Planning Your Reception
Lots of planning goes into a successful wedding reception, and at DJ DanCo., we want to help you plan and celebrate the best reception possible. In this section, I’ll offer some advice based on my experience, and hopefully, answer some of the questions you may have. Remember, these are just suggestions, and you may always plan to do your reception however you like.
Your disc jockey is a trained professional who is there to work for you, and ensure that your reception goes smoothly. He will coordinate with your photographer and other wedding professionals to keep your reception organized, so things progress in a way that sets the perfect mood, keeps your guests informed, and encourages dancing later on. This way you can relax, and and share a fun and memorable time with your friends and family. Although much of the planning is done in advance, communication on the night of the event between the client, the photographer and other professionals, and the disc jockey remains essential. Most of the events we do don’t have a rigid timeline, but with good planning ahead of time, and a little communication the night of, we can all stay on the same page. We ask that you submit your song list and planning information to us at least a month before your date, so we have plenty of time process it. Your DJ should contact you about ten days ahead of your date to finalize your details with you. Contact our office if you ever have any questions, or if you have not heard from your DJ at the designated ten day deadline.
DJ DanCo. can play the music for your ceremony if it takes place at the same location as your reception. It’s something we are called upon to do more often all the time. Having your DJ play the music for your ceremony is an easy and inexpensive way to have the music you hand pick as part of this sacred event. Your DJ will play half an hour of pre-ceremony background music, so our starting time for a ceremony is always thirty minutes before the ceremony itself. You can pick specific songs for the pre-ceremony music, or a more general style, like string quartet, acoustic guitar or bluegrass, or instrumental piano. The seating of mothers, which sometimes includes fathers or grandparents, is what gets the ceremony started generally speaking, and is the first piece of music that needs to selected. What follows next is normally the procession of bridesmaids, so there is music chosen for them as they proceed down the aisle. Next is the big moment, the procession of the bride herself, and there is another musical selection played as the bride walks down the aisle. Some couples build additional musical selections into the ceremony if they want a different song played for the groomsmen to proceed in, or a separate song the flower girl & ring bearer as another example, but they usually can proceed in to the same accompanying music as the bridesmaids. At some ceremonies, we play a brief musical selection as a unity candle is lit, or sand is mingled if the couple has that as part of their ceremony. Finally, the recessional song concludes the ceremony, usually after the officiant introduces the newlywed couple, and they proceed back down the aisle to exit the ceremony. We normally meet with our wedding ceremony customers so we can help them preview and pick their ceremony music selections. Couples often opt for instrumental selections for the processions, and may choose something completely non-traditional to conclude the ceremony. Hey, it’s your ceremony, and whether you choose completely traditional classical selections, or “Another One Bites The Dust”, the choices are all yours. There are tons of musical options out there, both traditional and non-traditional, that will give your ceremony the perfect atmosphere and personal touch you want, and DJ DanCo. is glad to help you through the process. You can schedule an appointment with Dan to pick and go over your processional selections and organize the logistical details of the ceremony itself. We can add a microphone for your minister too, if you like. Our charge for adding ceremony music is very reasonable, so just let us know if you’re interested in adding this easy and inexpensive way of handling your ceremony music to the services we provide on your wedding day.
Reception Starting Time & Background Music
We recommend that you have your DJ begin playing background music when your guests first show up at the reception location, and this should be the time listed as the starting time on your contract. This way, your DJ is set up and in place when your guests arrive, and they will walk into a room with light music and ambience. Keep in mind that people usually will depart your ceremony as soon as it’s over, and head straight to the reception site, so don’t allot too much time in between the two events. Your DJ will be playing background music until he starts the open dancing, after everyone has had a chance to eat and socialize. He can play different types of background music, in a style or multiple styles that you can choose. He can play some background selections based on what your musical taste is like in general. Specific titles or artists you choose can be played during the background music, and classic jazz, oldies, country, current pop, and retro music are all suitable, as are instrumental styles, like classical or new age. If there are songs you’d really like to hear, but might not make good music for dancing, consider having them played as background music.
Introduction / Grand Entrance
Your DJ will announce the entrance of the newlyweds into the reception, for a rousing round of applause from your guests. He can also introduce your wedding party, if you choose. Just have someone alert your DJ once you arrive, and your DJ will introduce the two of you, or line-up your wedding party, and introduce them all. You can choose the special song for your entrance, and we can always help if you need a suggestion.
At many of the receptions we perform, the food is served buffet style, and the guests are allowed to begin eating as soon as they show up. If this is the case at your reception, there probably won’t be a need for a formal dinner announcement, but your DJ can let your guests know they can get started. If the guests are to wait to eat until after the arrival of the bride and groom, then usually the dinner announcement will take place right after your entrance. If a prayer is to precede the meal, your DJ will introduce the appropriate person, then follow the prayer with the proper announcement to start dinner.
The toast, or toasts if they are to be given by multiple people, such as the best man and maid of honor, usually follow the meal, and precede the cake cutting. Your DJ will introduce the appropriate person, who will use our microphone to give the toast.
