Everything Your Knoxville Wedding DJ Wants You To Know
Did you know that nearly half of your photography timeline will be during the reception? I guess that means that your wedding reception is a pretty big deal. It definitely is! As professional wedding photographers, we love to photograph the entrances, first dances, awkward toasts, and all the dancefloor moves. All of these events are important to you, your family, friends, and guests.
And these events go off without a hitch when you hire a professional Knoxville Wedding DJ. After all, it’s the DJ who sets the mood, gets people on the dance floor and carries the reception into the wee hours of the night. A successful reception means more photos for you, which is always a good thing.
We asked a number of Knoxville Wedding DJs what they want couples to know when searching for, communicating with, and hiring them for their services. Before you resort to an iPod for your wedding reception, hear what these professionals have to say.
Hire A Professional
You’ve been dreaming of your wedding day for years, planning for months, and staying up at night discussing your details with your fiancé. Don’t just hand over that hard work to an amateur. We all know someone who calls themselves a DJ. Sure, they can spin a tune or two, but being a wedding DJ is more than just hitting the “play” button. In fact, DJs are more like a Master of Ceremonies. This describes someone who can make formal announcements, keep a timeline together, and create a flow of events for the entire wedding reception.
But professional wedding DJs do so much more than that! They reduce the stress of a wedding reception on the couple, provide necessary equipment and playlist of songs, and even provide essential lighting to set the mood.
Weddings are full of excitement, but they are stressful. A professional DJ will help take some of that stress off your plate. They will arrive ahead of schedule, coordinate with the venue and other vendors, and help guests have a good time. “You hired us to DJ, but we act also as a coordinator, a bartender, and a server. We love helping the couple for anything that they need,” says Robert with Sword Sounds. With a good DJ, you shouldn’t have to worry about anything after the ceremony except having fun and enjoy being a married couple.
Professional DJ Equipment
A professional DJ comes with high-quality, advanced, up-to-date, and professional music equipment. They make sure that they have all the correct systems and audio gear to ensure that the wedding reception remains interesting and entertaining. “Think about all the things that a wedding reception will need,” says Sword Sounds. “Where is the power source? Are there obstacles that need to be avoided? Are microphones needed for the toasts? What about a lapel clip or standing mic? Will weather affect reception logistics? Is there a mood you want for the dance floor? There are a lot of things we bring that make a big impact on the reception.”
Wedding Reception Songs
A professional DJ has a staggering amount of soundtracks at the tips of their fingers. They can play anything from pop to country music to hip-hop and R&B. This makes them invaluable when you want to play songs from a mix of genres. “A professional DJ should have a vast library of clean music able to cover any event,” says Jason with Sequoyah Entertainment. With this broad selection, Jason can “do a custom playlist for all events so I know exactly what to expect and the client gets exactly what they want.”
A lifeless room means a lifeless party. However, uplighting, with color transitions, chases, and strobes, can ignite an entire room. This fun atmosphere drives your guests to the dance floor for non-stop dancing. Can an amateur bring that? It’s doubtful. LEGACY SOUND
Pre-Wedding Communication is Vital
The one thing that transcends every wedding vendor is this: communication. Expert planning is no different for a Knoxville Wedding DJ. Sequoyah Entertainment said it best: “planning and preparation is key to a successful event.” A good DJ will consult with you prior to the big day to make sure all of the details are taken care of. This communication may be in the form of a Skype call, email, or questionnaire. No matter the communication style, this pre-wedding consultation will provide your professional DJ with the information that they need to make your wedding a success.
Stephen Goff with Stephen Goff Entertainment believes that a pre-wedding consultation with your DJ creates a relationship between the DJ and the couple. Stephen feels that it is “important to pick up the phone and have actual conversations so that we can get to know each other. By doing this, you not only get to know the DJ but when the big day comes you feel more comfortable and reassured.”
It’s also important to do a pre-wedding consultation in the weeks prior to your wedding. Why? Well, there is a lot to go over! Before a phone call, Stephen Goff Entertainment also sends out a questionnaire. “I ask for the questionnaire to be returned at least one month prior to the wedding. I do this so I will have the opportunity to talk through everything with the client. This questionnaire covers everything from the pronunciation of names, song choices for special dances, the order of events, ‘must plays’ or ‘do not plays,’ and whether or not to allow song requests. Without this information, it’s difficult for us to perform at our very best.”
Let’s dive further into a few of these pre-wedding decisions:
Entering into your wedding reception is absolutely exciting! We literally get goosebumps with anticipation. Some couples choose to announce their entire wedding party, or they choose to go a more simple route. Either way, this decision needs to be made before the wedding day. This allows the DJ to pronounce the names of your bridal party members, and make appropriate song selections.
The (in)Famous Playlist
This is the BIG one, and definitely what couples should talk to their Knoxville Wedding DJ. “Every couple should find a service that allows them to choose the playlist,” says Jim Ogle with Ogle Entertainment. “The idea of a playlist is to find what to play versus what NOT to play. A prepared couple has their song list with us. This playlist should limit group requests because the format is chosen pending any changes on the fly from the couple. That way, everyone can focus on dancing and having a good time.”
