Every once in a while, a couple getting married might will communicate that they don’t want any “common” or “typical” “wedding songs” to be played at their wedding.
There are a few reasons a couple might say this, and for the most part, these reasons are understandable.
One of the most common reasons is that they’ve experienced first-hand, maybe even many times, an over-reliance on certain songs by less-experienced (or simply LAZY) DJs who play the same tired, predictable fare at every wedding they do. These DJs don’t take the time or effort to learn about the preferences and tastes of their clients, and they don’t take the time, or simply don’t have the skill needed, to “read” the dance floor and program music creatively.
The result can be a rather lackluster and somewhat impersonal experience for the couple and their guests. It can also lead to more folks in the room rolling their eyes at each new song than there are people dancing to them!
The second most common reason is that couples want to be sure they infuse their celebration with their own unique personalities. Of course, on their big day, they want to hear certain artists and songs they know, like, and even love. Of COURSE this should be a goal for EVERY wedding!
Sometimes, though, as they try to avoid what they see as “cliches,” or as they try to make their wedding “unique,” they inadvertently swing too far from one extreme to another.
Quite often, this results in reduced potential for enjoyment by many guests, and can be detrimental to the experience of everyone.
Before I go any further, I’d like to share a true story from quite a few years back when I worked in landscape contracting & design. Trust me… it’ll all make sense.
We did a landscape design for a couple that was pretty well off, and had a pretty impressive budget for their landscape design & installation. As it came time in their design process to select plants, they decided they wanted to replace “a few” of the choices made by our designer in favor of some “different” selections. They even said “I don’t want my yard to look like every other yard, and I don’t want to see those same plants that I see at every house, and on every street corner.”
We didn’t have a problem with that, and in fact we encouraged them to make some alternative selections. When it was all said and done though, they made more than a couple or even a few selections, and replaced almost half of the original list with hard-to-find, special-order, and somewhat exotic plants. They did TONS of research on these plants, and spent a pretty penny to get all of them. We made suggestions along the way when we thought there might be issues with certain plants, but in the end, the final decisions were theirs.
Within about a month or so of finishing the installation, their expensive, hard-to-find, and special order plants started dying on them. They just couldn’t take the heat and conditions in this area at that time of the year. We replaced several of them in accordance with our warranty policy, but as more and more plants started to die, even the ones we brought in as replacements, we finally had to draw the line and let them know we wouldn’t be replacing any more plants for them free of charge.
The clients weren’t happy about this, but after we explained our reasons, they understood, and we made some replacements with some of the more common plants the designer originally included in the design.
What did we have to explain to them?
We basically said that yes… you DO tend to see a lot of common plants used in landscaping in any given area (not just ours). Those plants are used for a reason. They are used because they are hardy, attractive, and flourish in the conditions we live in. Sure, we can try to get more exotic, and in some cases, we can pick alternatives that will do just fine. But at the end of the day, we’re still going to be left with some plants that everyone is used to seeing and planting. And that’s OKAY, because those plants WORK.
The same goes for many, many songs! There are a lot of songs that work very well for older guests and family that tend to be at weddings. Then, there are tons of songs that work exceptionally well across all generations young AND old alike at family-oriented events.
Not everyone is a natural-born dancer, and not everyone is necessarily comfortable dancing. A great many people, young and old, will only dance to what they KNOW and recognize. If our goal is to provide an atmosphere that is as conducive to as many people dancing as possible, and if we want to make the environment inviting and welcoming for them, we need to take these bits of “dance floor psychology” into consideration.
This isn’t to say, however, that we should focus on playing only, or even mostly, “those songs.” BUT… if our goal is to provide for the enjoyment of as many guests as possible, and if we want to make the environment as inviting as we can so everyone can participate in the festivities, then our primary goal should be to strike and maintain a balance.
That balance we should strive for is the balance between the “cliche” and the “cool.” Between the “predictable” (instead think “recognizable”) and the “unique.”
If you’re working with a professional DJ provider, they will excel at helping you find and maintain that exact balance! Their experience and ability to read a crowd will find a natural balance with your tastes and goals, while helping everyone have the best time possible!
We just need to be mindful of the lesson learned in our plant story. We shouldn’t be so determined to get away from one extreme, that we swing too far to the other. We also shouldn’t lose sight of WHY certain recognizable songs are in fact common, and why they are so successful and widely used to begin with.
While we want to personalize our wedding day, putting our own unique stamp on it in every way, we also need to remember that while our wedding day is “about” us, our reception is FOR our guests. It’s a way for us to thank everyone for being a part of our special day!
Realizing this, our shared, common goal should be striking a balance that ensures ALL of our guests feel as welcome, and included as possible.
GIVE me your “Must Play” songs. I give you a form for them! Give me your “DO-NOT-PLAY” songs. I give you a form for that too!
Together, and working with these lists and parameters YOU choose, we’ll work to make sure your wedding day is as enjoyable for you and all your guests as it can possibly be.
It’s okay to “just say no” to certain songs. It IS your day. Just don’t be too quick to axe everything before the party even starts.
Songs are the tools your DJ uses to achieve their results. While we want to be sure that we put our own stamp on our event, and while we should set some parameters based on our tastes, we need to be sure we aren’t taking too many tools out of our DJ’s toolbox. When we do, we run the risk of artificially limiting the enjoyment of our guests because they can’t hear some songs they enjoy, and would like to dance to.
Besides… When it comes right down to it, you’d be surprised what songs you might find YOURSELF having a GREAT TIME dancing to! It’s really easy to write a song off as “cheesy” on a piece of paper. But it’s WAAAAAAYYY harder to resist the energy of that same song drawing you to the dance floor when everyone else in the room is GOING CRAZY for it! Trust me… I see it all the time.
After all, this is what I do.