"Let's Talk" - Bill Sargent

Part 1: A Band Or A DJ – Which To Choose? Choose Wisely!

Do I choose a band or a DJ for my event? The following commentary regarding bands and DJs is only applicable to brides and event coordinators who seek to have a unique, elegant wedding or special event experience and memory.

Maybe you want a DJ because that’s what most of your friends did or are planning to do. I understand. If that is what you want to do and that is your reasoning, then this article is not for you. I am not your guy and I wish you all the very best. If this is not you, then read on.

First things first. Please understand that I realize that DJs have a place and serve a purpose.  Those places are events where music and entertainment are not a high priority; maybe a small, low budget party is another place where a DJ would serve the purpose.

However, when you’re putting on a once-in-a-lifetime event, say a wedding, or a major anniversary, or a fundraiser where the guests are expected to part with a few hundred or thousand dollars that evening, it is then that the expectations and the level of the overall experience rises dramatically.

In my opinion and experience, hiring a DJ lowers the quality of the experience more than any other single thing. Your guests will hear the same songs and the same recordings that they’ve heard at everyone else’s wedding or event from a guy behind a table draped in black (with maybe even some business advertising on) with cheesy lights trying to look like a nightclub that people go to on Friday nights.

You just spent thousands of dollars dressing up elegantly, choosing just the right location with a beautiful room, creating a romantic atmosphere and dinner for a classy event and it has been cheapened with a DJ who counteracts that image. Instead of a UNIQUE wedding unlike any your friends or family have attended, your spectacular reception has just turned into another “me too” wedding.

IF YOU ARE SET ON CHOOSING A DJ, here are a few things to consider.

Inquire about their actual music training and experience. Yes, that really is important. Musical performances, in addition to the artistic considerations, have psychological human-behavioral effects and responses to be considered. Is their experience and training anything beyond playing a radio, liking music, and/or having once played in a school band?

Typically, this DJ is not a professional musician and has little or no musical training. The only qualification needed to be a DJ is the credit card to purchase their sound and light setup. Do not be influenced by “certifications” such as “Certified by the American Profession DJs Association”; certifications that were purchased for image and marketing purposes only.

Do they consume alcohol before or during the event? Have you ever noticed how one personality who owns the microphone for the evening, who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, can become very “wordy”, obnoxious, and annoying? Did you know that every single time someone makes an announcement from the stage, they are disrupting conversations between friends and family while drawing attention to themselves? If the night of your life is dependent on that one single person, it may be too late to change course and salvage your evening.

Is the prospective DJ in the habit of conducting less than dignified games or calling out and embarrassing a guest at your event?

Then there is another one I witnessed where the DJ started the wedding reception (the very first song) with the song “Runaround Sue” – “It’s about a girl that I once knew, She took my love then ran around, With every single guy in town, . . . Sue goes out with other guys”. WHAT WAS HE THINKING?! Answer: He wasn’t. This was a night to celebrate the vow to love and honor for the rest of their lives.

The stories are endless. But, this is what CAN happen when one person, a part-time hobbyist, is in control of your evening.

If you’re going with a DJ, choose wisely. You’re putting you’re special day in the hands of one person.

Provided you don’t mind doing basically the same thing all your friends did for their wedding reception, there are a few decent DJs and even some good ones out there. Do some thorough research and you may be fortunate to find one.

Finally, the alternative

Your wedding is unique, and you deserve special treatment. We do it with class and recognition that this is the bride’s evening and that where the spotlight and focus of attention should be for that evening.

We don’t duplicate one wedding to the next. We create REAL music, played by REAL people, using REAL instruments resulting in REAL entertainment. Our music is created in real time. It will never be duplicated in exactly the same way again – ever – anyplace.

If you have any questions, feel free to call me at 414-777-0100

Keep Swingin’!
Bill Sargent
Milwaukee, Wisconsin USA


This is Part 1 in a series entitled, “The Biggest Mistakes a Bride Makes When Purchasing Music and Entertainment For Their Wedding” by Bill Sargent

Read the whole series:

2: Wedding Professionals – Hiring The Right One While Avoiding An Amateur

3: Entertainment Agency – Should I Use One Or Do It Myself?

4: Wrong Reasons for Choosing a Band or DJ

5: Mistakes and Problems – How to Avoid Them when Hiring Entertainment

6: Booking Entertainment – Things To Consider When Booking Your Band Or DJ


©Bill Sargent. All rights reserved.


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