Getting a playlist to your wedding DJ in the weeks before the wedding allows them to prepare your songs. “A couple’s songs should be in any professional DJ’s portfolio,” details Sword Sounds. “If they have picked songs on their playlist that we don’t have, this advanced planning gives us notice to get them.”
Tone of Wedding
Just as every couple is different, every wedding is different. “Couples have different personality styles,” says Sequoyah Entertainment. “Some couples are very traditional and want a more reserved atmosphere. Other couples are full-blown party animals that want a party vibe the entire time. Most couples opt for a split format with a blend of traditional elements early in the day, etiquette driven formatting during the early part of the reception followed by a fun dance party to cap off the night.”
Communicate with Vendors
As professional wedding photographers, we definitely want to communicate with other vendors, such as wedding coordinators, videographers, and wedding DJs. We especially want to make sure that timelines match-up! Stephen Goff Entertainment agrees. “I want to not only communicate with the coordinator but also the photographer and videographer. I want to make sure that our timelines match. This is key for a successful wedding day as everyone knows when each event will take place. That way, couples get the photos and videos that they want. It is extremely important for me to do my part in the vendor team.”
With any event, there is a beginning and an end. Therefore, time is of the essence on a wedding day. During a wedding reception, concentration is on making good use of the time. “One of the main focuses we have is keeping the couple moving through events in a casual way,” says Ogle Entertainment. “I don’t want the couple waiting for a specific event for any reason. We rely heavily on communicating with other vendors to make this happen.”
Create A Wedding Reception Timeline That Flows
Professional wedding DJs know how wedding receptions ebb and flow. Their wealth of knowledge in coordinating wedding receptions will provide invaluable peace of mind to any couple.
As we stated before, every couple is different and every wedding is different. Therefore, there should be a wedding reception timeline that reflects the tone of the wedding. There needs to be “etiquette driven formatting” for every wedding, says Sequoyah Entertainment. Professional DJs are trained to naturally flow through all the aspects of a wedding reception from the entrance to dinner to cake cutting to exits.
Wedding Guest List
According to Ogle Entertainment, one of the biggest aspects of your wedding reception is the size of your guest list. “The size of a group can dictate the flow of the evening and general energy in most cases. A room of 50 people versus 200 can create two totally different vibes.” Therefore, be considerate of your guest count when talking to your Knoxville Wedding DJ about the tone or feel of your wedding reception. Do you want to do all the first dances before dinner starts? Maybe you can wait until after the cake is cut? If there is to be a faux sparkler exit, can you get guests back on the dance floor?
Traditional Wedding Events
Another big aspect is whether couples want to take part in traditional wedding events such as parent dances, cake cutting, toasts, or the garter and bouquet toss. There is a balancing act that needs to happen to make these events, or lack of events, seamless. If a couple doesn’t want to do partake in these special events, then reception time needs to be filled with other entertainment options.
If they do, then it can’t appear that a couple is just being pushed from one event to the next like an assembly line. For example, “first dances are preferably right after a couple enters the wedding reception,” states Ogle Entertainment. “In order to not lose the nostalgia or ‘water down’ this emotional experience, parent dances should be later in the evening.” Legacy Sound also suggests “cutting the parent dances shorter or inviting others to join in halfway through.” That way, you can partake in a special event, but “avoids any awkward swaying and stares.”
One thing that most Knoxville Wedding DJs can get behind is the idea of the First Look. A First Look is when the couple sees each other before the walk down the aisle. Couples choose this option for a number of reasons such as logistics, weather, sunset time, and length of the reception. Professional wedding DJs like this option because you enter your reception earlier, which is fine by them! “All of that positive energy from the ceremony flows right into the reception,” says Ogle Entertainment. “With all those positive vibes, it’s a great way to kick off your ever-after party.”
The way you go out of a wedding reception is just as important as the way you came in! Plan it to be memorable! “If possible, plan for a solo last dance,” says Legacy Sound. “While the wedding coordinator is outside lining people up for the exit, have your DJ play a special slow song just for the two of you. This gives you a moment to breathe alone with your new spouse, appreciate all the fun of your special day, and get ready for your happily ever after.”
Allow Them To…Well…DJ!
This is what you have hired them for! Your DJ knows your music playlist and the tone of your wedding. You’ve done your job preparing him or her for your wedding reception. Now, it’s time to take those hands off the reigns.
Give your DJ flexibility to read the crowd and adjust the tempo without micromanaging. Let them choose the best way to mix the music and keep people on the dance floor. “We love to pack a dance floor when it’s time to party. We do not just want to hit the play button and eat cake,” says Stephen Goff Entertainment. “The freedom to perform to our best gives everyone the party they were planning for.” The only thing that you need to do is enjoy your time with family, friends, and guests!
Erin Morrison Photography
There is nothing better than partying with you on your wedding day. Whether you want to dance to The Wobble or enjoy a more formal affair, we would love to be a part of your wedding day. Oh, and hang with all those amazing Knoxville Wedding DJs. Make sure you venture to our wedding portfolio and contact us when you are ready to plan your wedding!
Professional Knoxville Wedding DJs
And the most vital thing of all: choose the right DJ or band for YOU. Do you want someone who MC’s like a boss? Or someone who sticks with the important announcements? Maybe someone who focuses more on the music? The entertainment will make or break the party, so choose wisely.