Somebody Please Stop Playing That Crappy Music

Frustrated from boring dinner and cocktail music?Honestly as a wedding dj I am not one to pass judgement on music per se’… In fact I don’t call any music “crap”. I just think it’s often easy to play something richer and more provocative. I want music to do what music can do – make people feel. It happens that as a wedding dj with over 1000 Michigan Weddings to my credit, I’ve played “easy” and I’ve played thoughtful. Thoughtful is way cooler. It takes a little extra effort on my part to make the music experience better. To illustrate what I mean, I recall 23 years ago walking down the halls at a banquet facility and hearing wedding receptions with a 6pm start using the same cd and roughly on the same exact song track. I’m not kidding. It’s not that Kenny G was bad – it was simply that the dj’s were playing to the lowest common denominator. They did what was super easy. They threw on a cd that many people thought was pretty good and let it play. No real consideration for how to make it better. Things haven’t changed much either. People, no matter the occupation generally speaking play to a level of “good”. As I see it — good is the enemy of great. NOW… don’t get me wrong. When the dancing starts in all candor I play my share of wedding classics BECAUSE — I know they fill a floor better than the more obscure stuff. UNLESS… UNLESS a crowd is willing to go somewhere different with me. Some crowds will – most won’t. Both crowds are fine – are take either one as long as the floor is hopping.

So, with that being said — why should I play a bunch of music during cocktail and dinner that really isn’t relevant to anyone in the room short of maybe Grandma and Grandpa. I’m 47 years old and I know friends of mine of the same age that have daughters getting married. Sure, at 47-55 years old, we know some Sinatra and sure – maybe even some Kenny G but that wasn’t the music our memories were infused with. For me I remember the greatest summer of my life was 2 summers out of high school and Guns N Roses’ “Sweet Child of Mine” was the tune I was wakeboarding to. I remember the late 70’s with Pink Floyd, The Who, The Stones and the stuff my dad listened to like Elvis, Anne Murray, Barry Manilow and yes… even the Village People. Sure my parents influenced my musical likes and dislikes – didn’t yours? Van Halen, AC/DC, Joan Jett, REM, The Cranberries – all that 80’s stuff is well etched in the recesses of my mind. Truth is, your parents might be older than me but I’ll bet they’re more like “Rolling Stones older” than they are Billie Holiday, Dean Martin or Louis Armstrong older.

So, here is my point. When booking your wedding dj have the conversation about cocktail and dinner music. Share what I am sharing here. (or of course you could just book me) It makes me think… in June I’ve got an event at St. Andrews in Detroit. For me, I knew why they chose the venue — an independent dj with years of experience can connect dots like that because they meet you one on one. So, this client likes the whole Detroit thing. They want to show it off to friends and especially out of town family and what better way than renting St. Andrews. Some really amazing musicians came out of and played St. Andrew decades back. I took it upon myself while talking on the phone to first and foremost make sure that it was the Nostalgia that had them booking there. After booking them, I asked if they might want me to share a bit about the venue with the guests just before dinner gets served so the guests can truly feel the history at that venue. I then asked if they’d be cool with me playing some music from those artists during dinner. NOT loudly, not obnoxiously but using it to further set the stage for a great evening. So sure I could have just played some dinner or cocktail standards but then they wouldn’t have squeezed every single drop of their intention out of that venue. It would have been music in St. Andrews, not musicians that actually played at St. Andrews (and “The Shelter” below).

So, in closing know this. You’re not going to get this kind of service from someone that doesn’t get why it matters in the first place. You’ll get it from a pro that knows how important it is to pull people into an event, not just have them at the event. You’re not going to get this kind of service when the dj doesn’t really know you. Weddings are pricey, hire a great wedding dj, compromise elsewhere. And if you have to ask your guy to do these things then it’s highly unlikely he really gets why you want this to begin with. Not every facility has the history St. Andrews has and honestly sharing a venues history isn’t the norm but playing music that matters sure should be.

oh… just in case you wondered this is a cut from the email I sent my bride and groom shortly after booking them.


Hi, ————

Would you want me to possibly share the significance of St. Andrews – MAYBE this blurb?

“The building we’re in, Saint Andrew‘s Hall is a Detroit music venue and concert hall. Formerly the meeting place for the Saint Andrew‘s Society of Detroit but never a church,[1] the building is now a host of live bands and “Notorious” DJs..

