Tips for Hiring a Professional DJ

If you are taking a few minutes of your time, to read this article, you will be pleased to hear some bits of information that may provide insight into the world of the Wedding DJ.  Some of this information is rarely disclosed by some in the industry. In my 15 years as a professional DJ, I have learned so many things - good, bad, and ugly. In that time, I have performed at over 600 weddings. Sometimes I reflect on just how much Perfect Entertainment has been blessed to be a successful business for so long, and to have been trusted with one of the most important days in a person’s life, over and over again.

Anyone who aspires to become a DJ spends many hours honing their craft, developing a style of mixing and blending that keeps people dancing. I had been doing this at parties and other events since the 90s. In 2001, I began the transition from spinning mostly at parties and clubs to weddings. What I quickly learned is that like the classic TV show, it was a different world from where I was coming from. One can rock crowds in a club or house party with ease and then be a fish out of water without proper knowledge and experience working weddings. When I began to perform at weddings, I lacked wedding experience, and my services, equipment, and pricing reflected this. If you have never planned a wedding, or worked in the industry, you probably would not know what to look for in a wedding DJ. Perhaps you would think that it does not matter if the DJ does not have wedding experience, state-of- the-art equipment, or excellent presentation. Well, it matters big time. There are no do-overs when it comes to wedding entertainment. With that in mind, here are some Tips for Hiring a Professional Wedding DJ:

● Go see the DJ live or schedule a face-to- face consultation. I like to think that the Perfect Entertainment website is wonderful, and informative in helping potential clients make a decision on our services. However, nothing beats live interaction. After viewing the preliminary information and images on their website, ask to meet in person. This should be no problem for a full-time professional DJ; in fact, we encourage it. If the DJ has a residency at a club or venue, go see them mix live and interact with guests. You will be able to discern if the entertainer’s style and presentation matches your vision.

● How do past clients and wedding professionals view the DJ? It is difficult to choose a wedding DJ with so many choices available, and it is even harder when you have not experienced the DJ for yourself. If the entertainer has been in business a number of years, he or she should have plenty of reviews to assist in your decision. The feedback can come from wedding industry sites, personal referrals from family, friends, co-workers, or event professionals. Your wedding planner likely has seen it all when it comes to wedding DJs, and is a good source for identifying the best fit for you. Some DJs post video testimonials from past clients on their website or social media platforms. Every client is different, with varying opinions and perspectives. Ideally, a professional seeks to have many reviews with a 5-Star Rating. It goes deeper as well. Look at the number of reviews and how many years back they go, in order to get a good picture of their level of sustained excellence. Every now and then, even the best entertainers may get a few reviews that are not 5-Star. I have seen fellow wedding DJs that I know are top-notch get an overall 4.8 or 4.9 out of 5.0 and wonder who would not give them 5 stars. It happens. However, the overall rating should be stellar and close to an overall 5 out 5 stars. An example is when I was shopping for a Macbook Pro for my DJ setup. Apple products are widely known for their build quality and reliability. Surprisingly, I saw some reviews that were not 5 stars. However, I felt comfortable trusting the 90% of reviewers that gave 5 stars, and their glowing comments. Look carefully at the information, and when it is all said and done trust your gut.

● Take a good look and listen. Of course, it is always best to hear the DJ spin live or listen to mixes on their website or platforms such as Mixcloud or Soundcloud. This will give you an idea of their style of mixing, blending, and song selection. Videos and pictures of their equipment and presentation are also important. The system needs to sound great and the presentation should be visually pleasing. Before I began rocking weddings, I just showed up with my Technic 1200 Turntables and my crates of albums. Yes albums. This was before Serato and modern DJ controllers. The club usually had their own sound system for me to plug into, or the event sponsors hired a professional sound company to take care of the amps and speakers. Now that I was jumping into the wedding DJ business, I had to invest in the purchase of my own sound system. People tend to overlook the importance of sound quality until they experience a DJ with a bad sound system. Often it is due to either cheap equipment (all they can afford) or improper usage. Admittedly, my equipment was mediocre at best when I first started. It got me by at the time. Although the average wedding guest could not tell the difference because I knew how to optimize the equipment I had, anyone with a keen ear for music would notice. Being a perfectionist, I knew this would not suffice, and began reinvesting thousands of dollars in equipment upgrades. It took years to get the setup to the level where I knew I could guarantee the quality and durability of my setup and provide a premium audio experience. This is one reason why a professional wedding DJ is worth the investment.

● A Wedding DJ should also be an MC and use the microphone properly. It is still surprising when wedding planners and others tell me that they have worked with wedding DJs who either refused to perform MC duties, or were not prepared to do so. Even when I first started in the wedding industry, I knew that introducing the wedding party with a clear, articulate voice and engaging the crowd were important to a wedding entertainment experience. Your wedding planner or relative should not have to announce anything or keep the guests engaged. There is also a such thing as doing too much. Excessive talking, using corny jokes or gimmicks throughout the reception will make for a bad experience. The DJ/MC should also work well with your planner to keep your timeline on schedule and even provide you with music planning assistance. A professional spends hours preparing for your wedding. In your initial consultation, check with the DJ to find out their approach to this important part of your wedding.

There are so many tangible and intangible factors that work together to make a DJ a great Wedding DJ/MC, and it cannot all be covered in one article. This was meant to start the conversation and help individuals to know where to start. Look for more on this topic soon.

@iamdjperfect on social media.