Amateur Wedding DJ Horror Stories

We hear them all the time. It’s usually a FOAF: “Friend Of A Friend.”

When I meet with brides, they often tell horror stories about a recent wedding they attended (often as a bridesmaid) that was ruined by a terrible DJ. They start our conversation by spelling out what they don’t want at their own celebration!

Sometimes brides don’t hire a professional, because they over-spent on other items (food, flowers, decorating) and don’t have enough left in the budget for a professional Master of Ceremonies. So they hire the low bidder, and live to regret it.

Here are some of their stories:

We should have hired the DJ my sister had:

“Oh my God !! Our DJ was the worst. He was a friend of my maid of honor. She said he was good so I hired him. Though the music was decent, everybody hated him. He was obnoxious and rude on the microphone. I guess he thought his jokes were funny, but this was my wedding! My husband asked him to stop talking. We should have hired the DJ my sister had at her wedding. He was very professional.”

LESSON LEARNED: A friend may mean well, but often will not treat their important role in your wedding as seriously as a professional. Avoid hiring the FOAF.

SECONDARY LESSON: It’s more than just music! Notice, she said the music was “decent,” but she hated the DJ anyway. You need someone with a gift for public speaking, who can manage the mood, the flow, and the energy of your event, not just play music.

Different DJ than who we were told we would have:

“The DJ we received from this company was a different DJ than who we were told we would have. We met with him 2 days before our wedding to go over everything and he seemed confident that we would do a good job. However, during our reception, he played the wrong wedding party entrance song, mispronounced the names of my mother, my maid of honor, and the best man. He sounded very unprepared and unprofessional. Not only that, he barely spoke for the rest of the evening, and failed to announce our cake cutting so that half the guests missed it. I would never recommend this company to ANYONE.”

LESSON LEARNED: Some DJ companies you find on the Internet are only booking agencies, skimming a commission and contracting the cheapest DJ they can get, who often lacks the critical experience needed to do justice to your wedding.

The opportunity to meet your DJ face to face:

“He played the wrong song during the Grand Entrance, and he played the wrong song during the father-daughter dance, caught the mistake and then played the correct song. Both errors could have been avoided if I had an opportunity to meet my DJ face to face prior to the wedding date to clearly review what I wanted. Unfortunately this service does not provide you the opportunity to meet your DJ face to face until the day of the wedding. All correspondences are done through the owner David, and he may not be the DJ at your wedding.”

LESSON LEARNED: ALWAYS meet your DJ face to face! These days many people try to take care of things online. That works for buying a product. But when contracting for a service, especially one that requires talent and experience, you need to meet them in person. Your DJ and MC will be the “Voice” of your celebration, the host who represents your family. This is one vendor you should always meet in person.

This guy who DJ’d “on the side”

‎”A friend told us about this guy who DJ’d “on the side.” He was a fraction of the cost of other companies. We found out why, when he started hitting on the single girls during the bouquet toss. He did many inappropriate things that were completely embarrassing. We learned our lesson. Unfortunately, we can’t go back and do it again the right way!”

LESSON LEARNED: Professionals must earn a living from good referrals, and will always behave in a professional manner. An amateur doesn’t care about his reputation. Amateurs and wanna-be’s should be avoided!

OVERALL LESSON: Always get references, and contact them!

I always provide extensive references to brides. I find that most brides never check them (although often Daddy-with-the-checkbook will!) The best way to avoid “Cousin Darrell” is to hire vendors with outstanding recommendations. Take the time to check references, and your wedding won’t become another horror story!

And NO, the professionals are not unaffordable! Experienced professionals always have offerings for their low-budget clients, and care enough about you to work out a package that fits your budget. We understand that every bride deserves her special celebration!

When you make your living at this, you must not only be good at it, but must strive to exceed the customer’s expectations. Only then can you enjoy the kind of reputation that has made the Party Machine the top choice of event professionals for 35 years!

At Party Machine Celebrations, we always meet with brides, grooms, parents and wedding coordinators, in person and face-to-face. I will always be your MC, not some trainee. Your wedding will be impeccably planned so it will turn out just the way you want it – Your Wedding, Your Way! And PM Celebrations staff will always adhere to the American DJ Association Code of Professional Conduct.

6 Responses to “Amateur Wedding DJ Horror Stories”

  1. As was once said ‘if you think employing a professional is expensive, wait to see what happens when you hire an amateur’

    JMF Disco
    Wedding DJ and Mobile Disco

    • A friend uses that as the motto for a highly successful lawn and landscape company.

      The big difference is that if an amateur does a bad job cutting your lawn, it will grow back, and be fine in a week or two.

      When a bad amateur DJ ruins a bride’s wedding, the damage is permanent. And it has a negative reflection on our entire industry, not just the amateurs.

      I view it as an important calling for service-minded professionals to protect the public from incompetent and unscrupulous operators.

  2. Great lessons, but how would a couple go about knowing/finding out who’s a pro and who isn’t besides references? We all know even bad DJs who can scrounge up a few good references from friends or people who don’t have a clue about what’s good. Is it all about the interview?

    • When you meet and talk with a top professional it becomes obvious for multiple reasons. We provide an extensive list of references that includes repeat customers, industry references, and a list of clients that looks like the Fortune 500. Amateurs don’t have that. Another source is reviews on sites like Wedding Wire, Perfect Wedding Guide, and Martha Stewart Weddings. And other wedding professionals, like your planner or photographer, will know who the top professionals are.

      Perhaps it’s easier to spot an amateur. First of all, if they are on Craig’s List, it’s a red flag. Run, don’t walk, as this is an amateur with no experience. If they have a web page without their own domain name, or their only web presence is a FaceBook page, that’s a good hint. Amateurs boast about how big their speakers are, and how many songs they have. Amateurs market their service based on price. They cost less, because they are worth less, and they know it!

      Professionals will have liability insurance, accept credit cards, and have professionally printed color brochures and cards, with a logo. Professionals will offer a wide range of services and will customize your event to your wishes. Professionals care more about their reputation, and provide a better service because they live from referrals. Professionals belong to professional organizations like the American DJ Association, local wedding guilds, and they know each other through their network of other professionals. Professionals have display advertising in local publications like the Perfect Wedding Guide. Professionals have an extensive web presence that includes a website, a blog, a FaceBook page, and linked listings on all of the area wedding sites. And yes, they cost a bit more, because they earn it – by doing things your way, and getting it right every time.

  3. Wedding MC Tips…

    […]Amateur Wedding DJ Horror Stories « DJ Scott Shirley's Blog[…]…

  4. […] The DJ is “Cheesy” or Says Inappropriate […]

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