Wedding Planning Tips by Scott Topper | How to Avoid Mistakes in Hiring a DJ

IMG_2971Think hiring a DJ for your wedding or special event is as simple as just finding someone who can play music for you?  Think again.  There is so much more to a professional DJ/MC/Entertainment service.  Experienced professional DJ’s have the correct equipment and know the venue at which they will be working in advance to know what will be needed so their clients don’t incur any surprises “day of” and worse: have a less than flawless and fun event.  This and so many items make the difference between what kind of energy and party you and your guests will experience.

Celebrity DJ/MC & Entertainment expert Scott Topper of Scott Topper DJ Productions was the chosen DJ for our  VIP Showcase & christening of our Alisal River Terrace special event venue.  Here, Scott shares some of the top items to look for when hiring your Professional DJ for your wedding or special event.

Top 10 Biggest Mistakes to Avoid BEFORE Hiring a Professional DJ

1. Is your DJ commited to follow the American DJ Association Code of Professional Conduct?
Any responsible business owner will be committed to living by the ADJA code of Professional Conduct. This is just one of the commitments that legitimate entertainment companies such as Scott Topper DJ Productions will make to you.

2. Is your DJ insured? Can your DJ supply you with proof of liability?
Many responsible business owners carry liability insurance to protect their businesses and the consumer. Many locations are beginning to require proof of liability. Scott Topper DJ Productions has proof of liability insurance. Disc Jockey’s receive a Certificate of Liability which can be used as proof.

3. Is your DJ willing to play requests and discuss music ahead of time?
A versatile Disc Jockey is willing to listen to your suggestions, give you feedback and play from your desired song list. A professional Disc Jockey will also accept the fact you may not want certain songs played. A professional Disc Jockey cannot know everything about your musical preferences and entertainment needs without communication. Scott Topper DJ Productions is willing to play your requests and discuss music for your event in advance.

4. Does your DJ use Professional Equipment?
Ask whether your prospective Disc Jockey works with professional audio equipment. Remember that professional gear does not guarantee an entertainer’s talent or service level, but is simply a tool for building an exceptional event. Scott Topper DJ Productions uses professional-grade DJ sound gear equipment that is certified by the A.D.J.A.

5. Does your DJ provide backup equipment at your event?
Although equipment failure is rare, do you really want your special occasion ruined because your Disc Jockey did not come prepared? Booking a reliable Disc Jockey is a very important decision for the success of your party. Selecting a Disc Jockey who is an active member of the American Disc Jockey Association will provide you with the confidence that you have selected a trained professional such as Scott Topper DJ Productions.

6. Does your Disc Jockey know the proper etiquette for your type of party?
A professional Disc Jockey such as Scott Topper DJ Productions will assist you with the music planning and coordination of your special day. Most professional entertainers will coordinate, emcee and provide the music that you desire. Ask if they have experience with your type of event. Scott Topper DJ Productions has been in business for over a decade.

7. How much time will your DJ allow for set-up?
Punctuality is a necessity. Most Disc Jockey’s such as Scott Topper DJ Productions arrive at least one hour prior to the start time you’ve given them. Your entertainer should ideally be setup and in-place before your first guest walks through the door.
8. Will your DJ provide you with a written contract?
It is extremely important to have your booking confirmed in writing. Ask for a written agreement, especially if you are paying an initial 50% retainer fee. The standard initial payment for entertainment services is 50%. If you are expecting a specific entertainer, make sure you get it in writing as well.

9. Will your DJ be suitably dressed for your occasion?IMG_0967
Specify the type of apparel that your Disc Jockey is expected to wear for your occasion. Formal attire or coat & tie are the most popular forms of attire. If you are having a “themed” event, make sure your entertainer is informed.

10. Does your DJ belong to a professional organization or trade group?
Although belonging to an organization or trade group does not guarantee the talent or professionalism of a disc jockey, it may indicate the companies willingness to network, learn and grow. Disc jockeys can learn through local chapter meetings, national DJ conventions and seminars geared toward the entertainment professional. Scott Topper DJ Productions is a member of American DJ Association and International Special Events Society.

Other Items to Note
Disc Jockey rates vary based on talent, experience, emcee ability, service, coordination, equipment needed, music knowledge, mixing ability and personality. Rates for the DJ industry vary greatly based on many factors. The best price is not always the best deal, especially if you are planning a wedding. As a matter of fact, surveys conclude that nearly 100% of brides would have spent more money on their entertainment and made it their #1 priority in hindsight.

A full-service disc jockey company will normally invest 12 to 30 hours to your special event but it may appear that you are only paying for “4 hours”. Consultations, music purchasing & editing, preparation, set-up and tear-down, education and other business related endeavors add up to the overall success of your special occasion.
Scott Topper DJ Productions is committed to the following rules:
• Operates business in an ethically sound manner while maintaining the highest standards of professional conduct.
• Abides by all laws and regulations governing their professional activities.
• Uses legal forms of music and performance materials in the conduct of their entertainment services.
• Is honest and realistic in conveying their talent, abilities, and level of services to their clients.
• Delivers products and services to their clients, as promised, to the best of their abilities.
• Uses a written contract clearly stating all charges, services, products, performance expectations and other essential information.
• Provides a safe work environment with adequate protection for their clients and their client’s guests.
• Maintains adequate and appropriate insurance coverage for all business activities.

Los Angeles: 818-640-6100
Santa Barbara: 805-965-7978

Scott Topper of Scott Topper Productions has been a leader in the special event entertainment industry for over a decade
Scott Topper of Scott Topper Productions has been a leader in the special event entertainment industry for over a decade

5 thoughts on “Wedding Planning Tips by Scott Topper | How to Avoid Mistakes in Hiring a DJ”

  1. This is so helpful! I’m planning my wedding right now, and I think that your third point really resonates with me. For example, if anyone tries to play “Every Breath You Take,” I would be so mad. So yes, it’s important to me to have a DJ who listens to me and respects my opinions. Thanks for the helpful things to consider!

  2. A great DJ can make weddings a lot of fun. But I agree that the DJ must know beforehand the expectations you have for proper etiquette. If you’re open about what you’re looking for, they can provide your guests with a great experience.

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