DJs get asked the same questions quite often and usually make an FAQ page to help clients answer anything right off the bat. However, there are some important questions that people might not think about asking wedding DJs before booking them. We’ve compiled a short list of some questions to think about when you’re browsing DJs for your big day!
1. How do you customize the music experience for each couple? Can you help with song lists and providing suggestions?
Typically, wedding DJs will have either some sort of online planning system where couples can log in and choose between genres and songs as well as when they should be played. For example, the father/daughter dance song will probably be different than the couple’s first dance and what will be playing when everyone is out on the dance floor. After several dozen weddings, DJs know what makes a good slow song that will get the tears flowing and what will get people out of their seats for dance time. They’ll usually be as hands on as you need them to be during the planning process.
2. How long have you been a DJ and how many weddings have you done?
Lots of DJs will have this answered on a FAQ page on their website. However, it’s a good questions to gauge their level of experience. If they’ve done 400 weddings over six years there is a good chance that they’ve experienced a broad range of what can happen on wedding days- things like bad weather, a vendor not showing up, sickness, or primary equipment deciding not to work. Time creates a great sense of preparedness.
3. How would you define your “style” when making announcements?
Some people want a DJ who makes simple, concise announcements and others want someone who will put on a show. It all depends on your personality and want image you’re wanting to put forth for your wedding. Really just comes down to preference, but it’s important to ask because if you’re more of a laid back, quiet couple then you probably don’t want your announcements to sound as if the bar is offering $2.00 you-call-its so get your drink on.
4. What do you do to motivate the crowd if nobody is dancing?
Do you want someone to jump on the mic to hype up the crowd or tell jokes? Or do you want someone who feels them out by transitioning into another genre of song? This goes hand-in-hand when asking what their announcement style is. Some want that high energy fun-fun-fun and others want the music to do the talking. DJs who have been in the business for awhile know what works for them and would be more than happy to tell you.
5. Are you insured?
An important legal question that about every wedding DJ should answer “yes” to. Many venues also require vendors to show proof of insurance before being allowed to work and perform. You never know what might go wrong and it’s good to have sound of mind in the unlikely event the DJ sets fire to the whole venue.
6. Will you be suitably dressed for our occasion?
Many wedding DJs wear a suit regardless of the level of formality of the wedding and some dress accordingly with everyone else. Rarely will a wedding DJ even dream of performing in a t-shirt and shorts. However, this might be something they wear before the wedding to set up their equipment so as not to dirty their nice clothes. Something important to follow up to this question is how early do they get everything set up by. Or if you mind guests who arrive early seeing the DJ in street clothes while they set up.
7. What kind of equipment do you use?
Any DJ you consider should be proud of their sound system, and should be using professional-grade equipment. Most DJs understand that you are unlikely to have a working knowledge of professional DJ equipment, but they should be able to describe their sound system to you. You should not hear very many “home audio” brands in what they describe – the top brands for DJ equipment are Pioneer, Traktor, Serato, Numark, JBL, Bose, Mackie, RANE, QSC, and Shure.
8. How much should I pay for a DJ?
Very often “how much are you?” is the only question people ask. However, it’s also about what level of customer service is being offered- maybe even more so. A really good wedding DJ may very well cost upwards of $1200. Some may cost considerably more and others a bit less, but do not make the mistake of booking on price alone. Some of the factors that drive prices can be the quality of equipment and the level of experience the DJ has. Cheap DJs are usually cheap for a reason. There is a lot more work for the DJ with a wedding such as preparation, meeting with other vendors, and helping in music selection so don’t be surprised if you notice that the same DJ charges more for a wedding than a run-of-the-mill family party.
9. Do you offer a written contract?
Most professional businesses will require a contract signed by both parties. It ensures that everyone is covered legally in case the DJ has an emergency or he decides not to show up. Some DJs who are just starting out might not have a contact drafted yet, but it’s advised that some sort of written agreement be made.
10. What kind of space or stage do you require for the DJ?
Some DJs bring only a few pieces of key equipment and do not need much more space than a table and others bring full sound systems that require several feet of space to set up. If you want a DJ to perform at your ceremony, reception, or both it’s important to make sure that he fits or can make it work with a space! If DJing outside, he probably also requires some sort of cover if there’s a possibility of rain that day.
While this list is not all-encompassing, it does hit several important notes. You want to make sure you have everything covered just in case something goes wrong you’re not left high and dry.