Sunday, July 11, 2010

Guide for Selecting Wedding DJ Entertainment

With a multitude of disc jockeys to choose from, how do engaged couples select the right DJ for their once-in-a-lifetime celebration? The stakes are high, as guests are less likely to remember a cold fish dinner than a wedding DJ whose performance was ice cold!

Word of Mouth and Referrals - DJ entertainment is very hard to describe via websites, blogs and brochures. If you have attended a wedding where you loved the music and entertainment, this can be a great starting point in your research. Similarly, if a friend or co-worker raved about their DJ, this is valuable information. What in particular did they like about their DJ? Was it their thorough preparation, transparent business practices, musical selections, dance skills, or something else?

Experience Counts - A wedding DJ/Emcee's duty is to keep the reception program moving smoothly. Transitions should be smooth and pacing is important. Experienced wedding DJs understand the flow of a wedding reception and offer seamless transitions. They understand the importance of working with the team of vendors (banquet manager, photographer, videographer). They will better be able to address potential problems that can crop up at receptions. Ask your prospective DJ what percent of their annual events are weddings, and how many weddings they have worked at in the past. You can also read unsolicited reviews of wedding vendors on Wedding Wire (

Styles Vary - Are you looking for an elegant event with music at moderate volumes, or for an extreme party rocking experience? Is a magnificent light show important? Are you seeking a high or low level of guest interaction? Do you enjoy the well-known line dances, or are you seeking a more contemporary entertainment style? There is no right or wrong answer, but it is important to align yourself with a DJ whose style matches the intended style of your event, or else is flexible to incorporate your preferences. You can get a sense of style compatibility in your initial phone or meeting interviews. First impressions are important - do you connect on a personal level and believe that you can work well with this individual?

Professionalism - The term "professional DJ" is hard to verify. However, characteristics of a professional DJ include:

* professional grade equipment (i.e., no dilapidated, carpeted speakers from the 1970s or home stereo equipment);
* a professional website and presence on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter;
* testimonials, preferably built over a period of time, as well as a list of references;
* member in professional organization such as the American Disc Jockey Association (ADJA) or the New Jersey Disc Jockey Network (NJDJN);
* carries liability insurance;
* participates in industry conventions and continuing education, to elevate their craft;
* carries back-up equipment to each event; and
* is responsive to your phone and e-mail communications.

Planning - The level and modes of reception planning vary. Some DJs offer online planning forms that allow brides and grooms to plan their reception casually from the comfort of their own homes. Other DJs rely on in-person planning meetings, while other use a combination of mediums. How important is the planning process to your event? Be sure that you have access to the specific DJ who will be performing at your event. The better that the performing DJ understands your program specifics, the more successful your event will be.

Pricing - Particularly in today's challenging economy, engaged couples may be operating on a tight budget. Our advice is to secure the best wedding DJ entertainment that your budget will allow for!

Contrary to the impression of some, DJs are not a standard, commodity product that should be secured at the lowest cost. In New Jersey, we've seen wedding DJ packages range from $300 to as high as $10,000, with an average of approximately $1,200 for a four hour reception. Along with this wide spectrum of prices, there is a wide range of quality. Wedding DJ entertainment tends to be a small portion of the overall wedding budget, yet it is often the most memorable facet of the reception. According to the American Disc Jockey Association (, “surveys conclude that nearly 100% of brides would have spent more money on their entertainment and made it their #1 priority in hindsight.”

In their research, brides should focus on the value proposition from each prospective DJ. What is the relationship between the price quoted and the benefits being offered? For example, assume that there are two DJs of similar experience/style and both are offering identical packages - if Disc Jockey A is quoting $2,000 while Disc Jockey B is quoting $1,000, then select Disc Jockey B.

Now, imagine that DJ A is an experienced wedding DJ with a professional website and glowing testimonials who is quoting $1,500.  DJ B is a newer company with a less experienced DJ who doesn't carry liability insurance and cannot provide any testimonials - DJ B is quoting $500 for your event.  In this case, if you can afford the $1,500, then hire the highly-rated, experienced DJ to ensure that your event is a success!  We believe that there is generally a correlation between price and quality of service.

One final tip regarding pricing that is particularly in today's competitive economy,  couples should ask their prospective DJ about any special offers. While DJs may not discount their prices, they sometimes will throw in a service for free, or at a reduced rate.  For example, with our company, we typically have special offers listed online, but many brides overlook them.

Written by:
Gregg Holllmann
Ambient DJ Service

1 comment:

  1. while crowds of fans cheer them on. Many bands use the money they make from gigs to buy new equipment as well as pay for traveling and storage fees.