Wedding Music Chat with Evan Reitmeyer, Thursday, October 2 at 11 AM
This DJ takes all your wedding music questions on Thursday from 11 to noon. Submit your them now!
Do you find that the age of the couple greatly influences the music selection or b/c even young couples have many adults at their wedding the music choices remain pretty consistent?
There are many, many factors that can influence the music selection at a wedding, the most important being the music tastes of the couple themselves. The vast majority of the weddings we perform for have guests ranging in age from 5-85, and I do believe that it's important for couples to be cognizant of those age ranges when selecting music for their wedding. I'm sure there are DJs in this area who play practically the same music at every wedding with very few changes – that's not the approach that my company takes, and I do think it's important to find someone who shares your vision for your day and is able to customize the music to fit both your tastes and those of your guests.
How do you keep things exciting for you on the DJ end? I’m sure you are forced to listen to the same songs over and over again at different events.
Great question! I've now done over 800 weddings, so I've played a lot songs. I don't get bored at all, mostly because we encourage our clients to get creative with their music selections and really express themselves in their song requests. Thankfully, most of our clients aren't interested in hearing the run-of-the-mill cheesy wedding standards, so things remain fresh pretty easily. I get a lot of satisfaction out of creating a fantastic atmosphere at each wedding I do. Since no two groups of guests are exactly the same, the challenge is always a new one – even if I do end up playing some of the same songs from another wedding.
I'm getting married next May, and my photographer told me that many wedding professionals in the DC area give each other kickbacks for referrals. How do you feel about this practice, and do you participate in anything like that?
I'm really glad someone asked this question! This is actually a HUGE problem in the DC market, and one that doesn't get a lot of attention. I'm personally opposed to this practice on every possible level. I've never paid anyone for referring me, and I believe that couples should be able to trust the referrals they receive from wedding planners and vendors. We refer other professionals based on the quality of their work but, sadly, there are many companies that do not.
It's not a bad idea to ask the person giving you the referral if they are paid for referring that person. It can be a difficult subject, but it is important to know the reasons that they are recommending that person or company. The biggest problem I have with this practice, besides the fact that I think it's totally dishonest, is that it eventually results in higher prices for the consumer. Businesses paying for referrals eventually build that cost into their pricing, so you're not only paying for the product or service you're buying, but also paying for the fact that you were referred to them. I'll step down off my soapbox now!
What's the most unique song you remember one of your brides walking down the aisle to?
Thanks for your question! We tend to attract some pretty creative couples, and I've seen a lot of very interesting song choices over the years. Probably the most unique (and strangest) choices was that I had a bride use a symphonic version of the theme from "Super Mario Brothers" (yes, the 80's video game!) as her processional. The best part about it was that all of the younger guests loved it, and the older guests had no idea that it wasn't a traditional classical piece. It was absolutely perfect for their crowd, they had very eclectic tastes!
It seems that it used to be that DJs were a less expensive route to wedding music, as opposed to paying multiple people to be there as part of a band. Is that still true and if not, why?
Still true, more or less. I'm sure it's possible to find some type of band to play for very little money, but most of the experienced, high quality wedding bands in this area start around $3500 for a four hour reception and can go as high as $15,000-$20,000 depending on the band and the number of pieces involved. The very best wedding DJs in the area all charge less than that so, in terms of value, DJs are almost always going to prevail. The important thing for couples is to be smart with their money. Find out what is important to you, and invest your money in that and make some cuts elsewhere if needed. I'm biased, of course, but if you ask enough recently married brides what had the biggest impact on their wedding day, you'll consistently hear "entertainment" as the answer. I hope that helps!
I saw on your website that your company is green. How can providing music services be eco-friendly?
A green question! This is something that I'm very passionate about, and we implemented a company-wide sustainability policy last fall. There are a number of things we've done to "go green", here are a few of them:
We purchased carbon offsets (sometimes called carbon credits or "green tags") to negate the environmental impact of our electricity use and travel for each of our DJs. This included all electricity used in our office, by our equipment at each wedding, and also our vehicle emissions traveling to and from meetings and performances.
