Music and weddings go hand in hand. It is so important in setting the mood of the day, to showcase you as a couple, your vibe and your style. And having a DJ also serves you in more ways than you can imagine. I wanted to bring you a ‘Wedding Music 101’ to help you in your search for a professional DJ for your wedding.
I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside Jordan from Nyquest Entertainment and he was kind enough to share with me some of his advice about choosing a professional DJ for your wedding, and why it is so important not to DIY this part of your wedding.
Here’s Jordan’s Wedding Music 101:
What is your favourite part of a wedding day?
“I’m a huge fan of the bridal party entrance at the reception! This is the bride and groom’s time to shine and making a grand entrance is a must. I love it when the bridal party gets creative and does something fun like backflips, somersaults or even a choreographed dance. It’s all about hyping up the crowd and creating energy in the room.”
How important is it to choose the right DJ?
“Choosing the right DJ is extremely important, I can’t stress this enough. Every DJ is unique in their own way and offers varying levels of services. When searching, decide if you’re looking for a DJ that offers basic service (without all the bells and whistles) or someone whose more interactive and professional. You may have a cultural background and want a DJ who is experienced in that type of genre. You also want to always check references from past clients, and credentials such as business licenses and insurance. Remember, your wedding happens once a lifetime and you want to make sure you are hiring a suitable DJ for your special day.”
Can you see any new trends in music at weddings for 2022?
“Throwing in a remix or mashup puts a great twist on the dance floor, but honestly, those classic must-plays are what makes a wedding. I play very similar music at my weddings because I know what works.”
Do you have a favourite venue to DJ at?
“Thats a tough one as there are so many amazing venues out there. Pioneers Cabin just off downtown has breathtaking views of the Edmonton skyline. Hillside Acres in the country is a gorgeous outdoor tented venue. And of course Whitewood Barn. The rustic barn, secluded ceremony site nestled in the trees and the pergola for the cocktail hour and dance floor is like a fairy tale.
The Whitewood Barn itself is very magical and breathtaking to say the least. They offer camping in the back of the building and have a shuttle service to and from the hotel. Pictures don’t do justice and you’ll need to see this venue with your own eyes.”
Do you just play music?
“Not at all! I’m very interactive with the crowd which brings a much better experience to your wedding. I love playing “name that tune” to call up the dinner tables to eat. It’s a great way to kick off the reception and have some fun. I also do a special dance just after the bouquet/garter toss as I find the number one complaint at a wedding is that not everyone gets a chance to dance with the bride and groom.
I call it my circle dance where I have all the guests participating. Everyone makes a big circle around the bride and I ask for volunteers to join her inside. I play a song for them to dance for 10-15 seconds, then someone from the outer circle runs in and bounces the person out to take over dancing with the bride. I go through the circle of people with one song being played, then switch to another for the groom’s turn.
I’ve always loved being interactive while I’m performing. I’ve done musical chairs and dance offs as well.”
What else do/can you do to elevate the guest experience?
“I always joke about actually being a wedding planner, as I put so much effort into making sure the whole day and night runs smoothly. And I provide a wide range of services to enhance the guest experience. Photo booths are my favourite and a great option to have for those that don’t like to dance. Sometimes it’s hard to keep guests after dinner and speeches, and a photo booth gives them something fun to do. It boosts the energy in the room and creates an unforgettable experience, with memories to keep forever.
Slideshows are another great way to showcase and relive your memories together as a couple through a short video.
Uplighting is another favourite of mine which gives your venue a more elegant and romantic feel. The lights are usually placed behind the head table or in-front of the backdrop and transform your room into something magical. Uplighting is a great option if you don’t have much decor and need to spice up your venue without much money and effort.”
Is it important to hire a professional for your wedding and why?
“Yes it is, because a professional DJ takes pride in what they do and it will show. They know how to dress. They come early and have a clean setup and they can read a crowd and handle changes on the spot. A few other things that set apart a good DJ from the rest are their interaction with the guests, their equipment and music library.”
Is it all just about the music?
“In a way, yes! You need to remember that music is being played from the very beginning of your ceremony, right to the end of your night. It’s your DJs job to know exactly what to play and when to play it. Music makes or break a wedding.”
Do we need to provide our own Emcee?
“In my opinion yes, it’s better to appoint a family member or friend to emcee than your DJ. Guests have more rapport with someone they know, and the emcee can usually get the crowd laughing with inside jokes. At the end of the day, it’s not a huge role, because the DJ spends more of the night on the microphone anyways.”
Tell me what motivates the crowd?
“Alcohol! . . . just kidding. Music, and the way your DJ works with the crowd. If no one is dancing I change the genre to switch up the vibe and see what they respond to. Everyone has different taste in music so it’s important to figure out what they want!”
Do you think it is important to have speakers at our ceremony?
“Definitely! If you don’t have speakers at your ceremony your guests in the back may not be able to hear your JP or officiant talking. Especially if you’re outside it can be impossible to hear your service over planes, trains or other distracting noises. Speakers are also important for the processional music if the alter is far away so the bridal party can listen for their cue to walk. When you don’t have speakers, you notice and you wish you’d had them.”
How can we as a couple help the DJ to make the process run smoother?
“Communication is key to running a successful wedding. Having a consultation months in advance is a must. Address with your DJ what you expect and want for your wedding, so your DJ can prepare. Be in touch with your DJ the week of your wedding to go over everything. Make sure everyone is on the same page and kept updated to any changes.”
Not only is Jordan a fantastic DJ, he is also a team player and helpful to all vendors. He is super knowledgeable about his craft and will help to make sure that your videographer has access to the audio output so that your wedding film will have the best possible audio of your day as you can get.
You can reach Jordan here to check his availability for your wedding date.
The Person Behind The Lens
If you like unconventional, honest, friendly and real photos, I’m your person.
Sam Wildridge is a lifestyle photographer / filmmaker based in Wainwright, Alberta. Sam has been capturing wedding, family + corporate photos for 9 years and defines her style as "organic storytelling".