Finding the Right Wedding DJ

July 21, 2011 by  
Filed under Music & Dancing, Wedding Planning

Wedding DJ

You’ve already auditioned your brother’s rock band, and you know that Metallica covers are not what you had in mind for your wedding reception.  You’ve decided to hire a DJ, but don’t know where to start.  Just remember these simple rules and you’ll have a DJ that spins gold.

Interview before you book him or her

Don’t take it from your cousin’s boyfriend’s sister’s fiancé that Joe DJ is the best DJ around.  Interview Joe DJ first to make sure it’s a good fit.  Remember that this day is all about you, so if Joe DJ has his “wedding formula’ and refuses to deviate from that, he’s probably not the DJ for you.  Not only will you want to get a feel for the DJ’s commitment to your reception, but you’ll also want to check out their operation.  Here are a few things to remember:

  • A DJ is only as good as their rig (their actual DJ equipment).  You can hire the nicest guy or gal in the world.  He/she can have the best music selection in the world.  But if the rig is old or if it’s not up-to-date none of that will matter.  The best music selection is worthless if it won’t play out of the speakers.  Take some time to ask potential DJs what kind of setup they have, and whether or not they bring a backup system.  Also, do they spin vinyl?  CDs?  MP3s?  If it’s the latter then you can bank on your DJ being able to get his or her hands on any song you want.  Because…
  • A wide range of song selections is crucial to a good party.  You’ll want to give your DJ a “do play” and “do not play” list.  The former are those all-important songs like your first dance and your father/daughter, mother/son dances, and the latter are things that will absolutely ruin your world if you hear them.  Hate “The Macerena?”  Better put it on your “do not play list”.  But even if your “do play” list is very robust, you can’t think of every song that your guests may request.  That’s why it’s important for your DJ to have a wide selection of choices.  You don’t want to hear “We Are Family” more than once, do you?
  • Remember that it’s all about you.  You’ll want to choose the DJ who understands the importance of this day for you.  And, of course, that you want to be the center of attention.  You don’t want a DJ in a shock-orange wig running a smoke machine and doing sound effects on his or her rig.  Or maybe you do.  Just make sure you set your expectations early in the game.  If your potential DJ has video footage of a previous wedding, more the better.

Plan ahead

Now that you’ve chosen your DJ, you want to make sure you’re completely aware of the mechanics of the process.  You won’t want to worry about where your DJ needs to set up while you’re fixing your veil and trying to think about not tripping over your train.  It’s best to get all the particulars sorted out well in advance.  Here are some things to remember:

  • Make your DJ familiar with the venue.  Odds are he or she is familiar.  If not, plan a trip to the venue ahead of time and make sure you introduce your DJ to your contact at the venue, if they don’t already know each other.  They’ll need to work together for things like announcing the cake-cutting, announcing dinner if you’re having one, and more.
  • Give your DJ a detailed itinerary for the reception.  It’s hard for him or her to know what to do next if he or she doesn’t know what’s coming next.
  • Make sure your DJ knows how to pronounce the names of the people in your wedding party.  It is pretty embarrassing for the DJ and for the person whose name gets mispronounced when that happens.
  • Ask your DJ if they will need to eat at the reception.  Plan that ahead of time.  If you’re serving a $50 per plate dinner, you might want to plan for the caterer to make your DJ a sandwich.  Some DJs will choose not to eat.
  • Make your expectations clear regarding the open bar.  Some people don’t mind in their DJ has a couple of drinks.  The most professional DJs will assure you that they won’t be drinking during your reception.  And they really won’t.

Finally, read every word of the contract.  Make sure there are no hidden fees, that the DJ you’ve spoken to will actually be your DJ at your reception, and that your DJ is insured.

A wedding DJ can make or break a wedding reception.  Choose the wrong one and you’ll never forgive yourself (or your DJ).  Choose the right one and your reception will be an event to remember.

Related wedding posts:

  1. Finding Right Wedding Photographer
  2. Why Wedding Reception Invitations?
  3. Centerpieces for Weddings Ideas
  4. Why Hire a Certified Wedding Planner
  5. Tip on Choosing a Wedding Reception Hall


2 Responses to “Finding the Right Wedding DJ”
  1. MyDeejay says:

    These are all great suggestions – especially making sure your DJ knows how to pronounce names! We recently released a (totally free) eBook that should help with choosing a wedding DJ… couples should be aware of shady sales tactics some second-rate DJs employ to make a sale. An informed, educated couple is better equipped to make that important decision, and that’s why we wrote it…

    Hopefully that helps!

  2. That’s good advice. People sometimes underestimate the time required so planning ahead is essential. For those still planning their wedding music I’m putting together a collection of popular wedding songs here:

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!