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#1 bsktcase

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Posted 29 May 2009 - 04:59 PM

So what is everyone else doing? I don't want to hire a dj but I was going to put a bunch of songs on an ipod and borrow my friends Bose sound dock. Does that sound lame? There will be room for dancing if anyone feels so inclined but the reception is going to be in an outdoor pavilion, not inside on a nice dance floor. Suggestions? :)

I'm also looking for a starter list of great music to dance to (not the corny chicken dance and the like). I'm open to different eras, styles and traditional wedding songs (lady in red, celebration, etc, etc)

#2 kramer

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Posted 29 May 2009 - 06:37 PM

my friend did the same thing for her wedding- just make sure the sound quality is good enough. they had a laptop w/ crappy speakers. it was fine, but if you're outside you might want to make sure the Bose will do the job. i actually think it's better if you have that much control over the music, vs. risking having a DJ defy your instructions and play the chicken dance and the macarena :)

#3 fire_rocket

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Posted 29 May 2009 - 08:05 PM

We hired a DJ. We gave him a cd of all our favorite music and he did a great job at playing the tunes on there. He even started the song we were announced to at a certain time so that we could hear the part we wanted to. :) I think that worked great since he played our music, but also played some popular dance favorites that the rest of the crowd enjoyed and danced to, plus he took requests. We filled out a questionnaire in advance of the songs we absolutely didn't want to hear, and he followed our instructions.

The place we had it at had no AC so it got SUPER hot. He worked with us quickly when everyone moved outside so that we still had music.

A good DJ will work with you to play what you want and follow your instructions. They won't even talk or announce the songs if you request that.

My one big regret from my wedding is that we didn't have a band, but we just didn't have the funds, plus my mom wanted to make sure there were songs for people to dance to.

#4 Jersey Thug

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Posted 01 June 2009 - 08:34 PM

for my first wedding we really wanted a band, and paid around $4,000 for a 9 piece horn ensemble from NYC. they were awesome, learned all the songs they were asked to learn, played a family-friendly phish and dead inspired set for us, etc. that being said, i would never pay that much for a band (or a photographer, or for flowers... :lol: ) again, not for any party, unless money really was no longer an object. but i couldn't have asked for a better band.

bsktcase, here's a song list i had going. not sure if it's the final, actually i know it isn't - but it's what i have on my work pc, and it might help get you started. just keep in mind that some of these songs have personal meaning to ppl in my life or that of my ex, so they may not work as well for you...also, it's a few years old so you won't find anything current listed here :lol:

slow songs: while you don't want to play TOO many, please remember to play one or two throughout the night, besides your first dance and the other special dances. brotherjason and i attended a wedding a few weeks ago and the only slow songs played the entire night were special dances (mother/son, daughter/dad, married couples dance to determine who got the bouquet, etc) and Jason wanted to dance with me so badly that eventually we crashed an older people's singles party in the lounge of the hotel just so we could dance to something slow :lol:

i'm also going to attach some suggestions i found online about providing your own music, which you may find helpful :)

Song List

Pre-ceremony music suggestions (instrumental/guitar):
- Ice Cream (Sarah McLachlan)
- Salisbury Hill (P. Gabriel)
- Something (Beatles)

- What a Wonderful World/Somewhere Over the Rainbow (Israel Kamakawiwo Ole’)

- All You Need Is Love (Beatles)

- Crazy Little Thing Called Love (Queen) - us
- Boogie Shoes – bridal party

First Dance:
- Harvest Moon (N. Young)

Mother/Son Dance:
- Bridge Over Troubled Water?
- Teach Your Children?
- Wide World – Cat Stevens?

Cake Cutting ideas:
- "Sugar, sugar" - The Archies
- "How Sweet It Is..." JGB version
- Sarah McLachlan's "Ice Cream"
- "Love and Marriage" Sinatra
- "I Wanna Grow Old With You" from the wedding singer
- When I'm 64 - Beatles

Last Song(s):
- Midnight Hour – Wilson Pickett
- Late in the Evening – Paul Simon
- After Midnight – Eric Clapton

