Growing up, there was a common saying in my family that "there are only three things that bring people together: babies, weddings and funerals." Babies and funerals aside, weddings bring forth all types of people, in one place, to celebrate the union of someone they know. During that celebration, guests will be guaranteed at least two things: food and music! Whether the food and music are good or not? That will be up for debate, however, whether you opt for a DJ or band, you will be the determining factor to whether your guests stay on the dance floor or in their seats throughout the entire night.
When planning your wedding entertainment, you will come across various entertainers with prices ranging from free to $1000+. Though the lower prices may look enticing at first glance, keep in mind that it takes more than a speaker system and mic to get the job done right. The difference between a cheap DJ and a more expensive one is the same difference between food from a fast food joint and a fancy restaurant. Don't believe me? Take a look here and guess how much the happy couple paid for this DJ's services.
Apart from hiring a professional and experienced entertainer, your DJ should be able to read your crowd and see what gets their shoulders jumping and their bodies moving in their seats. Then they go in for the kill with a string of songs that forces your guests out onto the dance floor for the unforeseeable future (or at least until 10pm). However, keep in mind that you play a pivotal role in this success too!
Those dancing people in the middle of the ballroom? You know, Aunt May and Uncle Ben or Young Bruce and his date Selina all have one thing in common. They are YOUR guests. People you know, to some small or large degree, that you invited to spend your special day with. With that being said, you should know enough of their personalities or demographics to make an educated guess on what the DJ should play and what types of music to avoid.
If the majority of your guests are religious causing you and your bride or groom to have a dry wedding, playing Sisqo's "Thong Song" or other secular tracks may not be the best thing to do. I mean you can, of course, because it's your party, but the music choice may be frowned upon resulting in your guests trickling out the main entrance from being put in an uncomfortable atmosphere. So proceed with caution. Have a lot of children attending? If the kids won't be kept in a separate room, have your DJ keep the curse words to a minimum and only play the edited versions of the adult songs. Songs with implied meanings or innuendos can stay as long as you believe the youngsters won't put two and two together. Gasp! How awkward would THAT be? Guest lists composed of a majority of young adults allow you more flexibility in your music selection, unless they fall into the "no secular music" group or something similar.
If you know that your guests like country, rap, R&B, gospel or ALL OF THE ABOVE, inform your DJ. A great wedding professional will know how to tie it all together so that your guests don't go from slow dancing to R. Kelly and then immediately into line dancing to Rascal Flatts. Everything should be seamless. I repeat, the music that your DJ will play should be relatively seamless, plus or minus announcements. Your guests should feel like even if they don't know the song playing, it's okay because the tempo feels familiar which will then send their bodies back into that familiar groove. Also, don't be afraid to give your DJ songs on your "Do's & Don'ts" playlist. I had one bride say she absolutely had to have "Work" by Rihanna play and definitely NO CHICKEN DANCE. Because, you know, your happiness is important here too.
Just remember, building the ultimate playlist for your event is what your DJ will do with the information you provide them. Once you start working on your guest list, begin thinking about the type of people your guests are to get a sense of the music they listen to. You won't know this information for everyone you invite, but as long as you have a general idea of of your guests as a collective group, that's okay. Don't forget to steal some time away to get on the dance floor and have fun with your guests! They are all there because they have one thing in common too: YOU.