Your love story has always had a soundtrack. For every major moment in your relationship, there is a piece of music that takes you right back to that first kiss, that awkward slow dance, or that restaurant where you popped the question. So it’s only natural to want these songs played at your wedding. There’s no other way to tell your story than with the playlist that defines your journey. So what do you do when your DJ takes Grandma’s third request of the Macarena? It can be hard to balance what you want to hear with what your guests want to dance to. But there are ways to handle the music, all of which require good communication with your DJ. Take a few minutes to reflect on what rules you may want to set for your special day with the help of this article.

Music is a key part of any wedding reception. If you’ve made the choice to hire a DJ instead of a live band, your next step is to build a playlist of songs that you and your partner have to have at your wedding. Take your time with this step; spend a couple of weeks slowly building a playlist on Spotify or Apple Music. Talk with friends, look through photo albums, and revisit old memories to build your collection of songs. What was playing during your first date? What was your first concert together? If you’re honoring traditions such as the first dance for the bride and groom, the mother-son dance, and the father-daughter dance, find songs for these moments and tell the DJ your desired order. Oftentimes, these couples will not want to dance to the full song, only the first minute or so. Your DJ can edit the song down, or fade out the music when the dance feels complete. Your groomsmen and/or bridesmaids may want to celebrate with a song for their group, so talk to them and see if there is a song you can all agree fits the mood.

Your reception playlist can have a strict order that you set before the ceremony, or it can be a group of songs with no set order. But now comes the tricky part: do you let your guests make requests? First, consider if your DJ is even able to take requests. Odds are good that they have a massive collection of songs already downloaded, or they are using the venue’s wireless internet and streaming software to pull songs. However, if your wedding is in a more remote location, you may not have Wi-Fi. Let the DJ know ahead of time if there is a lack of internet access, and they will download your songs and any extra music ahead of time. Requests may then be limited to what they have stored in their library. 

Remember, it’s your ceremony. You can make the decision to only have pre-selected music played during your romantic evening. Or, you can allow your DJ to take requests from your guests. If you do, be sure to communicate with your DJ if any specific requests are off-limits. Maybe your partner can’t stand those “cheesy” line dances, or perhaps you allowed children to attend and don’t want anything played that contains foul language. Let them know, and ask them to politely deny any of those requests. If your wedding has a theme, you may tell your DJ not to play any requests that don’t fit the tone of that theme. If your guests get upset that their songs are not being played, explain to them the choice you made to deny or curate requests, and they will understand. 

All of this boils down to communication with your wedding DJ. Take care in selecting who will play the music, how they will talk to your wedding planner and guests, and what they can provide in terms of a music library or streaming. Build a playlist over time while you’re planning, and consider whether or not you want your playlist to grow at the ceremony based on the guest’s desires. You can keep your soundtrack untouched, or let your friends and family put their spin on it; just decide ahead of time, and make sure your decision reflects what you want from your unforgettable night.