Songs we love not found on the band's list of standards (which were mostly jazz/big band):
"Here, There, Everywhere" - The Beatles
"God Only Knows" - The Beach Boys
"Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da" - The Beatles
"Something" - The Beatles
"I Got You (I Feel Good)" - James Brown
Safety Dance - Men Without Hats
"Brown Eyed Girl" - Van Morrison
"Higher Ground" - The Red Hot Chili Peppers
"Jungle Boogie" - Kool and the Gang
Salisbury Hill - Peter Gabriel
Thank U 4 Letting Me B Mice Elf - Pfunk (actually anything Pfunk would work)
Mellow Mood - Marley
Crazy Little Thing Called Love - Queen
Across the Universe - Beatles
Fields of Gold – Sting Paul and Jane’s wedding song, needed for
Don’t Know Why I Didn’t Come - Norah Jones
Birdland - Weather Report
Apache - Sugar Hill Gang
If I Had a Million Dollars - Barenaked Ladies
Revolution - Beatles
C’est La Vie - Chuck Berry
Late in the Evening - Paul Simon
Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes - Paul Simon
Sir Duke - Stevie Wonder
Harvest Moon - Neil Young
Gumbo - Phish
Boogie On Reggae Woman - Stevie Wonder
Son of a Preacher Man - Aretha Franklin
Play that Funky Music Whiteboy - Wild Cherry
Jungle Boogie - Kool and the Gang
Our House
Stuck In The Middle
Brown Eyed Girl
Can't get enough of your love-barry white
We are Family-sister sledge
Get down tonight
Play That funky music
Brick House
Some Kind of Wonderful
It had to be You – Harry Connick Jr.
All She Wants To Do Is Dance - Don Henley
I'm A Believer – Monkees/Smash Mouth
If You Could Read My Mind - Studio 54 All-Stars
Play That Funky Music – Wild Cherry
Rock This Town - Brian Setzer
These Are Days - Natalie Merchant
What I Like About You - Romantics
Maybe I’m Amazed
Grease Megamix :lol:
Sat. Night Fever Mix
Wild Thing
Under the Boardwalk
Jersey Girl
Get Down On It – Kool & the Gang
Love Train – The O’Jays
Jennie 867-5309
In Your Eyes – P Gabriel
Every Little Thing She Does – The Police
You’ve Got a Friend
I Want to Grow Old With You – Sandler
When I’m 64
Is This Love? Marley
Red Red Wine – UB40
Smooth – Santana
How Far Is Heaven? Los Lonely Boys
Joy To the World – 3 Dog Night
Cherry Pink/Apple Blossom White
How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You
Crazy Little Thing Called Love – Queen
Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman
Midnight Hour – Wilson Pickett (Last Song?)
Some Kind of Wonderful – Grand Funk Railroad
Southern Cross
Susie Q
Frankenstein – E. Winter Band
You are So Beautiful – J Cocker
Your Smiling Face – James Taylor
A Little Less Conversation – Elvis
Wide World – Cat Stevens
Rock Lobster – B52s
Moondance – Van Morrison
Crazy Love – Van Morrison
They Love Each Other – JGB
Soul Shakedown Party – Phish/Marley
Shining Star - Jerry Garcia Band version
They Love Each Other - Grateful Dead
How Sweet It Is, She Belongs To Me, Second That Emotion, Dead Flowers, Brown Eyed Girl, Honky Tonk Women, U.S. Blues, Bertha>Good Lovin', Sugaree>Franklin's Tower>Women Are Smarter, Folsom Prison Blues, Werewolves of London, Mustang Sally, Shakedown St.>Not Fade Away, Quinn The Eskimo, Harder They Come, Tore Up, Midnite Moonlight, That's What Love Will Make You Do, Dancin' In The Streets, Midnight Hour, They Love Each Other, Saturday Night

setting up your own sound system:

You will need:

1. speakers large enough to accommodate your space. (discuss this with your rental equipment place - find out the approximate dimensions of the room from your site coordinator. How high the ceilings are makes a big difference in sound quality. The bass needs to hit the ceiling and bounce back for full sound and if your ceilings are high - you'll need large speakers or an extra subwoofer)

2. an amplifier with sufficient power for the speakers you have selected. (more than you ever wanted to know about how speakers work)

3. something to out put music (CD player, turntables, laptop, MP3 player) that can be plugged into the amplifier or a mixing console. (tape decks are a bad idea.)

4. heavy duty speaker cable long enough to place the speakers where you want them and with the appropriate plugs for your speakers.

