everything you need to know about wedding reception music

Wedding Song Request 101
Have you ever gone up to the wedding DJ to place your song request? If so, why did you make the request? Was it because you wanted to dance to it or just wanted to hear your song? Did you think more people would get up and dance if your song was played? What were you thinking at that time?

So you’re probably wondering “what’s with all the questions about my song request?” Well, some people simply don’t think before they request a song at a wedding. Listen…wedding DJ’s understand that everyone has their favorite songs, and if their job was about making everyone happy they would play every song requested. However, that’s not their job…not even a little bit. The couple has hand selected their DJ company and have entrusted them to pack the dance floor all night long. Trust us, this isn’t the DJ’s first rodeo. Selective Sound DJ’s have skills like none other when it comes to getting a room full of people to dance.

Now, if for some reason you just have to make that song request, then for the LOVE OF GOD, PLEASE take a look at the top 10 1/2 reasons why the DJ may not play your request.

Song request Denied!

Here are the Top 10 1/2 Reasons Why…

1.No one can dance to your requested song…

Example: Free Bird by Lynyrd Skynyrd. Sure, it’s one the greats. However, these songs are best at the bar or around the campfire. If we play this, the dance floor is going to be empty and the bar tender is about to be overwhelmed. An empty dance floor is not what the couple paid the DJ for. The only way we’re playing something like this is if it was a request from the couple and at the end of night.

2. Just because you’re the closest family member to the couple doesn’t mean your request will get played any faster. Listen Aunt Ginny, we know you’re more important than everyone else but we just don’t care. We’ll get to your song when we get to it.

3. We won’t play a song just because you say it’s the bride’s favorite.

You have to do better than this. If this was the bride’s favorite song she would’ve told us this during one of our numerous meetings.

4. Novelty Songs

Example: The Hokey-pokey/The Chicken Dance.  If we don’t play these it’s because the couple gave us strict instructions not to. Believe it or not, some couples just can’t stand these songs. And management isn’t willing to take an angry bride call due to the chicken dance.

5. Non-danceable radio pop hit.

Example: “Marry You” by Bruno Mars. Sure it’s a fun song and we think it’s cute too. However, when is the last time you tried to actually dance to it? I’m picturing a hot mess like Elaine, how about you?

6. Inappropriate Lyrics

“Lick it like a lollipop” or “Bitch I’m a N***er” may send GramGram to her grave tonight. So unless the couple tells us to, we’re going to let her live one more night.

7. “This was my wedding song”

Well isn’t that precious? You’re so conceited that you just have to relive your special day through someone else’s. How about you let us play what this couple wants to hear? They paid us, not you. Move it along Karen…

8. It has the bride’s name in it.

“Oh Sarah”….oh poor poor Sarah. Sue, Brandi, Jessie… Chances are, these ladies begged us not to play this on their special day.

9. Trying to send a message.

Example: “Congratulations” by Post Malone. Yeah….you can bob your head to it, but you can’t dance to it. Trust us, the happy couple has most likely been congratulated by everyone in the room already. By the way, this song has NOTHING to do with a happy marriage.

10. Don’t wait until the last half hour to request a song.

First of all, this should REALLY be a no-brainer. But for those with no brains and must have an explanation here ya go: The bride and groom typically have a closing song they’ve already picked out and other requests (from those folks with brains) that still need to be played.

And a Half…
Firstly, please don’t try to bribe the DJ with money. Your dollar bill is cute and all but our main focus is to keep the dance floor packed and the couple happy. Secondly, don’t feel like you have to request a song. Just enjoy yourself, we’ve got this!

We don’t mind playing song requests…honestly, we don’t. We just ask that you be mindful before you start throwing songs out. Remember, our role at this wedding is to specifically keep the party moving at all times. If the dance floor isn’t packed, then we’ve failed. And we, at Selective Sound Entertainment, refuse to fail.

Photo of SSE Founder, Jay R Rich - 13 planning tips for Cleveland weddings

Quick Tips That Will Help A Lot when Planning Cleveland Weddings

We interviewed the founder of Selective Sound Entertainment, Jeremy “Jay R” Rich, to ask him questions we knew would help couples planning Cleveland Weddings. Watch all or only the ones you need the answers to the most.

What Can Lead To Regrettable Wedding Entertainment?

Research your wedding DJ’s or live music, look for value and not just the cheapest price, and making sure to meet your potential partner first are three key tips to having less regrets when securing a wedding entertainer in Cleveland.

When Can Lighting Ruin a Cleveland Wedding Reception?

Lighting can hurt the look you desire for your wedding instead of helping if you select a vendor that doesn’t have a true background in lighting. Understanding the effects of color and how light changes spaces for photography are a few other things to consider before choosing a lighting vendor for your Cleveland wedding.

What Can Sound Amplification Do to a Wedding?

With the proper sound amplification at a wedding, you can ensure that your ceremony vows will be heard. In addition to that crucial service, a sound engineer can make sure nervous people know what they are doing with the microphones and there is always extra equipment in case something happens. This is especially important for those summer or fall Cleveland weddings.

