Who would a Wedding DJ choose as their Wedding DJ?
I was reading a blog the other day where a wedding DJ in another part of the country was getting married and needed to enlist the services of a DJ himself. It got me thinking totally hypothetically of course as when I married 23 years ago I wasn't in the trade and just used a friends in who I worked with at a nightclub. My wedding budget at the time was sadly far less than the average as it was more a means to an ends and I probably owe my wife a lavish party for our 25th anniversary.
ut back to the question at hand. If this was now and I needed to engage a DJ to perform at my wedding, who would I choose? I'm lucky that I worked week in week out with many of this area's top DJs and know their strong points but this is knowledge that the average bride and groom is not party to. Let's take a look at what I would do now:
I'm going to assume that I have my date, venue and some kind of thoughts on the vibe and mood of the party. The first real decision is do I do the work myself or let the DJs come to me?
This can be a huge difference in creating your pool of potential DJs and I'm going to tell you why. If you use a "comparison" or "quote" site you will get a lot of responses from DJs who use them to farm work. Now yes I frequent these sites myself but an quite choosy about the jobs I quote for and decline many more events than I choose. For me the difference between being a good DJ and a really good DJ is the recommendation of your work and having clients seek you out rather than you going looking for them.
I would choose to seek out my Wedding DJ and would avoid using the free quote sites and facebook sales or wedding groups to make life easy. I would however speak to my family and friends to see if they have ever engaged a good DJ and ask them why they would recommend them. The key here is dodging the myriad of low end DJs who simply don't meet the grade.
Setting a budget is a great next step. DJs can come in many price ranges and more expensive does not always mean better or more value for money. Value for money is the key here. I've said this many time before - Entertainment is the most important and memorable part of the whole day. If your spending more money on dressing a table or adding little finishing touches that will be destroyed 10 mins after the guests have sat down you might be in for a forgetful night.
Also consider that a DJ can do so much more than just the evening party. Having a professional to do your ceremony music, help your MC the day, provide background music and announcements through the day can be less than you might imagine. Is your Wedding DJ and good host or just someone who can mix a few songs later on?
Next I'd want to create a shortlist so contacting around 5 potential DJs would be the next step and do this sooner rather than later as the best get booked up 1-2 years in advance. make sure your pool have your date available and compare what is included in their quotes. Another important thing to look for here is getting stuff you might not need in their package. Do they offer a price based upon what you want? For me there are two important questions here - are they a real DJ who mixes and plays a flowing set and is their rig wedding functional (does it look nice and perform well).
Why is mixing important, well it's really what DJs do and being taken on a musical journey rather than just having a load of songs played with no gaps can be the difference. Can the DJ read the crowd, take a left turn when required, play many different genres, entertain on the mic if needed. Or will the DJ just rack up 100 songs on autoplay and wave his hand in the air?
Similarly you've probably spent a lot dressing the room, so you don't want the DJ to bring in a messy rig with no thought to aesthetics and wires all over the place. Or a DJ who uses something that is merely functional when you could have a great sound and light show for the same money. Good DJs will be happy to show you their rig and talk about it. I've put years of effort into developing mine and you'll have to shut me up about it.
Now find out are you getting a Diva DJ who wants to do it all their way or will you have some input - after all you know your friends and family best. If they keep telling you they know best, they are wrong. Yes a DJ will know how to work a generic crowd but your input can be just as important and should never be overlooked.
A great way to find all this out is to meet with your DJ and see if you click. You need to have a rapport with your suppliers as you'll be dealing with them alot over the next year or so. Meeting the DJ can get your past the awkward banter territory and help you understand each other. It's a good way to ensure the DJ get you and your vision and is able to go over certain scenarios with you that crop up over and over again.
When you meet a DJ your also getting direct answers not rehearsed and proofed statements on a website. It's easy to sit and type your the best in the land but convincing someone of that face to face is a far different prospect. It's why you won't see it on my site, I prefer to tell you what I can do for you rather than I am better than my peers. People who claim they are the best at something normally have something to hide and it's normally a poor ability to sell themselves.
As a DJ I aspire to be at the point where I am almost exclusively selecting my clients rather than the other way around. It means I won't have to advertise as much, get to work the venues I like and get to work with couples who I "click" with. I'm still some way off but if you can find a DJ like this in your budget grab them as the real way to know your getting a truly great DJ is knowing they are trying to decide if your are a good fit as much as you are deciding if they are a good fit. Thankfully I am at a point where I can turn away unsuitable bookings (normally venues that are difficult or clients requests that don't really fit my style).
Once you've met them all just take a little bit of time with your partner to decide who is the best fit in your budget and who represented good value for money and was considerate of your vision. Your perfect day deserves an incredible evening - Perhaps I am your ideal DJ, if your looking and want a chat or more advice why not get in touch?