What to expect from my wedding DJ?

DJ playing music

A wedding DJ can make or break a wedding. Music is one of the most important aspects of a wedding celebration. So what to expect from a wedding DJ is very important before you hire a service for your reception. Carefully consider all the factors listed on this blog and be 100% sure that the DJ can deliver what is expected.

What Should I Expect From My Wedding DJ? What does a wedding DJ and MC do for you at your wedding? Will they do more than play music or make a few announcements? Is the music just on an iTunes playlist or are they streaming free music from youtube or Spotify? Who supplies the gear, the music or the DJs table? It can be just so confusing when you are out looking at wedding DJs.

What does it take to get bookings as a wedding DJ? What is it that brides (who we all know to call the shots at weddings!) are looking for when considering someone to book? How can you make sure you do the best job, and so impress brides-to-be who happen to be in attendance, who’ll then remember you when it’s their turn to get married? Here are the qualities you should work on as a DJ that’ll help you get the bookings…

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

Cocktail hour

While you and your bridal party and family step away for some group photos, your guests will enjoy cocktails and appetizers, and get acquainted with one another. Your DJ will provide your choice of cocktail music — whether it’s classical, background piano, light jazz, Rat Pack vocals, or something truly unique to the two of you. This is your opportunity to put some of your personality into the evening’s music, by having your DJ play songs that may not be especially danceable, but still have a lot of meaning for the two of you.

DJ playing music

Wedding party introduction

Your DJ will play one or more songs for your grand entrance. Keep the music upbeat and energetic, because this is a truly festive moment. Some couples are content to have a single song for the entire wedding party. Others choose a separate song for the newlyweds. Still, others ask that each couple be introduced to its song. A professional DJ can help choreograph a great introduction while ensuring that everyone’s name is pronounced correctly.

Your DJ will arrive at your wedding reception, and then they will play a little bit of music for cocktail hour. After that, they will introduce the wedding party by playing a song or two. Usually, the music will be energetic, or if you have a certain song in mind, you can tell them to pay that beforehand.

Some couples choose to have one song for the wedding party intro, while some decide to have separate songs. A good DJ will help you plan your introduction, and they will ensure that people’s names will be said correctly. This is important because you don’t want to be embarrassed if the DJ can’t correctly pronounce people’s names.

Toasts and speeches

Your DJ will provide a wireless microphone for the Best Man, Maid of Honor, Father of the Bride, minister, or anyone else who plans special remarks. He’ll also introduce each person’s speech.

The DJ will have a wireless mic that they will give to the best man, father of the bride, the main of honour and whoever else wants to give a toast. You can expect the DJ to introduce each person who is going to give a speech.

During this time, they will likely not play any music at all, and they may add elements to make the toasts and speeches more entertaining. However, if the DJ plans on doing this or if you want the toasting part to have a bit of humour, then talk to the DJ before the big day arrives.

Cake cutting

Whether you’re cutting your cake before dinner, after the salad, or after dinner, your DJ will make the announcement so that guests may take their pictures of you.  

Dinner hour

Your DJ will play nice background music that won’t interfere with your guests’ table conversations. That means no horns and no screaming guitars. Instrumental music is best for the dinner hour, whether it’s smooth jazz, piano, classical or easy listening. 

As you and your guests are eating dinner, you can expect the DJ to play background music, but don’t expect the music to be too loud because the DJ understands that guests will likely be talking to one another. If they were playing music too loudly, then people wouldn’t be able to hear each other. You can expect instrumental music to play, such as piano music, jazz music or classical tunes.

Special dances

Your DJ will introduce your First Dance, wedding party dance, bride-father and groom-mother dances, each with the accompanying song you choose. Some companies, like Fourth Estate Audio, like to have the First Dance and wedding party dance, then open the floor to the guests and leave the bride-father and groom-mother dances for a little later. That way, people who have just eaten a full meal won’t have time to get drowsy and think of leaving early.  

