Brielle & Will's Wedding

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What a fun wedding this was for us to DJ! Brielle and Will were married at the church affectionately known as “The Little Church Around the Corner”, and the reception was held at the elegant Tribeca Rooftop. Lighting was provided by Power Posse Productions, and the photos were taken by Jenelle Kappe. It all came together beautifully, thanks to the coordinators at Green Apple Weddings.

Cocktail Hour

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Cocktail hour was held on the amazing roof of the venue, with a gorgeous view of the surrounding Manhattan and New Jersey skyline. For the music, Brielle & Will chose a mix of Soul, R&B, Classic Rock, & Post-Punk. It was the perfect vibe as the sun set behind the skyscrapers.

Here’s a sample of their cocktail hour playlist:

Talking Heads “This Must Be the Place”
Arthur Conley “Sweet Soul Music”
The Beach Boys “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”
Jackie Wilson “Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher & Higher”
Johnny Cash “I Walk The Line”
New Order “Age of Consent”
R. Kelly “Step in the Name of Love”
The Replacements “Can’t Hardly Wait”
The Zombies “This Will Be Our Year”
Tom Tom Club “Genius of Love”


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We got the dance party going early, and it never let up! We played an eclectic mix of Pop, Hip Hop (classic and new), Dancehall, 80s, Indie, Rock, and Soul.

Some highlights from the dancing playlist:

Mase “Feel So Good”
Prince “Kiss”
Sean Paul “Temperature”
Taylor Swift “Shake It Off”
Trick Daddy “Take It To The House”
Lykke Li “I Follow Rivers” (Magician Remix)
Missy Elliot “4 My People”
LCD Soundsystem “Dance Yrself Clean”
Estelle “American Boy”
Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell “Two Can Have A Party”
Dolly Parton/Dizzee Rascal “9 to 5/Fix Up Look Sharp Mashup” (special request by Brielle)

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We also played a 5 song set accompanied by the PitchBlak Brass Band! The set included brassy favorites such as Paul Simon “You Can Call Me Al,” Outkast “The Way You Move,” and Amy Winehouse “Valerie.”

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It was great to see Brielle & Will’s family and friends having such a fun time, and we had fun making it happen!

Choosing a DJ Company vs. Independent DJ

So you’ve decided to hire a DJ to play at your wedding, instead of a band or live music. Great choice! While both a DJ and live music offer excellent benefits, we find that DJs offer the greatest variety of music, appeal the most to the general population and are more experienced at delivering excellent dancing music. For a more in-depth look at hiring a DJ vs. a band or live music, check out our other blog post here.

Selecting a DJ for your wedding is a great decision - but it doesn’t quite end there. You must decide to hire an Independent DJ or contract services with a DJ Company, that will set you up with one of their DJs on staff. What are the advantages and disadvantages of selecting a DJ Company vs. Independent DJ? First let’s quickly define the the two terms.

Independent DJ
An Independent DJ is an individual DJ (disc jockey) who is able to play music at weddings and events and most independent DJs have a particular genre or specialty they spin. They will be responsible for all of the planning, organizing, communication, transporting, and of course performing the DJ services at the wedding or event.

DJ Company
A DJ Company is a legally formed entity that provides clients with DJ services for their weddings or events, and are able to offer customers a full-service DJ experience. A full-service DJ experience means that the company will have several employees, and proven systems to plan, coordinate and deliver a stress-free wedding DJ experience for its clients.

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Price Comparison

If you decide to hire an Independent DJ to play music at your wedding, one of the major advantages is the price and cost of hiring one compared to the cost of contracting DJ services through a DJ Company. Why is an Independent DJ less expensive than hiring a DJ Company? An Independent DJ does not have the overhead that a DJ Company does such as additional staff and employees to pay, marketing, customer service and technical support, advertising, branding, and other resources. What is the exact price difference between an Independent DJ and a DJ Company? It would be hard to answer that question as the price difference would depend on a myriad of factors. However, it is safe to say that an Independent DJ will charge less than a DJ Company anywhere from a hundred dollars up to several hundred dollars.

