Music, light and sound are essential for any wedding, and finding the right mix to make your big day as memorable as possible can be daunting! Choosing the right mix of sound and light will help manage the flow of your event and keep up a celebratory atmosphere through the ceremony to the dancefloor. But how do you choose the right one for your big day?
Indian DJ Yogi Rana, owner of Boston Sound and Light knows how to throw a wedding party. In addition to coordinating lighting and sound, he helps with wedding planning with Mint 2 Be Events and DJ’s under the name of DJ Yogz. As an exhibitor and sponsor of the 2020 Spring Wedding Expo, INDIA New England sat down with him and talked about finding the perfect wedding sound and why music is the universal language of love.
Click here to register for free for the 2020 INDIA New England Spring Wedding Expo on March 8, 2020 at the Burlington Marriott Hotel
INDIA New England News: How do you prepare to work with a client on music and lighting for their wedding? What are the things that you need to know before you start your work with a client?
Yogi Rana: Music is the life of the party, and without it, your event is simply a dinner. It is imperative as entertainers that we get the music just right. As an entertainment company, we pride ourselves in suggesting that we aren’t really the show, you are, and we simply listen to your needs and ROCK your show. Once I assure my clients that the “party” is really their vision, I emphasize that music is almost secondary; as in a backdrop of the event, and that the most important part of their wedding is their timeline. Selecting and picking music should be plug-and-play once the timeline is completed. Plus, libraries of music are ever-growing, and you want the selection to not only include the classic, but some new tunes that makes you go. Lighting is much of the same; first sort out the timeline, figure out what color outfits have been bought, decoration pieces selected, and lighting will simply fall into place.
In theory, hiring a DJ logically should be about music. But if you think about, the DJ is not just the person who plays your songs, they are the ones that run and govern the show! When they tell you to sit, you sit. When they suggest you eat, you eat. And so, when we prepare a wedding with a client, it’s largely to make sure we create a perfect flow of events, and along the way we learn of their artistic taste, understands the dynamic of the guests invited, and finally work on a playlist together.
INE: When would you recommend that your clients start thinking about music and lighting for their wedding? On average, how long does this process take for your clients?
YR: More than half of the BSL clientele consult with us before any commitments, including that of booking their venue to make sure we are available first. And honestly, we are truly humbled by the affection. The truth of the matter is, everybody has to eventually get married, and there are only a few vendors that have delivered quality of services consistently. If it were up to me when hosting an event, the first thing I’d always book is the entertainment (though I am a bit biased), because every vendor in each category would have the same argument). My argument is, if you truly want to host a “party”, what could be more important than the music?
During the planning process however, it is your timeline that is most important. You can either work with your wedding planner (of which was offer as well through our child company, Mint 2 Be Events) or your DJ; as it is the DJ who will be orating the events, people, music and announcements of the day. Once your timeline is complete, you fill in the blanks with your selection of music.
INE: Interracial, interreligious and intercultural marriages are on the rise- what are the challenges in providing music and lighting for a wedding that brings more than one cultural tradition together? What music is a “must-have” for any Indian wedding?
YR: I don’t think there are any challenges from a music standpoint. Music is the universal language of the world! And so music should be the vehicle in which we break such challenges and barriers. The biggest fear our fusion clients have is that the DJ will suck such that when American music is played, the Indians will sit down; or when Indian music is played, the Americans have no clue what to do. My team and I are very stubborn and indifferent to this logic. For BSL, we want you to look back 10 years from now, browsing through your wedding album and noticing how EVERYBODY was on the dance floor. This is true for an Indian/Indian wedding, or an American/American wedding. We don’t care who specifically is on the dance floor, for as long as everybody is on it, and having the time of their lives.
However, the challenge I do see with fusion weddings is the lack of culture sometimes. Often we have clients saying, “I’m Indian, but don’t prefer any Indian music at my wedding”. To that I respond, what makes a song Indian? I mean, there are American songs influenced by Bollywood, and Bollywood songs that sound like EDM anthems. I usually emphasize to my clients that we are American chefs of music, and we tinker with the level of spice depending on you and your guest’s palette.
INE: What songs do you find are the most popular on the dancefloor at Indian weddings? Are there any unusual wedding song requests that have stuck with you over the years?
YR: It depends on the crowd. I couldn’t tell you what we played at the last event to be honest. The science in playing music is in reading that crowd in that moment. We never have any set playlists, and nor should we. A lot of our clients are repeats, or were referred to by friends and family who may have introduced us. Imagine if that family friend attended your wedding and we played the same songs? That doesn’t mean we don’t repeat songs from one party to the next, it’s just that we don’t really go into an event knowing what we are going to play unless the host has requested it.
INE: If you could only tell an engaged couple who are preparing for their wedding one piece of advice about choosing music for the event, what would it be?
YR: You have to have fun with it and make it personal. As an entertainer, we have our own taste in music, but we should be attentive to other people’s taste in music.
Don’t put the onus of figuring out what to play on the DJ! You should evaluate a DJ on how well they take direction from you on music and execute it. At BSL, during the planning phase, I request my clients to give me some songs that represent them. This could be a generalization, like a genre, or it could be 4 or 5 songs. I once had a bride that gave me nearly 500 songs! It is whatever makes you comfortable, because a good DJ will figure you out based on the little you give them. The goal is to make sure we imprint your stamp on the wedding, because it’s your show. So again, have fun with it.