What does a DJ actually do at a wedding?
“What does a DJ actually do at a wedding?” For those that aren’t familiar with a professional wedding DJ it may seem like all they do is push a button and play music. While playing music is one of the core functions of a DJ, there is so much more. The Wedding DJ is your entertainment coordinator and many times the Wedding DJ stands in as pseudo-Wedding Coordinator if
he couple has not hired one or if the venue does not provide one. I can’t speak for all Wedding DJs, but I can give you a glimpse of what I do as part of my Wedding DJ services for my clients, and to some people’s surprise, a DJ starts to prepare for a wedding well before the actual wedding. In fact, it starts on the very first contact.
Learning About You
One of the very first things I do when meeting with a new couple is to figure out what exactly you are looking for. What kind of music do you like? Do you want lighting? What interesting things have you experienced at other weddings? All of this information becomes the foundation of determining the things you want, and don’t want, from your wedding DJ. I then quote you a price and will patiently wait.
Getting The Details Right
While the first phase of the discussions gives me a glimpse into what you are looking for, once you get closer to your wedding date the details need to be fleshed out. Typically about 45 days out from your wedding we setup a time to start our planning process, from the pronunciation of your wedding party guests to the last dance. It’s very important for me to know all the ins and outs so I can help ensure that you have a great night of entertainment. It is also around this time that I will start to reach out to the venue to find any specifics and guidance. If I am unfamiliar with the location I’ll typically plan a trip to the site to determine things like establishing a line of communication with the venue, equipment placement and if there are any issues with some of the details discussed thus far. I will also reach out to the vendors like the photographer and videographer if I have not corresponded with them in the past to begin our collaboration for your wedding.
Sometimes A Little More Planning
So while some planning meetings can be completely done in one sitting, the truth is changes happen all the time. Head counts can force floor plan changes, musical selections might be altered to accommodate a group of people, the list can go on. I always reach out to my couples 15 days out to see what has changed, and what hasn’t, and to see if more formal meetings are required.
Preparing For Your Special Day
Usually the week prior I begin to lock things in place. I go over the details again and again, and if there is a question about a detail that I don’t have an answer to, I am not afraid to ask. I want to make sure that your day is as stress free as possible! I establish all your special songs, I go over all my equipment to make sure nothing is missing. I send the vendors and the venue our "Wedding Planner" so they have a baseline document to work off of. There is a surprising amount of “little things” that I have to check off my list before your wedding day comes.
The Day Arrives
When the wedding day arrives, for many DJs it means workout time and it’s no different for me. I am a solo-run DJ business which means I put all my equipment in my SUV, drive, unload, setup, test, perform, breakdown, drive home, and unload. If you are doing a ceremony as well I have not one but two separate systems to setup and configure. Once setup, and everything is tested, the real fun begins.
Playing Well With Others
There are many DJs that are in it for the ego, the adrenaline rush, the need to control everything. For a quality wedding DJ, that ego is checked at the door. There is no room for conflicting personalities. Everyone needs to work as a team, supporting each other when needed. This means working with the venue to ensure all the critical points on the timeline are met. This means notifying the photographer and videographer when things are about to happen so they don’t miss a shot.
Managing the Evening
After the vows are taken, cocktail is concluded, once the last bites are eaten and the last speeches are made then it’s my time to shine. I take a lot of pride in my knowledge of music and my ability to seamlessly blend, transition, and mix track into track. Knowing how to read a crowd and having an eclectic music background is a must. In one night you could go from club hits, to country, to EDM, to old school Hip Hop, 8o's, 90s and House. The goal is still the same, getting people dancing and picking the best song for the moment.