How to Hire a Wedding DJ
Check to see if your date is available:
1. What are some good questions to ask a DJ before hiring them?
-How early does the DJ arrive?
-What is your procedure should the DJ get in an accident on the way to the event?
-Is there a backup DJ? What happens if you arrive and realize you have a faulty speaker?
-What happens if your computer breaks down in the middle of the night?
-Do you play songs live or are you just throwing on an iTunes playlist or automated DJ program (which anyone can use)?
-Are you screaming on the microphone constantly or is it professional, minimal and informative when needed?
-Do you play the stereotypical wedding songs (YMCA, Celebration, We Are Family, Macarena, etc…) or will you make my wedding different and unique?
-Will you take requests from the guests throughout the night and how will you filter those to coincide with the bride and grooms’ tastes?
-Do you play songs with explicit lyrics?
-Do you stick to the timeline times specifically or do you bend and mold the night to fit the crowd as needed (and how)?
2. Can you make a playlist or tell the DJ what to play and what not to play?
A good professional DJ should ALWAYS cater the event to the clients and guests. HE/SHE is not there to show off their musical tastes. Yes, a good DJ will add their own style and flavor to put the night together musically, but in the end the clients and guests are the ones the DJ is playing for and any and all appropriate requests or ‘do-not-plays’ should be honored in the long run.
3. What songs do you need to pick out for your DJ before the wedding?
All specific songs for dances, intros, etc., should DEFINITELY be picked out prior to the wedding. As far as the cocktail, dinner, and dancing music is concerned it really depends on the DJ. Some DJs want to have all their music ready to go prior to the event. I however, like to have a general idea of what the client wants, as well as the ages, ethnicity, dress, and amount of alcohol consumed by the guests. I like to have a general idea and then show up and read the crowd accordingly. I probably prepare for the client and guests personalities more than I do the music that I will play. But every DJ is different with this. After over 30 years of DJing weddings the spur of the moment selections are a bit easier for me than others.
4. What are some of your favorite first dance songs?
I could list a million songs that are great for a first dance, but I feel that song needs to be something special for the couple. Again, I suggest they stay away from the stereotypical ones that everyone seems to use (Etta James – At Last, Louis Armstrong – Wonderful World, etc) and pick something unique to them.
5. What are some of your least favorite wedding songs?
Back to the stereotypical cheesy wedding songs… I don’t like these because they are so overplayed. There are too many people who call themselves a DJ and rely on these line dances and songs that are constantly overplayed at weddings to get people moving. I try to make my wedding unique to the couple and guests. Sure, I can drop in The Wobble or Cupid Shuffle if the guests or couple want it, but those types of songs are not the ones I am itching to pull out as a DJ. I don’t feel that you always have to have a packed dance floor if it’s not necessarily a dancing crowd (older, out of towers, etc…). The music should be played appropriately to the mood and vibe of the crowd. Dancing should NEVER be forced by playing a stereotypical overplayed ‘wedding song.’
6. How can a couple ensure that their wedding reception is fun for everyone attending?
HIRE A PROFESSIONAL DJ and DO NOT SKIMP on this money-wise. There are two things I tell people constantly when looking at a DJ and pricing. 1) You get what you pay for and 2) If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. You will be much better off finding and spending some extra money on a professional DJ who wants to get to know you and cares about you and your crowd and WANTS to stay in contact with you than you will a guy who has a ridiculously low price or a package deal with unlimited hours & lighting/photo booths. Plan on spending $1500 average on a professional DJ. This could be more, but if you go much lower than this price you are sacrificing your quality and once the wedding is over, you can’t get that quality back. The DJ can make or break your wedding as they are the one who not only sees the entire room, but controls it. Find someone you connect with who actually cares that your day goes off without a flaw.