Help me find a DJ for my Long Island wedding in September, please.
December 27, 2010 1:22 PM   Subscribe

I'm getting married in September. My fiancee and I are hoping to avoid a traditional DJ or cheesy wedding band -- we're not big dancers -- but we want to have music at the wedding.

One idea we had was to hire a DJ to play records: mainly rock and soul music from the 50s and 60s and 70s. (I'm a big fan of Music To Spazz By and the old The Hound radio show on WFMU.) But we have no idea where to begin looking for that sort of nontraditional DJ.

Does anyone have suggestions for laid-back non-typical DJs in the NY/Long Island area?
posted by buriedpaul to Media & Arts (20 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Have you tried emailing those WFMU DJs? Bet they'd know.
posted by facetious at 1:25 PM on December 27, 2010


DJ Dan Fortune specializes in lounge-y music that might work for you: "swinging jazz, lush bossa nova, martini classics." I know he can work with you to play the stuff you like.
posted by cushie at 1:27 PM on December 27, 2010


for what it's worth, we hooked up an MP3 player to a stereo. we had picked a few hundred songs that would be good for party/dancing/milling around and just put them on random. DJs still have their place, but there's far less need for them with the ability to set up 1000 songs to play automatically.
posted by nadawi at 1:28 PM on December 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


The mp3 idea is a good way to go.... otherwise...

1. you could fly me out from the midwest, I totally do things like that.. or, more reasonably,
2. place a help wanted on the MeFiJobs subsite, seems like you'd likely get some hits that way.
posted by edgeways at 1:33 PM on December 27, 2010


This is very hard to do on LI. Most wedding DJ's are "wedding DJ's" my S-i-l almost fired her's during the wedding for being exactly that. Really good DJ's can end up being quite expensive.

I would suggest the ipod route. Or a friend of a friend Alternately you can get a non-wedding wedding band quite easily. Ours was not remotely wedding like. Our venue required us to use a booking agent and he did a tremendous job of helping us figure out exactly what we wanted. If you have the budget for it I think that's the best option.
posted by JPD at 1:33 PM on December 27, 2010


We went to a great event in Brooklyn DJed by Matt Mikas, and the music was spectacular.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:38 PM on December 27, 2010


If you are getting married in a church, check with the music minister/director there. He or she will know someone who has a jazz ensemble or something similar.
posted by brownrd at 1:42 PM on December 27, 2010


You and your fiance aren't big dancers....... but what about your friends and family? Your wedding should definitely reflect your tastes, but at the same time, you are hosting a party (probably the most expensive one you'll ever host), which means you definitely need to consider what your guests will enjoy.

My SIL got married this past spring; she booked a bar band that was very popular in the small midwestern college town where the reception was held. Their music choices were seriously inappropriate (Prince's 'Pussy Control'? Nine Inch Nails' 'Closer'? Buckcherry's 'Crazy Bitch'? Really? At a wedding?) and caused everyone over the age of 35 to flee the reception almost immediately after dinner.

I wish I were exaggerating, but all of the older folks either went up to their hotel rooms or left. The bride was really upset that it was only 10 PM and no one was dancing, and I was thusly forced (as both a family member and a bridesmaid) to not only stick around myself, but to try and convince other people that they should stay too.

That really doesn't answer your questions though, does it? Sorry. Just wanted to give your something to think about.

How about: making a playlist and using an iPod? This is really good if you want to avoid a super-cheesy DJ saying stupid stuff or playing songs that make you cringe (like when I got married and the DJ played 'Lady in Red', which maybe would have been a good choice except it was 2009 and I hate that song WITH A PASSION).
posted by onceisnotenough at 1:43 PM on December 27, 2010


Nth-ing the "iPod/iTunes playlist on a laptop" suggestions. My friend did this for his wedding, with a nice set of speakers attached to his laptop and all of us friends taking equal time handling "DJ" duties at the laptop. I plan on doing this myself for when my fiancee and I tie the knot. He gave us a short list of songs that were important to him and his now-wife to intersperse, and left the rest of his library open to us to select as we liked.
posted by Tknophobia at 1:48 PM on December 27, 2010