Your DJ will let the guests know you are about to cut your cake, so they can gather around. A good time to do this is immediately after the toast, so both are usually done together.
The first dance between the bride and groom is usually done in one of two ways: some couples prefer to do it right after they make their entrance, and some do it following the toast and cake cutting, once everyone has finished eating. Either way is fine, and it’s up to you as to which way you prefer. If you’d like to do your first dance, or all the special dances, right after your entrance, your DJ will introduce and play the special songs for this. He will then usually drop back to playing background music for a while, before opening the dance floor for everyone a little later on. If you do the special dances after everyone has eaten and the cake has been cut and served, then the special dances will lead into the opening of the dance floor. Many couples do their first dance by themselves on the dance floor, and many others prefer to have their wedding party join in half way through the song. You can also choose to do a separate, second dance with your wedding party members.
Father Daughter / Mother Son Dance
After the first dance, it is traditional for the father of the bride to dance with his newlywed daughter, and many times, the mother of the groom will follow this with a dance with her son. Some couples even choose a song that’s appropriate for both parents, and do a single dance together with the bride and her dad, and the groom with his mom. There are a number of familiar songs, like “Butterfly Kisses”, or “What a Wonderful World”, that we see chosen for these dances by many couples. The song you choose, or which dances you choose to do with your father or mother, may depend on your family situation, so be sure to consult with them, and talk about it.
This is an opportunity for everyone to dance with the bride or the groom, and give them a little gift money towards their honeymoon and new life together. If you choose to do a dollar dance, I suggest doing it right after the special dances. This leads nicely into the open dancing, gets people up and involved right off the bat. It also is a good way to get the older guests to participate before they depart. The best type of music for dollar dances is usually familiar, older, slow or mid-beat songs, which are not overly romantic. Some couples enjoy the dollar dance as a fun way to spend a little extra time with the guests, and some feel a bit awkward about it. It’s entirely up to you.
Your DJ usually gets the dance floor started right after the special dances, or after the dollar dance if you choose to have one. If you do the first dance right after the entrance, the dance music should begin once everyone has had time to eat & and socialize for a while. Some couples who do their first dance right after they enter will wait until after the meal and cake cutting are done to do the other special dances. This way, these dances, like the father/daughter dance, lead right into the opening of the dance floor. Your DJ will play the songs chosen by you as dance music, and he can take some requests from your guests, if you like. Keeping a dance floor busy is where a strong musical selection, and a DJ’s ability to read the crowd comes in. Choose a good balance of fast and slow songs for you and your guests to dance to, with music suitable for different tastes and age groups. You may want to choose some icebreakers or participation songs, like the “Chicken Dance”, “YMCA”, or the “Cha-Cha Slide” to get your crowd involved. Keep in mind that your DJ can play about fifteen songs in an hour, and that people will respond best to songs that they are familiar with. Usually, disk jockeys tend to focus on playing a few more slow songs and oldies early on, progressing the music to more current selections as the reception moves along. Submit as many selections to us as you like, and your DJ will play as many of them as he can get to. You can also let us know something you definitely do not want played. We can usually accommodate most of the special song requests that we get, but if there is something we don’t have or cannot acquire ourselves, you can provide us with a CD, and your DJ be glad to play it.
Bouquet and Garter Toss
In my opinion, it is usually best to do the bouquet and garter toss at some point an hour or less into the open dancing. This gives people a chance to loosen up a bit beforehand, and when we do the bouquet and garter toss, they’ll loosen up even more. If your photographer needs to leave at a time earlier than this would indicate, the bouquet and garter toss can be moved up in the order of formalities, and be done after the cake cutting, and before the special dances. If you choose to do a dollar dance, they can be done right after the dollar dance ends. The bouquet toss is done first, and your DJ will help your photographer get all the single ladies to the dance floor for the pictures. You can choose a song, such as “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”, to accompany the bouquet toss, which is done on the count of three. The garter removal is next, and your DJ will play stripper music, or another song of your choice, while the groom takes off the garter. The garter toss is also on the count of three, and your DJ will get a round of applause for the girl who caught the bouquet, and the guy who caught the garter. The completion of the bouquet and garter toss usually means you’re moving down the stretch of your reception. Your DJ can concentrate a bit more on the younger crowd, emphasizing more current party music selections, while still playing a variety, and taking requests.
Last Dance / Departure
At the end of your reception, we can play a last dance song, whether it’s “Wonderful Tonight”, or “You Shook Me All Night Long”, or anything else you choose. We can announce your exit, and play an exit song if you’d like your guests to see your departure, or send them outside to see you off, and blow bubbles or throw rose petals as you do.
At DJ DanCo., we are honored to have played such an important role helping our newlywed clients celebrate with their friends and families. We are proud of the work we do, and proud to offer a tremendous value to our wedding reception customers. Please let me know if I can be of assistance to you along the way, and good luck with all your plans.