Every couple is unique in their own beautiful ways.
For Kayla and Brandon, whose love had blossomed at electronic music festivals, the sweet spot was achieving just the right balance between their natural tendency to “go with the flow” and their somewhat counterintuitive desire to transform what they otherwise intended to be a very laid-back and family-friendly affair into a supercharged EDM afterparty after the sun went down and the kiddos were put to bed.
In order to stage such an event, they booked an extended stay at a country house with a barn where they could be free from strict timelines, noise ordinances, and other such rules imposed by typical event venues.
A bride and groom after my own heart, we collaborated over the weeks and days leading up to their big day to curate the musical vibes they truly wanted. After all, EDM is a very broad category with countless subgenres! In a nutshell, aside from some Top 40 and '90s hits guaranteed to please the crowd during the initial dance party, Kayla and Brandon wanted to me to spin EDM almost exclusively for the entire event, while at the same time finding a way to make such music feel accessible to guests who may not be very familiar with or even fans of EDM.
For cocktail hour, then, I prepared a downtempo playlist of EDM covers of hit songs, including such timeless classics as (What A) Wonderful World, Sun is Shining, and How Deep is Your Love? Such “tribute” songs can often be found within your preferred genre, providing a fun backdrop for guests as they hangout and recognize unexpected and interesting versions of popular songs—which, indeed, set the mood nicely for what was to come.
When I build a playlist, I include much more music than necessary so that I have plenty of options in any given moment. As it turned out, this proved clutch because cocktail “hour” was extended not only since the bride and groom enjoyed mingling and playing lawn games with their guests so much (we love it when a couple gets to experience their cocktail hour!), but also because the caterer needed a bit of extra time to get dinner out.
Once dinner was finally served, I kept the vibe classy with sultry EDM violin instrumentals by Lindsey Stirling, as requested by the couple. Afterwards, we segued into the spotlight dances, including a special mix that I’d prepared for the groom and his mother. For their dance, she had chosen Suavemente by Elvis Crespo. At the groom’s request, when it got to the second chorus, I dropped KVSH’s and Beowulf’s hard-hitting EDM remix of the song. I pre-produced the mix to ensure it went perfectly, especially since I was also serving as the emcee. It was a truly fun and memorable moment!
Like many modern couples, Kayla and Brandon pretty much avoided traditional spotlight moments such as the garter retrieval and toss, cake cutting, etc. Instead, they preferred to focus on activities that encouraged interaction and participation with as many of their guests as possible. Hosting such activities—including the increasingly popular Shoe Game, the Newlywed Game, and others—is always a blast for me as the emcee! They were a hit with the guests and the bride and groom had a great time.
By the time I spun the final song requested for the initial dance portion of the evening—I Wanna Dance with Somebody by Whitney Houston—the dance floor was packed with everybody begging for more!
Kayla and Brandon officially “ended” their reception with a faux send-off—a trend gaining in popularity. What’s cool about it is it lets you officially close out the party while capturing great photographs of the moment since many of your guests are still in attendance, while at the same time enabling folks who are ready to call it a night to exit gracefully without feeling like they are letting down the couple by bailing early, at which point the party—or rather the afterparty—can be ratcheted up to another level for the couple and their inner circle of diehards who stay! And so, I had everybody grab giant sparklers and line up along the path in front of the barn to give Kayla and Brandon a proper ending to their big day as Enchanted by Taylor Swift played in the background.
Then, as the late-night partiers changed into more comfortable attire, I fired up my subwoofer and let it rip! For most weddings, a subwoofer is overkill. Very heavy bass is necessary, though, for bottom-end-driven music like the EDM songs they wanted that had plenty of 808s. Turning down the house lights, I also cranked up my DMX-controlled dance-lighting to levels of brain-melting insanity that I would never dream of unleashing at a wedding under normal circumstances. The intensity of the party seemed to increase with each track I played, most of all when I spun Kaskade, a favorite artist of the bride and groom whom they had made the pilgrimage to see many times with some of their guests. With the music, the lighting, and the energy, we were now in full rave wedding mode!
Kayla and Brandon were ecstatic as their marriage celebration turned out to be one for the books. I, for one, am simply ecstatic that I got to be the DJ and emcee responsible for transporting such an amazing couple and their peeps on a musical journey to the stratosphere—and I look forward to our paths crossing again at Hulaween, Burning Man, or beyond!