Why Hiring A Professional DJ Is So Important...
Many common misconceptions are made surrounding the job description of a disc jockey at weddings. Often those unfamiliar with the industry believe that DJ's just show up at a venue, turn on their laptop screens, open a playlist in iTunes or on YouTube, and just press play. Because of this misconception, newlyweds often turn to family or friends for the responsibility of their wedding entertainment. “Uncle Tom loves music and is the life of the party, let’s get him to DJ!” “Hey honey – that guy, our neighbour Ron down the street loves music, why don’t we ask him?” or “Let’s hook up our Bluetooth Bose speaker and connect our iPhone for the night.” These sound like great alternatives to spending $1000+ on a professional DJ company when you’re already spending thousands of dollars on your special day. However, it is so important for newlyweds to invest in professional entertainment for their wedding night. Uncle Tom might get nervous with the responsibility of the night and overindulge in liquid courage. Neighbour Ron might love music but may not have the ability to read a crowd, speak in front of a large room full of strangers, or bring a large music library. Your Bose speaker surely won’t fill a venue with sound, and that iPhone may not contain a range of song selections to appease both Great Aunt Anne and your guests under 25.
There are many reasons why hiring a professional company should be a priority. Consider this: you and your partner have invited your closest family and friends from both sides. Many of your guests have likely never met a lot of the other guests in attendance. After dinner, how is Uncle Tom, neighbour Ron, or your iPhone going to encourage an entire room, an entire population of two families coming together, to celebrate happily for four or five hours? Creating a jovial vibe and keeping your guests’ dancing shoes working hard for such a long period of time is truly an art form. And, just like any other art, it requires skill and practice. Below are some important ideas to keep in mind when considering a disc jockey for hire.
1. “We don’t need no education” (Another Brick in the Wall Part 2, Pink Floyd)
Pink Floyd may not need education, but your DJ sure does! Professional DJs spend months to years in training, and for good reason. There are many areas in the world of wedding disc jockeying that require an ample amount of study.
For instance, having proper technology training is key so that if a program fails or a speaker malfunctions, the DJ knows exactly what to do to fix the issue before any of your guests even notice. Having proper sound training is also important. DJs are often situated behind their speakers. This means that the music is traveling away from them. There is nothing worse than a DJ playing music at a volume appropriate for a sports stadium instead of being mindful of your guests sitting 10 feet in front of the speakers trying to converse with one another. Having the proper sound training and knowing how to properly control gains and master volumes is vital.
A wedding DJ should also be educated in the history of thousands of songs so that they can select appropriate hits from every genre of music. Your guests will inevitably range in age. Having a DJ knowledgeable in every genre of music is important, so that every generation of guest can experience the epic “throwback” moment on the dance floor.
DJs should also be properly trained on how to beat mix and beat match because transitioning between two different songs should never sound like shoes in a dryer.
2. “You gotta fight, for your right, to…party?” (Fight for Your Right, Beastie Boys)
You and your guests definitely have the right to party, but your DJ should be protected by licensing rights. Proper licensing exists to ensure that artists and their music rights are supported and respected. Every venue must license themselves through SOCAN and RESOUND. Every professional disc jockey company must license themselves through CONNECT. CONNECT music licensing governs all of Canada and ensures that professional disc jockeys are adhering to laws. If caught without proper licensing, your DJ and your venue can be fined. Many ‘backyard’ DJs, or neighbour Ron’s, don’t believe in spending the trivial fees on proper licensing; however, it is so important to ensure that the company you are hiring is not only protecting their music library, but your venue too!
Also, If Grandma Rose trips over the DJ’s speaker pole and injures herself, the DJ should be covered with liability insurance. Accidents happen. It is very important to find out if the DJ you are hiring is properly insured!
As a newly engaged couple seeking professional entertainment services, it is significant to ask if the DJ company has back-‐up equipment and employees on stand-‐by. Not only should the DJ company you are hiring have back-‐up equipment in case technology fails or internal wiring goes awry, but they should also have professionally trained DJs from their own company on call. You two have a honeymoon to attend to -‐ no one wants to interact with a DJ that has a vicious case of the stomach flu the night of your wedding.
