Genuine fears of how a wedding DJ might actually be useless
In 2015, I ran a small survey within a group that had never hired a DJ before. I asked what was the first thing that came to mind when they thought of what a mobile DJ actually was, and what their immediate “fears” were.
Here’s one of the results:
If I was hiring a DJ I think I would be most concerned with hiring someone who will A) Be engaging with the guests but also B) Isn’t going to get drunk and hit on my sister. I dunno, I just have this idea in my head that DJ’s are “bad boys” who roam from wedding to wedding trying to scrounge up some desperate bridesmaids like in Wedding Crashers and with everything a bride and groom have to worry about for a wedding- that’s not something I want to have to deal with.
Another straight forward response:
They would be obnoxious. Talk too much.
These are honest, unbiased responses. Nobody put these ideas in their heads other than clichés, rumours, and true horror stories from friends who were there when it happened at other events. These are some of the typical stereotyped perceptions that DJs have to deal with. And to be fair, as an industry we only have ourselves to blame. It’s unregulated therefore training, credentials, licensing or even experience are NOT compulsory. There is no DJ Police, and sadly even when a DJ does a terrible job, they just move on to the next wedding. Unless they’re banned by a venue, or other vendors refuse to work with them, they can simply do whatever they think they should/can/want to and move on to the next wedding the following weekend with a whole new audience who may not even see some of the stuff that goes on behind the scenes.
While this survey was run in 2015, the results would probably have been similar in 2005 or even ten years from now. As a whole, the industry that I am part of has let itself down over the last 40 years or longer. We have allowed the above-mentioned unbiased, unprovoked perceptions to be the reality. The simple facts are that there’s plenty of DJs who drink too much, talk too much, smoke too much, act inappropriately with certain members of the wedding party – all the usual clichés based on a perceived reality. There are DJs who think a wedding is the same as being on the radio and talk over every. single. song. like it’s the weekend countdown on ZM. There are DJs who cancel or just don’t show up. There are worse stories, but that’s not the point of this article, and I don’t want to be accused of using scare tactics to sell a service.
To be fair, the “bad boys” really are the minority that unfortunately stand out the most for the wrong reasons.
There are DJs that really care about you and they only want the best results for your wedding or event. Equally as important – they care about their own image, either as a representative of a DJ company or if they are the brand itself as the case with my business. There are those of us that first find out what is most important to you about your wedding day entertainment and then go out of our way to deliver that. There are those of us that travel internationally to train and learn from peers and mentors, share our own experience to help others advance and improve, that take part in trade discussions on how to improve the type of service we offer, that look for ways to help our couples and clients even before they’ve committed to hiring us. There are those of us that truly love what we do and are embarrassed and offended by the “Bad Boy Few” who tarnish the entire industry.
So how do you choose the right wedding DJ?
So now you’ve had a glimpse of some worst-case scenarios, how do you choose the right one?
Big question, but here are 3 very simple quick tips…
- Ask your venue. The won’t recommend any entertainer that will embarrass them or make them look bad, although they stick to the DJs that “play by their rules” so their recommendations may lack depth or creativity.
- Ask to meet with the DJ, and if it’s a multi-DJ company, make sure you meet the guy who will actually be your DJ on the day. You’ll work out pretty quick if they know what they’re doing, especially if you ask some of the tough questions nobody else asks. Here’s a whole list of questions to ask a DJ before hiring one.
- If you ask how much they charge and they can give you a straight up answer without knowing ANYTHING about your needs, chances are they aren’t really looking after you, they just want to book an event – any event.
There’s no nice, polite, politically correct or diplomatic way to say it, so I’ll use the honest way: some DJs don’t deserve to be part of any wedding. They don’t know how to treat it with the respect any celebration deserves, nor do they know why it is such a special privilege to be involved.
I hope this helps!
Wedding MC + Event DJ