As a photographer, I have seen all kinds of wedding vendors in action. It is a blessing to be able to have that inside knowledge of how other vendors are working to make your big day go off without a hitch, often times without you ever seeing whats happening! This week, I wanted to focus the blog post on the DJ side of the wedding industry.
A DJ is SO MUCH MORE than someone who plays music, and I think that is something that is so often missed when planning. I often see people telling couples to save money and use a playlist instead of hiring a professional. I am here to tell you that this is not a good idea if you want an active reception. You see, a DJ also emcee’s your big day. The DJ is the person who runs the party the entire night, the one who gets the guests out on the dance floor, the one who makes your big day memorable for the guests! So, I took some time to ask some local wedding DJ’s what they thought about some of the top questions being asked. Maybe this will shed a little light for you!
The first step when you are looking for a DJ is the interview process. Below are some great questions your local DJ’s think you should be asking. Michael Nickolich of Lights Out Entertainment had a great question, one that I often recommend people ask every wedding vendor they speak with. “Ask them why they DJ weddings? As well as what part of the wedding is memorable to them as a DJ. While there are no right or wrong answers, their answers may surprise you!” Ben Edwards of Music Lifeline DJ also added that personality is a big factor. Making sure your personalities mesh is a great way to make sure there is a good connection.
Here are some additional questions you should be asking:
· Will there be a written contract?
· Will you be the DJ at our wedding or will it be an associate?
· How many weddings have you done to date?
· What is your announcement style?
· What do you do to get the crowd going if they aren’t dancing?
· How do you keep your music collection up to date?
· Do you allow us to make requests as well as a do not play list?
I asked Billy Quesenberry of Q It Up Sounds and Entertainment from a DJ’s perspective, what they really want you to know. His response, “That I am going to serve as a host, MC and planner along with being a DJ. That I am always accessible and responsible, and every wedding I DJ is tailored to the vision of the couples I work with.”
Now as a photographer, I want to guide you a little from what I have seen. A lot of couples look to me to plan their timelines when they do not have a planner or day of coordinator. I, personally, always strive to work with the DJ on the reception timeline to make certain the most guests are present and paying attention for your big events. After interviewing several DJ’s in the area, as well as my own observation, here is a recommended order of events:
1. Grand Entrance (dance it up guys, be silly and have fun!)
2. Welcome speech or prayer
3. Dinner is served!
4. Cake cutting
6. First Dance
8. Parent dances
From here on out, its really a matter of what events you are choosing to do on your big day. But, this is a timeline I have seen get the most visibility.
So, now you have your DJ and your timeline, but how do you choose the right music? Well, Michael weighed in on this one for me again and I really liked his answer. Michael said he likes to take the time to get to know the clients and what music they like. I think this is critical as every person has a different taste of music. I will also add to this that you need to be aware of the age group and dynamics of your guests. If you have a lot of elderly guests, they may not want to hear modern rap music and may cut out early. Find something that is going to work across the board.
Want to know the most popular songs so far this year to get your dancing going? So far the 90’s and early 00’s are hot! I mean who can question that? Old Town Road is big this year so far also, a great mix of country and upbeat rap. Of course your usual wobble and cha-cha slide are ever popular at weddings (probably because everyone knows how to do them), and of course the infamous Bruno Mars is always popular!
Just remember, a DJ does so much more than play music. Make sure you hire one that suits your style right and that can keep that party rolling for a night your guests will never forget!
Michael Nickolich Lights Out Entertainment
Billy Quesenberry Q It Up Sounds and Entertainment
Ben Edwards Music Lifeline Dj
Indianapolis Wedding Photographer: Beth Waterman Photography