How to Choose a DJ
While I do take requests from coworkers, the song choices usually fall on me. I’ve learned that starting a Monday off with too much emotional rock can easily set the wrong tone – and only the funkiest of jams can be played to liven up Friday afternoons. That’s why I give credit to the real DJs.
Song choice and order are pivotal to one’s surroundings, especially at a party, club, or on a radio station. Careful attention to the mix of songs played and how they blend together is an impressive skill. If you have visited our DJ page, then you’ve noticed how many different options you have when it comes to hiring this type of entertainment. GigMasters features Club DJs, Emcees, House DJs, Karaoke Performers, Latin DJs, Mobile DJs, Party DJs, Radio DJs, and Wedding DJs
Having trouble understanding the differences among them? Here’s a quick guide:
Club DJs – Think: “I just want to dance.” Club DJs will be playing the most popular songs mixed with dance beats to keep the energy up.
Emcee – Worried about how to move guests along from a cocktail hour to the wedding reception, or when to give speeches to the newlyweds? A Master of Ceremonies is practiced in making announcements, and a DJ with a magnetic personality.
House DJs – Picture fist pumping and electronic beats. House music is multicolored, non-stop dance music.
Karaoke “KJs” – DJs who offer Karaoke are a great addition to any celebration. Bars and restaurants should offer guests the chance to sing “Paradise By the Dashboard Light” at least once a week.
Latin DJs – These DJs will have the widest selection of Salsa, Merengue, and Reggaeton music.
Mobile DJs – Self-sufficient and able to provide all of their own equipment. These types of DJs are great for events at all types of venues, even outdoors.
Party DJs – The goal is to make the party a success. These DJs know what songs are best, from slow dancing to group dancing.
Radio DJs – If by some chance Delilah isn’t syndicated in your area, you can find these on-air personalities to play music and communicate with listeners.
Wedding DJs – Liven up a reception with the songs that you want to hear. A professional Wedding DJ will be sure to set the mood with the music you choose for this special day
How to Choose Between DJs
A reader writes:
“Awesome article on choosing between a band and a DJ. My fiancée and I decided the DJ route is the way to go for us, but now it’s my job to pick the most kick ass DJ St. Louis has to offer. Do you have any tips on choosing between different DJs. Oh, and none of them will let you attend a function they are putting on, disrespectful to the clients (or something like that).
You found some good news. Do you really want to attend random functions of random people you don’t know, just to hear the random DJ? I mean, yes, that would be helpful for your decision, and yes, we (half-heartedly) recommend doing just that. But trust us–you dodged a bullet. It’s sort of like if you go on a beach vacation and “forget” your jogging shoes. Oh no, you can’t go jogging, you have to sleep in, instead. Damn.
Plenty of experts suggest that you get technical. They instruct you to ask your DJs about his sub-woofers, about the specs of his lighting system, etc. Screw that. You’re not really going to know what you’re talking about, and he’ll secretly laugh at you
Ask other friends who have recently gotten married. Ask your other vendors. Hell, as geeky as this sounds, even ask your co-workers. If all that yields nothing, you’re stuck doing things the old-fashioned way: google.
And we know, we know, it’s a crapshoot. When we just googled Best St. Louis wedding DJs, we got 87 pages of shot-in-the-dark, standalone businesses. A better option: check out sites like OneWed.com or MyWedding.com, which aggregate vendors and provide user reviews. In this case, there’s something to the wisdom of crowds. Call me lazy, but if I see one vendor who has 17 user reviews with an average of 4.7, and they charge the same as the dude with only 1 rating (2 stars), well, that’s not exactly an agonizing decision. Why over-think it, right?
