A DJ is not just someone who plays songs at your wedding reception. No, no, no. A great DJ is the director of entertainment for your wedding. That person helps guide the night and fun. So before you party on the dance floor, we’ve got the 10 signs you’ve hired a great wedding DJ.
1. Sound familiar?
The best sign that you’ve hired a great wedding DJ is that you’ve heard them before. So think back and try to remember the reception where everybody was on their feet. “You always remember if your friend’s DJ at their wedding was jamming, right? So, being able to trigger an experience to guide your decision is always the best route,” says DJ Shenelle from Our DJ Rocks.
No need to do an exhaustive search if you’ve already seen the DJ at work. “This way you can contact the bride and groom from that wedding you were invited to, and get their DJ’s information,” said Orlando and Rey from Press Play Entertainment.
2. Expert recommended
If you’ve been wracking your brain and can’t think of any awesome DJs from previous shindigs, then if your vendor recommends someone, that’s a good sign. “Seek referrals from a vendor that you have already hired for your event, as they will be able to share their experience and thoughts regarding other vendors,” recommends Monica Cullen from As You Wish Planners.
Vendors, especially wedding planners, should have a pretty good idea of what you’re looking for. “If you trust another vendor you have already booked, get recommendations from them,” says Orlando and Rey. “If they do refer a DJ, chances are it is because they have already worked well with them in previous events. It is always good to have vendors that work well together.”
3. Got it going on Online
A good sign you’ve got a great wedding DJ is rave reviews online. “This will give you an idea of each DJ’s services and quality,” said Monica. “Also, be sure to search for the DJ on social media to see what they are like regarding style and personality, so you can make sure they are what you’re looking for.”
Great DJs know how to market themselves on Facebook and Instagram. Follow and stalk the DJ’s Instagram.
“Pro DJs will work to show the style and images that best represent themselves at wedding receptions,” recommends Chuck Johnson from Classic Disc Jockeys. Chuck says look at all of their online platforms. “Is it banging, in-your-face? Is it Romantic and fun? Is it focused on corporate/club events? Is it focused on weddings? Websites, reviews, and social media should give you a real good idea if that DJ fits your style.”
4. License to party
It’s not just knowing how to party, it’s also being professional about it. That’s when you know you’ve got a great wedding DJ. “A professional DJ is licensed and insured, which protects you as a client,” said Monica. “Hiring a professional DJ can provide peace of mind, as you can be sure that a professional will always arrive on time and prepared. You can also rest assured knowing that they will show up.”
Monica says while it may be cheaper to have a friend or family member play their iPod at your wedding, a professional DJ will be more reliable and more likely to keep the night moving and lively.
5. Heard you
A great wedding DJ is not just someone who listens to music, but also listens to the couple. A DJ who listens will know what to play and what not to play.
“Making sure your DJ is respecting your song selections and sentimental moments throughout the evening are so crucial. Not only should your DJ be connecting and in-tune with you during your wedding, but also leading up to your day so they know the vibe to put out and create throughout the evening,” said Shenelle.
Shenelle says a DJ shouldn’t just be listening to what songs a couple selects. The subtext is everything. “The most unique experience I have seen a DJ do at an event is in the middle of a speech or before toasts were given. The DJ threw up a song from a favorite show because the DJ was attentive to listening to the couple and their family during a prior conversation and remembered what was said. The look on the couple’s face was priceless. Just goes to show that DJ was paying attention to the couple,” said Shenelle.
Great listeners can build solid relationships that pay off on the big day. “We always tell clients that the DJ needs to be an extension of their family,” says Bonny and Bryan from P.S. I Love You Productions. “So same temperaments and personalities for the party to be a good fit and jive with the crowd.”
6. On your side
A great wedding DJ not only cares about the music. That person also cares about everything else on the wedding day. “Always being a team player and understanding their craft are so important,” says Bonny and Bryan. “Be flexible and always willing to be of assistance if another vendor may need it.”