5. if using an iPod - a dock and monster cable stereo connector or a laptop with RCA cables that can plug into an amp. I believe they would plug into the headphone jack on your laptop which is an Audio out.

6. A power strip and heavy duty extension cord

7. A table for your laptop or MP3 player and someone to keep an eye on it! ( a lock is a very good idea for the laptop) The iPod can be safely held in someone's purse or pocket until needed.

(optional items)

1. A four track mixing console if you are using turntables or CD players and want the true DJ experience - or if you plan on using things like microphones.

2. a microphone

3. duct tape to tape down cables so people do not trip over them.

4. stereo head phones - if you are using a console and mixing music old school.

* * *

The set up is very simple and actually logical. Nothing should be powered on during set up. You can blow the speakers or shock yourself.

The speaker cables plug into the back of the amplifier in the space marked OUT and the music source plugs into the IN. Music goes from the source (mixer, laptop, MP3 player) into the amplifier which amplifies it and sends it into the speakers where it comes out and is audible.

A little flow chart of how the sound travels:

(scenario one)
(iPod)--> (amplifier)--> (speakers)

(scenario two)
(laptop)--> (amplifier)--> (speakers)

(scenario three)

(iPod/laptop/CD players)--|
..................................(mixer)--> (amplifier)--> (speakers)


Make sure your iPod is charged and bring the AC cable so you can plug it in and don't have to worry about it running out of juice. Same with laptop.

* * *

How to setup

Make sure everything is turned off and all volume controls are on the lowest settings on the amplifier, mixers, iPod, or laptop.

1. Place the iPod and its dock, or your laptop on the table. put the amp next to it (unless it is in wheeled case in which case you can stand it next to the table)

2. Put the speakers where you want them

3. Run speaker cable from the speakers to the amp and plug the cables into the back of the speakers and into the back of the amplifier into the OUT plugs.

4. Plug the monster cable or RCA cable into your laptop or iPod Dock and then into the back of the amplifier.

5. Plug all the power cords into the power strip and plug that into a wall outlet (you may need an extension cord).

6. If the power strip has an on/off switch - flip it on. They usually light up red when they are on.

7. Power on the amplifier after making sure it is on the lowest settings. It should have dials or slides that look like volume controls. If there are two for left and right then - turn them both up or both down as needed.

8. Turn up the controls a little on the amplifier and test out your system. Make sure sound is coming out of all your speakers.

Music sounds different in an empty room than it does in a room full of people. So you may have to play with the sound levels to get them right.

With a mixing board:

If you are using a mixer pick a slide or dial for the music and plug into that jack. Let's say we pick channel one.

If you are using a microphone plug that into your mixer on a different jack than the music. And make note of which one you picked. Labeling them might be a good idea. Masking tape will work fine and can be easily removed.

Instead of plugging the laptop or iPod into the amplifier as above you would plug the mixer into the amplifier instead. The components (laptop, iPod, microphones, turntables, etc plug into the mixer) so you can switch from one to the other and control what comes out of the speakers.

If you are playing music and want to change to the microphone you slide the #1 dial or slide control (called a "***") down to zero and the #2 *** up (not all the way!!) so that the microphone can be heard coming out of the speakers instead. You can get fancy and have them both coming together so that the speaking can be heard over the music by turning down *** #1 to a lower lever and turning up *** #2 so that the mic is audible over the music.

* * *

If you can hook up a CD player or home stereo you can handle this equipment.

You might also be able to hire the equipment place to set it up for you too if you are leery.

If the space between songs on an iPod or regular play list bugs you (as it does me) you can download mixing software or I am pretty sure use Garage Band on iLife for Mac to mix the songs together and create several hours of premixed seguewayed music. It won't have the spark of a live DJ who is good at playing to the crowd but it is a lot cheaper and no cheesy talkovers of songs you hate.
[Updated on: Wed, 27 April 2005 11:19]
Well, it helps to know your crowd. A good DJ knows how to control a floor - which is sort of hard to explain. You have to clue in to what people are doing and what mood they are in.

With prerecorded music you'll just have to guess. I don't think there is a formula for fast to slow music - but avoid abrupt changes. If people all hop up to dance to Blondie or Deeelite and you follow it up with something really slow - it clears the dancefloor.

