Selecting a DJ for your wedding or corporate event can seem a bit overwhelming. Like most things in this age of instant accessibility, there seems to be and endless array of choices. Having options is usually a great thing! When it comes to selecting your DJ Service however it can be both a blessing and a curse.
How can something so good be so bad?
We perform at wedding and corporate events all around the Central PA and Western MD area. We have celebrated with couples in Purcellville VA, worked with Carnegie Mellon University in Bedford PA, and we have had the pleasure of working at Lily Manor and Linwood Estates countless times.
Regardless of the venue, regardless of the type of event, the couples and businesses all grappled with the same challenge in most cases.
How do I select a DJ Service for my wedding when I have never been married before?
I have read a number of articles attempting to provide the answer to that question and many of them have been way too technical. They spend too much time focusing on the physical items such as equipment brands and too little time informing the reader of what a DJ does.
Most people are not going to know the difference between “Kustom” and”QSC” nor do they need to. I don’t know what kind of tools my mechanic uses but he does quality work and he doesn’t rip me off and those are the two most important things to me when I select and auto mechanic.
All of that said, there is a huge difference between “Kustom” and “QSC” and in most cases the tools we use will certainly impact the result. However, we will save that for a future article that where we will provide information regarding DJ pricing for Harrisburg, Frederick, and Lancaster areas.
“I just need a DJ……”
If I had a dollar for every time someone contacted us for a quote and included that line in their message! It is not their fault. It goes back to the purpose of this article. It is difficult to hire any person or service when you don’t know what exactly they do or why there is a difference in pricing.
The pricing information will be saved for a future article. What a DJ Service does or in my opinion should do for the client will be addressed now.
The roles a DJ plays.
The number one skill that any DJ must possess is the knowledge to select and play the right songs at the right moments. Both of these are critical to having a great wedding reception or a killer party. Here are five other skills and roles the DJ must be possess and play.
1. Planner: You want your event to run like a well orchestrated event, not like you are trying to herd cats!
A DJ must know the nuances and the structure of any type of event they are performing at. Most couples who hire a DJ are doing so for the very first time. While they may have attended a wedding or two, they are not typically familiar with the order of events and the various formalities. A DJ should be the expert! He or she should be able to create a timeline and guide the couples thru the planning process. If they are also able to provide the couple with some useful planning tools that makes them even more valuable.
If during your discussions with the DJ service provider, you feel uncomfortable in the competence in this area you should not hire them!
This has nothing to do with the individuals DJ style. That really is a matter of personal preference has no effect on the outcome of the party. There are DJ’s that make it a point to interject themselves into the spotlight more than others do but I have never seen any DJ with the magic persona to make people dance who have their minds made up that they are not dancing.
In this case I am referring to how that person interacts with others on a personal level. Does the DJ see themselves as a team member or do they feel they are the team? Are they focused on creating the vibe and the moment that the company or couple wants or is the DJ Booth their way of attracting attention to them?
Often the photographers are the first vendors on site, but the DJ is the last to leave. During the time that they are at the venue they are interacting with the photographer, venue, caterer, videographer, and the officiant. You want someone who works well with others and whose primary goal is to create an event that you love.
3. Master of Ceremonies
The use of this skill is going to vary from event to event. Often when performing at corporate and holiday parties the company has various presenters who will speak throughout the event. In such cases the DJ will generally make announcements and not serve as the emcee.
At most weddings we perform at the DJ serves a dual role as Master of Ceremonies. He/she is the one who is announcing each of the various activities and the Grand Entrance of the newlyweds.
You want a person who has this skill in their tool box and is comfortable speaking. If during your conversation with them they seem timid, nervous, or anxious; those are tell tale signs that more than likely they are not comfortable speaking to an audience.
Additionally, during their conversations with you, they are or should be displaying to you, the best version of themselves. If during your conversation they converse in a manner that is less than professional, that may be a clear indicator that this is not the person you want addressing your Grand Parents on your big day.
4. Sound Engineer
As mentioned earlier in this article, we are not going to discuss equipment brands or requirements based on guest count or any of those technical things. Those are definitely important but equally as important is the skill to tune your equipment to the venue.
Venues come in all shapes and sizes and things like ceiling height and wall construction can and do make an impact on the sound. A good DJ is going to be aware of these factors and will know that you cannot simply set up your gear, power it on, and be good to go. Sound checks and proper adjustments are critical to ensuring that the sound you hear is pleasant.
So, how do you check to see if the DJ you are considering processes that ability? You can’t crash another couples wedding but what you can do is ask some probing questions.
What time to you arrive to set up?
If the reply is 30 minutes before they start, you know that they aren’t concerned with sound checks. Their main concern is getting in and out of your event as quickly as they possibly can.
I may need sound in three separate locations. How do you handle that?
Be aware that you likely don’t need sound in three locations and if you do, it is going to cost you more money. That is not why you are asking this question. You are asking because you want to hear the response. If the reply is that they will move equipment from one place to another that may be a sign that they are using/bringing the minimum amount of equipment.
There could be any number of reasons for this. It could be the vehicle size that they drive. It could be that they only have one or maybe two sets of speakers. If the latter is the reason, I would certainly not hire them!
1. They are cheap and are not fully invested in themselves.
2. If they cut corners in the quantity of equipment, they may well cut corners in equipment quality.
3. They likely do not have back up equipment in case of equipment failure.
These are in my opinion four of the most important traits to look for when searching for the right DJ Service to trust for your event. Thank you for reading. If you found this article helpful, I hope that you will share this on Facebook or Instagram so that others may benefit as well.
Perfect Harmony Entertainment