What Makes a Great Wedding DJ: A Photographer’s Perspective

What Makes a Great Wedding DJ: A Photographer’s Perspective

When planning a wedding and searching for a DJ, one of the things that you must consider is what makes a great wedding dj. From a professional wedding photographers perspective and, as a groom in 2014, I can offer unique insight into this question.

First, I have to disclose, my wife and I had a band at our wedding. Our wedding was loosely themed around a 1940’s Hollywood narrative, so only a jazz orchestra would do to increase the authenticity of our theme. However, I have photographed over 30o weddings and receptions so I can attest to what is good and what is not.

For this particular blog post, I want to focus on wedding dj’s. By definition, this is a group of professionals who play recorded music for wedding guests. That is a very VERY basic definition since it takes a number of skills and a lot of knowledge to be a successful wedding dj. I am using the elementary definition for clarity.

The first thing that I would look for in a professional wedding DJ is the most obvious…experience. A wedding  reception is a choreographed event. There is always a very specific timeline. Also, every reception has different types of people to cater to. Handling wedding guests is huge part of the job.  Being able to stay on schedule and read a crowd in order to maintain a certain energy level is not an easy thing. Handling different personality types of wedding vendors is also important, as well. An experienced DJ knows how to handle all of these things, deftly. So, wedding experience is a number one priorty when looking at DJ’s.

Secondly, a great dj has to have a great personality. It’s really that simple. It is their job to keep the party jumping and make people happy. A great personality is essential in this. If you have a dj that you don’t click with, you won’t have a good experience at your reception. The nicest guy in the world may not be your personality type, so make sure that your personality fits that of the person who will be in charge of your reception.

Next, and this might be controversial, but I believe pricing is important. And by that, I don’t mean cheap pricing. I firmly believe that in the wedding industry, you get what you pay for. This is especially true with wedding DJ’s (and wedding photographers 🙂 ). Remember, a wedding and the reception is a one time event. There are no “do overs”. Can you plug in a iPhone and let that play all night?  Sure, if you only want music playing all night and have your uncle making important announcements. A dj does so much more than just play music. It takes experience, skill, and knowledge to pull off a successful evening and, in general, that will not be cheap.

Part of the title of this post reads “A photographers perspective”  and it is from this point of view that I want discuss my last point. A great wedding dj communicates effectively with all vendors. They give a heads up as to when any formalities will be taking place. They make sure that all vendors are prepared and will not move forward until everyone is ready to go. Some even go so far to make sure that the other vendors are taken care of with food and water and such (love that 🙂 ). So, at a reception, the DJ is the coordinator of events, really. As a photographer, I look to them and depend on them to make sure that I know when things are going to happen so that I am ready when they do. Coincidentally, I get some of my best wedding reception pictures with the best wedding dj’s.

Your dj is the person that totally controls the mood, tempo  and momentum of your wedding reception. They are absolutely vital in the success of your wedding celebration. There are a ton of great wedding DJ’s in Cleveland. Following the listed criteria and trusting your instincts will ensure that you choose the best individual or company that best fits your needs and ensures that your party will be one that you and your wedding guests will never forget.

I know that I haven’t covered every detail so I would love to hear from you in the comments section.

cleveland wedding dj at house of blues dj working at house of blues cleveland wedding guests having fun on stage at house of blues

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