Do you need a DJ at a wedding?

DJ at a wedding

There’s no doubt about it: Music can make or break a wedding celebration—think of it as the heart and soul of a reception. Hiring a talented band or DJ (or both!) is a given. But how do you find exactly what you want? It starts with asking yourself some basic questions—specifically, what type of entertainment suits your taste, budget, space allowances, guest demographics and killer dance moves best. Here, we list five things to know before you make your music choice.

It is a fact that good music makes a wedding more enjoyable. Hence, it is essential to hire a wedding DJ. A professional DJ is more than just loading songs and hitting the play button, and he is beyond that. They have the extraordinary skills, expertise and the ability to read the mood of the crowd. They can transform a boring wedding party into one that is exciting, entertaining and rocking. No matter where you are in the world, it is advisable to hire a professional wedding DJ.

Professional wedding DJs make sure that guests, as well as family members, enjoy the event or party. They also try to improve their mood and make the party entertaining at the same time. In pursuit of the same, they make their solid preparations in advance. Most professionals have a dependable backup plan to tackle any emergency or any other unseen circumstance.

They are also available to discuss the wedding plan, core theme as well as other technical or non-technical requirements for the bride and groom. In light of the same, they make arrangements accordingly to eliminate any confusion. Their main aim is to create a perfect reception of your dreams.

Planning a magical, tear-jerking ceremony is only half the battle: The reception is equally important. Of course, your family and friends are there to witness and celebrate your love, but what makes for an epic wedding is what guests make of your big day—and how much fun they have at the reception.

For a truly memorable night, the soundtrack of your party plays a crucial role. While it’s true that hiring the right DJ can make or break your big day, remember that it takes two to tango, so it’s up to you to communicate your wishes in advance. Don’t just play it by ear. Here are things you should tell your wedding DJ to get the party popping and keep it going strong.

Looking for wedding DJ’s? Look no further, Vines of the Yarra Valley has you covered.

You have a few things to consider.

Vibe: The type of music you pick can set the tone of your wedding and solidify a theme. And it’s the thing people most often remember. Think about what musical genre best reflects your personalities and inspires the ambience you want to create: ’70s disco or a romantic string quartet? A throwback big band feel or kick-off-your-shoes rockabilly? The way the music is delivered—by live band or DJ—also affects the atmosphere. The type of music you want may dictate your decision too—big band sounds are generally best live, for example.

Variety: Regardless of whether you choose a band or DJ, be sure they play slow and fast songs, as well as old and new tunes to encourage all guests to hit the dance floor.

Budget: In the price war, DJs generally cost less, and prices vary depending on equipment requests and whether it’s a weekday or weekend. A 12-piece band, for example, will generally be more expensive than a DJ, since there are more people to pay. (There are always exceptions; well-known DJs can be just as expensive as live bands.) Band prices vary by the number of musicians, the amount of time you want them to play for, day of the week and what time of year it is.

Space: Have your heart set on an eight-piece band? You first need to check whether the reception site has any restrictions on the number of musicians and pieces of equipment you may bring in and whether there are any electrical power supply or noise limitations. For example, a registered landmark may not allow you to use large speakers. Ask these questions before you start scouting.

DJ at a wedding

A band has its pros and cons.

There’s nothing like a live wedding band to get a crowd excited and create a sense of sophistication. A good bandleader will play the master of ceremonies at your reception, interacting with folks on the dance floor, paying attention to the “feel” of the room and selecting music accordingly.

Pros: Live music is, well, live. You and your guests will experience the pleasure of a performance. Anything can happen to raise the excitement level, from an infectious horn section interlude to a moving solo.

Cons: Bands can be more expensive than DJs. Also, no matter how great the band, they can’t have the repertoire of a standard DJ, who can keep a huge variety of music on hand. And if you want to hear a song the exact way the original artist performed it, you may not get what you want. 

And so does a DJ. 

Today’s DJs are artists in their own right, offering balanced and eclectic mixes of musical styles for all ages. The songs played will sound exactly as you want them to, encouraging sing-alongs and improvisation. And, depending on the amount of equipment a DJ brings, they could take up less dance floor real estate and can be relocated with relative ease.

