After 13 years in the industry I’ve seen my share of good DJs and heard the horror stories. The question comes up: what separates a good wedding DJ from an average one and then the rest?
Let’s begin by defining what a makes a wedding DJ different from let’s say, a club DJ.
Basically a club DJ will DJ a club (or a dance floor at a club) with a certain “vibe”. Which means that he/she will play a particular genre/style of music and for a particular night won’t play anything else. The crowd that visits that club will party to the music and if they don’t like the music, ditch the club (or floor) and go to another party.
A Good Wedding DJ?
A wedding is different. You have a crowd of 50 to 150 guests ranging in age from 5 – 85 with music taste that range from 50’s jazz to modern day fidget. Now the wedding DJ’s job is to entertain all of these people at the same time, and they can’t just up and leave (that’s usually considered rude. Now I use the word entertain, and not keep everyone on the dance floor for a reason.
Typically at a wedding you will have about 50% smokers (who will spend half the night outdoors smoking – due to our country’s strict smoking laws), some of these, along with another 15% of the crowd will hang out at the bar. This leaves about 35% of the crowd. Of these about 10% will just want to hang out (they’re either too old, or haven’t seen each other in ages and just want to chill). This leaves you with about 25% who will want to spend the whole night on the dancefloor. Of this 25%, 10% will dance to just about anything the DJ plays (which makes it easy, right?)
The art lies in entertaining 100% of the crowd. The old folk, the young folk. The ones who enjoys the electro?pop and the metalheads. All of them in one night.
So the question you should ask your wedding DJ is not “what kind of music do you play?”. The question you should ask your DJ is “why are you a wedding DJ?”
Being a wedding DJ is an art, and you have to love it. It’s like cooking a soufflé. Anyone can cook macaroni and cheese, but not everyone has mastered the art of baking a cheese soufflé. It takes time, patience, and a love of the art.
So there you have it, in a nutshell.
Of course there are all the other questions to ask, like equipment, is the DJ registered with SAMRO and SADJA. But a DJ that takes his art seriously will use production?grade equipment, always have backup equipment available, be registered with SAMRO (to legally perform publically), and be registered with SADJA because he is a professional and wants to be recognised as such.