Add some additional flair to your event with special effects like:
Dancing on a cloud
Indoor cold-spark fountain
Add some additional flair to your event with special effects like:
Dancing on a cloud
Indoor cold-spark fountain
ooking to Explore some great options for your First Dance as a married couple at your wedding?
Here's a lot of great options to look into - you may find the perfect song or you may just get the creative juices going - but either way you're sure to find something you love on this custom Wedding First Dance playlist!
What makes for a great first dance? As long as it speaks to your love it's perfect. My first dance with my wife was a track called "Kickass Violin Solo" by Aphex Twin and we did "I Only Have Eyes for You" by the Flamingoes as a coda. Anything goes!
New 2020 Wedding First Dance Songs
At Stylus - we're obsessive about music and we're always looking to help our clients find the perfect fit for their special day - so if you're looking for 2020 New Wedding Frist Dance Songs then we can help. Click to explore some new and exciting options for your First Dance - there's a ton of great songs to fit every style, genre, and mood.
What makes for a great first dance? It could be something classic, or an updated classic, or something brand new from a favorite artist or a brand new song from an unfamiliar artist whose song speaks to your soul.
What Should You Pick? That's easy - pick the song you love most. Preview the songs below :
Whether it's John Legend, Taylor Swift, Mario, Harry Styles, Dan & Shay, Chase Rice, or something a little more left field like Why Don't We or Gabby Barrett, you're sure to find something you love in this playlist full of songs that most couples haven't considered yet. Enjoy :)
Raleigh Wedding DJ Price & Types
I have a question for you:
Are you looking at the DJ as an experience or as a commodity?
Specifically, are you just looking to fill in your DJ with someone who's cheap, someone who's not going to screw anything up, or someone who's going to do a better job than the other people you've been getting quotes from?
Remember - your DJ is responsible for 80% of your wedding - so this one choice means a lot more for your event than most people think. What does a Raleigh Wedding DJ cost and why?
Most couples haven't planned a wedding before - and the idea that you're supposed to know everything once you get a ring on your finger is crazy. Don't worry - we're here to help you wrap your head around what you might want to budget for your wedding. Considering the DJ's resposible for 80% of your reception - it's easily one of the best values in any part of your wedding planning. However, some budgets are tighter than others - and the questions of how you value the entertainment is something you'll need to really consider and address.
Budgeting is a crucial part of event planning - getting an idea about what your budget might get you is important to help you get a real idea of how to proceed.
DJ pricing generally breaks down into a couple of categories. Bear in mind, this is generic pricing for a 4 hour reception. Adding services or elements can get any DJ package way up. These prices are cobbled together from what I've heard over the past couple of years, and doesn't reflect every single DJ's pricing, and you may find higher performing DJs at a lower price point (rare) or lower-performing DJs at a higher price point. I've also learned that nearly every DJ will tell you they're the best.
This accounts for the vast majority of what I've seen and heard over the years - but I've seen/heard of messy set-ups and middling performances from higher-tier DJs, and decently respectable performances from basement-rate DJs. One of the things you're really playing here are the odds - for good or ill.
Finally - price points are often a reflection of how much work you'll be doing versus what your DJ is doing. A lower price point likely means you're carrying more of the respsonsibilities of your event, whereas a higher price point usually means they've got more time invested in preparing and executing your event. Lower pricing generally means more risk - higher pricing generally means less risk - but there are benefits and concerns at every tier you need to consider.
Ipod/Tablet/Streaming/Bare Bones DJ:
$0-$400 - WE NEED SOMETHING & HAVE NO BUDGET!
Not often a 'DJ' in the conventional sense - but it will certainly be music for an intended audience. You're probably looking for background music & might not be expecting a lot from your DJ. You can rent a sound system and plug in your favorite tunes or put a close friend or ally in charge of picking tunes - or maybe letting your guests hop in. MP3 players can carry a lot of music - or you can stream a playlist - but the secret to a great party is the selection - that's a big part of what you're getting with a more experienced DJ/Emcee. You may even consider hiring a pro DJ to help you design your playlist even if you're not going to have them at your event - it's amazing how flow and tone can impact your event. Plus every song on your player is mastered differently and you'll need to adjust the volume every song to make sure it's not too loud or too low. You're taking a risk in order to keep costs down - make sure you've got someone who can help you troubleshoot in case of emergency.
Craiglist DJs / 'My friend's a dj and can do the wedding':
$300-$700 - THE DJ ISN'T OUR TOP PRIORITY BUT WE CAN STILL DO IT
Usually the lowest price - but there are some pros working here too who keep their costs down by advertising on a free platform. With that being said - we get panicked calls every week from people who just found out their DJ didn't show/isn't coming. Many of the DJs in this category are single-genre DJ, which means they're comfortable with ONE TYPE OF MUSIC. Or perhaps they're first-timers who are going to use your wedding to start dipping their toes in. You're likely getting very little planning insight and you're taking a gamble so you can invest in the stuff that matters more to you than your party. Have a back-up plan in place. This is the choice for the couple that prioritizes most other things more than the DJ - they just need something. The equipment could be cobbled together, possibly mismatched, and might be too little or WAY too much. I've heard about guys showing up with small speakers and huge subs, meaning they don't have a lot of experience with how to balance the sound in a room (makes a big difference). They likely don't have insurance, a website, a business license, or much by way of flexibility, but they're ready to party as long as someone doesn't offer them more money for your date. Please make sure you get a contract. Most of the people we hear from didn't have a contract. Ask any coordinator about their DJ horror stories and they're often from this category of DJ.
