Ultimate Wedding DJ


January 26, 201815 min read

What makes an Experienced, Professional Wedding DJ a smart investment for your event? How can you be sure that your DJ is a good one that you can trust?

Planning the perfect event for your friends and family can be stressful. There are so many details to consider and the overall investment can be surprising to say the least. This may leave you looking for ways to save money.
We understand! We have been through process from both sides of the wedding industry. Planning a wedding can leave you frustrated and exhausted. The last thing you need is a list of vendors that you cannot depend on. Trust is critical. The only way you can trust a vendor is hiring only those with only exceptional reviews.
Often clients ask themselves “Why should I invest more in a Professional Wedding Master of Ceremonies than I would in a Club or Party DJ or even a friend or family member that has a sound system?”

The simple answer is because music affects everything!

The entertainment that you choose may indeed be one of the most critical elements that can affect the success or failure of such an important event.
Almost every part of the event will revolve around the entertainment. 
How so?

  • The music will be heard by every single person in the room.

  • The music sets the mood and tone of the event. The right song at the right time can create magical moments. The wrong song can immediately ruin the mood and even offend people. Worse still, inappropriate music can drive guests away altogether.

  • Poor quality sound equipment, uncomfortable pauses between songs and inappropriate volume can be distracting at best and often disastrous.

Experience is critical, even for the nicest of guys.

  • A novice DJ may have a wonderful personality and the best of intentions, however he or she may not realize the challenges they may face throughout the evening. The only way to be truly prepared is to know what to you may encounter in every phase of the event.

See our 10 tips on the bottom of this post that describe the best ways to avoid trouble when hiring a DJ. 

“What can possibly go wrong??”

  • DJ is a NO-SHOW

    • This is one of the worst things that can happen to a Bride on her wedding day. The DJ just does not show up at all, and then refuses to return her calls. There have been a rash of these issues in Charleston lately with low-priced DJs.

  • The company you hired has many DJs and the one you got is not good.          

    • Many DJ companies have multiple DJs. Not all of them are good. Many of their reviews are about DJs that will not be at your event. You may never know your DJ until he or she arrives to set up. At Wedding Music Charleston, you always know your DJ personally before you commit to hire us.

  • DJ does not follow up during planning stage.

    • Brides are generally not experienced in planning a wedding, nor should they be. Your DJ is a key asset in helping you prepare for your big day. He (or she) needs to be available to answer questions and give insight. He should have valuable advice that can help you avoid problems. This is where years of experience and hundreds of weddings comes into play. At Wedding Music Charleston, we take the time to talk you though your day as well as your music selections to make sure everything will proceed as expected. We advise without being pushy. We want to let you know what you need to know while allowing you to make your own choices. We are easily available throughout the process because you will have many questions. Many DJ’s are simply interested in when they begin and when they are finished. We have amazing reviews because we truly do care about our clients and the success of their event.

  • Feedback!                                

    • Loud, high pitched squeals from the speakers are primarily caused by allowing the microphone to be used inappropriately, but they can also be a result of poor speaker placement and venue acoustic challenges. Often large rooms with high ceilings can create an echo chamber that results in “boomy” or overly bright sound. This can happen to even experienced professionals in certain circumstances. Venues are all unique and each room responds to sound waves differently. It takes time and knowledge to avoid feedback and stop it quickly if it were to happen. Microphones in the hands of inexperienced guests can easily feedback which is very distracting. Experience with professional sound equipment and high quality PA gear will minimize the chance of this happening to your guests in the middle of their important speeches and toasts. 

  • Messy or disorganized set up

    • I know it may seem trite to some, however you and your family sped a lot of money to make your event beautiful only to have sloppy vendors come in and mess things up.

There are many things a professional Wedding DJ can do to be sure that his set up looks clean and organized. Here are a few:

  • Keeping wiring as hidden and safe as possible.

  • No big promotional signs.

  • Clean and professional-grade equipment.

  • Professionally dressed DJ, not sloppy or dirty.

  • Ceremony set up located out of line of sight for photos and video.


  • Poorly delivered introductions and announcements

    • A Professional wedding Master of Ceremonies and Disc Jockey is articulate and well spoken. He will prepare in advance and deliver your introductions with class and style. He knows how to direct attention appropriately. He does not draw undue attention to himself. He facilitates activities and helps to smooth the flow of the event. This alone is an art that requires years of experience and a lot of preparation. Club DJ’s are not generally accustomed to this function. There are literally hundreds of videos on YouTube of inexperienced DJ’s struggling with introductions, announcements and music cues.


