Must-play Song Lists Aren’t Scary, I Promise

August 23, 2017 by Jordan Nelson

Success! You’ve just booked another wedding with a fun, energetic couple (let’s call them Maggie and Joe) who are excited to start the planning process. After sending out planning forms and scheduling your first consultation, the bride sends you an email that goes a little something like this: “Hey ____! Joe and I have made these lists of all of our favorite songs we want to hear at our wedding, can you make sure to play them?” You dreadfully scroll down to the bottom of the email, open the attachment, and suddenly before your eyes are what appear to be 4 pages of obscure indie and folk songs you’ve never heard of before. You think to yourself “Oh no, here we go again. Another bride that wants a bunch of strange music that none of her guests will know and that will kill the party.” You can stop that thinking now because the exact opposite is true.

In fact, you have just been handed a goldmine of reception personalization opportunities.

Your goal as a wedding entertainer should be to provide a one-of-a-kind, memorable experience to each couple. After all, isn’t that what so many DJs claim? You don’t achieve that by playing classical music for every ceremony, Frank Sinatra for every cocktail hour, and jazz for every dinner hour. Sure, those may be some couples’ favorite genres, but many of today’s brides and grooms have their own unique musical tastes that can be incorporated throughout the night to create a truly personalized reception.

When you’re handed one of those giant “must-play” lists, instead of letting out a defeated sigh, set apart some time to sit down and look through the music. Listen to artists and songs you don’t know and get a feel for the energy and tempo of each one. Make a note of songs that would be mellow enough for the ceremony. Write down songs that are more upbeat for cocktail hour and dinner. Perhaps you’ll find some great high-energy songs for dancing later on that you were never aware of. In all reality, brides and grooms care less about exactly when each song is played as long as they hear songs that are important to them. Now when you go to your consultation, instead of suggesting the same music you use at every reception you can use your new found knowledge to suggest music that means the most to them.

Learn to embrace the lists they give you because it gives you insight into their preferences, interests, and personalities. When you take the time to do this, instead of simply hearing “That was a fun wedding!” at the end of receptions you will hear “Wow! That wedding was SO Maggie and Joe.”

Jordan Nelson Jordan Nelson (16 Posts)

Jordan Nelson is the owner of SLC Mobile DJ in Salt Lake City, UT. A native of the tiny southern Utah town of St. George, Jordan began his mobile DJ journey as a junior in high school in a similar fashion to many other DJs, with a pair of cheap speakers, a dual CD mixer, and a few sound-activated lights. After traveling to Salt Lake to attend the University of Utah, Jordan completely revamped his business and invested heavily in sales and master of ceremonies training, turning his $400/event company into a $1,200/event company in under a year at 22 years old. Jordan is currently a pre-med student at the U while he continues to run his successful business delivering high-quality entertainment to couples, schools, and corporations along the Wasatch Front. He developed a strong passion for lighting and lighting programming during his early years and has written 2 books for mobile DJs on the subjects. When he is not spending his weekends at weddings and events, you can find him at the local gun range or hiking with his beautiful wife.


Filed Under: Events, Music, Weddings