Tips for Hiring an Awesome Wedding DJ
Your wedding entertainment is one way you can make sure your guests have a blast. It can also be another way of adding your own personal touch to the event. Your wedding is a party, after all! You want to make it a kick-ass party that your guests won’t soon forget. Whether your goal is to get people moving on the dance floor or to just have some great music accompanying the reception, hiring a wedding DJ can be a great option.
Know what to look for and where
The most common option is to go with a DJ whose primary business is weddings. These wedding DJs know the ins and outs of wedding receptions and may even be great at serving as an emcee to make announcements. To find one of these, do the usual web searching and asking for referrals from other vendors.
Ask to hear samples of the wedding DJ’s work
Once you’ve found a DJ or two that seems right for your wedding, ask to see examples of their work. This could be a video of a live performance, a mixtape, or sample playlists. The more important to you the quality of the music is, the more you should see and hear before hiring.
Give the DJ your playlist and your “do not play” list
If you’re already set on a playlist, discuss it with DJs and make sure they are willing to follow it. You may also want to create a “do not play” list and share it to avoid any unpleasant surprises.
Ask how they get the crowd going
If you want your DJ to be really involved in making your reception fun, make sure to ask about how they engage a crowd
Questions to Ask Before Booking Your DJ
Is this your full-time business? Are weddings your primary focus? What clubs, lounges, and corporate clients have you performed for in addition to weddings?
Determine whether they are a well-rounded, successful entertainer who can bring a level of expertise and versatility to your event. “You want to ensure that your DJ isn’t a one-dimensional part-timer, but a true performer whose had varied and extensive experience performing in front of different (and tough) audiences,” said DJ Kev Sakoda. It’s fine if your prospective DJ mainly focuses on weddings—DJ Vito Namio performs at well over 100 per year—as long as they squeeze in some time for other types of parties as well.
How do you customize the music experience for each couple? Can you help with song lists and providing suggestions?
Find a DJ who will create a soundtrack for your wedding that is based on your style, taste, and vision for that day. “One size does not fit all—if your desire is to have a mosh pit at your wedding, then you will need to deliver that and anything else you want, for that matter,” said Sakoda.
How do you get the crowd pumped?
There are all kinds of incentives that DJs use to encourage guests to storm the dance floor, whether it’s asking couples to join the newlyweds for a good-luck dance or playing a meaningful throwback song from the bridesmaids’ college days.
How do you handle song requests?
“There could be instances where the client directives are diametrically opposed to the guest requests. How a DJ strikes a balance to deliver on the couple’s desires—while still satisfying the guests’ requests—determines the skill and experience of the DJ,” said Sakoda.
Can I hear some examples of mixing and blending different tracks?
When mixing is done correctly, you probably aren’t even aware of it. The DJ should be able to blend between songs seamlessly; you don’t want guests to become bored by a ten-minute long Queen rendition! However, when this technique is performed incorrectly, you’ll be able to discern it instantly: “When there is no mixing or blending, there is awkward silence between songs (it’s the same thing as your iPod),” said Sakoda.
How to choose the right DJ for your wedding party
Once the vows have been made, the wedding breakfast has been eaten and the speeches have received rapturous applause, all that remains to do on your big day is to take your first dance and celebrate with an amazing wedding after party. As with all aspects of your wedding day, the best way to ensure your wedding party goes without a hitch is to leave it to the professionals. If you’re choosing a professional DJ service to keep your wedding dance floor filled until the early hours, there are many considerations to make… it’s not just about the music.
To better understand how to choose the right DJ for your wedding party, Danny Costello, managing director of award-winning DJ hire company DJ2K, is perfectly placed to advise on the winning formula. With more than 20 years’ experience as a wedding DJ, Danny leads a team of hand-picked DJs who strive to deliver unforgettable wedding parties across Surrey, London and the Home Counties.
