13 Tips on how to find the right DJ for your wedding day

13 Tips on how to find the right DJ for your wedding day by Rick Ryan (www.RickRyan.com)Congratulations, you're getting married! Now the real fun begins; planning your wedding day. The food, the venue, the cake, the dress. There's so much to do and so little time to do it. And then there's all the pressure to "do it right" after all, you've got one shot. Feeling overwhelmed? It's okay. While I can't answer all your wedding preparation questions I will try to help with one thing; choosing the right DJ for you. Your choice of Wedding Entertainment will probably be the single most important (yet often over-looked) decision you'll make. Here's how to separate the "real deal" from the "posers":
"Great DJ" "Avoid"
Client Reviews Will have lots of great reviews from past clients. Even better if the reviews are hosted on an independent website where they are actually verified as legitimate. Has no reviews posted or perhaps just a handful. Keep in mind that if you see a handful or notice that all the reviews have the same style of writing, they've probably been faked by the DJ.
Website Very informative. Lots of info that educates, not just sells. There should be tons of photos from past events. Actual playlists from past events available for you to review are even better. Not much info. Poorly arranged. Has a handful of pictures (few pictures screams "fake"). Their main selling point is "Cheap".
Event Planning Is willing to hold your hand to walk you through the process of planning the perfect event. Will have an Online Planner available and often willing to supplement with phone calls, emails or face-to-face meetings. "We'll take care of everything." "Meetings aren't necessary."
Guest Requests Knows that guest requests are vital. It's what "hooks" your guests into staying and makes them a part of your big day. "We don't take requests cause we're the experts."
Preparation and equipment setup Has a neat, clean setup. All cords are neatly taped to stands and the floor. Uses mats to cover cabling. All tables and stands are fully draped in either black or a neutral color. If you spent all that time in preparing your decorations, do you really want some DJ to walk in and wreck it all with his junky setup? Doesn't bother with "all that silly stuff". "You want cheap, right?"
Arrival Arrives early at the venue for setup and with plenty of time to spare. For DJ-only, 1 hour (at minimum). If Uplighting, Photobooth or a Projector is involved, it's more like 2-4 hours in advance of the first guest. "We can be setup and ready in just a few minutes."
Equipment Uses pro-quality gear and carries spares of everything; speakers, amps, laptops, cables, etc. Subwoofers are highly recommend for dance events (in addition to the speakers you see mounted on poles). "Thump" is what motivates people to dance and helps keep the system from sounding tinny and harsh. Uses the bare minimum they can get away with. Often that will be just a pair of speakers on stands. Does not carry backup equipment because "it's never failed me before." (a recipe for disaster).
Uplighting, Photobooth and additional services A great DJ understands that today's wedding guests expect more than "just music". From the moment your guests walk in, they'll look at the presentation your DJ makes to know whether "This is going to be a great party" or whether "We're gonna split right after the cake is cut." A great presentation raises the expectation level of your guests and makes the rest of the event flow smoothly. "We specialize in music only." or "You want cheap, right?"
"Uncle Bob keeps making rotten requests." A great DJ knows how to handle bad guest requests politely and avoids having "Uncle Bob" come whine to you because he can't hear his personal favorite song (even though it's completely inappropriate for the occasion). Gets into an argument with your guest or perhaps just tells Uncle Bob that "The Bride & Groom don't want your song played." When Uncle Bob (insert your friend/relative's name here) has had a few drinks and can't talk the DJ into playing "Green Grass and High Tides Forever" you can bet he's going to make a beeline in your direction.
Demeanor - mic chatter Makes all announcements clean, clear and concise and keeps mic-chatter to a minimum. Avoids typical "cheese-ball" antics like jumping on the dance floor and knows that his job is to keep the attention focused on the Bride & Groom. Talks constantly in between (and on top of) songs that your guests actually wanted to hear. Keeps drawing attention to himself. Seems more eager to stroke his own ego than to insure a smooth, successful event.
Multiple DJ or Single? A great DJ service that has multiple DJs working insures that you won't have a "no show" at your event. A great company has clearly established standards and trains their employees to deliver a clean, consistent, professional presentation. Often is the only DJ they book. You'll often hear the "you know what you're getting with me" line but, do you? Aren't you really just taking their word for it, often without any real proof of their delivery? You may also hear the "I've never missed a gig" line but we all know that things do happen. It's not wise to put all your eggs in one basket.
Is their pricing easy to understand or complicated? A great DJ knows that you already have enough confusion in this process and will design packages with simple pricing to help make it easy for you to decide. "Well, it's $X for the first three hours, then $X for every hour after that. Oh, and if you want dance lights it's $X and of course a monogram is $X and then there's the......" This is what we call the "nickel and dime game". They'll shoot you a cheap price initially but after you've finished adding on all the little extras, it really adds up.
Are they the cheapest? In the DJ world there's nothing more true than "You get what you pay for." A great DJ delivers value and that doesn't necessarily mean the absolute cheapest price. Look for someone in the middle, price-wise, or slightly towards the top-end. Buying the most expensive DJ in town also does not assure you of great service. A cheap, low-ball DJ is, very often, worse than no DJ and will be the first one to bail out on your event if someone else offers them $50 more, leaving you holding the bag. There's nothing worse than the calls we get from a panic-stricken Bride whose DJ bailed out at the last minute.

About the author: Rick Ryan runs one of the most successful and well-respected DJ services in Middle Tennessee and is a regular at some of the most top-end venues in the Nashville area. For more information, please visit http://www.RickRyan.com.

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