It’s probably safe to say that you don’t want a band or DJ that has never worked a wedding before.
How Broad is Your Repertoire?
Your guests will be made up of all different age groups, so you can’t just have one type of music playing throughout the event. Be sure to pick an entertainer that has a broad range of music selections that they can play.
Can We See The Contract?
You want to have time to look over the contract, so ask for a copy of it right away. And, have a trusted friend or family member look it over as well. It never hurts to have an extra set of eyes review it to make sure you don’t miss anything.
What Are The Total Costs & Fees?
“It’s important to ask about all the costs and fees beyond their initial proposal,” says personal finance expert Andrea Woroch. “Some will charge extra for playing music during cocktail hour and dinner hour and may charge per hour after your pre-negotiated time is up. You may have to pay extra for the band to learn certain songs, to set up a stage and lighting, or for even having to go up and down stairs.”
Have You Played Our Venue Before?
While not necessary, if your band or DJ is familiar with the venue then that’s a definite bonus.
Do You Include Lighting?
Don’t assume that your DJ will include lighting with their package, so be sure to ask about this beforehand.
Does the Package Include Extras?
Some entertainment companies will throw in extras, such as a photo booth, to wow your guests. Be sure to ask if this is a possibility for your wedding.
Is There An Extra Charge for Steps?
Some entertainers might charge more if they have to lug their equipment up flights of stairs. If your venue lacks an elevator, mention this to any band or DJ you speak to right off the bat.
Will You Play During the Cocktail Hour?
Find out if the band or DJ will supply music during the cocktail hour. Guests won’t be dancing, but it would be nice to have some background music while they mingle.
What Happens When Guests Eat?
What do the entertainers do while the guests eat? Is there soft music, a photo slideshow, any additional entertainment to occupy them while they sit at their tables? These are details that you definitely need to sort out!
What Will You Do To Surprise Our Guests?
Creative Emcee announcements and encouraging guests involvement. Surprises are memorable, will make the wedding couple feel like their wedding was the party of the year.
Can We See You Live Beforehand?
Best case scenario, you will be able to see the DJ perform live before you commit to them. By having a meeting at our studio, we ensure you a fun “mini reception” demonstration where you can view the services that we offer live.
Are Your Performances Online?
MY DJs have video profiles and an online video conference platform as a great alternative to meet and interview the DJ in person. This will give you a good idea of how experienced and personable our DJ is!
Will You Also Emcee the Reception?
And if yes, how do you work with our wedding coordinator to make sure that everything runs on time? “All family members and friends want to do during a wedding is celebrate,” says Lack. “Giving them ‘jobs’ is not a fun thing to do. So let us handle MC’ing and we’ll buddy up with your wedding coordinator to make sure that you feel special and that the event us running on schedule.”
Can I See A Sample Timeline?
If they’ve worked several weddings before, a DJ should be able to send you a sample timeline to show how they keep such an important event flowing and on track. Our online system offers great organization!
Will You Introduce Special Dances?
A great entertainer should be able to find the right time to introduce special moments, such as father/bride and mother/groom dances, the bouquet toss and other events you want throughout the night without losing momentum. Let them tell you how they take control of the room during these events.
How Do You Keep The Party Going?
This is all about how bands and DJ interact with their guests, says Lack. “If we’re hired to perform the cocktail hour, then being in the background is important. If we’re hired to play a reception then we want tell our couples how we keep people on the dance floor (get people to sing with us, give our percussion, play great music by sharing song list).”
Do You Have Backup Equipment?
What will a DJ do if his equipment malfunctions or something doesn’t make it to the venue? Just like you need to have a backup plan for weather, your entertainment should be prepared for any situation. You don’t want to risk not having any music at the reception.
What If Someone Gets Sick?
If the DJ–gets sick and can’t make it to the event, what happens? The answer should be that we have someone (in-house) just as talented and capable waiting in the wings so that the event won’t be affected in the least.
How Will You Handle Guest Requests?
Music invokes memories and you want to be sure that whoever you choose as your musical partner for your wedding is comfortable telling a guest that they aren’t able to play something. Ask your DJ or Band how they handle song requests from guests, especially ones that are on your “Do Not Play” list.
How Do You Dress?
You want to make sure that vendors who will be visible to your guests look like they belong at a wedding and not at a bar.
How Many Breaks Will You Take?
A DJ should get a break to eat during the night–and don’t forget that you also need to feed them!) Talk beforehand about how many breaks they’ll get and how long those breaks will be.
Do You Play Vinyl or can you mix music on beat?
For some couples, this is an important feature when hiring a DJ.
How Is The Final Payment Collected?
Find out when the final payment is due and how they expect to be paid. Whether it’s cash, check or card, you definitely want to get this taken care of in advanced.
What most couples who are planning a wedding don’t know is that saving money by hiring an amateur DJ for your wedding comes with a high price tag. Before you make a decision you regret, here are some things you need to know.
1. There’s a high probability that a cheap (or free) DJ won’t be in business by the time your wedding arrives.
Many low-priced DJs aren’t charging enough to support their own businesses for the long term; you’re just financing their hobby. Meanwhile, your wedding is 6-12 months away or more.
We’ve received those calls from desperate couples who had a “friend of a friend” DJ cancel on them last minute. It’s not pretty.
