Whose Your DJ? [Thoughts on Weddings and DJ Entertainment]

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ipod-djThis weekend, I had the pleasure of working with a cute young couple who had a very tight wedding budget. I was confronted with a few challenges while coordinating their wedding, not the least of which was the fact that the friend who officiated their wedding was also playing the role of DJ/MC. And while I must commend the bride and groom for their efforts in organizing a complete playlist of music for the evening, here are some of the glitches we encountered:
– There was no prelude music for the ceremony
– There was no exit music for the recessional
– The first dance song ended up on the wrong iPod (and we had to track it down)
– The music selections for dinner were a bit unorthodox
– The pre-programmed music selections did not leave any room for ‘playing to the crowd’
…and so on…

Fortunately they had me to help keep things running smoothly, and overall things went very well; the couple had “their day, their way” and they seemed oblivious to glitches.

When I’m wearing my “Day-of” coordinator hat, I must be careful to provide support, not criticism. As a Planner, I would strongly advise against this type of scenario and take appropriate steps to illuminate and eliminate potential glitches. However, when circumstances dictate that I play the hand I’m dealt, that’s precisely what I do. And let’s face it: if the couple could have afforded a wedding planner, they likely could have afforded a professional DJ as well.

Ironically, I returned home to find an email from a colleague who provides exceptional DJ services. Obviously, fresh off a gig and needing to vent – here is his email to me (but it reads more like a plea to Brides & Grooms):
AFFA Wedding-Junction 88
“Elisa – I wonder why brides don’t trust their DJ to play the right music? I have had way too many brides completely program their wedding music to the point that they have had to hear certain songs in a certain order and at certain times.”

“Most good DJ’s have the ability to read the crowd and know what to play when to play it. I understand that you may not want to hear a certain song or songs, but to totally program the entire function, just defeats the purpose of having a DJ. You might as well just bring your iPod. Oh that’s right, you would have to rent the speakers and no one would be able to talk on the mic and introduce you in…”

“If you trust your DJ to do that, then trust him/her to play the right music.
Most of us do this for a living. I personally do 75+ weddings a year, so I may have seen a wedding or two in my life. We don’t want you to be unhappy so we are going to do the best possible job we can. We are going to do a good job, trust us!”

I contemplated the situation he described and couldn’t help wonder why this is so… Where does it stem from? And then a thought occurred to me:

Picture the wedding I described – glitches and all – and then try to estimate how many of the 100 guests in attendance understood the entertainment arrangements. It’s quite possible that a few people (maybe more) were unaware that the DJ was not a hired professional. It’s also possible that an engaged couple or two were present, in which case they were likely wondering what to expect from their wedding DJ… Would they feel the need to dictate the entire evening to ensure their satisfaction? Hmmmm…. yes, I’d say that’s plausible.

© 2009 E. Delgardio All Rights Reserved

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About The Author


Planner | Designer | Speaker I've been planning for as long as I can remember! When I was younger, I planned birthday parties for my siblings and surprise anniversary parties for my parents. I spent many years in the Hospitality industry and also studied Interior Design. I couldn’t have guessed that my creative and organizational talents would lead me to a career in event planning...seriously! "To love what you do and feel that it matters - how could anything be more fun?" - Katherine Graham

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4 Comments Add Yours ↓

The upper is the most recent comment

  1. Jason #

    That is an amazing point! This is the cycle in which this breeds. Future brides see un-professional DJ/emcees at weddings and think that is the only thing out there. They track down the information and think everything will be ok as long as they pick the music. It just doesn’t work that way.

    End of the day, brides want their day their way. It is their money and their experience. I have found the when I go to weddings the only thing I remember from them is whether the food was good or not and if I had a fun time! Your entertainment is what makes it fun or not! IPod, professional DJ, or a full band, think about your guests. They came there to see you and celebrate your day with you. Be aware of them and what they may like. Don’t just think of yourself. You will find that your guest will talk about your wedding as one of the best that they have ever attended.

  2. bryan #

    so unfortunately true Elisa…

    Bryan Taylor

  3. 3

    Thanks for speaking the plain truth, Elisa. It’s heartbreaking for a professional DJ to know that there are bottom-feeders out there who work for beer money, do a horrible job, and every week send a new army of disgruntled party guests out into the world to proclaim that all DJs are cheesy and obnoxious.

    When someone asks me why they shouldn’t just use an iPod for their wedding music, three things come to mind:

    1) If iPod wedding receptions are successful, why are there no videos on YouTube of successful iPod receptions?

    2) When someone tells me they went to a wedding, enjoyed prime rib for dinner, and were entertained by an iPod, perhaps then I’ll believe the couple who says they chose an iPod because they wanted control over the music. Until then, I’ll believe their only consideration was price.

    3) You see articles all the time that say the iPod will replace the wedding DJ. But a quick search of most frequently used Google Search Terms reveals fewer than 3,000 people per month, worldwide, search “iPod Wedding,” while millions search “Wedding DJ.” I guess we wedding DJs still have a few weeks left.

  4. 4

    Thanks for your comments Jay! I hope we’re able to help people make better choices about their entertainment arrangements.