New & Training DJs / "In House DJs" / Standard Lite
$600-$900: YOUR IDEAL LIMITED BUDGET CHOICE
With a reputable company they're definitely going to show up. They might not have a lot of music, experience, equipment, or back-ups, but they're looking to build their experience and you can get a decent price if you're just looking to check the DJ box. Sometimes you'll find the venue owner's son is available/required as a DJ for your event - it's easy and they know the space well. Kind of like the DJs at resorts - there's a set they do and that's what you get. The biggest complaint from other vendors about this group is that they might not know how to handle tricky situations or equipment malfunctions, and you might hear comments about the way they dress or their event dynamics might be choppy or uneven. The new DJ's inexperience might show up during the planning as well as the execution- you're less likely to get opportunities to customize but they're usually well-meaning and eager to please. This is a great budget choice if the DJ isn't something you value as much as something like the flowers, cake, linens, photographer, coordinator, ceremony musician, food truck, invitations, bachelor/bachelorette parties, ETC... Music will play, people will listen and you'll have some dancing, and you might even have a great event! Their set-ups might look rougher than most standard DJs pros though, it's something that takes time. There are also some more developed DJs in this category, they like to stay busy by keeping their costs down, and their price point makes it worth it for their preferred clients - not as much pressure - just show up and have fun. Key points here include contracts, timelines, and music choices.
Standard Wedding DJs
$850-$1300: STANDARD ON PURPOSE - EXACTLY WHAT WE WERE EXPECTING (YOUR DEFAULT BEST CHOICE)
They've got experience, pro equipment, and a DJ playlist that includes the top 200 songs you're going to probably want played at your wedding. This is the baseline for professional DJs - not necessarily a whole lot of Wow! but it's just the right fit for many couples. They're usually competent on the mic and play songs, usually one after the other, kind of like radio DJs. They're aiming for the middle so that they can avoid anything outside your comfort zone. They'll usually have a good command of all the songs you're going to want at your wedding and you're going to get some useful planning advice. They'll know how to run a wedding (it's an important skill that not everyone has!) and how to avoid making a terrible mess of things. You've got some customization & personalization here and they'll know how to handle some of the issues that can show up often at weddings. Standard set-up includes two speakers on stands, a nice looking DJ rig (controller, CDJs, turntables), usually they've cleaned up their cables and taped down everything so that your guests don't trip. They're there to 'just push play' and make sure your names are pronounced correctly. They're mostly likely going to have back-ups and solutions to handle possible event issues - there's peace of mind here. There are also some really fun DJs in this category. Manyof the DJs at the bridal shows are going to be in this range. They're accessible, competent, and generally reliable. If you found you vibed with someone and have a light budget- this is probably where you want to be.
Club DJs as Wedding DJs -
$900-$1600 : (SPECIFIC) POWER SETS - LET'S GET TO THE DANCING (YOUR IDEAL GENRE CHOICE)
There are some technically talented DJs in this category, but, as a general rule, they're going to lack in the MC and event direction categories. Don't expect a lot of planning, and another element to keep an eye on is they might not have 'clean' edits of songs and are more likely to dress in a club friendly style. My only caveat at this level is don't expect too much more than powerful DJ set and make sure they understand that they need to show up early to set-up since most club DJs aren't regular event pros. They're more likely to need more input from your other vendors to make sure they know what to do - but there are some real gems in this category - they're just really hard to come by. This can be a real win if you REALLY like a specific genre, maybe something clubby, or something Trap, Hyphy, or Techno/House. With some of them, you might not be able to expect a lot of songs your parents will know &, as I've often seen, their turntables/controllers will generally be fancier equipment but they are more likely to have them set up messily and their sound systems are often going to be older, rented, or borrowed.. You're also more likely to have mispronunciantions in this range than the standard wedding DJ, since thye're not practiced event MCs in the usual sense - but you're going to have a lot of power under the hood so it might be a good trade off if that's what you're going for. They're not going to have much by way of back-ups, so you're probably going to want to make sure they have a plan if anything goes wrong. The other element to keep in mind is that many of these DJs might not have a back-up in case they get sick or their backup is a club DJ with even less experience. Finally, you're probably getting what you're looking for - the set the DJ wants to play - give them the freedom to do what they do best.
