DJ Mark Parker shares his top tips on choosing the best songs for a wedding party and how to keep all your guests on the dance floor.
Is it best to create your own playlist of wedding party songs before the big day or just rely on the DJ to pick the most popular wedding songs?
It’s important to make the distinction between a wedding playlist and wedding request list. A request list will give your DJ a head start on the artists and styles of music that will get you and your guests up and dancing. A playlist is less flexible and might not give your DJ artistic freedom to keep the dance floor moving with dance songs. In reality a combination of a request list and on the night inspiration from your DJ can work well.
Should you ask wedding guests to also choose their favourite dance songs to add to the playlist?
There are benefits and downsides to this. Are your tastes similar to your guests tastes? Guests expect their song to be played, even if it might not be a dance floor winner. There are also time constraints – in a three hour set, your DJ can play around 50 songs. It really depends how you phrase it. Rather than asking for a song they like, it can work better to ask guests for a song they want to hear on the dance floor.
In your opinion what works best a wedding DJ or a wedding band or both?
Most bands will have a specific style that they play and a repertoire of songs that they know and have rehearsed. On the other hand a DJ will have a vast number of songs. You can also think about the style of DJ. Some DJs can mix, some can’t. Some will talk between the songs and some don’t. My personal style is to focus on mixing great music with minimal talking.
What is the most played wedding song or wedding discos songs that are guaranteed to get guests up singing and dancing on the dance floor.
This is tricky because all couples have different tastes in music. Some of our clients want to dance to cheesy wedding songs or 80’s wedding songs but others like to hear more funky music like garage, drum & bass, garage, Indie, house or a combination of different styles.
Roughly how much does a wedding DJ typically cost for a wedding reception/evening party
Our latest research shows that wedding DJs charge anything between £150 and £1500 for an evening. Maybe some are overpriced and some are underpriced but in the end you get what you pay for. It’s really useful to look at reviews to find out about previous clients’ experiences.
How far in advance should you book a wedding DJ?
As with the venue, caterers, florist, videographer and photographer I would recommend booking as soon as you have made a decision. The popular suppliers get booked up to two years in advance.
What makes the best type of wedding DJ, for example should they play all types of genres of music to keep guests of all different ages happy?
Someone who listens to the client, can read a dance floor and mix a variety of genres. My personal preference would be for a DJ who doesn’t talk between the songs and only plays the Macarena & YMCA when the client asks for it!
How closely do you work with couples to make sure the party goes off with a bang?
We work really closely with our clients and ask for a request list or wedding party playlist a month before the wedding. That leaves time to check that all of the songs are in the DJ’s collection and to ask the couple any questions. Our online request system gives the opportunity for clients to let us know the significance of particular songs too, which is really useful to bring a group of people together. This could for instance be hen party, stag party or special family songs.
Songs for wedding disco. Which five top artists should be on everyone’s ultimate wedding party playlist?
Every couple is different so I can’t give a definitive answer. I would have a chat with the couple and find out which artists and styles of music they enjoy and then make some suggestions, maybe holding back a special song for the end of the night.
Would you like to know more about how to get your wedding reception music just right? Mark’s book ‘Wedding music, getting it right is available on Amazon