Hiring a DJ for your wedding should be one of the easier vendor hires, but be careful if you aren’t familiar with what to look for or ask potential DJs. I’ve said for years your DJ may be the most important hire after the coordinator, and can make or break your reception. A ill prepared DJ can also wreck your ceremony. If you hire a bad caterer your guests will leave hungry but if the DJ was great and the event flowed smoothly they still had a great time. If you hire an inexperienced photographer you may not even know it until weeks after the wedding. The DJ is the driving force behind the energy and excitement of your special day. This is not the place to save money or leave it to a playlist.
Here are 7 Questions to consider when its time to choose the perfect DJ.
– Do You HAve Insurance?
This one separates the Pros from the weekend warriors. If you only ask one real question this is one of the best. No one plans on something going wrong, but when it does being protected and insured is key. Many venues require it and a DJ should have it. DJs can purchase one day policies to cover events so there’s no good excuse not to, even if this isn’t their full time job.
– How long have you been a DJ? Why did you decide to start DJing?
If the answer is lower than 2 or 3 years you may want to ask how many weddings they have done or how many a year? Make sure you factor their experience and investment in when considering their price. Do they subcontract out their gigs to other DJs and if so what is their experience? Is this a full time job for them or a side gig?
– Ask For a Contract
The most important factor to consider when choosing your DJ is experience second is cost. After all, you’re already spending thousands of dollars on this day and you want fair prices. Signing a contract upfront will protect your investment, help you stick to your budget and also guarantee that your DJ will be available when you need them.
– Do you have a website and recent reviews?
If a DJ is just starting out they may not have the nicest site but they should have more than just a Facebook or Instagram page. Websites are not as difficult or expensive as they once were and a DJs investment in themselves says a lot. Are they using a free email account for their business? It doesn’t mean they are terrible, but it means they may be slacking in other areas as well. Also make sure any payment method or information you give on their site is secure and protected. Sometimes using a credit card can afford you more negotiating power if something goes wrong as many cards come with purchase protection.
– Do you emcee and Can you follow a timeline/ Itinerary ?
Not only does the DJ keep the music going they should be engaging with your guests and helping announce or share information like where the photo booth is located, what the hashtag is or when the food is served. A good MC keeps the crowd engaged and encourages dancing. A bad MC can ruin an evening’s mood and flow. If a DJ can’t share a Video or Recording of an event with them emceeing then I’d ask them to demonstrate how they would announce your Grand Entrance back into the reception or your first dance, just to get a feel of their delivery and comfort level.
– What is your backup plan if you are ill or Had an Emergency?
If your DJ has much experience they have considered this contingency and have a plan. Reliable DJs have a network and should have a quality option they can reach out to in case the unexpected happens.
– what type of DJ/Sound equipment do you use and do you offer lighting? Can I see photos or videos of your different options?
If they can’t show you a few pictures of what they use to DJ or explain with ease their own equipment they may not be the DJ you want to trust. It’s important to see an example of how they set up their equipment and conduct their business. This is important not only for the appearance at your event but is also a safety concern. A guest/child could trip over a loose cable or wind could blow over a speaker stand set up incorrectly. Another consideration is if there is a separate locations for the ceremony and reception then ask if they have two separate sound systems or will they be moving equipment after the ceremony with your guests around? A pro DJ should have a wireless mic for toasts at the reception, but also ask if they have lapel or lavaliere, small clip on microphones, for the groom and officiant if you want to hear your vows. After their experience, a DJ is only as dependable as their equipment.
I made this list to help you know what to ask potential DJs, not to bash those just getting started or to stop you from hiring your friend or nephew, etc. In the end there are many levels of DJs and many different types of events. You should establish a budget and see what is available in your area. There are many entertainment options and I hope you find the right fit for your event. The age old adage is evergreen for a reason, You get what you pay for.