Top Local Wedding Pros:
$1500-$2500: THE EVENT WE WERE LOOKING FOR (MY BEST WEDDING CHOICE)
This is the group you can be really comfortable with in almost every situation. You're going to get a solid showing on the MCing, DJing, Event Direction, and Planning. The music will be customized and appropriate for every situation. They're going to be right in everyone's wheelhouse and you're going to get great feedback from your guests about your choice. Great planning help, top notch execution, clean looking systems & cord management, and lots of opportunities to personalize your event. Even here you'll see a wide range of styles - and it's really important that you like your DJ's overall approach to your event. They're the director of the most expensive event you'll ever put on. The biggest complaints about this group are varied because it's very individual and not reflective of the category as a whole. You've got some great options and are going to be able to find something that works for you. This is the baseline I chose for my own wedding when we were on a really tight budget of less than $10,000 because I knew that the DJ makes more of an impact than anything else I chose.I chose this instead of a fancy dinner, invitation, cake or flowers since those things didn't engage my guests as long.
Wedding DJ Best of the Best:
$2000-$6000: WE'RE CREATING THE BEST WEDDING THEY'VE EVER BEEN TO
These are the DJs who are doing far more than just pushing play. They can be part of company or on their own. Just like certain restaurants and venues know what they have is great - there's a premium on the experience. More engagement, personalization, music opportunties, and elements that highlight you and your guests engaging together. There's a lot of variation in set-ups, but they'll all look amazing and everything will be safely secured and clean. They are usually insured, have great reviews, and can offer lots of great ideas for how you can develop your event dynamics. Your guests will be more than impressed because the DJ knows how to make it happen for you. They don't get to that level with their secret sauce. There are a few DJs who are operating at this level - this is the top tier in the region. If you're doing something REALLY DIFFERENT - then this is probably where you want to be. The biggest issues I've heard about at this level are managing extended set-up & tear down times (i.e. you can't tear down a big event in 30 minutes), and a slightly higher catering need since they're often bringing an assistant or two. Also, some of the highest paid DJs in this category don't mix a single song. Seriously. They mix like a standard DJ but their level of service is through the roof, which means they're earning their higher fee in different ways. In some cases you can expect more of a production, although having expensive equipment is sometimes seen as a substitute for skill and experience - it's not. While equipment matters, it's not what they're playing on that determines what the experience is - it's how they use it to deliver a great event. But, they're generally going to be using gear that costs 2-10 times what budget DJs are using.
$5,000-$2,000,000: REMEMBER WHEN WE...
You'll need to get your equipment rented, delivered, and set-up and make sure you read the rider carefully. For the love of everything good in the world please get a professional event planning company - something like this requires way more than you think. This is when you just HAD to have the DJ who made the track you danced to the night you met. Find out how many extra people they're bringing and double check. Have a back-up plan in place in case flights get delayed. Be prepared for a crazy story. Calvin Harris was 2 Million for a private event a few years ago - it may be even higher now.
There are lots of reasons why you might not want certain artists or music at your wedding reception. In the modern age we have more access to news and information that reveals details about some of our favorite artists. What do we do when the artist is problematic and how do we move forward?
There are some songs that thrill us and are part of our shared cultural fabric - from classic hits like Thriller, and ABC, Let's Dance, and Twist and Shout, to more modern hits like Ignition, Still Dre, Run It, and Cool Kids. What happens when we learn something disturibing about the artist. What happens when someone's actions have come to light that change not just how we view that person, but how we view their music, and its impact on our lives?
This year, the drummer from Echosmith, a young but legal-adult autistic musician, was caught trying to slide into a 16 year old's DMs. We've gotten no requests to avoid their music.
Several years ago, Robin Thicke was accused by his ex-wife Paula of domestic abuse. We didn't get any requests to avoid his music, although Blurred Lines, the biggest hit of 2013, is gaining in popularity again.
A decade ago, we had to confront domestic abuse with Chris Brown, who had an unbearable exchange with his then-girlfriend Rihanna that was a horror brought all too close with the pictures that followed. At the time, we received a ton of requests to avoid any Chris Brown songs at weddings. In the past six years we haven't received a single request to avoid his music and his recent hits are consistently requested at weddings.
Almost twenty years ago, rumors were circulating about R Kelly and his predatory predilections. Last year a documentary was released that detailed his depravity. We continue to get requests for Ignition. The trial made for a Chapelle show sketch where we were asked to confront liking music without somehow implicitly condoning the artist's behaviors.
Twenty-eight years ago, Dr. Dre viciously beat a female rapper and tried to throw her down the stairs while his bodyguard held back would-be samaritans with a firearm, then, when she fled, he followed her into the women's restroom and continued beating her. We've never received a single request to avoid any of his songs and many of our clients have Beats by Dre headphones, a consciously obscene joke.
Thirty years ago Michael Jackson was taken to court by several families who accused him of harming children. After the release of the most recent documentary the temperature on this issue has risen dramatically. People aren't sure, but we get far more requests than we get cancellations, despite the horrifying details.
Forty years ago John Lennon admitted he battered women in his life when he was younger. We don't get any requests to avoid Beatles songs.
Fifty years ago David Bowie & Jimmy Page took indecent liberties with a 13 year old girl. We still get requests for David Bowie (albeit not as many as right after he passed) and Led Zeppelin,
The question of what to do with this information and should we allow it to impact our appreciation or enjoyment of music that has a special place in our lives?
