I remember my first wedding celebration as a DJ in 1985. Fortunately it was a good experience. I recall explaining to the bride that I'd never entertained for a wedding reception. I believe my honesty upfront led to a good experience which eventually led to Phantom Shadow Entertainment dominating the wedding DJ market in our area in the 90's.
Learning how to be a good wedding DJ isn't an easy task. A new DJ needs great mentors and the person will need to dedicate a huge amount of time in learning the wedding reception industry. As a bride and groom looking to find the best DJ for your event, I suggest you spend some time investigating the company or person you consider.
Here are just a few helpful things to consider when looking for the right DJ for your wedding:
(1) You need to meet the actual DJ....not the owner of the company. If the owner seems to be hesitant about you meeting the exact DJ, that should throw up a red flag from the start. After you meet the actual DJ, meet the owner too. After all, if the DJ is horrible you will want the name of the owner who is ultimately responsible for the DJ and his performance.
(2) Ask the DJ his/her background and experience as a Wedding DJ. Remember a wedding DJ is far different than a school or bar DJ. They are completely different careers. It's kind of like saying all doctors do the same thing....foot, dentist,family doctor, etc.....they are different and trained differently. Ask the DJ who trained them to be a wedding DJ.
(3) Ask the DJ his level of education. The college degree received may indicate the DJ candidates ability to organize your reception and follow your hopes for the day.
(4) Has the candidate ever been an actor in community theater? Hiring a DJ that can act appropriately is rather important for the success of your event. Actors usually don't have a fear of speaking on a microphone at a public event. The DJ you hire shouldn't be afraid of using the microphone for appropriate formalities. On the other end of the spectrum, a DJ that talks too much during your event can be destructive to the success of your wedding also. And certainly a DJ who sings along to songs might be an event that you will never forget for all the wrong reasons. Yes, we've heard stories of all different types of wedding DJs right here in Franklin County.
(5) Does the DJ take care of himself physically? The health of the specific DJ you hire is important. If you spend hours interviewing different DJs and choose one that doesn't show up on your wedding day, I don't believe that will make you too happy. Ask the DJ how many events they have sent a substitute DJ in their career.
(6) Does the Company you have really have a backup plan if your DJ becomes ill? You really need to be able to trust in the company that you choose to have systems in place in case of emergency situations. Do they really have a skilled DJ ready as backup? Are they large enough and have the people skills to run a company with extra skilled DJs available at a moments notice?
(7) Ask the wedding venue about which DJ companies to interview. Event venues will have opinions on which DJ to consider and which to run from.
(8) Ask the company what associations they belong to. In every industry, staying on top of the game is education. If the company or DJ you are considering is not part of a wedding association or doesn't attend a training a few times a year, how can they be knowledgeable as time continues?
(9) Years in Business. Please keep in mind that a DJ that entertains 5 weddings a year for 5 years is not the same as a DJ that entertains 45 weddings a year for 5 years.
(10) Look at on-line reviews such as wedding wire. If they are all 5.0 out of 5.0's, I would really question the company with how do you get all 5.0's out of 5.0's?
(11) Ask the DJ if they are an employee, owner, or subcontractor for the company they are representing. If you are booking a DJ company, ask to see the Workman's Compensation Policy and Liability Policy for the company. If the company is using Subcontractors, you might need to ask the subcontracting DJ for his policies. This question alone will make most non-legit DJ companies squirm and run for the hills. Knowing the type of business you are hiring is rather important for the success of your event.
(12) Choose the actual DJ that you feel the most comfortable in dealing with for your event.
(13) Ask other newlyweds who they booked and why.
(14) Look on the Better Business Bureau www.bbb.org It might be best if you deal with an accredited business with an A+ ranking with the Better Business Bureau. If the company you are considering has had complaints in the past, please ask the DJ company to explain the complaint in detail. Trust me, it's worth your time and energy to weed out the fishy slimeball DJ companies in the area. Your event is worth hiring the most reliable company with integrity and attention to your details.
In my 29 years in the DJ industry in the tri-state area, I believe biggest mistake other DJ companies makes is promising services or a specific person and then not following through with what they promised. As a bride and groom, you probably don't want a surprise on or a couple of days before your wedding day.
Your journey as newlyweds should start on a positive note with a wedding reception experience that you enjoy thinking about. Take the time to hire the right professional and remember your wedding day for all the right reasons.
-Donovan Yaukey, CO-CEO Phantom Shadow Entertainment Services