Your disc jockey the wedding coordinator

Disc jockeys used to be known for simply playing tunes and keeping people on the dance floor but as the DJ became a popular option for wedding receptions, it became obvious that someone had to get the audience’s attention and direct the day’s activities. Complaints such as "guests didn’t know what was going on" or "the bride was running around keeping things organized" were somewhat common.

The good news is that many current mobile entertainers understand the importance of wedding organization. There are national disc jockey conventions and associations teaching a new generation of disc jockeys the art of wedding coordination. Your disc jockeys responsibilities: In most cases, your disc jockey is responsible for emcee duties which include making announcements and informing your guests of what is happening throughout your event.

The ability to communicate with an audience clearly and tastefully is a talent: Take notice of your first conversation with your prospective disc jockey. This can help you narrow down your choices before you arrange an appointment. Your Disc jockey is also responsible for programming and mixing music. It is important that you inform the DJ of your preferences. If there are songs you do not want to hear, remember to make it clear to your entertainer.

One of the most important roles of your disc jockey is the role of reception director and event coordinator. Your disc jockey will help you create a timeline which includes the traditional activities such as first dance, family dances and cake cutting ceremony. Your timeline should include your important song picks for these activities. ALWAYS finalize with your disc jockey no later than one week before your event to make sure your DJ understands what you want. It is also important that your disc jockey knows how to pronounce important names. Your disc jockey will inform you, your family members and vendors before an activity occurs so that everyone is prepared.

A good coordinator will optimize your reception time which is usually limited to a four to six hour period. It has been reported that 80% of a wedding reception’s success lies in the hands of the disc jockey. Your DJ will offer ideas to help you create the reception of your dreams. Remember to listen carefully before you choose your disc jockey and follow your instincts.

A professional full-time mobile entertainer usually costs around $1,200.00 for a full-service company which will include up to four hours of continuous music.. Rates do vary based on popularity, talent, availability and professionalism. You will find investing in a good disc jockey will yield you priceless memories!

10 Disc Jockey Tips for the comfort of you and your guests.

A professional disc jockey is responsible for creating the right mood while keeping everything organized for your reception, and sometimes even your ceremony. Here are a few tips to insure you will have a smooth wedding day:

  1. Always return timeline information, event planners and song lists (must plays or don’t plays) at least two to four weeks prior to your event date. This gives your disc jockey enough time to finalize with you and make arrangements to have important music.
  2. Always FINALIZE with your disc jockey 7 to 14 days before your event to go over timeline, discuss name pronunciations, music and desired atmosphere. If you have not had a chance to speak with your disc jockey, call and make arrangements. It is important that the DJ that will be hosting your event understands what you expect.
  3. Seat older family or guests that may be sensitive about the sound furthest from the loudspeakers. Although a professional disc jockey will monitor the sound for reasonable noise levels, it is important that you know where the speakers will be placed since inevitably the noise level will be louder as you get closer to each speaker. It is recommended that your DJ raise the speakers above head level to get more sound coverage and avoid ‘in your face’ sound which can often make it difficult to have a conversation.
  4. Place the disc jockey in a location that is not obstructed. Your disc jockey will usually be your emcee, which means he/she needs to have a clear view of you and your guests to do an efficient job. If you place them in a room away from your guests or in a corner with an obstructed view, it will make entertaining and coordinating your event difficult.
  5. Avoid placing guests behind loudspeakers or between the loudspeakers and the dancefloor. If you are concerned with guests hearing clear announcements and enjoying the music, it is best to have guests seated in front of the speakers but not between the speaker and dancefloor since that area can become uncomfortable during dancing. If your guests are seated behind the speakers, they will probably hear too much bass and may not hear announcements clearly.
  6. Consider four speakers (or more) for large rooms, multiple rooms or guests seated behind loudspeakers. It may be best to have four speakers (or more) if you have an unusual room situation . A professional disc jockey will make recommendations. Always get a few different opinions since some DJs will sacrifice sound quality to save you money. It is important that you and your guests can hear announcements and the music clearly and comfortably.
  7. If you know you have a conservative audience and would like an entertainer that interacts with your audience, make sure you ask what type of activities or dances your disc jockey can offer. Many disc jockeys simply play music, make announcements and keep things organized and that is OK, unless you are looking for more of a personality. There are exceptional disc jockeys that have acting/improve or musical backgrounds and have a knack for audience participation. These disc jockeys may cost more, but if you need more than music, do your homework and hire someone you feel confident with.
  8. Discuss cocktail and dinner music ahead of time. Many disc jockeys consider cocktails and dinner a ‘throw-away’ time, which is not a clear way of thinking.. Cocktail and dinner time may be the perfect time to work in those non-dance favorites or play music for your older guests that may leave early. There are creative disc jockeys that can turn dinner into a memorable experience, so be sure to talk about cocktails and dinner ideas.
  9. Hire your disc jockey so that he is set-up and ready to go before your guests arrive, even if you are hiring a band or mariachis for cocktails/dinner. Remember that your disc jockey will be making preliminary announcements which may include bridal party introductions, toasts and other general information that guests may need to know. If you hire the disc jockey to play two hours into your event and the normal set-up time is one hour before the contracted time, you will have your disc jockey rolling in during your cocktail or dinner time, which takes away from the atmosphere and inconveniences your guests. Your disc jockey also serves as a ‘back-up’ plan if your musicians show up late or they need breaks.
  10. Follow your instincts and don’t be fooled. If your ‘gut’ tells you not to book with a disc jockey because you have doubts or a bad feeling, follow your instincts. The most popular disc jockeys tend to be more expensive so if someone seems well below average, there is probably a reason for it. Do your homework and remember that surveys show that 80% of a party’s success usually falls in the lap of your entertainer. It is a big responsibility, so choose wisely and follow your heart.

This article was written by Mark Thomas, Wedding Entertainment Director and former President of American DJ Association.