Guest post by Les Denison
The wedding DJ, plays and important roll in the routine on wedding day. Venue owners and managers typically approach each event day with a singular goal in mind: do everything in my power to make it a perfect day for the happy couple and their guests.
My routine – which is a physical check list, backed up by a mental check list – helps to insure nothing is missed: the grounds are in perfect condition, the guest count is verified, chairs are in rows, and tables are in place.
Plus, I’ve made sure the layout is set for catering and drinks and space is available for final food prep. The bartender is in place, knows what she has to work with, and has an organized bar area. The DJ has completed his sound check and is ready for the ceremony to start.
After owning and operating a wedding venue for over 8 years, I have developed relationships with many other wedding related business owners: officiates, caterers, photographers, DJs, and other venue owners.
And in speaking to other venue owners, I’ve come to realize that a common point of frustration on wedding day – if there is a single point of frustration – usually has something to do with the DJ.
Why the DJ
Why the DJ you might ask? First, there are many DJs to pick from, ranging from expert entertainers to part-time operators with little to no professional training or experience. Second, the DJ is often seen as a place where you can save some money.
And while that may be true, generally, you get what you pay for: low budget results in poor skills. Considering the critical part the DJ can play on wedding day, this is not where I would advise you to trim the budget.
So, how do you go about selecting a qualified and professional DJ? There are number of questions and considerations you can use to help you select a top notch DJ for your event.
Experience and Training
Experience and training is first and foremost. You want your DJ to be a professional. And professionals typically have rules and can offer their clients some guidance. If your DJ is lacking in either or both, I’d suggest you keep looking. Examples include:
- Music selection – a pro will pick appropriate music for the occasion.
- Volume – it’s a wedding, not a nightclub; volume should be appropriate for the event.
- Planning – do you want the DJ to play a major part in the day, or a minor one.
Questions to ask:
- How many years they’ve been in business?
- Do you have professional training?
- What can you tell me about your sound equipment?
- Do you provide any lighting?
- How many events do you book per season?
- What are your rules for music? Denison Ridge venue rules do not allow music with vulgar lyrics / language. A professional DJ will have the same rule.
- Do you have a template we can use to help plan the day?
Also, you’ll want to make sure you are hiring a DJ who operates a legitimate business and who is licensed to operate in your state. A quick search of your state’s business license database may provide verification, but ask if they have a business license and then verify it.
Does your DJ have a back-up plan? Accidents happen and people get sick. If your DJ is suddenly not available, does s/he have a back-up in place? It could be as easy as having an agreement with a competitor to cover in emergency situations.
- Do they have back-up; ask for names.
- Ask about the back-up’s experience and training.
A professional DJ will have references at the ready, even if it’s as simple as ratings and reviews posted on their website. And speaking of website’s, does the business have a website? Does the DJ have a maintained and up-to-date website? And does it include the previously mentioned ratings and reviews?
In addition to a website, does the business have a presence on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest? Are the social media sites maintained and up-to-date? Do you like what you see, or do you have more questions or concerns?
- If you have more questions, write them down and make a call.
- Is your list of concerns and questions is growing by leaps and bounds; then find a different DJ.
Do a Google search of the DJ and of the company. The results can be very telling about if you’re on the right track, or if you need to keep looking.
And finally, if you do not have a wedding DJ in mind, you can always ask your venue owner for recommendations. Most venue owners will have a list of preferred vendors they have worked with and will recommend to you. And equally important, you can ask if they have any vendors they would not recommend.