10 Things Lucas the DJ really wants you to know
By Lucas the DJ
So I'm basically at a wedding every single weekend and I get to see all the things that work and all the things that don't. I see things through the eyes of an entertainer and they're very different eyes that what your wedding planner sees or what your catering sees. My only job at a wedding is to make the party as good as it can be. It can be a tricky situation because as a wedding DJ you wear a lot of hats. You're the AV guy, you're a psychologist, you're the fun guy, you're the emcee. I don't want to tell you how your wedding should be. I want your wedding to be a success. Below are 10 things that I, Lucas the DJ, would like you to know.
1. There are two kinds of pre-wedding requests. We're talking dance party requests here. The first kind are the brides and grooms requests for songs that they really love and want to hear. These are great and let's figure out how to make them work at your wedding. The second kind of requests are the "we're nervous you're going to play bad songs so we're going to try and pick all of them for you" requests. These are the kind that will mess up a wedding. You're hiring me to rock your wedding and I'm way more effective if you give me a vibe and a tone that you want to set. I come with a flexible playlist that's filled with thousands of potential songs for potential moments.
Ideally what we do is create two Universes for requests. In the first Universe we put your "Must Plays". This should be 10 songs max. In the second Universe we put the "Play if they're feeling it" list. This gives me the freedom to weave in and out of music more freely.
I've researched wedding music for thousands of hours and seen all kinds of songs in action. When a bride and groom give me 65 songs that I 100% must play that really makes my job next to impossible. Your dance portion of the night is usually only going to be 2-3 hours long and if I'm stuck with an extremely limited playlist that isn't working what are we going to do then? I've never been able to prepare a playlist prior to an event that I was able to fully rely on to get the job done. Weddings are living breathing organisms that need the right touches to get things going. I deeply believe that weddings are supposed to be fun. It's all in how I pace the music and pair it to who is present and what is happening. Also, songs don't just all fit together naturally. Each song has a limited number of potential songs that is going to mix well with it. Sometimes it's the way the songs mix together that's more exciting than the individual song itself. I want you to be happy and I take my job and reputation as a wedding DJ very seriously. You can help me keep my reputation by letting me do my job.
2. Live in the moment. I don't want to see you guys looking at your watch even one time during your wedding reception! Leave the timeline stuff to Lucas. This is the moment you've been waiting for and I think it's really important to soak in the wedding and enjoy it with a sense of presence. Enjoy your big day! There's wedding coordinators/planners/photographers/caters/Lucas the DJ all there to make sure that your wedding is running on time.
3. Don't put me in the corner. You wouldn't hire a great band for your wedding and then put them in the corner behind the cake would you? Same thing for me. I want your wedding to be the best possible party that it can be and if you put me front and center on the dance floor that's going to give me that much better of a chance to perform for you to the best of my abilities. Ideally I'll even have a small stage to raise me up off the ground and give the performance a better aesthetic. I'm a wedding DJ for people who want to have great parties. Not a DJ you want to hide in the corner.
4. Get dimmers. One of the most overlooked things at a wedding can be the amount of light on the dance floor. I absolutely 100% promise you that your wedding will be better if we can bring the lighting down a little bit when it's time to party. People don't like to get jiggy with it on a highly lit dance floor. The darkness feels safe! If we can get dimmers we should absolutely get dimmers so that we can create a healthy party atmosphere for your wedding.
5. Don't sit older guests by the speakers. For the love of God move them away from the DJ area! The old timers are especially sensitive to noise and I don't want them to be unhappy any more than the young folks! Everybody's important at a wedding. The volume will never be low enough for them and then nobody else will be able to hear anything. Let's move them back just a little bit!
6. 24 hours. Even though you're wedding is only going to be 5 hours long I'm going to be working on your wedding for at least a full 24. When you take into consideration the driving, the set-up, the break-down, and the planning, I'm going to be spending a lot of time focused on your wedding. I cover all the bases ahead of time.
7. You have to dance! This is such a huge thing. The crowd is going to follow you around. If you're outside then that's where everybody's going. Please understand that if you're out on the dance floor then that is 100% where everybody else is going to be. It's the golden rule of weddings.
8. The ideal length of time for a wedding dance party is 2.5 hrs. This is of course only a general rule of thumb. All wedding parties are unique but this is a good starting point to consider when planning your night. People get tired!
9. Don't worry if you need to make a last minute change. We could literally turn the entire wedding upside down and do it in reverse one minute before we're supposed to start if you want. I've been to so many weddings that nothing can phase me and you can count on me to be able to roll with the punches. Do not get stressed out if something has to change. Lucas the DJ will take care of it for you so you can enjoy yourself stress free.
10. Classic songs are often the best. Again this is only a general rule of thumb and doesn't apply in all situations. Some weddings are extremely modern or have a specific theme that really works. That being said, have you ever been to a Jewish wedding? They have a tradition a called "The Hora" where they play a song called Hava Nagila. When it comes on all the guests circle around the bride and groom and lift them onto their shoulders on chairs. It's basically crowd surfing and it's super fun. I wish there was a similar tradition for all weddings. That being said, when you play Hava Nagila you know what time it is. Everybody knows what time it is.
Imagine the bride and groom decided they wanted to be different and play "Uptown Funk" instead of Hava Nagila. Nobody would know what was going on and it would be weird.
All weddings have songs like this where everybody just "knows what time it is". I encourage brides and grooms to consider this when choosing some of their music.
--Lucas Wade Harris is Lucas the DJ and has DJ'd at 497 weddings at the time of this article.