    • Club DJ’s are accustomed to loud volume. Higher volume levels cause changes in sound pressure, which effects how a sound system reacts to a room. Club DJ’s EQ their system based on this club environment. Your grandmother, your nieces and nephews will probably not appreciate elevated volume levels that a club DJ is accustomed to.

  • Volume Shifts from Song to Song

    • Digital sound files are prone to varying volume. Often older music recordings are much quieter than current music which causes noticeable volume shifts from song to song. A large sound system makes this problem much more noticeable. This can be extremely irritating during dinner and cocktails while your guests are trying to get to know one another. There is only one way to resolve this. An experienced DJ will constantly man the sound system to adjust the volume and EQ of each song as it is played. Our job is to be sure that the music remains at the appropriate volume level at all times so that your guests have the best experience possible. Inexperienced DJ’s are often wandering around the grounds while the sound system is unattended. This can result in real issues that everyone will notice.

  • Forgotten explicit lyrics.

    • You will be surprised at how many songs have explicit lyrics that are easily missed if you are not paying attention. Your Pastor, your Grandmother and your 7 year old niece will be paying attention. Are you willing to fully review every line of every song you want played? Club DJ’s do not worry about this. Their music may be club friendly radio edits but they rarely review the songs in great detail to assure there are no issues. Great wedding DJ’s spend a lot of time and energy preparing music for this kind of event.

  • Searching for the perfect song.

    • A club DJ is familiar with the songs that get people in a club dancing. It takes years of practical experience to know what music works well for dinner, cocktails, and all of the activities that will take place during your wedding reception. Even your hand selected playlist will not be perfect because people react differently to music in different circumstances. Playing the right song in the moment is an art that takes many years to develop. Knowing the perfect song that will make grandma and grandpa dance for the first time in many years is a labour of love. A large variety of music and a LOT of experience give your wedding DJ the edge in this respect. There is an endless list of incredible songs that a club DJ would have no use for, but a wedding DJ will use frequently. This talent is why great wedding DJ’s have great references from happy clients. Even a great song played at the wrong time will fall flat. Timing is critical and timing comes with experience at weddings.

  • Understanding what makes music sound great.

    • Volume issues aside, each song has its own EQ signature. All music is not equal. Some songs will have a lot of Bass, others will be too bright and harsh. All of this requires adjustment and an experienced ear for sound. This is where personal experience with live sound reinforcement can be a great benefit. The owner of Wedding Music Charleston, Michael Peifer, has been a professional live sound engineer for more than 2 decades and has vast experience with EQ challenges and can make your event music sound excellent!

  • Intoxicated guests can cause problems.

    • Intoxicated guests are prone to requesting inappropriate songs. It is a fact of life in the entertainment industry. You may not think this would be an issue with family and friends but believe me it happens more often than you would think. A wedding DJ will use tact and skill to respectfully avoid playing inappropriate songs and keep the event flowing. That said, a great wedding DJ will certainly respect your guests and honour your wishes. We will play what you find to be appropriate for your event.

  • Programming Control.

    • Some clients would like to have total control over the songs on the playlist, which they generate before the wedding, and the order in which those songs are played. With Wedding Music Charleston, you can have control! Should you choose to work with Wedding Music Charleston you will be given a detailed form to fill out allowing you to choose the music that is important to you, and list the songs you do not want to be played. (you know.. your ex’s favourite song.. or the chicken dance.. or the hokey pokey..) However, the last thing you need is for the music programming decisions to take control of all of your precious time. There is no way that even a highly experienced DJ can choose all of the songs that he/she would want to play for a reception in advance. Even if it were their own family! The mood of each event ebbs and flows. It changes from moment to moment. We have a huge amount of relevant songs to choose from and a virtually unlimited supply online. Any one of them could be appropriate at any given time. No person can predict what guests will respond to. Few people can even remember all of the great songs that would generate excitement in a crowd of guests from every age and all walks of life. This is a complex business, even with 20 years of experience. Cocktail music, dinner music, first dances, bouquet tosses, anniversary dances, Disco, Rock, Motown, R&B, Techno, Country.. Slow dances that even your grandparents will love.. Songs that make the ENTIRE CROWD sing along.. Line Dances, Shag Dances.. Songs that bring back fond memories.. Playing music that the two of you will both love is difficult enough. Playing music that 200 people will love takes a seasoned professional.

  • “Cheesy” DJ’s.