Obviously, any artists you don't want to hear is someone we will avoid, but I wanted to take a second to dig deeper into this and explore whether or not it should be something you need to take into account.
Let's back up just for a second and ask why certain artists get 'cancelled' from a playlist and others don't. Since the release of the recent documentaries the questions about whether or not R Kelly or Michael Jackson should be on our playlists is something we've had to come to terms with. As DJs, this is something we've had to deal with for a long time and our policies are, simply put, to respect whatever your position in. If you're so troubled by what you've learned that you would be emotionally harmed by hearing it at your event then you should absolutely put them on your Do Not Play list. There are lists of problematic artists available that will allow you to consider each instance and how much or how little you want to remove the songs they wrote or performed from your reception and your life.
If your guests will be harmed by hearing their music, you definitely want to make sure they're on your Do Not Play list. Taking your guests needs into account is a crucial part of being a good host and, at your wedding, you are the curator of their experience. If you have guests who suffer migranes we can drop the lights, if you have guests who have peanut allergies we can craft a peanut-free meal. If you have guests who are sensitive to artist's personal lives and will be affected by hearing songs they associate with that artist then you're being proactive, responsible, and conscientious.
I also want to give you permission to not be held hostage to the bad behavior of others. This is how we, as DJs, handle these issues, because an artist's behavior doesn't affect whether or not our guests enjoy a song. I personally abhor the actions of Michael Jackson, R Kelly, Jimmy Page, Bobby Shmurda, David Bowie, John Lennon, Dr. Dre, Takashi 6ix9ine, XXXtentacion, and Nick Carter, but the music isn't the artist, and the music has an independent place in the world - and our memories.
Several years ago I was sitting in a hotel bar watching the Country Music Awards on an out-of-town work trip with a pair of good-ol' boys who were working with me on a tech project. Elton John came on. We had literally been having a conversation about changing opinions on same-sex marriages and relationships, which they were opposed to. They started singing along to his and Dolly Parton's version of John Lennon's Imagine and I was stunned. I asked, and they praised elton's music, talking about their favorites. I followed up with, if they were so offended by his lifestyle, why they loved his music so much, and one of them responded, "His music makes up for his gayness." His response, while crude, was honest in that it revealed a deeper truth about music that has stuck with me ever since - a song's meaning is internal, unique, and personal. These two, who had visited scorn upon people they'd never met for a lifestyle they didn't agree with, could sing every word to every one of his hits.
I guarantee they could sing every word of the world's most famous coming-out song - Bohemian Rhapsody. The artist's lifestyle and behaviors are irrelevant to many people because their enjoyment of a song isn't depending on the artist.
There are artists, politicians, scientists, designers, teachers, musicians, chefs, and neighbors whose personal behaviors are stunningly bad. Would you be proud to own a Picasso? Would you buy a Mitsubishi? A BMW? Anything made by Hugo Boss? Every one of those is problematic at some point. The questions is really, does your choice to include it in your presentation make you feel weird or make you concerned about your guests’ reactions?
Let’s take another tack - Would we throw out a scientific advancement made by a scientist because we found out she was horrible in her personal life? The point is that there's no going back - once it's out in the world it's beyond that individual's ability to 'ruin' what it would mean to others.
If you're going to prohibit them, also consider whether or not you'd like to announce to your guests that songs by certain artists will not be available, or if you want your DJ to just say "No" whenever guests requests their music. You have all the power in the construction of your playlist and the environment you’re creating - and we want to make sure you have every opportunity to create exactly what you want.
And, with that in mind, I encourage you to explore your own feelings on these issues and determine what's best for you, your guests, and your moral comfort as you prepare your request list.
GROUP DANCES - Our Thoughts
Group Dances & audience participation songs are the enfants terribles of the wedding dance party. From classics like The Twist and the much maligned Electric Slide (it’s a Bunny Wailer track!) to more contemporary works like Blanco Brown’s ‘The Git Up’ and the Cupid Shuffle, they’re either something you’re dreading or something you can’t wait for at your own event. Here's our thoughts on what to keep in mind before including them or cutting them out entirely.
Most of our clients put the ‘group dances’ on their DO NOT PLAY list and want everyone to freestyle dance the whole evening.
At Stylus, we take our client requests as gospel, and if our client request lists (and DO NOT PLAY lists) are any indication - these songs can be sticking points for couples. It’s important for you and your partner to talk about how you feel about them and understand the pros and cons of group dances - and why this one decision may have a bigger impact on your wedding day timeline and your party than you think.
If your wedding is populated by mostly 20 somethings who go out clubbing every weekend - we might not need to lure them onto the dance floor with anything other than bangers - but many weddings have a wide variety of guests in attendance and, in many cases, our uncle’s freestyle dance moves aren’t legendary.
Let’s take a moment to understand what a group dance is and how it can be used.
A ‘Group Dance’ is a song where we’re asking the audience to engage in a specific way. There are a lot of types - and group dances include the Copperhead Road, Before I let Go by Beyonce, Shout, All I Do Is Win, the Harlem Shake, We Will Rock You, every Carolina Shag song like Carolina Girls and Ms. Grace, and all ballroom dances like the swing, waltz, rhumba, hustle, salsa, and two-step. Slow dances are a subset as well, it’s just a much smaller group. Also included, the Hora, the Kola, the Dabke, and the Dab.
