Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Music to Keep Them Moving

Booking the entertainment for the wedding reception - this can be a drawn out, conflict-filled decision between brides and grooms. It seems as though the possibilities are endless, and all with their own pros and cons: A Cover Band can be great, but expensive. A DJ ensures the songs are played by the actual artists you love, but a DJ with a microphone can be a dangerous thing. And your Uncle Larry plugging in his iPod is cost-effective for sure, but does he really know what he's doing around that sound system???

Bob was all for the idea of filling an iPod playlist and hitting start, but I worried too much about the flow of the songs. What if I tripped and my dress ripped in half and amongst all of the concern, the next song to start up on the automated playlist was extremely inappropriate for the situation? Bonus points to whoever can come up with the most inappropriate song that could come up at that moment.
photo by GReyes Photography
After reading some amazing Yelp reviews of Chicago based DJ companies like Style Matters and Toast & Jam, I decided to go the same route I did to find a photographer - Just Craigslist It! This was our solution for paying in the hundreds and not the thousands. The fella I found via a Craigslist ad seemed right up our alley - not too expensive, not too full of himself, not too cheesy.

He seemed a little taken aback at how many traditional DJ interludes we shook our heads at. We wanted a DJ who played great music and that's about it - we weren't going to do a grand entrance, have him introduce our bridal party (this is something Bob and I did while giving our speech before dinner) or need any color commentary for a bouquet toss or garter throw (we didn't include either in our wedding, mostly because I have terrible hand-eye coordination and was embarrassed with how poor my bouquet toss was sure to be).

I provided a playlist via a shared GoogleDoc to our DJ after he gave us an approximate number of how many songs would fit in our reception timeframe. In the end, I think the only songs that got played that weren't on the list were a couple requests by our guests (nice to hear you again, "Seven" by Prince. It had been awhile!)

This list was culled from many a wedding reception and cover band experience over the years and I'm happy to report it kept people on the dance floor well into the night. Our endless flow of free booze at the bar might also have had something to do with this.

We started with a few specifics:
Cake Cutting - How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You, James Taylor
First Dance - Rock With You, Michael Jackson 
Father/Daughter and Mother/Son Dance - Thinking About You, Norah Jones
Bridal Party Dance - Let My Love Open the Door Remix, Pete Townshend (From the Grosse Pointe Blank soundtrack)
I also indicated which ones to play early in the night - the oldies but goodies and a few requests made by my 3 year old Beyonce-lovin' niece, Ella. I wanted to make sure she was still awake for her songs!
  You Never Can Tell, Chuck Berry
  Louie Louie, The Kingsmen
  Cecilia, Simon and Garfunkel
  Boogie Shoes, KC & the Sunshine Band
  Build Me Up Buttercup, The Foundations
  Sweet Caroline, Neil Diamond
  Oh, What a Night - The Four Seasons
  Your Love is Lifting Me Higher, Jackie Wilson
  Single Ladies, Beyonce (an Ella special request)
  Moves Like Jagger, Maroon 5 (an Ella special request, which she calls "Moves for Jagger")
  Call Me Maybe, Carly Jepson (an Ella special request and definitely the Song of the Summer)
And of course the slow songs to intersperse throughout the evening:
  When You Say Nothing At All, Ronan Keating
  Maybe I'm Amazed, Paul McCartney
  To Make You Feel My Love, Adele
  Crazy Love, Van Morrison
  Fade Into You, Mazzy Star
Then it was time to get the party started, in no particular order:
  Say Hey, Michael Franti
  Ignition, R Kelly
  Gold Digger, Kanye West
  Hey Ya, Outkast
  Jump Around, House of Pain
  Yeah, Usher/Lil John/Ludacris
  Like a Prayer, Madonna
  Party in the USA, Miley Cyrus
  I Gotta Feelin', Black Eyed Peas
  Katy Perry Mix (Last Friday Night/California Gurls/Teenage Dream)
  Lady Gaga Mix (Just Dance, Born This Way, Bad Romance)
  Michael Jackson Mix (PYT, The Way You Make Me Feel)
  Good Feeling, Flo Rida
  Empire State of Mind, Jay Z/Alicia Keys
  I Wanna Dance with Somebody, Whitney Houston
  Take On Me, A-ha
  Lights, Ellie Goulding
  Prince Mix (1999/Little Red Corvette/Kiss)
  Crazy in Love, Jay Z/Beyonce
  Rock Your Body, Justin Timberlake
  90s Hip Hop Mix (Baby I Got Your Money/Bust a Move/Mo Money Mo Problems)
  You Sexy Thing, Hot Chocolate
  Mama Told Me Not to Come, Tom Jones and Stereophonics
  Humpty Dance, Digital Underground
  Cupid Shuffle, Cupid
  Party Rock Anthem, LMFAO
  Tik Tok, Ke$ha
  Right Round, Flo Rida
  Footloose, Kenny Loggins
  I Like It, Enrique Iglesias
  Summer of '69, Bryan Adams
  Forget You, Cee Lo
  Evacuate the Dance Floor, Cascada
  Gettin' Jiggy Wit It, Will Smith
  The Whistle Song, Flo Rida

Although there are some "specific to 2012" songs in here - I'm looking at you, three-time appearin' Flo Rida! - for the most part it is a playlist that could work in any year with a good mix of oldies, 80's, hip hop and pop. A few extra tidbits of info about the list:
- We made sure to add in a few personal favorites like the Tom Jones version of Mama Told Me Not To Come. When I asked Bob to make any additions he would like, he kept it simple with just one: The Humpty Dance. 
- Cupid Shuffle was our only concession to an organized dance a la Electric Slide or The Chicken Dance. And this is because it is the only one I know how to do.
- The "mix" idea for Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, etc was a way to have the DJ put a little bit of his own spin on the songs as opposed to just playing multiple by the same artist over the course of the evening.
- Party in the USA was a must-play. Seriously, it is a great song.
We also used our DJ for the ceremony. I have had 2 songs in mind for the last few years as the processional and recessional and knew we needed someone in charge of the timing. The bridesmaids and I walked in to John Legend's "Refuge (When It's Cold Outside)".
photo by GReyes Photography

When Bob was instructed to kiss the bride, we launched into the opening chords of "September" by Earth, Wind and Fire to lead everyone out. That is the song that gets me out on the dance floor at parties and events - it is almost guaranteed a play early in the night at every reception or event and I treat it as my cue to start cutting a rug. This song is also the reason I wanted a September wedding, but venue-wise we couldn't make it work!
photo by GReyes Photography
Fun fact - I first came to love the song September thanks to the end credits of the movie Get Over It as a cover by Sisqo and Vitamin C. Although I couldn't bring myself to want Sisqo in my wedding ceremony, the movie continues to be one of my guilty pleasures.
So there it is - a playlist fit to print for a 3-4 hour shindig. It won't disappoint!* What's on your must-dance-to-it-at-all-costs list? 

*Unless you like country music or heavy metal, then it will probably disappoint.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome music selection! Love the picture of you with your dad, too. :)