Weddings are expensive! There is no denying that. There are ways to cut corners and to do things cheaper but a place you don’t want to sacrifice is the professionalism of your DJ. Notice I didn’t say cost. There are some VERY expensive DJ’s that are far from professional. While there are some mid-range priced DJ’s that are absolutely professional in every sense of the word… but rarely are the free and low priced “bargain” DJ’s going to fit that bill. Here are some things to consider when hiring a DJ.
- Get reviews
My suggestion is to get reviews from other vendors. Yes, it’s important to know what other brides and grooms experience was with the DJ… but it’s pretty likely that they have only dealt with one… so there isn’t much to compare with, so while they might have had an ok experience, they might not know how great it could have been. A wedding vendor is going to be a much better resource for you because they see different DJ’s every weekend. They can tell you how much fun guests were having and who is professional and who isn’t because they have many to compare to. Check out some vendor testimonials here
- Will they still be in business?
There are tons of people that think that DJ’ing could be fun and get into the business… they don’t charge much, and find that it’s harder than it looks and give up on it quickly… when you plan a year in advance or sometimes longer… are they still going to be doing it when your day comes? Or, if they gave you a smoking deal… if they get a better offer will they take that instead? I can’t tell you how many times I have gotten calls from brides in a panic because their “friend” that said they would do it, just cancelled last minute.
- A wedding DJ requires a special skill set
A wedding DJ is much different than a bar DJ. It’s not just about playing music. A wedding DJ is responsible for coordinating the timeline, maintaining the flow of events while working with other vendors. Entertaining everybody from the 5-year-old flower girl to the 80 year old grandmother. To be able to read a crowd and adjust the music on fly to keep everybody engaged and having fun is something that only comes with experience and a dedication to professionalism to perfect the craft.
Experience also gives the DJ the knowledge of how to handle things when the unexpected comes up.
- Do you want people to dance?
A professional DJ knows how to read a crowd and keep momentum on the dancefloor. They know how to predict and utilize downtimes to their advantage instead of having an empty dancefloor all night. Being able to transition from different genres to engage with all your guests is not something that comes overnight. An attention to detail so there isn’t silence between songs or awkward transitions typically only comes from a professional who has invested the time to their business.
You might think providing a DJ who is just starting out a playlist of songs will help…. But I’ve always said, if you have to give a DJ a playlist, you hired the wrong one. The songs you listen to in your car might not translate that well to the dancefloor. What happens if the crowd takes things in a different direction than you anticipated… would your DJ have the knowledge to pull songs from early 2000’s dance songs and keep them wedding appropriate and also 90’s country if the crowd swayed that way? Or anything in between? Once drinks start flowing it’s hard to predict what song(s) might spark the sudden urge to dance in your guests. Hiring a professional means, they will be ready for it.
This is ESPECIALLY true for the “I’ll just plug in an I-pod” crowd.
- Not just a DJ
Personally, I don’t like the title Wedding DJ… I go with it because it’s common terminology and it’s not like I am offended or anything… but I don’t think it’s reflective of the job I do… I am the MC or Master of Ceremonies at a wedding… a DJ plays music… an MC controls the event… they have presence on the microphone that commands attention when necessary… they coordinate the flow of events so special dances or activities are done in a timely manner and in the spotlight they deserve. They aren’t obnoxiously talking just to hear their own voice etc.
Having the equipment and knowing how to push play is such a minor part of a wedding reception.
An amateur DJ might not be charging enough to have quality equipment and more than likely… won’t have back up equipment either. What happens if a speaker blows… what happens if ____ happens… will your DJ have a backup plan? Will your DJ have backup equipment with them? Will they know how to troubleshoot problems if they arise? Stuff happens to the best of us, but experience is the difference between a couple minutes setback, or the night is ruined.
Not to mention… if the equipment is on the cheaper side… are things going to sound as good? Is there anything worse than not being able to hear your wedding vows? Or even a speech? Or almost as bad in my opinion, having to deafen people near the DJ station because they have to blast the speakers for people in the corners of the room instead of having proper equipment to spread the sound where it needs to go.
Not to mention, what is their station going to look like if it’s the background of your pictures? Clean and crisp, or wires everywhere?
Your wedding day only happens once… Make sure you hire a DJ with experience, documented professionalism and a commitment to their business that will ensure you have a great day. Everybody has to start out someplace, but they don’t need to do it with YOUR wedding…If you think hiring a professional is expensive, think of what it might “cost” if you hire an amateur.