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What’s the Difference Between a Wedding DJ and a Club DJ?

DJ Experience, News | Oct 02, 2015

What’s the Difference Between a Wedding DJ and a Club DJ?

Wedding DJs and club DJs both offer a specific set of skills. While both are demanding in their own right, they are very different from one another. If you’re a club DJ planning on taking on a wedding gig or vice versa, you must be prepared. The last thing you want to do is ruin a wedding by bumping trance while the bride and groom are walking down the aisle.


Master the Master of Ceremonies

As a Wedding DJ:

You’re the choreographer and the charismatic musical conductor of events and proceedings of the wedding. Weddings are planned out a year or two in advance. Everything – from walking down the aisle to the cake cutting is planned out meticulously. The wedding DJ must know the wedding plan in detail. This means coordinating with the wedding planner, bride, groom, family members, staff – pretty much anyone involved in the ceremony. Be prepared to make announcements and be responsive and attentive. Weddings can be complex. Make sure you have knowledge of specific toasts, prayers, traditions, and other events you will need to narrate and introduce.

As a Club DJ:

Even though many club DJs do emcee events, many find it annoying and frustrating if the club DJ talks too long on the mic. Club goers mainly want to dance and soak in the club’s ambiance. It’s okay to introduce a remix you worked your ass off producing, but do so in a few seconds and let your tracks do the talking for you.


Engage the Crowd and Have a Likable Persona

As a Wedding DJ:

Along with being responsive and attentive, be engaging and full of positive energy. Be likeable and fun, but NOT cheesy. Keep a good level of professionalism and class. Don’t be boring or uninterested. Having the right balance of charisma and charm will take you a long way. Remember that this is one of the most important days for your clients. Treat it as such.

As a Club DJ:

The same can be said for a club DJ, but you can definitely loosen up. The club DJ’s scene is a bit more casual. But that doesn’t mean the club DJ should mess around and lose focus. A charismatic club DJ is confident, plays to the crowd, and conducts the flow of the dance floor. It can be difficult to play the crowd at first, especially if you’re opening for a headliner. Just keep at it. Be unique and full of energy. Your crowd will come around.


Broad Musical Knowledge is Key

As a Wedding DJ:

Everything from the dinner music to the first dance is incredibly important. Have Vivaldi’s Four Seasons in arm’s reach. Be ready to play Pachelbel’s Canon in a drop of a hat. Have a list ready of wedding processionals/recessionals. Memories are immortalized during these traditions. Make sure you do your part in leaving a great lasting memory.

As a Club DJ:

No matter if you’re a wedding, club, mobile, or festival DJ – a professional DJ should have great musical knowledge. That being said, it’s not crucial to have Vivaldi handy during your club DJ set. You should definitely do research on the type of music and event you will be playing and have a set list ready to go!


Have a Backup

As a Wedding DJ:

If you have technical difficulties with your gear, bring a backup iPod or iPad with a set list of music prepped for the wedding ceremony and reception. The last thing you need is awkward silence while the bride-to-be is staring at you with an I’m-going-to-kill-you death stare.

As a Club DJ:

Your USB isn’t reading? Laptop crashed? Stock up on USB sticks. Bring an extra laptop. Have plenty backups ready to weather the storm of an impatient club crowd. Don’t bring a lapse in the vibe.

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Are you a club DJ or wedding DJ? Have you done both? Share your stories of your DJ travels in the comments below! We’d love to hear from you.

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11 thoughts on “What’s the Difference Between a Wedding DJ and a Club DJ?

  1. Well as a successful wedding DJ there are many tips I believe others will benefit from.
    Let me share two.

    1. At weddings there will be young people, middle age people, and older people. They are NOT going to like the same music. As the DJ / MC you MUST find the perfect balance of songs to satisfy all that are present. I use the following rule which has worked perfectly since being put to use. I play the top songs from when the guest were 15 to 25 years old. That means if great grandma is 91 she will enjoy music from the 40s. Now I know that most DJs are lost when it comes to music from the 40s but actually it is a no brainer. There will not be any new music from the 40s so once added to your collection your will have it all forever.
    2. Your mobile DJ music collection must contain song from the thirties forward. Remember the Billboard charts?

    That all for now.

  2. My brother’s wedding will be soon and he wants people to enjoy and dance their hearts outs. It was mentioned here that wedding DJ’s are to make announcements and make sure to acknowledge toasts and everything in the program.

  3. Great advice. I bring back up USB’s to every gig especially as club equipment is over used and terribly worn. So much can go wrong. I know DJs who have had their usbs wiped clean with no back up so best to be prepared.

  4. The most important aspect of being a wedding dj is to make sure you speak without hesitation, dont stutter, use the music as intro for your announcements, dont forget to lower music but dont turn off completely. always have music playing. except for toasts. play older classic wedding music in the beginning and move up in decades as the night gets closer towards the end and you dont see the older crowd start playing more current even remixed tracks the guests might like then decide if the crowd is into the edm remix tracks or if you should just play OG tracks. base the direction of the music off the dance floor if people are coming on continue if they are walking off mix out into with a gradual fade and back to a top 40 dance track.

  5. I just don’t understand this thing about having a backup “READY?” When you are DJing a wedding you can’t have a back up “READY.” Let me explain what I mean.
    I have just completed the grand entrance into the reception area. The videographer has been recording the entire wedding so far and is continuing to do so. The bridal party is standing in front of the head table and the bride and groom are seconds from starting their first dance. I make the announcement that the first dance is about to start. Now let just over to the DJ who has his back “READY” just in case. The bride and groom take the dance floor and commence with their first dance. One minute 20 seconds into the song the computer lockup. You know the sound a computer that is playing a MP3 file makes when locks up (finger nail on the chalkboard sound). All the guests are in deafening pain. The “READY” DJ stops the sound and switches to his back up and the first dance song starts over. Now the first dance and the video of the first dance is ruined.
    Now lets go back to the end of the grand entrance. When I DJ a wedding I don’t have a back “READY.” When it is time for a critic event to take place during a wedding I play the applicable song on two or three devices at the exact same time. And let’s say my computer locks up. The same song in playing on at least one other device with the volume at 50 to 60%. This way the worst thing that can happen is during the dance the volume may drop for a second but the song never stops. My back up is not just “READY” it is actually in use in real time.

    DJ Earful’s tip of the day.

  6. You have a lot of parts to a wedding, it was a good mention about the announcements. Before dancing starts, there are first dances, dinner, announcements, toasts, etc.

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