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Hosting the Ultimate Dance Party: Choosing Your DJ!

Hey brides, welcome back!


We've got so much great advice and fun, trendy content to share with you in this new year - - thanks for being here!


Well, let's dive right in and kick it off the way we always do here at the Barn: with a dance party!



...oops! I guess we better set the stage first! Here we go:


You are in the process of planning your wedding. You've found the venue (YAY!), you booked a talented florist (CHECK!), the final delicious cake tasting is done (YUM!), the dress is beyond your wildest dreams (SWOON!), and your photographer is ready to capture every sweet moment (EEEK!); but you have no idea who to book as a DJ...(YIKES!)


Knowing that you picked the right DJ can be difficult- - you want them to be able to read the crowd; pick the right songs; and most importantly, keep the dance floor and your guests lively all night as you celebrate true love! Don't stress though, we've got your back.


We recently had the opportunity to sit down with DJ Marek, a professional Disc Jockey based out of Rapid City. A proud member of the American Disc Jockey Association, he provides his entertainment in South Dakota, Montana, Nebraska and Wyoming. Marek was generous enough to share some of his hottest tips and best advice with us to pass on to you as you're in the process of choosing a DJ. Here are some of the top questions and answers he receives from potential clients- - pay close attention and you'll have no problem hosting the ultimate dance party for your guests!

Kelsey Spratt Photography

What's your background and how did you get started?

My interest in music and entertainment started during my teenage years. By high school I had saved enough for my own set of equipment and the DJ adventure began! I’ve been fortunate to be part of hundreds of wedding celebrations, lots of local school dances, and have even spent several seasons on international cruise ships providing entertainment all around the world! 2021 will be my 18th year as a DJ and I couldn't be more excited! We want our wedding to be over the top. What are your ideas for that? Bring on the special effects! I’ll help you take your celebration to the next level by incorporating incredible special effects like indoor sparkler fireworks, color uplighting, and dry ice stage effects. Matched with the right soundtrack, these add-ons create amazing moments to really wow your guests!


For the West and Wild Photography

We want to do a picture slideshow at our wedding. Do you have any tips for that? Most important is the length- - the sweet spot for a wedding slideshow is between 8 to 12 minutes. A good rule if you're putting your photos to music is generally to allocate a song for the bride, a song for the groom, and a song for photos of you both together. I also recommend taking this a step further and showing your slideshow during your first dances. If done correctly, the result will be amazing! Sometimes traditional dances like the father-daughter or mother-son can get a little long for guests to sit through. Do you have any creative ideas to shorten these up while still maintaining their sentiment? Absolutely! The simplest method is to ask your DJ to custom edit or “cut” a shorter version of the song you want to use. For a professional, it can be as simple as removing the third verse or one of the choruses to transform an originally 4 minute song into a more mangeable 3 minutes or less! Another popular solution is to invite all the other fathers and their daughters to dance with you about halfway through the song; and do the same for the mother/son dance! Inviting guests to interact and be a part of this moment breaks things up a bit and gives the perception that the song is shorter than it really is. However, if you prefer long songs (take your moment!), “Simple Man” by Lynyrd Skynyrd is just under 6 minutes.

What do you think about line dances at weddings? It all comes down to personal preference! The great thing about weddings is that the age range of your guests is all over the place, and that allows you cover a wide variety of music! A good DJ will be able to keep the party going and play music that appeals to everyone from little kids to grandparents. In my opinion, line dances are a great tool when used correctly and can serve as a good motivator when your party needs a bit of redirection. However, it’s also easy to over-do it with line dances, so maintaining a balance is key! As your DJ, I’m happy to use my professional experience and use these “as needed” throughout your party. Ultimately, you know your friends and families best though, so it's completely your call as clients on how we approach this. We make sure to cover these aspects and song/dance requests prior to your wedding! How would you describe your personal taste in music? This is always a tough one to answer. Like most people these days, my personal music tastes are all over the place and really depend on the mood and setting. I think it’s especially important for any DJ to immerse themselves in music outside of their comfort zone so they are familiar with a wide variety of music styles. Personally, I have a great appreciation for the singer/songwriter genre and the talent it takes to come up with something original that truly connects with people. That being said, I’m also certainly a sucker for a great beat with a sexy, catchy hook. What do you love about being part of weddings at the Barn at Aspen Acres? Well, it’s just the perfect wedding venue of course! Built intentionally from the ground up with receptions in mind, it proactively solves common problems by providing ample space for guests to enjoy a celebration, as well as behind-the-scenes details like power outlets with plenty of clean, noise-free electricity. Little things like that can be easily overlooked, and they make a big difference to vendors. In addition, they have some of the best banquet staff in the Black Hills who are fast, friendly, and over-the-top accommodating. Modern aesthetics, top-notch logistics and sheer beauty, how can you not love it?!

Kelsey Spratt Photography

What advice do you have for couples looking to book their wedding DJ? My top 3 tips are: 1. Evaluate their experience - Like with any job, nothing beats actual hands-on experience. Years of practice and the ability to adapt to different situations will make your party flawless, stress-free, and amazing. Your DJ should be well versed in public speaking, be a pro at timeline management, and have extensive knowledge of music and dance psychology. 2. Know who you're actually booking - Some companies won’t assign you a DJ until just a few weeks before your wedding. While you may luck out and get someone you love, there's also the chance that you may get stuck with a newbie who’s just starting out and has only worked a wedding or two on their own. I always suggest you know exactly who your DJ will be on the night of the party at the time of booking. After all, you’re booking someone to represent you for your entire reception, and you want to throw a party! 3. Be sure it’s a good fit - This one is simple; just make sure you have a good vibe going forward. Trust your gut! Someone who shows a genuine interest in your wedding, takes the time to get to know you and your fiancé on a more personal level, and offers creative ideas and suggestions based on their experience- - that’s the way to go!

Hooray! Now you're ready to hit the dance floor!


Remember that the most important part is that you choose music and entertainment that best represents you as a couple and the guests you've invited to share in your big day. Just like your other vendors, book someone you trust so that you don't have anything to worry about in the moment! We hope these tips help you in your search to find the perfect DJ- - we're sure it's going to be a party no matter what direction you go, and we can't wait to celebrate with you!


Cheers!


The Barn at Aspen Acres


Kelsey Spratt Photography

To learn more about Marek's DJ Services, visit his website: http://www.mareksdjservices.com/.

He's also on Facebook @mareksdjservices.


Thanks for taking the time to share your business and advice with us, Marek!

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