Wedding DJs probably make more money than 90% of club DJs out there. If you just got invited to DJ a wedding, or are considering to become a wedding DJ, here are a couple of pointers for you.
Forget beatmatching. The music played on a typical wedding is so diverse that no one expects you to beatmatch or do those 1-minute blends. The fade-out/fade-in and the simple cut are the only mixing techniques you’ll ever need.
Diverse music collection. DJing weddings requires knowledge and appreciation of all kinds of music – from Sinatra to jazz to Motown to disco and then to the 80s classics. It may be too late a week before the event, but you really need to expand your horizons (and music collection) beyond your favorite EDM style to DJ a wedding well.
Two types of wedding music. These are cocktail/dinner and dance. Think of the dinner stage as a warm-up. You start with familiar, cross-generation songs and build up the energy until the guests are ready to hit the dancefloor. And then you play a mix of dance classics and current hits for the younger crowd.
Build chronologically. Try to go from oldest to newest. Start the dinner with the 40s and 50s music (e.g. Sinatra), move to jazz standards, then 50s love songs and so on. Same with the dancing part: Put on some disco for 40+ guests and then move to the 80s, 90s and finally current dance hits towards the end of the night.
Please the older folks. That’s whom the cocktail/dinner music is primarily for. The bride’s grandpa and grandma will leave early or won’t necessarily be dancing, so give them a chance to remember their own youth with your music. They’ll appreciate it, trust me.
Know how to talk. As a wedding DJ, you’ll be expected to introduce the bride and the groom, wrap up the party and maybe do some other kind of talking. There are three keys to successful MCing: confident voice, polite words and cheese-free delivery. And when you talk, remember that it’s about them, not you.
Finally, remember that wedding DJing is not just about music. It’s a real business you have to run, and you have to treat it as such!
Have you DJed a wedding? Would you like to? If you have, what was it like? Join the discussion in the comment section below.
JM has played open-air gigs, shared the stage with the likes of ATB and had mix albums released commercially. He has been teaching DJing since 2008.
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