The Three Types of Wedding Couples
Planning a wedding can be a daunting task. There are so many decisions and details involved. Being a dedicated professional in the wedding entertainment business, one of my goals is to make the planning process fun and simple when it comes to music.
There are three types of clients when it comes to music and I ask a few key questions to qualify each client before we begin planning.
1.) The Mainstream Couple. They usually start the conversation with “We’ll have all ages at our wedding and just want fun music that everyone will dance to!” This type of client understands the dynamic of bridging the generation gap through an open format and they are generally easy going when it comes to planning. As an event professional, I can say with certainty that this type of format allows the entertainer to use his or her creativity and intuition in programming the music, from Motown and Party Favorites of the 60s and 70s, to Disco, 80s, 90’s and beyond.
Each decade has its own characteristics when it comes to music and once the format is identified, we go deeper. For example, a 30-year-old couple in 2022 was born in 1992. Their first introduction to music was likely the 90s sound and their influential teen years were the early 2000s. Looking at this timeframe in music, there were VERY different styles.
One couple may LOVE the boy bands of the 90s (Backstreet Boys, NSync, etc) and that usually goes hand in hand with the Spice Girls, Missy Elliott, Vanilla Ice, etc. Another couple who loves the “90s” Could want something VERY different, with taste in Indie and alternative rock, which is a category unto itself.
There are also interactive dances that must be discussed. Some clients LOVE and want The Electric Slide, Cupid Shuffle, Cha Cha Slide, Cotton Eye Joe as they are party starters, but others despise these dances. As such, 50% of our clients place these on the MUST Play list and the other 50% place them on the DO NOT PLAY LIST, citing them as “Cheese”… As a professional, it is our job to ask the right questions and KNOW this so we fully understand the client’s vision.
2.) The Indie / Alternative Couple. This type of client KNOWS what they want and more importantly, what they do NOT want. Their taste in music may include Indie bands you’ve never heard of, but nonetheless, bands that have a tremendous following. Mainstream groups such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Foo Fighters, Pearl Jam and Nirvana are usually all welcomed by this type of client, but we must ask, download a lot of unfamiliar music and study it to ensure it is programmed properly, whether specific songs are played during cocktails, dinner or dancing. This type of client has a VERY different taste in music than a mainstream client and it is our job to identify their taste, educate them on what will work, when and how. Being a full-time DJ entertainer, I’ll be honest. I used to cringe when I would see a playlist like this, but over the years, I’ve learned to expand my own horizons, learn the music and more importantly, how to integrate it into a program that will still please the majority of guests. It is a challenge I welcome today and the satisfaction of pleasing this type of client is great as they appreciate the fact that you “get” their taste in music.
3.) The EDM Couple. This is generally a couple who grew up in the higher tech nightclub dance scene. They love their beats and want the remixes of Tiesto, David Guetta, Steve Aoki, Calvin Harris, Diplo, Avicii, Marshmello and others remixing beats. Much like the Indie client who loves underground bands, this type of client loves underground beats, creativity in the mix and even mashups that are popular today, taking classic hits and mashing them with current hits, all to a remixed beat.
There are many genres and styles of music and a true professional will have proficiency in most areas. It’s often said that a truly great DJ can make a whole room of people fall in love, generating shared moods through music. Intuitively, it’s about understanding the music and the audience in front of you, simultaneously directing a group of diverse people to a better place. That is the art of programming. Anyone can push play with a playlist in front of them, but that is not the art of a great DJ. For one of the most important celebrations of your life, don’t cut corners on the entertainment. Allow a master to get to know you, understand your vision and deliver it flawlessly, creating memories that will last a lifetime!
Whether your profile reflects client number 1, 2 or 3 above, it is important to know that as the client, YOUR taste comes first. It’s also important to understand that a diverse group of guests from various generations and vastly different backgrounds will all have their own taste as they celebrate with you.
Our job is to educate, understand and deliver the perfect balance as our common goal should always be maximizing the fun and memories for the majority.
If you’d really like to simplify the process, please ask for Ken Schaffer Entertainment’s timeline planner. This 5-page document takes you through every step of your celebration, asking all the right questions and providing data to create the perfect soundtrack and timeline.
I also recommend thinking about the “Top 5”. This is a quick assignment I give to each of my clients and it is quite simple. Do NOT think of dancing or your wedding. Simply place yourself on a virtual vacation. Imagine spending a week on the beach with nothing to do but relax and enjoy your favorite music. Who are the TOP 5 artists you’ll have in your phone if you were ONLY allowed to pick 5.
Getting the “Top 5” from both the bride and groom is incredibly helpful to have for reference throughout the entire celebration. As the event unfolds, glancing at that at various times will often change the course of the next song, which may create a reaction that changes the course of the next set, and so on. It is very important to understand each client’s unique taste.
Finally, if you really want a simple summary of the perfect balance of music, I highly recommend the annual DJ Event Planner Top 200. This is REAL cloud-based data from clients all across the nation who planned their music through DJs using this popular platform. This is broad based across the entire country and THESE are the MOST REQUESTED songs for dancing and specific special formalities, updated annually.
Here are the Top 200, plus specialty favorites pooled from thousands of couples in 2021: