8 simple rules for requesting music at a wedding

I just finished meeting with a couple who is getting married in March.  They are very nice people who chose most of the music for their wedding, which will tie my hands a bit when it comes to taking requests that night.

This is fine with me.  I find the practice of requesting songs at weddings to be annoying and rude.  Brides and grooms spend a great deal of time choosing the music for their weddings.  Why screw it up with your stupid request for Diana King’s Say a Little Prayer?  Yes, it was cute in My Best Friend's Wedding, but you’re not Julia Roberts and it just doesn’t work as well in real life.

I have been the DJ at more than 300 weddings over the past fifteen years, and I am still surprised how often an impossible-to-dance song from a wedding movie will permeate the music scene.

But if you insist upon requesting a song at a wedding, please follow these simple rules. 

1. DO request your song early in the evening.  If you wait until the last hour of the wedding, the DJ is likely locked into a playlist of bride and groom songs, as well as the requests of guests who were smart enough to ask for their songs earlier.

2. DO request music during dinner.  Want to hear your own wedding song?  Ask for it to be played during dinner, and feel free to escort your spouse to the dance floor.  This is a perfect time to play slow songs, and even though people are eating, you are perfectly free to dance.

3. DON’T tell the DJ how important you are as a means of convincing him to play your request.  Everyone at the wedding is important, otherwise they would not have been invited.  “I’m the Maid of Honor.” “I’m the college roommate”  “I’m the bride’s favorite aunt.”  None of this means a damn to a DJ.  Unless you are the bride and groom or perhaps one of their parents, your relationship does not carry any weight with us if your request is lousy or we are running out of time.  

4. DON’T tell the DJ that the music that he is playing “sucks” when it is probably the  music that the bride and groom specifically requested AND the dance floor is jammed with guests. Essentially, you’re telling me that your friend’s taste in music sucks and that every guest on the dance floor has no taste as well.  

5. DO respect the wishes of the bride and groom.  If they asked that The Macarena not be played at the wedding, don’t go hassling the bride in order to have the song played after the DJ has refused.  Leave the bride and groom alone and find some other overplayed, utterly ridiculous song that allows you to engage in an absurd display of synchronized line dancing.

6. DON’T flirt with the DJ, offer to expand his view of your cleavage, or proffer sex in order to get a song played.  You’re probably not very good looking, the DJ is probably married or in a serious relationship, we’ve all seen enough cleavage in our lives to allow us to pass on yours, and women who are willing to offer sex in order to dance to a four-minute song from 1983 are not that appealing.

7. DON’T threaten to “kick my ass in the parking lot” when I refuse to play a fourth song by Chicago during the wedding.  It’s not worth it, and you will look foolish when I accept your parking lot offer, knowing full well that I am perfectly capable of kicking the ass of any man who likes a pop rock band like Chicago this much.

8. DO ask yourself:  Do I really need to request this song?  Is it worth altering the  bride and groom’s playlist in order to hear a four minute song that I can play at any other time?

If the answer is yes, get your self-centered ass over to the DJ booth and be polite, flexible and understanding.  If I have time and am allowed to play the song that you have requested, I will, as long as you have asked in a way that would make your mother proud.