Diary of a DJ by DJ Henton
It’s always a pleasure being asked to provide the soundtrack to a couple’s special day. I don’t just rock up on the day. The planning starts well before the actual event by sitting down and going through the details provided to Top Dog on the event form to get a feel for how they dream of the day panning out. I like to find out what music is special to them, what might make their friends and family dance, look at playlists they may have created and make sure I am across the run sheet and key songs, such as ceremony music or the first dance.
In the week leading up to the big day I ring the couple. It’s a great opportunity not only to introduce myself but to run through all the music, get a feel for the vibe they are after and just get to know them a little. I think it’s important that they feel comfortable with me and that they trust that I can deliver the atmosphere they are after for their big day.
After chatting with them I will play around with my music and put together some folders containing music they like and music that will fit around that. It helps to be prepared and although I have an extensive collection of music, (great for requests!) it makes the night easier when I have all of their must plays on hand.
On the event day from behind the decks I’m very lucky to have a fantastic viewpoint of the entire venue and celebrations. Starting off with seeing the smiles of excitement from the guest arrivals, everyone looking beautiful and sharp, friends & family travelling from far & wide, reuniting and embracing with joy!
My first aim is to set the mood and play a perfect balance of welcoming and warming music to get everyone relaxed and excited for the evening ahead. It’s great to look around and see people happy in conversation catching up or eating the amazing food but as long as the toes are tapping then that’s a good sign!
Once the formalities are out of the way it’s time for the DJ’s most crucial job; to get the party started and everyone on the dance floor! Quite often this involves a First Dance of the couple’s choice and then straight after it’s my turn to up the BPM (beats per minute for those non musicians!) and get everyone in the party spirit! Working with other musicians, such as saxophone, trumpet and percussion also brings an extra wave of energy which the crowd always enjoy. It is really fun seeing them roving around the dance floor and interacting with the guests.
Once you get the guests up and dancing, one of the most difficult jobs as a DJ is to keep them there because one wrong song choice can kill the dance floor! This is where experience and a vast music collection comes in to play. With 20 years practice under my belt I like to read the crowd, mix it up with some new hits, some sing along classics, floor fillers and play for the girls, as they are usually the best dancers!
As the night draws to the end (depending on what is requested) I would usually aim to finish with a bang, some big sing along anthems and finally give the couple a farewell circle or archway send off if that’s their thing. This is a great way to bring everyone together for one last time to say their goodbyes and off into the night.
Once it’s all over I pack up and fill out an online job report form so that everyone at Top Dog knows how amazing the night was! Job done!