Deviating from the plan
Saturday I had an amazing wedding. The bride and groom were super fun-loving and had invited well over 250 guests to their celebration. The ceremony was held outside in the courtyard, with the guests standing "in-the-round." When I first met with this couple, I went through my normal planning process, asking about their favorite and least favorite songs and artists. They simply told me "We trust you to do what you do best. The only thing we don't want is for a song to go on longer than a minute or two." I was super happy with that - I love quick mixing and consider couples like this to be my "golden couples."
As we got closer to the wedding, they ended up gathering a sizable list of potential song suggestions from their many guests, with they shared with me. Many of them were great songs that I would be able to work in, so I didn't mind. Once the dancing portion of the night started, however, we ended up taking a much different direction than I initially expected. While most of their requests had revolved around Calvin Harris and similar EDM artists, the crowd was responding extremely well to 90s and 2000s hip-hop. I was faced with a choice - try and pull as many songs from the request list as possible and risk losing the vibe we had created, or continue on and potentially play very few requests.
I chose to go with my gut and played hip-hop for the majority of the night. When I thought back on my first interactions with the couple, I remembered them placing their trust in my ability to program the music. Despite adding multiple requests later on, I knew that they trusted me. Additionally, I took a look out at the guests as the dancing began. Many had been drinking heavily since the cocktail hour began. Would they remember if I didn't get to their specific request? I also thought about the parents and other family members of the couple - they weren't micro-managers and had left me alone for most of the evening, so I felt as though they wouldn't mind if I worked the crowd in a different direction.
In the end, I went in a different direction from the original plan and the wedding turned out better than I had imagined. Sometimes it's better to take a detour than to be rigid in our presentation. Despite how I had envisioned the evening as unfolded, the alternative turned out just as good (or better). Whether it's your music, the schedule, or even the way in which you announce something, don't be afraid to switch directions if you feel like it's the better route. Weigh the various factors affecting the evening and bring in your experience to your decision. Your event may wind up exceeding all of your expectations.