Episode 1 – Are We There Yet? From ‘WILL YOU’ to ‘I DO’
Welcome to our very first episode of our vendor live interview show! Many couples curate a detailed playlist full of special songs for their wedding day. They tend to put little effort into thinking about their wedding dinner music.
Here is the transcript from the show:
Shannon Tarrant: Hey there and welcome to our very first episode of Are We There Yet?: From Will You to I Do.
We’re so excited our team at Wedding Venue Map is putting together a great way to connect our engaged couples to Central Florida wedding vendors who are experts in their field; ready to share their helpful tips and information. All kinds of great things and ways for you to help plan your wedding easier, faster, quicker, and a lot less stress. We’re excited about our very first episode today.
Today’s topic is wedding dinner music more than just in the background. You’ve spent all this time figuring out the perfect songs for your wedding, your first dance and parent dances and walking down the aisle but a lot of times, wedding dinner music is kind of the last thing that most couples think about.
Today, we’re here with the team from Press Play Entertainment, Orlando and Rey, who brought their two companies together to create an entertainment company that’s taking over our local Central Florida market. Exciting to see the two companies come together and form one big powerhouse. It was these same goals and principles of treating each event differently and with the highest level of customer satisfaction that has made Press Play the success that it is today. Welcome to the show, guys.
Rey Garcia: Thank you, thank you!
Shannon Tarrant: We’re so excited to have you and be our first guests on Are We There Yet?
Orlando Arbelaez: Yes, yes. It’s gonna be epic. We’re just gonna raise the bar. Everybody else is gonna be like, how are we going to be better than Press Play?
Shannon Tarrant: I know we started talking about topics, the three of us were kind of brainstorming and what topic could we deep dive into? I asked what is the one thing that you guys are the most passionate about, you literally on zoom looked at each other and were like “wedding dinner music”. No hesitation. I think it was so funny because I don’t remember which one of you said, I hate when people call it background music.
Orlando Arbelaez: Dinner music is the most looked over part of a wedding day. It’s such a key point for guests, and DJs themselves, and we’ll go over all of that you’ll see why it’s very important.
Shannon Tarrant: When you know the couples are choosing their music, and they start picking all that ceremony music, and they’re off taking pictures and spending time getting all their portraits done during cocktail hour, right? They don’t even consider or think about their cocktail hour music and that’s usually when wedding guests are mingling around, then the big todo of announcements and now we’re sitting down and we’re eating dinner. So how do you begin to explain to your couples why wedding dinner music is more than just background music?
Orlando Arbelaez: A majority of our couples will say things like, “Oh yeah, just play some background music, play some instrumentals something in the background.” That’s usually what we get from our clients but that’s where we like to just jump in real quick and talk about how important dinner music really is – not just instrumental stuff.
Shannon Tarrant: Yeah, Rey. When somebody says to you, “Can you just play something in the background?” Do you twitch a little?
Rey Garcia: Kind of. I gotta say sometimes you see the couples they have so much on their mind as far as planning they miss certain things. And that’s just one more thing in their checklist for them to have to think about. They hire a DJ company, so play whatever. Usually that’s their mentality, but you have to understand that, when it comes to sections like cocktail hour and then specifically dinner, it’s a time where you kind of get to preview your guests and preview the guests that are going to be there.
Just playing whatever, is kind of wasting some of that time. As a DJ, you could be previewing who’s going to be there, what kind of crowd you have, and the type of crowd is gonna be vibing to the music that potentially the client already picked. Sometimes they might pick a certain style of music for the reception, but depending on the crowd they have they might not all want to listen to that.
Shannon Tarrant: Really interesting concept, right? Looking at it that way?
So Press Play is looking at like that hour as a way to preview the crowd. You’re looking at it to try to figure out more about the crowd.
Orlando Arbelaez: Yeah, absolutely. So the word that we like to use is connect, to connect with our crowd.
