What you should know when choosing a DJ!
Brides and customers often look for the best price when shopping for a DJ, there are sometimes drawbacks to that. These drawbacks may be minor or catastrophic to an event. Many people believe that a DJ these days is a breathing jukebox, or just presses play.
In some ways you get what you pay for. A low priced DJ may be exactly what you need for your event but may not be. Some things that should matter when a looking for a DJ aside from music selection and the ability to play music, what should you look for in a DJ?
Well that’s a question that you have to answer but lets set pricing aside for a moment and look at DJs as they are in pure form. A good Dj can beat match music, (what’s that mean you ask, I will explain) has good wire management and has a good appearance, both in his clothing and equipment and he or she also provides superior customer service and interaction
Beat Matching means the DJs has the talent needed for a constant flow of music to keep your guests dancing or enjoying the music versus dead air or horrible sounds in between songs. Many think of Scratching or sound effects when they think beat matching, and though Scratching is great at a club it often isn’t a fit for a wedding, but beat matching is just a good flow of music that leaves no dead air and a good flow from one song to the next. A lower priced Dj may or may not be able to do that, but its good to find out.
Moving forward and back to appearance, by appearance I mean that a DJ should be appropriately dressed. Do you want a DJ that shows up in Jeans sneakers and a t shirt ? I wear a tuxedo to every wedding unless told otherwise. The reason for this you and your guests are dressed up, the groom is in a tux, why shouldn’t I be? Another point in appearance is wire management and advertising. A good DJ regardless of price will make every attempt to keep his wiring neat and organized. This has added features besides for appearance. Good wire management helps prevent problems, and should there be a problem makes troubleshooting faster. A façade dresses up the appearance and makes it more elegant in appearance but even without one there is no need for messy wiring. It can create trip hazards, or simple issues with things getting unplugged or even worse would be failure of some sort or injury. You are spending a lot of money on a wedding, why should you except 2nd quality from your DJ. Some will say the most expensive is the best way and they are better. My prices are mid range in price but I have top quality equipment, give 110% to my appearance and the appearance of my gear as well as at lack of a better word my performance
Another key point you want to look at is the contract. A good reliable Dj has a contract that will protect you as the customer and him or her as the business owner, one thing that some DJs may lack these days is insurance. I know you are thinking what does that matter… well here it is if a DJ isn’t insured what happens if one of your guests knocks over the DJs speaker and breaks it, or it causes damage to the venue ; well chances are because the DJ is working for you, you would be responsible for replacement or repairs. If the DJ has insurance, no problem its covered (excluding the newly popular intentional Mic drops, please don’t do it, Microphones are not cheap!!!)
Below is a list of Questions I share that should be asked of every DJ you meet with :
(I was sent this list of questions by a future Bride and I have found it to pretty much sum up what you need to ask your DJ)
1. What do you do to motivate the crowd if nobody is dancing?
There are a number of things I do. Over the years I have learned to read people. I have gotten on the Microphone to coax people into dancing but that doesn’t always work, usually changing up the music will do it, or doing a line dance (like the cha cha slide, or electric slide for example) or I will do a game like musical chairs to get the guests out of their chairs, or all of the above. There are some guests that getting them to dance can be like getting water from a stone but usually I do not or have I had an issue with getting people moving. I have even in the past called the bride and groom to the floor, and then called the guests out to dance with them. Simple yet effective and I make it fun
2. What if something happens if you can't make it to the wedding?
I have never missed a wedding or event that contracted to do, but I work with a number of DJs and if I absolutely couldn’t make it I have DJs I can call (as they do me) to cover for me. As a professional I’ve been sick and still gone.(I do however inform the guests not to get too close because it’s the courteous thing to do). I am 43 and started DJ-ing at 18. I have been doing weddings since I was about 21 . In my years; I have never missed a show.
3.How do you keep your music selection up to date and current ?
I pay attention to hit list such as Billboard,Pandora ,Shazaam, and spotify I am a member of 5 or 6 different Dj music pools, so I get a lot of my music from them, but I also use Google play and Amazon. I am also a paid member of a program called content unlimited and pulselocker that when I have Wi-Fi access gives me access to music I don’t have. I have a 4tb hard drive of music from old to new, different ethnicities, different genres,and is updated weekly (and sometimes daily)
4. When do you arrive to set up for our wedding?
If the event has up lighting I arrive at least 2-4 hours prior,depending on whats required for set up. My system takes me about 30-45 minutes to set up just to DJ but I allow time for testing and troubleshooting and for sound testing, the last thing I want is your guests to arrive with no music playing I always have enough gear with me for at least 2 complete systems in case of problems.
