Most DJs won't want Brides to read this. The difference between a Professional and an Amateur DJ.

February 3, 2017


Photograph by Stanton's Photography

The truth... 

Its arguably the most important decision you will make at your wedding. This decision will have one of the biggest impacts on your day, and I promise you it's not your candy bar or your guest favours... yup you guessed it, it's your professional Disc Jockey and Master of Ceremonies. I would even argue that if you do not put the time and consideration into your MC, it wouldn't really matter what you spend on a DJ. You can expect an uphill battle for everyone involved and it will also cost you more than just money.

I hope you find this article interesting and informative. I am a very strong advocate for the mobile disc jockey profession and I believe in the value we can bring to all events. 


My thoughts...

Over the last 5 years or more, I have become become very frustrated and saddened with what social media and the DJS themselves have done to the mobile disc jockey industry. The level of service and DJ rates have dropped, making it harder for true professionals to operate. New companies have been taking advantage of brides using cheap prices, bad ethics, and very little service. Brides and the wedding industry itself have come to expect less from the DJ. The newly engaged, more and more, are going to social media for answers and are being misinformed by amateurs who use cheap pricing to differentiate themselves. Brides deserve better and DJs need to be better! My hope is that this article starts a conversation and that this Blog also help's:


1. Educate and inform the wedding industry and those searching for a DJ.

2. Mobile Disc Jockeys to believe in themselves and strive to be better professionals.

Some random tidbits of info....

To think is to create... hmmm. It is said that it takes 10,000 hours at your job to truly become a professional.


A little DJ humour for you.... but sadly its very true...

In local Wedding News... at a recent Vancouver wedding, the leftover cupcakes, guest favours, candy bar, veggie platter, and chair covers were all seen laughing hysterically after all the guests left the reception. When asked why, they said:


"The Dj was so amazing! Best wedding ever!!!... but look at him!... He is still cleaning up after a 12 hour day and we all got paid more than him".


It was also noted that the DJ strangely seemed ok with that.  

Here you go... The Dollar Store

If your DJ charges under $700 or simply sets his prices before understanding your vision,  you can expect most, if not all of the following:

  • A DJ that is a hobbyist and will spend very little time preparing for your day.

  • Have little to no experience performing at weddings.

  • Primarily uses Social Media as their only means of marketing. 

  • This is not their full time profession.

  • No MC Skills: To properly MC you need years of experience and practice.

  • The DJ will have a sense of entitlement. Will probably take advantage of an open bar or indulge in the buffet, candy bar, and late night snack. He will also expect a gratuity.

  • The DJ will be uncertain what to wear and will generally under dress himself.

  • DJ will probably rent gear and have little to no lighting.

  • The opposite may also occur...your amateur DJ may only want to talk about his amazing gear and top of the line speakers instead of how he is unique as a DJ.

  • The DJ will probably no how to play the music, but will have a lot of difficulty knowing “what to play” and “when to play it”. (This is critical to the success of a dance floor.) 

  • The DJ will have a limited musical knowledge base.  

  • The DJ will have no backup equipment or plan in place should the DJ be unavailable to work your wedding.

  • Do not expect the DJ to have more than one consultation with you.

  • The DJ will most likely not have a proper invoice and contract, or be able to present an outline of their services and guarantees.

  • Will offer less of a deposit in order to attract your booking or ask for cash only.

  • Do not expect the DJ to help plan or coordinate your special moments or entertainment transitions.

  • It is very unlikely the DJ will have the proper Insurance to protect not only himself but you and all your guests (WCB, liability, Connect Music, etc).

  • Very little references, pictures, or videos to show you.

Overall a DJ in this price range is more concerned about getting your booking than doing whatever it takes to make your wedding unique and unforgettable. If this DJ does not have a “day job” then he will be aggressive and focus only on his price and getting volume. That is his only real selling feature. He will need lots of bookings in order to make a living for himself so once he has the booking, and unless you call,  you might not here from him until the day before your wedding.


There is always a reason why a DJ is cheap and it is usually never a good one. You want to trust the most important day of your life with a professional that has the  Experience, a Good Reputation, and the ability to be creative with all aspects of your day.


Dj's might tell you otherwise why they charge what they charge, but the truth is, they determine their prices based on their talent level and how they compare to other area DJ rates.  Although Facebook groups will have you believe differently, the average rate in Vancouver for a 7 hour wedding reception is about $900. If you hire a DJ for $500 it is very likely your DJ will be short on actual talent and or will lack the confidence in his abilities. If a DJ knew he could charge more for his services based on what others charge, and believed he had more talent then other DJS in his Market...It would stand to reason he would.  


It should be mentioned there is always exceptions to this rule. One thing is for certain, if you get a quote for around $700 or less it should raise red flags.  


I would also recommend reading an article I wrote on prioritizing your budget. It has some great tips on budget planning and saving some big bucks. Its a fun read and I promise you will find it useful with your planning.. 


