Toronto Wedding DJ Michael Coombs, of Michael Coombs Entertainment is Canadian Wedding DJ of the Year, reigning winner at the 2014 Canadian Wedding Industry Awards which took place at The Ritz Carlton, Toronto this past December.
An accomplished and highly trained master of ceremonies, few can match his experience and expertise in the Canadian wedding and special event industry.
We had the pleasure of asking Michael some questions. These important questions should be considered when hiring a DJ for your wedding day!
How do you determine that your DJ is an experienced and diverse entertainer?
Testimonials and referrals is the best way to determine if your DJ is who they say they are. Not just from previous bride and grooms, but from venues, other wedding professionals and even check their corporate client list. If these professionals and brands are willing to put their name next to this DJ, then their testimonial will be legit.
Video and photos are good as well, but keep in mind that it’s only a snapshot of the best parts of a wedding. A video will show maybe 3 minutes of the DJ’s performance, but what happened during the other 7 hours of the wedding is the big question? That’s why the testimonials are key. Now it they have multiple videos and photo’s from different events, then that would a great indication of skill-set.
What questions should you ask your DJ about his equipment and set up?
Ask to see photo’s of their set-up; making sure that it’s clean and that they don’t have loose cables everywhere or hanging from speakers. You should also discuss the set-up with the DJ and the venue while making your floor-plan to ensure everyone knows where the speakers will be set-up in advance. This will help avoid sitting an elderly guest or someone who is adverse to sound right under a speaker.
Equipment-wise, it doesn’t matter what the DJ uses, as long as he/she is keeping the dance-floor packed.
Should it matter if your DJ has experience at the venue you are hosting your event?
No, but it will help your night run smoother if the DJ is familiar with the venue and staff. If the DJ has never been to the venue, and if it’s a unique or unusually space, or if it has a difficult load-in, then it’s a good idea for the DJ to go for a site-visit. If not, the DJ can get a good feel for the room by just looking at the floor-plan.
Why choose a full time established DJ, rather than a part-time or friend?
Like anything, when someone does something full-time and is able to make a living doing it, then there’s a 90% chance they’ll be amazing at what they do. They’ll also understand the flow of a wedding, how to build a crowd up and bring them back down and how to play to a variety of different guests with different musical tastes and backgrounds.There’s nothing wrong with a part-time DJ, because all DJ’s were part-time at some point. I was for many years. They most likely will be more cost effective, at the same time, not quite as good as someone who lives and breathes it.Friends, now that’s a whole different story. From my experience, friends only know one style of music and don’t understand the concept of playing to a diverse crowd. They’re used to playing in bars or clubs and that is a completely different atmosphere from a wedding. They may have some high-points and run a good 10-15 minute set, but the party always fizzles early.
How does a good DJ work with it’s crowd?
They read it. Sounds easier than it is and takes years of practice. A good DJ watches the crowds reactions to songs. Is the crowd into it? Are they throwing their hands up? Are they going nuts? Are they fading? Are you losing people from the floor? Are people running to get involved? Is it time to changes genres? These are all little questions that a good DJ continually asks themselves and uses to keep the dance-floor packed. A good DJ has sets and songs that they know will work well together, yet they also have the ability to improvise and changes directions on the fly if something is starting to fade. Again, it comes down to years of experience and practice.
How does a good DJ customize their clients wedding with music / special effects?
By playing music the client wants to hear; it’s that simple. Much of this comes in the pre-planning of the event and the DJ sitting down with the couple in advance and going through their likes and dislikes. Every wedding is different, and everybody has different musical tastes.
Couples also have to realize that there is music that people listen too, then there’s music that people dance too. If their requesting all their favourite easy listening songs to play during the party, the party will have no energy and end early. If they are paying a professional DJ a professional rate, then they have to let go of the reins to a degree and let the DJ do their job.
Let us know what other services (lights, screens, etc) help with the entertainment experience?
Lights can create nice visual effects, change the mood of the room and get people excited. Yet, if your DJ can also serve as your MC, that is where the entertainment experience goes to a whole new level. By creating personalized introductions, getting the guests involved and making them feel like their a part of the event, not just a spectator, and keeping the event free-flowing, that is how a DJ can bring the party to a whole next level of party.