Guest post by Evan Zwisler
Weddings are a celebration of two individuals coming together out of love. Great weddings, however, are so much more.
A great wedding has everything to do with the events surrounding the betrothed. It’s about the food, the open bar, the setting, and of course, the music.
Most great weddings culminate in the joyous, and sometimes frantic, dancing of everyone from children to grandparents. Needless to say, the wedding DJ is a focal point of a good wedding dance party, but how do you be the best wedding DJ you can be?
1. Be professional
Your professionalism begins long before you arrive at the wedding. You need to have a great website, for starters. Wedding DJs make solid money so the competition can be fierce.
Make sure your website lets people know what your rates are, where you’re located, and how you stand out from the competition. Don’t forget to include testimonials on your website!
Make sure to respond to clients promptly. Don’t play into the “party DJ” image. You’re djing the most important event of these people’s lives so they want to make sure they’re not getting a hungover rave bro.
Build a professional, mobile-ready wedding DJ website that is easy to update in minutes. Try Bandzoogle free now!
2. Cover the little details
Make sure you go over any and every little detail with the wedding party. I would suggest creating a standard questionnaire to expedite this progress, which you can do using a custom form on your website.
Here is a list of questions to get you started:
What gear will be provided by the venue?
Do I need to bring a microphone for the wedding party to use?
Do you have an itinerary or schedule?
When do you want me to arrive?
When do you want me to start playing?
Are there any cultural sensitivities I should be aware of?
3. Don’t be late
Being late is not an option. Let me repeat that for emphasis, BEING LATE IS NOT AN OPTION!
You’re a single piece of a very intricate event with lots of moving pieces. Do not be the reason things don’t go smoothly.
Lots of wedding DJs get hired by referrals, so keeping the wedding party happy is imperative. Make sure to know when they want you to arrive, when they want you to be set up by, and when they want you to start playing.
4. Be clear about what’s expected from you
The last thing you want is to show up and have all sorts of responsibilities that you’re not ready for. Also, be clear about how many hours you’re supposed to be there and how many hours you’re supposed to work. Offer overtime options upfront.
This means if the wedding goes a little late because people are having such a good time, there doesn’t need to be an awkward conversation at the end of the night about how much you’re getting paid.
5. Have a vast musical knowledge of multiple styles
As a wedding DJ, you’re not there to play the music you’ve written or even the music you like. If you do get to play stuff you enjoy, that’s great! But your job is to play the music the people at the wedding want to hear.
Make sure to know about a lot of different genres, music from different eras, and music that will make them dance. A list of songs the wedding party wants to hear is very useful. A list of songs they don’t want to hear is even more useful.
6. Make sure your social skills are up to snuff
As a wedding DJ you’ll want people to like you. It’s often your job to shape the mood and vibe of the wedding, so you’ll want people to do what you say.
Be personable, smile, and say yes to whatever you can. You’ll have to do some MCing, so make sure that you’re energy level matches the reception.
Also, you’ll have to learn how to deal diplomatically with drunk guests. They’ll make inappropriate songs requests, want to talk your ear off, and they might even spill a drink on your gear. Stay calm, be firm, and be kind.
7. Know what song requests to take
Every wedding DJ will have to become adept at knowing what song requests to take, and which ones to turn down.
Even if someone makes a request of a song that you’re planning to play, be careful about how you accept the request. You don’t want the same person coming up to you every five minutes requesting something.
As far as who can actually request songs, the closer they are to the wedding party the better. If the bride wants to hear Beyonce’s Drunk in Love, you gotta play it, but if drunk uncle Al wants to hear November Rain, that’s a hard pass.
8. Know how to read a crowd
A great wedding DJ knows how to change the tone of a wedding with a single song. After dinner, how will people know how to start dancing unless you play Shout by The Isley Brothers or Beat It by Michael Jackson?
When the night is winding down you’ll also be in charge of the musical denouement.
9. Always have a backup
Things go wrong, things break, and things run out of battery. Backups are essential, especially if the wedding is out of town somewhere, far away from audio equipment stores.
While you probably don’t need a backup laptop, make sure you have a backup charger and online backups of whatever you need to DJ incase something happens.
10. Be flexible
This is probably the most important piece of advice I can tell you. You’ll need to adapt to all kinds of situations. You’re just one person that the wedding party is booking so they might overlook things or forget to tell you important pieces of information. You’re there to make sure that they have the best time on their special day, so you’re going to have to roll with the punches.
Extension cables and power bars are good things to bring incase the venue doesn’t have lots of outlets for you to use. I’d also suggest you bring your own table to use. Call the venue ahead and go over your plans. If they do weddings often, DJs probably make the same mistakes and they’ll help you avoid the pitfalls that other DJs have made.
Being a wedding DJ is a great way for DJs and electronic artists to supplement their incomes. The pay is usually very good and the gigs can be a lot of fun. So be punctual, professional, and party on!
Evan Zwisler is a NYC-based musician who is most notably known for his work with The Values as a songwriter and guitarist, and is an active member of the Brooklyn music scene.
Build a stunning band website and store in minutes
- Promote your music on your own unique website.
- Sell music & merch directly to your fans. Keep 100%.
- Grow your fan base with built-in marketing tools.
Free 30 day trial, no credit card needed.