The ultimate guide to hiring the best corporate, social or wedding DJ

April 1, 2019

Hello ladies and gents,

Today, I’d like to talk about entertainment, more specifically your event DJ. It is the industry I am in, and after all, I’ve seen enough parties and weddings in Montreal to know that, without a doubt, entertainment is key to a lively event.

Believe me, although it might be a tiny bit difficult for some of you to picture a party without alcohol, I can tell you they do happen (more often than you think) AND they can still rock if you have the right entertainment.

I’m not saying don’t drink! I’m not that crazy!! However, I am saying that a party can happen without (the unthinkable) alcohol; but cannot “HAPPEN” without good entertainment.

There are a few things I want to “clear up”, that might help you choose the right entertainment for you (IF you absolutely have to choose between one or the other):

Live band vs. Professional DJ

Consider the type of event first. Is it a gala? A wedding? Or is it a corporate event? The crowd attending will tell you the type of entertainment you might want to get.

If you have a young, clubbing crowd, then DJ is most definitely your match. If you have an older crowd, and/or you are looking for an intimate, more of a mingle kind of event, then a live band would work best.

In my very own personal opinion, I believe a professional DJ is the most versatile option. He/she can adapt and/or respond very quickly to the crowd, which brings me to my next point.

Choosing the right DJ for your event

Yes, a DJ will most likely be more cost-efficient than a live band; however, be careful with the DJ you choose.

I cannot stress enough to my clients how important good music is. You can have good food and drinks; but that will only last so long. You obviously don’t want bored guests.

Price is not always the most important thing. Remember, you get what you pay for. I am not saying to spend your life savings on it, but think reasonably. Experienced DJs will cost you more, good sound equipment does cost more, and of course, that translates into a higher fee. Why should this matter?

Well, an experienced event & wedding DJ should be able to gage the crowd and react to your guests’ response to music. That means if he/she puts on rock and roll and people start leaving the dance floor; then, the DJ should quickly realize it and transition to another type of music.

What about the equipment? Let me put it this way. If a speaker that is 10 years old blows during the night (yes, it happens when inexperienced DJs crank up the volume too high), you might end up with an unbalanced sound during the event, or what I consider worst, an endless annoying buzz.

Finally stage presence and safety is a big point as well. After all the hard work you put into making your wedding or event look spectacular, why would you accept a mess of hanging wires and an unattractive stage.

Purely for illustration purposes, this is what an amateur and a professional DJ look like:

Professional wedding DJ setup vs amateur DJ setup

Ask for different stage options. Does the DJ have different DJ booth models? Can he change the color of his stage lights? Does he offer upgrades? Downgrades? Can he accommodate your event style and look?

Club DJ vs. Event DJ vs. Wedding DJ

Yes, there’s a difference.

A club DJ has a style. They prefer a specific type of genre, and most of them specialize in one or two types of music. Some club DJs don’t take requests or don’t even ask clients what type of music they want.

Events and wedding DJs are trained or have experience in adapting to what the client needs for that very specific type of event, and for that specific time period of the event.

Note, I am not saying not to hire a club DJ; rather, my intention is for you to be aware of the difference between them.

Think of it this way, if you are a chef, and you have one prospective employee that can wash, cut/prep, and plate dishes; and another one that can only cut/prep… Who would you hire? The answer is, you hire what you need.

Another thing to consider is the music’s quality. Is it all Youtube downloads? Have you ever noticed that some songs are very loud, and others not so much? Well, it has got to do with the quality at which the songs have been uploaded and downloaded. Needless to say, you don’t want this. A proper DJ should have a legal library of high-quality music.

The Professional Master of Ceremonies (emcee or MC)

If your event has more than 100 guests, I’d say it is a must.

Your DJ is there to DJ, play music. He/she can probably do some introductions, but that is not the DJ’s focus, or it shouldn’t be.

The professional MC works for the crowd, orients your guests, and most importantly, makes sure the night goes smoothly and seamlessly. No gaps, no empty moments.
As a professional event planner, I can say that the biggest No-Nos for an MC are: inappropriate comments/jokes, swearing, and excessive drinking.

And, last but not least, a very important thing to watch out for: The look. Yes, it is important. In my view, if your guests take the time to look AND smell good for your event, so should your DJ (and staff). It’s that simple.

Biggest tip, READ REVIEWS. Let past clients tell you more.

The entertainment company you hire should have liability insurance.

Yes, better safe than sorry. The last thing you want is to be responsible for a DJ’s laptop or speaker because one of your overly excited friends decided it was a good idea to lean over the DJ booth to request a song and spill his beer all over the equipment.

The DJ company you hire should have a place of business.

Did the last DJ you contacted ask to meet you in a coffee shop? How about a bar? Or better yet, at your house? These are all red flags. What happens if you are not satisfied with the provided service and you want to go see him? You check his website and there is no address. Even Google can’t find him. Be aware of the “DJ on the GO”. I am not saying they are all out to get your money but would you feel comfortable hiring a lawyer with no place of business? How about a doctor that only makes house calls?

Well, I think this is, in a nutshell (as much as possible) my two cents on DJs, MCs, and entertainment.

A shout out to all DJs out there doing an awesome job, and may the all-mighty be with you and your eventful endeavours!

Yours truly,