16 Feb 2018

How To Select A Wedding DJ:

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Recently at a local bridal show a prospective bride asked me if I could teach her what to look for when shopping for her wedding DJ. What questions should she ask a DJ, I rattled off some quick tips & referred her to some great bride to be informative websites. Thus this post, I’m sure she’s not the only bride who has never had to plan an event & hire or interview a DJ. So I’ve put together some quick and easy questions that will help any bride to be start her DJ interview process. If a bride to be uses this guide it’s by no means a guarantee to finding a great DJ, but it will help weed out some of the less qualified DJs.

Interviewing Prospective Wedding DJs

Get Wedding DJ References From Friends, Coworkers, Wedding Reception Halls
Your best resource in finding your wedding DJ is people you know. Talk to recent newlyweds, ask your wedding reception hotel or resort, they may have a list of preferred vendors for you to call, wedding DJs whom they trust. They also see the horror stories and know who to avoid. This list contains vendors that the resort has worked with and knows to be reliable and professional. The resort’s reputation is also at stake.

Interview 3-5 Wedding Disc Jockeys

Don’t rush to pick your wedding DJ, we all have different personalities. Give more weight to personal recommendations. If you happen to see your potential DJ while you are a guest at another wedding before you make your decision, that helps too. Many people of marrying age attend several weddings in a year, and this is a good time to start scoping your vendors. If you have special song requests, ask the DJ if they have it or if they can get it. If your reception is complex, and in a big well known resort or hotel you want a true professional who works in the big places, not someone who travels the condo clubhouse circuit. Many DJ’s may get offended by this, but you really want someone with the experience of working with the catering departments of these larger venues. This synergy between DJ and catering manager is what keeps your function running smoothly. A DJ’s talent should reach far beyond just motivating the crowd or making the announcements at the right time. They must have their finger on the pulse of your wedding and know everything that is going on. The only way this can happen is when they have a good working relationship with the venue staff.

Questions To Ask Your Prospective Wedding DJ

Describe Your DJ Style?

Now-a-days Wedding DJs generally fall into two categories, Interactive & Non-Interactive. You should decide which style fits you best before you begin shopping for your wedding DJ. Interactive DJs are usually willing to do almost anything, including but not limited to: playing games, wearing costumes, using props, leading the conga line, teaching grandma the macarena, magic tricks, making balloon animals, lighting their hair on fire while doing summersaults, and basically tend to be on the microphone more often. Interactive DJs don’t have a problem “being the life of the party” and very seldom can veer off their typical party routine.

……………Non-Interactive DJs are the complete opposite and usually tend to focus their attention on the finer details and concentrate their energy on rocking the dance floor. A Non-Interactive DJ prefers to shine the spotlight on the Bride & Groom and make them the stars of the event. He/she doesn’t have a “routine” and can usually customize the music and timeline to fit the individual needs of the client.

Is the DJ familiar with your wedding venue?

Ask your DJ if they have done weddings at your reception site before. It helps that they know the wedding venue, how to get there, and they have a familiarity with the staff. Your wedding disc jockey may also be better prepared to deal with known issues or caveats with the wedding reception hall. Every little positive wedding DJ bullet item you find makes it less likely that you will have problems with your DJ. It does not mean you should reject the DJ if they have not been there before, but it’s a nod in their favor.

Who will be your actual DJ at your wedding?

This one is important!! You would hate to spend an hour interviewing your wedding DJ and like their personality, only to be blindsided at your wedding by having another DJ show up, when you expected the DJ that you interviewed. Make absolutely certain your contract spells out exactly who will be your DJ. If you want the owner and not their employee it should be on the contract. The contract should also mention what time and place they are supposed to be. PLEASE STAY AWAY FROM ANY DJ SERVICE THAT WILL NOT MEET WITH YOU IN PERSON OR LET YOU INTERVIEW WITH THE ACTUAL DJ WHO WILL BE PERFORMING AT YOUR WEDDING.

What about wedding DJ overtime, and other unexpected or hidden fees?

Your contract should clearly specify all costs including any assistant disc jockeys they will have with them, as well as special equipment lighting packages, or other fees that they pass on to you the client. Be wary of vendors who give you low ball quotes, but only give you 3 hours of time. If your reception runs longer, you find out “it’s another $200 per hour or we walk out right now”. You must also plan for overtime in case the reception runs longer than the contract specifies. The contract should clearly spell out how much extra it will cost you to have your wedding DJ for an extra hour or 2. It can cost $150 or more. Do not believe verbal promises stating they will work extra hours for free. Put it in writing in the contract, or they will not do it. Don’t be blindsided like many brides and grooms are when there event runs over. Your wedding DJ contract should be a game plan that covers all bases so you know exactly how much your DJ will cost you.

What attire will your wedding disc jockey wear at your wedding?

If you’re hosting a formal event you don’t want your DJ showing up in casual attire. As well as if your event is on the beach and in a tropical theme, your DJ won’t fit in all dressed up in a coat & tie or worse in a tuxedo. Your DJ should be flexible enough to accommodate your preferences of his/her attire.

How many years experience does this wedding DJ have? Will they play music you provide or request?

Some wedding disc jockeys have a list of songs they play and except for the bride and groom first dance, do not give you much choice. Let your DJ be your guide as to what songs should be played. A good disc jockey reads the crowd and knows what to play. Be sure they know what NOT to play, as well as special songs you want to hear. Ask if they will accept requests from wedding guests. Your wedding disc jockey should be flexible with a wide selection, so requests from your wedding guests can be fulfilled. This step is VERY crucial, because your wedding DJ plays about 60 songs during your reception, and you want nothing but the best tunes to keep your dance floor crowded. If the DJ needs to intervene and suggest a song, heed to them as they generally know what they are doing and keep up with the current trends. You want a wedding DJ who can adapt to any crowd. This DJ will be someone who is very well versed in all music genres. Don’t try to give the DJ a cd or a list of 100% of the songs to play for the night. You hired a DJ not a juke box operator. If they stick to your play list, I can guarantee you’ll have an empty dance floor. Your musical taste is not the same as 120 people at your wedding. Let your DJ do their job and keep your wedding guests happy.

Does your wedding DJ do corporate functions? Part-time -vs- Full-time DJ?

Ask the DJ if they ever do corporate functions? If you can find a talented wedding DJ who has experience in corporate functions, then you really have someone worth their weight in gold. These are true professionals with mastery of dealing with large scale projects and all the SNAFUs that go along with them. Not a deal maker, but impressive, and it’s ok to use a DJ that does not do corporate work, but the more overall industry experience that your DJ has the better he/she will be able to serve you & your guests.

Does your DJ have a day job? Although they’re many great Part-Time DJs, usually a person who makes his/her living DJing is going to be able to offer you the time & attention you may require to plan & execute a flawless event. Your wedding reception is one of the most important days of your life, do you really want to take a chance with it & trust a person who is preoccupied with their day job responsibilities & obligations, or wouldn’t you prefer someone who’s bread & butter rely on your complete and 100% satisfaction? I recommend Part-Time DJs for all OTHER occasions, there are NO DO OVERS at a wedding, hire a professional FULL-TIME  DJ not someone Moonlighting on the weekends as a DJ.

Are you insured or belong to any professional organizations like N.A.M.E or A.D.J.A?

Your contract only states what your DJ will do, but it does not say if they will do it well. Membership in organizations like N.A.M.E or A.D.J.A. gives them growth, education, and ethics. Having an insured DJ does exactly that,,,it INSURES your peace of mind that if God forbid there was to be an accident, you would have a reputable insurance company from which to seek a resolution to the accident.

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