Having an exceptional DJ is SO important when it comes to your reception. A not so great DJ? It can change the tone of your event entirely. Imagine me grabbing you by the shoulders and looking directly into your eyes as I say “This piece really matters!” In my initial meeting with couples, I always encourage them to do thorough research, read reviews and ask questions. Think about what is important to you in a DJ and make sure you find one that matches your vibe.
It is so fun for me in my coordinating role to observe a fantastic dance party and hear comments at the end of the night from guests of all ages about how fun the reception was. But a dance party full of great music is not all that a good DJ produces. There are many other things to consider, that go into making that party fun and seamless which is why today, I thought it would be helpful to give you some planning advice from a DJ’s perspective. Below we interview the DJs on our creative team, All the Right Grooves.
To brag on them for a second, the DJs at ATRG, Jill and Bethany are professional and fun, well experienced, and are honestly some of my top favorite humans on this earth. 78% of our couples had ATRG as their DJ in 2019. Look at their reviews on The Knot and you will find they are all exceptional. You’ll even see them name dropped on Alexander Homestead’s Knot webpage. Get to know them, choose them for your big day, and start planning out your reception!
Can you talk about how All the Right Grooves was formed and how long you have been DJing?
All the Right Grooves was founded in 2003 by two music-loving, forward-thinking, and like-minded individuals in Bethany McDonald and Jill Phillips. We saw the need for a fresh take on the mobile and wedding DJ industry, and we grabbed the opportunity and created All the Right Grooves DJ Services. We formed our company by marketing ourselves as the “anti-cheese” DJs, meaning we believe that the event should be focused on our couples, and not dependent on a show or performance by the DJ. In 2003 we started with 3 weddings, and by 2006 we were doing 100-120 wedding per year. In our 17 years, we’ve played for more than 1,500 weddings!
What are some important things couples should look for in a DJ?
It’s super important for prospective couples to have a connection with their DJ; to feel like the DJ is listening to what YOU want, not what THEY want to do. Couples should feel like the DJ understands their vision and their music tastes, and that there will be no surprises throughout the night. A good DJ should be able to not only read the crowd and dance floor, but create the energy throughout the night by using the perfect music. It’s also important that your DJ be willing to work closely with your other vendors to ensure everyone has the opportunity to do the best job possible at the event. We are all one big team working together to provide the perfect celebration!
What do you love about DJing at Alexander Homestead?
There’s not enough space in this blog to describe all of our favorite things about working with Alexander Homestead. After 17 years as full time DJs and over 1,500 weddings (and thousands of other events), we feel qualified to say that this is one of Charlotte’s best venues – hands down. The staff is absolutely INCREDIBLE – from the ceremony to the reception – they are so easy to work with, attentive, and genuinely invested in making sure every wedding is perfect! Everything is organized, service is lightning fast, and the venue is impeccable. Our weddings at Alexander Homestead NEVER disappoint, and some of our best events have happened inside the walls of that beautiful barn!
What makes ATRG unique to other DJs out there?
All the Right Grooves separates itself from many of the other mobile DJ companies by focusing on the needs, wants, and visions of our clients. We don’t believe there is one single “cookie-cutter” way to do a wedding; meaning every wedding is unique, and every wedding is built on the foundation of celebrating our couples. We actually found our company motto in the review of one of our first dozen weddings: “You were the life of the party, without being the center of attention!”
Can you talk about the planning process you have with couples once they book?
When our couples book with us, our next step is to send over a unique ‘wedding DJ info & worksheet packet.’ This consists of ceremony and reception worksheets, which helps our couples organize the details of their event – along with giving us something to reference throughout the evening so we don’t have to bother our couples while they are enjoying their night. We are also happy to schedule a phone, FaceTime, Zoom or Skype call, or an in-person visit at your favorite coffee shop or brewery to get a feel for each other and learn more about our couples! The more we know about their styles and tastes, the more we can tailor each wedding to perfectly fit our clients and their guests.
What advice do you have for engaged couples out there when it comes to picking music and thinking about their reception?
Music selection can be a little overwhelming sometimes, so we try and provide as much guidance as possible through the process. It’s so important to make sure that you have a good balance of both personal AND crowd favorites throughout the night. For example, some songs may be better for ‘listening’ than ‘dancing’ – so we try to fit those in during the dinner hours and transition time. It’s also critical that you communicate to your DJ any songs you DON’T want; as a rule of thumb, we don’t play novelty songs or group dances unless our couples have specifically given the OK. Though it’s always good to keep in mind that those can be super-fun to get the dance floor packed – so it’s important to stay objective in choosing your music. But ultimately, this is YOUR event, and it should be EXACTLY the way you want it to be!!
What are all the pieces that couples need to make decisions on for their reception?
The main decisions that we ask our couples to make are the flow of the evening, the special dance & event songs, and what types of genres they envision us including the most though the night. We like to know about any toasts, blessings, or announcements throughout the night so we can get everything prepared and move seamlessly from one event to each other throughout the night. We welcome as much or as little interaction with the music and playlist as our couples want! Whatever it takes to create the perfect night for our couples.