Picking A DJ Is Hard
Why Picking a DJ is Hard
You’ve gone through the process of finding an available venue, you’ve searched for days on Instagram and Facebook groups for the perfect photographer, you’ve started debating whether you want a videographer (which we highly recommend), and you’ve started taste-testing food and cake. There’s one key element that seems to be the hardest to pin down though, and that is finding the right DJ.
You may have called a couple, or your friends referred you to someone. You put out an initial contact, text or email a couple times, but either you aren’t very impressed or they just stop responding completely, something happens and you’re starting from scratch in your search for a DJ.
Why is finding a good DJ so hard? Well, unlike other vendors you’ll work with, you can’t really experience their work before you book them. You can look at photos from a photographer, watch a video from a videographer, taste the food from a caterer, and indulge in a cake from a baker, but that is hard to do with a DJ. Some DJ’s might have videos of them DJing, or some taken from their past events, but it’s not the same as being there experiencing how they interact with your guests, announce your bridal party, or read the room.
Some of the best ways to find the a DJ is to post on Facebook bridal pages and research the DJ’s and companies that people tag. Pay attention to reviews, the response rate on their Messenger, and their photos and videos. Feel free to ask for references you can email or contact so you can hear from previous clients. Another way is through bridal planning sites, Instagram, and Twitter.
Providing the Soundtrack You and Your Guests Will Remember Forever
I’ve been DJing for almost 3 years at the time of this post, and even before becoming a DJ I understood that music plays a major role at a wedding. Think back to the weddings you’ve been to in the past. You may remember the bride’s dress, the food, the decor, but there is one thing you likely talk about the most- the music and dancing.
We are emotional beings and our memory is connected to how we felt at a particular time. That’s why when the music and dancing is enjoyable we like to talk about it, take pictures, and post videos of ourselves having a good time. Likewise, when the music selection is off, or the MC pronounces names wrong or can’t read the crowd, it’s one of the main things we complain about to our friends afterwards.
Before you even begin to start looking for DJ’s start making a playlist of you and your fiancé’s favorite music. You can do this on Spotify, Apple Music, or just with pen and paper. Pick the songs that have a special meaning to your relationship and include songs for big moments like the processional, recessional, entrance into the reception, and the first dance. If you want to go a step further, find a way to make categories, like “Ceremony Songs”, “Dinner Playlist” or “Dance Music”. The more work you do on the front end, the more the DJ has to work off of as well as less guesswork and room for error. If you talk to a DJ who insists on only playing his own selection or won’t work off what you have then they will likely be difficult to work with in the future.
Timeline, Timeline, Timeline!
The DJ should be intimately involved in the timeline for both the Ceremony and the Reception. If you already have a timeline written up, make sure to provide them with a copy. At All Circles Entertainment we like to use our Wedding Questionnaire. This is a Google form that we send for our clients to fill out with important information like names of the bridal party, when events are happening, what music to play, etc. We then use that information to create a timeline through Google Docs that we share with you so you can edit any changes or updates that happen leading up to the big day.
Some of the things to pay attention to when working out the timeline is making sure your bridal party is paired up and accurate. The DJ usually doesn’t know or get a chance to meet the bridal party before introducing them into the reception. Have names paired up and written in the order you want them announced and make sure everyone in your bridal party know their order as well. Have your DJ double check names and order before introductions begin.
If you hire a wedding planner, or even just have a day of coordinator, make sure they and your DJ have each others contact information so they can work together as a team. It’s beneficial to have your wedding planner, photographers, videographers, and DJ in contact with each other before the wedding day so everyone is on the same page.
Manage your expectations about the energy your reception will have and make them clear to your DJ. You know who you’re inviting to your wedding, and should have a good idea of whether or not your guests will be out on the dance floor most of the night. If you have a feeling your guests will be more reserved, let your DJ know to play less energetic dance songs, or warm the crowd up to it as the night goes on. Let them know the types of music you think your guests will respond to so they have them cued up and ready to go. If there are any inside jokes or silly songs your family is into, include that as well. Also, if there are any guests or family members who are not allowed anywhere near a microphone as the night goes on, make sure to point them out beforehand!
Make It Official
When my wife and I first started dating we found ourselves going to a ton of weddings together. One of the weddings was her sister’s, and they had a rough experience with finding a DJ. They booked a DJ, paid him a deposit (which is normal), but then he backed out last minute, and to this day they have not gotten their deposit back.
Before you ever transfer and deposit funds to a DJ, make sure they have a contract that they use with the agreed upon hours of service, equipment, and compensation. Make sure you both have a signed copy, whether digital or paper, and that they adhere to the agreed-upon services. We use an online service, everything can be done on a smartphone, you sign with your finger, and you can pay right then and there.
Finding a phenomenal DJ can be hard, but if you research and do some digging, you’re bound to find someone who can provide an amazing soundtrack that you’ll remember the rest of your life!
(And you can definitely book us as your DJ, just click the DJ tab at the top of the page!)