Hire a wedding dj in 7 easy steps

As a wedding dj for over 20 years, I find it disturbing that there is so much misinformation on the web about hiring a disc jockey. A search for “how to hire a wedding dj” on Google brings up 2,710,000 results. The problem is, most are not written to help you hire “a” disc jockey, they were written so you will hire “the” dj writing the article. If you take the time to read this post, you’ll have the tools you need to find a great wedding dj.

Most of the articles written on this subject offer questions to ask potential djs when you meet with them. I will not be providing questions but instead will provide the tools to help you find the best qualified disc jockeys to ask those questions to. While doing research for this article, I did find a list of questions that in my opinion was head and shoulders above the rest. In step 7, I’ll provide a link so you can bring it to your wedding dj interview meetings.

OK, now it’s time to get to the information.

1) Prepare the “Wedding DJ Master List”

Our first step will be to gather a long list of prospective wedding djs. Start with “word of mouth” referrals. Ask family members, friends and co-workers. If you’ve secured your photographer or other wedding professionals ask for suggestions. Give more weight to wedding vendors that work on location at receptions and actually get to see disc jockeys in action.

Next, see if your area has a wedding group or association. Boston has the Boston Wedding Group – the “who’s who” of my cities wedding professionals. This quote was taken from the group’s website “Our extensive selection process guarantees qualified, established, and ethical wedding specialists of the highest caliber.” Check the roster for disc jockeys and add them to your “wedding dj master list”.

Another great resource would be to “Google” industry awards for disc jockeys. In Boston there is an A-List City Voter award for the Best Boston Wedding DJ. Biz Bash, an industry trade magazine, has a “Boston DJ of the Year Award” and Wedding Wire has it’s “Bride’s Choice Awards”. Research the winners in your area to add to your “wedding dj master list”.

Lastly, I would cautiously consider recommendations from your wedding reception site. Years ago, most venues offered recommendation lists based on quality. Today a good number of those lists are “pay to play” – where quality standards are often “relaxed” in lieu of payment. These lists often come in the form of a fancy book or planner. If you receive one from your venue, know it’s an ad book and treat it as that.

2) Use review sites to narrow the wedding dj field.

It’s hard to imagine we used to plan weddings before the internet. Today the web has become a priceless planning tool. In this step, we’ll use review sites to help add to your “wedding dj master list” and to pre-qualify some of your potential wedding djs.

My favorite review site is Wedding Wire. It’s national, reputable, and has fantastic screening features. When you reach the home page, click through to the “Find the Perfect Vendor” section, then to dj. You’ll be presented with pages and pages of djs. One thing to be aware of is the djs listed at the top of the page, pay a lot of money to be there. In addition, all of the djs on the first page are paying advertisers. Insider’s Tip – Click the drop down labeled “show filters”. Select “most reviews”. This will remove the preferential placement provided to paying advertisers and sorts the list based on amount of referrals. I recommend adding companies with lots of referrals and a positive rating to your “wedding dj master list”.

Now, we’ll begin to pre-qualify. Start to search out the wedding djs on your master list with the search tool. Most of the djs that made your list should also be this review site. In the wedding world, this is the site to be on.

Spend some time reading reviews. If a disc jockey is giving a client the proper time, attention and service it will surface in the reviews. Insider’s Tip – Look for the drop down labeled “sort by” on every review page. Click “Rating: Lowest”. This will bring the negative reviews, normally hidden after all the positive reviews to the front. Hopefully, your potential wedding djs don’t have anything to worry about. Wedding Wire does give event professionals a chance to respond to reviews so at least you’ll hear both sides of the story.

3) Every wedding dj worth considering should have a website.

In my opinion, every professional wedding dj worth considering should have a website. On the website look for two things, a clear explanation of the dj’s style, and pricing. For a wedding dj to make your short list he should be compatible, at least in writing, and within your price range. Insider’s Tip – for the djs that don’t post pricing, expect a higher price tag and a meeting with a “salesman/disc jockey”. Be ready for it!!

Most djs today have an availability checker on their website. Use it or the telephone to check availability. At this point, look more for response time over availability. If the disc jockey happens to be scheduled already or if you don’t get a prompt response, you can eliminate him from your “wedding dj master list”.

4) Search the raves & rants for djs on the wedding chat boards.

I’m not suggesting your potential wedding dj has anything to hide. But if he does chances are there is a permanent record in cyberspace. Surf to the wedding message boards of the Knot, or if you’re local Boston.com. Most people don’t use the features but these sites are searchable. Both archive all sorts of fantastic wedding tips and ideas as well as raves and rants for local vendors.

These sites are supposed to be vendor free so unlike the review sites you usually only hear one side of the story. I don’t need to caution you about using due diligence using information learned this way. I’ve heard stories of reputable wedding vendors unfairly maligned by customers and competitors with an axe to grind.

You can also get some of the same information with Google. For instance, I used these search terms – “greg hodges dj the knot”. I got results directly from the Knot Chat Boards.

Use what you find to further shorten your “wedding dj master list”.

5) Which dj on your “wedding dj master list” cares the most?

OK, I admit this step is a little unorthodox, and chances are, you won’t find it anywhere else. It’s a great tool nonetheless and using it will help you fine tune your “wedding dj master list”.

Both speakers and cordless microphones are very important tools to the wedding dj. Get the make and model numbers used by each of your potential djs. I know you probably don’t know the difference between a Mackie SRM450 and an RCF TT22A. That’s not important for this.

You can do a Google search though. Take your model numbers and do a pricing search. You’ll likely find some of your potential djs care more about the way their music sounds and have spent more money perfecting that sound. I think you’ll find these same djs care more about how they run their business and treat clients.

6) Ask the wedding professionals you’ve already hired to review your “wedding dj master list”.

The next to last step involves getting the opinions from the wedding professionals you’ve already hired and trust. Chances are they know the djs on your master list and probably work with them and other wedding djs on a regular basis. They’ll be able to tell you better than anyone else, which of the djs you are considering would be a good fit for you at your wedding.

7) Schedule interview meetings with each of the djs left on your “wedding dj master list”.

Your “wedding dj master list” should now be your “wedding dj short list”. It should be an a-list collection of the best wedding djs for you in your area. The last and final step is to schedule appointments to meet each disc jockey in person. I can’t stress how important a face to face meeting is.

Come prepared with your list of questions. Of course the djs answers will be important but more important than that will be the feeling you have in your gut. Listen to it and you’ll make the right decision.

Pat yourself on the back, you’re done. Hopefully you’ve find the perfect wedding dj.

Sincerely,

Greg Hodges

5 Star Events

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