The Perfect Cocktail Hour Playlist

When it comes to weddings and events, there are literally millions  of songs to choose from. A frequently asked question that we get is: “What type of music do I play for the cocktail hour?” The answer isn’t always easy, since everyone has their own unique taste and preferences; most of the time, however, our clients will choose from our genre list, on our wedding planning form.

If you have never planned a wedding, you may not know what Cocktail Hour is. Usually, Cocktail Hour is the time where the couples will take their pictures after the ceremony, and their guests enjoy appetizers and cocktails/drinks. Most of the time, Cocktail Hour is after the ceremony, but we also have done the Cocktail Hour before the ceremony, as well. So usually, the couple isn’t even in the same area where the cocktail hour is occurring, which means they rarely hear the music. So clients usually just ask the DJ for their input on what to play.

We provide a genre list for couples to choose from, and about 80% of the time, couples select “Acoustic” and “Jazz” or “Big Band.” The other 20% of the time, it’s “Country” and “Love Songs.” Keep in mind, we’re located in the Austin/central Texas area, so your couples may choose other songs. Overall, though, many of these songs are great hit songs and covers, that are great to play, everywhere. So here are the songs that we play most-often:

“Better Together” – Jack Johnson
“Let’s Stay Together” – Obadiah Parker I know no one will be better than Al Green, but this is a good cover. 🙂
“Wonderwall” – Ryan Adams Again, a great cover. Yes, it’s hard to beat the original 🙂
“Hey Soul Sister” – Train
“I’m Yours” – Jason Mraz
“Lucky” – Jason Mraz & Colbie Caliet
“You and Me” – Lifehouse
“Come Away With Me” – Norah Jones
“Don’t Stop the Music” – Jamie Cullum (Rhianna cover)
“Take me the Way I Am” – Ingrid Michaelson
“You Are the Best Thing” – Ray Lamontagne
“Can’t Help Falling in Love” – Hailey Reinhart
“L-O-V-E” – Nat King Cole
“At Last” – Etta James
“The Way You Look Tonight” – Frank Sinatra
“Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World” – Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwo’ole

The above songs are the most requested cocktail hour songs that we play in the Austin and central Texas area. There are many more jazz and post-modern jukebox hits that we also play. If you’d like to hear each of the songs, here are the links to our most-requested Cocktail Hour songs. We hope this has been helpful!

head-shotJason Rubio is the co-owner and founder of Austin’s Best DJs, a professional DJ & photo booth company that provides music and entertainment for events in the Austin and central Texas area. Jason started his DJ career as a mobile DJ, at age 13, in 1991, and has since DJ’ed thousands of events, providing music and entertainment for clubs, bars, radio, concerts, festivals and various other events.

Jason is also a graduate of Texas State University with a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Education, as well as a Master’s of Public Administration, from The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Though Jason worked in the education field since 2003, he continued to DJ public and private events, and later founded Austin’s Best DJs & Photo Booths, with his wife, Diana, who also DJs, in 2012. Today, Austin’s Best DJs provides music and entertainment for approximately 250 public and private events per year, in the Austin and central Texas area.

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Getting New Gear on a Budget

Whether you’re a new DJ, or a veteran DJ, we all know that buying DJ gear is expensive! You need turntables or a controller, speakers, microphones, sub-woofers, lights, stands, music, backup equipment, etc. Wow, the list goes on. Depending on the type of gear you want, the prices can really vary, too! So if you need new equipment, or have a client who is requesting certain things, what do you do? Do you go ahead and empty your pockets and buy the gear? Sure, you can, but you don’t have to.

For our business, Austin’s Best DJs, we own a lot of equipment, and rotate through it, weekly, to extend the life of the equipment. However, I know that not everyone has the luxury to buy several sets of DJ setups (we also have 3 photo booths). Luckily, there are some options to help you be in business and not break the bank!