As a newlywed couple, one of the things you look forward to the most is your very first dance at the wedding reception. This is when you can expect your DJ to introduce you and your spouse and they will play the song you chose.

They will also introduce other guests who do dances, such as the bride and father dance, groom and mother dance and so forth. As for how long each dance will last, your DJ will give you an idea and if they don’t tell you when you hire them, then ask, and you two will be able to figure it out.

Dancing

You’ll provide a list of your favourite dance songs to your DJ, and he’ll mix them in a way that flows well and gets people of all ages onto the dance floor. Typically, the older music gets played first, while the parents and grandparents still feel like dancing. Then the music gets newer and more upbeat as the younger dancers take over. Consider all of your guests when choosing your requests. You’re not just picking music for 3 or 4 of your best friends. Everyone should feel welcome and involved in your party to be successful.

Eventually, the DJ will open the dance floor up, which means they will play songs throughout the rest of the night. You can provide them with a list of songs you want to be played, and the DJ will play them, but he will probably mix them. Don’t worry though because a professional will ensure everything goes smoothly and no tracks skip or sound horrible.

Most professional wedding DJs will get a feel for the crowd, and then they will play music geared towards the crowd. For example, if kids are present, then they will likely play kid-friendly tunes, and if there is a much older crowd, then they may play music from that generation. Consider who will be at your wedding and then choose songs accordingly or let the DJ know ahead of time.

Bouquet/Garter

Your DJ will oversee the bouquet and garter tosses, each with its song of your choosing. Again, make the music upbeat, because everyone will have had a few drinks by then, and you want songs that will add to the excitement of the moment.

Final song

Many couples want to pick the last song of the evening in advance, and your DJ will time the last few minutes of the party to hit that special song at just the right time. There will, of course, be calls for “One more, one more!” But if you’ve chosen the last song, it will indeed be the last song.

When hiring a wedding DJ, you can expect them to play one final song specifically for the newlyweds. The song they’ll play is up to the couple, or they can let the DJ choose. Afterwards, the DJ will thank everyone for having him, and then he’ll leave for the night.

That is what you can expect when hiring a wedding DJ. Just remember, not all wedding DJs are created equal. Take your time when hiring a DJ because you want to make sure you only get the best. A DJ can make or break a wedding reception, so you want to ensure you hire a good one.

DJ’s Responsibilities

Will you get your money’s worth? The above mentioned are key factors to ensure you will have a stress free night and enjoy the most important day of your life. Let see what else you can expect from a good Wedding DJ Service.

Attire

Some DJ services will have a uniform that they wear. A dress shirt or a Polo with their logo, usually in black and with pressed slacks and formal shoes. Other services will opt to wear a suit or a formal dress to blend in with the occasion. All these are acceptable attire for a Wedding DJ Service. Jeans, street clothes, shorts, t-shirts, and gym shoes are not acceptable clothing to be worn by a Professional DJ Service. Clearly state which type of attire you prefer.

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

Back-Up Gear

Murphy’s Law states that “if anything can go wrong it will”. So being prepared and always ready with a contingency plan are characteristics of a Professional DJ Service. It’s hard to double up on every single piece of equipment, but DJ’s should always have back up gear for key gear. An extra microphone, an extra laptop, an extra speaker and, extra cables are a must! Make sure your DJ carries back up a gear and has a plan in place.

Professionalism

The DJ you hire has a job to do and isn’t a guest. Make sure you make that very clear when you pick the DJ service. They haven’t been hired to consume alcohol at your reception, flirt with your guests, take extended dinner breaks, play a song and dance with your guests, or behave in any way unfit as a vendor. Huge banners advertising their services or TV screens with their logo is unprofessional. If a guest is interested in hiring their services, they can request for a business card or ask for their information after the wedding. Your wedding “is not” a wedding expo to promote their business, period!