3. “We can dance if we want to, we can leave your friends behind…” (“Safety Dance,” Men Without Hats)
Nearly all of your guests are going to approach the DJ at some point in the evening requesting a particular song, artist, or genre of music. Being able to adjust their song selections to appease these requests should also be of utmost importance. Possessing selflessness during the night should also be a quality of your DJ. Your DJ must be able to read your crowd and choose appropriate music that your family and friends want to hear. You may know that neighbour Ron loves music, but you may not know all of his tastes. He may rock out to artists you’re not so fond of like Nickelback but as your DJ, he shouldn’t be playing consecutive Nickelback albums on continuous repeat just because he just wants to dance to it.
DJs should have impeccable adaptability. Simply stated, they have the responsibility of keeping your feet and your guests’ feet moving all night. With this responsibility, comes an ever-‐changing environment. The ability to adapt to these changes is something your DJ should possess. Acoustics of a room change from venue to venue and being able to adjust their gain structure to match the room is important. Add a couple hundred people into the space, and they have to adjust everything all over again.
Being able to adapt to day-‐of-‐drama is also important. Chances are, experienced wedding DJs have seen a lot! Even if something isn’t so dramatic, but still requires changes such as an order of a speech, your DJ should want to go above and beyond to ensure that the changes are made without a hitch.
Wedding DJs should also have the ability to professionally event plan for you and carry out the day’s events with ease. Simply extending the courtesy of a timeline of events to your other vendors such as your photographers/videographers can help make the night run smoothly. Your other vendors will be so thankful that they are able to capture every single special moment throughout the night in a timely manner, because they are aware of what’s coming next. Working behind the scenes and informing the venue staff of events happening throughout dinner may eliminate cringe-‐worthy moments like preventing serving staff from clearing and clanking plates during your parents’ tearful, sentimental moments in their speech. Going the extra mile and being professionally able to execute your timeline effectively will only contribute to a successful evening.
It takes a certain personality type to be a wedding DJ. Not only should your DJ company of interest exude confidence in their ability to create a fun atmosphere on your dance floor, but they should also display genuine class.
4. “Hit me with your best shot” (Hit Me with Your Best Shot, Pat Benatar)
When considering the benefits of hiring a professional wedding DJ, it is important to remember that professional wedding DJs are artists and must perform live. This means that there is virtually no room for error. They’ve got to give it their best shot, every time.
Other vendors have time to prepare and time to make changes. Preparing food for the day is a huge and important undertaking. But the kitchen staff have ample time to prepare. They have time to go back and add some more spice. Sure, photographers and videographers have stressful moments of having to capture both big and small details of the day. However, they get days and weeks to edit their work. They can go back and adjust some lighting effects, or blemishes. However, wedding DJs have virtually no room for error because they are performing live and completely in the moment. They can’t go back a few sets and change a song selection. They can’t go back and edit their beat mix transitions between songs. They can’t go back to edit mispronouncing his name while introducing your best man a few minutes ago. What they are doing, they are doing in the moment.
Having a DJ that is prepared, educated, and ready for anything will help leave a positive memory of your special night in the minds of your guests and for the two of you.
Being a wedding DJ is more than just pressing play. Hiring a professional wedding DJ to carry the responsibility of your entertainment for the evening should be of utmost importance. Your cousin’s best friend may love to pick clovers from the field next to her house, but it is doubtful you would entrust her to construct your flower arrangements for your wedding. Similarly, Aunt Susie may make a mean potato salad, but it is doubtful you would hire her to cook three courses for your wedding guests. Uncle Tom may be the life of the party, and neighbour Ron may love music, but trusting them with the responsibility of your musical entertainment for all of your guests may not be what’s most appropriate. Chances are, your guests aren’t going to remember small details of the night. They are more likely to remember the experiences they have that night with both the food and the entertainment. Some professional advice -‐ allocate an appropriate entertainment budget and do your research!
Many weddings are often 8+ hours. Generally, a DJ starts around 9pm, leaving your DJ with 50% of the time at your wedding. Leave half of your reception time to the hands of professional artists who have spent years honing their skills and their craft. You want to remember you and your guests having sore feet the day after your wedding from dancing so much. You want to remember everyone losing their voices from singing along to all of their favourite songs. And you want your guests labeling your wedding as that awesome dance party that no one else’s wedding will ever live up to.
With 35+ years of experience, Spirit of Sound recognizes the importance of entertainment at your wedding. This is why they deliver the highest level of professionalism and commitment to ensure every wedding is a guaranteed success.
Contact Spirit of Sound at firstname.lastname@example.org | www.spiritofsound.ca
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