Hello fellow Bridechillas! My name is Brandon Stiles, and I’m the founder of an entertainment company based out of Atlanta, GA called Uptown Down Entertainment. In a nutshell, we provide wedding DJs and live bands for weddings. However, I’m ALSO a teacher, and today I’m going to teach you how to save a little money and successfully DJ your own wedding.
This is the second of three parts of a short series on tips to DJ’ing your own wedding. Using these points, you can cut the learning curve way down and really save a ton of money!
Haven't read part one yet? Check it out here: Part One.
I also have a site www.howtodjyourownwedding.com that can give you even more resources to DJ your own wedding, as well as a complete, step-by-step walkthrough on how to DJ your own wedding, from putting together playlists to structuring the flow of your day.
STEP 4: OUTLINING THE FLOW OF YOUR WEDDING DAY
This is one of the steps that most brides and grooms stress about the most- how to structure the flow of their wedding day.
While every wedding will be different, there are a few constants in almost every Big Day schedule that you can use as an outline to help cut down on the worry of having ‘left something out.’
With most weddings, there are three main events: the ceremony, the cocktail hour, and the reception.
Most ceremonies will have 3-5 songs played:
- The music playing when people are coming in and getting seated
- The parent/grandparent seating music
- The bridal party entrance
- The bridal entrance
- The recessional
So you know you’ll have to come up with about 3-5 songs to fill that out.
Next is the cocktail hour.
Here you’ll need about 45-60 minutes of music to fill, usually acting as background music so song choice isn’t as important here. With most songs lasting around 3 minutes, if you pick 25-30 songs for a cocktail hour playlist, you should be golden. Just turn the iPod on and let it play!
Finally the reception, usually 3-4 hours, with an average of 3-4 special songs to be played:
- The First Dance
- Father-Daughter Dance
- Mother-Son Dance
- Cake Cutting Song (optional)
- Special Exit Song (optional)
On top of that, using our formula above of “3 minutes per song”, you’ll need about 25 songs an hour (to be safe), or 100-120 songs for the whole reception. That amount will give you plenty of leeway as well so you won’t run out.
STEP 5: SET UP SPOTIFY/ITUNES PLAYLIST
When all those songs are loaded into playlists (usually on Spotify, Apple Music or some similar streaming service), you need to set up your playlists.
For the ceremony and reception, I recommend putting the special songs in the order you want them played so your MC can easily switch between them. For the cocktail hour, you’re totally fine to just put it on shuffle and let it play!
Finally, you’ll want to set up your streaming app to ‘crossfade’ songs, meaning one will start fading in while the other one fades out. By doing this, you won’t have any weird seconds of silence between songs, and it will keep the wedding flowing. I usually set my crossfade to about 8 seconds, and it works wonderfully!
I also strongly recommend downloading all the playlists to your phone/laptop. If you get to the venue and it has weak or (even more commonly) NO Wifi…. You’re pretty much out of luck!
STEP 6: PERFORM A PRE-WEDDING CHECK
The night before the wedding, do a pre-night ‘sound check’. Make sure you’ve got all the cables you need, all the elements to the sound system you need (which I cover in the book on howtodjyourownwedding.com), and even go through the process of setting it up- it will probably only take about 30 minutes, and you’ll know how to do it for the next day when stress levels will be higher.
Also check that all your phones/laptops/chargers are in good working order, and have the songs pre-downloaded to them.
Now you know you’ll be good to go and will have one less thing on your mind for your Big Day.
You are almost ready to DJ Your Own Wedding!
That brings us to the end of Part 2 in our new series. Next time we’ll be going over setting up the sound system, how to prepare your MC (or yourself) to revive a dying dance floor, and some key elements to remember if things start going wrong.
If you want to know more, check out www.howtodjyourownwedding.com/bridechilla. There you’ll get a special Bridechilla offer for the 90-page eBook and video course that will walk you step-by-step on how to successfully DJ your own wedding and make sure your friends have an awesome time dancing to music that tells your love story through song.
Until we meet again in Part 3!
-- Brandon Stiles