There are few subjects of more consternation amongst DJs than this one. As you're looking for vendors for your big day, there is one that is often put on the back burner. Of course, for seemingly good reason. Do we really need a DJ? Why does it cost so much just to play music? Can't we just use Spotify? How do we choose the right DJ?
All of your concerns are justified! So let's dive in and talk this through. Let's start with your vision of your big day. Only you can decide what you want your event to feel like, look like and how you want it remembered. Is it a party vibe? Is it more laid back? It's it a more EDM festival vibe? I've done these and everywhere in between. This is the first and most important question you will need to answer for yourself. The rest will almost fall into place with a little effort.
Let's talk cost. I see your eyes rolling before we've even started lol. Prices are all over the place, and there's no tangible way to discern who is worth the money. I'll keep this to just a few points. A good DJ will have no less than 20 hours into putting your event together. And that's before the day of. Your DJ should have a digital means for you to select or request your music selections well in advance. We'll check those against our library and add what we don't have. Next, we'll go through a few runs to check the vibe and select an order of songs to fit in a way that suits your desired "feel". Then we'll check our light show against your selected color scheme. This can take hours! Oh, the timeline! Yes, your DJ should provide this. We need to make sure your guests aren't without entertainment for a minute longer than necessary. You're busy taking pictures and corralling family members that can't stay put. Well, we're making sure everyone else is occupied. We're making announcements, checking with the coordinator, and likely adjusting the timeline. These are things you'll never noticed if done well. So.. it's not just playing music. You've paid your photographer well to get great photos. Frankly, those pictures of the party need a bit of encouragement from your DJ. It needs a bit of color to set the mood. Therefore, a budget for a good DJ is in order. Plan on spending $800 for a good experience. Even up to $4,000 for a superior, luxury experience.
Can't you just use Spotify? Absolutely! If you know every song you want played, and aren't concerned about the songs matching your guests energy. If you really know your guests that well. I've suggested this only a very few times. If you decide to do this, use a laptop!! Don't chance a phone ringing or notifications coming through. I'd suggest renting a good speaker or two. There's no shortage of places to rent, including your local DJ. I hope you didn't need mics for toasts or the ceremony. That could be a very frustrating experience.
Let's wrap this up. Your DJ is the single thread of continuity that ties your event together. From the seating music until the last song of the night, we keep things moving in an orderly fashion. The only question left is, what is it worth to you? You can risk a cheap DJ. You can use Spotify. Or you can go entirely without. Just know that over 80% of brides say that they would've spent more on their DJ, in hindsight.
If there's ever anything I can do to help you understand the DJ market, please feel free to reach out. I hope this was helpful and insightful. Thank you, and I'll see you between now and then.