As everyone knows, planning a wedding is a long process with a lot of considerations. To have a perfect day, you’ll need to have vendors you trust and are proud to be working with. One of the most important aspects of a wedding is the music.
When looking to hire a DJ for your wedding, many of these considerations come down to whether or not you’ve found the right DJ for you. To figure out if a DJ is what you’re looking for, there are 9 important questions you must ask your wedding DJ.
What to Look for in a Wedding DJ
Before you settle on a DJ, you should know what you’re looking for. Would your ideal DJ play wedding standards, or a specific genre, like disco or country? Should your DJ have other responsibilities, like emceeing and making announcements?
Many people choose to forgo a DJ in favor of a wedding band. If you feel that you will greatly miss the sound of live instruments, then you may want a band. However, if you want to hear the originals of all your favorite songs, not covers, then you definitely want a DJ. Here are some tips for deciding between a band or a DJ for your wedding.
Finding the Perfect Wedding DJ
To find a wedding DJ that will help make a memorable event, start by talking to your venue. If a DJ already knows your venue, that will be helpful, because they are familiar with the venue’s spacing and equipment. The venue will also be more likely to recommend someone of high quality.
You can also take recommendations from friends or even online wedding planning groups in your area. If you’ve been to a local wedding with a great DJ, reach out to that friend and get the DJ’s number. Don’t feel obligated to let a friend DJ– you should search for the best fit for your wedding.
Questions to Ask DJ
If you’ve found a DJ that you’re thinking of hiring for your wedding, there are a few key topics to discuss. If you don’t address these things, you might be thrown for a loop on your big day if the DJ doesn’t know what you’re expecting.
Before talking to your DJ, ask yourself these 9 questions as well, so that you know what kind of answers and service you desire and expect. You have to be sure what you want before you can expect your vendors to be sure of it as well.
How much does a DJ cost?
Like with everything else in wedding planning, you need to have a set budget. When asked, the DJ you’re talking to should give you a going rate for their services. According to The Knot, the average couple spent around $1200 on their DJ!
A DJ’s going rate may depend on a couple of factors. For one, how many hours they will be working with your event should be in consideration. For a DJ, this is the beginning of your reception until the venue closes, plus an hour before and after to set up and break down. There also may be an extra fee to book their whole day, as some DJ perform multiple events in a day.
How far away from my wedding should I book a DJ?
In the wedding planning process, everything is dependent on your timeline. Whether you take two years or two months, it’s possible to have the wedding of your dreams. If you find a DJ that you love, it’s important to ask them if your date is available.
On the standard one-year timeline, the time to book a DJ is about 8 months out from your wedding. However, very popular and coveted DJs may book more than a year away. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t find a great DJ on a tighter schedule, just understand that some of them may have prior commitments.
What style of music do you play?
Obviously, a DJ’s job is to provide music, so it’s a high priority to talk to your DJ about their musical selections. Most DJs will be open to playing whatever you’d like, but others have specific styles or genres that they work with, so you want to have an open discussion about their music library.
Therefore, it’s important to decide what kind of music you’re looking for the DJ to play. Many will have a playlist of standard wedding songs that are popular and danceable, but if you want something more specific or less mainstream, be sure to check that the DJ is comfortable working with that.
How often do you DJ weddings?
Another important question to ask your wedding DJ is how often they play weddings at all! While many DJs are familiar with the expectations of working at a wedding, it is important to discuss it to make sure they understand the various stages of a wedding reception (toasts, cocktail hour, cake, etc.)
Further, DJs that primarily play events like parties may have a different repertoire of music than what’s played at a wedding. By asking how familiar they are with a wedding atmosphere, you’re more likely to ensure a great DJ for your event.
Can we work together to pick the songs you will play?
Many people inevitably want some of their favorite songs or bands to be played at the wedding. Since it’s your event, playing some of your favorite songs will add a personal touch.
While many DJs have a song list that they work with, be sure to talk to them about including some songs you love and taking off some songs that you hate. If the DJ is unwilling to tailor their playlist for your event, think about if the memories of certain meaningful songs are important enough for you to look elsewhere. Similarly, you may want to make a “do not play” list.
Do you take music requests from guests?
If your guests are really into the music (or the drinks), they may begin requesting songs or bands from the DJ. It’s important to lay the groundwork for how you would like your DJ to handle this, and how you would like your guests to make requests if you choose to allow it.
One good thing about letting your guests make song requests is that it creates an environment of participation and gets people pumped about the party. However, if you don’t trust your guests’ taste, it’s also possible to politely shut down the idea of any requests. It’s all up to whatever the newlyweds and the DJ are comfortable with.
Are you willing to emcee?
Another role that a wedding DJ also plays is that of an emcee. An emcee, or master of ceremonies, is like an announcer of sorts– they can announce the couple’s entrance, the beginning of toasts, and the last dance of the night, for example.
Definitely make sure that your DJ is comfortable taking on this role as well as master of the music. If they aren’t, maybe they can work with a friend of yours to emcee, but most wedding DJs will make these announcements.
Have you worked with our venue before?
As mentioned above, a DJ that has performed at your venue is a good choice. They know where it is, the venue’s staff, and the ways their equipment worked in the space. They also may know a venue’s aesthetic vibe– a DJ that often plays in a barn may have a good country music playlist, for example.
Be sure to ask your DJ if they’re familiar with the venue and the area, and if they aren’t, maybe schedule a time they can come check out the venue, so that they know how to get there and what they’ll need to bring. Many DJs bring video screens, which need to be set up, and they need to take things like floor plan and sound check into account.
How much time will you need to set up and break down?
In planning your wedding’s logistics, you also need to take into account the time a DJ will need to set up and to break down their equipment. These arrival and departure times need to be in line with your planner/coordinator and with the venue.
When making your day-of timeline and to-do, be sure to include DJ arrival and DJ departure. It is also important to discuss letting the DJ in during your wedding ceremony or cocktail hour with the wedding venue or a planner/coordinator, so that the music can be going when your guests enter the ceremony space and that you can keep your peace of mind.
Other considerations in hiring a wedding DJ
Hiring a wedding DJ is a big part of planning your wedding and having a quality DJ will really set the tone for your event. To find a DJ in your area, check out this database.
More about music for your wedding
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