The Journal Gazette
Monday, February 06, 2017 10:03 pm

The reception's hit list

Steve Warden | The Journal Gazette

The church is reserved for the July 22 wedding just outside of Chicago. So is the reception hall. The cake has been ordered. The dress, picked out. The guest list decided. Even the DJ is booked.

"So far so good," says Rebekka Grasso of her impending wedding with Michael Wasserman. "All we have to do now is fill in a few details."

Among the details, according to Grasso, is what kind of music to play at the reception. While the couple has already procured the DJ, they’ve yet to settle on what kind of music will mostly be played. She likes hip-hop. He hates it. He likes country. She can tolerate it.

And then there’s the matter of their first dance. What’s it going to be?

"We haven’t even thought about that yet," Grasso says. "I’m sure we can agree on something."

Allow Denny Cook of Fort Wayne Pro DJs to make a suggestion: "A song that I think is the perfect, perfect wedding dance for a bride and groom is called ‘Amazed’ by Lonestar," he says. "Sometimes if they ask my suggestion, I tell them ‘Amazed.’ But most people have in mind what they want already."

Every disc jockey who has worked a wedding reception will explain that the gamut of first-dance songs can run from A (Adele) to Z (Zac Brown Band). Despite Cook’s penchant for "Amazed," there is no one correct request.

"I would say the most popular song last year for the first dance would have to be ‘From the Ground Up’ by Dan and Shay," says DJ Brian Minich. "It’s a country duo and it’s probably the most popular (song) for this year. It’s one of those songs, in my opinion, made for weddings, especially the first dance."

And don’t ask Jason Dallich, of Dallich Entertainment. "I’ll be honest. I have had a huge variety as far as personalities at different weddings," he says. "I don’t know if I have played the same song twice for any of my brides and grooms."

Cook agrees: "Keep in mind there are so many songs out there, and brides and grooms have different tastes. You might play a whole year’s worth of events and only play that song one time."

As far as favorite first dance songs go, the consensus is there is no consensus.

But when it came to listing their favorite songs to get people away from their punch and onto the dance floor, local DJs sounded as though they were reading off the same set list.

In order, the songs are: "Cha Cha Slide" by Mr. C the Slide Man; "Cupid Shuffle" by Cupid; "Wobble" by V.I.C.; "I Gotta Feeling" by the Black Eyed Peas; and "Low" by Flo Rida.

Dallich includes Silento’s "Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)" along with "Cha Cha Slide."

"Those are definitely the top two," he says. "I don’t think I’ve been able to escape a single wedding reception without having to play both of them. I’m usually busy every weekend and have been for about two years. Those are the two that almost guarantee you’re going to get requests. Somebody’s going to come up to the DJ booth and ask for one, if not both, of them."

Bride-to-be Grasso says she and her fiancé will seek common ground on what their DJ will play come July 22. There may be a little hip-hop for her, a little country for him, and who knows what in between? She says they plan to sit down with their DJ the next time they both go to Chicago.

The local DJs say it’s standard practice to know what the couple prefers long before the music starts.

"We’ll sit down with our client beforehand, and we have a wedding planner that we walk through them with," Minich says. "That helps them choose the type of music they would like and the specific songs they would like. So even before their reception starts, we’ve already built up a playlist."

While the song for the first dance is specific and the other songs will be generalized, much of the evening is up to the DJ.

"I’m there to get the dance floor packed," Cook says. "A wedding reception is not like a club. A club is pretty much the same age group. A wedding reception is such a huge difference between age groups – from young kids to grandma."

If the young kids want "The Electric Slide," give it to them. And if grandma asks for Michael Jackson, that’s available, too.

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