  1. Rent Equipment, Locally – Renting equipment is a great way to get the gear you need, quickly and easily. The best part about renting equipment is that you can get great, quality gear, and you don’t have to break the bank. We rarely have to rent equipment, but every now and then, we have events that require much more and so we visit our local rental place, here in Austin, for last minute needs. Not every town has a rental place, but if you do, these are certainly a great option to get your gear, until you can afford your own.
  2. Rent Equipment, Nationally – If you aren’t fortunate enough to have a local rental place, all hope is not lost! You can simply visit Rent My Wedding, to get lots of great gear, for a great price! Marie Kubin and her team are great and have plenty of options for weddings and events. They don’t have sound equipment for rent at this time; however, they have a great variety of lights, photo booths and more! They even offer free shipping directly to you, and free shipping back! They make it very convenient for you. Just be sure to contact them at least 7-10 days before your event.
  3. Pay as You Play – There are several websites and companies that offer a “pay as you play” option. You simply visit their site, find your gear, pay a down payment, and get on a payment plan that best suits your needs. Most of the companies will charge a one time finance charge, but otherwise, most offer interest free payments.

Overall, there are many options to getting the gear you need, while on a budget. If at all possible, stay away from getting a loan to get all new equipment. The above options are far better than a loan, and less expensive, too! These options will allow you to save your profits to buy what you need. I covered a few of the better options, but I’m sure there are plenty more. I wish you all luck and success in the DJ business!

head-shotJason Rubio is the co-owner and founder of Austin’s Best DJs, a professional DJ & photo booth company that provides music and entertainment for events in the Austin and central Texas area. Jason started his DJ career as a mobile DJ, at age 13, in 1991, and has since DJ’ed thousands of events, providing music and entertainment for clubs, bars, radio, concerts, festivals and various other events.

Jason is also a graduate of Texas State University with a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Education, as well as a Master’s of Public Administration, from The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Though Jason worked in the education field since 2003, he continued to DJ public and private events, and later founded Austin’s Best DJs & Photo Booths, with his wife, Diana, who also DJs, in 2012. Today, Austin’s Best DJs provides music and entertainment for approximately 250 public and private events per year, in the Austin and central Texas area.

Communication Tips For Success

In any industry, effective communication is essential. This is no different in the wedding and event industry. Whether you’re a DJ, a photo booth company, photographer, catering company or whatever business, effective communication is the key to success! Not just communication within your team, but also with your new and existing clients. Here are some great tips, to step up your game and get you booked!

  • Be Personal – If you used a “canned response” don’t forget to add personal details in your replies. Nobody likes canned responses, and your clients are NOT the exception. Address them by their name(s), add their event date, mention their venue details (if you’ve been there).
  • Be Fast – The faster your response time, the more likely you are to get booked! According to a Wedding Wire research survey, couples are 100 TIMES more likely to book the vendor that responds within the first 5 minutes! I’ll be honest, we can’t always reply within 5 minutes, but we try to reply as soon as possible. Definitely reply within 24 hours, as most couples expect a reply within 24 hours. The way I see it, someone is offering to hand you money when you get an email. Why wait up to 24 hours to claim that money? Go get it!
  • Keep it Simple – When you reply to an email, it’s not the time to show off your writing skills and write them an essay. Remember, most of your emails and communication will be done through mobile phones. We get about 80% of our traffic from mobile phones – I check this weekly. This  is about average, so keep this in mind. If you open up an email that is 5 paragraphs long, will you read the entire email? Maybe, maybe not. So be concise and only ask 1-2 questions at a time. We keep it simple by requiring essential info on our contact form. This way, most of the questions are already answered before we even reply!
  • Answer All Questions – This is very important! Always answer your client’s questions. This means they’re INTERESTED in booking with you! Don’t email them a sales pitch and not even address their questions. If you need more info, say that. Say, “in order to give you an exact quote, I need a few more details.” Then, ask your questions, but no more than 1-2 questions at a time. Why? Keep the communication going and develop a rapport with your clients.
  • Use Their Method of Communication – It’s simple. Use the method they used to communicate with you. Don’t force a phone call. I know you may be used to it and the old way of doing things was to get them on the phone. Not anymore. Whether they email, text, Facebook message, chat, or whatever, use that same method to book them! We book 90% of our events WITHOUT a phone call!

These are just a few great tips to keep in mind. I know for a fact that the Rent My Wedding staff take effective communication very seriously! Each time we communicate, I receive a response very quickly! If you’re in a time crunch and need to rent something ASAP, give them a call! Communication is essential in every business. Do all of the above, and you’ll see results!