We operate a virtually "paperless" office, and digitize everything. If we print anything, we use 100% recycled paper – even our business cards and marketing materials are printed on recycled card stock.
We use laptops instead of CDs, which cuts down on the waste from each wedding. We can use the same laptop for 3 years, which saves hundreds and hundreds of CDs from ending up in local landfills.
There are some other items as well – if you're interested in checking out our environmental program, you can read all about it on our green weddings page. There are also links to helpful tips if you're interested in making your wedding more eco-friendly.
I literally just set my wedding date yesterday and will be searching for a photographer and DJ very soon. What is the best advice you can give for finding the right DJ for my wedding?
Congratulations! Where do I even start with this one? The best advice I can give you is to choose the DJ who you trust the most. It is absolutely essential that you meet with (preferably face-to-face) any potential DJ for your wedding and ask them any questions you have. I would suggest that this decision will have the biggest impact on the success of your reception, and it's something that needs to be taken pretty seriously. I would caution you against any company where a salesperson or intermediary is answering questions for the DJ – that salesperson isn't going to be there on your wedding day, so you need to have utmost confidence in that specific DJ. Also, be sure that your specific DJ's name is on your contract – there are a lot of unscrupulous companies out there that use the age-old "bait and switch" on couples, and change DJs at the last moment based on their availability. I hope that helps! If you are interested, you can visit our website and go to the advice section – there are a number of articles there that will definitely help you in your quest!
We are torn between having a DJ or a band. I have seen that some couples are now doing both, but we can't afford that. What advice would you give about budgeting for music?
Thanks for your question! If you're looking for the best value for your money, you'll be able to hire some of the best DJs in the area for far less than an inexpensive band. That being said, you should really think about what's important to you – if it's important for you to have live music at your wedding, then perhaps cutting your budget somewhere else would help you pay for a band.
what are some do "not" play songs clients usually ask to be avoided?
Most of our clients avoid the standard "cheesy" wedding songs – Chicken Dance, Electric Slide, YMCA, etc. A talented DJ should be able to get your guests dancing without using these types of "gimmicky" group dances.
My fiance and I are checking out DJs to book for our wedding. What are a few tell-tale signs that we should look out for so we don't end up with someone who sounds like a sports announcer and plays the chicken dance?
Good question! The best thing you can do is to meet with them face-to-face. Someone can fudge a bit on the telephone, but you'll be able to get a real feel for their personality if you can look them in the eye. Ask a lot of questions! I wrote a list of questions to ask a wedding DJ
, that should give you a lot of insight into the hiring process and some subtle things to look for. I hope that helps!
My family is Jewish and very religious – my fiance and his family are not. How do we compromise? Do most DJs have traditional Jewish music in their repertoire?
That's a pretty tough one, because the expectations are so different for each group. Most good wedding DJs will have traditional Jewish music in their collection, but you should ask them about it before you hire them to be sure. You'll also need to discuss the balance between the traditional and non-traditional music – that way you can make sure that each side of your new family has a chance to dance!
What's a good first song to get people out on the dance floor?
Great question! Unfortunately, it's impossible to answer. It really depends on your guests – different songs will work (and fail) for different groups. A talented, experienced DJ will be able to "read the crowd" and make a good choice to get things moving based on the way your guests are interacting before dancing begins. I normally use a slow song to start things off, simply because it's easier to "hook" the older guests and get them on the dance floor. Once they're out there, I'll drop something upbeat and start the party!
Fort Belvoir, VA
I'm just starting to look at interviewing djs for my wedding next fall – what questions should I ask?
Thanks for asking! I'll refer you to my answer above – there are some helpful articles in the advice section of our website, that should at least get you started!
It looks like I've run out of questions! Thanks so much to all of you for the great questions – best of luck to all of you in your planning. If you (or anyone else) has any follow-up questions, feel free to email me at Evan@MyDeejay.com and I'd be happy to answer them!