If you’re like most couples planning a wedding, you want wedding reception entertainment that pleases you and your guests alike. But, you’re probably not sure about how hire the best wedding DJ, right? If this sounds like you, read our list of hiring and interviewing suggestions from a professional wedding DJ and stop stressing about having the best wedding reception ever!
1. Music Preferences – To save time, decide what styles and genres of music you want before your disc jockey search begins.
2. Length of Reception – Determine how many hours you will need the DJ and your budget for entertainment. I encourage you to give realistic numbers to your DJ, being honest about what you can spend. But don’t just grab the lowest bid.
3. DJ’s Repertoire – Does the DJ play the music you want? Is he/she willing to expand music selections for you? If resistant, this may not be the right DJ for you. Hire someone who guides you to selecting the best music for your wedding.
4. Music Requests – Are requests from guests welcomed? Some DJs only play what was decided in advance and what they think is best. If you want your guests to have input on what music is played, make sure you find a DJ who will honor requests and be polite to your guests.
5. Inclusions - What is included in the proposed package? Agree on the hours needed plus set-up time. It is also recommended to establish, in advance, the rate for overtime, if needed. Most DJs will charge about 1.5 X their hourly rate for overtime. It can be sticky if you do not agree on this in advance, which brings us to our next subject…contracts.
6. Get it in writing! Always ask for a contract and then take it home to really read it. Be sure each aspect of the contract is understood before signing. Look for information on what will happen if your DJ is sick, if there’s equipment failure or anything that might increase pricing.
7. Sustenance – If your wedding vendors are going to be working for you for more than a few hours, and most will, please offer food and beverages. A DJ who has eaten is going to perform at peak level with the energy and enthusiasm you want. Most venues will offer you a reduced rate for feeding your wedding service providers and should provide a private area to serve wedding vendors their meals separately from your wedding guests. The DJ should have background music (or an assistant DJ) prepared to play while they are eating; you do not want silence during their break.
Like many couples planning a wedding, you’ll have questions for your DJ. What are the appropriate answers?
Q – Do you need a DJ who will also act as your emcee or a DJ plus emcee as a two-person team?
Many DJs also have experience as emcees and enjoy the opportunity to be more involved in your wedding. They can provide energy and excitement to your reception. Most disc jockeys are comfortable making announcements (Introductions, First Dance, Special Dances, Cake Cutting). This will work in most cases. Some couples want a separate emcee to be able to get out on the dance floor to make Introductions, lead dances and generally add flavor and energy to your wedding. If hiring a two-person team, I recommend this to be identified in the beginning to make sure the DJ Team can provide this service for you. A good emcee can add to your reception and help everyone get more involved.
Q – What happens if there is equipment failure?
It is essential to know your DJ’s back-up plan for unexpected problems. Typically, an additional hard-drive will be at the ready for computer problems, an iPod for the quick fix or even an extra set of speakers. When speaking with the DJ, does he/she seem confident about handling unforeseen issues? Follow your gut. A good service provider sells less-stress, not more!
Q – What kind of experience do they have and how long have they been entertaining at weddings?
Being a Club DJ and a Wedding DJ can be as different as a corporate attorney and criminal lawyer. Both are lawyers, but each specialize in very different areas of the law. Some DJs excel at both, but that is rare. Most have a specialty and that is what they feel most comfortable doing. Make certain your DJ has plenty of wedding experience.
Q – Does the DJ have references?
Most former brides and grooms that have had good experiences with DJs are excited about sharing this with future couples. They know what a big day this is and want to support others going through the same experience. One or two is usually enough for you to get a feel for what they do and how they do it. A resume with former work references can be helpful.
Q – Does the DJ have personality?
Your entertainer should have the sort of personality you and your guests will enjoy. Ask about how a crowd is handled and, if possible, view video samples or ask to see the DJ in action at a live event. However, visiting a DJ at a private wedding is not advised.
Finally, see if you can sense if your DJ really wants to be part of your wedding or just looking for work. Interview your DJ in-person. Hiring a DJ via the Internet without “real-life” contact can leave you with unexpected surprises. Again, follow your gut. Trust your instincts to make the right choice! For your wedding, the right DJ can make all the difference.
If you have your own suggestions or more questions for our professional wedding DJ – comment below!