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Destination I Do
Thursday, January 9, 2014

How to Guarantee a Party

Words by Star Talent

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If you ask guests what’s the secret to a fun, exciting, memorable wedding of a lifetime, they will tell you – fun party music, of course! To help you guarantee your guests will have a great time on the dance floor, we asked a music expert, Michael Taylor from Star Talent, premier New York music and entertainment company whose bands and DJs have played at top weddings, including Catherine Zeta-Jones & Michael Douglas.

1. Make a ‘Do Play’ List

Come up with a playlist of songs that you want to hear at your wedding. This can be a concrete list of your favorite songs or a generalized list of genres and artists, such as “we definitely want some Pop of the 80’s” or “we love Pitbull.” While you may have tons of favorites you would love to hear, try to limit your list to 20-30 song suggestions to include time for toasts and dinner music.

2. Celebrate Your Destination

Your destination can be a great source of fun musical inspiration. Celebrating in the Big Apple? Ask to include “Great Gatsby” music or make a grand entrance to the “Empire State of Mind.” Hosting beachside nuptials? Caribbean beats will get your guests in vacation mood. We’ve been asked to play club music on urban rooftops, funk & soul in downtown loft weddings and country at a farm wedding. Just don’t forget about variety – trust us, four hours of reggae music won’t keep your guests dancing all night.

3. Make a ‘Don’t Play’ List

Make a second list of music you want to make sure does not get played by your band or DJ. Some songs like Celebration, The Macarena and YMCA appear on most people’s don’t lists, so professional DJs won’t go anywhere near them. Instead, think about your unique ‘don’t’ songs. Is there a particular song you really don’t like or brings bad memories? Or a song that is way too overplayed? Add it to your ‘Don’t List’ and you won’t have to worry about it popping up.

4. Include Music for Your Guests

While your wedding is a celebration of your union, you’re also playing party hosts for the night. So while your music should reflect your taste as a couple, it’s really important to also take into account what your guests will want to dance to. We recently had a couple who asked their guests to write their favorite dance song on the RSVP card. The couple then compiled the list of guests’ favorite songs and gave it to us to use in their ‘Do Play’ list.

5. Choose an Experienced and Skilled DJ or Bandleader

While you can do a lot to prepare, the most important thing is choosing a DJ or bandleader who knows how to cater to the crowd. Sometimes the crowd isn’t feeling a particular song, but the right bandleader or DJ should be able to read the crowd and move on to keep the dancing going. Choose an experienced musician who will be able to create the perfect music for what is happening on the dance floor at any given moment.

Photos courtesy of (in order of appearance): Nadia D. Photography & Erich McVey Photography

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