I’ve been a mobile and wedding DJ for as long as I can remember. Already in school, I was spinning music at every opportunity I had. Now, 20 years later, I’m still spinning. I learned a ton over the years, but am I also a better wedding DJ now ? When are you too old or too young to be a DJ?
The ideal age for a wedding DJ should be between 28 and 40 years. If he is younger than 28 years he might not be mature and experienced enough to bring a wedding to a success. If he is older than 40 years he might have difficulties working long nights and missing out on new and modern music.
As always, there is a lot more to it than just this short and bold statement and exceptions are always present. So let me clarify.
A lot of Worlds famous established DJ’s are way over 40 and 50.
For instance, Carl Cox, one of the most famous DJ’s in the world, is born in 1962. He is hitting his 60ties soon and still rocks! The french DJ duo Daft Punk are well over their 40ties. And the list goes on. The article on Passionateddj.com gives you a nice overview.
But keep in mind: these are not wedding/private party DJ’s! They show up in a fancy night club, have their private lounge, go on stage, do their thing for 2 or 3 hours and go home with a big paycheck.
A Wedding DJ needs to come early, set up the gear, play the whole night, take down the gear and drive home. It’s not exactly the same.
The Youngster vs. the experienced DJ
The young DJ: the good and the bad
Good: Motivation. A young DJ will be highly motivated. He is just starting off: everything is still shiny new and fresh. You should hear his enthusiasm while he’s playing music.
Good: New music. Also, young DJ’s will have a big interest in music. (they should anyway). Especially in new releases. They should have access to new music. If you think that’s important for your party, definitely go for a younger DJ (< 35 years)
Good: Budget. Young DJ’s will probably be cheaper to hire because they will have to build up experience.
Bad: Skillset and experience. Yes, they will know how their DJ equipment is working, and they will know how to mix like a pro. But bringing a wedding party to success requires A LOT more skill.
- Can he keep the dance floor up and running?
- Does he play the right music for the right people?
- Can he handle the stress if something goes wrong?
To become a successful mobile or wedding DJ you need to learn what music the guests want to hear. You need to have the dance floor under control and be on top of every situation, Something that doesn’t come overnight.
A young DJ may indeed be cheaper to hire, but they also may make mistakes or have no idea who Chuck Berry is.
Bad: Ego and responsibility. One thing you need to learn immediately as a DJ is that it is not about you. You are not a Rock star/Superstar DJ who everyone will worship. Your job is to make sure the party is a success and everybody is having a good time. Period.
The DJ needs to leave his ego at the door. Something that a young DJ still have to learn. (but then again, I also met a lot of cocky older DJ’s over the years…)
Bad: DJ Gear. Ok, we do have spoiled youngsters or just young people who have access to enough money to buy state-of-the-art DJ equipment. But probably the opposite is true. They still have to start making money in their lifetime (by working as a DJ for instance…).
This means that the gear they are using might not be the most reliable or fit for your event. Don’t forget that buying all the necessities to play music at a wedding is not a small investment.
The experienced DJ: the captain who has seen it all!
Good: Experience. Goes without saying. It’s hard to top 20 years of experience when the dance floor needs to be placed on fire. They have seen and witnessed enough and know how to handle any difficult situation if needed.
Good: Gear. If they do this as a job for a long time, their gear will be good. It’s an established income, so they need to rely on it. Changes their DJ gear is in good condition are high.
Bad: Budget. Well, the experience costs money. Not sure that is a bad thing. It’s all about what you want and what your budget is.
Bad: Burned out. A successful and experienced wedding DJ plays music every week. For you, it is your wedding party! Nothing you do every week, so it better be perfect.
The DJ should make sure every wedding he plays music, is perfect. Staying focused is key. No room for boredom or sloppiness, because he sees and does it every week.
Bad: Mixing skills. This won’t be true for everyone, but I witnessed over the years that older DJ’s do not understand that music should be mixed. One of the duties of a DJ is to make sure that the one song fluently mixes into the other. In the 60 or 70-ties, this wasn’t common, so older DJ’s might not get this or do not have the skills.
It’s hard work. The wedding DJ has to be early at the venue to unload, set up all and test all the gear. This is long before the guests arrive. He will also be the last one to leave the party.
Only in fancy night clubs, a DJ plays for 2 or 3 hours max. A wedding DJ starts playing music at dinner-time or at the reception and will play the whole night. Sometimes until 5 or 6 a.m. Then he still needs to take down the equipment, load it in the truck and drive home…
The DJ will skip his bed for the upcoming night and will be on his feet for 10 to 12 hours straight. There is hardly a break.
If you are a young and energetic guy, it’s relatively easy. If you are getting older, I can tell you out of my experience it’s getting harder. Especially when your daughter wants to play ball the next day in the morning.
The extremes are never wise
Way too young…
For sure, you are not going to trust a DJ that is just 18 years old. Because, what experience does he bring to the table? What authority does he have?
Very young DJ’s need to be coached. They need to be accompanied by Captain DJ. Someone with a lot of experience, showing and teaching the skill of DJ’ing to the young Padawans.
The very lowest in age you should go is around 23 or 24 years old. Younger than that doesn’t make sense.
If you are a very young DJ that wants to do weddings, Please check this article I wrote how to become a wedding DJ.
Way too old…
The same story applies on the other end of the spectrum. A wedding DJ that is over 65 years old? Hmm… Sure, he will master the classics from the 60 as nobody else. But what about the other style of music?
No disrespect here, but how long will this guy be able to stay awake? DJ’ing is hard work!
Sure, as always there will be exceptions. The older guy in this movie is totally rocking it… I think. So exceptions are all over the place. Just don’t count on it.
The Summery: your choice of DJ
What kind of music do you want to hear as a customer?
Ask yourself the question of what music you and your guests want to hear. If you primarily want to hear new and modern music like electronic dance music or hip/hop, you are probably better off with a younger DJ.
If you want only the classics, because your guests are all in their 50 or 60ties, the opposite is true. Of course, most wedding parties will require a good mix of different styles of music.
Budget versus skill
A young DJ is cheaper to hire but less experienced, and they will make mistakes. Their music knowledge will be rater limited to new music and you can’t expect too much from them.
An experienced DJ should be flawless, state-of-the-art material and broad knowledge of music. Of course, you will pay more money for their services. You know the expression: ‘pay peanuts, get monkeys!’ So the question is really how far you want to take the monkey.
So eventually… it doesn’t matter!
I’ve seen very good young DJ’s and very bad ones. I’ve seen very good older DJ’s and very bad ones.
If you hire a DJ that is really young or old, changes are it’s not going to be great.
For sure, age shouldn’t be the only criteria when you are evaluating your potential wedding DJ!