Can a Wedding DJ Play Any Song?

Can a Wedding DJ Play Any Song?

I was wondering if there were any limitations on genres or songs a DJ can or can’t play for any event. When I did the research, this what I came up with.  

So can a wedding DJ Play any Song? It depends on the DJ. DJ’s have different styles and specialize within the genre of their choice. Many DJ’s will play what the audience wants to hear, and they will throw in their own mix of their personal favorites as well. There are no limits as to what song they can or cannot play. Most wedding songs revolve around love songs, but that does not mean that is all they are limited to. 

A wedding DJ should work with the couple to discover the right music that matches the wedding’s theme and has personal meaning for them. The wedding celebration of ceremony and reception should be enhanced by special music that is romantic, upbeat, danceable, and fits the wedding motif and mood.

The Genres and Style of the DJ
An experienced and knowledgeable DJ understands the importance of selecting music that fits the wedding theme. A couple can select a DJ who specializes in a particular genre or communicate to a DJ who is a master of many styles to make sure that the DJ is well-suited to the style that the couple has selected.

There are some wedding DJs who have a specialized approach to selecting the music and style of tunes for the event and have acquired an extensive playlist in a particular genre, such as Soul or Latin music. However, most professional wedding DJs are comfortable working with a variety of genres and styles of music. And many wedding DJs will customize the soundtrack of the wedding to fit the couple’s interests and musical tastes.

There is an enormous array of creative options available to a DJ in selecting the music for a wedding, and there are many musical styles that will fit very well with the different types of wedding themes. The most important factor is the style of music the couple wants to be played at their reception. Revel in the fact that there are no wrong choices. It is also fine to create a mixture of song styles that fit with the theme, mood, different segments of the audience, and the pace of the celebration.

A wedding DJ may want to create two lists of tracks beforehand. One that the couple likes and a separate list of songs to be avoided, including clichéd old chestnuts or the song that makes the bride cry because it reminds her of her first boyfriend who threw her over. And some DJs craft units, or smaller playlists, for each segment of the reception. For example, selecting ten tracks that were number one when the groom and bride met could work well, ten that the more mature guests will enjoy, three that will set the mood for the toast segment, then ten songs to pick up the vibe and get the guests out on the dance floor and feeling fine. The DJ may play selections from these “mini-sets” and have a track-by-track plan to set the pace of the event.

Some DJs spin tunes from a specific time period that has meaning and brings back great memories for the couple, such as ’60s Soul, Pop, and R&B or ’90s Grunge, Rock & Roll, and Indy sounds.

Here is a list of some musical genres that many DJs use to create great set-lists for couples to choose from, fashioning a wonderful musical experience that literally set the tone for the reception and that will inspire people to dance, converse, and that will complement, enhance, and make the reception a very special occasion. These styles include choices such as:

  • Ballroom
  • Bollywood
  • Celtic
  • Classical
  • Country
  • Indie
  • Jazz
  • Latin
  • Motown
  • Pop
  • R&B
  • Rock & Roll
  • Soul
  • Swing

The Mix

Many receptions are centered on one genre of music. Then again, many mix musical styles, often combing types of tunes that play well together such as Motown, Soul, and R&B. Or Rock & Roll, Indy, and Pop. Some ceremonies embody the idea of fusion that is the lodestone of marriage by uniting diverse styles such as Classical and Jazz. Selecting the songs to play during the wedding reception in an art. If you do want to mix up musical styles, you should probably consider playing no more than 3 main genres.

You may want to select some oldies, so that older people can dance to music that the mother of the bride knows, or contemporary and fast-paced numbers so that people will cut loose, and perhaps some slower and romantic tunes for slow dancing, all paced as the wedding reception progresses. You can also plan the mix to incorporate music that’s just right to lead into dedications, toasts, and blessings. 

Every wedding reception is unique. Different people appreciate different tastes and styles in music, so make sure to pick out songs that everyone in the crowd will enjoy, not just the wedding couple. Yes, the is all about the bride and groom and their tastes and desires should be paramount when picking a theme, style, and specific songs.

The great DJ knows that the event is a celebration and the stuff of which memories are made. So the music should be selected and mixed to make sure that everyone enjoys the event. The couple may bond over Swing, but they are sharing the day with friends and family. 

It is a good idea to select tunes that inspire everyone to hit the dance floor and show off their favorite moods or shout out the lyrics. Or, to put it another way, six full hours of nothing but Motown, while heavenly, might inadvertently cause some guests to depart early. And consider saving the more raunchy, obscure, or very-long tunes for the playlist that’s enjoyed in a more intimate setting–like the couple’s personal playlist for the honeymoon.

Reading the Crowd

Music brings the celebration element to the reception! The style, theme, and genre affect the crowd, so be sure to read what is needed to pace the event. Always keep the theme in mind, but watch people and play what brings joy and happiness to the room.

When reading the crowd, the DJ can check out what proportion of the crowd is drinking, dancing, and talking. Is the mood is upbeat or are people gathering around the bar or fiddling with the flower arrangements? What are people’s body language and facial expressions communicating? Are folks tapping their feet, and clapping to the tunes? Smiling? Singing along with a popular song? If yes, then all is well, and continue on with the set-list.

If you notice that this isn’t quite the case, the DJ can always try altering the list to influence the pace and mood. Also, don’t be shy about asking people what they would like to hear or what they want to dance to. Reading the room is part instinct, part experience, and it can transform a good evening into a magical event to be remembered.  

Related Questions:

Where do DJ’s get their music from? CD’s, Spotify, YouTube, or anywhere that a song can be downloaded. Yes, these are all sources of free music. However, an experienced and professional wedding DJ knows how to legally acquire tunes from stores such as iTunes and Beatport for a very reasonable fee. 

The majority of DJ music can now be easily purchased and then downloaded from Beatport and other sites, making such stores the elegant and logical selection for great sounds. And there still some places where you can legally download music for free. Even better, discovering an artist on these sites is a great way to come up with a unique song for a special day, helping set the song list apart from what other DJs already have on their set-lists and amusing and delighting the wedding crowd. Consider sites such as Bandcamp, Soundclick, Jamendo, and Noisetrade for free music selections.

Is the DJ responsible for the songs or the couple?  It is a mixture of both. The couple signs the check. A good DJ will know their limits. It’s the bride and groom’s special day. They should be able to select the genre, request to see if specific tunes can be played, or other music selections avoided. Some couples may give suggestions as to genre and let the DJ arrange the playlist. Some people may ask for a particular song for the first dance or a special tune for a shout out to the parents and grandparents or the music to go with the announcements. And some events give the DJ a free hand at the soundboard.

A great wedding DJ is a performer and artist in his or her own right, and many couples select the DJ based on a reputation for putting on a spectacular show or specializing in a musical genre that is the highlight of the reception. Play on!

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