Planning a magical, tearful ceremony is only half the battle: the reception is just as important. Of course, your family and friends are there to testify and celebrate your love, but what guests make of your big day and how much fun they have at the reception makes an epic wedding.

The soundtrack of your party plays a crucial role in an unforgettable night. While it’s true that hiring the right DJ can make or break your big day, keep in mind that tango takes two. So it is up to you to clearly communicate your wishes in advance. Don’t just play it by ear. Here are five things to tell your wedding DJ to get the party pop and keep it going.

How to pronounce names

First things first: decide who will introduce the bride and groom and the entire wedding party for the grand entrance. If you do decide to go with the DJ, be sure to give your DJ a phonetic spelling of the names of the entire wedding party, especially if there are unusual names (first and / or last names) in the mix.

To MC or not to MC

Aside from introductions, let your DJ know if you’re struggling with a lot of moderation, advises Sandy Malone, author of How to Plan Your Own Destination Wedding. She warns, “Some of them do this naturally if you don’t ask them not to.” Should you decide to let your DJ presenter, let us know your preferences. Do you feel comfortable being the center of attention? Are there any subjects or people to stay away from? You can also alert your DJ to any strained relationships between members of your wedding party or family, including divorce or anything else that may cause inconvenience, so he or she should exercise the utmost care and sensitivity when interacting with these people and making announcements can your reception.

When should you play what and for how long

Now that you’ve covered the topics of conversation, it’s time to choose your playlist. You’ll be dying to let your DJ know which songs you picked for the most important moments (think the wedding reception performance, first dance, father / daughter and mother / son dance, cake cutting, bouquet and garter throwing, and the final song), says Event planner and designer Stacy Wichelhaus from They So Loved Events. Timing is also critical, and not just in relation to the actual day of the timeline and the songs that should be played and when. For example, will you and your partner dance the full five minutes or would you like your DJ to fade out the song after three minutes?

The context for song requests

As opposed to a general list of songs you’d like to hear, Erica Taylor, co-founder of Tinsel Experiential Design, encourages her clients to provide some context. “For example, Nelly’s ‘Hot In Herre’ was our high school anthem and will keep my girls on the dance floor,” or “My mom just loves Stevie Wonder so she’ll enjoy everything.” That way, your DJ can also get a feel for which other songs, artists or genres to play.

Your “don’t play” list

Often times, Malone notes, having a banned song list is even more important than your playlist, especially when the DJ is open to requests from guests – something you and your DJ need to discuss. “Try to leave room for the DJ to take requests, but don’t hesitate to share anything you hate (e.g. available.”) In addition to certain songs that are off limits, pay attention to the language settings (e.g. dirty Words) and volume settings.

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