A second subset of group dance is Sing Along/ Call & Response songs - like Sweet Caroline, Don’t Stop Believing, What Makes You Beautiful by One Direction, Truth Hurts by Lizzo, Mr. Brightside, and Wagon Wheel.
From your DJs standpoint - these are powerful engagement options to help your guests develop the party vibe and cohesion that creates memorable experiences. They’re simply tools to engage your audience. It’s also a great way to switch up the energy and develop the floor. We find we get a much more involved dance floor when we can provide opportunities to dance to different styles of music throughout the evening.
The reasons some couples don’t want the group dances are pretty simple - they hear them at other events and want their wedding to be different. When thinking back to all the events you’ve been to before - how many weddings would you consider as ‘different’ and what made it so?
It’s our experience that every single wedding is different - not just because of the music that the couple loves but also because we’re at a one-of-a-kind event with your specific elements, at your specific location, with your unique combination of friends and family. In most cases - the things that make a wedding different are unique to you and your guests, not necessarily because the playlist didn’t include a group dance.
Looking back at my own wedding, some of my strongest memories are the dances that engaged people who didn’t engage as strongly with other songs I requested. This included the Cupid Shuffle where I taught my 90 year old great aunt to do the dance and Bohemian Rhapsody where everybody got crazy during the drop (Thanks Wayne’s World!).
Another reason to avoid group dances is that you simply don’t like the song - and that’s a great reason to avoid them at your event. If you hate a song - you shouldn’t hear it. There’s also a reason many of these songs are played at events featuring large groups of people - since the number of songs that people jump out of their seats for (especially early in the evening) are actually not as big as you might think.
Group Dances are, by several orders, the most requested songs at weddings. It’s likely that many of the guests at your event will enjoy them. They are also a powerful tool in your DJ’s toolkit - an element that can be used effectively to build a great party.
The truth is that there are likely going to be some guests at your event who aren’t as comfortable as you might be, and they are more likely to get engaged with a slow dance, a group dance, or an audience participation dance like the Anniversary Dance.
The downside of banning group dances is probably a little different than you’re thinking. Yes, your guests will probably get involved and the DJ can pack your dance floor with a great group dance song choice, but choosing not to allow the DJ to use a group dance can have a bigger impact on your timeline than you think.
Your DJ can fill the dance floor almost immediately with a group dance, whereas they might spend 10-20 minutes, or even more with certain groups, trying to build the dance floor organically. Consider your actual party time (after dinner service and formalities) and how much time you’re willing to let guests mingle before engaging.
Another aspect to consider is guest sentiment. The music is a little different than other elements - like the food or the photo booth. Whereas your guests would be OK accepting your menu choices and recognizing that asking for something off menu was not possible. A caterer will rarely have to say, "Sorry, the bride has specifically requested that no allegery-free or vegetarian options be avaialble this evening," and your guests will treat the music very differently and can often get upset when we tell them that we’re unable to play group dances.
This extends to some of your other song choices as well - if you know your guests are going to love Hip Hop, Country, or EDM - but you hate that style of music -you may consider putting a few of their favorites on your playlist BECAUSE you know they’ll like it. You’re probably not going to look back on your wedding and say “I’m so glad I didn’t play that one song my friends liked.”
If a big dance party matters to you, you might consider which group dances you’d be OK with. This can supercharge your dance floor and give your DJ the opportunity to work in a greater variety of music. Plus, your mom has probably been on YouTube trying to learn the Wobble.
We love your insight and we also love it when clients leave it at our discretion - because that lets us avoid them if we can or use them if they’re needed as we help you create a memorable party to celebrate your wedding day. Please remember to let your DJ know how you feel.
Don't Settle for Average! Have a Stylus Wedding Experience Instead!
We're always thinking about weddings. It's because helping you celebrate with your friends and family is one of our all-time favorite things. But some couples are settling for a less than average or just OK DJ experience - when nothing else about their wedding reflects that same lack of attention to detail. Here's why Stylus might be the right fit your for your Raleigh wedding DJ experience.
Let me be up front about this - there's nothing wrong with an OK DJ for some events. Some events just need someone to play appropriate music and maybe talk on the mic a little. For that - there are plenty of OK DJs who will do just fine. An OK DJ will probably be able to deliver and will might get a great review because the bar is set fairly low. At that point, all they have to do is avoid playing too many songs with words that will make grandma frown and refrain from saying the bride's name wrong over and over and over again.
But Stylus is far from average - and it's important for you to understand the difference before you book your Raleigh Wedding DJ (don't worry, we'll do your event if it's around the country or the world too!)
Let's start at the begining with what makes a Stylus Wedding DJ special and why Stylus doesn't have any 'filler' cheap Raleigh Wedding DJs on staff.
To start with - we don't have anybody on staff who hasn't been DJing for longer than you spent in High School. Imagine the difference between 13 year-old you and 20 year old you - it's a huge difference, and that learning curve isn't something we want our clients subjected to. That's how each and every Stylus DJ brings a true party to your event - not just someone pushing a play button.
