Finding Your Perfect Wedding DJ

Photography | Karlee Steingrobe Photography  Pastries | Sweet Life Patisserie

Photography | Karlee Steingrobe Photography

Pastries | Sweet Life Patisserie

Your wedding is a once-in-a-lifetime event that takes a lot of time, effort and money to plan. The wedding DJ that you choose should reflect your personality and style, and this vendor will have a direct effect on the success of your special day. Here are a few things that a professional DJ should provide:

Professional DJ Sound Reinforcement: This includes all professional equipment, and this might also be needed for your cocktail hour (if this is in a different location vs. your reception). It should never look tacky, which means no banners, tangled wires or looking like it was from a 1978 high school dance. Full backup equipment is also essential.

Music Library and Music Programming: Your requests should be welcomed, and your "Wedding Soundtrack" will help create an elegant atmosphere that will keep your guests on the dance floor all night long!

Master of Ceremonies: The top fear in America is public speaking, so having a polished MC and talented spokesperson is essential for leading your wedding traditions and personalizing your special moments.

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Entertainment: So many couples are terrified that their DJ will turn into "that guy" or act like "The Wedding Singer!" A great DJ entertainer will create a family-friendly environment and provide all of your special moments with the level of interaction that you choose.

Entertainment Direction: On your wedding day, a great DJ will communicate with you, your wedding professionals, family members and your bridal party, so that the events and pace flow smoothly. This leaves you more time to socialize and dance!

Personalized Planning and Creative Involvement: Many DJs are able to offer personalized ideas that match your style. No more “cookie cutter” weddings. Wedding DJs should not be perceived as just "The Spotify Jukebox"!

Wedding Ceremony Music and Sound (if requested): Lavaliere (clip-on) microphones look better (in your wedding pictures) than a mic on a stand, and these insure that your guests will hear your vows. Some DJs may also be willing to attend your ceremony rehearsal to double check the layout, cues and timing for your ceremony songs.

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Southern California Wedding DJ Pricing Guidelines:

Less than $999.99: No, just don’t. Run! It is 2018. Everybody has heard or seen at least one “Mobile DJ Horror Story.” Do not let a cheap DJ rip you off!

$999.99 to $1,495: This vendor is generally a beginner, a hobbyist, part-time or subcontractor/employee from a larger, Multi-Operator DJ company that rents out or “hires out” other DJs. Be sure to ask. Larger companies may or may not “assign” you a specific DJ for your wedding date. Get everything in writing. They probably will not have a lot of experience hosting and entertaining. Their training may be minimal or basic, so their planning, wedding etiquette skills and event direction will be the same. They will most likely be adequate as an announcer, but not a true “Master of Ceremonies.” Music knowledge and programming is typically more standardized, and the results for your celebration will vary from forgettable to average.

$2,000 or more: These DJs are usually full time, single operators, who are passionate and dedicated to their craft, and have many years of wedding experience. They are confident in their abilities, and many will stand by their promises with a money back guarantee. They have advanced training, public speaking and (appropriate) humor skills, continue to learn and improve and are able to collaborate with you for any personalized ideas. Music selection, programming and mixing are at professional levels, and their sound system looks and sounds amazing! These DJs are able to create beautiful, special and memorable moments and are at your service for questions, planning and your overall peace of mind.

Options and enhancements like ceremony services, uplighting, dance lighting and photo booths are sometimes available. Make sure to look for other companies that specialize in these services.

Remember in your planning process, even though things might seem pretty hectic, good luck with your vendor search, and be sure to enjoy the journey!

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Author Bio: Hello, I’m Matt! I own Matt Graumann Entertainment, a wedding entertainment company located in Southern California. I am one of the few Wedding Entertainment Directors (tm) in the United States (www.wedguild.com), the Co-Director of the Association of Bridal Consultants Westlake Village/Thousand Oaks networking group and have served as a board member locally, and nationally, for the American Disc Jockey Association. In my free time, I enjoy jogging with my dogs, hitting the gym, enjoying music and spending too much time on social media!