MU­SIC MAT­TERS

Will you have a DJ or are you choos­ing the DIY playlist route? Whichever way you’ve de­cided to en­ter­tain your guests, here’s how to make sure you hit all the right notes DJ NEED-TO-KNOW

You and Your Wedding - - Contents -

DJ or DIY playlist? Here’s ev­ery­thing you need to know about cre­at­ing the per­fect mu­si­cal vibe

Whether you’re an avid gig-goer or only lis­ten to your run­ning songs in the gym, it’s likely that mu­sic will play a big part in your wed­ding. It’s an im­por­tant way of cre­at­ing the at­mos­phere you want, from ro­man­tic ele­gance to laid-back in­dul­gence.

Of course, the tunes you play re­ally come to the fore at your evening party – there are few things less fes­tive than an empty dance ÁRRU +LULQJ WKH VHUYLFHV RI D SURIHVVLRQDO DJ is a pop­u­lar op­tion for good rea­son. It saves you the stress of build­ing playlists in the run-up to the wed­ding, and heads off on-the-day wor­ries about tech­ni­cal trou­bles. A good DJ can judge a crowd and ad­just tracks ac­cord­ingly. If your re­cep­tion space has sound is­sues, they should have the tech­ni­cal know-how to over­come them. Plus, you don’t need to worry about drunk Un­cle Jeremy hi­jack­ing your ipad.

+RZHYHU LI \RXU EXGJHW LV VWUHWFKHG WR the limit, or you’re de­ter­mined to have full mu­si­cal con­trol, it’s cer­tainly pos­si­ble to get guests on their feet if you go down the DIY route. Even if you’re get­ting in a DJ for the evening party, you may de­cide to cut costs by do­ing your own mu­sic for the rest of the day. We’ve asked in­dus­try in­sid­ers for their key mu­sic tips – so whether you will play ev­ery song your­self, or you’ve got some­one to man the decks, you’ll have a party ev­ery­one will re­mem­ber (apart from Un­cle Jeremy).

For­get the stereo­types

The cliché of a wed­ding DJ is a su­per-cheesy GLVFR ZLWK ÁDVKLQJ OLJKWV DQG XQIRUWXQDWH ‘ban­ter’. Thank­fully, this is not the only op­tion. There’s a wide range of styles out there, from fes­ti­val-cool to sleek ur­ban vibes. You can hire DJS who play vin­tage clas­sics on gramo­phones (shel­lac­sis­ters.co.uk), or set up a spe­cial ‘disco shed’ com­plete with gar­den games (dis­cowed.com). You could even book a ser­vice that al­lows guests to take a turn on the decks (sticki­ton.org.uk). Think care­fully about what style suits you best as a cou­ple, but take your guest list into ac­count, too – an evening of thrash metal may prove a bit much if you and your beloved are the only peo­ple present with a fond­ness for An­thrax, Me­tal­lica and chums.

Choose the best

We know wed­dings can in­volve some rather brac­ing spend­ing de­ci­sions, but try not

to choose a DJ solely on the ba­sis of a low quote, par­tic­u­larly if the party will be the main fo­cus of your cel­e­bra­tion. “There are good up-and-com­ing DJS who will play for a com­pet­i­tive price,” says lead­ing DJ Matt 0DXULFH PDWWPDXULFH FR XN ´+RZHYHU there is an el­e­ment of risk in book­ing some­one with no track record.”

Be pre­pared to lis­ten

Your cho­sen pro­fes­sional will have ex­pe­ri­ence of work­ing a room and keep­ing guests of all ages happy. Even if you have a strong sense of what you want, it’s worth tak­ing their ad­vice when it comes to the playlist. “The cou­ple pro­vides the ideas and the DJ sup­plies the knowl­edge,” says Matt. “It’s like a mu­si­cal jour­ney with each des­ti­na­tion be­ing a tune. Your DJ should be able to de­cide the best route to take.”

Ask ques­tions

Ac­cord­ing to Matt, here are the key prac­ti­cal­i­ties you need to know. Will they pro­vide all the equip­ment? Can you VXEPLW D SOD\OLVW" +RZ long does ev­ery­thing take to set up? Are they in­sured? What hap­pens if they’re ill or their trans­port breaks down?