Pros: If there are a dozen songs you’re dying to hear at your wedding, it likely won’t be a problem for your DJ to find each track. Also, DJs are generally less expensive than bands. A DJ with a charismatic stage presence and excellent emcee skills can set the mood and keep the party going.

Cons: On the opposite end of the spectrum, a DJ with a less-than-stellar personality can be a party killer. Also, improvisation is tough if, say, your dad is dragging behind tempo on the father-daughter dance or your nieces and nephews decide to request the “Chicken Dance.”

You should see them live at some point. 

Ideally, you will want to see a DJ or band in action before you commit so you can gauge firsthand the way they dress, improvise and work for the crowd. (Ask to see a taped public performance or attend a dress rehearsal, but never crash another couple’s reception.) If that’s not a possibility, ask for a playlist and look for songs you know and love. If a band sends you their songs or a link to a video, be sure the musicians you hear or see are the same musicians who will play at your reception. Also, ask for referrals from the last few weddings, the band or DJ played. Consider your first dance song a test. If the band doesn’t know it and is unwilling to learn it, or the DJ doesn’t own it and is unwilling to get it, move on.

Tell them your likes and dislikes before you sign. 

Know that all professionals should be open to your likes and dislikes. Give them your request list, songs they must play and, perhaps more importantly, a do-not-play list. Worried you’ll hear the “Macarena” at your once-in-a-lifetime event? Specifically, prohibit the playing of a song you feel strongly about in your contract.

Planning System

With Our DJ Rocks, leading up to the wedding day, as you’re choosing your special songs, you’ll use the Our DJ Rocks online planning system. This tool helps keep us organized and provides details for your wedding from the special songs, the announcements, to little things like who is toasting and will there be a blessing. This will ensure that come wedding day, and we have absolutely everything we need to orchestrate things from start to finish. Our goal is for you and your fiancé to have an amazing time at your reception, letting us create the memories.

There are many other aspects of your wedding that make it unique. A wedding DJ needs to know if there are any special songs or dedications you want to be played. Maybe it’s your Grandpa’s 83rd birthday, and it would make your day that much more special if we played “Birthday” by the Beatles during dinner. Maybe your sister got married five years ago, and you want to dedicate her first dance to her. Or maybe you and your bridesmaids had a theme song for the night of your bachelorette party, and you want to dance to that during the reception.

Do you or your fiance have a favourite band or type of music, you probably wouldn’t think to tell your DJ that unless they asked. Other things that you will go over with your DJ would include if you are having a centrepiece giveaway or if you will have cameras on the tables or a photo booth at the reception. The DJ will make sure that the centrepieces are given out and that your guests are aware of everything that is happening during your reception.

How interactive do you want your DJ to be? Do you want your wedding DJ to take requests? How do you envision your wedding day? All of these elements are what make your reception unique, and one of a kind and your wedding DJ should carefully choreograph each of these to ensure the success of your wedding.

And this is all before the first song is even played.

Wedding Ceremony Music + Sound

We arrive an hour and a half before anyone is present. As your guests filter in for your upcoming ceremony, we play light music to fill the air, as we all await the beginning of the procession. We place a wireless lapel mic on the officiant, so all of your guests can hear the ceremony. We then play a processional song for the honoured guests to be seated and a special song for your walk down the aisle! The ceremony then takes place, and once pronounced a married couple, and we play the celebratory exit song. These are all choices you make!

Following the ceremony, the music continues with the transition into cocktails while you take photos.

Check out our exclusive list of Wedding DJ’s to help you celebrate your special night.

Questions to Ask a Wedding D

Do you offer a written contract?

All of the wedding disc jockeys you interview may not have the same standards of professionalism. A written, legal contract is one of the first indicators of whether a DJ is professional and reliable. Furthermore, a contract establishes the DJ’s obligation to the client. It outlines what is required for the DJ’s success by outlining his setup requirements and other factors related to his performance. For this reason, a written contract is essential and any DJ not using a written contract should not, in our opinion, be considered for a wedding reception.

