Private parties are unique, personalized events and as such, can often be challenging for an entertainer. A guy who works a club all the time, will probably fail at your private party. Why?
Because he only knows what works at his club, for his audience… and often his ego gets wrapped up in the thought that he knows what’s hot/current, as opposed to what your friends and family would respond to.
A wide variety of music is always best at private parties. Your parents and friends don’t really care whether a song is brand new and “hot”… they just want to enjoy themselves with your group of friends. Often at weddings or birthday parties, the biggest song of the night is 30 or 40 years old – and yes, I am speaking from a vast amount of personal experience.
Sure you want to have some new music at your party… some of these newer songs are a lot of fun and there’s a certain energy that comes from having a hot club track playing on a great PA system. But if that’s all you hear all night, that excitement quickly wears off and people leave early. The real energy at a private party comes from the contrast of musical genres and making sure (that) everyone who wants to dance at your party, gets a chance to do so with a song they really like.
You should look for a guy who is personable, easy to communicate with, willing to subordinate his own personal taste to the wishes of the group, and has the ability to observe how people respond to certain kinds of music and then adapt accordingly. The best DJs go into a party with some sense of what they would like to do, then react to the circumstances as they present themselves. They help create excitement and energy at your party, by interacting with the crowd in a variety of ways… whether it’s on the mic or even getting out on the floor a little bit.
Last point – a good DJ will try to find out what you like, and get some sense of your musical taste for two reasons: one, it’s your party and the mix should represent your taste to a certain extent and two, because the odds are good (that) if you like a song, some of your friends and/or family will probably like it too. Not always, but often that is the case. And the mark of a really good DJ is the ability to make the mix reflect your taste in music, while (still) making sure the party succeeds. In other words, finding a way to create an appropriate, specific mix of music that is totally unique to your event and entertaining for your guests. It is not an easy thing to do, yet the very best DJs I know make it look almost effortless.
And I should know, I’ve trained quite a few of them!