How to Find a Wedding DJ
I was wondering how to find a wedding DJ. When I did the research, this is the information I came up with.
So how do you find a wedding DJ? The old-fashioned way is through phone books. For today’s society, there is Google, Yelp, The Yellow Pages, and Social Media. Word of mouth is also the way to find out with the best references from someone you trust. But, what do you look for, and how do you know which DJs will best meet your needs? Here are some tips and ideas on how to find a DJ who will help to make your wedding as perfect as possible.
Looking for a Wedding DJ on the Internet
The internet makes the process of finding a DJ for your wedding easier and more complicated at the same time. On the one hand, you have access to many DJs with a range of musical offerings and levels of expertise. Online DJ profiles can also be misleading. How do you know that you’re hiring the best DJ for your wedding day? What should you be looking for, as the top priority musts? Here are some ideas.
Do they have experience? How many years have they been in business?
Even in the online setting, you should be able to tell some basic information about how long they’ve been in business, or even if they’re in business. Some online listings may feature freelancer DJs, who are moonlighting on the weekend as DJs for weddings and other events. That may not be a bad thing necessarily, because you might be able to get them for a great price.
Even if they are doing DJing on the weekends, though, you still need to know that they have the skills and expertise that you need to make your wedding reception a fun and entertaining experience. Find out how long they’ve been doing this and ask for references who can speak to his/her level of skill and expertise.
Are they prepared? What can you do to be prepared as well?
Preparation is key, and it’s not something that’s easy to judge based on an online profile. You might find notes or comments from satisfied customers, who say that the DJ brought all the equipment, arrived on time, and offered a great range of music. If it’s not obvious what their setup is, ask specific questions about the speakers, microphones, and other essential equipment. While your chosen venue may offer some infrastructure (speakers, mics, etc.), it’s always better to hire a professional DJ who can bring the necessary equipment.
Preparation could mean that the DJ has a backup plan in case of an emergency. He/She might offer a secondary DJ who will cover your wedding if there is an emergency. Or, the DJ might be able to refer you to a backup DJ for a “just in case” scenario. Particularly during the busy summer months, DJs are in hot demand. If the DJ doesn’t have a backup plan, you should plan to have one.
Does the DJ have a positive personality? Does the person make it fun?
A positive attitude and upbeat personality are so important for those who will be part of the backbone of your wedding production. Even in the best, most streamlined and perfect scenarios, not everything will go right. You need a wedding DJ who will take every challenge or potential hiccup as an opportunity to overcome and achieve success.
That positive attitude also shines through in his/her musical offerings. In most cases, you need upbeat tunes, not the dirge and depression of darker days. This is a happy, exciting start to a new life. The music and attitude of those supporting you on your wedding day should reflect that hope and promise.
What about their music collection? Is it diverse? Can they deliver what you need?
One of the reasons you need an experienced DJ for your wedding is because the person will likely have a huge music library, with a mix of genres. Be prepared with some ideas of the type of music you want, but also look for a professional DJ who can offer ideas, insight, and suggestions for a music playlist that will make your wedding and reception memorable.
The Wedding DJ should be a good listener, with the ability to understand, anticipate, and respond to your requests. The person should be prepared with a selection that music for you, your partner, your friends, family, etc. The music collection should encompass music across genres and decades. Experienced Wedding DJs will already have playlists to accommodate the musical preferences for nearly every guest.
Can they read the crowd? Is the person an expert Event Planner?
The best Wedding DJs have a clear understanding of what their role is at the wedding. The person needs to have a firm grasp on Event Planning, with the ability to read the crowd and you. He or she needs to know when to switch up the music to make it more upbeat or slow it down. Aside from just playing music, the Wedding DJ is your voice.
The Wedding DJ represents you, so if the person is grumpy, rude, or unresponsive, your guests will associate that behavior with you. After all, you hired the Wedding DJ, and the perception is that you are responsible for the abilities, behavior, and persona. The audience experience is as much about PR and Customer Service as it is about great music and an upbeat atmosphere.
Go to Parties and Check-Out DJs
You can search for a DJ on the internet, but you may still not get a sense of what you’re getting for your wedding. Since you want your wedding to be perfect in every way, you can try other avenues for finding a Wedding DJ.
Find out where the DJs will be. What about events, parties, weddings, and other big activities?
Just because a DJ is working for an event or party does not mean that he/she is experienced with weddings, but you’ll get a sense of how they handle themselves. You can also hear their music playlists and even make a request of your own. It might even be the opportunity to request music and find out what your options are in an ad-hoc situation.
