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Find The Perfect DJ for Your Wedding

Updated on March 19, 2014

DJ Station

Find The Perfect DJ for Your Wedding

What to Look for in a Wedding DJ

Music and dance is often the main reason for a wedding celebration's success. If music and dance is to be part of your wedding reception and you can't afford wedding musicians, consider hiring a wedding DJ. The things that most brings about a successful wedding are first the bride in her wedding dress, second the food and drink, and third is the music entertainment. Music is very important for a successful wedding and you can accomplish that by hiring a good wedding DJ.

There are thousands of DJs out there. 75% of DJs are pretty good, but only a portion of them are really good wedding DJs and who can double as an emcee at your wedding. Just hope you never choose one of the 25% of wedding DJs who are the bad ones, they can really ruin your wedding.

Wedding DJ's are very good entertainment specialists, they are the life of the party, they can read the vibe of your wedding audience, and somehow they come up with the right songs to keep your wedding guests dancing. They also exhume energy. The best DJs stay on top of their industry, they are often on top of what the latest and top songs are and they know what music is called for at weddings. They also are on top of the best DJ equipment and always keep investing and upgrading their equipment. A portion of any profits they make, they will keep investing in their music library and new equipment.

Most great wedding DJs has from 5,000 - 10,000 music selections and all their music selections covers almost every music genre, they generally have music from the 50's through music for every generation and music from every major music group of their time. They especially keep wedding music that was popular during every decade.

Generally, they play their music using state of the art computerized equipment, they use high quality speakers that are situated high above the dance floor, so they won't blast into wedding guest's eardrums. They use high quality headphones that filter out background noise. Often they use equipment that can cover a wide frequency of music and they use a state of the art wireless microphone.

The best DJ's know how to keep your wedding guests constantly entertained covering a four hour period, they don't take breaks like wedding musicians do, maybe just a brief restroom break. About at the midway point of the wedding reception, you should let them advertise a little, let them announce to your wedding guests that they can pick up the DJ's business card or the guests can pick up their CD or buy a CD. Make sure in the agreement, they can keep business cards in an index card box at their station. No getting messy with business cards on tables or speakers. At a wedding you should never allow signs or banners which DJs will do and offer you a discount, this is a wedding after all. Banners or signs will disrupt the ambiance of the wedding and disrupt the vision of wedding guests and show up in wedding photography and video.

Numark CDX MP3-CD Turntable

How to Find a Wedding DJ

How To Find the Perfect Wedding DJ

Finding the perfect wedding DJ is a little more complicated than your hunt for many of your other wedding vendors. The number one key is to find a wedding DJ that has lots of experience handling weddings. The great wedding DJ knows how to read your wedding guests and somehow comes out with the right music. They are taught to key on a few main dancers who are helpful getting guests to the dance floor, almost every wedding has a few key dancers. They monitor the dancing and often group their music in bucket groupings. If the dance floor is empty, they change the type of music played. They know the tricks on how to use the same beat to transition from one song to the next, always keeping the dance floor hopping.

The perfect wedding DJ has music in their repertoire for the young crowd, for the middle aged crowd, for the older aged crowd, a few for young kids, and for a very mixed crowd. For most weddings though, most of the music requested usually is the type of music the wedding couple enjoys, and often their friends enjoy the same type of music.

Your search for a wedding DJ should begin by researching and identifying about a half dozen DJ's. Look for wedding DJ's from the Apple and iTunes store, they have wedding planning apps that can be downloaded to a mobile device. You can also look for them in wedding directories. Also look in search engines, inputting a local city and input "wedding DJ" or "wedding disc jockey". You also can ask wedding vendors who are often at wedding receptions. Ask caterers, reception managers, bartenders, wedding planners, wedding photographers, and wedding officiants if they know of disc jockeys they would recommend. Also check with recent brides.

Usually the best wedding DJ's tend to receive accolades from a music association. You can look at reviews on them too, but sometimes reviews can be skewed from friends or they might have a pay to play arrangement with some wedding vendors. Usually, any DJ worth consideration ought to have their own website. Also from their website you can see them in action and sometimes include an availability checker on it. If not reach them by phone.

The perfect wedding DJ knows how to work with the flow of the wedding. They tend to play music on cue, they understand the wedding reception flow. Photo shoots sometimes makes the wedding reception late and sometimes dinner is served late or a speech goes on longer than expected. A good wedding DJ knows the sequence of wedding activities and goes with the flow and plays DJ music according how they read the wedding guest audience.

The wedding DJ you end up choosing, should one you like their style and one who you are comfortable talking to, someone you can reach, and will get back with you within 24 hours. When you meet a wedding DJ you should always meet in person, never interview fully over the phone, you need to get a feel for demeanor and dress and you can't get that over the phone.

