The Real Purpose of a DO NOT PLAY List

Written by: Aaron Escobedo

 

Most people, when asked if they have any songs that belong on the “DO NOT PLAY” list, automatically think of songs with explicit lyrics. Secondly, they might think about how much they hate “What Does the Fox Say”. Then, about how they don’t like techno and that they will never listen to Chris Brown ever again.

A good mobile DJ will ask you about your DO NOT PLAY list and respect it. Most likely your response will be some variant of the mentioned example or perhaps you will not have one. You like music, period! This is perfectly acceptable. However, a great DJ, who is going to put as much thought and heart into your wedding as you, will ask you to pause for a moment and really think about the DO NOT PLAY list.

Very few of us are so lucky as to marry our High School or College sweethearts. Often times we go through several or more trial and error relationships before we find the ONE. None the less we treat these individuals with every intention of being in it for the long haul. We exchange physical representations of our love, assign ourselves a cute couple name in the fashion of the famous “Brangelina” and then comes the moment we realize that we are in love with this other human being. This twinkle in time is forever etched into our memories. We even remember the song that was playing on the radio when it happened; OUR song.

Now, flash forward, and that song, instead of radiating warmth and beauty, gives us a sting when it comes on the radio, even worse, through the DJs speakers on one of the best day of our lives. Instantly our big day has a dark cloud hanging over it. I genuinely care about you, your fiancé, your wedding and all the effort and hard work it takes to pull it all together. I would be mortified to find out you had a flash back about when you broke up with your ex or when you were given some devastating news because of my song selection. This is the real purpose of a DO NOT PLAY list.

I have a true story to illustrate my point. I recently had a client that brushed right past the DO NOT PLAY list. I paused her and took the time to explain everything I just talked about in the previous four paragraphs. That’s all it took and I had a sizable list when we said goodbye. A few days later her fiancé calls me and asks me to add even more. By the time we were done talking I could not play anything by Taylor Swift, Justin Beiber, FUN and a few other individual songs.

At the reception, it didn’t take long for one of the guest to come up and ask for the one song that the bride told me she absolutely could not hear on her wedding day because of her ex. I handled it and the couple didn’t even know. If your DJ does not ask about this critical list, you should bring it up and make sure he or she understands that any song on this list is not to be played under any circumstances.

At some point your DJ should provide you with copies of your playlists for your approval. The DJ is responsible for making sure that your playlists follow the criteria as outlined during your meeting. In addition, a true professional should be experienced enough to know how to deal with that one guest who insists on hearing a forbidden song and will not take no for an answer. Finally, no one is perfect and should a song that is on the DO NOT PLAY list make it through, try to remain calm. I recommend getting someone from the bridal party to approach the DJ and suggest that he or she FADE to the next song. Once the issue has been resolved, the DJ should be reminded of the DO NOT PLAY list and told to please respect it.

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