Requests at Your Wedding

Should I allow song requests at my wedding?
This is a question every bride and groom must ask themselves when planning the reception. In my ten years of DJing, I have seen many different ideas that brides and grooms have for dealing with song requests. The most common is to allow requests but let the DJ use good judgement as to which to play and when. That is my favorite because it lets my experience as a DJ guide the music for the evening. In order to keep people on the dance floor happy, you must know how they are feeling at each moment and anticipate what they want to do next. This is a skill that we as DJs are good at and always perfecting.
Perhaps you have a list of five songs that you really want played some time throughout the night. This is something the DJ can do while still having the creative control necessary to guide the mood throughout the evening. I wouldn’t recommend making this list longer than ten songs or else it can force the DJ to make compromises to get all of the required songs played while still fulfilling requests and other songs to make the event flow.
My least favorite is also the least common which is to play songs from a pre-defined playlist and to not take requests. The benefit of this method is that brides and grooms know exactly what music will be played and when it will be played. The downside, however, is that a reception is a fluid event and not reacting to the audience’s changing mood would not keep them as happy as they could be. If you have a playlist for the entire event then you must question whether a DJ is even what you want for the event.
Sometimes a bride and groom will ask people to send them a list of song requests well before the wedding day. This allows them to compile the list and hand it to the DJ. I would recommend not doing this as it is hard for people to know what songs they want to hear so far into the future.
Another idea that sometimes comes up is to allow requests but require them to get vetted by the best man / maid of honor or the bride and groom. This can be a good idea, especially if they are very concerned about music being appropriate for the family.
In conclusion, I recommend thinking about the people who will be at your wedding. You may have an idea of what kind of music they like but you likely don’t know every song that they like and when they want it played. You and the audience will be happy if you let the DJ take care of the music.