How to Choose a Wedding DJ
What Makes a Good Wedding DJ?
Being a DJ is about way more than pushing “play” on an iPad playlist. Here are three qualities that set a good wedding DJ apart from the crowd.
If we could only give you one tip, it would be this!
Your DJ is going to be responsible for setting the tone of the evening. If you have a boring DJ…that means a boring wedding.
A DJ’s personality is the most important clue you’re going to get. Instead of relying on emails and texts, meet with your DJ in person to talk about your vibe, needs, and favorite music. This will help you decide whether they can create the party atmosphere you’re looking for.
You’ve probably been hearing how important communication is during all those premarital classes. Well, working a DJ is no different.
Playing music is only part of what a DJ does. The other half is talking. From making sure you’re on the same page regarding the “do not play” list to making sure the photographer captures the cake cutting, wedding DJs need to communicate and they need to do it well.
This is why it’s so crucial to hire a wedding DJ that can also MC. Other than your wedding planner, your DJ is the one person keeping everything together!
Any DJ who specializes in weddings will end up working a lot of them, so they need to be organized. But when those plans go awry, they also need to be flexible.
An organized DJ has a copy of the evening’s timeline so they can keep events on track. But if the bride and groom are an hour late, they should be able to adapt on the fly so that you and your guests are able to enjoy the evening without feeling rushed (with plenty of time for dancing).
Tips To Pick Your DJ
Finding the right DJ is imperative to ensure your wedding happens just as you planned. A great DJ can take your wedding to a level you never imagined. However, a bad DJ can make it a nightmare. Below are 5 tips to guide you through the process of finding the perfect DJ for your wedding.
One of the single most determining factors in the decision making process should be experience. You can plan every detail to the exact second, but no wedding occurs exactly as planned. There is a flow to weddings and an experienced DJ will make any change or delay appear like it was planned and rehearsed. In fact, a proactive DJ will anticipate common situations and prepare accordingly. You spent hours upon hours planning, scheduling and stressing about every single detail, the last thing you want is to do is spend your entire wedding worrying that something will be missed. A great DJ can put you at ease because he or she has all the necessary details and the ability to improvise should things change or fall behind.
Deciding a budget for entertainment can be very challenging because prices can range anywhere from $300 to $3,000. Many DJ companies offer various pricing packages along with a la carte options, travel fees, and/or per hour add-ons. Similar to buying a car, you have to be aware of what the overall price will be after all the add-ons, extra time, additional audio system (for the ceremony, cocktail hour etc…), and additional fees.
You also have to consider you get what you pay for. Although often overlooked as not being one of the most important vendors, the DJ/Emcee controls the flow for the entire wedding. With all that responsibility, you need to know that he or she has what it takes to make your day perfect.
So how do you know what price you should beget for and if the price justifies the value you should expect? The following nine tips will give you insight on the “must haves” that any professional DJ or entertainment company should provide. But before we conclude with pricing segment, keep in mind that the average DJ package for 4 hours in Northern California is roughly $1,200.
Meet with the DJ and make sure he or she will actually be you DJ
Make sure to meet with your DJ before you book. You want to get a feel for his/her personality and mannerisms. Especially if you want your DJ to also emcee the event, overall appearance and professionalism is key. You should feel comfortable having conversation during the consultation.
You can find a DJ with great personality, experience, talent, affordable prices, but it is imperative he or she uses the proper professional equipment. Beginning with the sound, professional speakers make all the difference in the world. Professional mics are also important. You don’t want microphone to cut in and out of signal because of insufficient range. There are also many different types of microphones for different applications. Make sure your DJ has the right type of mic for your event. A DJ should also have backup equipment in the event of technical difficulties.
Questions to Ask a Wedding DJ
These are the 40 most important questions to ask any professional disc jockey you are considering for your wedding, and will help you accurately gauge the professionalism, reliability, and honesty of any wedding DJ you are considering. This list of questions will certainly help you once you reach the DJ interview process, but doing some research beforehand will help you determine whether certain wedding DJs are even worth interviewing. Good luck in your search!