Since 1980, St. Andrews has been bringing trendsetting music to Detroit — St. Andrews has hosted famous acts during the ’80s and ’90s, such as Iggy Pop, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, The Verve, Nirvana, R.E.M. and Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Underneath US, is a venue called “The Shelter”. it hosts various live music acts and DJs. and is best known for being one of the first stages Eminem performed.”

I was just thinking this through — wouldn’t it be cool to share that just after the toasts/prayer and then play a tune or 2 from each of those acts mentioned above during dinner?? Just a thought.



Michigan Wedding DJ


Michigan Wedding DJ Suggests Bride’s Re-think Timing

Ok, this could get some brides thinking I am a militant hyper opinionated dj and business owner. Well, the truth is it’s really more about helping my clients have a great wedding. Here is the tip and a little background.

1) Michigan has the longest wedding receptions in the country already with 6 hours as the norm. Even New York is at 4 hours.
2) People with kids and those married over the age of 25 generally speaking, not always have some sort of internal ding that says “get to bed my midnight”. I didn’t create this ding – it just is.

So, if you do have the usual 6 hour Michigan Wedding Reception, consider that 6 hours is 2 times longer than you ever, even in your college party days, spent dancing. “Oh but Dan, my friends and I used to get to the club around 10 and dance until it closed”… OK OK – but the club didn’t have to play music for people of all ages. They often just played to that core target market and that is a whole lot easier than keeping 150 people going at a wedding where people have diverse tastes and stamina. I am not suggesting you cut back to less time but I sure hope you can see that 7 hours is for 99% of the crowds too long. The best weddings are the ones where the floor is still packed at closing time and that is way harder to do when the dance window goes from 3.5 hours to 4.5 hours. Not impossible (I’ve done it) but the law of diminishing returns comes to play.

Remember I mentioned the midnight and people’s internal ding? Here is a tricky way to use that to your advantage. Start your Michigan Wedding Reception at 5pm and go to 11pm. Now, everyone is home on time for their sitter and are surprised when the last dance comes an hour earlier than expected. Now, you have a full house at closing time. This is a good way to end. As a Michigan professional wedding dj, I am only suggesting that you’ll get more out of your night by having more people there for the entire evening than if they start rolling out to get home by midnight. For more great wedding reception tips check out the video below.

Hiring a DJ Tips – What Brides & Grooms Should Know Before They Commit to a DJ

Hi, this video is something I put together for all those brides out there who feel very much in the dark as they navigate the waters of hiring a good mobile dj for their wedding. Though I am Michigan based these dj hiring tips should prove universal. Good luck in your quest for the dj that fits your needs.

Michigan Wedding DJ Dan Nichols may be available for your Michigan Wedding!

Royal Park Hotel Rochester Michigan Wedding Reception DJ Tour

royal park hotel wedding

What can I say? This place is as good as it gets. I know of few venues in Michigan that are so truly 5 Star and I have played at nearly all of them. The grounds are perfect, the food looked to be off the charts (more on that later) and the service from what I could see looked stellar. From the time you pull up to the time you get inside it’s a class act. It is located just east of the downtown Rochester, MI “Main Street”. It is flanked on one side by a river and has trees canopied over the patio side as well. It’s truly a site to see – no sense in going on, The Royal Park Hotel in Rochester is beautiful and for a wedding or corporate event it’s a home run.

The conservatory is beautiful and I have deejayed receptions in it and ceremonies both. It is surrounded by a beautiful garden and is simply spectacular. The foyer areas are practically as big as the main ballrooms and are covered in wood, marble and leather. Anyway – just go see it.

The only solid complaint is that of all the places I attend as a vendor, this is one place that must encourage their customers to purchase a vendor platter which frankly tells the vendor they’re not quite worthy of a meal. I say encourage because this is the only place in a long time that I can remember that literally walks the vendors into a room and says here is your turkey sandwich… I play at upper end venues often and pretty much get a real meal wherever I go. The sad part is, at this wedding, the amount of food left over in the buffet could have fed a small army but the photographer and I “never got the hook up”.  I’m over it (sort of) but it’s a really tacky move you think they’d have thought through because nothing else is remotely tacky but that!

The Menu is Here

The Website is Here
The Address is: 600 East University Drive • Rochester, MI 48307
(248) 652-2600

Here is the Royal Park Hotel in Rochester, MI video tour / review: