6 Skills a Great Wedding DJ Should Possess

Music, like most art and other creative outlets is pretty subjective. However, no matter what style, I think a GREAT wedding DJ must possess these skills and attributes:

  • Programming – Programming is a fancy way to say, “play good music.” It’s a bit more in depth than that though. Consistency is key. Playing one bad song can clear the dance floor; two bad songs in a row can ruin the entire party making it exponentially harder to recover from. Every DJ will make the wrong song choice from time to time, but being able to recover and reel the crowd back in is a skill that takes years of experience. A broad range of musical knowledge is a must.
  • Preparation – Programming and preparation go hand in hand. Without preparation, programming is impossible to do successfully. A great DJ will know what songs are popular and how they fit into a mix. Being able to fuse new songs with classics everyone knows and loves takes time and practice. Practicing and trying mixes at home to see how they sound goes a long way.
  • Mixing – Earlier in this post I mentioned that every DJ will make the wrong song choice at some point and a great DJ will know how to recover. This is where mixing comes into play in a huge way. If a wedding DJ doesn’t know how to mix two songs together, you are then stuck with the entirety of the song, which could go on for 4-5 minutes. 4 minutes of the wrong song is an eternity. If a DJ knows how to mix, they can quickly get out of the song and on to something else without having to play the whole song. Mixing also creates a much higher level of energy. When done properly, a DJ will slowly pick songs that will build off one another organically.
  • Reading the Crowd – This is another skill that takes years and years of experience. A great DJ will watch the crowd’s reaction to the songs that they’re playing. If the crowd reacts in a positive manner, the DJ will play more songs that are similar to that particular song. For example, if the crowd really liked when I played The Outfield’s – Your Love, I can probably assume that they will also like Rick Springfield’s – Jessie’s Girl. If the crowd doesn’t like Your Love, I would quickly mix out of it and try something else. A great DJ should be constantly reading the crowd and letting them drive the party. It sounds simple in theory, but certain crowds can be difficult to gauge.
  • Organization – So far everything has been on the technical side of DJing, but knowing the details and working with other vendors at the wedding is an invaluable asset. A great wedding DJ will have a timeline of all the notable events during the reception and will share that timeline with the venue, photographers, videographers, catering and anyone else that may be involved. They will also ensure that those other vendors are ready for the first dance. It would be an awful big mistake for the DJ to start the first dance while the photographers were in the bathroom – yikes! Staying organized and communicating is a vital attribute to the success of a wedding.
  • Personality – Having a relatable personality will go a long way. From the first meeting with the Bride and Groom to-be, a great wedding DJ will need to have the ability to listen, but also make suggestions to lead the couple in the right direction. Sometimes a bride and groom will have unrealistic expectations and a great DJ will be able to educate the couple as to why their idea might not work without making them feel like an idiot.   It’s the DJ’s job to not only listen but also educate without being overbearing.


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