What are your go-to first 3-5 songs for the dance?

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Jeff Romard

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Don’t forget I have clients paying a lot of money because they are seeking a particular atmosphere… last thing they want is older music that doesn’t fit that vibe. Wait till you see my playlists from this past weekends events.
We are dealing with different mindsets in our clients for sure. I have one this weekend that is leaning newer but even they are are concerned about making it about the guests and they have invited a considerable amount of older folks.

I'd love to see the lists I always seem to pick up an idea from them
 

sawdust123

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Having been raised in the NY metro area, I can tell you that local tastes are wildly different than other parts of the country. I don't doubt Taso's observations one bit. There is a much greater penchant for things that are new and hip in his area. You see none of that where I live now. One would have to travel over an hour to find a nightclub that a NYer would describe as "hip". Most local venues with dancing feature cover bands playing 70s and 80s rock. DJs are generally only found in smaller neighborhood bars and restaurants. The only venue in my city (~70K people) that featured DJs closed for good at the beginning of the pandemic.
 

Ausumm

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See that’s the interesting thing… YOU seemed to have made the decision of what the older guests should feel and to let them know that older music will be played. I believe that’s for the couple/client to dictate. I always ask do they want to incorporate older music throughout the night… 90% say just early on have some sprinkled in… the rest will want a good amount mixed throughout the night and every year I get 1 or 2 that don’t want anything before the 90’s and to keep it relatively current all night.
That's the difference between my clientele and yours.
My gigs probably have more older guests, who go home early...
but they are just as important to the client as their friends.
Of course, there are always gigs where I start off with music for the young crowd,
and then I sprinkle some oldies in a little later.
 

djtaso

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That's the difference between my clientele and yours.
My gigs probably have more older guests, who go home early...
but they are just as important to the client as their friends.
Of course, there are always gigs where I start off with music for the young crowd,
and then I sprinkle some oldies in a little later.
I'm not saying that doesn't exist... I'm pointing out as to whose making the decision to structure the music that way... you or the couple.
 

Jeff Romard

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I'm not saying that doesn't exist... I'm pointing out as to whose making the decision to structure the music that way... you or the couple.
Shouldn't the structure be the DJ's decision? I believe in client input but we are the ones who do this every weekend and most of us should be better at reading crowds than the average Bride.
 

djtaso

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Shouldn't the structure be the DJ's decision? I believe in client input but we are the ones who do this every weekend and most of us should be better at reading crowds than the average Bride.
But if a couple doesn’t want oldies… why are you going against the atmosphere they envisioned. Look at my playlists… it’s just a hint of oldies for the majority of my events… some with none… but that’s at the direction of the couple. You can’t say that my results suffer for it… and my relation to the couple is even stronger because they trust that I’m going to follow their vision not go against it.

Sure you can do a good job and take control and show your “experience”, but is that what’s going to really impress the couple especially if they’re younger. Or is it the DJ that’s gonna give them the high energy atmosphere they wanted while being skilled enough to stay Away from what they don’t care For.

my client is and always has been the couple.,, not their guests.
 

sawdust123

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my client is and always has been the couple.,, not their guests.
Most people aren't accustomed to hosting large parties. One of the conversations I have early on is how couples have dual roles at a wedding. They are simultaneously the guests of honor and the de-facto hosts. As the guests of honor, a party is all about them. As hosts, a party is all about their guests. Striking the right balance is the key and it comes down to personal wishes and the particulars of the event. Hosting a party of mostly distant relatives is very different than hosting a party of mostly close friends. I don't believe there is a single best approach for all events.
 

djtaso

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Most people aren't accustomed to hosting large parties. One of the conversations I have early on is how couples have dual roles at a wedding. They are simultaneously the guests of honor and the de-facto hosts. As the guests of honor, a party is all about them. As hosts, a party is all about their guests. Striking the right balance is the key and it comes down to personal wishes and the particulars of the event. Hosting a party of mostly distant relatives is very different than hosting a party of mostly close friends. I don't believe there is a single best approach for all events.
Because there is no universal and single best approach, the best approach by default is to satisfy the couple hiring us and what their vision is. I also think guests are aware that the couple is going to dictate the flow to the night. When I get a request for a line dance and say the couple has requested no line dances (I’ve yet to play a line dance at a wedding), they don’t fight me… they get it, it’s the couples big day and they don’t wanna go against it. Only ONCE has somebody insisted multiple times I play a cha cha slide, and I said look if you really want this song I’m gonna need permission from the bride… the guest actually went to to bride and asked and the brides face said it all… she was mouthing to me no no no and telling her guest that she doesn’t like that stuff. Imagine how things would’ve gone if I did play it to satisfy the general public.