Do you want to risk the possibility that the cheapie DJ is bankrupt and out of business before your big day?
2. Amateurs are less invested in their performance than a wedding professional.
The amateur DJ is doing it “for fun,” and if something goes wrong, it’s not a big deal. A wedding professional, on the other hand, risks his entire reputation and livelihood with every performance. One bad review can destroy his business and he knows it.
At one wedding, the DJ brought along his wife and newborn. Their table was littered with McDonald’s bags and his wife decided to breastfeed the baby during dinner.
Would you rather have an entertainer who is 100% invested in his business and performance on your wedding day or someone who does it as a hobby?
3. A wedding is a unique event that require the skills and experience of a wedding specialist for a smooth, flawless ceremony and reception.
It’s about more than just playing music. Your wedding DJ is responsible for coordinating the timeline, orchestrating the introduction and flow of events, working with your other vendors, managing the guests, reading the crowd and making sure the right song is played at just the right time.
Even a DJ who is quite experienced in the club setting will be at a loss because she simply isn’t familiar with the flow of events and how to prevent disasters when something goes awry.
One inexperienced DJ mistakenly announced a special dance with the bride and her grandfather because he forgot to update his notes. The entire family started crying because Grandpa had passed away two weeks earlier.
Are you willing to place the outcome of your wedding in the hands of someone who doesn’t “do” weddings for a living?
4. Your guests won’t dance without an experienced entertainer who can read the crowd and keep the momentum going.
You have to play the right songs at the right time and in the right order to maintain dancing. Oftentimes, the mood changes and your entertainer needs to change the program to maximize the dancing along the way.
If she can’t mix from one song to another, you’ll have gaps of “dead air” or awkward rhythms that will frustrate your guests and clear the floor.
Many couples think that providing an amateur with a set list of songs they love will be enough to make a fun wedding. It’s not. You need someone with experience to work with your requests and what your guests are responding to in order to avoid an empty dance floor.
One bride regrets hiring her DJ because he played “Unforgettable” five times during the wedding because he didn’t know any other slow songs.
Are you willing to sacrifice the fun at your wedding to save money on a cheaper DJ?
5. The MC (the guy or girl on the microphone) has a huge impact on the mood and outcome of your party, for better or worse.
An obnoxious DJ with an abrasive voice will irritate your guests and dampen the mood of the entire party. Professional DJs invest in vocal training and practice to optimize their performance.
I personally witnessed one DJ and embarrass everyone by making suggestive comments to the bride over the microphone.
Do you want just anyone acting as your wedding host or do you want a professional speaker you can trust?
6. Your special events may not happen if you don’t hire a specialist who’s experienced in channeling the flow of events.
Who will direct your bridal party and guests at the ceremony? Who’s going to line them up for introductions? Who’s in charge of making sure the toasts, special dances and dedications go without a hitch?
Just having the equipment and knowing how to push play doesn’t guarantee the people wrangling skills you need for a fun, smooth reception. In most cases, your entertainer is the one who makes sure your special events are executed as you’ve requested.
One inexperienced DJ forgot to bring the couple’s First Dance song; they were forced to dance to Barbra Streisand, who they can’t stand.
Will you risk leaving your special events to chance or do you want to ensure that everything is done according to plan?
7. An amateur doesn’t have the experience to include your unique requests in a way that truly expresses your personality AND keeps people dancing.
You can’t make your guests dance to the songs you like if they don’t feel the same way. Your DJ needs to read the crowd and have the experience to build sets of music around your preferences.
An amateur DJ can play the songs you request, but lacks the experience necessary to make it work.
One bride told us her DJ played the unedited version of Sexxy Back during dinner and had five minutes of dead air while he queued up the next song.
Do you want your guests on the dance floor all night or is it acceptable to have large chunks of time with no dancing?
8. An amateur DJ has inadequate or non-existent backup equipment, which means that if something fails you have no music at your wedding.
A fully functional backup system on the premises is essential to making sure you have music at your wedding no matter what. Most amateur DJs won’t have a backup plan if a speaker blows or a laptop crashes.
We were approached at the end of one wedding by a DJ in the next room who asked if he could “borrow our speakers” because his were broken.
Are you willing to takes your chances without a backup on your wedding day?
9. DJs who charge less invest less into their equipment, which means you have inferior sound and performance at your wedding.
A stereo system that sounds great in your living room doesn’t sound good in a spacious wedding venue. Professional speakers and equipment are necessary for clear sound that has impact at low volumes, so your guests can speak at the tables even while the dance floor is thumping.
If you want your guests to actually hear your exchange of vows at the ceremony, you’ll need professional equipment and an onsite tech to make sure that happens.
One DJ showed up at a venue for the first time without ANY speakers or mixer because he’s been told that he could, “use the venue’s sound system” and he didn’t call ahead to verify.
Are sound issues like blasting music or impossible to understand audio acceptable on your wedding day?
If you’re not planning to have any formal events at your wedding, and you’d like a cocktail party more than a dance party, it may make sense to save money by hiring a non-professional. But if you’re investing thousands of dollars on creating the perfect day, please don’t jeopardize it by hiring someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing.
Your wedding day only happens once; make sure you hire a DJ who gets it right.