1. Do you offer a written contract?
All of the wedding disc jockeys you interview may not have the same standards of professionalism. A written, legal contract is one of the first indicators of whether a DJ is professional and reliable. Furthermore, a contract establishes the DJ’s obligation to the client and outlines what is required for the DJ’s success, by outlining his setup requirements and other factors related to his performance. For this reason, a written contract is absolutely essential and any DJ not using a written contract should not, in our opinion, be considered for a wedding reception.
2. Will you be the DJ at our wedding?
Often, the person you speak with is not the person who will be your DJ on your wedding day. This is a very common practice among large agencies. It is absolutely paramount that you have an opportunity to interview the specific DJ that you will be working with and determine whether you feel comfortable with them. You should also expect that the individual DJ’s name is specified on your contract – it is the only way you can be guaranteed his or her services at your wedding.
3. May we meet our DJ before we sign a contract?
Many DJ companies will try to get clients to sign a contract without speaking with their DJ first, asking couples to simply trust that whoever the company sends to perform their wedding will be a good fit. In our experience, this is a terrible idea. The only way you’ll actually know whether the DJ you’ll have at your wedding is to interview them before you sign a contract. Your “gut” feeling is very important in selecting the right disc jockey, and you’ll be in a tough spot if you finally speak to your DJ a week before your wedding and realize they aren’t going to be a good match.
Here is everything you need to know about booking DJs for a party.
Whatever the occasion, hiring a DJ can add life and excitement to a party. Finding the right DJ for hire will ensure your party has the perfect soundtrack, and turns into a night your guests will never forget. Hiring a DJ doesn’t have to be difficult. Follow these simple steps to do it right.
KNOW WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR IN A DJ
Before you embark on hiring a DJ for your event, you must consider what you are looking for, as it will save on time and confusion later in the party-planning process. While many DJ’s can be versatile performers with catalogues of varied titles, many also specialize in certain events or musical genres.
A DJ for a corporate party will offer something quite different to one who specializes in wedding celebrations. For this reason, it is useful to establish what the type of party is that you are throwing, and what style of music will suit the occasion, so that you can find the best possible match for your function.
EXPLORE YOUR DJ OPTIONS
DJs often advertise using a variety of media platforms and many are registered on booking agency websites that contain a whole roster of DJs to choose from. Many clients, however, like to act on recommendations as they offer a clear and more personal indicator of what you can expect. Therefore, it is a good idea to ask around and see what presents itself.
A testimony from a friend or colleague is something more reliable to go on in these beginning stages than choosing an unfamiliar act. Alternatively, you can contact establishments that enlist DJs for similar events such as nightclubs or wedding planner companies, as they may be able to provide you with suitable recommendations.
DISCUSS THE DETAILS
It is best to consider too many than too few potential performers, so once you have selected several candidates, get in touch with them to see if they’re a good fit. You could include creative discussions about what you are looking for in a performance and what they can offer. This is also the time to hash out the essential details, checking their availability and that the date, time and location are agreeable as well as their price, the lighting and equipment costs, their set-up and performance times and anything else that you feel is worth asking.
Here is a complete guide to which vendors you should tip (and how much!) on your wedding day.
If your contract doesn’t include gratuity, you should tip 15 to 20 percent of the total bill. Another way to tip is offering $50 to $100 for each chef and $20 to $50 per server.
Wedding planners won’t expect a tip, so this is optional based on service. If you were given a huge discount or the planner went far above and beyond their contracted services, offering a tip of 10 to 20 percent is a nice way of saying “thank you” for the efforts.
Photographer and videographer:
You’re not required to tip them if they own the studio. If they don’t, then giving them an extra $50 to $200 is a nice gesture. If there are two or three shooters, giving a $50 to $100 tip to each person (who doesn’t own the business) is optional.
Ceremony staff and reception staff:
It’s not mandatory to tip the ceremony staff, reception staff and delivery staff, but if you’d like to, then you can offer them $20-$50 each.
Often times officiants won’t accept tips, but a $100 donation to their church is a great way to thank them. If the officiant is non-denominational, consider giving them a $100 tip, especially if they aren’t charging for your service.
Hair and makeup artist:
A 15 to 20 percent tip is expected, just like it would be for any other regular salon visit, but it isn’t required.
Band or DJ:
Offering a 10 to 15 percent tip is a nice gesture to your band or DJ, especially if they have to carry a lot of heavy equipment from one location to the next. For musicians, a $25 to $50 tip per band member is appropriate.