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10 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Wedding DJ

Lets be honest for a second and say it plainly - wedding DJ’s have a bad rep. Many people picture a 70’s style “DJ Dave” mobile disco, with a setup consisting of not much more than a few disco balls and a music selection that defines “cheesy”. We’re sure they're many more bad preconceptions out there, but the reality in 2014 is very different.

A wedding DJ is of vital importance to your big day, he is the one vendor who can truly make or break your reception party. A bad DJ can bore your guests to tears and leave a dancefloor empty, a good DJ will have guests smiling and happily dancing into the small hours.

We all know every happy couple are super excited to share the rest of their lives together, but a major part of those treasured and lasting wedding memories are formed dancing the night away with your friends and family!

Here’s a well known, but often forgotten fact: a great party has great music. So don’t take the risk, select your wedding DJ carefully by asking the following questions…

  1. Is this your full-time business and are weddings your primary focus? What is your previous experience?
    Try to assess if your prospective DJ is a well-rounded entertainer who can bring a level of expertise and personality to your event. Their previous experience should give you a great window into their abilities and talents. DJ’s work many different types of parties from corporate events, to birthday parties to clubs and bars. You need to be sure they’re comfortable with weddings and the higher level of refinement required.
  2. Will you work with my playlist AND my do not play list?
    A skilled DJ will gladly accept your must-play and do-not-play lists, no matter how short or long. DJ’s love to have autonomy and play whatever they want to. But it’s your day and you should rightfully get input into what gets played and on what doesn’t.
  3. How will you customise your approach to our wedding?
    A good DJ will customise their set to meet your expectations and tastes. No two weddings will be the same, for example, if you and your friends are obsessive Hip Hop fans who want to breakdance the night away - it will be a very different experience to that of hard rock fans. As a couple you should set time aside to work alongside your DJ to plan the night,  the placement of the music (e.g cake-cutting and bouquet toss) and how it fits into your unique theme.  
  4. How do you handle request during the wedding?
    If some of your guests have a wildly different taste in music to you and it doesn’t fit with your vision of the party, you need to discuss this with the DJ. With your permission the DJ can tell partygoers that they need to stick to their playlist, but they’ll try their best to fit the request in, or you could appoint a bridesmaid or relative to screen these requests. The DJ should ultimately always try to keep everyone happy as the goal is having a great party, however, as it’s your wedding the final say should always rest with you.
  5. What’s your style of DJing and are you going to mix the music continuously?
    The main reason to hire a wedding DJ rather than just putting your MP3 player on shuffle is that they can provide a seamless flow of music. If they don’t, its probably best to look elsewhere. When mixing is done correctly, you should hear a seamless transition which you almost don’t notice. However, if you hear a DJ who can’t transition correctly you’ll be able hear it instantly - whether it is an awkward silence or a clash of songs. 
  6. Will you take breaks throughout the night? If so what happens?
    With an iPod or wedding band you’d expect gaps in the music, you don’t, a DJ should be able to provide a seamless flow of music with no breaks.
  7. What Equipment do you have? Is it included in the quoted cost?
    If the equipment hire is not included in the quoted cost, extras can add up quickly. Your venue may already have a good quality sound system or lighting, but even if they do it’s good to have backups in case of equipment failure. Make sure the DJ has good quality equipment and knows how to set it up and use it. An experienced DJ should be able to set-up the equipment effectively and provide crisp and clear sound quality. Also, don’t forget to ask them how long before the start of the reception they will arrive to make sure they will set-up with plenty of time.
  8. What other services do you offer?
    Some DJ packages come with extra services such as intelligent lighting and video screens - as well as a host of other additional extras. Make sure you get any details outlined in the contract and don’t feel pressured into taking on additional extras.
  9. Will you act as an emcee and make the announcements?
    Most DJ’s are used to making announcements for the cake cutting, first dance, toasts etc. Ask for examples of their style of mcing and if you want to give these announcements a personal touch you could always ask a relative to make them.
  10. Do you have a written contract?
    As with any wedding vendor you use, do not proceed without a formal written contract. If you don’t have one you’re not covered and if they won’t provide one, it’s time to look elsewhere.

    And Finally you should consider these vital qualifiers…
    What do you do if nobody is dancing? How current is your music collection? Can I hear a mix or recording of your performances? and Why should we choose you?

It is important to not treat your wedding DJ as just another vendor, every couple price-shop ruthlessly for their wedding and price is of course an important factor. However, you wouldn’t choose one venue over another because of a £100 price difference - choosing your wedding DJ should be the same.

A DJ will make or break your wedding reception, so make sure you choose wisely!