The type of wedding DJ you really want!

After interning for one of the most amazing wedding coordinators (Simply Sweet Weddings) for three years through college, I landed a fantastic position as the Catering Director for a wedding venue, where it was my job to tour potential couples, book them, and coordinate their wedding day. And we were a wedding factory...130+ events a year...I'm talking Wednesday wedding, Thursday wedding, Friday wedding, two on Saturday, and two on Sunday. There were weeks when I was doing as many as 6 weddings plus other events.

Christopher Todd Studios

Christopher Todd Studios

So with that, I definitely saw a whole lot - I saw ups, downs, bad vendors, great vendors, and everything in between!

Every vendor plays a very important role in magically turning your wedding dreams into perfection, but many of us are very behind-the-scenes. Your guests don't see your photos until months later, as a coordinator I really try to be a fly on the wall, and no guest sees the amazing baker who crafted your cake...but your DJ is right there in front of everyone.

Everyone watches your DJ from start to finish and in my eyes, a DJ can truly make or break a wedding. They are "running the show" in the guests' eyes and they are the ones who are controlling the dancing, the events, and whether your guests have a good time or a great time.

And in my seven years of planning and hundreds of weddings later, I've seen my fair share of great DJs and terrible ones. Without naming names, I am going to tell you about two weddings I did years and years ago, and two specific DJs that I will never forget working with:

(In both of these scenarios, the DJ was also the MC)


DJ/MC #1:

The music was just as the couple had asked for and the guests were having a lovely evening and then it came time for the first shuttle to leave. I went up to the DJ, told him to announce that the first shuttle would be leaving in 5 minutes and he made the announcement after first asking me what he should say. I gave him a word by word announcement and he quietly spit-fired through it and got back to the music.

And no one heard it. I could barely hear it and I was standing right there.

While this simple scenario does not make him a bad DJ, an MC should be comfortable with speaking and know how to command the attention of the guests. He was running the show and there were plenty of guests who were antsy to leave and were eagerly awaiting his announcement, and yet they didn't hear it.

A great DJ commands your attention (in a good way), is comfortable with speaking in front of crowds, and gets the job done.

Now onto the second scenario...


DJ/MC #2

Now this DJ couldn't have been more different than DJ the definition of "opposite." This DJ never stopped talking...and everyone heard him. He talked all through dinner on the microphone (seriously, I don't think there was a peaceful moment the entire hour of dinner), told his own personal stories before every single announcement, and pretty much stole the show all night long.

Now it was great that he was able to command the attention of guests and he was comfortable speaking in front of everyone, but I was almost embarrassed for the couple who hired him...he made it HIS day rather than theirs. This DJ definitely loved the attention.


The Happy Medium

Personally, I like a DJ/MC who is somewhere in between. He can command your attention, can get the party started, knows what songs to play if the dance floor is looking a bit sparse, but knows that this is someone's wedding day and that they should have the wedding that they want, and they should be the center of attention...he/she just helps to direct that attention.

Kurtis Cross

Kurtis Cross

The Perfect DJ

Ultimately, every couple is unique and that is what makes weddings so beautiful. Some couples want a DJ who makes simple announcements and that's all. And some couples want to find a DJ who is really going to get their guests up and dancing - neither is right and neither is wrong.

"A professional DJ will know exactly how to be in tune with each couple and their guests. By planning with a couple in advance and then pairing that with the day-of energy, an experienced DJ can let the music lead your celebration!" (The Bride List preferred vendor, DJ Kurtis Cross)

It is totally a personal preference on how you envision your wedding day, but make sure your DJ's style does, in fact, fit what you are looking for.

One Single Shot

There are so many beautiful wedding photography sites out an overwhelming amount (pun intended). I mean, no one takes more beautiful photos than photographers so I would expect nothing less.

When you begin browsing wedding photographer websites in your area, the first thing you do is look at their photos. Sometimes you can just sit there and watch the homepage and the most stunning photos automatically scroll through, and sometimes there are albums you can look through titled "The I Do's" or "Bride + Groom Portraits." Once you fall in love with the photos (which typically is like a "love at first sight" relationship), you then contact the photographer for their pricing and packages and cross your fingers that it fits within your budget.

You get an immediate response from the photographer and voila! You've found "the one."

But have you? Is there anything else you need to check?

Of course there are lots of questions you want to ask and you want to meet him/her in person to ensure your personalities are a good match, but there is one item that so many couples completely forget to do...

Every photographer can capture ONE SINGLE SHOT.

You know those photos you saw on the homepage of the photographer's website? It's no secret that these are the very best photos this photographer has taken in his or her career. Yes, that means that over the course of seven years, those 12 showcased photos are the best of the best.

Well of course this is a great sign that he has the ability to capture these breathtaking shots but have you ever been on vacation and captured that one great shot that makes you feel like a professional? I know I have! And it took about 352 tries.

Real Talk: Not every single photo that is taken on your wedding day is going to be viral, jaw-dropping worthy. In reality, not every single photo is meant for that, but rather to capture the raw emotion of the day. So before you book any photographer, ask to see a wedding portfolio or check out their blog to see an entire wedding collection. While you may have liked the style of one single photo you saw, without seeing a wedding in it's entirety, you really can't tell if that is the style you are looking for.

There is no better indicator that you've found "the one" than to browse through one single wedding and still be in love with their work...from start to finish.

Hire or Fire?

There are options upon options upon options of vendors you could potentially choose. And with stunning work from so many, it is difficult to determine who to hire!

Of course, you must need to love their work (that's a given), but there are some other important pieces in the puzzle that allow you to rest assured that you have chosen the right vendors for your big day!

This chart is not meant to be used on 27 vendors in each category, but to be used on the top two to three vendors in each category whose work you've already seen and loved. The more you meet, the harder the choice will be. So make it easy on yourself and listen to my advice!