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DJ's for your Wedding Entertainment

How should you pick your Wedding DJ?

Choosing your wedding DJ is the best part of your wedding preparations but it’s also one of the most important decisions you can make when planning your wedding. Aside from the food and drink, the most important part of your wedding reception is the music! Finding the right DJ is essential to having a great wedding reception, hire the wrong one and it can ruin your whole day! So it’s worth taking the time to thoroughly research possible wedding DJs before choosing one to play at the reception.

But how do you find the wedding disc jockey that’s perfect for you? How do you tell which one is the best? Probably the worst way to choose a DJ is on price alone. Some DJs are more expensive than others. It would be very temping to choose the cheapest alternative. There is a reason some DJs charge more money than others. They are usually worth it. The bottom line in deciding on your DJ, and the single most determining factor, should be experience. More expensive DJs tend to be the more experienced DJs. Generally, the DJs on the low end of the price scale are new to the business, and trying to get established. They could do a great job, and might be worth a shot if your party is on the informal side.

Your best resource in finding your wedding DJ is people you know. Ask around, try locally famous DJs from radio stations. Some people moonlight as wedding disc jockeys and are good at it. Talk to recent newlyweds, ask your wedding reception hotel or resort, they may have a list of preferred vendors for you to call, wedding DJs whom they trust. They also see the horror stories and know who to avoid. Also compare notes from one DJ to another. Some are willing to consult multiple times in depth before anything is even negotiated contract-wise! That is a sign of a good honest DJ.

As you speak with the DJs, pay attention to their professionalism over the phone. It tends to spill over into their DJ style. The most important thing to ask about is their experience with your type of event. If you are planning an event like a wedding, it would be normal to expect a professional DJ to have performed for at least 50 weddings. A number in the hundreds is actually common for a DJ who is well established. It would be to your advantage to have someone with experience who can deal with unexpected last second changes, twists, curves and turns that always seem to come up.

A DJ that knows (or at least researches) the venue and the support staff and has worked it many times before is a real advantage, obviously has the experience and can really help things run super smoothly. DJs with less experience might also do a good job. And they’ll usually cost less. If you talk to one who sounds interesting, ask them for references.

Aside from experience, the other most important thing to look for in hiring a DJ is their personality. They really should be someone that will fit in comfortably with you and your guests and be able to develop a rapport with everyone during the reception.

Always ask the DJ about their request policy on requests. Some wedding disc jockey have a list of songs they play and except for the bride and groom first dance, do not give you much choice. Ask if they will accept requests from wedding guests. The best DJs will take requests from the audience and work them into their routine. However, do not expect the DJ to play every request. Many requests are simply inappropriate for the mood of the event. Once you picked your DJ, trust him to pick the songs to play and don’t treat your DJ like a jukebox operator!  It is also appropriate to give a DJ a list of 5 or 6 songs you “must have”.

Many DJs boast about the number of songs they have. Just because DJs have the music, it doesn’t mean they will bring it to your event. Ask how much music they take with them to events like yours. If it’s not much, beware. While variety is great, the fact is that they will only be able to play about 60 to 70 songs in a four hour show. Having the right 60 songs is a lot more important than having 5,000 songs your crowed doesn’t want to hear. After you tell the DJ what type of party you are having and who the audience will be, ask them what type of music they’d suggest. You should feel comfortable with most of his or her selections.

Some DJ companies have more than one DJ working for them. In this case, it’s important to get references on the particular DJ who will be assigned to your show.  You would hate to spend an hour interviewing your wedding DJ and like their personality, only to be blindsided at your wedding by having another DJ show up. Make absolutely certain your contract spells out exactly who will be your DJ.

Be sure to feed your DJ! With travel, setup, performance, tear-down and return travel, they often go 10 or 12 hours without eating  Ask if they want to be fed. Some disc jockeys want food, some do not want to eat while they work.  They deserve it though, because they might be there for hours with nothing to eat or drink.

Ensure that all the pricing details are agreed upon in advance, including additional charges for equipment, overtime, and any other eventualities, and that these agreements are written up in the contract. A written contract that covers everything is absolutely necessary. Don’t be taken in by a wedding DJ who claims that a contract isn’t important – it is, and every detail of pricing, additional or “hidden” fees, set up, and more should be in it to avoid disappointment or problems later.

Hope this helps! Congrats!

Josh

Norther Lights Audio

2 Comments

  1. Hi Josh,

    I just wanted to say thanks again@

    The music was absolutely what we wanted. Exactly what we needed in the hour after the first dance to get all ages on the dance floor and then around 10pm it turned towards the exact sort of dancy club music I was hoping for, which was beautifully judged to keep momentum going. The mixing was also very special. Tom kept mentioning how the transitions were slick, perfectly matched in beats, etc.. Easy to become accustomed to and certainly not the case at a lot of weddings and clubs I’ve been to!

    Thanks once again!

    Jess and Tom (Newmarket 2014)

  2. Hey Josh,

    There’s a lot to be said about a DJ who keeps in touch as much as you did. It really helped keep the stress away from Paula and I in the planning process (kept her off my back too!). I really appreciate the work you did and will be recommending you to our friends. Well one reading the crowd and making sure everyone got up at some point to dance to music they know (new and old music). Look forward to seeing you again, Keep up the good work.

    Nick Varesos

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