Dispelling the myth of “Wedding DJs sat behind some flashing lights”

12Dec12

Hi everyone,

Writing this blog post today from the warmth of a coffee shop overlooking a very frosty and wintry looking Gloucester. This weeks post is in reply to a suggestion from the fabulous Kirsten Butler from “The Little Wedding Helper” http://littleweddinghelper.co.uk/ Having worked with her I can say I’ve seen her magic first hand, a very talented lady.

Now my teachers pet introduction is done, let me crack onto the question raised by Kirsten. I wanted to state at this point I have only a few golden rules, one of which is to avoid being negative about other suppliers however I will more than likely mention a few stories that I’ve heard which I feel is relevant to answering the question.

The stereotypical DJ (which is constantly reinforced by the media) is of some old fella behind some flashy and tacky light screens talking non stop over the music, with a pint in one hand and a fag in the other. While this might of been accurate in the 1980’s the whole industry has moved on leaps and bounds since then. The whole red coat routine is rather old hat now and while most experienced DJs have this in their locker, the good ones know when to dust it off and party like its 1985.

That said, its fairly common for some newbies to the industry (As an admin on a national DJ forum I see day in and out whats “occuring”). The common phrase is to “let the music do the talking” which translates into no interaction at all with their audience. I have had a small number of clients request this which I’m happy to do but will say in my own personal opinion that its not the way to go. Why?, well I don’t feel the need to tell everyone how long this B side track was in the charts in 1979 but I do feel the need to make myself come across as friendly and approachable to all party goers. When someone comes up to request a song they are telling me so much more with that, little things like body language can give me ideas to how people are feeling at the time, what mood is everyone in. Does the volume need to be increased or is the genre of music not quite right for that particular moment in time.

Even if people are so forthcoming with requests it doesn’t stop me looking around spying for clues to how to maybe improve the “soundtrack” be it early doors background music or how to reach that grand finale track. Its a skill and a sixth sense that only comes with experience and some common sense. I’ve heard too many stories to the contrary to say every DJ does this.

Which leads me nicely onto my next point, meeting pre event with your DJ. Even if you have no particular music tastes in mind (which actually makes this meeting even more important) is the you feel you can trust him/her to make these choices and that they know what they are talking about. For me I’m always keen to find out what genres of music they like and don’t like so I know the boundaries to work within on the evening. The whole playing the same old songs at weddings is not true for myself and when possible I avoid playing the cliche tracks like “Celebration”, “Dancing Queen” and “Come On Eileen”. Naturally if my instinct tells me these songs will work wonders then I have no issue what so ever in playing them.

To sum up then, yes you could have someone sat their on a chair playing songs in a random fashion but if it has no flow, if the DJ has no connection or even cares about the dancers then how are you going to get people up dancing and enjoying themselves? It is a skill and an art which I’m working on constantly to improve.

So if your looking for a DJ to listen, react and execute the perfect soundtrack to your day then please do let me know. I have many good friends in the industry all over the country and always happy to recommend. If you need any tips or advice then please do also send suggestions my way, who knows I might feature it in a future blog post 😉

Regards

Neil

http://www.cheltenhamweddingdj.co.uk

http://www.facebook.com/cheltenhamweddingdj.co.uk

http://www.twitter.com/cheltenhamdj



2 Responses to “Dispelling the myth of “Wedding DJs sat behind some flashing lights””

  1. Thanks for this – really interesting and helpful. My wedding is 2.3.13 and we are asking our DJ to incorporate some specific African & Nigerian contemporary songs to the mix (the Groom is Nigerian). The DJ is someone I know who usually plays Saturday nights at a bar/club. If you had any tips before we meet the DJ that would be great? Thanks again 🙂

    • Hi Jenny,

      Many thanks for your comment and its great that you are meeting your DJ. Firstly have you seen this DJ perform and if so is that the sort of music and personality that you want at your wedding? I do a few club gigs during the year and my approach and style is very different to my Wedding DJ persona. For example as a club DJ I’m constantly chatting and talking, pushing the drinks promos at the bar etc… while at a wedding I’m far less vocal (while still using it to encourage requests when required and do the first dance etc..). The point I’m trying to make is can he perform in the way you would want your wedding dj to?

      In regards to the Nigerian music I would provide either a playlist or the media themselves unless your DJ has a good knowledge and database of these songs. Is there a large percentage of Nigerian guests at your wedding? I would suggest doing “mini sets” of Nigerian music during the night rather than just the odd one or two as this will disrupt the flow some what.

      These are the two main points, however during a one to one hopefully you will strike up a rapport and by the end you will feel like he is the right DJ for you and understands fully what it is you require from your evening entertainment.

      Naturally any further questions you may have then please do feel free to fire away 🙂

      Neil


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