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DJs/Music Production/DJing a Reception (1st time)


QUESTION: So my cousin is getting married in January and I have been asked to DJ. I gladly accepted, but the problem is I have only one reception under my belt. I've been doing karaoke DJing for almost five years, and wondering if I'm in too deep. I have most of the software, all I need is a bass unit to finish off my two K12 speakers. So I am going to buy Serato and a QSC bass unit to round out my equipment. I have a few issues with this reception, however. The BIG one is that I'm driving four hours out of town (being compensated) for this gig. The second is that, as mentioned before, I've only had one reception done. The mixing of the music is no problem, it's everything else in between that may have me. Is it difficult to DJ a reception? I've been reading about how we introduce the bride and groom, along with the other bridal party, and everything in between. What is your experience? Thanks for everything.

DJ AndrewD

ANSWER: Hello Andrew.  Thank you for your question.  I was the owner/operator for my own DJ company for 16 years.  42% of my business was wedding receptions.  The biggest difference between this and a regular party is that you have to talk to the crowd more and be kind of like an MC and a D.J at once.  Most weddings have a seperate MC so if you are uncomfortable talking to the crowd, then have the MC make the bulk of the announcements.  The couple getting married usually plan in great detail and a long time in advance to ensure everything goes off without a hitch.  It is helpful to meet up with the couple a few days in advance to find out if they have any special requests and if what song they would like for their first dance.  You can encourage them to provide a song list but caution them that even though it's their special night, you still have to please all of their guests.  As far as the music goes, quite often there is usually a wide age range of people so you will want to play the older music near the beginning since the elderly people will leave earlier then others.  You should "flow" your music by playing 3 or 4 fast songs in a row and then play 2 slow songs and alternate most of the evening.  That way people don't get too tired and will not get bored at the same time.  Play the music they would like, not what you would like.  Tell them you also take requests as well.  Dress for the occasion which will be formal like everybody else.  Announce anybody's Anniversary or Birthday if requested.  Conduct the throwing of the bouguet and garter in a fun and joking manner.  Play some novalty songs that are always a hit at weddings like the bird dance, the twist, and the Macarina.  Go to the dollar store and buy a couple small generic items to use for a couple of spot dances which adds a nice touch that you have invested in your time to do this event.  Have the couple do a special last dance as well and have everybody form a circle around them.  This gets the emotions going for sure.  Make sure you say goodbye at the end of the night and tell everybody who you are because referrals are the biggest thing in the entertaining business.  Be charming and most of all be professional the entire night.  
I sincerely hope it goes well and wish you much success for many future receptions.

Steve Parker
DJ/Music Expert

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: I have heard from other DJs that some wedding planners will lag purposefully so I will not do the show, instead they will use a DJ of THEIR preference. Is there any truth to this? I called my cousin's wedding planner and she hasn't done a great job of calling back. The wedding is 5 Jan 13 and the clock is ticking! The only reason I wanted to call is to make sure as I'm purchasing equipment, is to get Public Liability Insurance as some venues require it. I can't run the risk of packing everything up there only to find out I'm not allowed in. The first call was on Wednesday at 0800. She called back Thursday at around 4:20. I called her back and left another voicemail. I haven't heard from her since. Is this what they do??


Hi Andrew.  Every wedding planner service is different so I can't comment on why your cousin's planning service is slow in providing details etc.  I had not worked through or along side any wedding planner service in the time I owned my DJ business.  You may want to talk to your cousin directly to find out if your service is required or not.    


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Steve Parker


I can help you with all aspects of being a Disc Jockey or hiring one. I can tell you the best ways to advertise and how to sell yourself or questions to ask when hiring someone. I can tell you how to create contracts and other forms of publicity. I can advise on the best equipment and different forms of media. I can tell you about different venues and setup techniques. I can advise you on music speed ratios and the best types of play lists. I can advise you on how to interact with certain people or employees of venues. I can tell you what is and is not professional.


Owner and Operator of "Star Performances Disc Jockey Service" for 17 years. Employed 3 others to have multiple functions covered. Experienced with all forms of media and top of the line professional equipment. Performed for any type of occasion and all age groups.

Interaction with other professionals and gaining extensive self knowledge of all genres of music will make you successful.

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