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Special to GigMasters by Neil Smith of Dandy DJ (North Hollywood, CA)
The question of what the difference is between wedding DJs and club DJs comes up from time to time and makes more than a few brides and grooms nervous about getting the right type of provider. Brides and grooms want someone who will be able to please all the tastes and age ranges of their guests. The question also makes a few club owners nervous that they will accidentally end up with a wedding DJ used to pleasing a wide demographic, not one who is strong enough to please their strictly 20-something hip hop crowd, techno, or deep house lounge vibe crowd.
A club DJ almost always caters strictly to a very young 20-something demographic and is more of a performance artist than a professional service provider. The club DJ will have a special style of mixing and mashing songs together (mashups), will often have a very flashy look and will use skills such as scratching and needle-dropping (if using turntables) and the truly skilled and talented club DJs actually approach the level of being musicians themselves for what they bring to the table (no pun intended). If you are having a party for older teens and 20’s who like hip hop, techno and similar styles, a club-style DJ is the way to go. With this type of DJ, because their personal “spinning” style is very intregal to what they do, you will generally want to hear a mix demo. A mix demo usually only applies to club-style DJs and not Wedding DJs.
A Wedding DJ is a more of a professional service provider than a performance artist. While it is true that they should possess some of the same basic skills as a club DJ such as beat-matching for the dance portion of the reception (beat-matching is when the DJ gets the beats to match up from one song to the next for seamless transitions between songs to help the dance floor keep going), a demo mix is not usually something you would ask a Wedding DJ for. Some of the more important aspects of the Wedding DJ are their ability to coordinate with you in advance to make sure that all of your desires for your big day are going to be met, a wide selection of different styles to please a wider demographic of people which you will find at almost all weddings, punctuality, a clean professional look, courtesy to your guests, great speaking and presentation ability for your introductions and announcements and special portions of your reception, good equipment which will be presentable in your elegant setting and most importantly – INSURANCE (Many wedding venues will not even let your DJ on the property if they are uninsured. Be sure to verify your DJ's insurance before hiring him or her. It could save you a lot of trouble later).
The best thing to do when planning your party is to know what you want, have a good idea of the type of entertainment which will best please your guests and be thorough when screening DJs. Make a list of the important aspects that apply to your situation and don’t be afraid to ask all your questions. Any DJ who is not gracious enough to happily answer all your questions, is standoffish or squirmy when you ask them, does not deserve your business and you should immediately move on until you find the right provider who exudes professionalism and shows that they truly care about the most important thing of all: YOU!