Be space-spe­cific

Dif­fer­ent rooms have dif­fer­ent acous­tic needs, so make sure your DJ knows not just the name of the venue, but the ex­act space where the party is tak­ing place. They don’t nec­es­sar­ily have to visit be­fore­hand to un­der­stand the tech­ni­cal re­quire­ments. “We don’t gen­er­ally visit un­less the client is also book­ing a more com­plex sound and light­ing pro­duc­tion,” ex­plains Matt. “We can nor­mally as­cer­tain the pro­ce­dure from a SKRQH FDOO ZHEVLWH LPDJHV DQG ÁRRU SODQV μ

DIY ES­SEN­TIALS In­ves­ti­gate equip­ment

If you’re play­ing your own mu­sic, you don’t need high-level tech­ni­cal know-how – but tun­ing into the prac­ti­cal­i­ties could mean the dif­fer­ence be­tween wed­ding party KHDYHQ DQG GDQFH ÁRRU GLVDVWHU

“Ask your venue if it has a pro­fes­sional sound sys­tem you can use, and whether there any ad­di­tional costs if you do so,” DGYLVHV /RXLVH +HDUVXP RI ZHGGLQJ YHQXH Pem­broke Lodge. “Also ask if it’s cov­ered by in­surance, so you aren’t go­ing to end up with a bill if any­thing is ac­ci­den­tally dam­aged.”

An­other im­por­tant thing to check is the com­pat­i­bil­ity of mu­sic-play­ing de­vices with any sys­tem you use, whether that’s an ipad, a lap­top, or sim­i­lar. “At Pem­broke Lodge, all de­vices we know of can be used on our sys­tem – it just de­pends on the con­nect­ing lead,” says Louise. “Just be aware of the dif­fer­ences be­tween Mac and PC ca­bles so you have the right one.”

/RXLVH VWURQJO\ UHFRPPHQGV ÀQGLQJ RXW if your venue has a backup por­ta­ble sys­tem, as well as bring­ing your own CDS and an ex­tra de­vice just in case. If the venue doesn’t have a sys­tem, you’ll need to in­ves­ti­gate hir­ing equip­ment from an out­side com­pany.

Think sound qual­ity

Check to see if you can test the sound sys­tem in your re­cep­tion space ahead of the wed­ding. Bear in mind the acous­tics of the room will be dif­fer­ent when it’s empty, so ask your venue for ad­vice – they’ll have a steer on what it’s like when full of peo­ple. Louise also ad­vises ask­ing about sound OLPLWV ´+RZ ZLOO \RX NQRZ WKH PXVLF LV get­ting too loud and needs to be turned down be­fore it cuts out?” she asks. “Do they have an au­to­matic sound lim­iter?”

Prep your playlist

This is the fun part! You have full con­trol over the mu­sic, and you can lis­ten to your care­fully or­gan­ised tracks on your an­niver­saries, tak­ing you back to the day. Al­low plenty of time for this task. One big ad­van­tage of a pro­fes­sional DJ is that they’ll be able to judge the mood and ad­just what they play ac­cord­ingly. Un­less you want to be go­ing back and forth to your de­vice all evening (un­likely to be pos­si­ble), think care­fully about the or­der of the tracks if your DLP LV WR NHHS HYHU\RQH RQ WKH GDQFH ÁRRU That said, it’s worth hav­ing an emer­gency playlist of guar­an­teed crowd-pleasers that you can stick on if the mood is dip­ping. Noughties clas­sics work well for this.

&URVVIDGLQJ ² ZKHUH WUDFNV ÁRZ VHDPOHVVO\ into each other – can also help, as gaps in the mu­sic won’t help the at­mos­phere. Many apps, in­clud­ing itunes, al­low you to set up a seam­less playlist. To keep things or­gan­ised, cre­ate sep­a­rate lists for dif­fer­ent parts of the day. Think about ex­actly how much mu­sic you’ll need to cover all the fes­tiv­i­ties, then have back-up ex­tras just in case. If you’re us­ing a streaming app such as Spo­tify or 7LGDO FKHFN DOO WKH VRQJV ZRUN LQ RIÁLQH PRGH ² GRQ·W HYHU UHO\ RQ ZL À

Con­sider guest in­volve­ment

Re­mem­ber Un­cle Jeremy? “If an ipad is left play­ing within reach of guests who have had a few drinks, they will try to change the songs and stop them half­way through,” warns Louise. “It can be­come an­noy­ing.” To avoid this, try to make sure your de­vice is out of sight of your guests, if pos­si­ble.

You may de­cide you do want your guests’ in­put. If so, ask them to send song re­quests with their RSVPS, which you can add to your playlist. Or you could get ev­ery­one to use a juke­box app such as Jukestar, which lets guests re­quest tracks and vote on up­com­ing songs, so only the crowd-pleasers get played. De­cide who’ll be in charge of the mu­sic dur­ing mo­ments when you’re oc­cu­pied, such as the bridal en­trance, your exit from the FHUHPRQ\ RU WKH ÀUVW GDQFH <RXU YHQXH may be able to help if you ask in ad­vance, or a trusted guest could be given the task.

“IF AN IPAD IS LEFT WITHIN REACH OF GUESTS, THEY WILL TRY TO CHANGE THE SONGS”

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