First Wedding - Tips?
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  1. #1
    Tech Mentor DoctorMogal's Avatar
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    Default First Wedding - Tips?

    So I'm going to be DJ'ing my first wedding (big news, i know ) on sept. 10th. The thing though, is that it's a second wedding for the both of them meaning that the music they like is pretty old in my book and I've never DJ'd seriously that type of music.

    I'm not worried so much about the food music and other BKG type of music, but when the first dance comes along along with the three or four hours of dancing, how would you guys go about mixing/do any of you have good mixtapes of that type of music so i can listen and learn how to mix older music (like 70's and 80's pop, some 90's).

    Thanks everyone!

    Oh, and any other tips would be great too.
    My Soundcloud: http://soundcloud.com/djmogal Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/dj.mogal Equipment: 2011 MBP 13"/ CDJ 350s/ DJM 350/ V-Moda CrossFade LP/ Traktor Pro

  2. #2
    Tech Guru jprime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DoctorMogal View Post
    I'm not worried so much about the food music and other BKG type of music, but when the first dance comes along along with the three or four hours of dancing, how would you guys go about mixing/do any of you have good mixtapes of that type of music so i can listen and learn how to mix older music (like 70's and 80's pop, some 90's).

    Thanks everyone!

    Oh, and any other tips would be great too.
    If I tell you what to play do I get a cut in the pay?

  3. #3
    Tech Mentor DoctorMogal's Avatar
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    :P haha, what to play isn't really what i need help with - the bride and groom have 3/4 of the playlist laid out for me. I can figure out order, that shouldn't be hard.

    It's more mixing techniques - especially for pretty different BPMs
    My Soundcloud: http://soundcloud.com/djmogal Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/dj.mogal Equipment: 2011 MBP 13"/ CDJ 350s/ DJM 350/ V-Moda CrossFade LP/ Traktor Pro

  4. #4
    Tech Guru jprime's Avatar
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    You should keep in mind that for the most part, these old types won't be chin stroking your blending....in fact they could care less I would imagine, if you nail the tail end of Sly and the Family Stone's Everyday People into Fleetwood Mac's Second Hand News perfectly.
    It's nice when they naturally present themselves, you know - you pick a next tune and realize they could probably be mixed in tightly...go for it. But if the requests are streaming in from Ella's slow styles to Michael's up beat stuff...fuck it: party fade :P

    Of course, after a few hours you might start pulling off some nice remixes and proper blends when the drinks are flowing and people want more consistently dancy stuff.

  5. #5
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    bridesmaids. get em.

  6. #6
    Tech Guru jprime's Avatar
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    OMG - like you're the deejay? tee hee!


  7. #7

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    First let me say congrats.

    Second let me say good luck lol.

    I've been DJ'ing for 13 years now, and have been doing weddings for about half that. I started DJ'ing house in an after hours club where you show up and play your own set, and never take requests. So it was a HARD transition to make, but I've learned a lot through experience whether it's how to be prepared, how to deal with the problem people, and how room layout and type of wedding make a HUGE difference. There's a lot of things you learn on the job that just come with experience. Here are some of the most common people I meet at weddings

    The nightmare bridesmaid: The kind that act like you should have the entire history of recorded music because you're a DJ, and ends up making comments like "what kind of DJ are you?! When you don't have what they're looking for. I will usually try to diplomatically respond with "I'm a DJ, but it's impossible to have the entire history of recorded music. I just try to do what I can". If that doesn't work, this usually shuts them up "I'll play whatever you want as long as I have it, but if you're going to be rude then I won't bother". I went to a friend's wedding, where one of the bridesmaids (whom I knew), was a total music elitist and a hipster. She had a really specific list of songs by groups like Cut Copy, and such, and was angry all night about how the DJ wasn't playing any of her songs. I tried explaining to her that that kind of music doesn't really fly at weddings, and her response was "THERE'S NOBODY DANCING!" I said that's unfortunate, but you still have to stick with the wedding music in case people come back to the floor. If you start busting out the psychedelic trance because that's what you like, then you can count on the dancefloor being empty for the rest of the night. She didn't understand that, but the DJ (who happened to be a friend), stuck to his guns and people started dancing again. He also complained about that girl too lol.


    The "I know what song is guaranteed to make everyone dance" guy/girl:

    This is the person that seems always claims to have the MAGIC song that'll make everyone dance. Not realizing how ridiculous a statement they've just made. True story: Some guy said this to me and I replied "OH YEAH? Guaranteed?! *note the sarcasm*. So I said "What is it?!" He said "I wish I was a baller by Skee-Lo". *Me with an unimpressed look on my face*. So I put it on, and whaddya know...Nobody was dancing. My guess is because it was a HUGE room, and the bar was on the other side of the dancefloor (I'll get to room layout in a bit). Really, you can't do anything about this. Sometimes this type of person can get really irritating when they come back and say that they have another song that's guaranteed. I've had to politely tell people at weddings that it's not automatically the DJ's fault if nobody is dancing, and they've respectfully agreed.


