Before DJing a wedding I thought there was only one type of DJ, either you knew how to mix or you weren’t a DJ. I defined a DJ as someone that blended records and thought everyone shared this option. However, what I found in the wedding industry was tons of creativity throughout it, and that mixing skills aren’t necessarily the pinnacle for some DJs, or even the norm. This expansive definition results in very different styles from one person to the next even though they’re all categorized as wedding DJs. Over the last 10 years I’ve noticed 5 common types of DJs, which I’ve categorized so you can find which one is best for you. In some cases, there’s more than one classification that might apply to them, but one tends to be more dominant over any secondary attributes they might have.
The Hobbyist DJ – These are people that like DJing and they might have a small home set-up. Sometimes they possess raw talent which is then accompanied by a pure passion for music. They generally don’t have a wide range of musical taste, beyond what they love, which can make it difficult for them to perform for a diverse wedding crowd. With little to no wedding experience, 3rd party reviews, or business legitimacy, this group is the highest risk, but they’re well below the average price for a DJ. If you know them personally they might work out for you, otherwise a less risky option is probably a better choice for your wedding.
The New Wedding DJ – These are people that are just starting to DJ at weddings, so they’re learning on the job and won’t be as polished as an experienced DJ. Again, they will have little to no experience, which is evident when you can only find very recent 3rd party reviews, or in some cases, none. There’s a little less risk than the previously mentioned hobbyist, but it’s still high. Generally, they’re as low priced as an independent, but they could be above the average price if they work for a large DJ Service. If you’re working with a smaller to average budget and can handle a few hiccups on your wedding day, they could be an option for you.
The Traditional Wedding DJ – These DJs have been around, so they’re known. You’re not getting higher end gear or someone consistently investing in training, but they know how to cover the basics. These are mostly experienced DJs with reviews and are well established in local markets. There’s not much risk unless you’re expecting the service and skills more commonly associated with higher end DJs. In general you’ll find this type of DJ to be around the average price, or in some cases, below it. Their prices are reasonable for what they offer and are able to provide, which makes them a solid, no-frills option for weddings.
Pro Tip, the best DJ at any company will have lots of reviews mentioning them by name. Ask about their availability for your wedding date and if it’s possible to have a conversation with them.
The Mixing Wedding DJ – These DJs tend to be technical, as they’ve invested years in developing their skills. They understand that better sound and performance requires a combination of skill and premium equipment. Experienced mixing DJs will have a reputation associated with their name, making it easier to find reviews from 3rd party sources. They’re lower risk, but that tends to make their price point higher than average. However, occasionally, some DJs in this category have prices that are roughly around the average. If you’re a music lover and you want seamless transitions from song-to-song, then this would be the right DJ for your wedding day.
The MC Wedding DJ – These DJs make their presence known on the mic, because they’re great talkers. Typically, they’re distinct from other DJs visually, having a polished look and often having a big online presence. These DJs are the most business-oriented, so the majority of the time you’ll find they have optional extras like; higher end lighting, audio guest books, and photo booths. Those that have honed their MC skills are known, low risk, and memorable, so you’ll find many reviews from 3rd party sources online. You’ll find that strongest MCs are well above the average price, and often are at the highest price point out of any other group of DJs. If you need someone to take control of the mic for the night and want extra features, then an MC style DJ probably fits the bill for your wedding.
A DJ could fall into more than one category if they’re experienced enough, while others might progress over time into a different one. For example, a new DJ is only considered new for so long. This is really just meant to be a tool that engaged couples can use to be more informed about potential DJs, rather than solely relying on price as a point of comparison. Price will give you some information, but it doesn’t give you an indication of the type of DJ you’re looking at, unless you know what to expect within that price range. Using 3rd party reviews can help to fill in some of the blanks, such as a DJ claiming years of experience, if you can’t find any informative, independent reviews on that DJ. However, since 3rd party reviews can’t be back dated, they aren’t useful for determining what working experience a DJ has, as well as what other brides thought of them. The right DJ for your wedding day depends on multiple factors, but understanding common types of DJs and what you can expect from them can help you make a more informed choice for your wedding.