Experience and pricing
Don’t be fooled by start-up companies with little to no experience who are offering cheap deals on wedding entertainment and discos. Take note of how long a wedding DJ has been in the business; experienced DJs will have extensive knowledge about timings, equipment and logistics and clients should feel that they are in safe hands. DJ2K couples usually spend between £600 and £2,000 which can include a photo booth, selfie mirror, dance floor, giant illuminated letters, among other things – dependent on the couple’s budget and requirements
Danny says: “DJ2K is recommended by a number of top wedding venues in the UK. It is always worth considering a venue’s recommended suppliers and having a chat in the first instance. However, if your chosen supplier isn’t recommended or hasn’t worked at your venue before, don’t worry – they have the potential to bring a fresh approach to proceedings.”
Online reviews made by other couples will tell you all you need to know about whether a wedding DJ is good or great and will provide a professional and reliable DJ service. Browse the DJ’s website and social media; if the DJ has been given exceptional reviews, they’ll certainly want to share them.
All the Questions You Need to Ask Your Wedding Band or DJ
Let’s be honest here: The music can make or break a party, which means the band or DJ is one of the most important factors of your reception. And you definitely don’t want to hire someone without thoroughly vetting them first. Ask the below questions when you meet with any potential musicians to find the right fit for you.
How would you describe your style?
You need to figure out if their style will work with the vibe you’re going for. If you want an elegant cocktail party with lots of casual conversation, a band that describes itself as “rock and roll with a whole lotta edge” is a music mismatch. (And if you’re having trouble determining what kind of band or DJ you want, do some research on The Knot Marketplace or GigMasters—both can help you find exactly what you’re looking for.)
Can we come listen to you perform?
Seeing them perform live will give you the best idea about what your wedding entertainment would actually sound and feel like. While most musicians and the couples that hire them mutually agree in advance that the wedding is closed to prospective clients, some will have mini “concerts” for the public to attend and see whether they’re a good fit or not.
Do you know our reception space and its acoustic, power and amplification requirements? If not, will you check it out beforehand?
Your musicians may need an extension cord, backup generator or other supplies, and it’s important to know this beforehand. If they don’t want to check out your venue, cross them off your list.
Can you play the songs that are important to us (such as a traditional Jewish hora tune or a favorite pop hit)?
The band or DJ should be able to play, learn or download any tune you’d like. If a band says “yes,” but they’ll need to learn and/or arrange it, ask them if they’ll charge for that.
How did you pick your DJ?
We ended up going with the more expensive one, because his personality was outgoing. He was so much fun to talk and our meeting ended up running longer than anticipated. We were looking for someone outgoing and confident in what they did. We sa down and talked to 3 different DJS. Make sure you talk to them on the phone or in person. The DJ sets the tone for everything at your wedding you want to make sure they are good at it.
This is going to sound corny, but it will just feel right. I spoke with a few DJ’s, I even booked one, then canceled because he and I just did not connect as far as what my vision was, etc. The DJ I ended up finding was extremely personable and knowledgeable. He took the time to go over every detail and explain his cost compared to the industry, etc. He also gave me great tips on finding a photographer and made suggestions on how to cut back cost. I trust that he will make my wedding day run as smooth as possible.
He picked us. He said “you guys look like a cool couple. I wanna dj your wedding” we told him we weren’t planning on having a dj and he said he’d do it at a discount. He has 20+ yrs experience and we vibed well.
I picked 5 DJs based on their reviews and pricing and made a spreadsheet. I listed what they were offering, how long they would be there, extra fees (set up, traveling) and the cost of each one. It really helped me to see all the options laid out and I was able to narrow it down to two. I contacted both and figured out which one would work best for what we needed/wanted.
They’re not corny, cheesy, they don’t dance, they don’t have plasma TV’s, uplighting or photobooths, they are always there early, they don’t dress like slobs, they don’t put giant ugly banners on the DJ booth (which always looks neat). They don’t do games, they don’t miss ceremony cues, they don’t mispronounce names and they actually have the processional order and the entrance details down before they are going to happen. We live in an area with very busy airwaves; they bring backup equipment in case the frequencies are a problem (Hudson river area, flight path, marinas….). They play well with others. They have interesting music suggestions beyond 1000 years and I think I wanna marry you. If I have couples that need international music, I have two DJ’s that shine in that area.