I’m coming off of a season where I had some seriously AMAZING DJ’s at the weddings I shot, unfortunately I also had some shitty ones and even some weddings without DJs at all (because like, just make a playlist- right?) I just cringed typing that last sentence.
I understand that weddings are expensive. I’ve been married and I’ve been in the wedding industry enough years to say- I freaking get it, these things add up. BUT PLEASE, hear me out on why you should HIRE a PROFESSIONAL DJ and not just ask a family friend who can hit play on a playlist to help out with your day.
1- A GOOD DAY IS SO MUCH MORE THAN JUST A DJ
One of the most important roles a good DJ will play in your day is acting as your MC for the evening. This is the BIGGEST thing I notice about weddings without a professional DJ. Your DJ will be the one to announce after ceremony, where guests should go. They will be the ones to invite guests to take their seats for dinner. They can signal to catering to pour champagne before toasts. They will help coordinate toasts and keep them on time (not to mention making sure guests can hear the toasts) They will let ME know when big events are about to happen so I don’t miss a moment. They will keep your dance floor filled and engaged. Some bring in lighting, some bring their own extra flair, fun games, etc. But the very least, they will be the point of contact for WHAT IS GOING ON for YOUR GUESTS so things run smooth.
2- CONTRACTS AND RELIABILITY
Another thing about hiring a professional DJ over a friend is that they will have a contract in place and be reliable. This is hugely beneficial because it will keep you both accountable and make sure you’re on the same page. Most DJs will have some sort of back up plan written into their contract as well in the case that they are for any reason unable to attend. There is a always a back up plan, reliability, and professionalism.
3- EQUIPTMENT & EXPERIENCE
Professional DJ’s will bring the equipment (and BACK UP equipment) to make sure your day goes flawless and the dance floor is GOOD. The equipment is equally as important as the right songs. Does your friend have the sound system so all guests can hear? Or the right set up so when the music is loud it doesn’t have static? Or access to a microphone for toasts? Additionally, if there are problems- experience will ensure your DJ knows what to do next and how to fix it.
I’ve stood around completely empty dance floors waiting, and waiting (but mostly counting down the hours until I could leave- I do NOT want that to be your wedding) I’ve seen venue microphones not work at the ceremony location, thankfully the DJ had a wireless. I’ve watched guests awkwardly stand around the ceremony location unsure of what’s next. I once saw a DJ arrive WITHOUT speakers (like, WHAT?) because he had assumed he would have access to the venue’s sound system and didn’t call ahead to confirm. Things like this, shouldn’t happen.
Good DJ’s are really what set the tone and mood for your celebration. They are experiences with reading crowds, and know when to change a song or how to get your guests up and involved in the party. This is another huge thing I notice with inexperienced DJ’s. Even a good playlist will eventually have a dead dance floor. A good DJ will have tricks up their sleeve to pull people back onto the dance floor when things start to slow down. Once of my favorite DJ’s invites guests into a circle with the couple in the middle, he plays a very well known song and goes around the circle passing the microphone off for guests to sing to. This always gives me the BEST photos of guests laughing and singing and having fun. Another DJ coordinated an entire group photo for me. Some DJ’s do anniversary dances which are also a great way for me to get photos of even more people at your wedding dancing. There are so many fun things that experience can bring to this party that really help the DJ set the mood for one heck of a party.
5- MULTIPLE LOCATIONS
Another thing that commonly happens at weddings is events take place in different locations of a venue. Because you’re going to want some kind of music at both your ceremony, and your cocktail hour, and your reception- you’re going to need the ability to play music at all of these locations. Good DJ’s can make that happen for you, they have the equipment and experience to be able to make this transition seamless for your guests.
I do think there are events and parties where playing an iphone playlist or even asking a friend to come a mix some songs is a great option and awesome idea. BUT on a wedding day- a day where you’re probably already investing thousands of dollars on making such a perfect day, why risk it by hiring someone who is not a professional? Let’s make this party (and dancing photos) epic and smooth!