What Does a DJ Do at Wedding? Don’t They Just Press Play?

by | May 4, 2021 | Wedding DJs

One of the more common questions we get is “what exactly does a DJ even do? Don’t they just press play and sit back?”

True, playing music does require a certain degree of play-pressing.  However, when it comes to weddings, a DJs role is more than just a glorified playlist.  Your wedding DJ works behind the scenes (and in the spotlight) to make sure your wedding day goes as smoothly as possible.  On top of mixing music, your wedding DJ is also your

  • Master of ceremonies
  • Day-of facilitator
  • Point of contact with guests
  • And yes, your player the music (but trust us, it’s more than just pressing play)

They’re one of your most important wedding vendors, and it’s hard to overstate everything a wedding DJ does.  But we’ve tried to provide something of a short description of how a DJ is a crucial member of your day-of wedding vendor dream team.

The Master of Ceremonies and Voice on the Mic

Typically, the wedding DJ also functions as the master of ceremonies (or the MC).  They make all the announcements, do the introductions for the bridal party, and are the “voice” of the wedding.

We always recommend booking a DJ who doubles as an MC.  It may seem like the two would always go together, but in the world of professional DJs, it’s not always the case.

There are DJs more comfortable with the anonymity of performing in a club or other nightlife venue.  So they bill themselves as “music only.”  There’s nothing wrong with this if you know what you’re getting.  But imagine what an unwelcome surprise it would be to find out something like this on your wedding day.

Some DJs even have a separate MC who handles all the announcements and guest interaction.  Which, again, is totally fine.  But is also something you should know before your wedding day.

The moral of the story is to always ask your DJ if they’re also an MC.

The Importance of a Good Mic Presence

We just wanted to quickly touch on mic presence.  It seems obvious that the DJ will be the voice on the other end of the mic.  But when you’re talking with them, take note of how they speak.  If they’re quiet and timid, chances are that’s how they’ll be on the microphone too.

The flip-side is that you also don’t want them to sound like a carnival barker.  Guests shouldn’t feel like they’re being ordered around.  But at the same time they should be able to clearly hear and understand the DJ.

Talking clearly on a microphone is a skill.  And just like any other skill, it requires practice.  It’s also something an experienced, professional wedding DJ should be top-notch in.

Keeping Your Timeline on Track

Your wedding DJ is also your day-of facilitator.  While they’re not the same as a coordinator, they do work closely with the coordinator (if there is one).

By “facilitator,” we mean they keep everything on track.  A good wedding DJ will want a copy of your timeline and will work to keep everything as closely to the set timeframe as possible.

In addition to keeping track of the timeline, they also coordinate with other vendors.  Since they’re the ones announcing the start of all the major reception events, a good wedding DJ will also make sure all the other vendors are ready for the start of those events.

For instance, say it’s time for the cake cutting.  It’s the DJs job to make an announcement and get everyone’s attention.  But if the caterer isn’t ready, even though the DJ did the announcement part, everyone will be standing around awkwardly while those preparing the cake scramble (and probably curse the DJ under their breath).

Furthermore, if they didn’t make sure the photographer was ready, then you may end up with a wedding photo album sans cake cutting (and with a very angry photographer).

Part of being a good DJ and MC is making sure everyone (including you) is ready for whatever you’re about to announce.  That’s how a good wedding DJ is also a wedding-day facilitator.

Your Wedding Day Point-of-Contact

If you need something said to your guests, it’s your wedding DJ who will be the one doing it.  They have the microphone, so they’re your point of contact between you and your guests.

If post-ceremony photos are running a little long and the cocktail hour needs to be extended, it’s the DJ who will make the announcement and make sure the in-laws aren’t about to get rowdy.

This is a more important job than it may sound.  We’ve seen weddings with uncommunicative DJs.  The result is guests who feel like they must be missing something or that something is wrong.  They start getting restless.  What this translates to is guests leaving earlier than they may otherwise have intended.  Which is absolutely not what you want.

Being the point-of-contact is a two-way street.  They can also let you know how guests are feeling and if there’s something your guests want of you.

They’re also how you communicate with your other vendors.  The caterer may need cocktail hour extended a little bit to prepare the hors d’oeuvres.  So they tell the DJ, and the DJ tells you.  It’s an efficient system that keeps everyone in communication and lets everyone know what the plan is.

Bringer of Great Music

Finally, the DJ also plays the music.

But seamlessly mixing music is more than pressing a single button and kicking back.  Most DJs prefer to mix organically as opposed to a pre-set playlist.  This means that they’re reacting to the mood of the dance floor.

If everyone is getting down to Usher, they may keep the good time going.  Or they may mic into something unexpected and surprise the crowd with an old favorite they’d almost forgotten about.

Simply pressing play doesn’t allow for any of that improvisation.  If a song falls flat, the guests are forced to awkwardly and painfully wait it out before resuming the good time.  But when the DJ is actively mixing, if a song doesn’t hit the way they expected, they can quickly move into something else.

This gives the DJ full control over the dance floor and lets them react to the mood of your guests.  And it’s what keeps people on the dance floor all night long.

Why You Need A DJ For Your Wedding

More and more couples are opting to add DIY aspects to their wedding days.  And that’s something we completely support.  Adding personal touches is what makes a wedding special and unique.  But something we don’t recommend is DIY wedding DJing.

While it may seem easy enough on the surface, the wedding DJ does far more than just play the music.  A good DJ is also

  • A skilled MC
  • A timeline facilitator
  • Your point of contact to vendors and guests
  • And adept mixer of great tunes

So if those factors are important to you for your wedding day, we recommend going with a professional and experienced wedding DJ company.

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Learn something useful about the impact the right DJ can have on your wedding?  Please like and share!  Or, leave your questions and comments below.  And of course, if you’re in need of a DJ near Columbus, Ohio, we’d love to serve you.


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