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Tips for Hiring DJ Entertainment

Beginning in January 2020, the Canadian Professional Disc Jockey Association along with our international not-for-profit partners The National Association of Disc Jockeys (UK) and the DJ Alliance Australasia (Australia) began publishing a series of articles designed to help the general public utilize the industry our collective associations represent. We hope these articles are helpful and function to help everyone achieve greater event success with mobile DJ entertainment. These articles are published every two weeks and will continue publication throughout 2020.

  • January 21, 2020 10:03 AM | Dave Ternier (Administrator)

    Forget Spotify: Why you need a wedding DJ

    Let’s face it: planning a wedding can be costly. And to keep budgets down, it’s understandable that for many of us, something’s got to give – whether that’s the date, the dress or the entertainment. Before you cross wedding DJ off your priority list and create a free playlist instead, let’s explore why it can be so important to have a wedding DJ.

    Your DJ can ‘feel’ the room

    While putting together your own playlist might be filled with floor-filling favourites, by working with a wedding DJ, they can sense what’s appropriate to play and what the crowd actually wants to hear in the moment, minute by minute throughout the entire party.

    Working with wedding couples months before their big day, a DJ develops an understanding for how important music is to them – what they like and what they really don’t like. This helps a DJ tailor the music to their day without it being prescriptive.

    Ready-made playlists can work, but unless they’re carefully thought out from an entertainment perspective, they can lack flow and feel a little stop/start for guests wanting to party. For example: one minute you’re all dancing to an indie classic you loved from a festival and next, the energy screeches to a halt when a romantic, slow tune comes on, leaving just a few couples on the dance floor. DJs love reading the room, working with the vibe and playing what’s going to keep people partying!

    They have expertise.

    When you hire a wedding DJ, you’re not just paying for them to "turn up and play a few tunes,” but for their years of experience within the entertainment industry. Over the years, DJs often work with hundreds of wedding couples to help create their dream days with meaningful music and special moments.

    Like a great movie soundtrack, music at a wedding creates emotion. Music sets the scene. It can rock the party, creating energy and a crazy full dance floor that you just HAVE to be part of or, it can tug at the heartstrings as the newlyweds are lost in each other’s eyes during that perfect first dance or as a bride and her dad take to the floor for that dance with the first man she ever loved.

    Many times, a DJ will help from music choices to planning the timing of the event. DJs help their wedding couples, giving them the advice they need and helping them design a day as unique as they are. You can be forgiven for thinking that a wedding DJ focuses solely on the music.

    DJs are also frequently called upon to be the master of ceremonies, taking the pressure off their wedding couples by looking after timing and pacing of the day. They communicate with the other wedding suppliers (such as the photographer, videographer and reception venue coordinator) to make sure they are prepared for the next event moment – be that the speeches, cutting the cake and the all-important first dance.

    After all of the time spent planning your big day, you deserve to be right there, living and loving every moment, without worrying about what comes next. A Spotify playlist can’t do that, but your wedding DJ will.

    Special thanks to multi-award winning DJ and MC, Alan Marshall of Alan Marshall Celebrations for contributing this article. Alan is also a current member and former Chairman of the National Association of Disc Jockeys (NADJ).


    To find your next event DJ, search the Canadian Professional Disc Jockey Association Find a DJ member database. Basic searches can be completed by region/city or advanced searches by event, music, performance and spoken language specialty can also be performed.

  • January 06, 2020 2:32 PM | Dave Ternier (Administrator)

    Have you ever heard of a bride or groom having their DJ cancel on them? And sometimes with only weeks to go before the big day?

    As you can probably imagine, the stress this causes ahead of the largest party someone has (probably) ever planned in their life is terrible. This happens more often than it should and for a variety of reasons. The primary reason though, is one you can protect yourself from:

    Have a signed agreement or contract with the DJ company you hire.

    In most cases where a DJ has reportedly cancelled on an event, it happens where there was never a signed agreement, thus making it very easy for a DJ to back out of their commitment. Often times it was a family friend or a friend-of-a-friend who said “Sure, I can DJ your party!” only to have them back out when the pressure of the event began to draw near or another fun weekend opportunity presented itself. It isn’t always friends-of-friends though, in some cases, DJ companies don’t use agreements. That needs to change and you can do something about it.

    Anyone hiring a DJ should always request an agreement that both parties (you and the DJ company) agree to. By ensuring you work only with a DJ that uses an agreement, you will be saving yourself from a lot of potential headache.

    A proper and fair agreement is designed to protect both parties. The agreement should protect the interests of the DJ AND your interests as the client. It should have balance to it and safeguards for both, the person hiring the DJ, and the DJ themselves.

    At a minimum, quality agreements should always include your full name and the DJ company name along with some sort of identification information for each (often through an address, phone number or email address). It should also include the precise date and location of the event. This ensures your DJ will show up on the appropriate date and at the proper location of your party.

    Detailed cancelation information should also be listed. For example, what happens if you have to cancel on the DJ or what happens if the DJ can, for some reason, no longer fulfil the agreement? The agreement should detail out appropriate protections for both you and the DJ around this topic. Many agreements also include the name of your DJ written on the agreement so that you can be sure you’re getting your favourite entertainer.

    Lastly, the agreement you sign with your DJ should state the services being hired and the total fee for those services. All payment terms should also be clearly stated so as to avoid any unpleasant surprise bills.

    There are many other topics that can and will be listed in a quality agreement, but simply having one is a start. A DJ has the ability to impact a party in such a massive way, do not hire one without a written and signed agreement.

    You don’t want to be that person, weeks away from one of the most important events of your life, struggling to find an entertainment replacement, do you?

    Sign an agreement with your entertainer. This is a huge step toward ensuring you throw the celebration of your dreams!


    To find your next event DJ, search the Canadian Professional Disc Jockey Association Find a DJ member database. Basic searches can be completed by region/city or advanced searches by event, music, performance and spoken language specialty can also be performed.

Canadian Professional Disc Jockey Association

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