You don't want to play two fast songs and then a slow one and then switch back to fast. Start with a few sure numbers to get everyone up and dancing. Mix in songs of faster and slower tempos without any dead stops. Going from "I want to be Sedated" to "Fly me to the Moon" is not a great idea.

Also from a DJ's perspective the music is not for you. You are not playing your favorite songs. You are playing songs people want to hear and that people want to dance to. As the couple getting married and also mixing your own music you might want to consider both songs you dig and songs you know will get people up out of their seats.

#5 kramer

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Posted 01 June 2009 - 09:14 PM

such good ideas!!!!!!!

we are working on a song list too but i don't know if it will be just for pre-ceremony or, if we opt not to have a band for the reception, for that too.

pick fun songs that mean something special to you, and take a lot of time to plan the playlist-- don't just make a long list and hit "shuffle," bc as thuggie said- you don't want to skip around from fast to slow w/ bad transitions.

#6 bsktcase

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Posted 03 June 2009 - 07:15 PM

You are awesome Thuggie!! THANK YOU for this!:Phishfolk:

#7 Jersey Thug

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Posted 03 June 2009 - 07:33 PM

oh, sure thing! i have all sorts of stuff saved from my planning. figured i might as well pass it along :)

#8 Dr. Lostreality

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Posted 04 June 2009 - 07:00 PM

we did the ipod plugged into a stereo thing, and I think the music was fine (and I liked that I got to pick the setlist- although I only have an ipod shuffle, so the song order was random). Had no problem with transitions as far as I could tell. We didn't have dancing or anything though.

#9 fire_rocket

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Posted 04 June 2009 - 08:42 PM

We used "Hungry for your Love" by Sam Bush while cutting the cake.
We were announced into the reception and walked into Soul Shakedown Party from Phish at Nassau 2/28/03.
Our first dance was They Love each Other by Jerry band.
I wish I had known the song "Darling, darling darling" by the Meters when we got married- it's such a perfect happy wedding song!!

#10 georgi

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Posted 12 June 2009 - 01:12 PM

I told Rich he could play his ipod, and then we decided it's probably not the best idea considering NWA would come on with FUCK THE POLICE, or we'd get Patti Patti with put it between the boobs, I'm into the tf'ing. :lmao:

His Mother would crap her pants. :lol:

#11 kramer

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Posted 12 June 2009 - 01:28 PM


it's called a playlist, georgi :lol:

#12 georgi

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Posted 12 June 2009 - 01:53 PM

Yeah, I bet Richard Cheese and Phish would consume that entire playlist. (Not complaining! :lol: )

#13 bsktcase

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Posted 12 June 2009 - 02:50 PM


it's called a playlist, georgi :lol:

SERIOUSLY! :funny1: If I just used my bf's iPod, we'd have clips of 'How to Speak Chinese' in between the songs! These things require planning.

#14 kramer

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Posted 12 June 2009 - 03:03 PM

gahh!!! richard cheese!! so classy at first glance, so hilarious when you actually listen to him :) :) :)

#15 georgi

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Posted 12 June 2009 - 03:15 PM

If Rich and I had our way, we'd so pay $20,000 for Richard Cheese to come play our wedding! :Phishfolk:

#16 vinandtonic

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Posted 12 June 2009 - 03:17 PM

we didn't have music planned, since we got married at the beach and no one would have been able to hear it.

at dinner, at first we had the restaurant change the overhead satellite channel to something 80's, but our friends brought their ipod and a dock so we listened to moe. and the GD instead. :lol:

afterwards a bunch of us went to a local bar where there was a cover band playing and our friend Debbi (unknown to us) asked the band to play Moondance by Van Morrison for us, which actually turned out to be really goo. So we had a first dance after all.

#17 bsktcase

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Posted 12 June 2009 - 03:45 PM

we didn't have music planned, since we got married at the beach and no one would have been able to hear it.

at dinner, at first we had the restaurant change the overhead satellite channel to something 80's, but our friends brought their ipod and a dock so we listened to moe. and the GD instead. :lol:

afterwards a bunch of us went to a local bar where there was a cover band playing and our friend Debbi (unknown to us) asked the band to play Moondance by Van Morrison for us, which actually turned out to be really goo. So we had a first dance after all.

Aww! That worked out perfect! Moondance is an awesome song, too. ;)