Should You Allow Guests to Request Music at Your Event?

May 25th, 2014 pulsedj

Should you allow your guests to request music at your event?  I’ve discussed this topic with many hosts and especially every Bride & Groom I’ve ever worked with.  While many events are designed to be very “guest” focused the exception to this may be certain private events such as your own wedding.  Weddings are typically the most “customized” and personal types of events that I perform at so even though this blog could apply to any event, I am going to focus on weddings.

As a professional Wedding Disc-Jockey (DJ) in the Boston and Worcester Massachusetts area for the past 16 years I’ve learned a lot.  I can tell you that it does make a party more interactive when your guests feel welcome and comfortable enough to approach the DJ and request a song.  Generally, especially during dancing, I get a lot of requests for pop songs, or a nostalgic dance song that they know will get the Bride and all of her friends onto the dance floor with no problem.  In this case, it makes my job easier and I don’t have to work as hard to figure out what people want to dance to. Your guests are generally happier when they have some say in the music choices.  I always love to encourage appropriate requests from the guests as the bride and groom allow.

However, there are also guests who approach me and ask for terrible songs…or worse, we’ll be in the middle of a packed dance floor with a lot of energy and someone comes and asks me to switch to a slow song.  Believe it or not, many times this occurs during the first three or four actual dance songs of the night…after playing slow cocktail and dinner music for the past three hours!  I am immediately reminded why this person isn’t a DJ.  It may be a great old song…but it just doesn’t fit with the energy of the moment so guess what?  It’s not getting played!  Or at least not at the moment.  In general I won’t play anything that my gut tells me will kill a party or the current “mood”.  The only exception is if the Bride or Groom come to me personally and request me to play said song.  I am always courteous to guests who request music, and most of the time, they do make good requests.  If someone continues to hound me about playing a song that I know will not work, I might discuss it briefly with them and if they become belligerent or rude, I will remind them it isn’t their wedding day and I’m playing music the Bride and Groom want to hear.  I may simply tell the guest that I’ll try to fit it in at an appropriate time or work with them to pick a more appropriate song.  When you’ve DJ’d 100’s of weddings, you see all types of personalities and attitudes and unfortunately, when people drink, sometimes they become demanding and arrogant with the DJ.  I am not one to let people run over me or allow your guests to dictate the flow of the music at YOUR wedding.  For me it’s about a fine balance of blending the bride and groom’s music requests with my vast experience and skill for packing the dance floor.  Many things are going through the DJ’s mind while playing music…the age of your guests,  the flow of people on and off the dance floor, how people are reacting to the music on and off the dance floor, when people are getting tired, when it’s time to rotate the floor to a different age group with a different type of music… etc. etc.   There are so many elements that go into keeping things moving!

Some Brides and Grooms offer their guests a chance to request music ahead of time via my on-line Guest Request feature.  This works great, and again, it allows guests to feel like a part of the show.  I always encourage the couple to go through the list and sort out the songs they do not like (they have full admin control of the Guest Request list).  Sometimes, you will receive a very special request from a special guest such as your grandparents, and it may make for a very sweet moment for them…especially if it is their own Wedding song from the 1940’s.  It’s the kind of thing that makes memories for people, and gives them an even greater experience when they attend your wedding.

So while I would never dictate a final response to this question (it is ultimately your event and your choice), I would recommend with caution to allow your guests to make requests.  This could be prior to the wedding and/or during the wedding, and allow your DJ to control the flood gates and to make the final decision on what does or doesn’t get played.  An experienced and reputable DJ is fully capable of this task!

Happy Planning and have a great wedding!




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