Avoid These 3 Mistakes When Choosing Music For Your Wedding

One of the most agonizing (in a good way) parts of a wedding for me is waiting for all the reception formalities to take place, like the first dance and speeches, so that I can get on the dance floor. Don’t get me wrong, the first dance and speeches are romantic and beautiful, but I get itchy after a while to get up and move!

Knowing that people go to a wedding to have a good time, many couples often struggle with choosing the right music to play to make sure everyone has a good time. The unfortunate truth is that couples stress way too much over this.

There are mistakes many couples make, without even realizing they are making these mistakes, that cause a lot of added stress and anxiety when it comes to choosing wedding music. Sometimes, they feel like they need to give their DJ a list of all the songs they want to be played and then all the DJ does is play them. We learned already that a DJ does so much more than hit PLAY. Sometimes they think only about the reception and forget about the rest of the day.

So, we asked Hudson Valley DJs to share their best advice to help you choose music for your wedding without making the common mistakes that add stress.



Mistake #1 – Not trusting your DJ


There are many reasons why couples feel like they have to choose their entire playlist, but one of the things they need to do is trust their DJ. Some responsibility does fall on the couple in terms of letting the DJ know what songs they love or hate, what their style is, what specific songs they want to be played during special dances, but ultimately the DJ is in charge. Why?

Domenic Trocino, owner of DJ Domenic Entertainment in Poughkeepsie, says the same DJ can play the same music in the same order and the reaction will be different because of the crowd. “They (the couple) need to trust the DJ. That’s the most important thing.” Trocino says. “You are not hiring a DJ so you can tell them what music to play…As wedding DJs we do what we do for a reason and a lot of our execution is done on the fly. It’s always good to prepare the DJ with what’s important to you…but the rest of it, the DJ probably knows a little bit more about what’s going to make the day go right from an entertainment standpoint.”

DJ Bri Swatek, owner of Spinning with Style in Wappingers Falls, says what couples don’t realize is the amount of songs time allows for, after cocktail hour and formal dances are over, is a lot less than they probably think. He says a typical wedding goes through around 80 songs for the entire day including dinner and cocktail hour. “We’ve got maybe about 50 dancing songs, that’s all we have time for…If you dictate each one of them to the DJ – he or she – does not have the chance to take a left turn.” Meaning, reading the crowd and keeping the party going

Donnie Lewis, owner of Your Event Matters and Illuminate Event Lighting in Hopewell Junction, says, “We don’t need couples to give us lists of music and we actually advocate against it, because 9 out of 10 couples aren’t paying attention to the guests in the room, that’s the most important part. The most important part about the music is just that the music is recognizable and that people know it and it expands all generations, and you’re not just playing four hours of rap music or hip hop.” Instead, DJs take your guidance and choose a wide array of music based on the crowd in front of them.



Mistake #2 – Forgetting about your ceremony, cocktail hour and dinner music


“More and more couples are using DJs outside of the reception,” says Joey Garcia (DJ Joey G.), owner of Jade DJ Entertainment in New Paltz. “They (DJs) set up at a location at the venue different than the reception space and focus on three songs: processional, recessional and bridal march.” He also says that the Bridal March is not as common of a processional song as it once was, with many couples using acoustic versions of songs or playing string instrumentals during the time guests are being seated. He says you need to ask your DJ if they provide ceremony music and what comes with it, such as wireless mics for you and the officiant so that your guests can hear you.

Lewis says, “There’s a couple other aspects of music that we always tell couples to pay attention to, and it’s dinner and cocktail hour. Those are crucial times.” He says that cocktail hour is the time that subliminally transitions your guests from ceremony mode to party mode, so you want to start off with some classic songs and end with more upbeat party songs. “For us, we always say that dinner should be upbeat and fun. We’ll keep them low key and less danceable songs, but more about what the couple likes. If they’re into country, play some country music. Or if you’re into really obscure songs play them during dinner.”

Mistake #3 – Not paying enough attention to lyrics and not using clean edits


Today, it seems like every song out there has a hidden meaning to it. There are so many songs that I love just because of the beat and the music, but when I actually take a step back and listen to the lyrics, I’m shocked sometimes to learn the song is all about sex or drugs.

