Each season our brides have lots of questions about how to create the perfect party playlist. We’re big believers that the music can literally “make” or “break” the party, and we caught up with Ross Phillips at Look No Further Entertainment to get some tips and tricks from a seasoned professional.
How long have you been DJing? How many events have you hosted? And how did you get into weddings?
I got into DJing in the late 90s when I started at the University of Texas. After graduating I spent about 5 years DJing in nightclubs downtown before playing a wedding for a friend in 2008. The event coordinator at that wedding thought that I had a unique approach, and she encouraged me to try my hand in the wedding market. In 2009, LNFE was born, and we have hosted over 900 events to date.
Have you noticed any trends when discussing music with your clients?
Everybody wants a big dance party at their reception, but people’s definitions of “fun” and “cheesy” can vary drastically. Some clients want to cater the music towards their friends while other clients prefer to cater to their families. Having solid communication with your DJ throughout the planning process is the best way to set yourself up for success.
How should clients start their planning?
Start with a consultation. This is a great way to build rapport with your DJ, to discuss your musical goals for the event and to determine if they’re the right fit. It’s also a great opportunity to start working on your must play list, your don’t play list and everything in between. At LNFE we perform a custom live demo at every “in person” meeting to give them a basis for comparison and to get them excited about their event! For clients planning from out of town, we’re also very comfortable getting things done electronically, on the phone or via Skype.
Do most DJs have a list of curated songs? Is there a best way to go about making a request list?
Any professional artist should be able to provide their clients with a variety of lists that cater to different music styles. We provide all of our clients with suggestions that have been aggregated from around the country and are broken down by decade and event. Shared Spotify playlists are another popular way to communicate your musical wishes with your DJ.
How many requests should people make?
Hiring a good DJ is an investment in experience, talent and professionalism. Every client wants to have a different level of input, and a good DJ should follow all directions to the letter. However, in our experience “less is more” when it comes to a successful dance party. Having a short list of “must plays,” “don’t plays,” and a sense of the atmosphere the client is trying to create makes for the most cohesive and fun sets.
Any other planning tips?
Yes – “the fun is on the edges!” It is traditional to open the dancing with more mainstream music that caters to the collective group. As the night progresses the music usually gets a little younger and the tempo and energy follow suit. If there is alcohol being served at the wedding I always recommend that clients have a glass of wine or a few cocktails when planning music so that they can loosen up a little bit and have fun with it. I can tell if a request list was written on Sunday after church or during a fun night at home. Lists that have been made after a few drinks tend to be a little edgier and closer to what the clients state of mind will be on wedding day.
Hire who you trust! Every vendor you hire is a relationship, and the better that you know your DJ, the better they will be able to represent you musically on the big day! You should have at least two music meetings with your DJ prior to the event in order to make sure your vision is clearly communicated. Creating the perfect playlist might seem daunting at first, but these tips will set you up for a packed dance floor all night long!