Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Thoughts about hiring a DJ

Here's a few tips for hiring a DJ:

Hire a trained/experienced professional DJ/entertainer. A cool cousin that has an Ipod and some ecclectic tastes in music or your friend who DJs at a club may not be in a position to properly handle the ceremony music, the dinner music, the announcements, wedding traditions and the musical tastes of perhaps 3 generations of people attending the event. By the time you rent the needed speakers and equipment to plug in the Ipod and provide a microphone for the toast, most of the intended savings will be spent.

In addition to the several specific songs such as Bride and Groom first dance, coming down the aisle, the father/daughter dance etc, also provide about 20 songs that indicate your tastes- songs that can be mixed in during the course of the evening as the mood presents itself. No more than about 20- leave some room for your guests to request a song or two and for the DJ to use his or her professional judgement. Provide a DO NOT play list as well.

If hiring a DJ from an entertainment agency, insist on meeting with the DJ that will actually be working at your event.

Is your entertainer insured? Many venues no longer allow vendors who don't carry liability insurance.

Are there contingency plans for equipment failures? A back up soundsystem back at the shop will not be of much value if it takes an hour to get there and another hour to get back to the event.

Use a contract. It should spell out who, what, when, where, and how much.

How much time is required for set up and break down and is that part of the contracted time? A venue may have an event before or after yours and the DJ may be required to load in and out more quickly than is possible for his or her sound and/or lighting rig.

How will they be dressed? Hotels and Golf Clubs tell stories regularly of hobbyist DJs attempting to perform at a formal function in shorts, tanktops and baseball caps worn sideways. ???!??!!

Does your entertainer belong to any professional organization or network? This does not guarantee satisfactory performance but usually is an indicator that they are willing to learn and grow and attend training and other industry functions.

Here's to a great event!

Curtis Whipple
480 634 6127 AZ office
909 758 1969 CA mobile
Member of the American DJ Association
Member of the Wedding and Event Network
Picture from Wigwam Bridal Tour by Kym Ventola

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