image from vitalmove.net
One of the most fun things Garrett and I did the few weeks before our Oct. 3rd reception was to suggest music to our unbelievably talented DJ, Mitchell London.
I hadn't really thought about the music at all, and hadn't even decided to have a DJ until July. I thought we'd manage with an ipod reception, but I started realizing all that such would entail. Picking the songs (and the stress of trying to make it danceable! I would've died if no one danced), having an ipod and backup ready, having someone there to troubleshoot [I didn't like the idea of forcing any of our friends into work during the party, I wanted them to enjoy it!], what if it stopped working, did we need anything extra to hook up? So I twittered about needing a DJ, not expecting a response, really just to complain, and Mitchell messaged me to say he'd love to. Seeing how a lot of things went wrong in the course of our planning/doing, the music is something that went very right.
Even if you have someone you really trust doing your music, you need to suggest and request in advance. It will help the DJ out tremendously and increase your enjoyment of the night tenfold. Garrett absolutely loves music and has played instruments, formed bands with his friends, composed quartets and orchestral pieces on and off for years so I definitely wanted him to get involved. I had no idea how I was going to organize a list, and get Garrett actually interested in adding to it.
He had mentioned Grooveshark a few times, a pandora-like service where you can type in any song and listen instantly (unlike pandora). So I spent weeks on weddingbee and other various wedding sites looking at playlists of other brides, typing in the songs, listening, adding or vetoing, and hoping that they would spark other songs to listen to. I was pretty open minded, there is nothing I would've been upset at being played for our wedding, not that I would've loved cotton eye joe or the chicken dance.
I was going for letting Mitchell know what we liked and which songs were important to us. We listen to music fairly often but we don't have bands that we religiously follow as a couple, so there were very few obvious picks. Plus, I wasn't too keen on playing anything bluntly depressing, love-hating, or anti-marriage/pro-promiscuity. But, Garrett really wanted 'Fat Bottom Girls'. Haha. He also told me he liked "brown eyed girl" and I have blue eyes. Lucky for him we were already married.
So that this post isn't completely self-indulgent, I'll give you a link to the playlists I made for Mitchell and list the songs we gave him as "most important" here. As far as people looking for parent dance songs, good luck. That part escaped me completely and I ended up asking my dad to pick and he had a Sinatra song in mind, so it worked out. Much better than the songs I could remember my dad singing all my life, such as "Hot Blooded" and "Hot Legs" (Rod Stewart)
Link to the wedding suggestion playlist
Link to a second playlist with songs we like, to be used to fill in during eating/chill/non dancing times.
The songs we higlighted as being important are:
-Shout by the Isley Brothers (Garrett's favorite wedding song)
-Honey Pie by the Beatles (has become our song for no real reason, but we very much like it and it works, served as our entrance song and was played by the bluegrass duo at our BBQ [rehearsal dinner equivalent] the night before).
-Hotel Yorba by the White Stripes (one of Garrett's favorite bands, and a song I heard on a mix he and some other people made around the time that we met. Key lyrics: Let's get married in a big cathedral by a priest. If I'm the man you love the most, you can say I do at least.)
-Moon of Alabama/Alabama Song/Whiskey Bar by the Doors (we're in Alabama, it's an awesome song, and the original version is sweet and creepy sounding. It was our "last song" because of these lyrics: "Oh show us the way to the next whiskey bar")
-Alabama Waltz by Hank Williams (Garrett loves Hank Williams and here we are in Alabama again. It was really pretty and was our first dance. Garrett's grandma and my uncle were tres impressed.)
-If you want to sing out, sing out by Cat Stevens (from Harold and Maude, one of our favorite movies.)
-Blister in the Sun by the Violent Femmes (Big hands, I know you're the one.)
The biggest hit of the night was probably 500 miles by the proclaimers. Check out what Mitchell had to say about the night.
Garrett's friend Allison (Mitchell's girlfriend) recommended Shake your bon bon by Ricky Martin for the reception and when it was played the dance floor cleared. Garrett and I stayed and kept dancing, but laughed hysterically. So, just saying.
Mitchell has a full time job improving education in D.C. but was incredibly generous to offer to come home to Sweet Home Alabama to mix our reception and he was amazing. So many people told us during or afterwards how great our DJ was and how much fun he had, and that's just the way Mitchell is. I'm sure we'll get back a lot of photos of him dancing as well, and he signed our guestbook with "if I'm writing this, who's handling the music."
So, what are/were your must-haves and suggestions, and do not plays?
The best part of the reception was dancing with my husband and our friends to all the music we like. Singing along to all of the songs was amazing and I wish every night was a dance party.