Seasoned wedding DJ Scott Rideout shares the secrets to making a kickass wedding dance party—which includes the most requested classics, “Don’t Stop Believing,” “Celebration” and “Billie Jean.”
How do you balance slow songs versus fast songs? What’s the ratio?
There is no exact formula, but too many slow songs bring the energy level down, while too few can leave guests desiring more. The “slow jam” is a tool DJs use to move between genres. Typically, one slow song per hour of dancing, with flexibility, of course.
How do you please both older folks and younger folks with song selections?
At a wedding, guests—both older and younger—want to feel comfortable. It’s good to cover a broad range of songs early to give guests a sense of variety and to allow them to relax and dance when the time is right for them.
Newer, more recognizable tracks like “Uptown Funk” can bridge generational gaps.
We do have secrets to getting your grandmother dancing to “Hypnotize” by Notorious B.I.G, but we’ll save that for another edition.
Why is music so important at a wedding?
The main reason is that the majority of guests remember the party the most. And we share the same goal with the couple: a great party, happy guests and a happy couple.
Poor music planning can prove to be costly, not only during the event but in the lasting memory of the wedding. We find those certain hits that take the party to the next level.
Should DJs be open to requests?
Generally, classics are what people ask for the most. Our trick is to filter the requests, so we leave guests feeling they’ve been heard and they’re contributing to the success of the party, but we keep the couple’s preferences in mind.
Our usual “no-play zone” are tracks that involve group movements like “YMCA” or “Chicken Dance,” unless those songs are special to the couple or there are a large number of children attending the event.
—interview conducted by Adria Young