8 Must-Have Qualities to look for in a DJ
Your DJ/MC or Band has more responsibilities than you probably know about. The right company will know these responsibilities and as a result you will have more peace of mind about the little things that can make a big difference.
This is not a list only unique to what Full Circle Melody does, there are a lot of other great companies who share these same qualities. Most companies that share these qualities will be in the mid-upper price range.
1 - PERSONAL
This seems obvious, but you'd be surprised. The Bride and Groom have a name, the Father of the Bride has a name, and the Mother of the Groom has a name. Make sure your DJ asks these details prior to your wedding to avoid being called “Bride and Groom” all night, and so that the big announcement of the Father-Daughter or Mother-Son dance can be more personal. A DJ who takes time in this area will make it a much more personal and elegant experience.
HOW IT RELIEVES STRESS: You and your guests will feel more of a connection with your DJ or Wedding Entertainer, instead of some disconnected hired gun.
2 - ATTENTIVENESS
I’m aware that many DJ’s keep details on their phone, but it could look very disengaging to you and your guests. You know how they have that popular bible app for your phone, and so a pastor just assumes when people are looking at their phone they’re following along with scripture? Oh, you’d be surprised! I’ve seen ebay, facebook, texting, football scores and other phone apps surround my pew on a typical Sunday Morning. Make sure your DJ prints this stuff off, or has the info on the laptop so that he or she doesn’t get sidetracked by the latest news or their latest text message when they’re suppose to be attentive to the flow of your reception.
HOW IT RELIEVES STRESS: Say something’s not right, maybe the dance floor is dead, or the coordinators is trying to get the attention of the DJ for a special or emergency announcement. If your DJ/MC is attentive to the surroundings you can be sure that the flow of the dance floor and reception events will be smooth.
3 - ROOM CONTROL
Most people giving a toast aren't going to have experience in getting your guests attention, they are handed the mic only to be giving a toast to a noisy room at first. In a kind and professional way, and without sounding too demanding, your DJ should know how to get your guests to focus their attention on you during the toast, speeches, spotlight dances and other important reception activities. I have worked very difficult rooms before and may never of been able to get the full attention of the guests without the right attitude, experience and techniques while remaining respectful and respected.
HOW IT RELIEVES STRESS: You really don’t have to worry about how certain events will go, your DJ will make sure your guests are ready for those moments that demand the utmost attention.
4 - BACK-UP EQUIPMENT
Even with the most expensive equipment, things like speakers, microphones and song playing sources can catch you off guard with a glitch or error of some sort. Make sure your DJ has a back-up plan for nearly anything that could go wrong. I was at a wedding one time and I couldn’t get the spotlight songs to play, but by being prepared, I downloaded every single spotlight song onto an external source and already had an aux cable plugged in and ready to go. Before anyone even knew there was a problem I plugged the source in and the song started. I’ve had a microphone cut out during a toast and quickly switched the bad with the good, sure, some people noticed but they probably also noticed how quickly it went from cut out to new mic in less than 30 seconds!
HOW IT RELIEVES STRESS: Knowing that if something does go wrong, it will probably go unnoticed to most and will help create that flawless wedding you’ve dreamed about!
5 - TIME-LINE MANAGEMENT EXPERIENCE
For those without a wedding coordinator, your DJ or Wedding Entertainer should have a general idea of what a typical timeline should look like. Does your DJ know what the shoe game is, or an anniversary dance? Those are great to fill-in some time, especially during longer than usual receptions. I had one client tell me their guests were very conservative and won’t dance a bit! When I looked at their self-made timeline, they had the last three hours set aside for dancing. I threw some suggestions their way on how to spread out a few things to keep the guests engaged throughout the night while still allowing that all important dance time.
HOW IT RELIEVES STRESS: You won’t have to worry about being bothered throughout the evening by your DJ, they’ll have a great idea of what’s coming next and how to transition into each part of your reception.
6 - LEADERSHIP
It may be hard to tell if your wedding entertainment or DJ can still sail the boat when the waters get rough, but it wouldn’t hurt to ask your DJ about the most disastrous wedding they’ve done and how they handled it.
It’s a wedding! It’s not uncommon for something to go wrong and you want your DJ to step up when he needs to. I don't mean to share the story below to toot my own horn, what I did was pretty minimal actually. Having a DJ who can recognize when things aren't right and take action when needed could be a very valuable quality. I had a coordinator call a delay of the ceremony, asking everyone to come back inside due to one of the reception food vendors not showing up. Everyone knew something was wrong and it was getting later and later. I went to talk to the venue manager and the mother of the bride (the coordinator could not be found) and calmly told them there's no reason why we should delay, the longer we wait, the bigger of a problem this is going to be. I got on the microphone, introduced myself and said something like "some of the best weddings I've ever been to have been the ones where something wasn't quit right at first. This will be a fun night, sorry for the delay but we're ready to kick things off" and then I re-directed them back to the ceremony...without the coordinator even knowing (she was on the phone arguing with the food vendor while this poor bride and groom was confused on what was going on). We had a couple guests step up to go get some pizza and the event went on without any other problems. If I would of left it up to the oblivious coordinator, it would probably go down as the most disastrous wedding I've ever been a part of.
HOW IT RELIEVES STRESS: Having a DJ who can handle the burden of responsibility when unexpected events unfold will ease your mind and those around you.
7 - COMMUNICATION
It’s not too uncommon for some DJ companies to send out multiple DJ’s without giving the bride and groom specific details on who will be showing up. I’ve read nightmarish reviews about couples who hired a DJ, only to find someone completely different shows up without any prior communication. Making an event personal will be almost impossible if you only know the name of the DJ company, not the name of the actual DJ coming to serve at your wedding.
HOW IT RELIEVES STRESS: Something bothering you and you can’t sleep? Write it down and call, text or email your DJ the next day and know that you're talking directly to the one who will be handling the details of your wedding, instead of some go-between.
8 - PROFESSIONALISM
Many factors come into play when we speak on the word “professionalism”. Don’t let that word fool you. We took that word out of our marketing a year or so ago when we found that everyone is using the word “professional” now. Just because they have professional equipment, doesn't mean they're a professional company. There are some true indicators of real professionalism when it comes to your DJ or Wedding Entertainment. I’ll list a few for you to consider: How do they dress? How do they speak? What do others say about them? Are they DJing from Spotify or iTunes? Are they comfortable on the microphone? How many weddings have they done? Don’t be afraid to ask for references to find out if their behavior is one of true professionalism, or if it's just a word they use for a tagline.
HOW IT RELIEVES STRESS: By knowing you don’t have a relative or a friend taking over some of the biggest responsibilities of your wedding, knowing you hired someone who will dress and act the part, and has the knowledge to help make your wedding extra special.
Travis Wackerly has been in the wedding business for over a decade, specializing in MC and Live Music. His award-winning company Full Circle Melody offers those services and more in both Oklahoma and Texas. He is also a member of the elite John Maxwell Team and owner of Message Melody, a company that specializes in using music to teach on Personal Growth, Leadership and Executive Coaching.