Wedding Planning: Band or DJ? Do This Instead.

Choosing a band or a DJ is one of the many decisions couples have to make before saying “I do.” Music can make or break your wedding — it plays such an important role in ensuring your guests have as much fun as you do. 

Thankfully in the months leading up to my wedding, I had an epiphany that helped my now husband, Sandy, and me decide on the perfect entertainment option. 

In 2017, MTV revived music video countdowns by rebooting Total Request Live. In anticipation of the show’s return after nine years, MTV aired a weekend-long marathon of the music videos that dominated the countdown during the show’s heyday. Sandy was traveling that weekend, so I had the opportunity to blast my TV as loud as I wanted and dance around to early 2000s bops by *NSYNC, Usher, and of course, Britney Spears. 

Listening to the songs and watching the videos that punctuated my adolescence resulted in a feeling of nostalgia that I didn’t want to end. As silly it might sound, that weekend I realized that this was me at my happiest. It was like a flashback to cosmic bowling birthday parties — I felt like a kid again. 

That’s when I knew I wanted music videos at my wedding. I wanted to party like it was 1999!

I was already leaning toward a DJ, and I knew music videos were the perfect way to enhance the experience for our guests. Our venue, the Harriett Himmel Theater in West Palm Beach, already had a screen that could descend from the ceiling for an additional charge. I admit, it took a LOT of convincing for Sandy to agree to it, but he knew how much this would make me happy.

After coordinating the details, it was time to actually choose the videos we wanted played. Simply relying on our DJ to pick and choose was a gamble. For one, I specifically wanted to focus on throwbacks, but also, not every music video is appropriate for your grandma to see. We needed to screen the videos.

So one Saturday, Sandy and I streamed YouTube onto our TV and fell into a black hole of throwback jams. We chose songs from the TRL era, but also hits from other decades including Jailhouse Rock by Elvis Presley, or September by Earth Wind and Fire, and Billy Joel’s Uptown Girl. 

Unfortunately, there were plenty of songs that didn’t make the cut because we knew the videos would raise some eyebrows. For instance, we love “What’s My Age Again?” by Blink-182 (1999), but I’m fairly certain our families wouldn’t want to see them running naked through the streets. But they’re probably not reading this, so here you go:

On our big day, we got through our first dance, the father-daughter and mother-son dances without music videos — we didn’t want anything to distract from those special moments. But after toasts were out of the way and our guests we fed, we cued our wedding planner to lower the screen from the ceiling.

The first song to kick things off? 1999 by Prince, of course.

We also had some Bruno Mars, among countless others!

I think it’s safe to assume that the videos delighted our guests and even the wallflowers — they were interesting to watch if you weren’t on the dance floor! And I surely got a kick out of them.

My college, the University of Central Florida, had just finished an undefeated season, so I knew I also wanted to play our rally song, Zombie Nation. They didn’t have a video, so I customized a slide and overlaid the music! It was so fun and felt so personal. My college friends and I had a blast with this one. 

Here’s a full view of the dance floor from above, with none other than Party in the USA by Miley Cyrus on the screen.

So I guess the short answer here is, get a DJ, but see what else you can do to enhance the experience. I’m SO glad we decided to do this — it felt so right for us! If your venue has a screen, you should consider it too. You don’t have to focus on throwback videos like I did. Choose the songs that you love!

Here’s our full playlist that I shared with our DJ. Huge shout out to Josh from White Tie Affairs in Boca Raton for making our vision come to life!

Photos by Traci Burke Photography.

1 Comment
  1. This is a great article. Being that I played in one of the top cover bands in the US that did top 40 in the 90’s, I would say a band is the best choice. Although a Great DJ during the bands intermissions would make things perfect!