Sorry I respect my couples and their vision. Like I said most couples do understand the value of some older songs, but just early on and just a handful sprinkled in is what the majority find acceptable. By the time it’s the last portion of the evening, it’s all about them and their friends. They don’t care about what their dads coworker thinks that they’ve met once, or aunt sally who they never sEe except on thanksgiving.
 

SpinCin

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This has been an interesting thread! Appreciate everyone's thoughts and ideas. I am always amazed at what works in one area, doesn't work in another.
I've been looking for new dance floor opener ideas. In this area (Chicago/Northwest Indiana) Open dancing doesn't start until
AFTER the first dance, dad/daughter, mom/son. I always open with something a little more upbeat. 9/18 I started with Michael Jackson -Don't Stop "Til You Get Enough. It's older and yet the younger crowd appreciates that it's not "sleepy".
 

Jeff Romard

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But if a couple doesn’t want oldies… why are you going against the atmosphere they envisioned. Look at my playlists… it’s just a hint of oldies for the majority of my events… some with none… but that’s at the direction of the couple. You can’t say that my results suffer for it… and my relation to the couple is even stronger because they trust that I’m going to follow their vision not go against it.
I believe this is another case of we have very different clients most of mine want to keep their guests happy and generally there are 50% or higher (usually higher more like 70-75%) over 40. Like you most of my gigs are referral or have seen me before I try to make nothing I do come as a surprise. That being said I do discuss music in consultations and try to give them exactly what they want. I would say the odds are fairly good that if they want the hip club like atmosphere I'm probably not getting the call

Sure you can do a good job and take control and show your “experience”, but is that what’s going to really impress the couple especially if they’re younger. Or is it the DJ that’s gonna give them the high energy atmosphere they wanted while being skilled enough to stay Away from what they don’t care For.

my client is and always has been the couple.,, not their guests.
More often than not I hear just do what you do. I'll be willing to bet I don't make everyone happy every night but at the end of the 4 hours my percentages are pretty high. High energy doesn't necessarily mean new music it's more programming the music. How long does the average person stay on the floor for? If you get 10-12 minutes you're doing well we also have a generation and a half that has the attention span of a housefly I tend to rotate the floor a lot in the run of a night and there are several that I usually get young and old up for

These folks were 28 and 29 if I recall. The list they sent me had a first dance and F/D dance on it I did one 5 minute consultation they didn't want anything to do with picking music that was why they hired me (their words). I was in a barn venue with two distinct sides the only place I could setup was around a corner so for the most part I couldn''t see the floor. This is what it was like all night

View: https://www.facebook.com/jeffromard/videos/10159159930220096
 

djtaso

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I believe this is another case of we have very different clients most of mine want to keep their guests happy and generally there are 50% or higher (usually higher more like 70-75%) over 40. Like you most of my gigs are referral or have seen me before I try to make nothing I do come as a surprise. That being said I do discuss music in consultations and try to give them exactly what they want. I would say the odds are fairly good that if they want the hip club like atmosphere I'm probably not getting the call



More often than not I hear just do what you do. I'll be willing to bet I don't make everyone happy every night but at the end of the 4 hours my percentages are pretty high. High energy doesn't necessarily mean new music it's more programming the music. How long does the average person stay on the floor for? If you get 10-12 minutes you're doing well we also have a generation and a half that has the attention span of a housefly I tend to rotate the floor a lot in the run of a night and there are several that I usually get young and old up for

These folks were 28 and 29 if I recall. The list they sent me had a first dance and F/D dance on it I did one 5 minute consultation they didn't want anything to do with picking music that was why they hired me (their words). I was in a barn venue with two distinct sides the only place I could setup was around a corner so for the most part I couldn''t see the floor. This is what it was like all night

View: https://www.facebook.com/jeffromard/videos/10159159930220096
I don't think you can say my clients don't want their guests happy... the difference is what will also make them and their friends happy. Many of us are set in our ways, and we tend to play a lot of the same old, until told otherwise. However, how can you be told otherwise, if you never allow that opportunity. Why would I ever risk playing country, if it wasn't something asked for. So for example... when I have my finalization this is the exact approach I take and exactly what I say:

- Early on most weddings I do, my couples try to accommodate older guests to let them know we didn't forget about them... do you guys want to incorporate songs that appeal to the older generatin throughout the night or just early on (I explain oldies are typically 80's and back): Answer typically is, yeah a few older songs are ok in the beginning, but not too much.