A Random Fact...

In a recent pole 80% percent of brides, after their wedding reception, said that they would have spent more time and money on their entertainment.


Its True...

If you think it is expensive to hire a professional experienced DJ for your wedding, just wait until you hire a budget and reasonable one

On the other hand….

If your DJ sits down with you to learn and care about your vision, you are most likely dealing with a professional.  Based on your specific needs, your DJ will then be able to provide you a professional quote for his services. You can expect:  

  • Your DJ will have many years of experince performing at weddings.

  • Personalized service from the day you book which includes unlimited consultations.

  • Your DJ will also have the skills to perform as Master of Ceremonies and have the ability to work with your venue, vendors, and family members throughout the entire planning process.

  • Your DJ will be able to create an Entertainment Timeline that brings energy and flow from the moment your first guests arrive.

  • Your DJ will be always available and will show a sense of pride in everything he does. This is his full time job and it shows.

  • Your DJ will conduct himself professionally and be professionally dressed at all times.

  • Your DJ will have professional gear that is properly set up to look flawless (no wires showing and proper tape when needed).

  • Custom Clear Sound. Your sound system will be designed with your floor plan in mind and  your guests enjoyment. Everyone will be able to hear clearly all those special moments.

  • Custom Lighting that will match the wedding decor, colours and brides vision. This will include not only the dance floor but for the entire venue. (Make your venue pop with properly placed uplights.)

  • Your DJ will be able to make suggestions based on his experience and reputation about all aspects of the planning process – not just the music.

  • Your DJ will have a professional website, social media presence, blogs, videos, pictures,  references, and testimonials available to you anytime.

  • Hours are exclusive on your wedding day. Your fee will include services for the entire day as needed. Whatever it takes to make your day unique and unforgettable. No hidden over time fees.

  • Your DJ will present an overview of services along with his Fee and have a contract available for your review.

  • Extensive music knowledge and library of a all genres of music. Your DJ will know “How to Play”, “What to play”, and “When to Play” the music (this is very important that hobby DJs don't have the experience doing yet). Your grandma to your best friend will have an equally amazing time.

  • Your Dj will be able to provide proof of insurance and speak about music licences (very important and overlooked more often than not).

  • Most DJs at this level will be have a "Peace of Mind" and or a "Money Back Guarantee" clause (yup I said it... a money back guarantee clause).

  • Your DJ will have full backup equipment and a contingency plan in place should he not be able to attend the wedding due to an emergency.

  • Your DJ will belong to industry associations and networking groups to not only better himself but the wedding industry he works in.

  • A gratuity is always appreciated but never an expectation. You hired a professional and you will get amazing service regardless of a tip.

You can expect your DJ to spend about 15-20 hours preparing for your wedding and even more if he is your Master of Ceremonies.


Your DJ will also be able to provide feature add-ons and demonstrate extra services that very few DJs are able to do. Some examples might be:

A DJ and Emcee Team
Being a two person team, the MC will also be able to move around the room, work the crowd, and interact with your guests during cocktail hour and throughout the entire evening.


Love Story
This is something unique to you and your fiancé. It is a story told by your Master of Ceremonies about your relationship, how you met, experiences you’ve had together, the proposal, etc. This is a one of a kind story that will set your wedding apart from everyone else’s.


Customized Audio Edit
During a special dance, personal voice recordings are inserted into the original song to create a something so unique there won’t be a dry eye in the room (ex. your wedding vows).


Another example of an audio edit would be a signature first dance, icebreaker game, or grand entrance.


Once your professional DJ learns about your vision he will be able to orchestrate every aspect of your wedding day celebration. Below are just a few more ideas and special moments that if done right, will make your wedding unique and unforgettable.

Signature Moments

  • "Ceremony Music and Planning"

  • Signature "Cocktail Hour"

  • "Fan Fare Grand Entrance"

  • Your "Living Guest Book"

  • Unique games personalized to get tables up to the buffet

  • "Cake Cutting Spotlight”

  • The "Icebreaker(s)" that will get everyone dancing

  • The "Show Game" with a unique twist

  • The "Anniversary Dance"

  • The "Group Hug Dance" that will step the party up even another notch

  • The  contemporary "Bouquet and Garter Toss"

  • Your “First Dance Spotlight"

  • The "Love Story Narrator"

  • The "Kick-Off/Party Blast"

  • The "After Party Takeover"

  • The "Grand Farewell"

If you are looking for a wedding DJ that can truly make your wedding unique and unforgettable - before the dance floor even starts – DeeJay Absolute would like to meet you and be part of your very special day.


"Its not what I do, Its how I do it that creates unique and truly amazing wedding receptions. Experience, Reputation, Creativity."




DeeJay Absolute

Mark Vanderende

Owner / DJ / Master of Ceremonies / Director of Entertainment and Wedding Specialist




Specializing in truly Unique Weddings






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