I asked a wfmu dj to be the dj at our wedding reception, and he was totally willing to do it, but had some things come up before that, so couldn't. Maybe you should ask them?
posted by katinka-katinka at 1:54 PM on December 27, 2010


How's your local rockabilly scene? Back when I was in the periphery of the Santa Cruz rockabilly scene, I ran into a few DJs whose specialty was music from that era, played on vinyl.
posted by mollymayhem at 1:55 PM on December 27, 2010


If you are considering paying a DJ you have the budget to make the MP3/iPod thing awesome. Spend an afternoon or so going through the iTunes or Amazon music store for every excellent rock and soul song you can think of. 100 songs = 100 dollars, and 100 songs would be plenty for the evening. Spend another $100 on renting a PA.

Don't forget Oogum Boogum!
posted by dirtdirt at 1:56 PM on December 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


You need the Popshop DJs!
* We spin music that is different & creative without being obscure. You will love it & so will your guests.
* We never EVER use wacky lights, smoke machines or hang banners at any event.
* We never play line dances or the standard boring wedding or party fare.
* We arrive dressed for a party, not dressed like clowns.
* We emcee your wedding or party more minimally than the average wedding DJ.
Here's their "do not playlist" and if you scroll down you'll see what they DO play.
posted by kathryn at 2:02 PM on December 27, 2010 [7 favorites]


We're planning on asking a few of our talented musician friends to play a few songs at the beginning of the dance (for the first dance and to get the party started), then we're getting a friend to be the official iPod DJ.
posted by beepbeepboopboop at 2:23 PM on December 27, 2010


Playlist is the way to go - unless for some reason you want a human in charge of the music.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 3:14 PM on December 27, 2010


We had a great experience with Carol at A Starry Night. She worked with us beforehand to get a feel for what we wanted, and respected our Do Not Play list completely (and was totally prepared to claim she didn't have something if necessary). We didn't want a lot of active emcee-ing, just our intros, and she announced when the best man was about to make his toast. Otherwise, she just read the crowd and adjusted the music accordingly. Everyone had a blast, whether they were dancing or just catching up with people. Totally worth it, I thought.
posted by shrieking violet at 5:53 PM on December 27, 2010


Pandora + speakers
posted by Jacqueline at 6:28 PM on December 27, 2010


I had a great experience with DJ Gaza. He was low-key, professional and quiet (i.e. no yelling "Party people make some noise!" but would appropriately introduce toasts or dances or whatever).
posted by inertia at 7:19 PM on December 27, 2010


FWIW, I definitely understand if you don't want to get a DJ but if you're not going to have a DJ, I recommend having someone MC things. We had a band and they were wonderful but we didn't have someone (until we asked someone that day) to say things like "and now for the first dance!" "and now they're cutting the cake!" etc.
posted by kat518 at 7:43 PM on December 27, 2010


I’m surprised there aren’t more votes for a band. I think there’s nothing better than a good wedding band. Much classier than DJs or ipods, not even close. Of course you don’t want a cheesy band, but don’t underestimate just how fabulous a really good professional wedding band is. They’ll make the party.

A couple of years ago I was at a wedding in Northern NJ where the bride had hired a band from Staten Island. Six or seven pieces fronted by female lead singer who did all the announcing, and never made herself the star of the show, the bride and groom were. They played big band stuff from the forties, some songs from the fifties, and then proceeded to rock the house the rest of the night with sixties and seventies soul and r&b. Four different bands members alternated taking the lead vocal.

There was something for everyone and nobody was driven out. A year later the bride’s brother got married and hired the same band, I couldn’t wait to go just the hear the band again. They were just as good the second time around.

I was at a wedding in Boston about six month’s ago and the groom insisted on hiring his favorite local blues band. They were a good band and I would have liked seeing them in a bar later that night, but only a handful a people enjoyed them. And the band was uncomfortably out of place.

Most of the bands will accommodate your budget by bringing fewer pieces if need be. In my view there’s nothing better than the right live band. By miles.
posted by PaulBGoode at 10:58 PM on December 27, 2010


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