Picking the entertainment for your wedding can be one of the most challenging tasks for couples!
For better or worse, the entertainment is what makes or breaks a wedding reception. The most important ingredients couples want out of their wedding day entertainment are typically the following:
The entertainment a couple selects is the single greatest investment they will make for their wedding day. Here's why:
What are the top 5 trends couples are looking for to make their wedding stand out in 2020?
5. Production Value
DJs are no longer supposed to be the cheesy guy with a couple blinky lights! Couples want clean lines with elegant accents. With emphasis being placed on having unique spaces and atmospheres it's now imperative to select a DJ service that provides a clean presentation that compliments the hard work & investment being put into the setting & decor. More so, couples are looking for their DJ to be able to create impact during those key moments such as the introductions, first dance, and more! What are some of the more modern production elements that DJs can use to enhance your experience?
With music being even more accessible via services such as Spotify and Tidal, there have been lots of hobby and amateur level DJ services popping up. Likewise, even couples are trying to DIY DJ their weddings by renting sound equipment and hooking up their phone with one of these streaming services. The thought behind this is that all a DJ does is show up and play music over a big sound system. Nothing could be further from the truth. The mistake that's often discovered by the time it's too late is that there is no substitute for a professional. With DIY DJ weddings, things just get out of hand, and often times the volunteers you find to "make announcements" or "make sure people don't mess with the music" either back out, don't fully prepare, or aren't as dedicated to doing their job as you hoped. Likewise, for the amateur/hobbyist DJ, their dedication is going to be minimal as well, and that's even if they show up or don't flake out on you weeks or days before your wedding - which is what we want to emphasize here:
WITH THE RISE OF AMATEUR/HOBBYIST DJs THERE HAS ALSO BEEN A RISE OF NO SHOWS!! Why risk one of the most important services for your day on someone who isn't professional just to save a few dollars? It doesn't make any sense. Work with a professional, even a low-end one, to make sure you're not left stuck shortly before your wedding stressing out over finding a DJ who's open. Plus, when that amateur bails with your money, good luck getting it back.
Because of how widespread this problem has become, what couples want is someone who is dependable, and the expectation is that they create an amazing shared experience for all of their guests. Which brings us to the next item on our list!
3. An inclusive experience
One of the comments couples make when asked what they're looking for in a DJ service is, "I want everyone to have fun together at my wedding." They want an inclusive experience, and who wouldn't? A wedding is a celebration where two families come together to join as one, and it's very likely that these two families will never get together this same way ever again!! Therefore it's unequivocally essential that the entertainment being chosen, the service that's supposed to bring everyone together, includes something for everyone. The way this is done is by choosing a DJ service that is actually willing to take the time to get to know you, and learn about you and your guests. It's easy to spot this when interviewing different DJs - do they talk about themselves and their service the whole time (granted they should spend some time doing this), or do they take some time to ask you questions that are about you?
Now, someone may take the time to learn about you, but how do you know they'll actually use this info to make your wedding day better? Listen to what else they say, and how they're trying to understand these personal details. Also, and this is a big one, has the DJ sought out any professional training from mentors outside of the circle of DJs in your local area? This is a huge clue to telling the difference between a DJ that actually cares about bringing the best service to their clients, and one that's just in it for the side money.
2. Love Story
It's the ULTIMATE personal statement on your wedding day. The wedding day is a huge step in the journey of your love story, but how did you get there? Great DJs take time to learn about how you met, how you started dating, how you fell in love, how you decided you wanted to spend the rest of your lives together, and that incredible moment when the proposal happened. It's the magical difference between just hearing your names introduced before your first dance, and sharing a moment with your guests that brings all of you closer together, while reflecting on the beautiful memories that led to you finding the love of your life. How do you know you have a DJ that can legitimately deliver a proper love story? It's actually very simple. There is only ONE training in the United States that teaches it properly from the husband & wife team that developed this technique, and it's called The Marbecca Method. If your DJ isn't Marbecca trained, then they don't know how to deliver a proper love story. Currently there are only slightly over 1,400 DJs worldwide that are Marbecca trained, and there's only one DJ service in Northeast Wisconsin with this unique training (hint, you're reading their blog right now).
1. Authentic, Marquee Level DJ/MC Talent & Skill
The #1 thing couples want out of a DJ service is a REAL DJ & MC! I know this sounds so obvious, but when you consider some of the previous things mentioned on this list (dependability, personalization, inclusiveness, etc.) it becomes clear that these skills are not widespread! In fact, in most markets outside of major metropolitan areas (Chicago, L.A., New York, etc.) it's likely that only 1% of DJs in your market actually know how to deliver an authentic experience at a marquee level. What makes a marquee level DJ/MC? Let's break it down between both!
