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Tips and Advice on Wedding Music & Entertainment

Mistakes Made in Selecting a Wedding DJ

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Author:    Serge (DJ:Plus! Mobile Disco Entertainment)
Publish Date:    26 Sep 2006


Almost everybody has been to a wedding reception where the entertainment has been provided by a mobile DJ. Not too many years ago, bands were the preferred entertainment choice for wedding receptions. But, for a number of reasons, the Disc Jockey has replaced the band as the preferred form of musical entertainment at wedding receptions. Of course the reason most couples select a Disc Jockey is somewhat logical – considering that a professional wedding DJ will act as MC, coordinate everything with the photographer, videographer and reception venue staff, guide the couple, family, and friends through the course of the reception, and of utmost importance, play the music you want to hear.

However other factors are due to; the reduction in both the number and quality of bands that are able to satisfy the requirements needed for the diverse range of age groups that attend the typical wedding reception; many bands having priced themselves out of the wedding reception market; the fact that a DJ will generally require less performance space at a reception and the subsequent rise in stature and quality of the wedding DJ. Accordingly, the Disc Jockey has become the preferred form of entertainment for wedding receptions.

So why is it that there are a large number of complaints concerning DJ’s? Why is it that everyone has heard horror stories from brides and grooms concerning the DJ that they engaged for their wedding? Why is it that everyone has heard negative comments regarding the music played from guests who have attended weddings where a DJ has performed? Are all wedding DJ’s unprofessional, unethical, and /or incompetent?

Of course not!. As in any industry, there are those DJ’s who are extremely professional in all aspects of the service that they deliver and there are those who are not. The fact is, there are a number of extremely experienced professional DJ’s who maintain the highest standards and will go to great lengths to ensure your wedding reception is a success. However, because they tend to operate almost entirely on referrals, and are booked very well in advance, they are normally unavailable to accept a booking from a new client who perhaps has waited too long to find that high quality DJ they want and need. In an effort to help you avoid ending up with an unprofessional, unethical and/or incompetent DJ, following are common mistakes couples make in selecting a disc jockey for their wedding reception and how to avoid them:

  • Plan ahead. The majority of couples begin planning their wedding reception nine months to a year in advance. As is most often the case however, the reception entertainment is usually left until the end in terms of planning. Of all the mistakes, this is probably the biggest one. Why? The more professional DJ’s are in high demand and available dates tend to book out early. If you do not book a DJ early, and lock in one of the more professional services, you may not have much to choose from later on?
  • Shop for quality. This is easier said than done, especially when the typical couple might not fully understand what exactly it is that quality in a Wedding DJ truly represents. It is important to evaluate the DJ service in exactly the same light as you would hotels, cars, home renovators and doctors. It is wrong to assume that all Wedding DJ services are the same. Do assume that high quality will cost more than low quality.
  • Realise the importance the DJ plays in the success of your wedding reception. Numerous Bridal magazine surveys consistently report that happy brides and grooms say that the DJ was the element most responsible for the success of their wedding reception. The average percentage of importance assigned to the DJ is 70%. Some people will remember your beautiful wedding dress. Some people will remember the great food. Some people will remember the sculptured wedding cake. Everybody will remember whether they had a fantastic time or not.
  • If possible, get to know your DJ personally before the wedding. Request a personal meeting with the Wedding DJ company owner AND with the specific DJ who will be performing at your wedding reception. In many cases, the owner will be the DJ himself/herself; this is known as a sole trader DJ service. Mobile DJ services where the owner has employees and/or subcontractors who perform at the actual events are called DJ Agencies. Beware of any mobile DJ company owners who resist or discourage in-person meetings. Beware of DJ Agencies who will not guarantee in writing the specific DJ who will perform at your wedding reception. In order to ensure a good working relationship between you and the DJ, it is important that you get to know them.
  • Insist on use of a pre-planned, written agenda. Most Wedding DJ’s simply want to show up and play music. That may be fine for a school dance but not for a wedding reception. A truly professional Wedding DJ understands this, and will require advance planning with the bride and groom, resulting in an approved written schedule for the event. Nobody is better placed to assist in the planning of the schedule, and to coordinate everything at the wedding reception, than the Wedding DJ. Ensure your Wedding DJ does not refuse to accept this important responsibility.
  • Verify basic elements of Wedding DJ quality. Basic elements include a variety of items and issues that may not immediately spring to mind, but which are very important.
  1. Is backup equipment provided on site?
  2. Is the Wedding DJ insured for property loss and public liability?
  3. Does the Wedding DJ have an adequate and appropriate music library?
  4. Will the DJ be attired appropriately?
  5. Will the DJ be interactive, semi-interactive, or non-interactive according to your wishes?
  6. Will the DJ manage the music effectively, reading the crowd, taking requests, and avoiding songs with potentially offensive lyrics?
  7. Does the Wedding DJ offer additional options/services such as secondary sound systems, nightclub-style lighting and MC Service?
  • Ensure that the vision you have of your wedding day becomes reality. If the surveyed couples are even close to being correct in that the entertainment was 70% responsible for their wedding reception’s success, then it would appear that the Wedding DJ’s responsibility goes substantially further than just playing music. And it is almost without question that it does. The best ones understand this, and they have transformed Wedding DJ entertainment from a job to profession.
In searching for and selecting the perfect Wedding DJ for your reception it is vitally important that you consider all the information above and do not try to use only your leftover time and try to spend only your leftover money otherwise it is probable that you’ll end up with a leftover Wedding DJ.


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