- Cool! So in that case, that typically means I'll mix a handful 3-4 here and 3-4 there in the early portions of the night, is that enough or are you looking for more? Just about all say, that's more than enough.

- Great! So as we progress through night, are you looking to create a "club like" atmosphere with a heavy emphasis on hip hop or EDM, or are you looking for more of what I call a bar atmosphere, where it's a variety of genres mixed in throughout the party and keeping everything familiar so you can sing along with it and maximize the amount of people on the dancefloor? 80% go for the bar style atmosphere where they like the variety and those sing along anthems.

- Perfect! So being that you have about 2.5hrs of dancing in your night, I typically recommend providing me about 15-25 dancing requests. This gives me a great insight as to the types of genres you want to incorporate as well as ensuring I play your favorites that you've been looking forward to on your wedding day. Oh perfect! That should be no problem!

Now once in a blue moon, I get the same "oh we trust you", and that's fine, but I at least took some preliminary steps to gauge how they want their night to go. Many couples do give me requests, because I emphasize how it helps me determine what styles to incorporate and what gets them excited. And I agree, new doesn't always mean more energy... the energy is from the collective group. I simply take the genres and styles they appreciate and from there create the best party I can. For examples, by taking requests I can see if they know the latest and best, or if the requests are more of "standards"... knowing what they're into and familiar with will determine whether I'll incorporate the more riskier songs that only certain groups might know.

There's one thing that caught my attention in what you said... and that's something along the lines of what constitutes as doing a good job, and how you rotate the floor and 10-12 of dancing shows you're doing well. I invite you to come to my weddings, bc you'll see once we get to that after dinner dance set, the majority of my guests don't leave the dancefloor.

I spend 1.5-2hrs at my finalizations... there's a lot I learn about my couples I feel, and it allows me to create a more personalized experience. I don't think I actually get booked because I play the latest and best or am super high energy (some of my events are more low key)... my reputation is more of being a true professional and creating a night tailored around the couple and their group of family and friends... as opposed to being generic and incorporating things, that while they may work, they might not care for.
 
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sawdust123

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Sorry I respect my couples and their vision. Like I said most couples do understand the value of some older songs, but just early on and just a handful sprinkled in is what the majority find acceptable. By the time it’s the last portion of the evening, it’s all about them and their friends. They don’t care about what their dads coworker thinks that they’ve met once, or aunt sally who they never sEe except on thanksgiving.
Sorry? What for? I don't think I said anything to contradict anything you said. I was just adding some personal perspective. I found that very few of the couples I dealt with really had a complete vision. They have certain elements that they want to include or exclude but a complete vision was rare. Of course, times have changed since I was doing weddings regularly.

This thread brings to mind the questioning techniques we use and how we can inadvertently reinforce our own beliefs just by the questions we ask and how we interpret the answers. I think I'll start another thread on that.
 

Ausumm

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I'm not saying that doesn't exist... I'm pointing out as to whose making the decision to structure the music that way... you or the couple.
Shouldn't the structure be the DJ's decision? I believe in client input but we are the ones who do this every weekend and most of us should be better at reading crowds than the average Bride.
Just like anything else to do with the music,
it's my decision, UNLESS the client has requested otherwise.
And I make the decision based upon the circumstances.
 

