Wedding DJ Styles

When you are searching for a DJ for your Finger Lakes Wedding, you’ll find a range of options. Here are some thoughts that might help you find a good fit for your special day.

Before you start your search, think about the kind of music you would like to have at your event. And, perhaps more importantly, the kind of music you wouldn’t like to have. Most professional wedding DJ’s are flexible in the kinds of music they play, however, many DJs specialize in certain types of music.

The Cheesy DJ: Most folks who are interested in my services are looking for an alternative to the stereotypical “cheesy wedding DJ”. In fact, I think my website comes up often when folks search for a non-cheesy DJ. The cheesy DJ’s knowledge of music is usually limited and they excel at playing line dances or trying to tell jokes on the mic. For some crowds, this may be fine, and these DJs usually charge less. But when you’re investing so much time and energy into planning a once-in-a-lifetime event, does it make sense to hire someone who charges as much as a veggie platter and has guests leaving right after dinner?

The Club DJ: Some DJ’s start out as club DJs, which can be quite different from the kind of dance party that is successful at a wedding. Most club music does not work well for weddings and the DJ may not have clean versions of requested pop songs–important if grandma or kids are present! Although a club DJ can work with your playlists, they may not know how to create a cohesive set. This includes the timing of songs, building momentum, and coming up with music ideas that are compatible with your tastes. Club DJs may also try to play some of their favorite club songs which could end up clearing the dancefloor.

The Top 40 DJ: Top 40 DJs specialize in playing the big hit songs. This can be fine, however, one drawback is if you want to hear other kinds of music that the DJ isn’t familiar with. When asked, a Top 40 DJ would probably say they can play any type of music, but have they really spent years searching, collecting and listening to dance music from around the world? If you have guests that might enjoy Latin music, will the DJ know the difference between a Cumbia and Bossa-Nova? If you want to hear some Gypsy Jazz at your cocktail hour, does the DJ know about Django Reinhardt?

The Indie DJ: The Indie DJ appeals to couples who love Indie music. This can work if most of your guests have similar tastes. However, most weddings have a diverse guest list and people tend to dance to songs they know and love. If your DJ is pretentious in any way, you or your guests may feel uncomfortable making requests. And, the DJ may refuse to play songs that could work really well, simply because he/she doesn’t think they are cool enough. When I work with couples who love Indie music, I suggest playing a lot of their favorite Indie songs during cocktails and dinner, then playing a variety of music for their dance party including Motown and Soul. Other music that can work really well for an Indie style dance party are New Wave, less-played disco classics, and 90’s Old-Skool.

The Part Time DJ: If the music is important to you for your wedding, I would suggest avoiding part-time DJs. Although they might charge less, they often do not have the highest professional standards. I have witnessed less-than-professional DJs at weddings I’ve attended, and clearly, music and professionalism can make-or-break the party. With budget DJs, it’s possible that the DJ may drink or smoke at your event; they may be dressed inappropriately, they may bring a home-stereo instead of a professional sound system, they may be disagreeable, disorganized and inexperienced at rocking the dancefloor.

The Company DJ: There are a number of DJ companies that have many DJs working for them. These DJ’s are underpaid and usually do not make enough to sustain a career, thus they spend most of their time working a full-time job (see part time DJ). One problem with DJ companies is that they have been known to switch DJs around. So, suddenly the DJ you were working with is no longer available for your wedding and now you have an unknown replacement. Another potential issue with DJ companies is that communication can be challenging. You have communications with the secretary, the DJ, the manager, assistants… Important details can get lost in the shuffle.

With a sole proprietor, you will know who you are working with at all times, thus your entire planning experience is more relaxed and easygoing.

Full time, professional DJs specialize in making memories with music. They are constantly researching, producing and playing music. They cost more. And when you are planning a once-in-a-lifetime event, they are worth it!


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