12 Questions You Must Ask When Hiring A DJ For Your Wedding or Event
Photo credit: Sean Reilly Photography
YOUR wedding. As unique as the two of you, with a vibe... a soundtrack... all its own. What will further create and ensure the fun, excitement, and success of your special day? The music selection - and a professional DJ selection!
1.) Why should I choose you as my DJ?
You want someone confident, experienced - and fun! A seasoned professional who truly enjoys what they do, and wakes up excited to work on personalizing each new event... including yours! Find a DJ who can quickly and honestly answer this question, and you're off to a great start!
2.) How extensive is your experience as a professional DJ/MC for weddings?
Your prospective candidate should be a seasoned professional who is experienced, polished and prepared to handle the diverse and often unexpected requests of wedding clients. Pro-tip: get recommendations from venues, online reviews, and independent references. A bit of due diligence will go a long way to preventing hiccups on your special day!
3.) What local facilities recommend your service?
Typically, venues prefer to work with and recommend respected, consummate professionals - they have a reputation to maintain, too!
4.) Have you played at our chosen wedding venue before?
Preparation. That is the seasoned DJ's mantra! Logistics and sound requirements vary considerably among venues; some require wireless options. To avoid surprises, a good DJ unfamiliar with your facility will insist on both an advance site visit/manager meeting to see and assess where your wedding takes place.
5.) Do you carry liability insurance?
Clarify and confirm liability coverage before hiring your DJ to protect you, your guests, and your venue in the event of an unexpected accident or emergency. True professionals - as opposed to novices - who take their trade seriously will provide their liability certificate without hesitation!
6.) What are your back up plans if you are sick?
What about a "Plan B" in case of sickness or another unexpected event? Again: Preparation! Experienced DJ's rely on professional peers for support in act-of-nature scenarios. Ask the DJ for back up plan details and the name and contact information for their backup.
7.) Do you belong to any trade associations?
Like other professions, there are local/national DJ associations and trade groups. Membership in one of these organizations exemplifies your DJ's commitment and willingness to maintain professional standards, grow, and remain relevant in their industry.
8.) What do you typically wear?
Your DJ should coordinate their wardrobe to compliment the tone of your wedding! Formal attire for all guests? Tuxedo, upon request. A beach BBQ? Coordinated black shirt and slacks to blend in with the wait staff. When in doubt, the classic suit and tie is the way to go.
9.) MUSIC Must-Asks - your night, your tunes. Be Specific!
How extensive is your music library? What genres can you cover? How do you personalize the music experience? Can we provide requests in advance? Will you provide song lists, guidance and suggestions for areas like parents' dances or ceremony background? What is your policy on playing our requests and requests from guests?
10.) How do you keep your music collection up-to-date?
Another must-ask. DJs subscribe to industry download services to obtain their music legally to ensure their music is current and on a local hard drive, not internet based sites like YouTube and Spotify. DJ's relying on internet-only services are taking a huge risk at your expense. Aside from copyright compliance, properly downloaded music is high quality and offers family-friendly versions of songs. What if there's intermittent, or worse yet, no Wi-Fi service available? What happens then if your DJ is relying on the cloud?
11.) What other services can you provide?
A passionate, customer focused DJ will offer a diverse skill set beyond basics for your celebration, including: ceremony sound and music; ambient uplighting/lighting effects; custom monograms; your love story on video screens; photo booth options and more. A quote may build-in some features while other special requirements incur additional fees. Do your wedding homework to determine exactly what you do (and don't) want and insist that added services / pricing are clearly written into your contract.
12.) What is your rate?
Compare prices and options, but most importantly, compare what makes a particular DJ unique and in demand! Experience, enthusiasm, commitment... a professional DJ invests up to 20 hours in advance on your event in meetings and correspondence, offering guidance and planning. On your wedding day your DJ arrivers hours before you and your guests, working nonstop setting up and moving equipment from multiple locations (ceremony, cocktails, reception), and then they are ON for five to six hours straight, before breaking down - but not until the last guests leaves.
Years from now people will remember your wedding as one of the best they ever attended, if you make the right choice in entertainment!