Choosing a DJ for your Wedding

Choosing a DJ Service for your Reception

There are so many things to consider when getting married: The venue, the food, the flowers, the decor, the seating arrangements. One of the most important decisions you will make is the choice of music for your reception. Your guests are going have many memories of your wedding. Make sure those memories are of dancing the night away at a great party with excellent music. Here are some helpful hints when trying to select the right DJ service.

  1. Make sure the DJ offers a written contract. This shows that the DJ is professional and reliable. It also outlines the responsibilities of both parties and reduces the likelihood of a dispute later. If a DJ won’t give you a written contract, you should look elsewhere.
  2. Who will be the DJ at the wedding? Some services will have multiple DJs, so make sure you get to meet the individual who will DJ your wedding BEFORE you sign the contract. Find out enough about this person to make you feel comfortable with them. How many weddings have they done? Why did they choose to be a DJ? Pay attention to their personality – do they seem like they have the right look and personality for your wedding?
  3. Make sure to get references from former clients (preferably weddings clients.) Ask if the DJ has a video of himself at a performance so you can see his style, the way he interacts with the guests, and the musical choices he makes.
  4. Will the DJ act as an Emcee and make announcements? This is one important reason to use a DJ rather than an iPod playlist. A DJ can provide announcements and lead the reception through the first dances, toasts, cake cutting, bouquet toss etc. Do they have a specific mic style? Ask them what kind of voice they use, and get them to demonstrate. You don’t want to have the DJ using a cheesy “Las Vegas” style voice in the middle of your elegant reception.
  5. How involved can you be with the music selections? You want to find a DJ that will work with your own Play and Do Not Play lists. DJs like to be able to play whatever they want, but they should be respectful of your tastes and allow you to have input. Also, don’t be afraid to ask the DJ for his input on the decisions such as “first dances.” Find out what your DJ’s favorite wedding songs are – it can tell you a lot about how the night will go.
  6. Establish ahead of time whether the DJ will be taking requests and make sure there is a procedure for this. If you do not want to DJ to take requests, make sure to say this so there is no misunderstanding.
  7. At what level are the DJ’s skills? Can they mix one song into another seamlessly so there are no breaks? A seamless flow of music will keep everyone on the dance floor and is another important reason to choose a DJ over an iPod playlist.
  8. What will the DJ do to motivate the crowd? A reception can fail miserably if no one is dancing, so you need to make sure your DJ has a plan to keep the crowd pumped.
  9. Ask the DJ if they have played at your venue before – it can be helpful as they know the rules, set up etc. If they haven’t played the venue, will they be going to the hall ahead of time to check out the set up and make sure they have all the required equipment?
  10. Is there a back up if something happens (ie an accident) and the DJ can’t make it to the wedding? Also will the DJ have back up equipment in case something malfunctions?
  11. Ask how the DJ keeps his/her music collection up to date. They should likely subscribe to some kind of service. Make sure that the music collection will be current and have the styles you are looking for (ie if your guests like country, make sure the DJ has an up to date country library of songs.
  12. What other services do you offer? An optional lighting package can add to the ambiance and get people dancing. Some DJs have video screens the can bring. Also, karaoke, has become quite popular at wedding receptions.
  13. Make sure the DJ has insurance. This is a deal breaker for sure.
  14. Find out what the DJ needs from you (ie a table, shelter, adequate plug ins etc.) Does the DJ expect to be fed at the wedding? Some DJs expect to be fed the same food as the guests so make sure this is spelled out ahead of time.
  15. Ask if the DJ plans to promote his service to guests during the wedding, and if so, make sure he will be discrete. Do not allow your DJ to set up a sign or banner (can really interfere with the mood/decor of the wedding) – Some DJs will just have business cards in a holder on the table.

Your DJ choice is essential to the success of your reception, and a good professional DJ should expect to sit down with you for a lengthy period of time to answer all your questions. Use your heart when you pick a DJ. The best DJs often are not the least expensive, but this is one area of your reception where you should expect to pay for quality.