Wedding DJ Tips

Even though some people visualize and play their own wedding day soundtracks, the most common solution is hiring an experienced wedding DJ. Here are a few tips to consider when booking your wedding DJ:

DJ’s don’t only press buttons and play music, but they create an atmosphere of celebration that is both crowd-pleasing and leaves a memorable experience with the guests. a Wedding DJ often provides special lighting, smoke and bubble machines and other effects. Modern technology provides the tools for a DJ to have an extensive music library and as a result DJs are increasingly recommended as a wedding reception must have.

Don’t let pricing be your only consideration when you select a wedding DJ. Experience, musical knowledge, the ability to successfully entertain guests with different music tastes for a few hours and mannerism for crowd interaction is key. Referrals by venues and previous clients are a good way to decide. Even more so if you have seen the person in action and can judge for yourself. Set up a one-on-one meeting with the wedding DJ to discuss requirements and to ask questions.

Questions like: Do you have quality and reliable equipment? This is important because different events have different requirements. Have you worked at my choice of venue before? Do you have backup equipment available? After all, even the best brand equipment can falter.

One essential wedding DJ tip is simply a matter of communication. Let your wedding DJ know of your song preferences and particular songs that must be played and those that must not be played. Provide a detailed order of events outlining times for the formalities, such as the newly-weds entrance, first dance, cake cutting and so on. This will avoid confusion as to what will happen next during the course of the evening. Your wedding DJ should also provide you with a Bridal Questionnaire to complete beforehand. Other considerations include what the wedding DJ will wear? Will your wedding DJ take requests? What areas will be covered during the day (for example, Will the ceremony be held inside a chapel? Or in a forest? Will canapés be hosted inside or outside? What is the reception area layout for equipment placing? Will there will be electricity available at these areas? Will you have to provide anything? What are the wedding DJ’s booking and final payments requirements as well as cancellation policies? Ensure that the Wedding DJ agreement clearly outlines all responsibilities and expectations. Also, ensure that the DJ who turns up is the one you have booked.

When it comes to considerations for equipment placement the following tips are helpful.

Ceremony:
Should your ceremony be in a chapel, consider space for your wedding DJ’s equipment placement as many chapels are quite small. This would entail a small fold-up table near an electrical plug point and at least 1m x 1m space for the speaker stand (or 2m x 2m for 2 speaker stands depending on what is required). Also think of additional space for any musicians  and their equipment that will be performing.

Should your ceremony be outside in a forest or other scenic area, consideration should be given for space for the above reasons, as well as electricity availability (so your wedding DJ can use battery powered equipment). Take the weather into account as your guests probably would not appreciate sitting in extreme heat or freezing rainy conditions for an hour. Also, your wedding DJ would prefer not to have his expensive sound equipment being water damaged. Always have a back-up plan available to move proceedings inside to an undercover area. Make the call to move early on as to allow sufficient time to relocate to the new area.

Placement
The wedding DJ usually sits behind the guests, with the speaker(s) also at the back or in front depending on requirements. Most of the time, musicians perform in front of the guests to the side of the wedding service area. Please ensure that the musicians you book effectively communicate with your wedding DJ as to their requirements for equipment needed.

Canapés
Whether your guests will enjoy snacks and drinks whilst mingling, consideration should be given for space required from 1m x 1m for a speaker stand and microphone stand, or a larger area for a performing band. As with the outside ceremony, consideration should also be given to weather conditions as canapés can be quite lengthy.

Placement
The speaker and microphone stands are usually placed in a low guest traffic area, but in a space where volume levels and sound quality of the music playing with the occasional announcement by the MC will still be effective.

Reception

Space
Again space depends on the size of the venue, number of guests and layout of the venue. Consideration for space of at least 5m x 2m will ensure that there is sufficient room for a standard size trestle table, speakers-and lighting stand with room for the wedding DJ to move around.

Placement
The layout of the reception area is crucial in terms of wedding DJ requirements. The dance floor should be directly in front of the wedding DJ as this makes for positive and a successful interaction with the crowd, sound and volume monitoring and having a balanced presence over the dance floor area. Try and avoid placement areas that will result in guests or venue staff possibly tripping and falling over speaker cables, or power extension cables. Though these cables can be secured to the floor with adhesive tape, there are venues that do not appreciate this as their floor surface coating gets damaged with removal of the tape.

It is even more helpful when the bar area is close to the dance floor as guests don’t have to wonder far to get a drink. It can be quite challenging to decide on a table seating layout but consider seating older guests further away from the speakers as they often do not enjoy loud music. However, your wedding DJ must ensure that the sound during speeches is loud enough to enable the older guests to hear every single word that is being said. In terms of the speeches, the area where speeches will be made from is usually 1m x 1m which includes a podium of some sort and a microphone stand. Speeches should be made from a position where all the guests will be able to clearly see the person speaking and it should not be further than 30m away from the microphone receiver (if using a cordless microphone). The microphone should also have a clear line of sight to the microphone receiver. There are excellent quality brand microphones available, but even the most expensive microphone can have signal dropouts or produce poor quality sound.

Song requests
There are wedding DJ’s who prefer not to take any song requests. However, by accepting song requests throughout the evening in some way, shape or form it helps to identify what music the crowd likes and will most likely respond to in a positive way. Song requests can be sent to the wedding DJ a few weeks before the wedding date to allow sufficient time for the downloading of songs that he or she does not have in their music library. Sometimes song requests with the expectation of it being played immediately are problematic as that song might be unobtainable at that time due to unavailability or poor internet connectivity for downloading. The fact that the wedding DJ accepts requests, does not guarantee that he or she will definitely be playing that song very soon. The reasons for this could be that the selected song does not fit into the genre of music being played at that time. Or that by playing that particular song it could potentially empty a full dance floor. Or that the selected song was specifically banned on the bridal questionnaire for a specific reason and finally that the song is known to have explicit lyrics or sexually suggestive lyrics that might be offensive to guests.

Interesting fact

A Wedding DJ is widely regarded as being the most difficult type of DJ out there! The reasons for this being that they are constantly being challenged by factors such as various age groups, different tastes in music, different ethnicities all wanting to be entertained for 5 hours or more whilst taking requests in between. Whereas club DJ’s, or festival DJ’s usually don’t have to supply their own equipment, mainly entertains a crowd of similar age groups with one music genre in mind and plays a pre-planned and practised set of 2 to 3 hours and not taking any requests.