Marquee level DJs will:
Perform on proper DJ gear: this means some kind of "turntable" style interface. If your DJ performs on a laptop only they cannot create the same experience as a DJ that uses the proper instruments. Of course, it's not enough to just have these instruments, it's knowing how to use it with creativity, and fluid/flawless technique.
Know what beat matching & key matching is, and how to actually do it: Beat matching is something that nearly every DJ has heard of, but very, very few DJs know how to do. Some try to use their software to do it for them using a function called "sync" which sometimes works, and sometimes doesn't work. The hidden thing most DJs don't know besides beat matching is phrase matching. Without getting too technical into music theory, phrase matching is making the music sound like it goes together in the form (i.e. chorus to chorus, verse to verse, etc.)
Read a crowd not just to play what guests want to hear, but to also play what they didn't know they wanted to hear: It's pretty easy to figure out what a group of people are into. About 50% of DJs can read a dance floor, and play what people want to hear. That's good, and it will be a good party, but not a great party. About 1% of DJs in most markets know the skill of reading a crowd to play what people didn't know they wanted to hear, and that's FAR more exciting! Ever been on the dance floor when the crowd goes, "OOOOOOHHHH!!!" when the next song drops unexpectedly at the perfect time? That's the difference.
Use lighting in coordination with the music and the mood: So many DJs set their lights on an automatic or sound reactive mode. It's especially noticeable when a slow song comes on, or when the lights just do the same thing all night. The fact of the matter is that nearly all lights, even the cheap ones, have the capability to be controlled more deliberately by the entertainer. The entertainer should be able to change the lighting to enhance what's happening in the moment and/or the music. It makes a huge difference when done right, and it can be headache inducing when it's done wrong!
Create a unique musical experience: THIS MAY BE THE MOST IMPORTANT PARAGRAPH YOU READ IN THIS ARTICLE! The reason why some couples choose to DIY DJ their wedding isn't just about the money. Sometimes it's about the perception they've had of DJs. Likely they've never experienced a marquee level DJ. There's an old joke where if someone doesn't think they have great musical ability they say, "Well, I can play the radio!" It's true! Anyone can play the radio!! However, marquee level DJs differ due to the fact that they will create unique musical moments for you. They'll have your favorite music in a way you've never heard it before. It's the ultimate marriage between familiar & fresh. No one wants to dance to music they've never heard before, but at the same time, no one wants to dance to the same songs they've heard at every other wedding! The only solution to this problem is by working with a DJ that knows how to take the music you & your guests know and love, and do something creative and fresh that sounds good! A great example is taking the song "Old Town Road" by Lil Nas X and putting it to the beat of "Timber" by Pitbull & Ke$ha. Now you've given two songs that you've likely heard to death, and given them new life by putting them together. Plus, you know both songs, so you're going to instantly be familiar with what's happening, and where the music is going.
Marquee level MCs will:
Direct Inform and Guide your event so you don't have to. There's a proper skill to doing this the right way that only about 5% of DJs actually know how to do. How do you know it's so few? Ask yourself, "Have I ever been to a wedding where I either didn't feel like I knew what was going on, or the MC turned me off so I didn't want to listen to them?" Chances are the answer to this question is yes more often than no.
Personalize, personalize, personalize: Just saying your names with some short, generic statements in between is not proper MC work at a wedding. The sign of a great MC is that some of your guests are going to wonder if this person is a personal friend of yours.
Work in the background with the other professionals you have hired: This starts before the wedding day, and extends all the way through it. Your DJ is the central hub of communication on your wedding day. Nothing happens until they say so on the microphone, and everything needs to be ready to go when they do make that announcement. Nothing frustrates a photographer more than a DJ that starts something without them being ready, and likewise nothing will frustrate you more than not having pictures of an important moment documented in your wedding album.
Always keep the focus on the reason we're here, not on themselves: One of the biggest turnoffs according to wedding attendees, is a MC that has the appearance of wanting to be the center of attention. It's important for the MC to be able to command the attention of the room, but the purpose of gathering everyone's attention should always be directed toward the greater thing happening whether it be the couple, the guests, a first dance, a parent dance, etc. An MC that introduces themselves at a wedding like a stand up comedian is in the wrong place.
Agree or disagree with us? Leave your comments below! Also, let us know what entertainment trends you're most looking forward to in 2020, and be sure to get in touch with us if you have a wedding coming up where you want great entertainment!
Founder & Professional Entertainer - SoundFire DJ
SoundFire DJ is a leading professional in DJ entertainment here in Northeast Wisconsin.