By attending and reviewing different venues, with the associated DJ talent, you may have a better idea of how DJs perform. You’ll get ideas of how the DJ is integrated into the event. It might give you ideas for what the DJs can do for you at your wedding.
What About Special Effects?
You may not think about the lights, a disco ball, or other special effects for a Wedding. It might be a bit much, right? What about a projector or big screen with pictures of your time together with your partner? You could incorporate a fog machine to add a little bit of magically feel. Or add sparklers or fireworks for an outdoor wedding.
Many of these special effects are part of what you’ll see at the various parties, celebrations, and special events. They’re not terribly expensive to pull off, and many of the special effects can be part of the DJ experience (or synced up with the DJ’s playlist). With a combination of lighting, confetti, and high-tech features, your wedding will be the event that none of your guests will forget.
Who is the Person? What’s Their Vibe?
You can learn a lot about a person by just walking them work? Is the person responsive and professional? How do they “work” the crowd? Do they sell their services? A little bit of innocuous, inobtrusive mention of their DJing service may be expected, but you don’t want someone who talks about their services every other minute.
Do you get the sense that you could get along with the person while dealing with everything else at your wedding? Is the person friendly, personable, and responsive to direction? You’re not looking for a robot. The person needs to be able to give feedback, but you don’t want someone who’s going to argue with you about every one of your suggestions or requests.
Word of Mouth Advertisements Are the Best References
When you’ve covered all the other bases, you still need to find out how they’ve performed in real-life situations. You want the good and the not-so-great references so that you’ll have some idea what to expect.
Check the References Listed on the DJ’s Site.
Many wedding-related vendors or service providers offer a list of references and/or testimonials. That’s a great place to start for word-of-mouth referrals, but it’s likely to be selective. A Wedding DJ is probably not going to post bad reviews or highlight those disaster wedding experiences. Still, the testimonial will give you a sense of how popular the DJ is.
Has the DJ worked for famous personalities or celebrities? Do you see reviews from local people you know? Reach out to a few of the people who are listed on the DJ’s site. Ask all your questions and expect positive responses. It will still give you information for later comparison.
Look at Online Reviews. What About Google, Yelp, etc.
Online reviews are a great way to get unadulterated details about what happened for the clients who have worked with the Wedding DJ. If it was a disaster, or if the client believes that the DJ was at fault in any way, you may find that information at any one of the myriads of online review portals.
Keep in mind that just because a client posted negative details about the Wedding DJ doesn’t mean that the person necessarily did anything wrong. It could have been a problem with the sound system at the venue or it may have been something that was completely outside the control of the DJ. It’s also easy for anyone to post a negative review that may (or may not) be based on what really happened. If the review worries you, ask the Wedding DJ about it, but don’t let one bad review taint you if everything else about the person looks (and sounds) great.
Ask the People You Know. What About Friends & Family?
While reviews on the DJ’s site may be skewed in the person’s favor, and the online reviews may be slanted against the Wedding DJ, your personal connections may offer the kind of personalized review that you can trust. A friend or family member may be willing to give you the real lowdown on what the DJ was like at a wedding or other event.
You’ll also be surprised how many times a friend will say, “I know someone who is a DJ. They’ll give you the friend discount.” Those personal connections can be beneficial, but you should be aware that you might need to tread carefully if/when the person isn’t someone you want to use for the wedding. Be upfront with your friend, so that you don’t lose a friend over a vendor relationship.
Can I trust social media when it comes to references for a good Wedding DJ?
For Facebook, there is a recommendation section that the user can ask for help in finding anything. This is also a form of word of mouth advertisement or getting reviews. In general, you must take every review you read online with a grain of salt. It’s good to do your research, and find out what people say about the Wedding DJ, but also verify through multiple channels (and verifiable sources) to make sure you’re getting at the truth of the situation (as near as you can get anyway).
Can I trust the reviews on a DJ’s webpage or on Yelp?
When searching for reviews, be careful of biased reviews, because a person who has a business will always speak highly of themselves. It is always best to get references from customers rather than any business owner’s web page. It’s also somewhat dangerous to rely upon review son Yelp or other online review portals because an angry client can post a very negative review.
How does a DJ customize the music playlist for each couple?
Each DJ will customize the playlist in a different way. Most DJs will ask for a list of some “favorites,” those must-play songs that the bride and groom want for special dances, and an idea of absolute “hates.” The DJ may also ask questions about the type of music that the couple likes to listen to, if they like the same music, etc. Based on the range of answers to specific questions, the DJ may tap into music lists that he/she has already created or develop a mix of several playlists to give a fully-immersive musical experience that’s all about the new couple.