A DJ is Both A Wedding Planner and An Announcer
For those that aren’t familiar with Detroit wedding DJs, it may seem that all a DJ has to do is push a set it and forget it button that plays music for 6 hours. While playing background music during cocktail hour and playing party-pumpin’ music during a wedding reception is one of the core functions of a DJ, there is so much more that goes on behind the scenes that will help you plan the whole event.
A Wedding DJ is your entertainment coordinator and, at times a wedding DJ will act as a pseudo-Wedding Coordinator to help stay on schedule.
So what does a wedding DJ do? To most peoples’ surprise, a wedding DJ prepares well before the actual wedding day – often times 6 months before! In fact, planning starts with the very first contact.
Because wedding DJs do a lot of behind the scenes work, I’d love to give you a glimpse at was goes on with my wedding DJ packages and pricing.
Getting To Know You
Figure out what exactly you are looking for is the first thing that I do when I meet a couple that is interested in hiring a dj for their big day.
- What kind of music do you like?
- Do you want lighting?
- Which song do you have in mind for your first dance?
- What interesting things have you experienced at other weddings?
All of this information becomes the foundation for determining what you would want, and don’t want, at your wedding as far as the DJ is concerned.
If everything is in alignment and all of the right questions are asked by your potential DJ, then you can make your selection and get the ball rollin’!
It’s All in the Details
While the discovery phase allows the DJ to get more information about you, and vice versa, will help you both understand what you are looking for – especially once you get closer to your wedding date and need to really get down to the nitty gritty. Typically about 60 days out from your wedding, I’ll start collecting important information that will help me guide some of the key elements of your wedding. From the pronunciation of your wedding party guests to whether or not you are going to do a bouquet toss, it is very important for me to know all the ins and outs so I can help ensure that your event goes smoothly.
It is also around this time that I will coordinate with the venue to find any specific details that we’ll need. If I am unfamiliar with the venue, I’ll typically plan a trip to the site to start a line of communication with the venue, check out where to put my equipment, find power outlets, etc. I will also contact outside vendors like your photographer and videographer so that we can collaborate. As I’ve said above, DJs coordinate a lot behind the scenes and keep the party on schedule while still being the catalyst to a good time.
More Planning and Coordinating
While some planning can be done in one meeting, the truth is that elements of the wedding can change. Headcounts change and can force changes to the floor plans, musical selections might be altered to accommodate a different audience that may not like certain types of music, and the list can go on. I always get in touch with you 30 days before the wedding, to see if anything has changed and to see if a more formal meeting is required.
It’s at this time that I want the couple to lock in their special songs, that way there is enough time for me to gather your repertoire and start doing some test runs on my end. There are times I have literally ordered vinyl from Europe for a first dance where I could not obtain a copy otherwise, so it is great to be ahead of schedule when it comes to planning with your DJ.
Preparing For Your Special Day
Usually the week prior to your big day means solidifying every single possible detail. I go over the schedule again and again, and if there is a question that I need an answer to, I will go to your coordinator or whoever can help me answer it. My goal is to make sure that your day is as stress-free as possible! I establish all your special songs and plan out how they are going to intertwine with announcements and the Wedding Coordinator’s schedule. I go through my checklist to make sure everything is in order and I send vendors and the venue any important information that they need to work off of. There is a surprising amount of checklist items that I have to ensure are completed when your wedding day comes.
When your wedding day arrives, I’ll put all my equipment in my work vehicle, drive, unload, setup, test, perform, breakdown, drive home, and unload. Once everything is set up for your wedding, and everything is tested out to 100% sanctification, the real fun begins.
Being a Team-Player
There are many DJs that are in it for the ego, the adrenaline rush, the need to control everything, and the need to make it all about themselves. For a passionate, high-quality wedding DJ, that ego is not the way to approach a wedding. There is no room for conflicting personalities and the goal is to have the event be about you, not the dj.
DJ Chris’ goal is to work as a team, support other vendors or the venue staff when needed, and ensure that the event exceeds your expectations. This means working with the venue to ensure all the critical points on the timeline are met. This means notifying the photographer and videographer when things are about to happen so they don’t miss the perfect shot. This means if a change in plans happens that you can work that into the timeline to ensure nothing is missed or forgotten.
The Backbone to Your Wedding Coordinator
Making sure nothing goes wrong is always on a DJs mind and for good reason. A photographer can have a bad photo but there are literally hundreds of great shots to choose from, a florist can have a wilted flower or two but it may be overshadowed by the 10s of other flowers in the bouquet, a caterer can have a bad piece of broccoli but can supplement it with some other vegetable, but if something goes wrong with the DJ, especially at critical moments, then that can be a huge problem. A wedding DJ does not get a second chance and they must react at a moment’s notice to fix the problem. If a microphone cuts out then a backup is there waiting to be replaced. If a song fails to play correctly then a new one is replaced and you’re off to the races.
The bottom line is that a tremendous amount of care and experience goes into your entertainment so that it goes flawlessly.
Managing the Evening
After the vows have been exchanged at the ceremony, the cocktail hour has concluded, the cake has been cut, and the last speeches have been made, it’s time for the DJ to get the dance floor flooded with people! The music that is played will be based off of all of the meetings and discussions we had prior, while cross-pollinating different age groups and styles to make everyone feel included and carefree. I take a lot of pride in my knowledge of music and my ability to seamlessly blend, transition, and mix tracks, and that is the secret sauce to a great wedding DJ.
For those that have seen a club or party DJ in action, a wedding DJ’s vibe is a lot different. Knowing how to read a crowd and having a diverse background in genres of music is a must. In one night, I have gone from top 40 hits, to country, to EDM, to old school Hip Hop, 80s rock, 90s House! No matter what the genre is, the goal is still the same – get people dancing and having fun!