I still love the songs and listen to them, but I certainly thought twice about playing them at our wedding. Now, are most people going to pick up on those hidden meanings? Probably not. But what everyone will pick up on are curse words. If curse words don’t bother you, great, but remember your guests.

Swatek says clean edits are a “…personal preference, but I see no reason to have anything but clean edits…I don’t see any reason to have language at a wedding that might offend anyone. If one guest is offended, it’s one guest too many.” He goes on to say that “even with clean edits, there are certain songs that are not appropriate for a wedding.” That’s ties back to what I said about listening to the lyrics and what they are really talking about.

You’ll find many DJs will only play clean edits, because, let’s face it, a wedding is a classy event, even if it’s an informal wedding, not a club. Lewis says, “We only play clean music. We always let them (couples) know to pay attention to the people in the room…” Basically, if you think your parents or grandparents are going to cringe at lyrics, you might want to reconsider.

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13 of the most common mistakes engaged couples make revealed

There’s no doubting that being engaged is an exciting time in your life. The joys of planning a life together, the excitement of what the future will bring, being able to call you partner your fiance now and, of course, planning your wedding, is all fun and good.

However, that excitement can very easily lead to overwhelm if you aren’t careful.

All married couples, after their wedding is over and they’ve been married for a few months, realize that they’ve all made mistakes while they were engaged, I did too. Here’s the good news, though. Mistakes are only mistakes if you don’t learn anything from them. Now that you know what they are, you’ll be better prepared.

Mistake #1 – Not having important conversations with your spouse-to-be


I put this first for a reason. Before you even discuss getting engaged, you need to at least know how your partner feels about certain things such as kids or money. Did you know that if you are getting married in a Catholic church, you will need to attend Pre-Cana classes? Pre-Cana classes are marriage prep classes where you and your partner discuss the hard topics: Do you want kids? How many? What if one of you gets a job transfer? What do you do? What are your thoughts on finances? Household chores, Etc? It’s a mandatory class. However, if you are not getting married in a Catholic church, there is no need for classes. Some of you may be thinking “woohoo!!” but don’t underestimate this. Even if you aren’t taking Pre-Cana classes, you need to have these important conversations before getting married, and you need to have a plan if you disagree on something, because realizing you want kids and your partner doesn’t, or your partner wants to move and you don’t, after you are married is not a good thing.

Mistake #2 – Announcing your engagement on social media too soon


Photo Caption: Hannah Nicole Photography

In this day of instant news, it’s very easy to make a mad dash to Facebook or Instagram and announce to everyone you are engaged with a shiny picture of your bling. However, before doing that, take some time to really let the moment sink in. Not everyone needs to know right away. Tell your family and close friends first, make sure you two take the time to embrace the moment and enjoy what just happened. Social media can wait. You also want to make sure that when the time comes to post on social media, that you have a clear head and are sending the announcement only to those “friends” you really want knowing, at least for the time being.



Mistake #3 – Talking to everyone about everything!


Here’s the truth! People are excited for you, they really are, but they don’t want to hear about your wedding planning every second of the day. Think about it, you don’t want to hear someone talk about their vacation all the time, or the construction being done on their home, or family drama, or how cute their kids are, or how cute their dog is. After a while, it’s too much. Yes, people are interested, yes, they care, but limit what you say and who you say it to.

Mistake #4 – Making plans before you officially begin planning


My husband and I got engaged in early December, and we agreed that we wouldn’t start “officially” planning anything until the new year. With Christmas coming up and the New Year, it was just too much. We gave ourselves about a month to really take a breath, think about what we both wanted our wedding to be like, think about a date, etc, but it wasn’t until January that we really started anything official. If you start planning before the time you both agree on, you are really doing yourself a disservice because you aren’t fully prepared to make decisions yet. You’ll create double work, and who wants that?



Mistake #5 – Not giving yourself enough time to plan


If you are getting married in the Hudson Valley and expect to get married 6 months to a year out from your engagement, good luck! Can it be done? Sure! But will it be easy? Heck no! If you haven’t noticed already, the Hudson Valley is a pretty popular place for weddings, with many vendors booking at least a year (sometimes more) out. Don’t rush your plans. Take the time to pick a date a minimum of a year out, and if you want a summer or fall wedding, plan accordingly. Planning, while fun, is stressful, too. You don’t want to give yourself added stress by being under an unnecessary time crunch.