Will you be the DJ at our wedding?

Often, the person you speak with is not the person who will be your DJ on your wedding day. This is a very common practice among large agencies. It is paramount that you have an opportunity to interview the specific DJ that you will be working with and determine whether you feel comfortable with them. You should also expect that the individual DJ’s name is specified on your contract – it is the only way you can be guaranteed his or her services at your wedding.

May we meet our DJ before we sign a contract?

Many DJ companies will try to get clients to sign a contract without speaking with their DJ first, asking couples to simply trust that whoever the company sends to perform their wedding will be a good fit. In our experience, this is a terrible idea. The only way you’ll know whether the DJ you’ll have at your wedding is to interview them before you sign a contract. Your “gut” feeling is very important in selecting the right disc jockey, and you’ll be in a tough spot if you finally speak to your DJ a week before your wedding and realize they aren’t going to be a good match.

How long will you hold our date for us?

When you contact a professional disc jockey, they should be willing to hold your date for you for a reasonable amount of time in order to give you a chance to meet with them. They should also give you ample time after your meeting to make a decision and give you time to interview other DJs. Some DJs will use pressure sales tactics to “hard close” you at your meeting, offering a special sale that ends that day, or claiming that another couple is meeting with them for the same date – attempting to pressure you to make a decision on the spot. Any DJ that uses these types of tactics is unprofessional and is most likely doing so in order to keep you from meeting other DJs (whom they know you’ll like more than you like them). One week is a reasonable amount of time to expect your date to be held for you following an initial meeting.

Do you work exclusively for this company?

Most large agencies use independent DJ subcontractors to perform their events. Often, these DJs work for several agencies and also accept bookings directly. A disc jockey, or the agency through whom he is booked, should be able to explain the DJ’s obligation to that agency and what will happen if he leaves that agency. Often, there is nothing more than a verbal confirmation between the independent DJ and the agency for each booking — a frequent cause of problems. Suppose you choose a DJ who subcontracts for several agencies and books his events. In that case, you need to be clear on what will happen if he is accidentally double-booked for your wedding date, or what would happen to your event if you contract the DJ through an agency and he decides to skip out on your event to book something else for a higher price. To find out whether your DJ is available independently or through numerous agencies, try performing a web search for their name and the word “DJ”.

How long have you been a DJ, and how many weddings have you done?

A wedding is such an important occasion, and you don’t want your DJ’s first wedding to be your own. The number of years someone has been a DJ will give you some indication of their experience level, but some DJs only perform for a few events (and fewer weddings) each year. A DJ with half as many years in the industry may have many times as many weddings under his belt, so you should also ask how many weddings the DJ has done. Also be sure to ask if the DJ has any formal training, either from a DJ company or a DJ school.

How many weddings do you do each year?

Just like any other profession, they are performing for weddings requires one’s skills to be in top form. If a DJ performs for only a few weddings per year, they may not be “at the top of their game” by the time your wedding date arrives. Asking how many weddings they do per year will give you an indication of their level of commitment to your type of event.

We have compiled a list of Melbourne Wedding DJs to help you celebrate your special night.

How many other types of events do you do per year?

Different DJs focus on different types of events – some consider themselves a “jack of all trades” and claim expertise in all types of events, and others are specialists. The ratio between the number of weddings a DJ performs for and the amount of other, non-wedding events they do will tell you where their focus lies. If you are looking for a “low-key” wedding DJ and someone you meet with does mostly school dances or Bar Mitzvahs, they may not be very focused on the type of sophisticated presentation you want for your wedding.

No matter what you choose to do, it’s important to keep in mind the number one rule of weddings: it will depend on your guests. If your guests are a group of people who love to dance? They’re going to dance, even if you weren’t planning on it. If you have a group on your hands, who hates to dance? The best DJ or playlist in the world won’t change that. And my number one pro-tip about getting people to dance at your wedding? Get out there yourselves. The best dance parties I’ve seen at weddings are the ones where the couple never left the floor.

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