The DJ vs. The Wedding Planner

Wedding Planner DJ Image

Guest Post by Saundra Hadley

Disclaimer: This blog post comes from a “place of love” and hope for change.

I’d like to talk about a subject that is talked about quite a bit, but usually behind one another’s back.  It’s time to pull the Band Aid off ….

Wedding planners often refer to DJ’s as being the one vendor that is their “wild card” at weddings. I’ve also heard a DJ or two refer to wedding planners in that their primary responsibility at a reception is to cut the cake.

Both comments are demeaning to our respective professions.

Don’t you think it’s time that we get along?

Of course, there are many planners and DJ’s that love to work with each other. I’ve spent a lot of time talking to planners and DJ’s alike who have shared openly their likes and dislikes when it comes to the other profession.  Here’s my viewpoint:

DJ’s have big personalities. Um, hello?  You’re on the mic and putting yourself out there in front of  (an often inebriated) crowd of people!! Demanding guests that come up to you and ask, “What’s the song that goes like this …..?” Only to follow by attempting to sing something that bares no resemblance to any song on this planet. You have heavy equipment to break in and break out, crazy floor plans that give you a 2’ x 2’ space to setup and you’re lucky if you get a meal.

Wedding planners have big personalities as well. We direct vendors, deal with drunken guests, are on our feet typically 12-16 hours, we’re overly organized and usually are Type A personalities. And this is just the wedding day, not all the pre-planning. Our mutual clients ask us for assistance to help develop the flow of their wedding day (including the reception).

To me, wedding planners and the DJ are somewhat similar in both personality and duties. Without a wedding planner, the DJ often will be the director of the reception. Perhaps THAT is where we bump heads?

What if …. we were to co-exist in a world that would be collaborative, professional, fun and easy so our mutual clients would have the best wedding day possible?

What if … we shared information, watched out for each other, left our egos at the door while shamelessly and with great humility work together to create a mind-boggling event that would make the heavens open up? Okay… I’ve gone too far.  How about an event that is so awesome, we both get referrals from our clients and happy guests?

Wouldn’t our workday go smoother and easier? Now we all have horror stories (on both sides). There are plenty of non-professionals in EVERY vendor category that is completely frustrating for everyone.

What if … from this day forward, Disc Jockeys and wedding planners around the world will take a pledge, to put all those negative experiences behind us and move forward to do better and be better?

The next time you think (both DJ and wedding planner) that you have the toughest job at a wedding. You’re wrong. Caterers and servers have the toughest job. Don’t believe me? Go hang out in the kitchen.

Saundra Hadley
Event Engineer
planning…forever events

Saundra Hadley is a professional event engineer (planner) and owner of planning…forever events in Evansville, Indiana (and the surrounding world) since 2003.  Since first meeting Saundra (through social media, of which she is quite the wizard) and following her on twitter, it’s clear that she not only  loves what she does (creating wonderful weddings and events), but she knows her stuff and she’s darned good at it too. Sometimes she talks about subjects that most people won’t openly discuss, and I’m honored to have her guest post here on our blog with just such a controversial topic. A few years back I also guest posted on Saundra’s blog, which you should check out as well. Saundra is also the official wedding expert for the Fox affiliate (Fox 7) in Evansville.  Quite an impressive lady.  Thanks for sharing this topic with us Saundra!


Visit Saundra at
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7 Responses

  1. Sarah Morrison

    This is a great blog post. I can speak for my company and say that we work along side the DJ to make sure the event goes off without a hitch. It’s certainly a team approach, with all of the professionals. I had no idea there was a battle between the two. Guess we just surround ourselves with great people 🙂

  2. Great piece!

    I am a DJ who LOVES to work with coordinators. I’ve often found myself (much to my surprise) the coordinator for a wedding…leaving it up to ME to decide when it’s time to start the toast (which the staff isn’t ready for) or when it’s time to cut the cake (which, again, the staff isn’t ready for). It’s annoying.

