I’ve been in the wedding industry for just over 14 years. Imagine that; 14 years primarily dominated by wedding receptions. When couples are searching for entertainment for their weddings, they’re looking for someone that has experience doing weddings. There are MANY DJs out there, all with their own signature style. At the end of the day, the couples want someone to make their wedding night more special.
Common comments that I hear from guests at events are (paraphrased):
- I was at a wedding where the DJ looked like he was bored out of his mind all night.
- The DJ never really said anything throughout the night. She was kind of boring.
- The DJ looked like he was scared.
- The DJ just stared at their computer screen all night.
- The DJ was texting on their phone all night.
Doing weddings isn’t like doing a set at a bar or a club. Many people that I’ve spoken with about what I do seem to have that misconception. Generally speaking, a DJ at a bar or club doesn’t HAVE to have much, if any interaction with the crowd. I wouldn’t suggest that they go that route; SOME interaction is a VERY good thing. However, their primary goal is to guide the crowd on a musical journey, using music to get them to follow throughout the set. We wedding DJs have to roll up our sleeves and be quite a bit more interactive. We’re masters of ceremonies. We’re day-of wedding coordinators. We’re ENTERTAINERS. It’s not enough to just move the masses with your musical stylings (especially since the newlyweds – the true stars of the show – have had a HEAVY hand in determining the setlist for the evening), you need to assert your physical presence, as well. It’s a delicate balance, being visible and commanding enough for people to notice but not so much as to alienate the crowd.
It is my belief that a wedding DJ’s purpose isn’t JUST to serve the newlyweds on that night. Ultimately, they ARE the clients and they ARE the top priority. Part of taking care of that priority is giving their invited guests something memorable to talk about. The clients don’t want to be that couple that had “THE Wedding of Suck-ti-tude.” What brings quite a bit of joy to those couples is receiving feedback expressing just how fun their receptions were months or even years after the fact. As a wedding DJ, THAT is my goal EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. We have a job to do; it doesn’t need to seem like it’s a job that we hate (especially since we’re LITERALLY paid to throw a party).
Okay, Steve… You STILL haven’t explained what Entertainment That Engages means.
For starters, it could mean playing doorman, greeting guests with a smile as they enter the reception site (complete with giving directions for the restrooms and coat check). It’s addressing the crowd at the beginning of the night with authority and enthusiasm while speaking clearly and enunciating your words. It’s taking care to inform the guests of the most important events along with an estimated time frame for when they will occur. It’s speaking from the heart, always mindful to place the spotlight where it truly belongs: on the newlyweds. It’s leading the group dances where the crowd is struggling.
My experiences have informed me that people are looking to have a great time with a fun DJ. While that sounds like a D’uh! statement, there seem to be wedding DJs out there who don’t live up to that part of the performance.
If pressed to give a definitive explanation of what I believe Entertainment That Engages to mean, this is it:
It’s doing an event with the purpose of sharing my love for what I do with the group that I’m playing for. I’m not playing TO them, I’m playing FOR them and partying WITH them. I’m sharing my passion with that group, letting them see my joy for what I do and inviting them to share their own. I’ll dance with them, sing with them, laugh with them.
After all, while music CAN move the masses, it doesn’t hurt to be a little more involved in the name of a good time for all involved.