Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Music. Makes the people. Come together.

I don't know why I used a Madonna line in the title, it's unlikely that any Madonna will be played at our wedding. I know this because if there's one area where I can see myself being demanding, know-it-all and bridezilla-esque, it won't be about my dress, the food or the favors, it's the music.

There will be NO Macarena, no chicken dance, no "Electric Slide", no "Shout" and probably no Madonna (see, I'm not totally inflexible, look at that probably right there). In fact, I want to decide on every single song played at our wedding (and at the welcome dinner, and at the cocktail hour, and at every opportunity when music is played). Like, every single one.

Which brings me to this: for what, then, do I need a DJ?

IC spoils me. The official song of our engagement weekend was "Whatever you like" by TI (not the corny parts about stacks and Petron, just the chorus). I wanted some crazy Do It Yourself ("what's 'DIY'?"-asked the immigrant IC on Saturday) invitations, I got it (more on these later). And he's been completely patient about all the wedding details like room configurations, menus, response card fonts and every other annoying thing that goes into putting on a wedding. But when I say no dj, he says no way.

It's not that ground-breaking. Lots of people are having Ipod weddings. Why not us?

I think IC is more worried about the logistics than about my musical selections. Who will be there to cue our first dance? Slow it down, speed it up, feel the crowd? I don't know but I'm just not too worried about it. I think I can gauge when in the night we might have to go for slower music and when we'll bump the Biggie. I admit, it's partially because I not-so-secretly think I'd make a kick-ass DJ. But mostly it's because if I were to hear any of the songs in the second paragraph played at our wedding, well, I wouldn't take it well. And I don't want the DJ riling up the crowd. They're either riled or they're not. I hate the DJ yelling into the microphone to get on the dancefloor. Just not my thing.

I haven't totally nailed down the reception music list yet; ok, fine, it currently has six songs on it, but I have decided on the music themes for the welcome BBQ and the pre-reception cocktail hour. The former will be all reggae with a strong focus on Bob Marley as he seems to appeals to the young and old alike. The latter will be sultry sounds like Nina Simone, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Ray Charles perfect for cocktails under a setting sun. The rest I'll figure out and produce a list to give to a capable professional dj. But if he Macarenas me even once, his ass is toast.


  1. I used to waitress weddings in college. Hell on earth music-wise. If you're hiring one from the island I guess maybe they won't be as prone to rancid cheese as some of them are? You can't control crowd requests though, if you are serious about it you need to give the dj a list of banned tracks. Seeing as most wedding dj's are egomaniacs who think they are rock stars though I do fear for your musical soul. I-pod is probably the safest way to go in all honesty.

  2. Don't forget - you are the bride. I told my DJ that if anyone asked, there would be no Chicken Dance, no Macarena, and no Electric Slide. I would okay the Hokey Pokey 'cause we had a few kids at the wedding. No Michael Jackson and no Madonna. And if I heard O.N.E. N.O.T.E. from any of the banned songs/dances, he wasn't getting paid! And I told him if anyone asked for them, he was to tell them the bride forbade it. Period.

  3. I mean have it your way...but the macerena isnt THAT bad..it's a crowd pleaser!

  4. Great, now I have the chicken dance in my head. Clap clap clap clap.

    Give the task of playing whatever playlist you create whenever it's supposed to be played to a friend who is iPod-savvy (and won't get too drunk to keep it up all night - saw that happen once, it was ugly). DJs are only good for that "get on the dance floor" thing and when you don't know more than ten songs. I think if you know what you want and you have enough music to keep it going (which it totally sounds like you do) then you're all good. But that's just might be because I love your cocktail hour list.

  5. I think I'm most excited about that cocktail hour list. I'm currently listening to Dean Martin and imagining it playing against a beach backdrop. LOVE.

    And I have like 1000 cds and a gazillion songs on my itunes. We'd be good for music.

