Early this year I was contacted about a wedding that someone was planning on Vancouver Island. The bride was nervous about the music and was looking for a Dj that could travel and would be relatively cheap. After a bit of back and forth I realized her knowledge of music was quite extensive and she knew her family and friends well.
Cheap doesn't equal value, she had a small budget and I was concerned for her, hiring someone for cheap might end badly on her wedding day. So I suggested she do what I do and how I plan for weddings with some modifications.
Step1) Know your crowd. Their age and their likes and dislikes.
Step2) Choose how you want your night to feel. High energy, soulful or ambient or a mix of everything.
Step3) Plan your moments into your playlist. Slower music leading into special dances and upbeat tracks leading into a packed dance floor.
Step 4) Start with a few songs you love. Make a short playlist of 20 songs that you absolutely must hear on your wedding day. Choose from every genre, every era and any style you gravitate towards.
Step 5) Use algorithm software. Luckily iTunes already has one inside its genius feature, and programs like Beatunes and Mixed in Key can also match individual songs to create longer playlists. Usually about 20 to 25 songs each. So for each song in your short list create a genius playlist and NOW you have 20 genius playlist with 20 to 25 songs. 200 to 300 songs total that are in line with your wedding day preferences. Its a great jumping off point.
Step 6) Organize and reorganize. Start playing with songs and how they fit together and how people might respond to them. Your order will be very important since their will be no one tending the iPod. From Uptown Funk to Donna Summers "Last Dance". It can be done.
Step 7) Press play and walk away. Don't hit shuffle, trust your choices and let it roll.
I received a call a few weeks later from the bride, happy and very proud of herself for the work she had done. She confidently chose her music, she organized it well and had a huge library of music to work with.
Dj's are not magicians, we do practice a specialized craft and spend hours honing our skill but we are just like you. With the right tools and some dedicated time you can plan your wedding music and be proud of it, and save that bit of cash you would have wasted on a mediocre Dj.
Cheers and Happy Planning,