Price Comparison Advantage: Independent DJ

DJ Options

One advantage DJ Companies have over Independent DJs is their ability to staff as many DJs as they want with an assortment of personalities, characters, and musical styles. Do you want a laid-back DJ who can mix and match oldies with pop, or an energized DJ who will spin classic rock? DJ Companies can roster both of these types of DJs and more to match their best-suited DJ with the personality and preference of their client. The client simply expresses their desired DJ personality and musical preference, and the DJ Company will match them up with one of their DJs that best fits their requirements. Unfortunately, Independent DJs cannot provide the variety of DJ personalities and musical styles that a DJ Company can. If you coincidentally happen to match with the perfect DJ upon first contact, then you might consider yourself lucky. But then again, you’ve only known that DJ for 5 minutes. DJ Companies will know their rostered DJs inside and out, have vetted them in person and on the job, and will be able to know their true personality and musical style.

DJ Options Advantage: DJ Company

Organization and Planning

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One of the reasons why a DJ Company is more expensive than an Independent DJ is because a DJ Company will do all of the planning and organization for you, and make your wedding planning a lot less stressful. Most DJ Companies have processes and systems, which allow the wedding DJ planning to be faster, easier, and much less complicated. Empire Wedding DJs has the client fill out a new client questionnaire, which is then reviewed by the company and extrapolated to create a Master Itinerary. The DJ company fills in the details, sets up logistics, and presents to you, the client, a detailed, organized, step-by-step plan for how the DJ and music will unfold on your wedding day. Don’t like the first dance song timing? Interested in an extra hour for the after-party? Not a problem, your wedding coordinator will work with you until the Master Itinerary is exactly what you’re looking for.

Organization and Planning Advantage: DJ Company

Contingency Plan

What happens when your perfect wedding DJ comes down with the flu on the big day? If you’ve hired an Independent DJ, then you are most likely out of luck and will have to scramble and beg to find an available DJ, or a substitute like a live band. Finding anything on the day of, is never pleasant and never really successful. Your cousin Johnny may be spinning tunes that evening. If you’ve hired a DJ Company, then you have lucked out and the show can go on! The DJ Company will have a back-up DJ in the unfortunate event that your DJ cannot perform at the wedding. She/he will be familiar with the venue details, music preferences and Master Itinerary, so that they can seamlessly step in for the other DJ.

Contingency Plan Advantage: DJ Company

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Final Thoughts - Independent DJ vs. DJ Company

For most couples, a wedding will be the single most expensive day in their lives not including purchasing a residence. It can be tempting to save money where possible to lessen the financial burden. But please be aware of the potential risks associated with doing so. It may be worth the extra $500 on top of the $50,000 you are already spending to ensure that the wedding guests have fun, body-bumping music to listen and dance to. We all know that even if the ceremony is dragged out and the food is bland, the guests have the most fun and memorable time breaking it down on the dance floor with their friends and family. Overall it would be wise to choose a wedding DJ Company, as your DJ options will be greater, the process will be less stressful, and you will avoid any huge pitfalls.

Overall Advantage: DJ Company

The Most Requested Songs at Weddings

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Now that the fall wedding season is in full swing, we thought we’d take some time to talk about the songs that our wedding DJs in New York City get the most requests for during the dancing portion of the evening. It’s entirely up to you whether or not you’d like us to take requests from your wedding guests, this is just to give you an example of what they might request.


Not surprisingly, many of these songs are from the Top 40 lists of the past few years. Songs like “We Found Love” by Rihanna & Calvin Harris, “Empire State Of Mind” by JAY Z & Alicia Keys, and “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson & Bruno Mars are modern classics, and they always bring everyone out to the dancefloor.


Some of the most popular older songs include “This Is How We Do It” by Montell Jordan (perfect for a Friday wedding), “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” by Whitney Houston (gentlemen, don’t even think about not dancing with your lady on this one), and “I Want You Back” by Jackson 5.

The Latest

Other honorable mentions we’ve been getting lately are “I Can’t Feel My Face” by The Weeknd, and “Watch Me” by Silento. Watching groups of guests doing all the different dances to “Watch Me” is super fun, lots of great photo opportunities there! You can keep up with all of the most popular new songs by checking out the Billboard Hot 100 here:

Have a listen to our Empire DJs Most Requested playlist below, and see if any of them fit into your wedding playlist.

