Hello everyone, my name Is Charlie Walkrich and in this video I'll share a few tips on how to choose a DJ for your wedding in San Diego, Los Angeles, Orange County or pretty much anywhere in the United States. If you’re new on my channel, I’d like to invite you to subscribe and hit that notification bell so you don’t miss out on more helpful tips
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And now let's jump right in! But wait a minute, WHO AM I to tell you how to choose the best wedding DJ? What makes me think I know what I am talking about? These days we have so many so-called experts on YouTube, right? Well, yes, I am an actual wedding DJ with over a decade of experience, but forget about that, it’s not important at this moment. What really matters is I also get to see many other wedding DJs literally all the time when I provide other wedding services.
So let’s say a couple is getting married and they’ve already hired another wedding DJ but they still need a videographer or other services. This is when I might come in either personally or while supervising my workers since my company specializes in many different wedding services including planning, coordination, photography, wedding videography, DJ services, live music, audio visual equipment rentals, event lighting design and so on. This gives me a chance to work with all kinds of wedding djs - the best and the worst, expensive and cheap, amateur family friends and experienced professionals. I get to meet them and see what they do from the moment they show up and start setting up for the ceremony until the moment the entire reception is over. I get to see their equipment, hear their announcements, watch how they interact with the couple, their guests and other vendors and, most importantly, analyze their unique skills and learn from their mistakes.
Does that mean I am the best wedding DJ? No, definitely not. I simply don’t have some of the talents I’ve seen among many different DJs. All it means is that hopefully I’m competent enough to talk about this topic and my tips are helpful to you. After all, it’s impossible to combine all the talents and stuff it into one person. For example, I sing, play piano, keyboards, drums and produce music, some of which you can find on this channel. But! I can’t play guitar, violin, cello or any other instrument! I know it might be a strange comparison but it’s going to be the exact same thing when you hire a DJ. He is going to have some strengths and some weaknesses. And your job is to know what’s important to you so you can choose the best match tailored to your specific needs.
One of the most common misunderstandings among couples who are planning their wedding is that a wedding DJ is just some dude who plays music. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Playing dance music during group dancing is only one of the many responsibilities a wedding DJ has. How about assisting with timeline and agenda preparation, consulting and helping you decide when and how it’s best to do your ceremony processionals, reception grand entrance, first dance, mother-son dance, father-daughter dance, toasts, bouquet toss, garter removal, cake cutting, etc.
Making sure it flows smoothly and your guests know what’s going on by providing clear and professional MC announcements and introductions, coordinating with your wedding photographer and videographer to make sure they're ready before announcing the most important events I just mentioned above, coordinating with your family and friends to make sure each person is ready for their speech before introducing them for toasts and other activities, taking the time to get to know you before the wedding in order to prepare a song list that is full of music that is meaningful to you and your guests, not to mention being responsible, preparing in advance, testing the DJ equipment and having a backup plan just in case anything goes wrong.
You don’t want your DJ to bring a mic that will be cutting in and out in the middle of your ceremony, right? You probably don’t want to have a DJ who will do your wedding party introduction and your first dance while your photographer is in the restroom and misses the whole thing, right? Or how about a wedding DJ who won’t announce anything at all so no one in the room knows what’s going on or what’s about to happen and therefore has no clue when it’s okay to step outside or use the restroom without missing anything? It doesn’t stop here, you don’t want a DJ who brings cheap terrible sounding speakers that are literally destroying people’s ears. Or a DJ who has no idea how to properly use EQ to improve the sound based on room acoustics. Or a DJ who brings amazing speakers but puts them on the floor while he sits on a chair playing with his new phone. And his power strips, wires and equipment bags are lying around all over the place and will probably end up in some of your wedding photos. Not to mention a DJ who choses songs based on his own music preferences while completely disregarding you and your guests. Or a DJ who has a personality / attitude problem and simply doesn’t know how to work with people?