    I’d much rather work with a coordinator (even a crabby one) than to try to do it all myself. There’s a lot going on behind my table.

  3. This is something that I am happy to say I have not experienced with a DJ company. That being said, it could be beacause I tend to work with professionals that I know prior to the event, and have a professional connection with – when possible. In the case of those brides that have hired me to do “Day-Of” Planning, and already had their DJ booked – I have been fortunate enough not to have had a bad one yet. I hope I get to keep it that way, however I am sure it will eventually happen 🙂

    This is however something I have experienced on occassion with a caterer or two along the way. I do wish that some catering companies could stop seeing planners as the enemy. I in no way, shape, or form ever try to interfere with their job.

    Great post Saundra! I am looking forward to following you on Twitter.

  4. Great article! I must say, I don’t have a big ego or a BIG personality. I don’t walk around all day and tell vendors what to do- unless they aren’t doing what they are being paid to do. I try to stay in the background and just watch. And, I direct the day from the bride’s wishes. I only change things if the bride wants it changed and I go by the bride’s timeline. When I do a wedding EVERY vendor has the same timeline and the DJ or the band leader work with me to keep the flow. I have never had a problem with a DJ. Though planners get a bad rap- and for some it is deserved, I am well respected wherever I have worked. I am respectful of everyone’s position and I speak for the bride. Seems to me that if all of us did these things, this type of problem would not exist. Sad that it has to be that way. Thanks for trying to make it better for all of us!

  5. Wendy,

    Your choice of wording, “unless they aren’t doing what they are paid to do”, is remarkably well stated IMHO, but as a DJ – in the absence a planner – I may not be ‘paid’ to go get the photographer to tell them it’s time for parent dances, but the responsibility inevitably rests on my shoulders. If that moment is missed by the photographer, I can’t just say “oops, I forgot to tell you”, nor can I say “It’s not my job to tell you”, the burden rests on the shoulders of the DJ, again, IMHO.

    What Saundra says is true about ego, but I believe it’s also a matter of letting go of the burden of feeling responsible for the timeline, and communicating regularly with the other vendors. Only when I am lucky enough to work with a planner who truly knows their stuff am I able to focus 100% on what I was ‘paid to do’.


  6. As a DJ, I have worked with planners only about 6 times in 18 years. Out of those six, I had to work with one particular planner twice- and yes, she was the planner from Hell. The first time, she handed me a piece of paper with illegible writing and told me “Here are your introductions” as I was attempting to organize them. No “Hi, I’m So and so, the wedding planner. I had to ask her who she was. She insisted that I start intros immediately. We bumped heads when I told her “Thanks for the list. I need to go over the pronunciations to insure they are correct. Please give me just a few minutes and we will get started”
    We were only a few minutes behind my schedule from the venue manager, so there was no rush. This lady once again insists that we are behind schedule and I need to skip that step. I offered the list back to her and said “Do you want to do my job for me?” That is when she backed down.
    I have also had several planners that were a joy to work with. They would call the week prior to compare itineraries, and give me heads up on any potential issues with caterer & photographer.
    If I could say one thing to planners, it would be don’t wait until the day of the wedding to speak to your vendors. Work out your differences ahead of time. A wedding is not the time and place to bump egos. Get your issues worked out well in advance.

  7. Ken Mendez

    I’ve found that most coordinators, banquet managers, photographers, and DJ’s are not trying to be difficult. Instead we are all just trying to do what the Bride and Groom mentioned to us during our meetings. The problem happens when two vendors heard diffent things from their clients and have opposing notes on what is suppose to happen when and where.

    I avoid this by having the bride email my timeline to coordinators, photographers and other vendors at least a week prior to the event. This gives the other vendors a chance to look it over and speakout well before the day of the event. The fact that the bride sends it out gives the other vendors the unspoken message that she has approved my timeline and order of events.

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