Rey Garcia: Exactly. So just a way to connect with your crowd. Just try to figure out if the crowd that you will, kind of that the couple was kind of hoping to be there. You know, for example, a couple could just want to party and has a good amount of younger crowd invited to their wedding, but day of it might be the opposite. It might be completely opposite. Maybe the younger crowd didn’t show up, and here we are with a playlist that’s just you know, urban, for example. And all the uncles and grandparents are the ones who showed up, you know?
So it’s kind of like, is this really going to work for them?
We’re able to use that dinner hour to figure out what kind of music they like and if it actually matches what they’re hoping to accomplish when it comes to the dancing part.
Shannon Tarrant: Yeah, I think that like when I go out to dinner at a restaurant, we don’t really often times when we’re eating pay attention to the background music, but restaurants are more strategic than we probably think with the music they’re playing, creating a vibe. There are restaurants that have faster music and it’s really upbeat because they want you to eat quick and get out and turn the tables fast, or it’s a slower, more relaxed or that romantic vibe. That is the setting the vibe part of what you guys work on and do during that wedding dinner music time.
Orlando Arbelaez: That’s a great analogy right there, Shannon. And that’s exactly pretty much what it is. It’s a vibe that we’re trying to create. That’s what we started talking about, just getting to connect with your audience, with your crowd, with your guests. What we mean by that is, yes, you can have a playlist that’s just playing that either you or the client or both of you have picked together. But it’s really important to see how those songs are affecting those guests.
Like if you’re playing certain songs, and you notice that nobody’s vibing to the music that you’re playing, then you kind of take notes as a DJ, you take notes like “alright, they weren’t really feeling that. Let’s talk about decades, they weren’t really feeling the 90s songs that I was playing, maybe we won’t do that much 90s. But then as soon as I started hitting like that 2005 then they were singing along at the table.”
So those are notes I’m taking as a DJ. Instead of walking off or taking a smoke break or things like that, you could be watching and learning, hey, who are these people. Because there is a vibe that you’re setting.
That vibe is real simple at first, it’s wedding dinner music, everybody’s either going up to get their plates or the plates are being served. So at that point, you know, slower, soft music, something in the beginning, but halfway through that dinner, that vibe needs to start changing, because you’re gonna want people on that dance floor in about half an hour. You want people on that dance floor.
Shannon Tarrant: It sounds like, you take this and you’re kind of going at it much more strategically than I think as somebody who’s worked more weddings than I should admit, I’m not sure every DJ company does this. But it sounds like there’s much more of that strategy, and so you’re kind of stepping up the music, right?
Rey Garcia: Correct. So, organically, why do people dance? It’s because it’s the vibe that you’re creating. You know, I can’t just tell you “Hey, Shannon, 3-2-1 dance!”
Shannon Tarrant: Well, maybe.
Orlando Arbelaez: You’re right. Some people.
Rey Garcia: If you have the right stuff in your cup you might dance, but no, usually people don’t just dance. It’s a vibe, it’s a process. I was speaking to Orlando earlier about this, I kind of brought the analogy of like watching a movie. When you watch a movie, chances are, you’re not going to really see the highlight of the movie or the key point right in the beginning, they’re gonna work you up, they’re gonna introduce the characters. They’re going to tell you the work up, halfway towards the end of the movie, I’m hooked. It’s about to happen, what’s happened because you’re hooked on it.
So the beginning is what we call the dinner hour. You know, that’s when you’re trying to connect, you’re trying to see what’s out there. Who are you playing for?
And then once the dance floor opens up, that is your time to really shine because you already had those tools you already knew. You already know who your crowd is. And that’s the time that you need to really explode and really bring it to the dance floor.
Orlando Arbelaez: Which is an amazing analogy, if you think about it, because how many times have you started watching a movie and then 20 minutes and you’re like, nope, new show? That’s the way people sometimes feel about their DJ during dinner hour. If, in that dinner hour, you’re already making people feel like oh my God, this DJ is already killing it. I can’t wait…
If you have that feeling already during dinner, your dance party portion of the night is going to go amazing.
Shannon Tarrant: I remember there was this one wedding that I was a guest at all the way through dinner I kept being like, “Oh, damn, I love that song. Oh, I love that song.” Right? Like, every time a new song switch was so good.