Stylus DJs are party experts, and it's an expertise that's been built up at hundreds and thousands of parties - it's something you can't buy - it has to be earned. Every Stylus DJ has earned their place.
FOR THE LOVE OF EVERYTHING GOOD IN THE WORLD - DO MORE THAN JUST PUSH THE $%@*! PLAY BUTTON!
There also the matter of HOW they're playing - and it can't be just pushing play. Stylus DJs do more than just play a song, then another song, then another song until time runs out. Stylus DJs are club resident DJs, that's essentially the highest level of performance accountability - which means we can deliver more music, more fun, and more experience to you and your guests in a way that sounds uniquely you.
A PERFORMANCE, NOT A PLAYLIST
A STYLUS wedding experience is more than just a playlist -it's a performance. What that means is that each and every Stylus DJ knows how to read a crowd and develop the energy and sonic experience into something uniquely you. An OK DJ will play the same set at wedding after wedding after wedding. We've all heard it before. At Stylus, we set higher standards on what you should expect and we over-deliver. With on the spot remixes, clever solutions for your event needs, and an unparalleled energetic delivery, you're getting something really special and uniquely yours.
NOT JUST ANOTHER WEDDING, MC
Microphone Skills aren't for the faint of heart. I couldn't tell you how many coordinators I've heard from over the years complaining that the DJ refused to talk on the microphone, and the coordinator had to hop on the mic and bring in the bridal party or introduce the cake cutting or lead the toasts. It's horrifying. While an OK DJ will make the most basic announcements, a STYLUS DJ builds a story into your experience. It's not overly wordy and it's not distracting, because with a few words we can create a narrative thread that ties it all together and helps develop the very real sense that this once-in-a-lifetime event is more than just another wedding - its YOUR wedding. Every Stylus DJ is a microphone master - a capable master of ceremonies who guides your event the whole way through.
WHAT YOU CAN'T BUY
The stuff you can buy is a key part of any DJ set-up, but that's not what sets Stylus apart - it's how we put it together. While an OK DJ is fine with using cheap gear or low-quality music rips from YouTube, the Stylus difference isn't just the quality of the equipment or the music - it's how we put it all together - and that's the stuff you can't buy or fake your way through.
ANY OTHER VENDOR
Finally, the thing that's overlooked more often than anything else when clients are looking at their wedding DJ is how they run the event. Your DJ is responsible for 80% of your reception, and how they run the event is going to determine more about how your wedding feels and what your guests think about your event than ANY OTHER VENDOR. Stylus DJs are wedding pros - and no matter how complex or streamlined your event is - your Stylus Wedding DJ is going to help you make the most of it.
Raleigh Wedding DJ Dance Party Tips
There are a lot of things that many couples want to highlight at their wedding. From the Formal Introductions, to dinner, to the toasts, and all the way through the last dance - the event is full of special moments that we need to make sure we're including. But all those things can add up to a lot of time, and before you know it - your wedding is over! Here are a few tips to make sure you've got plenty of time for dancing.
Your Raleigh Wedding DJ - Jason Huggins - Takes a few minutes to explain how to save time for dancing at your Wedding Reception.
What if your wedding day was full of special moments AND you had a great wedding dance party?
What if you’re like us and want to maximize the time you and your guests get to party together?
Here are a few simple things you can do to make sure that you get all the fun party moments -even in a timeline as full as your wedding day.
You’re probably thinking about visiting some of your guests during dinner. This can be a great way to thank special guests for celebrating with you. But math is not your friend in this instance.
Let’s assume you have 100 guests. If you spend 20 seconds with each person and you’re looking at 32 minutes. If you have 150 guests you’re looking at just under an hour. And that’s assuming you only spend 10 seconds talking to grandma. It’s also not uncommon to only have visited only half of the tables by the time we need to move on.
Your best approach is to highlight the key tables with parents, grandparents, and long distance guests. Let’s be honest, you’re going to see your cousins and college friends on the dance floor and at the bar, so you can skip their table without sacrificing connecting with them. It’s also best to do a 2 and 2 approach. Visit 2 tables from your side, then bounce over and visit 2 tables from your partner’s side - that way, when it’s time to move on with your event, you’ve hit some key people on both sides.
Remember - we can't open up the reception and let everybody experience the event until we complete your key formalities - getting these done sooner will leave you with more time to visit.
The Cake Cutting
You want to save 15-20 minutes? Then manage this your cake cutting carefully. In and of itself, the cake cutting will only take you about one or two songs, so roughly 3-7 minutes. The photographer will help you pose to get the best shots (make sure you tell them if you’re going to smush the cake!). The real time-suck comes from cutting and serving the cake - which will usually take 10-20 minutes.
If this is the last thing you’re doing before you open the dance floor then you’re going to lose time because guests aren’t going to get up when someone just put cake down, unless you want the DJ to open strong in which case you just wasted the hundreds of dollars you spent on that beautiful cake.
So what’s the best way to cut the cake?
