Hiring a DJ for your most important celebration? A mobile disc jockey can offer you the most versatility and best value for money than any other form of entertainment. They can play for hours without a break, have a huge music selection and can provide lighting and effects as part of their package. They don't have to play music loud and it puts someone in charge of the music.

But it can still go terribly wrong.

Here are the top five things a DJ can do to ruin your special day.

  1. Not turn up.
    How many times have we thought "what if they're late?" Or worse, what if they don't even turn up?' Usually we think of this when it comes to trades people, couriers or any list of people. I personally know of times when a DJ has not turned up. So how do you ensure your DJ will turn up? Because it's too late to organise something at 7pm when you've realised they're not there.

  2. Playing the wrong music.
    This may be because you spoke with someone to hire your DJ yet someone different has turned up to play at your wedding. And the play list hasn't been passed on. It may be that your DJ has little knowledge of music overall and is just getting it wrong. Or it's simply too quiet, or worse, too loud. How do you know your DJ will play the music you have chosen?

  3. Equipment failure.
    I know this happens to even the best of DJ's. You can have the best equipment; have planned it for months in advance and set it up hours before you start. And then any number of things can happen. An audio lead decides to play up and it puts a buzz through your microphone. Your computer decides it is time to fail or someone spills their wine on it! Or the caterer pulls the wrong plug when packing down their own equipment. All this can happen. How will your DJ manage any of these? Do they need to ring someone who is an hour away to fix it? Or can they fix it swiftly without batting an eyelid?

  4. They cannot communicate.
    A good DJ will have the ability to talk clearly and confidently over the microphone and with your guests during the evening. We all know what it's like at a theme park or train station and you are listening so hard but still fail to understand what is being said. A professional DJ will be as good on the microphone and talking with your guests as they are with playing the right music.

  5. Bad presentation.
    This can be in any number of ways. Their speakers are in the way. People are tripping over leads that are clearly in the wrong place. They are wearing a t-shirt to your formal wedding. Their equipment looks like it has been in storage for 10 years. Or maybe they have had one or two too many drinks. How do you know after all that planning that your DJ will act professionally on the night? You have just invited them to your most important celebration. Where it just so happens, all your family and friends are too!

It sounds rather daunting when you read all that. But there are things you can do to know your night will be a huge success. It doesn't have to be a two hour interview with your DJ. But you will get a good impression by at least meeting them first. And if that isn't possible, they should be able to offer previous clients' contact information or even better a reference from a venue that they play at regularly.

Just because your DJ charges $2000 or more, this does not mean they have everything in place. Something quite simple can make your reception a minor disaster. And if they are only $550, this doesn't mean they are inexperienced or don't know what to do when something goes wrong. It could simply be that they would like to fill their calendar.

Hiring a DJ may be down your list of things to do. I think it should be near the top of the list. Your reception is the longest part of your day as well as the last part. It will be what your guests remember the most. Confirm your entertainer early on and then when the date draws nearer, meet with them and know for yourselves that they will provide the services you desire. It's your day remember.