Top 10 things to know before planning your wedding

Hype Rhythm DJ turns one come January 2017! In celebration of an amazing 2016 in Austin, Texas, I decided to make a list of the 10 most important things (from the DJs perspective) that I took away from the past year of weddings I was a part of or heard of. First of all, the most important thing people don’t realize is that without a doubt, your wedding – if you want it to go stress free and picture perfect – is going to take a lot of time and money. The average wedding in Austin costs 30k, easily. The last thing you want is to be looking back at the wedding thinking of all the things you wish you would have known before, which leads me into my first point..

  1. Hire a wedding coordinator.
    • Biggest piece of advice – You don’t know what you don’t know – and in this case they know what you don’t about what can and does go wrong all the time. From the planning process to the day of, unless you have been planning out every single detail of your wedding since you did that first M-A-S-H back in fourth grade. Just know that a wedding planner is going to save you so much stress, time, and money you didn’t know you were going to have to go through for a wedding.
  2. Don’t plan for anything to be outdoors during December-February or June-August.
    • Year after year, I have DJed during these months at outdoor venues or dance spaces, and every single time I swear I’ll never do one again. You’re either going to torture your guests through an evening of blistering cold or blistering hot temperatures that end up dominating the majority of guests conversation and excuses to leave as early as possible.
  3. If you’re doing an early ceremony (at a separate location) that means you are having an early wedding reception too. Don’t make your guests wait.
    • This is a usual tough decision for those having their weddings at churches or temples that are required to happen around noon, but they don’t wanna serve dinner (or the venue won’t open up) till at least 5, leaving a 2-3 hour gap before beginning the reception. Find a way around this situation, as it tends to drain all the energy out of a wedding. Also in regards to food, don’t feel required to fill your guests up for the rest of the day, because every single wedding at the very end of the night the most common thing I hear is, “So you y’all wanna go to Whataburger, or what?”
  4. No, do not skip or try to cut short the cocktail hour after the ceremony.
    • Yes, even if you are doing pre-look pictures, you wouldn’t believe how hard and time consuming it is to corral, pose, and repeat between all the family members and friends that you will want to have pictures of. This also leads into my next point
  5. The bride and groom should sneak away during the end of cocktail hour and eat their food. IMPORTANT: Dinnertime for the bride and groom is the time to go around and thank all the guests individually for coming.
    • If you haven’t been to a wedding or two before, you wouldn’t know this was a thing. Pictures on average take about 45 minutes to do. Use those final 15 minutes of the cocktail hour to have the caterer bring the newly weds their food to eat. This way the bride and groom can go around to their guests individually during the dinnertime and thank them personally for coming, and still be able to enjoy the dance portion of the night.
  6. No matter what, do not put the cake cutting after the dance segment has begun. Doing that will kill the dance floor and fun vibes for at least twenty minutes.
    • Even though a lot of families traditionally eat cake an hour after dinner or so, realize that cutting the cake does not force your guests to have to eat a slice right then. I have never seen a time when the cake cutting placed during the dance segment hasn’t cleared the dance floor to just a few people. Now its up to the DJ to struggle to get guests back out of the comfort zone sitting down back on the dance floor by playing some outdated line dance. Side note: Yes, unless everyone is wasted, The Wobble is already outdated just like the Cha-Cha Slide, yet not nearly as bad as the Macarena.
  7. Make sure your DJ fully knows what songs to NOT play that you OR your guests wouldn’t like.
    • Any real DJ can bring the jams no matter how many songs are on the must play list. However, it’s that DO NOT PLAY that is more important to insure that the dance floor is packed the entire time. Also make sure you know your DJs policies on taking requests (especially those that are on the DNP list). Don’t tell anyone, but I usually tell them I don’t have the song in my playlist, but to think of another song and I might have it.
  8. It’s okay to take out the father-daughter/mother-son dance OR even the bouquet-toss/garter-removal. A lot more people do it than you would think.
    • Hands down the reason is always “Because it seems awkward if we do, and awkward if we don’t”. Remember, it’s your wedding, do what you want to do. The FBI wedding division isn’t going to bust in from the roof and arrest everyone for not following the traditional code. Please 2017, lets please make this a more common thing to take out these older/awkward traditions!
  9. Always consider up-lighting for your venue.
    • Start with going to Google and searching (your venue) + wedding + uplights. 9 times out of 10 your venue is going to go from “beautiful” to “whattttt?!” Yes, Hype Rhythm, offers up-lighting, but you wouldn’t believe some of the creative lighting ideas some local companies here can do to. Check out my preferred vendor page for some next-level recommendations.
  10. The dance segment should only be two hours max, three if y’all are crazy partiers, and five super-max if you’re from a culture where that is the thing.
    • This is the biggest point as a DJ, so I saved it for last. Even if you have your venue till midnight or the time could work out for four hours of dancing, DON’T do that to your guests. Two hours is the time frame that will leave guests saying “That was the greatest wedding I have been to.” Three can also work for those huge 200+ person weddings, or where the bridal party is crazy fun, or when the guests want to hear every danceable music genre there is; however for all those factors to fall into place isn’t too common, but it can happen. Thanks for reading and be updating y’all with the 2017 edition next year!