Making sure the DJ works well with the photographer, caterer, and other vendors make for a better night for everyone. “A great wedding DJ should use their love for music and this industry to tap into the lives of every couple they are able to touch, so they can execute the most memorable moments,” said Shenelle, “because at the end of the night all one has are the memories, so making sure each couple is left with the best ones are most important.”
7. It’s been planned out
Whether you have a wedding planner or not, a DJ who knows the plan or has a plan is sure to pay off big time on your wedding day.
“It’s possible that you have a perfectly detailed timeline,” said Jamie Reinhart from Bella Collina. “You may have even hired a wedding planner to make sure your day is staying on track. Even with a solid plan in place, your wedding DJ will control the flow of the day, especially when it comes to your reception timeline. An experienced and professional DJ will keep your evening flowing.”
Bonny and Bryan say a great wedding DJ will do more than just spin the record. “They are the flow of the event. If you want to hype people up for intros, move them from point A to point B, (then you need a great DJ),” said Bonny and Bryan.
Orlando and Rey add that a good hire is a DJ who pays attention to detail. “A regular DJ may have your songs to play for your entrances to the reception. A GOOD professional DJ will not only just play your songs, but they will also helpline you and your wedding party up, go over everyone’s names one last time to assure everything is correct and go over the next steps that will happen before everyone takes their seats again,” said Orlando and Rey.
8. Years under their belt
A sure-fire way to make sure you’ve hit the DJ jackpot is that person has plenty of experience.
“Experienced wedding DJ’s are prepared for anything a wedding day may throw at them,” said Jamie. “Wedding days often have unexpected elements thrown into the mix. True professional wedding DJs can anticipate and adjust for any situation, allowing your wedding day to go off without a hitch.”
The last thing you want is for a DJ who doesn’t know what to do if something goes wrong.
“This is especially important when planning a Florida wedding, as we know that the weather can be quite unpredictable,” said Jamie. “There is a chance your DJ may have to move their equipment from your outdoor wedding to your venue’s indoor rain plan. An experienced DJ will be able to do this without missing a beat.”
Plus, a longtime DJ will know how to change up the pace if there’s low attendance on the dance floor. “An experienced DJ is able to read the crowd and be flexible. The goal is to have the newlyweds say that it was the best night ever,” says Monica.
9. Think outside the box
It’s great to have an experienced DJ, but it’s equally important your DJ is willing to try new and creative ways to keep the dance floor jumping.
“Ask your DJ: ‘What will you do, besides play music, that will make my reception amazing?” recommends Chuck Johnson. “The answer is crucial because otherwise, we could just use a Spotify playlist.”
For example, over the past 15 years, Chuck has been developing a method to create unique experiences for couples wanting to retire those typical reception traditions. “I’ve developed a ‘Wedding Reception Blueprint’ that couples use to enhance their entertainment,” he said. “This really enhances the guest experience, so they are not sitting through the ‘same old’ parents dances, cake cutting, toasts, etc. You and your guests can experience these updated fresh takes on the tradition in a new, refreshing light.”
Monica says she knowns DJs who bring props to help liven up the event. “Oftentimes a couple wants the reception to be very high-energy and one that guests will rave about,” she said. “(Props are) always a big hit and the guests love it!”
10. Keep the party going
Of course, a DJ will truly be judged based on the number of people out on the dance floor.
“A great DJ knows how to work a room,” says Orlando and Rey. “They have different tricks and ideas that they have ready to try to make sure there is no downtime, and that the night goes just like your vision.”
A couple seeking a memorable wedding wants the dance floor packed until the end of the night when family and friends are still begging for the music to keep playing.
“Any wedding DJ knows that it is up to them to keep the dance floor jam-packed all night long,” says Jamie. “When you choose to hire a wedding DJ who has a ton of experience under their belt, they can read a room and adjust the music accordingly. A true professional is constantly reading the room, making tweaks to the music whenever needed to make sure your dance floor stays full.”
So there you have it. No, playing the Chicken Dance or having a deep James Earl Jones voice isn’t on the list. But these are the 10 signs you’ve hired a great wedding DJ that’ll go the extra mile, to make sure no detail is spared and no foot is left without a sore after a memorable night at your wedding.