Orlando Arbelaez: It was probably us.
Shannon Tarrant: I was young and little, I wasn’t even in the industry. Honestly, I remember that experience. I remember being like, “we are going to dance tonight.” Yeah, that creates that feeling for the guests to get excited to get out on the dance floor.
Orlando Arbelaez: Yeah, just think about it. Imagine you were watching a documentary where it was subtitles and it was super boring. Then after that movie, they’re like, “Alright, we’re going out for drinks and everybody’s partying!” Ok, I guess… I’m gonna need a quick shot before I get started. What it is, it’s that build up that you need.
Rey Garcia: So to answer your question from before, what do we do when couples say “Hey, play whatever”, we know it’s such a great important part. Let’s not skip it. Let’s try to figure out, who’s your crowd? You know, are you having an older crowd? Is it a country crowd? Are you guys into singalongs? Are you guys millennials? Gen Z’s? What are you guys into?
A perfect playlist, that’s gonna be amazing, but you have to build them up to that highlight, to that peak, where we need them to be. So when it’s party time, you don’t go from a super boring part to be just like let’s go party!
Orlando Arbelaez: Where’s my drink? I wasn’t ready. I didn’t know we were switching to party.
Orlando Arbelaez: If you’re vibing to the music at that moment, if you’re vibing at that transition, that transition into party is already in you. You’re already feeling like yes, I am ready to party. God When are we going to start? Am I allowed to get up and dance during dinner? Is that ok because I want to get up right now. That’s how you should feel during dinner.
Rey Garcia: It promotes you to want to drink more, you want to socialize more, it just creates a happier atmosphere overall than just sitting there bored because you’re playing Vitamin String Quartet. No offense.
Shannon Tarrant: As couples are planning a wedding, there’s definitely different types of couples. When it comes to their DJ, there are ones that are not really sure what they want and they’re just like, “Listen, we’re going to trust you and here’s some parameters.” But how do you handle it when somebody hands you the playlist for dinner time they’re like, “here’s the hundred songs that I want to hear during dinner.” Because I imagine that’s a little bit challenging with what you’re trying to do in terms of creating the vibe and reading a crowd. What do you recommend to couples when they say I just want to hear what I want to hear?
Orlando Arbelaez: That’s another great question because that happens a lot, and to be honest with you, it’s their day, okay? We’re there to make sure that the vision that they have in their head of their day is accomplished, and maybe even over what they even thought was even possible. That’s the goal that you want.
But being the professionals that we are, and the fact that we do weddings every weekend of the year in comparison to going to two, three, four five, six weddings in the year. This is where us as professionals have to come in and look at the list. Sometimes the list is like oh my god, this is awesome. This is great. Let’s let’s play off this list. It doesn’t have to be that same order.
Feel the vibe of the room. Pick the slower songs first get the quicker songs towards the end. But sometimes if they’re, if you can tell that the that the mood is like, whatever, then you just bring up things like, “hey, so what are these songs mean to you? Did you pick the songs because they represent you and your fiance’s love story?” Things like that, find out what they mean and then if it is a personal thing, then that’s when the MCs start coming in. They can speak a little bit about it and be like, “hey, this playlist that we’re playing during dinner, is bringing you guys back to how the couple met”.
Or letting them know, alright, let’s pick about five songs. What does this song mean to you? That way we can speak about it during dinner. So people are not bored now. Now, it’s a story that we’re trying to tell even though the songs may be slow and whatever, but we’re going to let them know. These are the songs that were picked because these mean a lot to the bride and groom. If they know that information, then it completely switches it. Yeah, it can work.
Shannon Tarrant: That is so interesting because I feel like if I wasn’t vibing with a song, but I knew like that’s the first song they ever danced to, or, you know –
Orlando Arbelaez: …that soundtrack, that movie that they first watched together.
Shannon Tarrant: Like, okay, I hate Titanic, but I can deal with the song because of that. I think that that’s a great suggestion, for them to working with your DJ if there are really important songs that maybe don’t really kind of fit into the rest of the vibe, having the MC explain why that is what it is.