Mistake #6 – Choosing your bridal party too quickly


Photo Credit: Sweet Alice Photography

Just like your wedding isn’t a time to invite everyone you’ve ever known, neither is choosing your bridal party. I’ve spoken before about this very unromantic truth, that you don’t even need a bridal party, you just need two witnesses to sign your marriage license. Keep that in mind when choosing your party. You don’t want to look at photos 5 or 10 years down the line and have regrets because you asked someone just to even the sides or see someone you were friends with who you are no longer friends with now. Choose people who you have known a long time, have been there for you through thick and thin, or mean the most to you. This could be family or friends or a mix of both. Keep your party small too, because we all know that the more people you have, the more complicated the planning gets.



Mistake #7 – Booking your vendors in the wrong order


The three main vendors you need to check off your list immediately are the venue, photographer/videographer, and your DJ. Everything else can wait…sort of (see mistake #8). You don’t want to book your florist before you know where your ceremony is going to be because that’s a question they are going to ask you. Same with the limo, caterer, planner (sometimes). Once you get those main three vendors booked, then you’re golden and everything else will fall into place.

Mistake #8 – Not booking vendors soon enough


Ok, so I just told you that one mistake couples make is not giving themselves enough time to plan. However, having too much time can sometimes lead to procrastination. DO NOT procrastinate booking your vendors, even if you are a year (or more) out. As soon as you know your date and are set on it, then start researching and booking your vendors before they someone else does. You’ve heard the expression, “the early bird gets the worm”? Well, consider yourself a bird!

Mistake #9 – Planning too much too fast


While it’s important to get your venue, photographer/videographer, and DJ booked right away, remember that planning isn’t a race. There are great planning timelines that you can get from your venue or magazines (even online) that break down every planning step leading backward from your wedding day. You don’t have to book everything now, and if you try, you are setting yourself up for failure. You also add more stress because you are putting unnecessary pressure on yourself and not giving yourself enough time to think or change your mind about something either.



Mistake #10 – Overthinking the details


Details are what makes each wedding unique, especially personalized details, but what people remember most about weddings is the experience they had and the food they ate, not details so much. I can tell you from every wedding I’ve attended what the experience was like and what I ate, but anything after that is a blur. I don’t remember colors, favors, centerpieces, etc. And guess what? No one else will either. Do you want your wedding to be nice? Of course! Who doesn’t? but don’t stress so much over the little details because no one will remember.

Mistake #11 – Shopping for your wedding dress too early


Photo Credit: WCHV

I made this mistake. I went shopping for my dress a year and a half out! I really wanted a dress that had sleeves or had a v-neckline and at the time, but that wasn’t the style then. Everything was strapless that I then had to modify. If I had waited longer, the style dresses I wanted would have been in style because the styles started to shift right after Prince William and Kate Middleton got married, which was the day I went dress shopping. Your dress takes 6-9 months to make from the time you order it. Knowing that, around the 9 to 10-month mark, start shopping. If you go too early, styles change, what you want changes, and once you purchase your dress, there are no refunds.



Mistake #12 – Not taking time for yourself


I mentioned earlier that planning your wedding is not a race. You need to make sure that during your entire planning process, you and your partner are doing NON-WEDDING-RELATED activities. If your wedding planning is consuming every part of your day and night and keeping you up at night, you are doing something wrong and need to take a step back. Date nights, stay-cations, concerts or parties are great ways to just take a mental break from everything and refocus. Just like work…if you are working on a project all the time, you are going to get burned out. You need time to decompress and step back. Those times will become priceless aS your wedding day gets nearer and nearer.

Mistake #13 – Not being true to yourself


A wedding is a great time for people to come out of the woodwork and chime in as to what YOUR wedding should be like. It’s funny how that happens. What you need to remember is that it’s your day. Does that mean you have to go all “Bride-or-Groom-Zilla” on folks? No. But you do need to be aware that this is going to happen. The last thing you want is regret on your wedding day. Don’t let other people’s opinions persuade you into doing something you really don’t want to do. A wedding is a great time to practice compromise. If you want a really small wedding and your partner wants a really big wedding, maybe meet somewhere in the middle.  You need to be true to yourself so you can have the day you always dreamed of.

Featured Photo Credit: Majestic Studios

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