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Planning Blog Series: Working with Your DJ

Posted By on May 12, 2014 in Planning, Weddings |

Reds Setup

Ah… the DJ.  If there is one thing you need to know when planning an event (weddings included!) – other than hire a wicked awesome professional planner – it’s that the entertainment can make or break your experience.  As such, it is important to do some due diligence before just hiring the DJ your mom saw at your second cousin Suzy’s anniversary party five years ago.  (Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure he was awesome, but you should still do your homework).

Tip 1:  Hire a Professional

When booking entertainment, I will not book a DJ if they are not a member of the Canadian Professional Disc Jockey Association and I strongly encourage my clients to do the same.   The professional code of conduct and ethics that their members are held to ensure that you will have a worry-free event.  Sudbury has a pretty strong DJ community of professionals who support each other when necessary and share training and professional development.  A CPDJA also understands the importance of licensing.

Dave Hastings, President of the CPDJA had this to share:

“When you’re at home, one set of laws apply for “private” use.  As soon as you step into a building that can be rented (even if you get the space for free) then the rules change dramatically as you’re now considered a “commercial music supplier”.  There are 3 licenses that you’ll need for your day if your event isn’t at home.  SOCAN and Re:Sound are venue licenses, but the required CONNECT Music Licensing is something that you should check that your DJ has prior to booking them.”

Tip 2:  Invest in Your Entertainment

Dave also suggests that the number one mistake that couples make is under investing in their entertainment.  According to Brides Magazine, 77% of couples surveyed after their wedding would spend more on entertainment if they had the chance to do it over again.  While web research indicates that you should budget 4-6% on your DJ, Dave recommends that allocating 10%.  The entertainment is one of the things your guests will remember most – and an empty dance floor costs a lot of money and leads to people leaving your celebration early.

Reds DancingTip 3:  The importance of the Do Not Play List

“Do not play lists are important, but not just for songs that you may not like, but any songs that may have a negative emotional impact on your big day.”  – Cheryl, Reds DJ

Any professional DJ will provide you with the option to place certain songs on a “Do Not Play List.”   Because let’s face it, not everyone likes The Chicken Dance.  I have witnessed firsthand how the memory of a couple’s wedding was almost ruined when the DJ played the first dance some from the bride’s first wedding…  Take some time with your fiancé and discuss what songs you would prefer not to have played at your reception and communicate that with your DJ.

Tip 4:  Timeline

Bill Bill McElree at AbsoluteWeddings.ca encourages couples to work with their DJ to develop a timeline of events, not impose one on him.  Your DJ is best positioned to control the flow of the evening.  If you have hired a professional, then this most likely won’t be his first time at the rodeo and he will be familiar with how to space out the series of events in order to ensure that everything goes smoothly and guests have a good time.

Tip #5:  Consider the DJ’s Style

Sudbury DJs usually fall under one of two categories:  The Club DJ or the Wedding DJ.

The Club DJ can be found pumping out tunes every Friday and Saturday

night at popular dance club.  A club DJ is typically younger, and plays a never-ending stream of thumping beats and remixed hits.  Couples are often familiar with their favourite Club DJs from their dating years.  This familiarity leads the couple to consider the Club DJ for their wedding.

The Wedding DJ is a professional who performs at weddings every weekend.  They have worked with many couples of varying backgrounds and musical interests have learned how to balance the tastes of the couple with that of their guests to ensure that everyone has a great time.

In speaking with Richie Rich of Big & Rich DJ Services, he shared the following three main things that a wedding DJ should offer:

1. Music knowledge:  a mix of music in their library.  They also understand t

hat a wide variety of music is the key to pleasing guests.

2. Wedding traditions:  your DJ should understand the musical and Emcee requirements for the traditions at your wedding in order to deliver the appropriate presentation for you and your guests.

3. Event Flow: a Professional DJ will change music styles to ensure a wide variety to keep the dance floor full and the party rocking.



Ok, I’ve got you started.  Now it’s your turn!  Do your research – consult your potential DJ’s website, talk to previous clients and feel free to check in with the CPDJA.   Keep the lines of communication open with your DJ once you book them and look forward

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