How To Choose A Disc Jockey

In this era of compact disc and Disc Jockey entertainment, chances are you’ve heard horror stories about “a terrible DJ” that performed for a party or reception. Now that it’s your turn to hire a DJ, you obviously don’t want to make the wrong decision. Hiring the wrong DJ can be avoided if the right questions get asked and the correct steps are taken.

Dj’s come in 3 varieties: bad, average and outstanding. This is why the Disc Jockey field is proliferated by hundreds of “horror stories”. There are simply more “average” and “mediocre” DJ’s than outstanding ones. They may seem great to most people, but when compared to the performance of an “outstanding” DJ, the differences are almost embarrassing.

You should first decide if you want to IMPRESS your guests or merely service them with a human jukebox. Before you begin DJ shopping, you should be honest with yourself. In most cases, YOU WILL GET EXACTLY WHAT YOU PAY FOR. Never look at your purchase of a DJ like the purchase of a tangible item, like a food buffet or the rental cost of a hall. When it comes to quality entertainment, there is little room for bargain shopping. Two out of three guests say entertainment can make or break the event. Interesting note: No one ever admits that their “stinginess” in finding a “cheap DJ” was the reason their party or wedding reception was less than spectacular.

Although you usually get what you pay for, this rule doesn’t always apply. Bad DJ’s can be well-schooled in slick sales tactics and hit all the right buttons in order to sweet talk you into paying a premium rate that is usually 2 to 3 times the average amount for a DJ. On the other hand, outstanding DJ’s may not be the best salesmen.

How do you define the difference between a seasoned professional DJ and a mediocre or bad DJ? Use the guide below when screening a DJ. Be careful not to come off sounding like an interrogator. Ask the following questions in a relaxed, easy-going manner:

  • How many shows have you performed and for how many years?
  • Will you be the DJ who performs, or will it be someone else?
  • Besides announcements, how much do you talk? What do you say?
  • Do you have references that we can talk to?
  • Can you send a song list so we can view your music selections?
  • Can we make requests? Can we specify what we do not want played?
  • What does your equipment consist of? What does it look like
  • What will you be wearing?
  • Do you arrive self-contained, or do we need to provide anything?
  • Can you go into overtime if we need you? If so, how much

When it comes to choosing a DJ ask these questions and feel confident in the answers that are given. The odds are 1 out of 5 DJ’s will be outstanding and when you do find one you will probably have to pay a little more for quality entertainment that will impress you family, friends and invited guests and to avoid that wedding “horror story”.

by Scott Ebright, Wedding Zone Magazine
© 2000 Wedding Zone Magazine
Reprinted with permission

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