Tips for Choosing Your Wedding Entertainment

Along with making your wedding an event to remember it will also show respect to your friends, family and guests for coming. First you have to decide whether you are having a Band, DJ or alternatively an iPod, Jukebox or Notebook Computer for your reception entertainment.

Wedding Music

Each form of entertainment has its benefits and down side’s. Here are some things to consider when choosing your entertainment…

Live Entertainment / Band

If you are having live entertainment during dinner, be it classical trios, acoustic guitar, piano etc. you may want a DJ for the dancing part of your reception. Alternatively, if the live entertainment is more of a party band, you may need some easy listening music for the formalities and during dinner.

I would recommend having a DJ or at least someone operate a dinner music playlist if having a party band. One of the band members may be able to do this also.

The Good..

Entertaining to watch

Can create some great atmosphere and energy in the room

The Bad.. 

Volume Control – Usually it’s Loud or Louder

They usually cannot play for 6 hours straight.

Generally the most expensive

TIP – Make sure you have heard your live entertainment first before booking them. Listen to a DEMO CD of 4 to 5 songs to get a feel of their version of your special wedding songs.

Disc Jockey / DJ Service

Did you know you have no control over your entertainer’s performance? The good news is you have control over your initial choice and there are a few things you can do to add a little insurance to your DJ investment choice.

Choosing a DJ is not easy and it’s something you generally only do a couple of times in a lifetime. From over 12 years experience in the DJ industry, below are some non-biased tips that may help with your DJ selection.

1. Decide your DJ style

The first step is to decide what type of DJ you want for your wedding. There are many different types of DJ’s nowadays and it’s easy to book the wrong style DJ. The best style of DJ you want for your wedding (generally speaking) is a DJ who can entertain a mixed age group with a variety of genres of music.

If your wedding is an Ethnic wedding it is advisable to have a DJ experienced with the style of ethnic music to be played.

It’s important to note at this point that a great DJ is not necessarily a great MC (Master of Ceremonies). Personally I recommend having a dedicated DJ and a separate MC.

The MC can be a family member who is comfortable (and a little entertaining) or you can hire a professional MC. There are more tips regarding MC techniques in Chapter 9 which may help also.
Every DJ has his/her own style. When you book a multi operator company (a business that employs 2 or more DJ’s), ensure you talk and plan with the DJ who will play at your event and make sure you feel comfortable with that specific person.

2. Budget

DJ rates vary based on talent, personality, experience, music knowledge, mixing ability, demand, equipment required and location. DJ’s are much like actors. Have you noticed how some actors get paid $20,000 for a movie whilst others are paid $2 million?

Regardless of the movie budget, it’s the likeability, performance and demand of the actor that determines their wage. Generally speaking the same applies for your DJ choice and you get what you pay for in the entertainment industry.

If you are having a birthday party it doesn’t really matter if you pay $400 for a mediocre performance. But you have to consider if you want the same performance at your once in a lifetime wedding?

Spend good money & quality time on choosing your DJ

And your guests will love you for it!

Talk to friends and venues that have recently hired or seen DJ’s in action. Usually a word of mouth DJ service is the best to choose. Your guests will always remember a bad DJ in the same respect they will also recommend a good DJ.

3. Experience

It’s simple. Ask your potential DJ how many weddings he or she has performed at. It’s important your DJ will have the knowledge on how to direct the event with the right music and format to suit the style of event you are having.

If they can back up their experience with solid testimonials and even provide an entire gig on DVD Video that you can review, you are on a winner.

Short video clips will not represent the entire night these are just snippets of a song that may have worked well. These will give you an idea of the DJ’s setup and how they present themselves.

4. Music

In the hands of a master, a DJ’s Playlist will direct a room of people who came for a relaxing dinner into a fun & exciting party. Each song that a DJ plays creates a mood for each person and the room as a whole. You should have a say in what music you would like for the night.

The DJ service should provide a music list for you to choose a few styles and songs. This is usually filled out on the event planner. On average around 20 songs per hour are played.

From experience it’s good to choose say 20-30 must play songs and a few genres to follow along with a few Do Not Plays. This leaves a little room for the DJ’s creativity and will give the DJ an idea of you and your guest’s tastes.

5. Event Planner and Written Contract

A DJ needs in-depth knowledge of your style of event so he/she can be prepared for the day. An event planner can give this information to the DJ to assist in creating a successful event.

A contract should also be signed by the DJ service and Client which protects the DJ along with the client if there are any issues that may arrive.

For your own peace of mind make sure you sign a contract and pay a deposit (usually 30-50% of total price) for your booking as it makes it legally binding when money changes hands.

6. Equipment

Quality professional sound & lighting equipment is essential but remember that these are only the DJ’s tools and does not reflect the DJ’s talent, personality or the type of service you will get at the event.

If you can, try and get some pictures of the DJ’s setup to ensure it compliments your venue also. Overpowering and Ugly Light Trussing (What your DJ will hang lights from) is unnecessary.

Your DJ should be able to get 2-3 Good dance floor effects on 1 lighting stand and if you insist on a larger lightshow there are some sexy looking & subtle light trussing available these days

7. Summary

Follow these steps and the rest should be easy..

1. Talk to friends, family and venues to see if they have any DJ recommendations.
2. Make sure you feel comfortable with the DJ service you are considering.
3. Check their experience & equipment used..
4. If you are happy & confident with what they do, book them – early.
5. Most importantly, enjoy your wedding day!

The Good..

You will Hear the Original Artists Song Version

A DJ usually brings Lightshow & Effects that can create some amazing atmosphere during dancing.

Total Volume Control

The Bad..

Not very interesting to look at

Do a personality check for..

Inflated Ego


His or Hers Music Tastes – The Age of Your DJ will generally show in his/her music.

TIP – Ask your guests on your invite to provide 2 songs they would love to dance to on their RSVP’s. Then provide this list to your DJ so he can play your guests requests on the day.

iPod / Jukebox / Notebook Computer

The Good..

Great for Budget Weddings / Inexpensive

Great for Background Music

An option if entertainment cannot attend

The Bad..

Do not expect Dancing or a Climax to be built up. You need a human to pick up the vibe of the room!

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