What are couples biggest regrets years after their wedding?

The last thing we want to see are couples regretting the choices they’ve made for their wedding even if they aren’t our clients. Because we’ve been in the industry for so long, we’ve heard all the pains of couples who wished they had made difference decisions. One of the most frequent regrets is not buying videography in some form for their wedding. Likewise, sometimes the vendors they ended up with weren’t the best fit for them in reality. These issues and more are possibly avoidable as long as you do your best to educate yourself before hand.

Why is talking about your wedding budget important?

If you’re planning your wedding right, you should get everyone on the same page when it comes to your budget as soon as possible. If you get everyone involved together and set your priorities before you hire anyone, you’ll have a much higher chance for less stress. We’ve seen this time and time again when helping to plan Cleveland weddings.

What Wedding Couples Don’t Know about Lighting

Here’s what couples should know about lighting for their wedding…
1. There’s more to lighting design than uplighting.
2. The venue makes a big difference for lighting.
3. There are lots of lighting options possible, you just have to ask questions.

Where is Lighting the Most Impactful for a Wedding?

There are ways to get the most impact for your money when it comes to lighting options at weddings. Make sure to ask your lighting professional what will stand out the most. You should also concentrate on the areas that will be seen most often (especially in photos).

Should you add lighting to your wedding?

To determine if and what lighting options would be best for you, we think you should figure out a few things. Make sure you and your light professional know your venue well (even if that means taking a site visit). Determine what mood you want your guests to have at different times of the event. These tips and more have always resulted in better events from our experience working with clients in Cleveland.

What You Don’t Know About The Cost of Wedding Lighting

In order to be prepared for purchasing lighting for your wedding, ask your lighting provider to show you examples of what they’ve done in the same venue you will be having yours at. Make sure you know the overall effect you want to have and develop your expectations before you go into your first wedding lighting meeting. In our years of providing lighting for Cleveland weddings, this strategy has always benefited couples.

What We Wish Couples Knew About Lighting Design

There are a number of things we wish couples in Cleveland knew about wedding lighting before they even met us for an appointment. For instance, most don’t know just how much more pervasive lighting is on the guest experience over decor. That said, lighting can really bring out the best in decor if done right. There are a number of ways lighting can impact your wedding day, and we’d be excited to show you how!

How can wedding lighting impact guest emotions?

Colors affect the moods and emotions of people and lighting has the opportunity to wash a whole room in the colors of your choice. With a wedding lighting designer, LED lights can produce thousands of options. You can even change the colors of the room at different strategic times to get the feelings you want. We’ve had the chance to design spaces in Cleveland as well as many other parts of Northeast Ohio. With lighting, we have been able to bring couples’ visions to life time and time again.

What do Cleveland couples overlook the most?

There are a number of options that get overlooked frequently by couples planning wedding receptions. Videography is frequently overlooked and is also the number one regret from couples that pass on it. Don’t have regrets when planning your Cleveland wedding by making sure you are working with industry veteran professionals.

Live Music Tips for Cleveland Weddings

We believe live music can elevate both a wedding ceremony and reception. DJs, MCs, and Live Bands can work together very well so you get the best of all they can offer. Overall, live music can heighten the look, sound and emotions for your Cleveland wedding. We’d love to show you how!


We hope these 13 tips will help you plan your wedding reception with less stress and more knowledge. If you want to ask your own questions of Jay R, you can reach him here.

A wedding band posing for picture outside

Perception, Reality and Myths of Wedding Entertainment

A wedding reception without entertainment is a bleak idea. When guests look back on your big day, they’ll likely not remember details including your vows, centerpieces, or ice luge. Those features are important but they’re mostly only important to you. Looking back, guests will remember how happy you were on your big day and how much fun they had. Entertainment is the pulse of the experience you’ll be giving your guests and the decision to who provides it will set the tone. Wedding entertainment can come in many forms but the two most dominate are DJ’s and live bands.

When Bands Are The Right Choice

Live band on a stage

A live band can bring a lot of energy and fun to any event.

There’s just something about live music, right? The feeling of being in a room with musicians creating music right in front of you brings a different level of enjoyment for those who appreciate the difference. The best live bands have a style all their own which is how they create strong bonds with their fans. Bands are focused on being true to who they are as artists.  Because of this, they’re exceptional when their theme matches the theme of an event. Themes such as “Roaring 20s” or ones with a heavy emphasis on ethnic traditions pair well with live bands who share those sensibilities. What bands lack in flexibility they make up for in authenticity.

Entertainment Myths

Smiling DJ

Ask your DJ questions to make sure they can fulfill your visions.

The barrier to entry to become a DJ is smaller than that of a band. Bands require more investments in time and money and the team dynamic is also a crucible. Because of this, the myth of the “cheesy wedding DJ” is pervasive because…they’re out there. This myth is based in some fact because there are more wedding DJ’s than there are wedding bands. They negatively color how many see a profession that makes a huge impact on people’e most important days. This is why it’s important to compare apples with apples.

