Blog Layout

What Does a Wedding DJ Do? - Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma

Jimmy Purifoy • Nov 21, 2019
For those that aren’t familiar with professional wedding DJs, it may seem all they do is push a button and play music. While planning and playing back music is one of the core functions of the DJ, there is so much more that goes on. The Wedding DJ is your entertainment coordinator and any times the wedding DJ stands in as pseudo-Wedding Coordinator. So, what does a wedding do? To some people’s surprise, a wedding DJ starts to prepare well before the actual wedding day. In fact, it starts with the very first contact.

Now I can’t speak for all wedding DJs, and yes there are several DJ’s that do weddings that do not do the following and can sour the experience for many couples. I’d love to give you a glimpse of what I do as part of my wedding DJ services for my clients.

Getting to Know You

One of the very first things I do when meeting with a new couple is to figure out what exactly you are looking for. What kind of music do you like? Do you want lighting? Would you like to dance on a cloud for your first dance? What interesting things have you experienced at other weddings? This information becomes the foundation for determining the things you want, and don’t want, from your wedding.
I then quote you a price and will patiently wait (and gently nag) for you to select your DJ.

Learning the Nitty-Gritty

While the first phase of the discussions gives the DJ a glimpse into what you are looking for, once you get closer to your wedding date the details need to be fleshed out. Typically about 60 days out from your wedding I have a series of forms that will get filled that help me guide some of the key elements of your wedding, from the pronunciation of your wedding party guests to if you are going to have a bouquet toss. I must admit, the list can be a bit tedious for some, but it’s very important for me to know all the ins and outs so I can help ensure that you have a great night of entertainment.

It is also around this time that I will start to reach out to the venue to find any specifics and guidance. If I am unfamiliar with the location, I’ll typically plan a trip to the site to determine things like establishing a line of communication with the venue, equipment placement and if there are any issues with some of the details discussed thus far. I will also reach out to the vendors like the photographer and videographer if I have not corresponded with them in the past to begin our collaboration for your wedding.

Sometimes, More Planning Meetings

So, while some planning meetings can be “done in one” the truth is elements of the wedding change all the time. Headcount changes can force changes to the floor plans, musical selections might be altered to accommodate a group of people, you may decide to enhance your experience that you didn’t plan before, the list can go on. I always reach out to my couples 30 days out to see what has changed, and what hasn’t, and see if more formal meetings are required.

It’s at this time that I want the couple to lock in their special songs just in case it takes a while to procure anything. There are times I have literally ordered vinyl from Europe for a first dance where I could not obtain a copy otherwise. So if you have an odd song I suggest getting it in by this time so I can procure it.

Preparing for Your Special Day

Usually the week prior I begin to lock things in place. I go over the details again and again, and if there is a question about a detail that I don’t have an answer to, I am not afraid to ask. I want to make sure that your day is as stress-free as possible! I establish all your special songs in specific “crates” of music, clone my hard drive, and make another copy to a USB thumb drive so I have multiple copies of music to play on just in case. I go over all my equipment to make sure nothing is missing. I send the vendors and the venue some of the information I gather so they have a baseline document to work from. There is a surprising amount of “little things” that I must check off my list before your wedding day comes.

The Day Arrives

When the wedding day arrives, for many DJs it means workout time and it’s no different for me. I am a solo-run DJ business which means I put all my equipment in my van, drive, unload, setup, test, perform, breakdown, drive home, and unload. If you are doing a ceremony as well I have not one but two separate systems to setup and configure. Once setup and everything is tested out to my satisfaction then the real fun begins.

Playing Well with Others

There are many DJs that are in it for the ego, the adrenaline rush, the need to control everything. For a quality wedding DJ, that ego is checked out. There is no room for conflicting personalities. Everyone needs to be working as a team, supporting each other where needed. This means working with the venue to ensure all the critical points on the timeline are met. This means notifying the photographer and videographer when things are about to happen, so they don’t miss a shot. This means if a change in plans happens that you can work that into the timeline to ensure nothing is missed. This means working with the venue, or even going it alone, to align everyone up for introductions and conveying any special instructions to make sure everything goes as planned.

The "Clutch Shot"

Making sure nothing goes wrong is always on a DJs mind and for good reason. A photographer can have a bad photo but there are literally hundreds of great shots to choose from, a florist can have a wilted flower or two but it may be overlooked by the remaining stunning assortments, a caterer can have a bad plate of food, but the hundred or more other plates are exquisite; but if something fails with the DJ especially at those critical moments all bets are off. A wedding DJ does not get a second chance and they must react at a moment’s notice. If a microphone cuts out a backup is at the ready. A song fails to play and another copy of it is a click away. A tremendous amount of care for your event is given by the DJ to ensure that your entertainment goes as flawlessly as possible.

