a first dance song?
Try to pick a song that has special meaning for both of you. Think back to your first date, when you first kissed, said ‘I love you’ or said ‘yes.’ What song was playing in the background? Something else to consider is how comfortable you may or may not be in the spotlight. Surprisingly, we trim many first dance songs to a couple of minutes due to stage fright on either the bride or groom’s part.
Is there anything people don’t usually think of?
Be mindful of songs on your ‘must play’ list because some songs can affect other people. For example, if “My Heart Will Go On” plays directly after “Celebration,” the overall mood of the room will change drastically and the dance floor will likely thin out.
It’s also a good idea to ask your parents about their first dance songs. Playing their song at your wedding can be a sweet way to surprise them. On the other hand, if you or your partner’s parents are divorced, be sure to put their wedding song on the ‘do not play’ list to avoid bringing up uncomfortable memories.
Are there any songs that are a must-play for the reception?
How can the couple remain budget-friendly while staying on par with their wedding day vision?
Compromise is key. You have to prioritize what means the most to you, whether it’s the venue, the food or the entertainment. With a bit of added research, it’s easy to fulfill your desires. If your heart is set on a twelve-piece band, save money elsewhere by making your own centerpieces or by selecting a date during the off-season.
When should a couple finalize their music choices?
We like to solidify your music choices three to four weeks in advance. Of course, that doesn’t mean we’re unable to play the new hit song that got released the day before your wedding, but having your list decided upon early creates a longer grace period to make any necessary changes.
Any final pieces of advice for the couple?
Do a dip at the end of your first dance. It looks great for photos. Also, don’t be afraid to change into comfortable shoes for dancing. You don’t want to have to sit out toward the end of the night because your feet hurt — that’s when the dance floor can be at its prime.