Jeff Romard

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I don't think you can say my clients don't want their guests happy... the difference is what will also make them and their friends happy. are more of "standards"... knowing what they're into and familiar with will determine whether I'll incorporate the more riskier songs that only certain groups might know.
I certanily would never say you don't satisfy clients it goes without saying you do but that can also be said for most of us. Here's the thing as I said before I rarely see a night that it's not 50% or higher of 40+ for the most part they are past the club days. If the Bride and Groom want solely the club feel those folks are going to be sitting a lot. If that's what they want I'm not the guy for them and they obviously didn't see me before


Where in the process do you allow the opportunity to discuss the atmosphere and structure of the music?
Atmosphere should be talked about before signing to see if you are a fit. Structure is a DJ thing otherwise you might as well get a decent MC and run an Ipod in the house system
 
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djtaso

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I certanily would never say you don't satisfy clients it goes without saying you do but that can also be said for most of us. Here's the thing as I said before I rarely see a night that it's not 50% or higher of 40+ for the most part they are past the club days. If the Bride and Groom want solely the club feel those folks are going to be sitting a lot. If that's what they want I'm not the guy for them and they obviously didn't see me before




Atmosphere should be talked about before signing to see if you are a fit. Structure is a DJ thing otherwise you might as well get a decent MC and run an Ipod in the house system
I don’t think many of my clients are looking for club atmospheres, and my playlists generally speaking don’t indicate that. They actually prefer what I call a bar vibe with a mix of genres, but most importantly with songs that are familiar.

Structure though IS important. Many couples I tend to notice want a different late night feel versus early. To give them that, it’s important I structure the songs in a way where I can get the generic stuff out of the way so that the last 30-60 minutes is about the vibe/atmosphere they want for their friends. Specific Songs are not what constitutes the structure. Structure and atmosphere go hand in hand in a sense.

And it has nothing to do with old vs young couples. I’ve had older couples look for a studio 54 vibe towards the end of the night. I had a young couple look for that “rock” vibe towards the end just a couple of weeks ago that I posted the recap to.
 
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Jeff Romard

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They actually prefer what I call a bar vibe with a mix of genres, but most importantly with songs that are familiar
Sounds similar to what I do

Structure though IS important. Many couples I tend to notice want a different late night feel versus early. To give them that, it’s important I structure the songs in a way where I can get the generic stuff out of the way so that the last 30-60 minutes is about the vibe/atmosphere they want for their friends.
Again I agree but WE create the structure. I'm not saying they shouldn't have input but at the end of the day if they are doing all the work why are we there?
 
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djtaso

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Sounds similar to what I do



Again I agree but WE create the structure. I'm not saying they shouldn't have input but at the end of the day if they are doing all the work why are we there?
The skill is in taking whatever they throw at us, and making it possible. Like I said, I'm not asking them to tell me the songs and the order of the songs, or even the exact order of the particular genres, but moreso the flow of the night and any particular things that are of crucial importance. If you look at the playlist for the last 90 minutes of my Wedding on Sunday... I don't think I played anything too out of the ordinary... but what I did play was relevant to the bride and groom and their friends. Out of all the songs in those last 90 minutes, the only ones that were requested are in bold. I didn't break the vibe by dropping in something like Love Shack or Don't stop till you get enough at that point of the night is what I mean. And the songs are familiar enough that even older guests can enjoy them for the most part.

Beer Never Broke My Heart
Fancy Like (Clean)
Where the Party At
Mesmerize (Extend) (Clean)
No Scrubs (Clean)
Love On Top
Oops!...I Did It Again
I Want It That Way (Mix Factor 2016 Remix) (Clean)
Despacito (Remix)
Candy Shop (Super Clean Clean)
GoldDigger (CLEAN)
Be Faithful (Clean)
All The Small Things
What's My Age Again?
Sk8r Boi
The Middle
Fat Lip
My Own Worst Enemy
Tubthumping
Semi-Charmed Life
Pursuit Of Happiness (Steve Aoki Mix)
Low (Clean)
Calabria 2007
Conga Shake (Dj Steve1der Remix) (Dj Rukus Intro Edit) (Clean)
Super Bass (Clean)
Alive (Hardwell Remix)

Clarity (Radio Mix)
Reload (Original Mix)
Body (Clean) (Extended)
Calling (Original Instrumental Mix)
Dynamite (Main)
Wake Me Up

Zombie Nation
Everytime We Touch (Radio Mix)
Memories (Clean Version)
Wake Me Up
Don't You Worry Child (feat. John Martin) (Extended Mix) LAST SONG - COUPLES CHOICE

Don't Stop Believing "PLAYED AFTER CHANTS FOR ONE MORE SONG... AND VENUE PERMISSION"
 
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