Have you ever heard the phrase, a good DJ isn’t cheap and a cheap DJ isn’t good? If you haven’t heard it before, we are telling you the truth behind it! Planning your wedding may take months, even years; dress shopping may take a few weeks, your vows may take a few minutes, but your party, your music, your entertainment… that is the area where you want to focus your time on when it comes to planning the experience for your guests. The crowded dance floor, the dancing flower girl, the groomsman doing handstands, and the current trending songs are just a few things that your guests will remember for a lifetime.
Contrary to what most people believe, the DJ’s job is WAY MORE than just playing music. When your wedding has a different area for the ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception they provide MULTIPLE set ups for sound and microphones. They will emcee your reception, herd your guests from cocktail hour to the seating chart to the reception. They set the mood, read the crowd, make all of the important announcements, and run the timeline of all of your events planned. They arrive nearly three hours early just to set up every aspect of your wedding, offer sound checks, bring extra microphones - wireless, lapel, standing, and they maintain a level of professionalism that sets the standard for your event. Hiring a professional wedding DJ is one of the most important things you can do for the success of your wedding! Still not convinced on why you should hire a wedding DJ versus a friend who can throw an epic house party versus a Spotify playlist? We will convince you otherwise!
They are the Master of Ceremonies with MULTIPLE setups.
“You’re a DJ, but do you specialize in weddings?”
Any DJ can play music, but what you should really focus on is their ability to be your host of the ceremony and reception, as the master of ceremonies. Your ceremony will most likely require a set up somewhere else than where the reception is, which will need a microphone for the officiant, couple, and even any possible readers or speakers. They will play pre-seating music, turn the volume of the microphone down to make any announcements, and transition each song; the song that the family walks down to, the groom walks down to, the wedding party, and the bride. They will amplify the volume during the recessional and also play your hype song after you’re pronounced Mr. + Mrs. If someone doesn’t specialize in weddings, this is a HUGE opportunity to not have enough equipment or know the proper timing and cues of when each song needs to be plated.
What happens after the ceremony? Usually guests migrate to cocktail hour, which is in a completely different area than the ceremony and that speaker needs to be ready to go for the guests arrival. Have you ever been to a quiet cocktail hour with no music? *Crickets* You won’t forget how awkward that felt, right? Once cocktail hour is over you may have 100-200 people that have been drinking and now you need them to find the seating chart, find the reception area, and find their seat. What’s the best way to make this happen? Your DJ, of course! He can easily announce where every location is and herd your guests inside for dinner within a blink of an eye.
Your DJ will be the one making ALL of the special announcements, such as introducing the wedding party AND the bride and groom for the first time into the reception. They will announce how dinner is going to work, whether guests need to stay seated or release tables through the buffet line. They will cue first dances and get everyone’s attention - they will even fade out the songs for all of the dances after a minute or two, if you’re just not into dancing. They will be introducing the people who are making toasts, calling up the fathers + mothers for the traditional dances, announcing cake cutting, as well as garter toss, bouquet toss, exit, etc. If you think just any DJ can grab the attention of 100 guests, after four hours of drinking, to line up for a sparkler exit - good luck. It takes a special breed of a professional and that is not something a Spotify playlist can conduct!
They know what music to play.. and what NOT to play. Believe it or not, but the music at your wedding sets the reception’s tone, and it takes a pretty good amount of prep work. They let you select songs for the second your first guest walks through the door until the last guest exits at the end of the night. A talented wedding DJ has to be able to read the crowd - not only with what to play, but what not to play. Have you ever been on the dance floor and you hear your favorite song that gets you dancing only for it to be slowly transitioned into a slow dance? There is no quicker way to kill the vibes on the dance floor than with the inability to read the crowd. Of course, you’ll have selected your favorite must-play songs, the songs for your first dances and those special events, but a great DJ will be able to play the perfect combination of music to entertain (and not offend) the 7 year old ring bearer, the 90 year old grandma, and everyone in between. Spotify may be able to play music for six hours straight, but when it comes to a wedding, sometimes it is just not that easy.
They have to coordinate with EVERY single vendor. The DJ is typically hired by the couple, but coming from our experience, it’s just as crucial for the DJ to maintain a strong relationship with the couple and their selected vendors. After all, we are all working together to make sure you two have the best experience and the wedding you’ve dreamed for. A great DJ should take it upon themselves to contact the venue beforehand to get the lay of the land, figure out load in/out directions, ask questions about power sources, outlets, noise restrictions, etc. The DJ will also want to work closely with the wedding planner day-of to make sure the timeline is still accurate and that people are actually ready for the events that are scheduled to take place. The DJ waits for the cue from the wedding planner who waits for the cues from the couple, photographer, videographer, catering team, etc. If you eliminate the planner (which we do not suggest;) then the DJ has to be able to communicate every event on a timely fashion with EVERY vendor. They can’t start the introductions, first dance, or sparkler exit if you’re both not prepped, in placement, and everyone is ready to go. If a venue or a planner has a DJ that checks all the boxes, you better believe that they are going to be HIGHLY recommending them.
They’re professional. For those who have decided to have their friends DJ their wedding, we would think that they would get to also act as a guest at your wedding - drinking, hanging out with other guests, walking away from their DJ table, etc. Professional wedding DJs are the opposite- they are professional, they come with a change of clothes and sometimes even a sandwich so they don’t have to get up to eat dinner (although we recommend feeding them a hot meal for all of the hard work that they do!) They remain professional, relaxed and in control of any situation that may arise; you’ll never see a good DJ sweat even if they make an honest mistake and play the wrong song at the wrong time. They will take the job more serious than you could imagine and you can allow your talented DJ friends to sit back and relax - they got this!
They’re ready + efficient. A professional wedding DJ has their own equipment, and doesn’t need to rely on the venue to provide. They know their equipment like the back of their hand and come ready to set up. They will test the sound with the microphones, adjust as needed, ensuring you get the best sound possible from all angles. Some provide lighting, backup equipment, and will have everything covered even when it comes to the “what ifs.” They’ll come with your timeline, have your list of songs loaded, the names of those who will be introduced (they even come with name pronunciations!), their own table and linen, and even lights (if included in their package) to create the ambiance of your dreams! Background music will be on before your guests arrive, reception speakers will be setup will be all set and they will just wait for the wedding planner’s cue for go time.
They listen to make it stress free for you. After all, it is your wedding day, so a good DJ should listen to your wants and needs, as well as your wishes and expectations to help create your perfect reception. Not only should they listen and engage in providing the sound to your vision, but they will ask questions and even make recommendations if need be. Weddings are stressful enough and once you hire a professional DJ, a huge weight WILL be lifted off your shoulders. It’s your big day, one you’ve dreamed about for so long, and honestly, you shouldn’t have to worry about trying to fit in the first dance, father/daughter, mother/son, anniversary dance, and announcing cake cutting after the words I do. It’s your turn to hang out with your favorite people, enjoy your marriage, and let them take control of all of the important events in the evening. It’s time for you both to mingle with your guests and not worry about timing and who’s going to get everyone’s attention for what’s next.
The venue, the dress, the flowers, the food, the cake, the decor - all of those things will be beautiful and will create your wedding ambiance. Those pictures will last forever. But your DJ and entertainment will bring your celebration to life and create the forever memories of your guests and their experience. Martha Stewart once said, “the music entertainment you select for your wedding or party is responsible for 80% of the events success and the memories you’ll have for the rest of your life.” Truer words could not have been spoken!