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
St. Andrews, not musicians that actually played in St. Andrews (and “The Shelter” below). at
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.
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, 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