So do you recommend people for dinnertime stick with a genre or, kind of have a theme during dinner like more romantic ,or like if they’re going to suggest a few of those songs, what would you suggest and how they would choose at least a few of their favorites?
Rey Garcia: First, I think I will kind of listen to them to try to figure out what kind of vibe they’re going for when it comes to the dancing, like the open dance floor. You have couples that they just want background music, even for like the open dance floor, they don’t really want to turn up too much just want some background wedding dinner music. It could be a brunch wedding, it could be a daytime wedding, it could be anything. They might not have that vision where they want to turn up and have a good time.
Then you have couples that really want to turn up and it’s like, oh my God, we really want to get the party going, big party animals. Then at that point, I think you have to kind of look at their playlists and see if it’s going to fit for them or not. If it is, great. If not, then as professionals, I think we need to educate them and let them know why dinner hour so important. Kind of revisit those areas and try to figure out what kind of vibe it is.
Again, if it’s like a southern country style wedding, you know, there’s great country songs or great sing-alongs, just overall amazing songs that could really take them into that high when it gets towards the end. It could be an urban wedding, it could be a Latin wedding, it could be anything. But it’s all about knowing who your crowd is, who you’re trying to please. Just making sure that that crowd matches what you’re going to be playing for your dinner hour, you know, because if it doesn’t match, then it’s gonna be completely opposite. You’re gonna have grandparents listening to Drake and not knowing who Drake is, so it just doesn’t match up.
Shannon Tarrant: I’m not sure I know who Drake is. No, I’m just kidding. I’m just joking. I’m not that lame.
Well, I think this is good and helpful information for couples to consider and think about as they’re sitting down to do their music homework with their DJ and sitting down with their partner and their fiance and starting to think about things like that.
Dinnertime is a great place to pick a few of those key songs that can tell your love story that maybe aren’t for your first dance, and you don’t want it to be at cocktail hour because you don’t even get to hear it. So it might be a good time to have those songs that you know really represent their love story along the way.
Shannon Tarrant: Thank you guys so much. So Press Play Entertainment is an amazing member of our Wedding Venue Map preferred vendor family. If you haven’t yet been over to Wedding Venue Map.com, not only can you search for a venue, but you can go on there and check out all of our favorite vendors here in Central Florida.
Where can everybody find you guys when we’re not here live?
Rey Garcia: At the bar. Just kidding. You can follow us on Instagram @pressplayentertainment. Follow us on Facebook. We always like to interact with our couples, we love getting messages. Couples if you guys have any questions, even though we might may not be your DJs or anything like that, we want to be able to point you in the right direction and help you guys out.
Orlando Arbelaez: Yes. And don’t forget the website PressPlayEnt.com where you’ll get to see a lot of our videos that we have on there. We do DJ, photography, videography, photo boothsm lighting, we do a lot of different things. So feel free to just look through and if you have more questions on this subject, please feel free to contact us. It’s such a huge subject.
One thing I want to make sure that we let your know – anyone watching, our own clients, or just brand new people that are trying to pick out their DJ – listen, dinner music is key. It’s a big point. Don’t let that just pass over.
And as a DJ as a company, same thing for you guys. This is a learning opportunity. Don’t let dinner music pass by. Use it as a key to start your party, because let me tell you, some people or some companies wait until the dance floor begins and then try to get to know their guests. That half an hour, 45 minutes to an hour for dinner, is such a waste. If you would have just used that time to get to know your guests.
Once the dance floor is open, you already know them and they’re already partying, instead of wasting that first hour. Just take that hour during dinner to get to know them. And then once the dance floor starts, there’s no need for the cha cha slide or the Cupid Shuffle. We could throw those in later, but there’s no need for them because you already know your guests. You already know what they want, and you can start off the party.
Shannon Tarrant: Well, thank you guys so much for sharing your expertise today. And being our very first episode of Are We There Yet? Stay tuned on our Facebook page and over on our YouTube to find out more and check out our next episode. Thank you guys so much for being there.