“What’s the most important thing to you about your wedding reception?”
Whenever I ask clients here at Jerry Bruno Productions that question, the answer usually is “I want everyone to have fun”. Of course “having fun” can mean different things to different people. A fierce game of Dungeons and Dragons (is there such a thing?) can be “fun” to someone. Not me, but someone…I guess. Part of my job is to help clients set specific goals for their reception entertainment. To define – specifically – what “fun” means to them. Then I can help them achieve it.
Most of the time, after a few more questions, the definition of “fun” ends up meaning a full dance floor. Once we establish a full dance floor as a top priority, the first questions clients have are often about the song list. Can they/do they have to provide a song list. Will the band or DJ take requests? Can I have control over the music?
The answer, of course, is the client has ultimate control over all aspects of the reception. But sometimes, the customer isn’t always right. Hipster Groom and Goth Bride may love underground dub step death metal. But unless the entire guest list is into the same music or the reception has that very specific theme, there may be only two people dancing all night.
I would never tell a client that I know their guests better than they do. I don’t – personally. But when it comes to 200 people in a wedding reception ballroom waiting to be entertained, maybe I do. Despite how enlightened or hip a client assures me their guests are, I can almost guarantee that after a night of drinking, someone will request “Shout” (see my blog post entitled “Play Shout or Die!” ) or the Cupid Shuffle will pack the dance floor at 11 o’clock. This is why there are many “wedding songs” that may seem cliche or overplayed. They work. If people didn’t dance to “Party Rock Anthem” – over and over again, DJs across the country wouldn’t play it. Savvy clients will look to us – the professionals – to guide them in getting the full dance floor they’ve identified as their top priority. Nothing is guaranteed, but if it were my reception I would certainly want to maximize my chances of a great dance party by putting the entertainment in the hands of an experienced professional. Someone who has time-tested, first hand experience and understands the mass psychology of guests in a wedding reception setting.
If I needed brain surgery (and most would agree I probably do), I would want the procedure in the hands of the most skilled surgeon possible despite the fact that a positive outcome is never a sure thing. I probably wouldn’t impose my personal preferences for a certain type of scalpel or the color of the surgical scrubs. I just want the job done. I want a new brain and I’m not particularly concerned with how I get it. And if you think brain surgery is far more important than a wedding reception, just ask a bride.
Hearing one’s personal favorite songs all night is a different goal than having a full dance floor all night. Often the two might intersect. Sometimes they won’t. Most clients aren’t willing to take that chance. They look to us to play songs that are most likely going to get a good response. Songs that are happy, clean and danceable. Most people will never remember the specific songs on a playlist, but everyone will remember a rocking dance party.
None of this is to say we don’t want or need musical input from clients. It’s essential to the planning process. I want to know about the music clients like – their “must plays” and “do not plays”. And as a DJ, I want the guests to feel like they’re a part of the action so I certainly take requests. Most of the time their requests are things a good DJ would play anyway. Also, many brides and grooms have really been
looking forward to planning the music for their reception and if it’s a fun part of the planning process for them. Most DJs even have online forms and lists to help wedding clients select music.
Of course it’s the bride and groom’s “big day”. But a micro-managed song list restricted to only their favorites may make it really hard to fill a dance floor with only two people. Unless it’s a really tiny dance floor.
Many thanks to our guest blogger, Geoff Short – agent, DJ and band leader with Jerry Bruno Productions, a preferred vendor of the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame. Jerry Bruno Productions is a full service entertainment provider specializing in professional bands and first-class DJs. Geoff is a multi-talented professional both on stage and behind the scenes in Cleveland television and radio and has worked with JBP since 2007. For outstanding entertainment at your next event, contact Geoff at 216-986-1808, 1-877-800-5551 or firstname.lastname@example.org