    In terms of the actual music, I'll usually start with something old like "stuck in the middle" by Stealers Wheel. Everyone knows those kinds of songs, and the old people usually want to dance before they have to call it a night at 11, so I start with the old tracks, and move progressively newer as the night goes on. Sometimes you just read the crowd, and if someone asks for Drake and nobody is dancing to the Jackson 5, then I'll do a quick backspin on the oldies and put on the current stuff. At one of the last weddings, the groom said "don't play any of the usual wedding crap, just bust out the current stuff HARD!" So I said "don't have to ask me twice!" And backspinned out of The Archies (backspins are great if you put on a track only to realize QUICKLY that nobody is feeling it). With a lot of oldies you can't really beatmatch. I use the VCI-100 which is pretty much useless for riding the pitch, so I'll just do a quick cut with the crossfader and press play.

    In terms of what to play, it's really all about reading the crowd.

    Room Layout:
    This is a HUGE deal. When I studied music production, they said one of the most important things about planning an event, is to have a venue where people are packed, as opposed to a room that's too big. A big room presents the illusion of a not-so-good party. The other thing is that a lot of people are apprehensive about dancing, so being in a huge, brightly lit banquet hall wouldn't help that. You can't do anything about the venue, except be prepared. And understand, that if you only get 10-15 people dancing, it's not such a bad thing sometimes.

    Bar placement can be a HUGE deal too. If the bar is outside the room, then you have your work cut out for you. People like to take advantage of the open bar, and if the bar is outside of the dancefloor, then it means they're less likely to dance.

    Recently I've had the pleasure of DJ'ing at a couple weddings downtown, for some urban young professionals. These weddings were cocktails and hors d'ouvres, and standing room only. One of them was packed to capacity, and I couldn't believe how much I had the place rockin'. It was in a prime area for bars/club in my city, so people across the street that were waiting in line to get in somewhere, heard the music, ran over, and realized it was a private party. My wife was outside with her friends at some point, and said the music was so loud, and there were so many people really rocking out, that it looked like an awesome party, and it was.

    Preparedness:
    The MOST important thing is to have as much music as possible. This was one of my biggest hurdles when I was starting. You can NEVER have too much music, so this should be one of the key things that you're always working on. And don't assume that because it's a wedding they won't want to hear trance, or something like that. I try to stay as broad as possible, and if someone requests something I don't have, I make sure I get it for the next wedding.

    Cables: I travel with a case of spare cables. Multiple extension cords, RCA's, XLR's, etc. etc. Some of the stuff I don't even use, or need, but again, since you're the DJ, people expect you to have them. You're also sometimes the closest thing to an on-site A/V technician, so people will actually expect you to have these things. I also carry multiple adapters. RCA to 1.4 inch, rca splitters, 3.5 to 1.4inch, etc. etc.

    Legal: Don't forget to have terms and conditions. It doesn't need to be drafted by a lawyer, but something clearly written that the client can sign that absolves you of any liability if a drunk person knocks over a speaker and hurts themselves. It's something you'll never need until it happens, but once it happens it'll be too late, and you could find yourself in a legal battle or in small claims court. Better to cover your ass in advance.

    That's about all I can think of right now. I'll contribute what I can if I think of anything else.

    Most of all, HAVE FUN! I think it's important for a DJ to get into it (there was even an article on here about that). One of the last weddings I've DJ'd at, the grooms father even said it's so rare to see a wedding DJ that's really into the music. Funny thing is, i can't stand commercial music, and I would never listen to it at home.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by jprime View Post
    You should keep in mind that for the most part, these old types won't be chin stroking your blending....in fact they could care less I would imagine, if you nail the tail end of Sly and the Family Stone's Everyday People into Fleetwood Mac's Second Hand News perfectly.
    It's nice when they naturally present themselves, you know - you pick a next tune and realize they could probably be mixed in tightly...go for it. But if the requests are streaming in from Ella's slow styles to Michael's up beat stuff...fuck it: party fade :P

    Of course, after a few hours you might start pulling off some nice remixes and proper blends when the drinks are flowing and people want more consistently dancy stuff.
    I agree.

    Regular wedding people don't care at all about mixing (for the most part). I've even heard of DJ's in this city charging $1200 WITHOUT mixing...Which in my opinion, makes a DJ useless. If you don't mix at all, you're no better than an iPod.

    Lot's of songs are hard to mix, and nearly impossible to beatmatch (especially since popular music usually has a melody from beginning to end, unlike house where there's an 8 bar intro and outro of just the beat.

    I usually just cut back and forth while pressing play. Practice this if it's a technique you don't use. You'll have to get used to the latency timing and such in order to make it sound flawless.

  9. #9
    Tech Guru sobi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tokenasianguy View Post
    I've even heard of DJ's in this city charging $1200 WITHOUT mixing...Which in my opinion, makes a DJ useless. If you don't mix at all, you're no better than an iPod.
    If you think mixing is a big part of why wedding DJ's deserve to get the usual fee of upwards of $1000, you don't really understand their job fully.

  10. #10
    Tech Guru sobi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tokenasianguy View Post
    i usually just cut back and forth while pressing play. Practice this if it's a technique you don't use. You'll have to get used to the latency timing and such in order to make it sound flawless.
    lol!

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