I met with a couple and a potential D.J. this morning. I have worked with this man before, I probably recommended him. He is a good fit with he venue the bride and groom choose…he BELONGS there. I work with him at that venue almost every time.

The truth is there are a lot of good DJs. More good than bad. They vary in price and equipment and services. The most important thing is that your expectations and personal style match with what they offer and their personality. I have never heard a couple say “He had a great personality but I didn’t like his music” but I have heard, “She played great music but I didn’t get along great with her.” Rule of thumb is – if you like the person and how they interact with you, you will most likely be pleased on your wedding day.

Seems easy, so how do you find a bad DJ?

1. Not choosing a professional. – It’s tempting, your cousin knows a guy starting out and he will do it for a couple of hundred bucks. But he shows up and makes it clear he is doing weddings while he waits for his career to take off. NO! You need someone experienced in reading a crowd, following a carefully crafted schedule, that can effectively communicate with the caterer, venue, coordinator and your bridesmaids after a few glasses of wine and requesting songs off your “no play” list.

2. Buying a cheaper package than you need. – Your DJ brings the sound equipment that you use for ceremony, announcements, toasts and a great dance party. You want to make sure that he fully understands what you require. Thinking the you don’t need a mic and speakers for the ceremony or cut the dancing by an hour to save money will lead to disappointment at the end of the day.

3. Not meeting with the actual person who will be at your wedding. – Personality, personality, personality! You have to click with your DJ. They come in all different styles; elegant, reserved, fun, trendy, outgoing. Your DJ is your voice to your guests – make sure he acts and talks the way you want to come across.

4. Hiring someone who does not listen to you. – If your DJ tries to talk you into things you are not comfortable with like speciality dances (money dance, mother/son dance) or into trendy songs because “every body will love it” move on.

5. Don’t give them the information they need to be successful. – Most DJs will send out an extensive questionnaire asking for favorite songs and your “no play list”. They will also ask about the atmosphere you are trying to create. Fill this out completely and early so that they have time to prepare for your wedding.

6. Don’t arrange for breaks or food. – DJs come early, set up, test equipment and then normally go and change. They start playing music as guests arrive and will play until last call and close down the reception. They often work alone. Their days can be up to 12 hours. Understand that they will build in natural breaks and want to have a meal. Ask your caterer for a vendor meal or add them to your final count.

As a guest you may have never commented on a great DJ, but a bad DJ can kill a party. I have seen receptions just fizzle out because the DJ was not playing appealing music to the crowd. Ask for recommendations from your venue and friends or wedding coordinator. Having a professional, experienced DJ will add to your magical day!