The most unorthodox way is to do it before dinner (literally right after the introductions and first dance) - that way it’s served immediately after dinner with the rest of the deserts. It’s avant garde but it’s really effective.
The most frequently used solution is to put the cake cutting in FRONT of the toasts and parent dances. Usually the toasts will run around 10-15 minutes (or longer, depending on your Dad) which means the caterer can be cutting and serving cake while everyone is listening to your favorite people talking about why you’re their favorite people. You're saving time because the cake is being cut & served during your other special moments - meaning you can stay right on schedule.
The key time-saving element here is WHERE you put your bar and how many bartenders you have. Your venue may have the bar somewhere outside of the reception area - perhaps in another room or even outside. Or they may only have one or two bartenders for 100-200 ppl. This actually puts your event at risk of losing a lot of time.
Because your guests will go to the bar. The first thing they'll want to do once we release them from dinner is hit the bar. They'll start talking. They'll be laughing and having fun and, before you know it, twenty or thirty minutes have gone by. This is all while you're trying to build a dance party, which will be nearly impossible to do when most of your party people are outside waiting for a drink. That means the dance party time is cut by up to a third or more.
If your bar is understaffed then you're going to find your guests waiting even longer to get a drink, possibly missing out on key moments that are important to you.
For the best possible party experience, make sure your bar is in the same room as your reception, you're less likely to lose party people to poor party planning.
Group Dances & Your Wedding Timeline
Group Dances are the enfants terribles of the wedding dance party. From classics like The Twist and the much maligned Electric Slide (it’s a Bunny Wailer track!) to more contemporary works like Blanco Brown’s ‘The Git Up’ and the Cupid Shuffle, they’re either something you’re dreading or something you can’t wait for at your own event.
At Stylus, we take our client requests as gospel, and if our client request lists (and DO NOT PLAY lists) are any indication - these songs can be sticking points for couples. It’s important for you and your partner to talk about how you feel about them and understand the pros and cons of group dances - and why this one decision may have a bigger impact on your wedding day timeline than you think.
The reasons some couples don’t want the group dances are pretty simple - they hear them all the time at weddings or they don’t like group dances. These are great reasons to avoid them at your event. If you hate a song - you shouldn’t hear it. There’s also a reason these songs are played at events featuring large groups of people - since the number of songs that people jump out of their seats for (especially early in the evening) are actually not as big as you might think.
The downside of banning group dances is probably a little different than you’re thinking. Yes, your guests will probably get involved and the DJ can pack your dance floor with a great group dance song choice, but choosing not to allow the DJ to use a group dance can have a bigger impact on your timeline than you think.
Your DJ can fill the dance floor with a group dance, whereas they might spend 10-20 minutes trying to build the dance floor organically. If a big dance party matters, you might consider which group dances you’re OK with. This can supercharge your dance floor and give your DJ the opportunity to work in a greater variety of music. Plus, your mom has probably been on YouTube trying to learn the Wobble.
Skipping the Bouquet & Garter
While these don’t take much time, some couples don’t want to include them and you can save enough time for one or two more songs. The trade-off is you’re losing is some potentially awesome moments with your friends and the pictures in your album. You might consider combining them into one toss or coming up with another fun idea that lets yours guests get engaged.
Making Time For A Special Dance
One of my favorite things is providing a special moment for the newlyweds at the end of the night. If you’re doing a grand exit, that means we’ve got everyone outside and we’re keeping you in the reception hall while everyone gets ready. This is a great opportunity to include one more special dance for just the two of you, a perfect little moment before heading off into the world together.
Christine & Andy had a beautiful Raleigh wedding at the Brier Creek Country Club in North Raleigh.
Here's a quick taste of how awesome their wedding ceremony, reception and dance party was!
A beautiful wedding ceremony - punctuated by the songs that spoke to their love:
Wedding Ceremony Prelude Music - Acoustic Guitar
Seating of the Parents Music: Can't Help Falling In Love - Elvis (Piano Guys)
Groom's Entrance: Perfect - Ed Sheeran (Piano Guys)
Bridesmaids & Groomsmen: Thousand Years - Christina Perri (Piano Guys)
Bridal Precessional: You and Me - Lifehouse
Wedding Recessional: Signed, Sealed, Delivered - Stevie Wonder
After a gorgeous wedding ceremony, guests headed to cocktail hour and Rebecca with
Red Bridge Photo took our newlyweds out for a few fantastic wedding pictures
Once we got everyone introduced, they went right into their first dance - Brad Paisley's 'Then.'
Getting the chance to celebrate their friends and family, we asked their grandparents to share some wedding advice. The answer was shocking!
Then it was time to open up the dancefloor!
The Party got pretty crazy - this crowd was LIT!
After several hours of fun, it was time for a glorious send-off surrounded by their family and friends!
Congratulations Andy & Christine!
Why Are Weddings Expensive?
While we can't really speak to everything else about a wedding, the reasons why wedding DJ costs are higher than something like a birthday party is really simple - it's 5 times the work. Wedding and event prep is a crucial part of what we do. That's also why weddings and corporate events are more expensive than just a regular party.