How to Pick a Band or DJ for Your Wedding
Picking the right sound and mix of entertainment on your wedding day will not only help set the tone but also ensure your guests have a night to remember. Here, a few of the industry’s top music experts share their advice on how to pick a wedding musician or DJ and what to ask before you make a decision
Match Your Band To Your Style
“When choosing a band, ask for their song list and make sure that they specialize in the genres that you like best. Find out their policy about taking specific song requests and what their approach is to making announcements to make sure it fits in with your style. You can also ask about what the performers wear, and if you can have input so that the band aesthetic matches the overall tone for your wedding.”—Valerie Romanoff, CEO, Starlight Orchestras
Pick A Genre
“Know what type of music you like and what kind of experience you want your guests to have. A great band will create a vibe for the night based on what you desire.”—Marianne Bennett, CEO, Element Music
Pay Attention to the Band Leader
“Always ensure the band has a very experienced emcee or band leader that is a part of the band. This person is the communicator for the wedding coordinator to the guests. Nothing is worse than someone who is choppy and does not have flow.”—Jordan Payne, CEO/Wedding Planner & Designer, Jordan Payne EventsBand: Jordan Kahn Band
Look for Passion
“I really love having true musicians for weddings—working with a talented performer who might DJ on the weekends for extra cash, or a bluegrass trio who loves random small gig. It’s fun to bring in artists who are passionate about what they do.”—Jaclyn Journey, Owner/Designer, Jaclyn Journey Event & Floral Design
Key Steps To Picking The Perfect Wedding DJ.
Now your wedding is around the corner, it slowly dawns, that the show must be perfect. Nothing should be compromised. Having checked all other boxes like venue, outfit, flowers, it’s time to let the music play to the high heavens. Music is one of the intricate fibres that make up a near perfect wedding. Guests may easily forget that the dessert didn’t get to their corner of the hall but will not as easily forget how the music you played made them feel. Music and entertainment are very important in determining what kind of memory the guests will leave with.
While the most important part of the day is the exchange of vows between two lovebirds, music comes next quite closely. Interestingly, statistics show that about 72% of brides say they wished they had spent more time carefully choosing their music vendors. 65% of couples that chose a band to entertain at their wedding, said, if they had to do it all over again, they would have chosen a disc jockey.
The back and forth that go on in the minds of couples, on whether or not to use a band or DJ is worthy of note. Both have a lot of good to offer when got right, however, you can’t afford to risk anything, especially the entertainment at your wedding. Sad as it may sound, you just can’t hide bad music, so it behooves you to get it right. A lot of working DJ’s are part-time hobbyists who do it just for fun. You’ll want to get a professional to man that stand to avoid sad stories. How then do you check that box perfectly?
Investigate- Take your time to search them out. Go out to some events and get the contacts of the DJ’s behind the parties you enjoyed. Ask friends and family to recommend a few and then create a list. Carry out some level of research on those on your list. What equipment are they using? What attitude do they exude when on duty? Read reviews and then decide who to pursue.
Stand your ground- You may have picked out a DJ, now be sure to communicate exactly what you want. Some DJ’s may want to side-track you and have their own way, don’t let them. Make him listen to you and your demands. If that’s such a hard thing for him to do, it’s time to change DJ’s.
How to Choose Your Wedding DJ
It’s time to add another key player to your supplier squad! You may have chosen your wedding’s key songs, but now you’re going to need to hire someone to play them. Your wedding DJ will be responsible for making sure the energy stays up from dawn ‘til dusk (and probably long after), so you’ll want to find one with awesome emcee skills and a killer tracklist.
Sort out the important stuff
Step one is taking the time to write out any wedding details that may affect your decision. Knowing things like your venue size, venue style, budge and wedding theme will help you figure out exactly what you’re looking for in a DJ. You should also note the genres of music you love, your favourite artists and your most played songs – those will come in handy when you start interviewing potential candidates.
Do your research
Now it’s time to do a little bit of homework (it may not sound fun, but it is!). Scroll through our wedding supplier listings, check out Instagram and ask your recently married friends and/or relatives for recommendations – you’re sure to find a handful of amazing options by the time you’re finished. Pay close attention to their reviews and ratings – comments from couples who have used their services in the past are super insightful.
Get in touch
Once you’ve selected your faves, start reaching out. If you’re using WeddingWire, simply click the blue “Request more information” button at the top of a listing and it’ll connect you right away. If you’re using another method, reaching out via their website or through email is your best bet (no sliding into DMs – Those are easy to miss!). Remember to ask key questions like, “are you available on my wedding date?”, “what is your rate?” and “can I see a copy of your standard contract?”. If you’re satisfied with their answers, book a meeting with them IRL or schedule a Skype call.
Sample their work
When you’re meeting with your candidates, you’ll want to do a deeper dive into their work. Yes, you’ve probably already sampled a playlist or two, but at this stage you’ll want to get a bit more. Ask your potential DJs about their music repertoire and give them a bit of insight into the types of songs you love. You’ll also want to let them know exactly what you’ll be needing music and emceeing for (i.e. the ceremony, the reception, dinner, the after party). This will help them customize a tracklist just for your event.