Yes it's that time of your wedding planning to find a DJ for your special day, and for most brides this can be an adventure in itself. Contacting different DJ's, getting prices, choosing prices, consultations, and the list goes on and on.
In this article you will learn the 10 biggest mistakes brides make when choosing a DJ for the big day, hopefully after this you can avoid the pitfalls of choosing the "wrong" DJ for your wedding.
Here's a little quote that my partner always tells the brides she works with, "Your wedding day is like Broadway, you only get one take, and you only get one chance to get it right"
Not Taking "First Impressions" Into Consideration
More than likely your first with a DJ will be either on the telephone or through e-mail. If the first contact is by telephone, listen to how the DJ talks on the telephone, can you understand him or her, or the MC which will do the announcements during your wedding? When you meet the DJ (and sometimes MC also) are they dressed professionally? If a DJ carries themselves professionally during your consultation, more than likely they will be professional on your big day.
Thinking that All DJ's are the Same
This couldn't be further from the truth, every DJ has there own style, different skill level, different rates, and vary a lot in their "arsenal" which is this musical library which is the heart of their versatility. If a DJ only has Rock music, but no R&B, a DJ which has both types of music and much more is more "versatile". Remember your favorite DJ that spins Alternative music all night may be perfect for the club, but more than likely your grandmother doesn't want hear Good Charlotte all night during your reception.
Hiring the Cheapest DJ You Can Find
The phrase "You get what you pay for" holds a lot of water in the case of hiring a DJ... especially for a wedding. Let's use the Washington DC metro as an example to better explain what I mean. There are DJ's which can cost as little as $300, or as much as $2,500 for a five hour wedding. Is the DJ that is only charging $300 no good at all? Who knows, he might do a decent job, but there is one thing that is certain, either the DJ doesn't have the experience, or just has bad business skills altogether to charge only $300.
Any DJ that has done a ton of weddings (100 or more) knows that they put too much into a wedding to only charge peanuts. On the other side, remember that just because a DJ is the most expensive in town, doesn't mean they're the best for you, sometimes they are, sometimes they're not.
The entertainment for your reception is what you, your family and friends will remember, it's worth more than the cost of invitations. Your DJ is an investment that you your guests will enjoy the entire "time frame" of your reception, not half of it. Believe me, if half of your guests leave after dinner because loud rap music was playing during the main course, the venue isn't going to give you a refund.
Not Communicating with Your DJ
Besides hiring the wrong DJ altogether, this is probably the biggest mistake some brides do when dealing with DJ's, not COMMUNICATING. There is nothing worse for a DJ (and for you also) than a "rush job", especially a wedding. An seasoned professional can get through the event without "noticeable incidents" but I believe I speak for all wedding DJ's when I say it is "nerve-racking" even if we don't show it. Keep your DJ informed of your plans, your special songs, any changes, your timeline, or anything else he may need to know, don't wait until the week, or even a month before the big day to start communicating. This is the only way your DJ will know exactly what you want, and don't want.
Not Having a Written Contract
Simply put... no contract, you very well may have NO DJ! Every year I get a few phone calls from a bride (or her mother) saying that they hired a DJ and they didn't show up. The first thing that I ask is did they have a contract... 80% of the time it's "no". If a DJ doesn't have a contract, run out the front door, and don't look back.
Not Making Sure the DJ has Liability Insurance
More and more venues and hotels across the U.S. are requiring that DJ's have liability insurance, and most are asking to see "papers". A true professional is going to have insurance for his business, and you should ask to at least see a copy of the policy. Insurance for DJ's is generally not expensive, and there are a few major DJ organizations which offer a nice discount on insurance for joining. There's really no excuse for your DJ not to have it.
Taking Complete Control of the Music Selection from Your DJ
You want to hear what you want to hear... That's fine, but remember you're not alone on your special day. You, your family (and your new family), your friends all have different tastes. Some brides want to choose every song that gets played for the entire night, and I can honestly say that I have only seen 2 song lists created by brides out of hundreds upon hundreds that actually worked for the majority of the night. JUST TWO.
Let the DJ do his job, which primarily making sure that right songs get played at the right time. Also remember giving your DJ 200 songs to play for the night isn't going to work either... unless your reception is over 10 hours long.
And last but not least make sure you clarify which artist you want to hear for certain songs. Take the song "Three times a Lady", the Commodores, Kenny Rogers, Conway Twitty (and probably other artists) all sing this song. If you want the Commodores version for your first dance, make sure you don't end up Conway Twitty instead.
Not Making Sure the DJ You Want is "Guaranteed" to be Your DJ
This is probably the biggest complaint from brides all over the country about DJ's. You went to a DJ company that has more than one DJ, you requested a specific DJ, and another DJ shows up in his/her place. Any time you deal with a big DJ company, make sure you get in writing that the DJ you want is the one that will show up.
Not Going Over Back-Up Plans with Your DJ
In life "things happen" which you or nobody else has control over, even on your wedding day! Find out from your DJ about his plans for back-up transportation, equipment, and personnel. If one of these three areas is "out of commission" so will the music for your reception. If they don't have any plans, start running.
Not Hiring a DJ Quickly
Finding the DJ you want is hard enough work, as long as you don't believe they're all the same. Don't go through all the work of finding the DJ you want and then procrastinate on booking with that DJ. Most wedding DJ's that have good reputations in the business will get booked at least a year in advance, especially for the Saturdays in the summer. If you've found DJ "Benz" don't wait to hire him. Remember if you wait a month or two before the big day, you choices are limited and you might end up with DJ "Yugo".
Avoid these ten major mistakes (there are a few more) and you will be better able to "connect" with your DJ, and know what to look for while hiring a DJ. Keep in communication with your professional DJ, and your reception will more than likely be worry free.