5. What will you wear to our wedding?
Unless told otherwise I wear a tuxedo to every wedding. I go with a black tuxedo and a white tuxedo shirt.
6. What do you require from us?
I usually ask for a $100 deposit and a signed contract (either electronically or in person and when close to your wedding I have what I call a wedding planner I use to obtain all the information I need to tailor the day to you and your guests
7. Do you take any breaks?
No. If I eat I wait until all guests are served, and I eat while I work.
8. What is your policy on alcohol or smoking during the wedding?
I do not smoke, and I think it is unprofessional to drink while working. I don't do it at my full-time job why would I do it at any job? When I DJ even though I love what, I do and it’s a passion it is still a job that you are paying me to do.
9. What kind of equipment do you use?
I have top of the line equipment. My speakers are Mackie 15 in pa speakers and max at 2500 watts each. They are self-powered. When needed I also have 4 other speakers available (2 Alto ts115as, and to non-powered Peaveys which run off a 2500-watt Peavey amp. I also if needed have a Yorkville 10-inch sub-woofer that has unbelievable bass and sound. I have 2 18 inch Mackie sub-woofers, I use 1 of three controllers (I have one by ADJ, one by Dennon and one by pioneer, my Dennon controller is my favorite though) I typically use a laptop and virtual DJ to DJ, but also have Serato in case of software issues on both of my laptops that I bring (I use one and have second as back up). I have well over 20k invested in gear that I use, so the list can get pretty long. Needless to say I use about half my income from my DJ business to invest in equipment.
10.Do you bring backup equipment with you?
as mentioned above I bring enough for 2 complete systems, if setting up two systems(ceremony) I bring enough that should I have an equipment malfunction there would be if any downtime very minimal. Being I work in IT and have been Dj-ing for a long time I understand the importance of redundancy and backups.
11. Do you set up a sign or banner with your equipment?
No not normally at a wedding. I have in the past but it was after working with Bride and Groom. The weddings I have were deeply discounted and agreed upon ahead of time . Being I work full time to pay my bills it gives me a lot of leeway on my pricing, so I can cater to the highest priced reception, or the lowest price based on budget. My Laptop does have a skin( a sticker that covers the lid of my laptop) though that has my logo on it.
12. what makes you different from other DJs and your competition?
All DJs are different and have a different style. I think what makes me different is I am very flexible and give 110% to every event. I recognize that I am there to make your day go as smooth and be as memorable as I can in the best way it can be. One way I do this is charge by the event and not the hour; setting the entire day aside for you and your groom.
My price isn’t carved into stone and can be custom tailored to fit your needs. I provide a personal service to every customer and do my best to exceed customer expectations. When it comes to weddings I believe every bride should have the day she dreams of, that is why I am negotiable on pricing to match their needs and wants the best I can.
13 Are we allowed to give you a list of songs we want played as well as song we don't want played?
Absolutely; I am there working for you. A couple things though that I ask is if it’s a do not play song; can I play it if a guest requests it, or should I have them check with you, or tell them I can’t or don’t have it, and will act according to your wishes. In regards to a request list I ask that you keep in mind it’s a request. I say this because there are only so many songs that can be played in an hour, I take requests from your guest throughout the night and ensure that there is no dead air and I try to beat match (mix) so there is a flawless flow of music. If I am playing your requests and you are the only one dancing; then I like to be able to switch it up to get other people dancing. I do however do my best to play as many as possible. I also suggest a must play request list of 5-6 (give or take) songs. This makes sure the Bride and Groom get to dance to their favorite songs.
14. Why are your rates lower than some or higher( in some cases)?
My rates are lower than many and higher for just as many but my service and equipment are top notch. Music and DJ-ing are a passion for me. My full-time job more than pays my bills and supports my family, but who can’t use extra money right? Especially when its doing something we love to do. This is how and why I can keep my rates down and negotiate pricing based on your specific needs.
15 .Will you be my DJ, or do you contract to someone else, or have an employee working for you?
I am a fully legitimate business, but I do not contract my work out, and I do not have any employees, though I will occasionally hire an assistant for larger venues or long day.
If you have any other questions feel free to reach out to me, I love what I do and am always willing to help when I can, even if you choose a different DJ and just need advice and opinions both are free when needed!. Too many brides book based on price and don’t ask these questions, Every bride wants something different, and every Dj has a different style, it doesn’t make them a bad Dj if they are not on same page, but does make for a bad or poor event, resulting in a sad or upset bride and a Dj that doesn’t understand why they got a bad review. From experience I have seen some DJs that charge a low amount do an awesome job, but also DJs that charge higher do a horrible job.
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