I've heard it said that as soon as you say 'wedding' it adds $1000, and while that's certainly inflated for many DJs, there's actually a lot that goes into what makes a successful wedding versus what makes for a great bar or club show or a great house party.
For starters, let's take a look at the amount of preparation we have to do for a 'regular' party.
While we certainly have spent years developing our skills, we're just going to look at what we HAVE to do in order to be ready for something like a birthday or dance party.
- Get all the Details correct & turn away other work for that day
- Stay on top of all the new music from every genre so that we can responsive to the event.
- Contact the client again in advance to confirm the details and identify any challenges or requests.
- Prepare music so we can be ready based on the client's requests, usually takes
- Check equipment and load up the vehicle with everything we need, including sound, mics and lights
- Drive to the Location
- Set Up & Test the Sound System in the (sometimes difficult) space
- Perform for hours
- Remove & transport Equipment
That presumes there aren't a lot of special music, special cues, and that the DJ is essentially doing what the DJ naturally does best - throwing a great party that get's people dancing and having a great time. We're looking about 5 hours of 'not djing' time that goes into the prep for the event, including packing up, traveling, music prep, and client contact.
The second we're talking about a wedding, we're adding multiple meetings over months and years, hours more prep and scores of music cues (unintentional pun). A wedding isn't as simple as 'show up and play', and that's why it's more expensive.
Expect the DJ to put in around 20-25 hours of prep work in advance, including preparing all the specialty music, meetings, organizing the final details, communicating with the client and other vendors. In fact, if your regular Raleigh DJ party price is a nice round number like $500, then a wedding should cost something like $2500 since you're putting in 5 times the number of hours.
Think about it this way, your average ceremony is going to require a 2nd system, specialty microphones and additional equipment. It's more work than a 'show up and play' birthday party DJ, even though it's a 'shorter' event time, only an hour on average compared to a 3 or 4 hour birthday party.
Your wedding ceremony is going to have, on average, between 6 and 17 'cues', which are specific moments that need to have specific music accompanying them. The more cues, the more prep time. Ceremonies usually have specialty music which needs to be purchased, tested, and prepped for use during the event. Your average ceremony will take around 1 - 3 hours to prepare for, not including your wedding prelude music (the music that's playing when guests arrive, before the ceremony itself starts). Plus, setting up and dialing in microphones is HARD. That's why you can't just call Alice, I don't think she'd know.
Once you get the wedding reception, that's where it starts getting REALLY complicated for the wedding DJ, since clients have come to expect the wedding DJ to do more than just play music, the wedding DJ is also going to function as an emcee, event director, essentially the person yelling 'action!' on all the key moments, directing attention where it belongs, and then throwing a great party when the dancefloor opens.
The wedding reception you put together is going to be unique to you, but will most likely have between 25 and 80 'cues', although some will have even more. Let's assume that each 'cue' will take around 3 minutes to prepare for, which mean's that's up to 4 hours of music prep for your wedding DJ - JUST music prep, not including anything else, like learning everyone's names & pronunciations, developing your party playlist, testing mix ideas, or doing anything with equipment.
So, to be honest, if you're expecting a $500 wedding DJ to the same thing a $1500 or $2500 wedding DJ is going to do, you may find yourself wishing they'd spent a little more time preparing, because you only get one shot at doing this right - it's better to make a statement instead of a mistake. We recommend the best Raleigh Wedding DJs.
Finally, there's a little solace in the fact that weddings AREN'T the most expensive service we offer - that would be Corporate events, and the biggest difference is that we're also working with bigger set-ups, mutliple rooms, and truncated set-up times, which require the mobilization of up to 20 or more staff members at any one time. Our biggest corporate events can be more than what you're spending on your wedding JUST for the AV, not including any of the food. So, when it comes to what you're looking at when you're looking at a Raleigh wedding DJ, just remember you're often paying not just for the playing time, you're also making sure that they've got the time they need to make sure your wedding goes the way you want it to, instead of anywhere else.
Finally - while lots of things about a wedding can be expensive, bear in mind that a big part of your budget is going to be identifying what's really important to you. Put your money where it matters TO YOU. If the party is important, spend a bigger chunk of your budget on the DJ, you'll be glad you did.
There are lots of great wedding songs for your first dance - from songs that are more popular in Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill like beach music hits from the Platters or General Johnson and the Chairman of the board, to songs that are so good they've stood the test of time like Etta James, Frank Sinatra, and Van Morrison.
There are also some truly fantastic songs that are perfect for your 2018 Wedding, new songs with a lot behind them.
Latch (acoustic) - Sam Smith
All of Me - John Legend
Say Something Loving - The XX
Perfect Duet - Ed Sheeran & Beyonce
Helium - Sia
Never Be The Same - Camila Cabello
Meant to Be - Florida Georgia Line & Bebe Rexha
Yours - Russel Dickerson
Death of a Bachelor - Panic at the Disco
What Would It Take - Anderson East
Love - Lana Del Rey
One Woman Man - John Legend
They Can't Take that Away From Me - Jose James
On Spotify? You can Hear them here: 2018 First Dance Songs from Stylus Wedding DJs