Inside the progression of music during a reception:
As a music lover, weddings are a great platform to combine many different genres, musical decades and artists all together in one special evening. It is unlike being at a prom, social gathering or nightclub where the music is generally tailored to one specific audience.
At a wedding you typically have an audience spanning from young children to grandparents. Not only do the ages vary, but musical preferences range across the spectrum, too. From Frank Sinatra to AC/DC to Drake. Think on that. If you are the one planning the party and/or paying for the entertainment, sure - you want to really enjoy the music. However, even though it is YOUR day and party, you certainly want your guests to enjoy their time as much as possible. Music plays a vital role in contributing to the fun and happiness of your friends and family as they celebrate with you. You may really despise line dances...but that may be the only thing that will get some folks dancing. And just maybe that will carry over into them dancing to some other tunes. (SIDE NOTE: Besides your DJ, your bridesmaids and groomsmen are your leading force in crowd participation. Brief them on this subject: Part of their job is to help keep the dance floor alive!)
In terms of the flow and progression of music. It is best to lean more toward family-friendly/crowd-favorite songs earlier in the reception, and as children and older folks dwindle - begin to move toward some of the edgy hits. During the first 15 minutes of the reception it is probably not the best idea to drop "The Wobble". This is just an example, of course, but playing that song sets a mood and tone that is hard to recover from and move into shag/beach music. Playing songs from different styles and jumping around the spectrum of genres lends to a choppy progression of music. So does asking the DJ to change a song while he is mid-song. Unless it is really something that goes against your morals or is ruining the night you should consider waiting for that song to end.
The best way to keep your night as fun and energetic as possible is to treat it as a story where there is a beginning, middle and end.
The beginning should be classic songs that set a fun mood and the majority of people will know the words. As people warm up to those songs (and likely after a few drinks) there will be some movement/dance energy among your guests. Even some requests, but chances are those songs should wait for the middle or the end. Shag music, disco/funk and slow dances are great during this time.
We now move into the middle of the story. This has its own progression of dance songs. Line dances are great to begin with, and then have them scattered throughout this section. Playing all of the lines dances back to back is not a good idea. Todays top 40 and "yesterday's best dance music" should dominate this section. Cake cutting, bouquet/garter and other traditions will fall into this middle section. That will allow for some breaks from dancing.
Finally, the ending section will both heat up and wind down your night. This is where the newest songs, megahits and hottest dance tracks really drive the party home. Couple this with some throwbacks and some of the new slow dances toward the end of the reception and you will send everyone home satisfied...and hopefully exhausted.
A good wedding DJ knows this, and it's best to understand that the DJ has professional experience in working with diverse crowds. When requesting music, the DJ may not find it appropriate to play the song you want at that specific moment if it doesn't fit into the progression. But hang tight! He will put it exactly where it needs to be.
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