    • Many couples simply want to avoid hiring a cheesy, or irrelevant wedding DJ that does not fit the mood of their event. They have seen bad wedding DJs in the past, and don’t want to have inflatable instruments, party hats and overzealous line dance instruction ruining their wedding. We agree 100%. This is why you MUST check references and speak with your DJ at length before you sign a contract. This is why we believe our questions are so important. We want to know your vision and follow it completely!

  • Murphy’s Law.

    • Even the best equipment is subject to fail at some point, and it’s impossible for you to tell if the sound system your DJ uses has been properly cared for and maintained. If the channel fader block on your rented mixer fails does your DJ know how to resolve the issue? Do any of your guests? A professional wedding DJ will have the equipment knowledge to quickly solve the malfunction, or will have backup equipment in case something can’t be fixed.

A lot to consider, isn’t it?
Absolutely.. It is also a lot of pressure for an inexperienced DJ.
This is why many club DJ’s refuse to do weddings. Wedding details are a lot to handle and require a lot of preparation. Scary business for a club DJ.
Experience and preparation are critical for guaranteed success.

The Charleston DJ Alliance is your support in emergencies!
Michael Peifer is Chairman of the CDJA, an alliance of Professional Wedding DJ’s ad Masters of Ceremonies. If an emergency arises each of the members is sworn to assist one another in any way possible. All are well trained and well prepared. Can your cousin or club DJ provide that? Not likely. 
Protection from cancellation.
Your friendly local DJ or your family member is not generally bound by contract to be sure that you are satisfied. I OFTEN get last minute calls from panicked brides looking for a DJ to replace the DJ that promised to help. This is a bad feeling and it is often difficult to find a replacement at the last minute. Professional wedding DJ’s have a backup plan if something bad happens so you will not be left fending for yourself.
Your Money, Well Spent!
The reality is that you will probably only spend a couple hundred more dollars to be sure that your entertainment is exceptional. Very few of your guests will remember your table decorations, the party favours, invitations, the cake or the cookies. They will remember if they had a good time. Great entertainment makes great memories! Isn’t that worth a couple hundred dollars more when you are likely spending tens of thousands for it in the first place? Maybe the appropriate question is how disappointed will you be if a cheaper DJ ruins the event and you only saved a couple hundred dollars?
My advice is to seek the services of an experienced professional, one that shares your views and will honour your requests. You will quickly realize why you made the right decision once you begin the process.
There are many DJs in Charleston, some are not as reliable as others.
Inexpensive DJs are notorious for backing out at the last minute if they get a better paying gig. Believe it or not, so are family members and friends.
If you are paying $300, and they get an offer for $800, will they have a reason not to take it? Will they care about you and your family enough to say no to an extra $500?
Please take the time to check references thoroughly, as there has been a rash of no-shows and bad customer service lately. I have received many calls from distraught brides looking for a last-minute DJ when theirs was unresponsive. Do a Google search of the company name and the name of the actual DJ that will be at your event. Even look for Facebook posts. You would be surprised what you can uncover.
Here are 10 ways to avoid trouble when hiring your DJ
1. Google the name of the DJ personally, and the business name to check reviews online. Do not assume that the reviews on their website are the only ones out there.
2. ASK if the DJ you spoke with will be the DJ at your wedding. This is critical!
3. Be sure to get a signed contract that includes the DJ’s signature (not just yours) and be sure all of the specific details of your event are on the contract.
4. Get a physical address for the DJ or company you are using so if there is trouble with their phone you have somewhere to go.
5. If possible, meet your DJ personally, ask many questions and see how he or she responds. You can even do this Via Skype or Facetime. Be sure that the DJ you are speaking with will be your DJ on your big day, not just the person that does the booking.
6. Ask what happens if he has an emergency and cannot be there. What can you expect?
7. Ask about the number of years he or she has been a Professional Wedding DJ, not just a DJ at parties or clubs (there is a BIG difference). How many actual weddings has he (she) been paid to DJ? Can you look up reviews from other wedding clients?
8. Ask about how he or she engages the guests. What does he or she do during the evening? How much do they speak over the mic? (Looking for “cheezy DJ” clues)
9. Ask how much input you can have on music selections. (Critical question)
10. Ask to see the forms he or she uses for planning the event. Are the forms professional? Are they comprehensive? Are they easy to understand?
Weddings are complex. Many things are happening that can be magical or tragic depending on the experience of your DJ. Follow these guidelines to be sure that you get a DJ that will take diligent care of you and your guests. Isn’t a little more money for a great DJ worth your peace of mind? (It certainly will be when the party starts!)
Cheers and blessings to you and your family!
Michael Peifer- President
Wedding Music Charleston
Event Music Charleston
Chairman- Charleston DJ Alliance

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