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Jason Rubio is the co-owner and founder of Austin’s Best DJs, a professional DJ & photo booth company that provides music and entertainment for events in the Austin and central Texas area. Jason started his DJ career as a mobile DJ, at age 13, in 1991, and has since DJ’ed thousands of events, providing music and entertainment for clubs, bars, radio, concerts, festivals and various other events.

Jason is also a graduate of Texas State University with a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Education, as well as a Master’s of Public Administration, from The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Though Jason worked in the education field since 2003, he continued to DJ public and private events, and later founded Austin’s Best DJs & Photo Booths, with his wife, Diana, who also DJs, in 2012. Today, Austin’s Best DJs provides music and entertainment for approximately 250 public and private events per year, in the Austin and central Texas area.

Top 25 Wedding Reception Songs

There are many great DJ song lists out there. Simply doing a Google search will yield millions of results! So how do you narrow it down? The answer isn’t too simply, but here’s my best advice. Every DJ has his/her own preferred “go-to” songs, and the top songs that are played may also vary by region. Our company, Austin’s Best DJs, is based out of Austin, Texas, and we provide DJs and photo booths for about 250 events per year. Around 80% of our events are weddings. We tend to play many of the same songs at many of the weddings we do. We don’t play them because we’re too lazy to make a new playlist; we play them because they work! A hit is a hit and people want to hear and dance to songs they know and love. Your job, as a DJ, is to ensure that your clients and their guests have a great time! We know there are literally millions of songs out there and there may be some great songs that we left out, but these are the well know songs that we frequently play at weddings. That being said, here is our list of the top 25 upbeat, fun songs that get people dancing!

  1. “Shout” – Isley Brothers
  2. “Twist” – Chubby Checker
  3. “Twist and Shout” – The Beatles
  4. “Uptown Funk” – Bruno Mars
  5. “I Gotta Feeling” – The Black Eyed Peas
  6. “Can’t Stop the Feeling” – Justin Timberlake
  7. “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” – Whitney Houston
  8. “September” – Earth, Wind and Fire
  9. “Yeah” – Usher
  10. “Don’t Stop Believing” – Journey
  11. “Don’t Stop ’til You Get Enough” – Michael Jackson
  12. “Cupid Shuffle” – Cupid
  13. “Wobble” – VIC
  14. “Hey Ya” – Outkast
  15. “Kiss” – Prince
  16. “Shut Up and Dance” – Walk the Moon
  17. “This is How We Do It” – Montell Jordan
  18. “Sweet Caroline” – Neil Diamond
  19. “Blurred Lines” – Robin Thicke
  20. “Low” – Flo Rida
  21. “We Are Family” – Sister Sledge
  22. “Play That Funky Music” – Wild Cherry
  23. “Love Shack” – The B-52’s
  24. “Friends in Low Places” – Garth Brooks
  25. “Respect” – Aretha Franklin

Overall, these songs are great; however, you should always discuss your song list with your couple, to see what their preferences are, first. If they prefer different genres or aren’t too picky, the above songs are great go-to songs to build your playlist around. Again, there are hundreds more that we play, but these are the most played songs in our library, for weddings. The above songs usually pack the dance floor at weddings here in the Austin and central Texas area; however, these songs are great hits and should pack dance floors all over the country!

head-shotJason Rubio is the co-owner and founder of Austin’s Best DJs, a professional DJ & photo booth company that provides music and entertainment for events in the Austin and central Texas area. Jason started his DJ career as a mobile DJ, at age 13, in 1991, and has since DJ’ed thousands of events, providing music and entertainment for clubs, bars, radio, concerts, festivals and various other events.

Jason is also a graduate of Texas State University with a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Education, as well as a Master’s of Public Administration, from The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Though Jason worked in the education field since 2003, he continued to DJ public and private events, and later founded Austin’s Best DJs & Photo Booths, with his wife, Diana, who also DJs, in 2012. Today, Austin’s Best DJs provides music and entertainment for approximately 250 public and private events per year, in the Austin and central Texas area.