Selecting the right DJ is an important element to having a great wedding! He runs the reception and can literally ruin the fun if you pick the wrong one. I asked Gil from Sound Sensation DJs to share his advice for future brides. Here are some insightful tips to consider before you commit to a DJ.
1. How do your couples choose the songs they want played?
This is one of the most frequent questions we get asked by potential clients. Here is how you build a killer playlist. If you haven’t printed your RSVP cards yet, you can have the printer put on the back of the RSVP card the following:
Please, name 3 songs you will ABSOLUTELY dance to on our wedding day:
gil-leadingA great DJ will entertain the guests.
Now, if you have already printed them, that’s fine – just print up a few pages of the above, cut them out and include them in the RSVP envelope. The best way to guarantee that the dance floor will be packed all night is to ask your guests what makes them really JAM...and then play that music.
2. Is there an advantage to having more than one DJ at a wedding?
The number of DJs (personnel) that you hire depends on how much work needs to be done. For example: If your needs are simple, such as a four hour event that requires setting up in one room only, then one DJ should suffice. In my experience, it is always best to have an assistant, if not another DJ, to help with all of the set up and running around at bigger events so that your DJ can focus on the more important details at a function. The trick is to know what you are getting/paying for, so, while meeting with your potential entertainment directors and giving them all the details, you need to ask how much personnel will be at your event. The important thing is to make sure that your DJ is also a skilled MC or Master of Ceremonies.
3. What do you do if a guest requests a song that the bride and groom have placed on their "do not play" list?
This should be an easy one - A "professional" entertainer will honor your "Do Not Play" list. Whatever the reasons, it is NOT acceptable to go against the client's wishes - pure and simple. If a guest requests a song on the Do NOT Play list, I smile and tell them I'm not allowed to play that song. Most people understand that and are okay with that explanation.
4. What is the most important thing a DJ does at a wedding?
Here is an interesting question. Professionals in this field do so much at events that no one ever really sees. Personally, I think that the most important thing a Wedding Entertainment Director can do is honor the bride and groom and their guests by forming a partnership with their client - working closely with them to ensure their wishes are respected so that they don't have to worry or have any undue stress on their most special day. My commitment to each client is that they and their attendees will have the best experience they've ever had anywhere. One of my favorite quotes is "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, it is a habit." In order to be excellent, you must practice excellence.
gil-guestGil dancing with a guest at a wedding.
5. What do you do if nobody is dancing?
This is one of the most difficult questions to answer because if you are "just a DJ" then you only have one tool in your arsenal...the music. If the entertainer follows the process outlined in the answer of question #1, then this should not be a problem. This is where a true entertainer comes in. One who can get out on the floor and become a party motivator by interacting with the guests. Whether it is by leading a line dance or engaging with individuals to energize them, a professional entertainer will become part of the event and make it unforgettable. I am fond of saying "If the DJ isn't having any fun, then no one is having fun!" If an entertainer is not willing to get out there and party with the crowd, all they can do is play another song and hope that people will dance. But, hope is not a plan. (pictured right- Gil dancing with a guest at the Flourtown Country Club)
6. During a sit down served wedding, do you encourage people to dance while the food is being served?
What happens during dinner is up to the client. If it does not interfere with the service, then you really can't stop guests from dancing to their favorite slow song. If dinner is running a bit behind, opening the dance floor up for some slow dancing might actually benefit everyone involved. Ultimately, it requires communication with the client and the venue to make sure that it does not impede the serving of the food.
7. What would you do if one of the guests want to sing during the reception?
Again, this is done at the discretion of the client. Sometimes the bride and groom are okay with guests doing a little karaoke, sometimes not. Giving the microphone to a random guest to sing without first checking with the client is risky. What if they want to sing a song that might be embarrassing to the client? What if they can't sing? This is a question that should be addressed in the initial meeting with the client. If it is okay with the client, then it's okay with me. Otherwise, I'm not handing my mic to anyone.
8. Are there any songs you think should not be played at a wedding?
Generally, at a wedding, songs that are more about the "party life," a promiscuous lifestyle, and that contain profanity or suggestive language might be viewed as inappropriate. While the "Anaconda" song may be popular on the radio or in the club, it may be out of line if the listeners include your grandparents and younger nieces and nephews. As a professional, I've actually had to contact clients to ask them about some of their song selections to make sure that is what they wanted. In a lot of cases the bride and groom pick a song because it has a good beat or catchy hook and don't even realize the song is about cheating on your spouse, running about trying to get "lucky," or so full of profanity that the content can't even be edited. Not passing judgments, just saying that, as a DJ, I have to consider all of the guests at an event, especially a wedding. Remember, your DJ is a reflection of you, the client. A good DJ will want to represent you in the best light possible and not play music that might be considered offensive.
9. Whew! You really do more than people realize. Besides the music, dancing, MC'ing, and monitoring the flow of the night, is there anything else a DJ can add to the event?
Lighting plays a dramatic role in mood and atmosphere at your event. We can offer different or customized lighting packages to add to your upcoming event. We can up-light or color wash your walls and ceiling, monogram your dance floor or wall, add dance-effect lighting to create movement, or color to make the dance floor more appealing. As far as which color is more popular...that depends on the client. The most requested seems to be purple and hot pink or variations of those colors for some reason.
10. What is your best tip on making sure the guests are having a good time?
last_danceLast dance - guests don't leave early when they are having a good time!
This one is my favorite question. And the answer is...Hire the best entertainer you can find! Here are some facts you need to consider. Though many clients say that, next to their venue, entertainment is the most important aspect of their wedding, they will often pass up on a great choice for their DJ because of price.
Remember, just because you get a bargain, doesn't mean you got a good deal.
The Knot, one of the premier bridal magazines in the world, published a survey wherein they asked brides that had registered with them a question Pre and Post wedding. The question? "What do you think is the most important priority for your wedding day?" The "post wedding answer" may surprise you. The standard is that only 5% of a wedding budget is allotted for the entertainment, but, the truth is that the entertainment is the most remembered aspect of an event and the benchmark by which the event is judged. Here are the results of the survey.
"98% of Brides, post wedding, said they would have spent more of their budget on entertainment. During wedding planning, brides say their highest priority was their attire followed by the reception site and caterer. Reception entertainment is among the least of their priorities. Within one week after their reception 98% of brides said they would have made their entertainment their highest priority if they had to do it again. 92% of guests say the thing they remember the most about a wedding is the entertainment. 75% of brides that hired a band, would hire a DJ if they could do it again." - Source: Simmons, National Bridal Service, USA Today, The Knot, Bride Magazine
Hire a competent, professional entertainer with verifiable reviews from recent clients. Don't use an iPod, and don't have a friend DJ your wedding, unless he is a professional DJ/MC. And, please, don't hire a DJ just because they can give you a "better price" than one of their competitors. Why? Well, would you rather be in the 98% or the 2%? I would rather you remember your wedding day as one of the most spectacular and amazing days of your life!
I wish you all the very best and an unforgettable event!
DJ Gil Keough
5 Star Rated by brides on weddingwire.com
Sound Sensation DJs
1289 Bridge Rd., Skippack, PA
NOTE: I love Gil because he not only gets everybody up and dancing, he runs the whole event smoothly, coordinates well with the photographers, and is an all around great guy. See Gil in Action on this 16 second clip I made for him at a wedding we did together last year at The Flourtown Country Club (click here).
- Barb, Forevermore Photos