Selecting a DJ for your reception is one of the first, and most important, decisions to make when planning your wedding. An experienced DJ plays a key role in ensuring your reception runs smoothly.
The role of wedding DJs has grown far beyond music. Early in his 22-year career as a DJ, Garner Hansen said couples simply wanted music for dancing. “Now it’s much different. More brides and grooms are looking to us to help them plan the reception and dance with a very specific timeline so they don’t have to worry about any of that,” said Garner, owner of Dakota Entertainment. “The more
well-planned the reception and dance, the smoother everything will go. It comes down to less stress for the wedding couple.”
“There’s a lot of fun memory-making moments at a wedding where a DJ comes up with a fun game, or makes an elegant introduction for the speech for the father of the bride,” Garner said. “We get a lot more into the planning of the event than we have before. As a DJ, you’re making sure you know what you’re responsible for, and you have it planned really well so everybody knows what’s going on.”
Garner, who’s been a DJ at more than 600 weddings, offered these tips for selecting a DJ.
Book early: The top DJs tend to be booked a year or more in advance. “I think as soon as you get engaged, you have some top things you need to book – your venue, the church for the
wedding, and third on the list is entertainment. It’s that important,” Garner said.
Experience: Ask how many weddings he/she has done, and ask for references, “That’s what you’re purchasing – their experience,” Garner said. “Don’t go for the cheapest DJ. You get what you pay for.”
Services: How will your DJ customize your wedding reception and dance to be what you want it to be? Ask for a specific breakdown of what the DJ will do, so you have a clear idea of what will happen at your reception and dance.
Equipment: What will be used for music and lighting? Ask about quality, and whether the DJ has backup equipment in case something goes wrong.
Personality: Will the DJ mingle with you and your guests? Will he/she take song requests or stick to a specific playlist? “If they’re fun, upbeat, they have a smile on their face, that’s a good indication of how they’ll be at your wedding,” Garner said.
“A DJ’s job is to play good music, but even more important, a DJ’s job is to help create memories,”