Managing the Evening

After the vows are taken, the casual conversation of cocktail is concluded, once the last bites are eaten and the last speeches are made then it’s the DJ’s time to shine to play a great set of dance music based off all the discussions you had prior, trying to cross different age groups and styles to make everyone feel included. I take a lot of pride in my knowledge of music and my ability to seamlessly blend, transition, and mix track into track.

For those that have seen the club or party DJ in action I must tell you, the whole arrangement and vibe is different. The mechanics can be totally different in trying to build up a crowd because after spending two, three, or more hours of not dancing, some people want to jump right into a big dance set. Also knowing how to read a crowd and having a music background is a must. In one night, you could go from club hits, to country, to old school Hip Hop, 80s, 90s; and as a DJ you must have a pretty intimate knowledge of that diversity. But the goal is still the same, getting people dancing, picking songs that make a guest look at you with amazement; that look on their face at that moment is priceless.

Before you know it, the night is wrapping up. The whirlwind of months if not years of planning has drawn to a close. The last songs are played. For the DJ it’s time to pack up and head on home. It’s been a long day, but I sure feel good that everyone had a great night.

What Does a Wedding DJ Do? Now You Have More Insight!

The above paragraphs explain e a bit, there are still even more details that are too mundane to go over. On average I spend about 15-30 hours per wedding “all in” depending on the size and requirements. This also leads into the reasoning on why a professional wedding DJ costs more than a couple hundred dollars, be it in the Central Arkansas region or in North Western Arkansas, the Ozarks, Ouachita region. Quality, skill, capability; they all factor into this whole experience.

I hope this can give you a greater level of appreciation of how involved the wedding DJ is at a wedding.

Wylder Entertainment DJ Blog

By Jimmy Purifoy 28 Feb, 2020
Your probably wonder what qualifications I have to help you in finding the best wedding DJ for your big day. Well, it all started back in the lat 80's when I was still in high school. As a youth I learned FOH sound in my local church from a former touring sound technician and later took a job at the local convention center. In the early 90's I went on tour. About 2005 I did my first wedding. Later that year I attended a DJ conference to educated myself in the industry and have continued to learn and educate myself ever since.
Using the knowledge and skills I gained from my years in event production as well as educational classes and conventions, I've to been DJ'ing private events - this includes cooperate events, Charity events, weddings, and school functions for the last 15 years. With well over 500 private events performed, I hope to help everyone from the bride or wedding planner find the wedding DJ for their wedding day.
Not all Wedding DJ's are created equal, shop around and learn the right questions to ask!
By Jimmy Purifoy 24 Feb, 2020
With the average wedding in Arkansas costing around $17,489 (according to wedding report ,) gratuities often add up, and it's easy to exceed a budget. Knowing when, how and what to tip each of your wedding pros will help in budget planning and is considered a nice surprise for most vendors. So don't forget to factor in tips when making your wedding budget.
Though tipping has become more custom at weddings, it isn't mandatory but is always appreciated for a job well done. You should always tip vendors who exceed or offer exceptional service. If your budget doesn't allow for a modest tip for all vendors there are a few gestures that are appreciated. Send an email with a review, a hand written thank you note, or leave a review on Google or yelp . These gestures also help the vendors in booking future clients.
A few things to consider is some vendors will expect a gratuity, and other gratuities will need to be considered on a case-by-case basis. Business owners of larger companies don't get tipped—just their employees—but you can and should tip an owner when the service exceeds expectations. Small business owners (DJS, Caters, etc...) should never be overlooked either, since their businesses are often run by just one person.
You should assign the responsibility of handing them out tips to a trusted person, such as your wedding planner, a parent or wedding party member. Here's a helpful breakdown of what's customary for tipping each vendor.
By Jimmy Purifoy 18 Feb, 2020
Choosing a wedding DJ based on price is only one element to making the best entertainment decision of your wedding day. The greatest factor I cannot stress enough is Value . Everyone wants to get the best for their money spent and why should choosing a DJ be any different? DJS have different personalities, levels of expertise, and experience. This is why I encourage you to set aside some time to talk with your potential DJ face-to-face, over the phone, on Skype, or even email to build trust and understand the value your DJ will provide from beginning to end. Here are some questions and answers to help aid in your search.
Questions to ask a wedding DJ
By Jimmy Purifoy 02 Dec, 2019
So, you’re tying the knot. It’s both an awesome time in your life now but also a bit overwhelming at the same time. Now is the time to start to research and secure various wedding professionals. But before you pick your DJ you should get some things together to ask. Here are some top questions to ask a wedding DJ.
Tips for your wedding day
By Jimmy Purifoy 29 Nov, 2019
As time quickly approaches for your wedding, it can be easy to lose track of the most important things, especially fully enjoying your wedding day. These are some tips for your wedding day that I like to stress to my couples to ensure things can run as smooth as possible.
Share by: