Things You Should Know Before Hiring A Wedding DJ
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Article by: DJ Craig - djcraig.net
1. Aren't DJs all the same?
There are Club DJs, Radio DJs and Mobile DJs, each specializing in their chosen field. Many Mobile DJs can't beat mix while many Club DJs would be lost trying to coordinate and announce formalities at a wedding. Some DJs are quite experienced, others are just starting out. Generally, it takes about 2 years of training for a DJ to become competent enough to handle every possible occasion. For your event you may not want to risk having someone who's still on the learning curve.
Even among Mobile DJs there are specific categories. Some Disc Jockeys are "Hip Hop", others concentrate on Karaoke. Some do corporate events and others primarily do kids parties. Obviously you wouldn't want a DJ for your wedding who's training and experience is mostly limited to Bar Mitzvahs.
It's good to have experience in all DJ disciplines, types of events and styles of music. A DJ who can coordinate and work with staff and other event pros, expertly pick and mix songs and has a good personality has the versatility for any event.
2. Do you do special things to make my event fun?
Some DJs resort to corny games, group dances or wacky costumes during their "performance". It may seem fun at the moment but is likely that you and your guests will look back on these gimmicks as hackneyed and embarrassing.
The best way to get people involved and create positive memories is simply to PLAY GREAT MUSIC! A dynamic music mix that includes variety, requests, old favorites and hot new songs is key. A good DJ will monitor his dance floor constantly and respond accordingly. He does not need the crutch of lame gags or bad Elvis impersonations. Your guests will enjoy themselves more without "forced spontaneity".
The right music and lighting can make your party look and sound like no other.
3. Are large entertainment companies a good resource to find a DJ?
They can be but you do not always have the opportunity to personally meet DJ candidates at a large DJ Farm or third party Entertainment Broker. You may see a few minutes of video but it is difficult to measure the DJ's temperament, personality, spontaneity and ability to communicate based on that. We always offer a live audition for our clients.
Usually you do not speak directly to your DJ at one of these companies. Your information or question is transfered via a third party and can be distorted, miscommunicated or lost.
4. I saw a really low price for a DJ, should I hire them?
It depends on what they supply and what your needs are. If you are having a backyard party that doesn't necessitate coordination, announcements or even a personality, you may be fine. Keep in mind that low budget DJs are less likely to use top quality equipment, have adequate back up equipment, reliable transportation or liability insurance. This puts the ultimate success of your party at risk.
5. What if people don't dance?
This is extremely rare. Keep in mind that, as the hosts or guest of honor, your guests will often take their cue from you. If you are on the dance floor they are more likely to be as well.
There are some events where promoting dancing is more difficult than others. For example, events that are early in the day, outdoor, sunlit, do not serve liquor and have less than 40 people attending can be a challenge. But I've even had those parties often turn out fantastic.
It sometimes takes a while for the dancing to get going. A good DJ will not panic. He will just keep on playing a great mix, as if his dance floor is already packed. If people aren't dancing, it just means they are not yet ready. Usually, even the most hesitant partygoers eventually come around.
6. My friend (or Uncle or Cousin) is a DJ, I might use them.
It's true there are lots of DJs around, everybody seems to know one. Since there is no official, universally accepted Disc Jockey certification, anybody can buy some sound equipment and proclaim that they too are a DJ. It's kind of like buying a sports car and claiming you are now a race driver. You still need good training, experience, a reliable track record and a good reputation. I've heard too many horror stories about "DJs" who either didn't show up, were late, sent a replacement, dressed badly, played the wrong music or otherwise didn't act professionally.
Part time DJs may not have the same devotion to their craft as a full timer. If it is his livelihood and primary source of income, he HAS to be good at it to generate referrals and repeat business.
7. What if I don't want any (fill in the blank) _________ Music?
Beware of absolute generalizations. It's completely understandable if you have specific songs you just do not like. But to exclude an entire category of music may be shortsighted. For instance, I've had some clients tell me they don't want any Rap. That would then exclude Usher, Will Smith, Nelly and much of the hottest current dance music. Music their guests may really want.
The power of music is that it's an inclusive thing that brings people together. Being open to any musical possibility the situation may call for, frees up your DJ to be creative and let your party flow naturally. You may not like a certain type of music but you may want to consider allowing it (assuming it's non- offensive) if that's what makes your guests happy. By the same token, plenty of attention should also be given to the music you do really like.
8. Why are some DJs so expensive?
It comes down to exclusivity and what the market will bear. There are only 52 weekends a year. A DJ can only do one gig at a time. If there is a preponderance of clients vying for the same DJ on the same date, he can charge more than others.
On the other hand, if your date is on an "off night" or unpopular time, you may be able to negotiate a better deal. And if your event is coming up very shortly and the DJ has an opening, he may be willing to substantially discount his normal fees.
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