Hiring the DJ for your wedding is one of the decisions you make that has the biggest impact on your day because not only are you interacting with them from beginning to end, but they are also interacting with your guests the entire time!
The conversation with our podcast guest, Jack, will give you valuable insight into the world of DJs and help you clarify what makes a good DJ, how to hire your DJ, and what to look out for.
Jack: My name is Jack Kristian. I own Platinum Events Company. I’m based just North of Dallas, Texas. I originally DJ’ed the House and EDM scene in the UK before moving to Sherman, Texas, which is about 60 miles north of Dallas and is quite rural.
I realized pretty quickly after moving that there wasn’t much of a scene for EDM here. After doing some research, I jumped into the wedding scene and have never looked back. I love DJing weddings and can’t imagine doing anything else now.
The Wedding Duo: People don’t realize how much havoc a bad DJ can have on your wedding until you’ve seen it firsthand. But how do you choose which DJ to hire? Photographers and videographers have a portfolio, and bakers have cake tastings, but what can a DJ do to show you they are the right choice for your day? What are you doing differently?
Jack: One of the things I always say during consultations is that a DJ is the most important vendor post-ceremony that a couple will book. Not only does the DJ play all of the music, but they are the ones who tend to be publicly in control of your wedding timeline, the day and flow, and honestly, the mood of your event.
Whether you want a wedding that is very formal and classy or one that is really high energy, you need to be able to find a DJ that can deliver that type of event and match your vibe. It’s a huge responsibility.
The Wedding Duo: Yes, and what we do happens in real-time. If the photographer is taking blurry pictures, you won’t know until you get them back in a few months, but DJs are in front of a lot of eyes on a really important day, and if we screw up, people know immediately. You really want to know that the person you hire can handle that pressure and responsibility.
Also, if the wedding planner is working with a good MC and DJ, it makes their job 1000 times easier.
Jack: Yes, making sure the DJ is willing to work with the wedding planner is so important. There are so many DJs out there not willing to work with other vendors when they should be looking at the bigger picture, which is working together to make the day the best it can be for the couple.
The Wedding Duo: Absolutely. There’s always gonna be something that can take you off plan, but the team mentality is just so important to make sure that the event is flowing and the couple is happy.
The Wedding Duo: Sometimes, there is no budget for a wedding planner, and in that case, the DJ often needs to pick up the reins and run the event. We have to keep the flow going in the event of hiccups and make sure the little things are in place, like, is the bride throwing the bouquet? Does she have a garter on? Because you don’t want to be announcing things that won’t be happening.
Jack: That’s absolutely right, and one of the things that really separates a seasoned DJ from an inexperienced one is all the work that goes on behind the scenes that people don’t necessarily realize that you are doing to make sure that everything is successful.
Jack: I try to keep things as simple or as hands-on or hands-off as the couple wants. So once a contract is signed and a deposit has been paid, I send my pre-wedding planning sheet, where I get all the information that I need from the bride and groom to make their wedding personalized to them.
I ask for all the names that I’ll be MCing on the day, from their names, their new last name, parent names, best man, and the people who will be making speeches; it’s all on the sheet.
I then ask them to list all those formal songs from the ceremony through until the grand exit if they have an idea of what they want. Then I dive deep into their music taste. I ask for their absolute must-play list and their ultimate never ever play songs.
One other thing I ask them to add is the songs that get them emotional, the songs that they may bring up unwanted emotions that are out of their control.
The Wedding Duo: Definitely. You don’t want to accidentally play the song that they relate to an ex for their slow dance song. That is not an emotion you need that day.
Jack: You have to learn to adapt to situations because if, for example, the speeches are going to be right before you open the dance floor and you were planning on opening the dance floor with something upbeat and crazy, you may actually decide that after a really heart-wrenching last speech, the Party Rock Anthem may not be the best move. Instead, it might be the perfect time to open up with a slow song and ease into the party.
The Wedding Duo: Yeah, and if I have a song like Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off, I’m not going to randomly play it. I’m going to wait until the bride and all her girls are together. I’ll announce something like, “Let’s get the bride and all the Delta’s out on the floor!” and they come crashing in, and it’s just a really fun moment.
Jack: Yes, I have a huge list of playlists from a variety of genres and eras. I ask the couple to tell me what they really love and what they don’t, and from there, I build a huge playlist so that no matter which direction the party goes, I can adapt. And I show the couple that playlist beforehand to make sure we are on the same page.
Jack: The biggest difference is definitely the music genre. So when you think about playing a nightclub, people going to nightclubs are in their early twenties to maybe mid-thirties, and you’re playing for that one group of people.
When you DJ a wedding, you’re playing for grandma; you’re playing for mom, you’re playing for sisters, you’re playing for grandkids, you’re playing for them all. From my standpoint, going from club DJ to wedding DJ has made my work so much more fun because I’m no longer just stuck playing this one category of music. I can play all of it.
Also, I’ve had to learn how to MC because I didn’t do much of that in the club. 6 or 7 years ago, it was probably my lowest strength, and now it’s something that I really enjoy and a skill I’m glad I’ve learned.
Jack: I think a good MC needs to be professional
The Wedding Duo: and sober!
Jack: Funny you say that. I can’t tell you how many venues I’ve had compliments from because I wasn’t drinking at the wedding. But this is my job. I’m on the clock and want to do the best job I can.
A good MC also needs to be prepared. The worst mistake an MC can make is announcing, heaven forbid, the couple by the wrong names, or anyone really. It’s the fastest way to lose the room. So I make sure I get every single name that I will be saying and write it down in front of me. I spell them phonetically because, with my accent, anything could happen if I don’t have it spelled right out in front of me.
If I see people who are giving a speech acting nervous beforehand, I pull them aside and ask, “Are you ready? Do you have it written down, or are you winging it? Do you need any tips, or are you good?”
If they say yes, my ultimate advice to them is to remember to end your speech. I see so many people that get people laughing with good stories, and then they end up just standing there, not sure how to end it. Remember to raise your glass and toast the couple at the end so that everyone knows you’re finished.
Jack: I’d say search for the red flags first. A good place to start is their website. If they’re not presenting their website in a way that gains your business, what makes you think they’re gonna put that effort into your wedding?
Also, I realize all DJs have to start somewhere, but if their straight response is, let’s give you a discount, you get all of this for only $700, to me, that is a big, big red flag, and not a risk worth taking.
It’s important to hire someone who is right for you. Learn as much as you can about them during the interview and ask the questions that are important to you.
The Wedding Duo: Absolutely. There are vendors out there who care this much, who really wanna get to know you and want to be part of a team to give you that best day ever. And those are the things you’re looking for, right?
There are a few vendors that you will interact with for most of your wedding day, and it’s worth taking the time to make sure you choose someone who really cares and is going to make your day easier. We hope this conversation can help that process for you and your partner!
To hear our entire conversation with Jack, including some really fun stories, check out the podcast episode.
For extra help planning your wedding, be sure to check out our virtual planning services.
Happy wedding planning!
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