10 Must-Have Traits of a Professional Wedding DJ Service

Planning your wedding day can be a long and stressful process for many couples. The last thing you want is for the DJ to show up late or play lame music!

At Empire Wedding DJs, we know what it’s like to be a customer of a poorly run DJ service company and Empire was founded to succeed at all the areas where other DJ services have failed. Choosing the right wedding DJ service company can make your event fun, relaxing, and unforgettable, so take a look at our list of “Must-Have Traits” for professional wedding DJ service companies below!

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1. Good Reviews from Past Wedding Couples

Word of mouth and positive testimonials from previous wedding clients are a great start to selecting a wedding DJ service for your big day. Don’t be afraid to ask the company if they can provide you with some referrals to call. Two examples of great third party referral sites are Yelp and WeddingWire. Check out the Yelp third party review site for Empire Wedding DJs here: Empire Wedding DJs Yelp Page

2. Liability Insurance

The last thing you want is an accident ruining your wedding and burning a huge financial hole in your pockets. Any professional wedding DJ company will provide the most basic liability insurance to cover you, the client, from things such as damage and injury.

3. Professional Website and Online Presence

In the age of technology and information, any business that doesn’t have a professional website and online presence, is probably not going to be up-to-date with good music, equipment and proper management. Browse their main corporate website as well as any social networking sites such as their Facebook page, Twitter account, and Google+ page to get a better feel for the company’s identity.

4. High-Quality DJ Equipment

DJs don’t need the most expensive, top of the line speakers and turntables, but you can be sure that a professional DJ will utilize high quality, dependable equipment. Always double check and ask your wedding DJ coordinator what kind of equipment, speakers, and turntables will be used at your wedding.

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5. Accommodating and Personable Coordinator or Staff

First impressions are everything and you will be able to get a good feel for the DJ service company by speaking with a company representative over the phone. If they are knowledgable, friendly, and you get a good feeling, then that’s a great sign of how the company is run.

6. Transparent Pricing

We know airlines do it, but some unprofessional disc jockey companies also hide their fees and end up charging customers more than they expect. Do you need to leave a security deposit? How much do additional hours of DJing cost? Make sure that overtime fees, travel expenses, additional set-ups, and other fees are clearly detailed in the contract.

7. Emergency/Back-Up Plan

What happens if the disc jockey who is scheduled for your wedding gets sick on the big day? This is one major reason to work with a professional company and not an independent DJ. A top DJ service company will have an emergency back-up plan and one or two backup DJs who are knowledgeable about the venue details, music preferences, and itinerary ready to jump in and take over if necessary.

8. Positive Proactive Personality

On the big day, there’s bound to be a few twists and turns that no one has planned for. Having a great DJ with a proactive personality, will allow him or her to be flexible, accommodate requests, and troubleshoot problems on the fly.

9. Responsive Customer Service

The customer is always right. Top of the line professional service companies always ensure that customer inquiries or communication is timely. General correspondence should not take more than 24 hours and urgent communications should be responded to within hours.

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10. Written Contracts

We live In a litigious society and written contracts are in place to protect both the customer and the company. Written contracts should be well-written, detailed, and cover all aspects of the business relationship from costs and fees to the scope of work. All professional DJ service companies will use a written contract with new customers.

Final Comments on Choosing the Best DJ Service

Choosing the right DJ service company comes down to two main things: the organization and procedures of the company, and the gut feeling you get. The organization and procedures of the company - such as the design of the website, the written contract, the forms they use, the speed and type of customer service, and the insurance they carry - will demonstrate the professionalism and structure of the company. The gut feeling you get - how user-friendly the website is, your first impression phone call to the company, how the coordinator greets you in emails - will indicate whether the people working for the company like their jobs and their bosses, and the general company culture.

We at Empire Wedding DJs hope that this guide will help you choose the best wedding DJ service for your big day. As a premier nyc wedding DJ service company, Empire Wedding DJs is happy to openly share any information we have to help individuals and couples make the most well-informed decisions regarding their weddings. If you are interested in requesting an Empire Wedding DJ for your big day, feel free to email us at: