First of all, let me start this somewhat manifesto-like post by saying I got no skin in the game moneywise, whether or not my clients hire a DJ. I don’t survive on kickbacks and don’t believe in anything more than a nice thank you note or returned referral from bringing a DJ business. Rather, here is why I recommend hiring a professional DJ:
1. It makes everything run more smoothly. Working with a pal as a DJ (I don’t mean a pal who isn’t already a proven wedding performer…I mean, one who has had no experience and is doing it for fun and kicks) can be a nightmare. I’ve wrested “DJ”‘s from their sit down meal to please announce toasts or stop them from making an announcement well before its time because they didn’t listen to my instructions.
2. Relying on an Ipod can make for awkward drops in music and variances in volume that harm the integrity of your event. We do not run iPods for clients unless clients hire an additional assistant just for this, because we are not accustomed to the techniques of smoothly changing volume and segueing from one song to another. We risk the music sounding clunky. For ceremony music, we risk getting to the Ipod late because we are doing other things…like coordinating the wedding! (A LOT can happen all at once before a bride walks down the aisle.)
Not sure what's going on here, but I do know the music was great at this wedding! Photo by Wasserlein Photography.
Tips for choosing a DJ:
1. Watch the price. Bargain-priced, ‘cheap’ rate DJs have caused problems in the past. One didn’t bring an assistant or a second setup, even though he had two rooms to setup – and despite multiple warnings and reminders, he was 20 minutes late moving the gear from cocktail to reception, and guests nearly walked into a silent room without music playing. Also, even though he scouted the space weeks before the event, his speakers were not attuned to the room’s acoustics and no one could understand what he was saying. Another DJ was playing gangsta rap complete with the F word (!) till I ran over and asked him to kindly switch to the bride’s “must play” list before Granny had a heart attack. He also needed a lot of handholding making announcements (“Okay, now announce WHO caught the bouquet…”) Anyways – I could go on, but I think you get my point.
2. Require a site inspection from the DJ if it’s a tricky property they are not familiar with – particularly if you need multiple audio setups.
3. If your inexperienced friend is (gasp!) doing the wedding, say a Hail Mary and be sure he/she knows your favorite tunes – “Must Play” and “Do Not Play.” If they don’t ask, take the initiative and send to them.
Our favorite DJs and companies are Silvertunes Entertainment, Vox DJs, Eddie Makabi (check out his instrumentalists as well), Dash Entertainment, and Lee Dyson / Hey Mister DJ. They are all reliable, professional, and have the uncanny talent to keep the crowd moving with “just the right song” – a skill that can make a huge difference in the quality of your event. And yes – the sanity of your wedding planner!