When you are evaluating between professional mobile DJ’s and professional wedding bands there are distinct advantages and disadvantages by their vary natures. When you’re exposed to tasteful DJ’s who double as or partner with Masters of Ceremony one of the biggest wedding entertainment myths disappear. There are DJ’s who are every bit as classy as live bands.

When it comes to bands, one myth we’ve heard many times is that bands are too loud for guests. We understand where this comes from. Some bands focus mostly on playing in bars or clubs where loud is the point.  Unfortunately, these bands apply a one-size-fits-all method to sound amplification and it just doesn’t work for weddings. If you compare those bands to a professional DJ, you’ll find the band lacking in control over decibels. The reality is, professional bands who focus on private events and wedding entertainment know how to provide an elegant evening of dancing.

What DJ’s Have Over Bands

Do you want a DJ for your wedding entertainment?

DJ’s can typically play any song you desire while a band will have limitations.

There are a number of ways DJ’s are different than bands but chief among them is flexibility. Bands have a style and they know the songs they know. DJ’s have access to any song imaginable and the skill to arrange them in a manner that segues coherently. If you need to include a song that is unique and means something special to you, is not a very well-known track, and/or is from a specific ethnic place, DJ’s have access to and can incorporate those songs into the night appropriately.

Another big difference is cost. While DJ’s and Bands swing wildly in both directions when it comes to pricing, the averages between the two usually result in bands costing couples more. Besides their specialized skill-sets and demands for gigs outside of weddings, bands simply have more people to pay. In addition, they often require additional labor to set up and tear down equipment as well as sound designers. As an example, Selective Sound Entertainment could provide wedding entertainment in addition to full room lighting and a photo booth for the same cost as most wedding bands.

Another area where we see the majority of bands (and there are exceptions in our market) have difficulties over DJ’s is work centered around being a Master of Ceremony. Some bands don’t offer this vital service because they feel it’s a different skill than dance floor entertainment…and it is. That’s why our teams have years of training in both skill sets because it’s a requisite of what we provide.

Best of Both Worlds

Band on stage for wedding entertainment

Pairing an experienced wedding DJ with an awesome band will make your special day unforgettable!

All this said, you can always have everything you want when it comes to wedding entertainment…for a price! We have our own party band, Party band, which was specifically put together for special events. After years of hearing the DJ v. Band debate, our family of companies decided to put together an option that includes the best of everything. We offer clients our MC/DJ services to handle breaks, introductions, formalities, and they get our coordinating services out of it as well. There isn’t any discount, but we do all the work coordinating with the band and all the vendors. This way, clients get the best of both worlds.

When you hire both, you have the ability to have the exact style of music you love for your reception. With both, you have the energy of live music, an organized evening, as well as an array or popular songs to dance to so everyone is happy. We offer a Party band which comes with our MC/DJ team who work and train together to create a unified complimentary experience for guests.

As long as you know the truth of the benefits and challenges of one form of entertainment over another, you can make an informed decision. We’ve been in business a long time while holding a stellar reputation because we ask the right questions before you sign to see if we are a good fit for each other. Our mission is for you to get the best wedding entertainment you can get and provide that to you if we’re right for you.

Let us know if we can help!

Rock The House Live Party Band




Our best wedding DJ is setting up.

Should I let my DJ take requests at my wedding?

Should I let guests make song requests at my wedding? This is a very common question for couples that we meet with in the Cleveland area. Your answer? Absolutely! IF and only IF your experienced wedding DJ has the talent and know how to handle and filter requests properly!

This dance floor is packed due to our experienced wedding DJ

SSE’s experienced wedding DJ’s always pack the dance floor at Acacia Country Club.

Why should I let my experienced wedding DJ take requests?

Allowing your Cleveland DJ to take requests is actually rather important. This allows them to feed off of your guests and get a better feel for what the guests are into. You may get some that request fun dance music. Perhaps the song is from when the Bride and her sorority sisters went on spring break. Maybe you will get some of the groomsmen to request some old school music from when the groom used to break dance! This will better help you understand the guests and what they may react to.  Even if they request music that isn’t really for dancing to, your DJ should be able to feed off of that and it will give them better ideas for other music choices.

Think of it this way, you’re paying for an experienced wedding DJ so that your guests will have fun. Undeniably, the goal is to always have the dance floor packed. A packed dance floor shows that your DJ is indeed experienced. And above all, it means your guests are having an amazing time. Thus, you spent your money well!

Lastly, don’t hesitate to communicate your concerns with your Cleveland DJ. If you’re worried about a specific genre being played just tell them. In any event, it is your big day and an experienced wedding DJ will always listen to your concerns. At Selective Sound Entertainment, our couples wishes always come first.


Everyone is dancing thanks to SSE's experienced wedding DJ.

Wedding guests having the time of their lives thanks to SSE’s experienced wedding DJ!

SSE's experienced wedding DJ packed the dance floor

No matter what age group, an experienced wedding DJ will be able to get everyone on the dance floor.

Photo Credits to Cleveland area photographers: Making the Moment Photography and Genevieve Nisly Photography