Trust me, I’ve it all and it made me so sad. It’s once in a lifetime event and you are chosen to be a part of it. As DJ or any other wedding vendor you should do whatever it takes to make it a happy day and a perfect day for the newlyweds and their family members. This includes helping each other out, even if you just met this person. But some DJs don’t feel this way while others simply don’t have the experience and skills required to be a truly great and helpful wedding DJ. For example, your friend who likes music and is willing to DJ your wedding as a gift to you might be an amazing person. But he doesn’t do weddings very often so taking on all of these responsibilities might simply overwhelm him and stress him out to the point that he messes everything up. Or it can actually happen the other way around – let’s say you hire a top-rated party DJ with a hundred years of experience. But he is so overconfident and stubborn that it blocks him from seeing his flaws and doing the prep work that’s required to provide you with an excellent service.
So how do you choose a DJ for your wedding? Now that you understand what being a wedding DJ is about,
I’m going to give you some specific tips that would maximize your chances of finding the best one for your specific wedding. First of all, let’s determine your goals and priorities. For example, maybe music itself is not that important to you and you just want someone who can do great announcements? Or maybe the other way around, you don’t care much about all the formalities and just want someone who will play great music all day? Well, what do you mean by great music in the first place? Is it the list of songs that you choose and give it to your DJ as a must play list before the wedding? Or do you actually want your DJ to read the crowd and play what’s most appropriate to keep your guests on the dance floor? Or maybe a little bit of both with some prep work and a personal touch?
My recommendation is to think about it and write it all down in an email that you can later send to several potential wedding DJs. This way they’ll have a chance to know a little bit more about your vision, your expectations and provide you with solid answers along with a price quote. When you read their responses, you’ll be able to tell how much attention to detail they have and what they are willing to do to make sure your event is a success. If you’re not sure what you want or need, just say that in the email and a great wedding DJ should be able to guide you and provide options to choose from. You should also ask your DJ to send you some samples of their work including videos of their announcements, their DJ mixes and their lighting setup. If this initial communication process becomes helpful to you, then chances are that DJ will be helpful at your actual wedding as well.
Before making your final decision, I also recommend looking up your DJ on Google, Yelp, Facebook, Wedding Wire and The Knot to check out their reviews. Try to carefully read at least a few positive and negative reviews so you can get a good idea of what to expect. Keep in mind that some of those reviews might be fake. For example, almost 10 years ago someone I know got angry at me, pretended to be a bride and posted a 1 star review. Thankfully I was able to get that taken down. There are also some DJs who might buy positive reviews or ask their family and friends to post them.
One more important tip I have for you is this: do not try to find the cheapest DJ. These days almost anyone can download some music and call themselves a DJ. But if you got to this point of the video, you already know that being a wedding DJ is a profession that requires special skills and training. It’s just like being a teacher, a fireman, a doctor or a lawyer. If your main objective is to save money, think about what you’re willing to sacrifice. Unless you’re mentally prepared to see everything go wrong while being okay with it, try to extend your DJ budget just a little bit and it will be well worth it.
It’s also important to point out that most wedding DJs in the United States do not know how to beatmatch, mix or produce music. The only thing they do is press the play button on their laptop, which starts a prerecorded song they downloaded online earlier. As long as they’re good at everything else I mentioned in this video, it’s usually enough for a successful wedding. But if you want to have an actual DJ artist who is truly talented and knows how to manipulate music, you’ll have to expand your search. Mention this to your wedding planner if you have one. Otherwise, try to email as many DJs as possible asking them about this before anything else.
Some wedding DJs can even play live instruments. This can add much more class and elegance to your big day while truly impressing your guests. It also gives your DJ extra knowledge and advantage when picking which songs to play.
A wedding DJ who is also a musician is likely to choose better music, it’s as simple as that. So, if you want the best of the best, that’s what I would aim for, as long as that person is also good at handling everything else I mentioned earlier in the video.
To summarize my main tips on choosing a DJ, I’d outline these five steps:
If this video was helpful, please be sure to give it a like, subscribe and leave a comment below, which would help me grow this YouTube channel. If you need a wedding planner, coordinator, photographer, videographer, San Diego weeding DJ, live music, audio visual equipment rental or event lighting design services in Southern California or anywhere in the United States, feel free to email me at CharlieWalkrich/at/gmail.com and I’d be happy to help. Last but not least, if you’d like to learn a little bit more about who I am and my story, I’d like to recommend my “American Dream” video, the link should be popping up on the screen right now and it’s also included in the description below. Thank you for watching and I wish you great success with everything you do.