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Guide to Finding the Right DJ
Mobile Music Wisconsin
Finding the right DJ for your
wedding reception is similar to finding the right vendor for your other wedding
related needs. Meeting in person with DJís and comparing services is highly
recommended. Always ask for references and be sure to call those references. I
like to ask for the 3 most recent references for every DJ in the company. I
suggest that as soon as you find someone you feel comfortable with and has
answered your list of questions appropriately, donít wait. Hire them.
Many brides and grooms wait to
hire the entertainment. The best DJís get hired first, sometimes as far out as
2 years in advance. One great reason to book early is that you get a better
price. Why not secure this yearís lower pricing for your wedding rather than
next year or 2 years from now?
Here is something you probably
are not aware of. Unlike your other vendors who have certifications or
licenses, anyone can claim to be a professional DJ. This could be a big problem
if you donít arm yourself with the right questions. I highly recommend printing
the following questions along with the comments and then use them to screen
potential candidates over the phone prior to setting up an appointment
Do you meet with
your clients for a free consultation?
Quality entertainment companies meet with their clients. If they don't want
to meet with you, what does that say about what you can expect from them on
your special evening? How will they know what you want?
How many DJs
do you have? Which DJ is available on
You deserve the attention only a full-time single operator can
provide. A single system company means you get the owner of the company. The
ownerís attention is not divided between you and the other 3 shows going out
that evening. You are their only focus. Even if a DJ company has only 4 DJs
that means you are only receiving 25 % of their attention! One of the things
multi system companies donít tell you is that they hire DJs for about the
minimum wage. The multi system DJ is not full time, so this is just a part
time minimum wage job to them. For your once in a lifetime event, donít you
When we meet,
I would like to talk with the person who is doing the actual DJ work.
The person who will be at your event is the one you really want to
talk with. Make sure the DJ you want has their name on the contract as the
performer at your event! If the DJís name is not written into the contract,
the company can send anyone they want. You can take all the worry away by
hiring a single system operation that you connect with.
Let me see references for every DJ for the last 2 months.
Quality DJ companies can get positive referrals from every show for
of their DJís. Therefore, you want to see evaluations for
their DJ's. Look to see if one or two of the DJís have good evaluations but
youíre not seeing evaluations for the other DJís. That should be a red
Do you buy
your music from stores?
It is illegal for a DJ to download music from the net because the DJ is
making money from playing the song. Through the act of hiring a DJ, you are
making an ethical statement. If they are cutting corners with the music,
where else might they be cutting corners?
bring backup equipment? Amplifier, CD player, Speaker & Patch Cords,
Imagine being at your event and the DJís equipment fails and doesnít have
backup gear. What happens? This happens every year to someone. Just make
sure it doesn't happen to you. When you meet with the DJ, ask to see the
equipment. Ask to see the amplifier that is used at the show and then ask to
see the back up. If there is no back up amplifier in the same area as the
regular gear, they don't have one. Look to see that EVERY system has backup
equipment. Some companies have just one back up system and it stays back at
have liability insurance?
A policy of one million dollars is appropriate. When you meet with your
DJ, ask to see the certificate and check the date it lapses. Insurance is
particularly important if you are having the reception at a private residence
and not at a banquet facility.
is your full time job?
A full time DJ
Company is always your best bet. It means you, the customer, are not a hobby
to them. They are serious about this business and there is a better chance you
will get superior service.
If you have an emergency situation arise, whom do you subcontract with?
Quality DJ companies donít subcontract. If they canít perform,
they refer the person to another quality company. In an emergency, I would
send my client to the WDJA, (the WDJA is a WI organization of DJ entertainers
who all meet strict quality standards) so that I know my client will get
someone who will perform at the same level of excellence they were expecting
from me. Check to see if your DJ Company belongs to an organization that has
someone on call or if the company itself has a qualified DJ on standby.
How many weddings have you personally performed?
The more experienced the DJ, the better. I recommend having at least 100
weddings performed and be sure to call the 3 most recent weddings and ask if
they were impressed with their DJ.
attended any DJ workshops or seminars? How long ago?
Professionals keep current and fresh by attending conventions. Make sure your
DJ was actually there and not just the owner of the company. Ask what they
learned by attending.
If the DJ Company you call
cannot answer these basic quality issues satisfactorily, then I strongly urge
you to find one that can.
What do you recall about the
last wedding reception you were at? Do you remember if you had the beef or
chicken? What were the wedding colors chosen? What kinds of flowers were there?
What kind of wedding cake was it?
If you canít remember those
things donít worry, you are in the majority. Now let me ask this, was it a fun
reception? Most people remember the amount of fun, whether it was great or not
so great. Your entertainer is primarily responsible for how much fun you and
your guests will have. You are not hiring just the entertainment for one
evening; itís the memories you and your guests will have of your reception for
the rest of your lives. This is the best reason to hire someone who you are
confident will provide the style and level of entertainment that you and your
guests will love.
"If you deal
with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run. And
if you do that you will have enough to pay for something better."
The importance of hiring
quality entertainment cannot be overstated. Even if you are looking to simply
have music played and nothing else, the smart person hires the quality company
and not the least expensive for the simple reason to be assured that you will
get what you want. Quality entertainment means the volume will be just right
and will be soothing to your ears. It means the DJ will have many years of
experience and be familiar with many styles of music. The DJ will be fun and
friendly with you and your guests. In summary, hiring the best DJ you can find
is the smart decision to be assured you have the time of your life for a once in
a lifetime event.
--This article was written by
Richard Hill of Mobile Music Wisconsin. Richard has over 20 years entertaining
as an emcee, a dee-jay and more recently as a gameshow host for live events. He
has been asked to speak at national DJ conventions and last year was recognized
as one of the countryís top wedding entertainers. Richard was chosen to be the
expert on a nationally syndicated radio program, The Satelite Sisters, where he
talked about finding quality DJ entertainment for wedding receptions.