Music

Make sure the songs you have picked for special dances, introductions, processionals, recessionals, etc. are in your DJ’s library or have the ability to get access to them. In today’s day and age, there are so many various renditions of a song and various artist covering these titles. Make sure you tell the DJ exactly which version you prefer and avoid disappointment and embarrassment.

Communication

Did your DJ disappear after they got paid? Make sure you are in communication with the DJ leading up to your wedding. If you have any questions or concerns, the Wedding DJ Service should be prompt in responding to you. Do not take for granted that just because you have a contract that your DJ will show up and keep to his/her promise. A lot of amateur DJ services might not be in business when your wedding comes around. My company, Dream House Productions have stepped in to help in situations where the DJ service was a no show way too many times!

Contract

If you chose a specific package with your DJ service, make sure they deliver on what was promised. Some companies charge you for add-ons but don’t provide the services on the day of. You might be too busy and caught up in the celebration but stop for just a moment and check. For example, if you have ten uplights or two wireless microphones take a glance and check if you are getting what you paid for. Suppose you don’t see what was on your contract request for it or demand a refund.

What Else Should I Expect From My Wedding DJ?

Experience

DJ gear and capabilities are one of the things you need to consider when looking for your Wedding DJ. But, let’s be serious – if you took the same DJ gear (good or bad quality) and had three different wedding DJs play music at the same wedding venue to the same wedding guests, you will get drastically different results. Not every wedding DJ is the same (nor do they deserve the same compensation or rate).

Have you been to a wedding recently? Maybe you’ve been a guest at multiple weddings in the past year. Now, think back to each of those wedding DJs. Was one wedding kind of lame? The DJ probably couldn’t get people to dance or if they did get people dancing – did they play a song and clear the dance floor just when things were getting good?

Then there was that second wedding that you attended. Maybe they played 3 line dances in a row? Or did they make some inappropriate comments over the mic? Maybe there were gaps of silence between songs or a weird, uncomfortable moment when no one knew what was going on? Did you miss the cake cutting or father/daughter dance because you never heard an announcement?

Now, close your eyes and picture that perfect wedding DJ. Everything just seemed to flow. They only made announcements when it was necessary (no talking between every song) and the dance floor was energized the entire time. Maybe they even had people up and dancing before dinner or between courses? This wedding was ALIVE and like no other wedding you’ve been to. This is what a trained professional wedding DJ will bring to your event. It’s not all about the gear or the years DJing. I know DJs who are still doing the same stupid cheesy DJ stick for over 20 years. This is the difference between an OK DJ and a Pro.

Check out our post on Do you need a DJ at a wedding?

Master of Ceremony – Wedding MC

A polished professional wedding entertainer knows that there is a balance between great music selections that fit their couple’s interests and is a great MC (Master of Ceremony) to allow them to be in control of the entire wedding. A great MC will coordinate details between you, catering, photographer and your parents. Being behind the mic as your DJ/MC is like running a huge 125-person theatrical event where NO ONE has been to any practices, and everyone is looking to your DJ/MC for direction. Yep, that’s what they will do for you.

Your wedding DJ/MC will keep things flowing smoothly from event to event, keep your guests entertained and focused on key moments that are staged for maximum emotional impact. Yes – being a wedding DJ is so much more than “just playing music”. If you want “just music” at your wedding – try Spotify. If you want an amazing wedding, think about spending more than your average cheesy wedding DJ ($900-$1200) in this area.

These wedding DJ qualities are just the tip of the iceberg because every potential wedding gig will always be unique, but they’re a great place to start if you want to build your reputation as a professional. Suppose you’re serious about doing it.

In short, though, remember you’re providing an entertainment service, and the bride and groom are your bosses for the evening, so learn how to listen to what they need of you truly, and then over-deliver and exceed their expectations.

And that’s it. A professional DJ will also offer online planning worksheets that let you fill in your preferred cocktail and dinner music, plus your special songs — plus interactive access to his entire songlist so that you can choose your favourite dance music. With the help of a true DJ professional, your entertainment will likely be the least stress-inducing part of planning your big celebration. 

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