I have been a professional DJ for 28 years and I have worked in many different venues and worked many different events. I started in high school doing the after parties and school sponsored events. From the moment I spun my first record I was hooked. Now that I have grown and matured into a so called "wedding DJ", I have to say that times definitely have changed.
I remember how green I was when I did my first wedding. After working clubs and parties I thought that wedding weren't any different. Now that I have a few hundred or so under my belt. I can honestly say that I know what I'm doing.
Wedding planning can be very stressful. From experience, I know that some brides-to-be have been planning for this day long before the proposal. From the moment you say "yes" the planning has already begun. There are so many decisions to be made, the dress, bridesmaids, guests, location, invitations, colors, flowers, linens, etc. etc. A lot of these decisions often cloud the most important decision of all...music!
So as the stress of making all decisions becomes so overwhelming, the entertainment often becomes an afterthought. So let me tell you how important the entertainment is. Wedding DJ's don't only play music and make announcements, they set the mood and flow of the reception throughout the night. Anybody can play music and call themselves a DJ. Not everyone can read a crowd and know when it's time to slow it down or change the tempo. The reception is a celebration of the joining of 2 families, shouldn't the music bring them together? A good DJ doesn't just look at the dance floor, They look at who's sitting down or who's standing next to the dance floor just waiting for that song to make them get on the dance floor. That comes with experience, it's not something that a club or party DJ can pick up right away. What works in the club or party won't work at your reception.
Hiring a DJ with wedding experience is the only way to guarantee that your reception will be entertaining for ALL of your guests, young and old. If your guests have a good time at your reception it's something they will talk about for years to come. If they don't have fun it will be something they will eventually forget. The decor and food are very important parts of your reception, but the music is what people will remember most.
When choosing a wedding DJ, choose one who you've heard at other weddings or events. This will assure that there won't be any surprises. Ask for references if you can't seem to find one that has done any events you've attended. Just as an experienced DJ can make your reception amazing, a DJ with little to no experience can really ruin your special day. The DJ should ask to meet you face to face to discuss the music and reception. If they don't ask to meet or go over music, find someone else quick! Just playing whatever will not cut it at a wedding reception. Most importantly make sure to let them know what you do not want played. Not everyone is a fan of "Y.M.C.A." or "The Chicken Dance". If you don't want it played make sure that it is communicated with your DJ. There are many important parts to DJ weddings such as, First Dance, Father/Daughter, Mother/Son, and so on. Experienced DJ's can help with those selections but ultimately it's what feelings you have for the song and what it represents. A website I often recommend is www.weddingwire.com/wedding-songs. The reason I like it so much is because not only is everything categorized but you can hear the music and see the lyrics.
A very important thing to do is make sure you have a binding contract with your DJ. When you look for a DJ you will see how hard it is to find a good one that's available for your date. If you pay a deposit, look over the terms of the contract to see how refunds are handled. Mostly if the DJ cancels. Having one cancel at the last minute can really put you in a bind. I have seen this first hand. A contract will protect not only the DJ but you as well. Make sure to start looking to book your DJ about 3-4 months from the date of your reception. Most experienced DJ's have bookings up to a year in advance. Make sure to give yourself enough time to find a good one.
Hopefully this will help some of you make the right decision. The DJ is a very important part of the reception and if you ask me, the most important. Don't take this decision lightly, after all you only do this once....right? This is in no way putting down all those new DJ's out there. I've been there and have had some bad one's because I didn't know what I was doing. If you have questions feel free to send me a message or comment and I will reply as soon as I can. Thank you for reading and feel free to share!