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4 Music Tips for Multicultural and International Wedding

Here are some Multicultural and International Wedding Music Tips from NYC-based DJ Joe Lopez. He is an extremely versatile and experienced DJ, always in his element for just about any wedding–multicultural or not.

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Some of the best times I have as a DJ were at International Weddings–the energy is just amazing! As someone who is always open to learning new styles of music, I alway welcome the challenge of playing genres I have no previous experience with. So here I’ll share some tactics and tips to help you get a better idea of what to look for in DJ prospects for a bi-racial or multi-cultural style wedding.

Multicultural and International Wedding Music

1. Set a Soundscape

If your wedding has a theme (i.e. musical, environmental, or cultural), the cocktail and dinner hour of the night should reflect that. For example, a Latino wedding should have some old school Latin Jazz, Samba, or Bossa Nova sprinkled in during dinner to set the tone for what’s to come later. In some cases it may not be about nationality, but more about the environment. Maybe the venue is French-inspired and you want your guests to feel like they’re in Paris. Other times it’s just about music preference, like a well-traveled couple might have an affinity for Afro-beat. Either way, there are plenty of ways to incorporate international music throughout the course of your special day. Remember, it’s not just about the dance floor, you want a consistent musical flow throughout the night.

Multicultural Wedding

Photo By: Studio Nouveau

2. Do Your Homework

Give your DJ as much music information as possible so he or she can study the songs/genre. For even more information, I suggest the couple survey their international guests and/or family members to provide their DJ with exact song names, YouTube links, or MP3’s. The DJ will then come up with ideas on how and when to play your preferred music. Sometime DJs will combine international music with pop music to please all guests. For example, one time a Polish couple I was working with sent me a cover of Marc Anthony’s “Vivir Mi Vida”. In the end I made a mash up with both the original and cover version of the song. Bollywood, Reggae, and European Dance music in particular mix well with modern dance-friendly artists, like Major Lazer, Daft Punk & Calvin Harris. 

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 3. Know How to Mix Things Up

It’s important to make sure no one feels left out, so keep in mind that your DJ has to account for guests that are distant friends or extended family. This can be particularly common in bi-racial weddings. For example, say you have an Indian groom and Irish bride, the Irish side of the family may dance to some Indian music but after a while they may feel left out and vice versa. A good DJ should always feel the crowd out and know when to move into something on more common ground. Latin music is also fun for a few dances, but generally requires a partner and isn’t the type of music a DJ would do a heavy set of. It’s all about balance. 

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4. Know Your Cultural Differences

Make sure your DJ doesn’t generalize a genre based on nationality. In my experience, I’ve learned that not all Spanish music should be treated the same. Dominicans and Colombians seem to be more partial to Merengue while Puerto Ricans prefer Salsa. Indian music can be even more challenging. There are different styles for difference regions, and while the language may sound the same, the dialects are different and can come off wrong to those from a certain region. So make your DJ is aware of the Do’s and Don’ts of the sub-cultures they preform for. 

Spotify Playlist

Check out a playlist by DJ Joe Lopez on our Spotify.

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