Garvan, a Dublin DJ is a founder/director at Star DJs and an experienced music programmer. He has DJ’d over 1000 events for the likes of U2 and other acts. He has also DJ’d in many bars and club events over the last 20 years, so has vast experience in the industry. Specialising in weddings and company events, he is an event planner & music consultant to venues and radio stations throughout the Dublin region, such as Christmas FM. He was the first DJ to introduce the full day wedding DJ service to the market, incorporating anything from the ceremony to drinks reception, the entrance song, music for cake cutting, MC duties, programming dinner music (changing the feel and mood by course) and then entertaining with music from first dance to last.
Do you recommend giving the DJ/Band a list of songs you like/don’t like?
I wouldn’t suggest providing a playlist per se, but certainly some song suggestions that you might like or don’t want and then your DJ can advise you on those. Even the most experienced DJs or music programmers couldn’t plan a full playlist in advance without “reading” the crowd and the floor on the night “as live”. What a client might like could be completely different to the people attending and the same song might work well at one wedding and not at the next. If you limit yourself to a playlist you are literally putting handcuffs on the potential for the event to be a success. I always take on board the no play songs, but again I will always ask for and then advise as to these in advance. Sometimes you get asked not to play song A or song B, but that could be the most popular song that works for the guests, so myself and my client will talk this through when we do our consultation.
Do you think it’s a good idea to give guests a song request option on the night?
I don’t really think this is a good idea. Why allow one guest with no knowledge or experience of music programming or DJing chose a song for a room of 150 people that most likely would not work. It’s too risky. It could clear the dance floor and kill the night, all over one bad or wrong song played. If that happens you could also find the guest not even dancing to that song and it could take 10 minutes to get the floor back up busy again after killing it over that bad song! If you have a lot of wrong song suggestions and you play them you will kill the night and if you don’t the guest might be unhappy.
What are the best songs to end the night with?
That’s the million-euro question. This very much depends on the direction of the night and what is working at the time or based on some suggestions when I consult with my clients on their ideals and dreams for their event. I will probably not know what will work till the 2nd or 3rd last song and then choose a song based on the previous reactions to the songs playing to end on a high. Some of my clients do make suggestions and I often discuss with them in advance.
What are the most popular first dance songs?
There are hundreds of them. I find most of my clients like to go for something a little different than just the same obvious songs, but I do advise them to select something appropriate for them and that will work with the right tempo that you can then build up your set from thereafter.
What songs work well for the reception entrance?
Again, as above, there are hundreds of potential songs. When I consult with my clients I try to find out what fits their personality and if there is a song that might sum them up as “their song”? I would always go up-tempo and just use the hook so it has immediate impact when they walk into the room. An entrance song always lifts the mood and lays down a marker for the evening ahead.