Choosing The Best Wedding DJ
How To Start Searching:
With so many to choose from, how do I search for the best wedding DJ? Answer – Experience. It’s like getting a tattoo. You don’t want to save a few bucks on this because they are inexperienced. You may not be wearing this like ink, but you don’t want a lasting impression of your wedding reception to be one where people say, “You remember, that one where the DJ played whatever he wanted?” Because it happens. In this wedding climate, people know that they can charge more for a wedding than anything else, so in order to snatch a few hundred bucks, people will offer you amazing discounts that seem too good to be true. Only to find that they could not read the crowd, and they did the bare minimum. The horror stories are everywhere on social media.
As much as it seems like an easy thing to do, choosing a song every 3 and a half minutes for several hours on end that is going to keep people on the dance-floor, is not an easy thing to do. And there is no magic list of songs that will work for every audience. What kills on the dance-floor at one wedding, will be scoffed at, at the next. This takes many years of experience to be able to gauge well. It may seem easy when everything is flowing, but trust me, the skill of a wedding DJ is not beat matching like in the clubs, it is knowing what is going to work with the particular crowd that is in front of them. 10 seconds of the wrong song, or even the right song with a long string intro, is going to clear the dance-floor quicker than losing a toupe in a hurricane. So my advice would be to start searching for evidence of experience. Don’t take the word of the DJ. Of course they are going to plug themselves. But search for them on youtube, seek out referrals, reviews, testimonials, facebook groups, wedding pages. Have a listen to what former clients have to say. Judge for yourself with the media that is available. If there is little or no media available, chances are you are dealing with an inexperienced DJ. So keep in mind that the best wedding DJ’s are the ones with most experience.
Experience is not the only thing that determines the best wedding DJ’s around. Sometimes you may find that experience can also breed an apathy for the job. So I suggest getting on the phone and having a conversation to not only feel the level of professionalism and experience, but also attitude. A DJ who is polite and respectful is usually a good indication that there is not a big ego attached. The last thing you want is a wedding DJ with delusions of grandeur. (Keep this in mind when choosing your MC also. There is nothing worse than an MC who makes it more about themselves than the reason you are there). A wedding DJ who blows their own horn a little too much can be a warning sign that they are going to play what they think is cool, and not be observant to what the guests are reacting best to. Conversely, you don’t want someone who has a shy personality because there will be no vibe. So choose someone who seems to have a balanced ego. If you choose someone who is a musician/DJ, chances are they have experience on stage and can deal with all kinds of crowds.
Question To Ask:
You can glean a lot of information from a wedding DJ if you ask the right questions. Below is a list of must ask questions when speaking to potential DJ’s.
Is this your full-time job and are weddings your primary focus and what other functions have you performed at?
Determine whether they have experience with a different type of audience. Whether they have a wide range of experience behind the decks. Different gigs produce different crowds which produce different experiences for the DJ. Having a wide range of experiences can produce a more well rounded professional. But be careful, you don’t necessarily want a club DJ to play a wedding. Not to say they won’t do a good job, especially if it’s a young crowd, but you do run the risk of having a one-dimensional sound for the entirety of your wedding reception.
Can You Accommodate All of Our Requests?
Every wedding will have their own unique requests. It is the job of a wedding DJ to make sure they have these songs available. Not only available but the ability to be able to play them from a particular point in the song. ie For speeches. You need to make sure they can play a song from the ‘meat’ of the chorus so it makes sense as the speaker is walking towards the mic. Or as the bridal party enter on cue.
How Do You Deal With Guest Requests?
It is inevitable that there will be multiple requests for music from guests. Sometimes those tastes might be in contradiction to what the bride and groom have requested. Simply saying no to the guest can create an air of arrogance. You want someone who has a little diplomatic skill. Believe it or not, you even get guests saying that this is the bride’s favourite song. This is a classic move. If the bride has requested 90’s dance-tunes and someone tells you that her favourite song is from Motorhead, they might be trying to pull the wool, so I might just check with her first. People do try to persuade you to play their favourite songs, which will appease them, but clear the dance-floor. You want a DJ who will not just accept all requests, be able to knock a few back if they know it’s not going to work, but do it with diplomacy to keep everyone on side.
Do You Have a Recent Client We Can Contact?
It is perfectly ok to ask for a reference. Former clients will be only happy to refer a good wedding DJ if they have had a good experience.
Can We View What Your Set-Up Will Look Like?
This will give you an indication of the work ethic of the DJ.
What Are Your Usual Go-To Songs and Playlists?
As a wedding DJ, I have a large selection of pre-organised playlists. For eg: Dance. 60’s / 80’s / 90’s / Rock / Jazz / Reggae / Crooners / Aussie / Cruisy / Love Songs / Dinner etc… As I continue to do weddings I will add songs that work, into these playlists. It’s not possible to remember every song that works and when, so if you have a quick playlist reference on what mood you want. you can do a quick search in the right place for the right song. If a wedding DJ cannot list you their playlists, then there is a good chance they are not experienced, not organized, or both. Either that or they have an eidetic memory.
In closing, I would reiterate that although it seems on the surface that anyone can choose songs that will make people dance, it is not as easy as that, and does take a lot of experience to be able to pull this off successfully, over the course of an entire evening. Keep this in mind when trying to find the best wedding DJ you can.