Should I give my wedding DJ a full playlist?

It’s a thing that’s becoming more and more common. A wedding is fast approaching in the calendar, a massive playlist has appeared in the online planning tools, and there are instructions saying not to allow guest requests.

Why is this though?

OK, I know and understand all DJs are different. Some are very good at what they do, some are absolutely shocking and roll out the same “tried and trusted” playlist week in, week out.

Let me give you a VERY recent example of how trusting your DJ to do what they do is the right decision.


Luci and Michaels evening reception at Lanwades Hall

The photo above is Luci and Michael’s evening reception just last night. See the sweat drenched shirts? I did that!

Let’s rewind a little bit with wobbly lines in Scooby Doo fashion though….

I arrived at Luci and Michael’s wedding just as the speeches were starting (and I LOVE watching the speeches!). It had been a sweltering day and I could see the guests mopping their brows just sitting there.

Now my first thoughts as a DJ with more than a few years under my belt was that I was in for a very long evening with most of the guests outside in the gardens enjoying the evening air.

I took the time to catch up with the venue staff…I’ve been here just a few times, and their first question was “have you been playlisted?”

Being “playlisted” in this industry means that the entire night’s playlist has been prescribed, no going off course, no requests, just what the couple have asked for and nothing else. Those dear reader, are tough nights indeed.

When I said I’d not been playlisted, the venue staff breathed a sigh of relief. They’ve seen many DJs stuck in the corner playing what’s been prescribed and completely dead dance floors.

Trust me, if I could pre-determine the playlist before I even arrived, I’d be a multimillionaire by now!

It just doesn’t work!


Luci and Michaels evening reception at Lanwades Hall

During the evening, guest’s tastes in music change. They suddenly remember songs they love that they’d previously forgotten about.

See the image above? That was ChumbaWumba’s TubThumpin’ played for a group of guests who’d decided to take a little fresh air in the car park!


But it's MY wedding, surely I should decide what music's played?

Well yes, and equally no.

It all depends on whether you want a full dance floor or not I’m afraid!

Whilst you may want certain music played, your guests might not agree with your choices. Trust me, I’ve got the battle scars and ALL of the receptions where the playlist has been completely decided before the day without exception have failed.

Going back to last night’s wedding, Luci and Michael got things spot on!

Luci and Michaels evening reception at Lanwades Hall

The instructions in my planning forms for the music policy said

The songs in our ‘play if possible’ are a selection of songs that we would like to be played although not essential and can be used as inspiration for the rest of the set.

Game on!

From those 12 songs, I was able to determine very accurately how the rest of the evening would go.

Those 12 songs were based mainly in the 1990’s (not unusual for current weddings) and I used this to judge on the night in real time what to play next.

Trust me….the dance floor NEVER emptied!

A couple of twists in the tail...

Trust me dear reader, weddings are rarely about the style or accuracy of mixing. That’s the realm of club DJ’s.

A wedding usually has a massive age range of guests, and Luci and Michael’s wedding was no exception.

THREE things happened which will make the evening memorable for a long time to come….

  1. A great aunt spoke to me whilst I was lugging the kit into the venue. I joked about seeing her on the dance floor later and she said she doubted it very much at her “grand old age”

    A request soon came in to play a Beatles track because the Great Aunt had seen them live back in the day. It didn’t exactly fit with what was being played at the time but a little clever microphone work later, the Great Aunt was on the dance floor – mission accomplished!
  2. Whilst taking a breath of air outside, another mature guest mentioned how Crocodile Rock by Elton John was the sound track to his youth. It was played, he danced after watching from the sidelines for most of the evening – he’ll remember the wedding for that!
  3. This one’s not actually that unusual. 
    “Can you play the BayWatch theme for the university friends?”

    It’s not a dance track, but trust me, it ALWAYS works because there are so many memories associated with it. It’s not one Luci and Michael had thought of incorporating into the night, but it led to a lot of gentlemen from said university removing their shirts and swinging them around their heads (don’t ask…I see all sorts at weddings!)

Now had I been working to a pre-prescribed playlist, these moments and memories would never have happened!


But there's stuff I don't want played at my wedding!

Aaaand that’s completely OK!

If there are songs and genres you DON’T want played during your wedding, just tell your DJ.

The most common “do not play” relates to “action dances” or “line dances” such as YMCA, Macarena and dare I mention it, Superman!

Tell your DJ you don’t want these songs (most of US hate those songs too!), and they won’t be played!

Luci and Michaels evening reception at Lanwades Hall

Most importantly...TRUST your DJ!

If you’ve hired a wedding DJ with experience and a proven track record of providing a full dance floor, let them do what they do! We absolutely know what works, what doesn’t, and what’s likely to lead to everyone moving outside of dancing!

By all means give guidance on how you want the evening to go but most importantly, allow your wedding DJ to use their skills and experience to fill your wedding dance floor  and make your evening reception a night to remember for all the right reasons!

So, having read the reasons for NOT providing a full you still want ME to provide your wedding entertainemt?

What I ramble on about above comes from YEARS of experience of filling wedding dance floors. I know my job, I do it very well according to my customer reviews, and when your guests are in party mode, your reception will be VERY memorable for years to come!

Does all of this sound like what YOU want at YOUR wedding

If so, get in touch!

If your want to put your trust into a wedding DJ that can fill a dance floor without too many instructions…we need to talk!

If however you’re looking for a human Jukebox that plays your selected music all night and in  certain order….move along please!




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