When you meet them, you should have a list of questions for them to help you make your decision on which DJ to choose. Some questions to ask, How many songs in your music library? What type of music do you have in your music library? What would you say your music specialty is? What DJ equipment do you use? How much experience do you have disc jockeying? How long have you been wedding disc jockeying? How many weddings have you worked? How many weddings have you worked in the past year? Are you comfortable in doubling as the Mater of Ceremonies? Does an assistant work with you? How do they assist you?

In your meeting with the wedding disc jockey, you should get an understanding of their fee structure? What's the cost for different hours worked? How long does it take to get setup? Do they have setup fee? Do they have travel fees? How do they handle overtime fees? What would be the total costs? How are tips handled?

You also might ask if they have other equipment, many DJ's have dance floors, they sometimes have special lighting, can put on light shows, offer karaoke, games, and have devices for text messaging. A guest can text message the wedding couple and it shows on a screen or digital light that screens across for everyone to see.

Before booking a DJ, first check the equipment they told you about, look up the name and model number to verify it's the state of the art. Also, you should see them in action, preferably live, but at least on video, check if they perform on their website, or check if they have a Youtube video, or see if they have a CD or MP3 player. When you watch them in action, see if you found all the attributes a wedding DJ has in their performance, acting as an emcee, high energy, transitioning of music, seeing a packed dance floor, a good DJ demeanor, dressed to the part, play a variety of music, has a strong music selection, and plays music in a style that you like.

If your budget is really tight and your wedding is not formal and your guests will understand, you might recruit a family member or friend to DJ your wedding. This is okay to do for backyard weddings, a wedding using a wedding tent, a wedding at a bed & breakfast, or a small wedding on a beach. You can put a bunch of music selections by burning CD's, on a computer with good speakers, IPods, or MP3 players. You can spend a couple of days a week or two before the wedding, building a long song list creating the order you need considering music for the entrance, and first dance. Make sure the music gets fully loaded long before the wedding day. On your wedding day, have your volunteer DJ run the equipment and jump to the next song if they find the dance is empty. They need to check the equipment the day of the wedding and test the loudness so the sound is not too loud or too soft for the dance floor.

Couple's First Dance

What you Should Discuss When Meeting your Wedding DJ

Before your wedding reception, you should be meeting with your wedding DJ to discuss music selections for your wedding. A really good DJ targets 40% of the wedding music to selections requested by the wedding couple. 30% of music requests should be by wedding guests and bridal party members. The remaining 30% should be music decided by the disc jockeys which is often their specialty music.

Usually the wedding DJ and wedding couple will review their wedding program. They may decide on music for the grand entrance, the announcement of the first couple, agreed to moments during the ceremony such as the wedding toast, a selection for the cutting of the cake, first couple's dance, bride-father dance, groom-mother dance, the bouquet throw, whether there be a honeymoon dance, possibly the couple's last dance, and the couple's departure.

The meeting with the DJ should cover who provides the cues when the music should be played. Also the meeting is to review Master of Ceremony duties and specifics of the wedding reception. Also it is a good idea to familiarize the DJ with family members, show pictures of family and also go through the proper pronunciations of bridal party members. Phonetically spell out complicated pronunciations. Also should the dance floor become empty at any time, to gain okay of the wedding couple to move on to another selection.

During the time of building a song list, often there is a song list that goes back and forth between the DJ and wedding couple. This back and forth is fine after a one on one meeting. Phone calls, text messages, and emails back and forth after meeting first in person is fine until a full song list is complete.

Also at the one on one meeting, eating arrangements needs to be discussed. It's common courtesy for the wedding couple to feed the disc jockey. There are three options, if the budget is a non-issue serve the DJ a wedding entree, or have the caterer prepare an inexpensive meal, or have a volunteer to drop off a sandwich to the DJ. Also the DJ works up a lot of energy and body heat makes the DJ sweat. Make sure the DJ gets a couple of soda drinks or mixers or a few bottle of water at their table. Make sure the DJ and other wedding musicians are kept apart or you might end up with a little screeching in the microphones.

Top Wedding First Dance Songs

What Should be in your Wedding DJ Contract

Your contract with the DJ should have the date you signed the contract. It should include your name and the name of your DJ or the name of the DJ company and the name of the DJ that is to perform at the wedding and if there is a specific DJ state no switching of DJ's is allowed. Include the date, time and location of the wedding reception, and the time the DJ should start setting up.

The contract should also show all charges and fees including extra equipment and services asked for, preferably an itemized list. The contract should show and deposits and when balance is due and specify terms such as refundable or non-refundable.

The contract should note any specific music requests, specific music requests, grand entrance, first dance, bride-father, groom-mother, etc. Also include music not to be played such as an ex's favorite song.

Also include in the contract overtime charge agreements and when overtime payment should be made, such as during the reception or after reception. Specify attire such as tuxedo, or Hawaiian shirt for an outdoor DJ. Specify arrangements if DJ becomes sick or provide backup equipment if problems found with equipment.

It's a good idea to bring an extra set of eyes along to review the contract and bear witness on what was agreed to.

DJ Fun and Games


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