How to differentiate DJs for an Indian wedding

How To Differentiate DJs For an Indian Wedding

When it comes to selecting a DJ for your Indian wedding it can be difficult to differentiate amongst them. Even those of you who attend a lot of Indian weddings probably don’t pay much attention to who the DJ is or use the mental capacity to compare and contrast DJs. The only exception to this is when you’re in the process of planning your own wedding. THEN you’re super aware and observing everything at every wedding you attend, not only the DJ.

So, how do you compare DJs? Some people see a DJ’s job as simply playing music. But the fact is there’s much more to it than that. A really good DJ can read and rally a crowd. A really good DJ understands the cultural differences between Hindu weddings, Sikh weddings, Muslim weddings and other types of South Asian weddings. A really good DJ is professional all the time. You can observe this in how they communicate. Does the DJ ask questions and spend time understanding your specific event? Did the DJ send you a formal proposal or simply throw together an email? Does the DJ make everything clear such as terms and conditions and who will actually work your event? Does the DJ nickel and dime you for every additional mic or speaker that they have to setup?

{Real Indian Wedding DJ Stories and The Lessons Learned}

Here are real stories from people’s weddings and events. More importantly they highlight the differences of good and not-so-good DJs:

You Get What You Pay For. The DJ was inexpensive and showed up to the wedding reception unprepared. The couple and the DJ had discussed lighting and a gobo. But neither party ever put any of this info in writing. On the day of the wedding the DJ claimed that he never agreed to those things.

Don’t Expect to Pay Cheap Prices and Get Classy Behavior. A DJ company was inexpensive and a couple hired him for their wedding reception. On the day of, it turned out that he sent two other guys to DJ instead of working the event himself. When they showed up it was obvious that they had been drinking. And during the event they were taking pictures of the young women at the reception. It got so bad that one of them was asked to leave and the wedding party forced him to delete the photos from his phone. A good DJ dresses in a suit. It shouldn’t even have to be said that drinking on the job is wrong. By the way, DJs and all wedding vendors are required by most venues (not all venues, but most) to sign a waiver and a code of conduct form. Drinking on the job would be a clear violation of the venue’s code of conduct and can result in being banned from that venue or even charged fines. Aside from the obvious unpleasantness of having a drunk or tipsy DJ at your wedding reception, it can be more serious than that. DJs operates heavy equipment and are surrounded by electrical wiring and someone could get hurt.

DJ Reneged On the Contract. A couple signed a contract with a DJ who later reneged, claiming that he got a better opportunity for that day. He informed the couple and apologized; but he didn’t offer to help them find someone else. This happened 1 month before their wedding.

The DJ Sent Someone Else. A DJ who was very inexpensive was hired for an Indian cultural event. Instead of attending himself, he sent someone else and never informed that he was going to do that. The guy that was sent was alone and inexperienced…and he did a really bad job. The organizers of the event were obviously upset but, you get what you pay for.

Culturally Unaware DJ. The DJ at a Gujarati-Gujarati wedding where the vast majority of all of the guests were also Gujarati, starts calling out into the mic, “where are all the Punjabis at?!” Really?

Experience Matters. A best practice at Indian wedding ceremonies is for the officiant and the DJ to be positioned so they are facing each other, so that they can cue each other throughout the ceremony. At one Hindu wedding, the officiant’s back was facing the DJ so the pandit kept awkwardly cueing the DJ into the mic throughout the wedding ceremony for all of the attendees to hear. A good DJ would 1. know that and 2. communicate with you/the venue/the officiant and make sure that their setup is positioned accordingly.

DJ Who Educates You. This is a really important one. A really good DJ recognizes that people don’t know what they need for their wedding weekend and is the reliable knowledge center that sees to all the details for a fantastic wedding weekend. A good DJ knows takes the approach of educating you.

Listening vs. Selling. Some DJs are just trying to sell you more services vs. ones that are being honest and straight with you. Most DJs also offer lighting services and want you to hire them for that. And they’re good at it and lighting is really impactful. But a really good DJ listens first, builds rapport and then makes recommendations. A DJ that’s immediately trying to upsell you should be a red flag as they’re not going to view your business as valuable.

DJs Appearance Matters. Suppose you’re attending an Indian wedding this weekend or soon. Observe the DJ. Is the DJ wearing jeans and a t-shirt or a suit? Is the DJs booth set up professionally with a stand in front, or is their gear sprawled across a table in plain sight for everyone to see? This matters because you don’t want a sloppy look at your wedding and 2. it hints at a lack of attention to detail which is exactly what you don’t need at your wedding.

{How Much Does a DJ Cost For an Indian Wedding?}

 At least $4000+ for a 350-person wedding day: wedding ceremony + cocktail hour + reception and this may not include any lighting.

{Good DJs Know They’re Forming a Long Time Relationship}

Good DJs know that they get the majority of their business from word-of-mouth and that if they do a good job you will recommend them to all of your friends. Additionally, you’re likely to have more celebrations in the future and if they do a good job they will be your go-to DJ for all of them.

{Red Flag: DJs Who Nickel and Dime You}

Unless you’re asking them to bring a LOT of additional equipment or asking for services that require a ton of additional time, DJs that nickel and dime you on an additional mic or making a music cut should be a red flag. It’s not that their time and work isn’t valuable or shouldn’t be charged. But an excellent DJ who is prepared, thoughtful and thereby a true professional would have thought of those things ahead of time and built it into their packages to begin with.

You do not want to be haggling with a DJ over small things such as the cost of an additional mic etc. as it will sour the relationship and impact your wedding day.

{Summary and Conclusion}

Selecting a DJ for your wedding can be difficult as it’s sometimes difficult to distinguish amongst them. We wrote this guide to help you evaluate and differentiate DJs as you plan your wedding. Remember, you get what you pay for. If a DJ is very inexpensive don’t expect great or even good service. Get everything in writing in a formal contract. Work with a DJ that’s building rapport and educating you vs. a DJ that’s just trying to sell you.

Here are some DJ tips for when you’re farther into wedding planning. Final wedding details to share with your DJ.


Cover image: Lin & Jirsa Photography