Know your crowd
While club DJs can play records for a select group, a good wedding DJ often has to appeal to a much wider audience. “A good wedding DJ needs to know when, say, grandma is getting up and needs a bit of Frank Sinatra,” explains Jessica Seal, Director of Private Events and Weddings, “So often at weddings we’re catering for every age range, from six to seventy-six.” Therefore, Seal often books DJ Philly, a London DJ who’s played at Fabric, The Ministry of Sound and Pacha, as well as plenty of fashion-industry parties, and who also knows how to work a more eclectic room. “She’s the best at seeing what the crowd needs,” explains Seal.
Go ‘big name’ if you want to (but don’t feel you have to)
If your budget allows, Seal and her colleagues can book DJs such as Craig David, who played at the wedding of Superdry founder Julian Dunkerton and designer Jade Holland Cooper. “She was a big fan of his,” says Seal; “he does a great set, singing over the records; it’s called TS5.” Seal has also booked in notable DJs such as the model Zara Martin, who appeals to a fashion crowd. However, she adds that most big-budget weddings go for a big-name live act, such as Elton John, Seal, Katy Perry, Stormzy or Lionel Richie, and book in a lesser-known DJ, who may not have the star power, “but who can really get the party going.”
Get the age range right
If the happy couple and guests are exceptionally young, Seal recommends booking a DJ who is at least similar in age. “You’re not going to put a 40-year-old DJ in front of a group of 18-year-olds, no matter how cool he is,” she explains; “you’d need a 22- or 23-year-old.” For engagements such as this, Seal and her colleagues often book DJ Will Power, who is, she admits, “pretty easy on the eye.”
A brief is important
Some hosts ask all guests for a recommended record for the dancefloor, which can work, though Seal cautions: “It can make for a very eclectic night of music.” More commonly, her clients brief the DJs, often on the phone or via Skype, to get the choice of music right. This usually involves a broad outline, and perhaps a handful of chosen songs.
“Give any good DJ a list of 15 songs, and they’ll be able to take it from there.” Most couples ask for a bit of everything, but Seal has a few specialist DJs on call for more detailed descriptions, favouring particular genres. “Guy Williams is a wonderful soul, funk and house DJ,” she says. “If they want to go old school, we go for him.”
Yes, some still play vinyl (and can even scratch)
While most DJing is digital these days, a few of Seal’s regulars will pull out the 12” record box, if requested. DJ Philly can play vinyl sets, and DJ Chux – a young London club DJ –is also an excellent scratch DJ. “He's in his twenties but plays vinyl - only a handful of them do that nowadays.”
working guest mixes with Rob Bruce