How To Be Your Own Wedding DJ
A lot of people make most decisions relating to their wedding by weighing up time/effort to do it yourself over the cost. With the likes of Spotify and Soundcloud so user-friendly and Wi-Fi as easy to find as bobby-pins on the floor – so many people are ditching the professionals in favour of DIY.
It all sounds like a piece of cake and lowkey, but can feel overwhelming when it comes to the nitty-gritty and once the reality of selecting 7 hours of music sinks in. So, if you’ve taken the music into your own hands for your wedding, read on for practical tips, things to avoid at all costs and some of my favourite wedding tracks from a variety of genres and decades.
The Practical Stuff
- Assign someone who’s very particular and tech-savvy to be your AV Mastermind on the day. I would recommend a tag team for your MC and DJ – don’t overload one person, because they won’t get to enjoy the day and their stress levels will be through the roof. Never a bad move to give a few people the lowdown as backups – in case of sickness, inebriation and so forth.
- I cannot stress to you enough that ‘just putting Spotify on shuffle and letting it go’ never works. Give this person their own Run Sheet showing clearly when each playlist or certain song needs to be played. (I’ve put together an example below!)
- Ask this person to practice using the phone/tablet ahead of time – more than just the hour before go time.
- Bring a charger for your phone/tablet on the day and if possible do not rely on Wi-Fi.
- Turn. All. Phone. Notifications. Off.
- Your DJ and MC should both be best mates with your coordinator so that communication is easy and stress-free should any tech issues arise.
- Don’t over-complicate it. Of course, there are a few key moments that require specific, meaningful songs but other than that, you only need 4 playlists:
- Group Photos
- Early Reception
- Reception Dancing
Example Wedding Music Run Sheet
|Time||Activity||Track/Playlist + length||Notes|
|3:00pm||Guest Arrival||PLAYLIST: Pre Ceremony|
|3:30pm||Bridesmaid>Bride Down the Aisle||Chateau – Angus and Julia Stone (4:33)||Start on Celebrant signal. Fade out after Bride + FOB hug|
|3:40pm||Signing of Registry||Time After Time – Iron and Wine (2:50)||Slow fade out and fade|
|3:43pm||Bride + Groom Announced as Man and Wife > kiss + start congratulations||Welcome Home – Radical Face (4:47)||Fade song in – raise volume at the kiss|
|3:48pm||Con. Congrats + Group Photos||PLAYLIST: Group Photos (35:00)|
|4:15pm-5:30pm||Pre Reception Bar||PLAYLIST: Early Reception|
|5:30pm||Bridal Party Entrance||Lovely Day – Bill Withers (4:14)||Slight fade to announce Bridal Party Names + 30 second gap between pairs|
|5:33pm||Pre Dinner Mingling > getting everyone seated||PLAYLIST – Early Reception cont.|
|6:00pm||Entrée & Dinner Served||PLAYLIST: Early Reception cont.||Music dimmed for conversation|
|7:45pm||Cake Cutting||Can’t Do Without You – Caribou (3:56)||Fade into FD song slowly, music still dimmed|
|7:48pm||First Dance||The Book of Love – Peter Gabriel (3:52)||Music normal volume|
Our top music tips!
- Pick styles of music that suit your wedding style as a whole. If your wedding is traditional, refined, and formal, a sudden rock ballad could be a little jarring if not executed perfectly.
- Select your key songs so that they complement each other ie. don’t follow a classical Bach piece with a Top 20 Pop track.
- Make a working playlist when you’re first engaged that both you and your partner can add to! Songs from your past might come to mind randomly throughout the planning and it takes the pressure off. The more of an emotional connection or history you have with the songs, the more special it will feel on the day :’)
- Know your ‘dancefloor fillers’ for the dance portion of the night. Not just what you would dance to – but some of your family and friends’ favourites – this will really make people come out of their shell!
- Mix up your decades! Not only will this appeal to more guests, it keeps things feeling fresh and unpredictable.
Spotlight: The Walk Down the Aisle
It is THE pivotal moment in the wedding ceremony and with a lot of variables, it’s also the hardest to perfect. You might have already searched far and wide and found it: THE song. Firstly, yay go you!! But, just to make sure you do this moment justice – have a read through my tips below.
Ideally, your song would have a melodic/rhythmic build to reflect the budding excitement of the Bride’s reveal and reaching her betrothed at the end!
You never want to have the song be too short or way too long. It’s awkward and distracts everyone from the big moment unfolding in front of them. Stop this by practising with your Bridal party ahead of time! Check how long the actual aisle walk would take you and spread your party out accordingly!
00:30 – Flower girl begins walk
00:60 – Bridesmaid 1 begins walk
01:30 – Bridesmaid 2 begins walk
02:00 – Bridesmaid 3 begins walk
02:30 – Bride begins walk
Bear in mind, for many ballads they have a slow, gentle build that takes minutes to reach a crescendo – meaning the soaring vocals and instrumental arrangements are left out. If you can, pick your favourite part of the song and use a basic sound file editor to create a fade in and out! Otherwise, pick something that you can easily and seamlessly fade out, should your timings on the day not go to plan.
Need help picking what song to walk down the aisle to at your Riverlife wedding? Talk to your Event Manager for some of our favourites!