  6. My sister and brother-in-law were very serious about their music choices (my brother in law is a bit obsessed w/music) - they hired a dj with a very thought out list of music - with have nagilla and other songs that were very important to them. He stuck to list and was very accommodating. He was needed though because of all the toasts. He was able to gauge how the crowd was feeling and when to turn off the music. Are you thinking of having an MC? My sister had two her friends do it (a married couple) and they were awesome.

  7. whats wrong with a little madonna ... i hate the chicken dance so cheesy ... i think you need to add in some israeli music :))))) well i guess us jews like the arabic tunes

  8. I guess the DJ will be the MC and if I somehow talk IC out of having a DJ (unlikely), I figure it can be a friend of something.

    We'll definitely have Israeli music at the reception. And definitely all the Hebrew music standards.

  9. We'll definitely have Israeli music at the reception. And definitely all the Hebrew music standards.


  10. You will so be hopping around to Hava Negila, AND YOU KNOW THIS. It'll be your favorite part of the wedding.

  11. Hava Nagila is my favorite of any Jewish event with music, even if that is corny. :P

  12. While I'm totally against DJ's in general and like your IPOD idea, DJ's do bring an important element to the music; amplification. You can't assume the venue has speakers and such that you can just plug your IPOD into.

  13. Hey, I just happened to come across this blog in my aimless scrolling of everything internet. I am a NY DJ and I happen to know that what you're asking can be done. I do know of other DJ's who have done a gig like what you're asking. Please listen to me when I say that you need a DJ. An IPOD plays an entire song and you don;t need that...you need about 2 mins maximum of a song being played and then cutting to another...also you need to blend one song to another. And also you need to keep the songs arranged to the same tempo. I do think its great that you chose all the songs...I almost did that for my wedding. Well best of luck...and keep looking you'll find a DJ willing to do exactly what you're looking for. If you don;t find one...contact me. Orangecorner@aol.com(shameless self promotion at the end).

  14. Father Of The BrideFebruary 21, 2009 at 8:55 PM

    As father of the bride I asked the kids what they wanted. No band cause you’re stuck with them the whole night. No cheesy DJ. They had seen too many of them at other weddings (I am sure there are some good ones out there but they didn’t want to go that route). They really wanted the music to be personal and just seem like what they would play if they had people over to their house. So we IPoded it. Worked great. I made two playlists. One for the Opening Music which was for people coming in to the reception hall and into dinner. Then we stopped the music for toasts and cake cutting. Then started another playlist for Dance Music.

    Basically after we exited the ceremony I went into the adjacent reception hall, plugged in my player into the built in sound system the hall had, and set the volume. Done. Stopped it for toasts and cake and then started it again for dancing. Done.

    There is some advice I would like to pass along. Make sure you have a MP3 player that has smart volume. Smart volume is a feature on the MP3 player that allows you to set the volume you want and songs that are over that volume are brought down to that level and songs that are under that volume are increased to that level. You don't want to fool around with going back and forth setting the volume the whole night. You do need to be prepared to adjust the volume a few times. The reason is that even though you have a player with smart volume you can’t control the noise level of the crowd. When they eat, their mouths are full so they don’t talk so the level may need to come down a little during dinner. Once they finish eating they start to mingle and the volume level will most likely need to be increased some. And if they get a little wild when the dancing starts the volume may have to increase even more. This seemed to be the only thing that having a DJ would fix. So if you want to shell out some dough to have someone adjust the volume a few times during the evening that is your choice.

    If you can find a hall that has the sound system built in that is ideal. For us the Bose speakers were in the ceiling out of the way and the sound quality was very good. The plug in access was in a closet so that it was out of the way and no one that had one too many drinks could fool with the player.

    Another thing is to have a back up player. I did not have to use a backup but had one just in case.

    Bring an AC adapter. Last thing you need is to run out of battery. Most likely you will have to set the volume on your player quite high to play through the sound system. This high volume will drain the battery faster.

    I was a little leery about IPoding the wedding music but it worked out great and a good time was had by all.