Do you need a wedding DJ for four hours? No, actually you don’t. (Part 1)

Visit almost every wedding DJ website, whether here in Oregon or anywhere else in the U.S., and you’re bound to find the four hour DJ package. It’s more common than the Chicken Dance and the YMCA, combined. I would like you to consider the view that the four hour wedding DJ package is, for lack of a better word, bunk. It’s nowhere near enough time. I’m not going to go into the reasons why every DJ has the four hour package (suffice to say that DJs make a habit out of copying each other), but rather why you, the bride and groom-to-be, deserve far more on your wedding day.

Your wedding is the result of months, or even years of planning. From a money, time, and emotion standpoint, your investment is huge.

So why would you need your wedding DJ (the guy or gal with all those amps & speakers… who will be louder than ANY wedding guest… who will be your official spokesperson/master-of-ceremonies) for only four hours? Why? Because we, the members of the wedding DJ industry, have set the bar so darn low.

How low? It’s so low that most wedding DJs actually give you a lot less than four hours at your reception. Think about the weddings you’ve attended as a guest. What do you remember when you think about the DJ? Whether a “good” wedding reception or a “bad” one, the answer is probably “the dancing”. In a typical four hour wedding reception, the open dancing is, what, maybe the last hour? 90 minutes? So what happens during the other two and a half to three hours? Generally, a lot of sitting around, and a lot of going through the motions. And a lot of missed opportunities!

You may not immediately recognize the missed opportunities unless you’ve been to a wedding where they weren’t missed. Here are some examples of wedding entertainers who “missed”… The wedding DJ who literally seems to think the bride’s name is “the bride“. The wedding DJ whose background music is as inspired as a collection of Kenny G’s Greatest Hits. The wedding DJ whose on-microphone vernacular is punctuated with “whoo-hoos” & “all-rights” and lacks any sincerity or real connection to the bride, the groom, and the guests in the room.

Something is usually missing when your wedding DJ is only charging you for performance time. He or she does not understand that what makes a performance memorable is rehearsal time. Time spent by the DJ consulting, planning, in preparation, and in practice is what is going to make your wedding day extraordinary. Neglecting this time will make your wedding day ordinary, and ordinary is exactly what the four hour wedding package begets.


What do you think? Am I on to something? Am I delusional? There’s more to come… Stop by later this week for part two!

3 Responses to “Do you need a wedding DJ for four hours? No, actually you don’t. (Part 1)”

  1. David says:

    4 hours is the show, set ip time and breakdown time isnt in the 4 hours. After 4 hours extra pay needs to come in but the 4 hours comes from the event centers. you obviously are new(2-3 years expe).

  2. mattbixby says:

    Thank you for the comment, David. Forgive me for 1) not approving your comment sooner and 2) not being clearer in my writing. Hopefully this will help:

    This is about PREPARATION TIME, not performance time. By preparation time I do not mean SET UP TIME or breakdown time. I’m speaking to the time you spend consulting with your client about their wedding day… specifically the time you spend asking questions, the time you spend listening, and the time you spend sharing with your clients how theirs can be a fabulously successful celebration.

    Most DJs don’t spend much, if any, time consulting. Once the sales pitch is over and the client has signed the contract, the DJ hands the client the planning forms (or sends them to the link on the website) and NEXT STOP: the wedding day. The night before the wedding (or perhaps the morning of), the DJ prints out the forms, loads all the special songs into their laptop or CD case, makes sure all the requested equipment is in the van, and drives to the wedding venue.

    Total preparation time? Probably under an hour.

    In my ten years in this profession, the average length of my wedding receptions has been around four hours. What I have learned during those ten years is that my ability to create a unique, personalized, memorable, and FUN celebration has very little to do with how long I’m on-site on the wedding day. The only way I know how to create this kind of entertainment is to PREPARE. Hours of preparation time including consultation time (described above), education (learning new ideas & skills), creation, and practice are required in order to have the type of celebration that leaves the guests surprised and delighted… that has them be participants instead of spectators… that has them be connected with the bride and groom so well that they actually feel closer to them and their families when the event is over.

    The kind of wedding where you leave saying “that was the most fun I’ve ever had at a wedding”.

    You don’t create that by showing up for four hours to play music & make announcements. You create that when you dedicate yourself to making your clients’ wedding day better than they imagined was possible. You create that when your expectation is that the wedding reception probably takes at least forty hours of your time, not just four.

    Again, thank you for your comment, David. If you were unclear about my message than I’m sure many others were, as well. I appreciate your bringing it to my attention.



  3. […] just finished a reply to David’s comment to my previous post about “not needing your wedding DJ for four hours”, and I thought the clarification was important enough that I should post it as a new blog […]

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