My approach to being a wedding DJ
I want your wedding to feel like it was created for you and your friends + family. There's no general cookie cutter approach to any wedding but I can definitely tell you that in my experiences, not everyone has 100+ songs they just absolutely have to hear at their wedding. Most people want a good party and have some general ideas that they would want reflected in the song selections for the night. Let me read your crowd. With 400+ weddings behind me, I know a thing or two about keeping a party alive. They're all unique. Always different. You tell me the kind of party you want, give me some general guidelines, and I can make the right decisions for your party while you're out there having fun.
That being said, if you do have a lot of requests, try to think about it in terms of 3 universes
Universe 1: These are the songs you absolutely have to hear. No matter what. Ideally there are 10-15 of these in this universe.
Universe 2: These are the songs that if the crowd is feeling it, let's play these too. There can be tons of songs in here.
Universe 3: This is the dreaded Do Not Play list. For this, I won't need obvious songs like the chicken dance thank you very much. I'll need songs that most people typically do like but you would just rather not hear at your reception.
This is where we get down to business. Different clients have different needs. Some simply want to tell me what time to be at the wedding and that's it. They just want their party to be good and I can certainly do that. Other clients want to be very specific in their wedding details and I can do that too. The main thing to remember here is that I'm on your team and want your wedding to be as big of a success as you do. I use a comprehensive planning form that helps my clients nail down most of the specific details. The order of events and the specific songs that correspond with those events such as the first dance etc. This helps me coordinate every last detail with you, from the names and pronunciations of the bridal party to the song you want to hear at the end of the night.
Pre wedding music requests
As far as pre-wedding musical requests go I have found that not everyone is a total musical connoisseur. Many people just want to give me a general idea of the kind of music they like/want. Then others are more inclined to having a long list of specific requests. For those with a lot of musical ideas I usually tell them to think of three universes.
In the first universe let's put your must haves. Ideally this is going to be about ten songs. These are the songs that, no matter what, I want to hear at my wedding.
In the second universe let's put everything else. These are the songs that, if the crowd is feeling it, I'd also like to hear. That gives me the judgement necessary to capitalize your evening for you. If I'm trapped in a playlist that isn't working at your wedding that's no good!
The third and final universe is the Do-not-play list. These are the songs that you'd just rather not hear. They are usually songs that I'm not going to play anyways but people are still worried about it. Songs like the chicken dance and the YMCA are the most common please do not play songs that I hear. Others would be fairly obvious as well like the electric slide or heavy metal . . . stuff like that. You never know though, some clients really do surprise me with requests they don't want to hear things that I would otherwise very likely play and that's when this third universe is the most important.
Everybody says they have the best sound equipment. It's easy to say you have "premium sound" etc etc. What does that mean anyways? It's hard to take a picture of sound quality. I know for an absolute fact that I bring more to the table with my speaker system than the vast majority of DJ companies. That's not knocking the other DJ's out there with smaller systems either. A lot of weddings don't require a big whopper sound system. There are plenty of good DJs out there with smaller stuff. I just like to bring the best quality sound that I can because I like to party with people who like to party. Just like photographers who invest in better lenses and better cameras etc, I invest in better sound equipment. I'm always searching to make my party better. It's heavy, it takes a while to set up, but it's worth it. I utilize technologies such as digital signal processing to create an optimized listening experience at each venue where I perform.
A cheesy DJ I am not. I handle all the MC duties throughout the night with a light heated professionalism. I don't talk on the mic beyond what needs to be said and then I just focus on dropping the right jams. I'm just there to make sure the wedding runs smoothly in coordination with the planner(s) and the photographers/videographers. I never announce anything without first making sure your other vendors are there to be a part of it.
Keeping Guests Dancing
I have taken everything I learned as a club and party DJ and melded it into wedding celebrations. I mix classic music in a fun and interesting way that keeps the dance floor packed. Nobody likes to feel left out. Let's throw everybody a bone now and again. I want everyone leaving your wedding saying it was the most fun they have had at a wedding ever. I want to hear that too. It's always my goal.
So we knock out the details, plan the musical atmosphere and we party. You don't have to worry about what time it is just leave that up to me.