In 2019, there were over 2 million weddings held in the US. Wedding couples will hire, on average, 14 different vendors to help them execute their special day. Approximately 72 percent of these vendors are DJ’s hired to create the dance party of a lifetime.

Are you thinking of hiring a wedding DJ for your upcoming nuptials? If so, check this helpful guide. We’ll show you how to recognize the good candidates from the scams.

What’s a Wedding DJ?

In its most basic form, a wedding DJ is a hired professional who plays recorded dance music at a wedding reception. Wedding couples will mostly have to decide whether its best to hire a band or an individual DJ to provide this musical entertainment.

The bigger job for DJ professionals is to set an overall tone of happiness and excitement by spinning the right songs at the right time and gauging the crowd’s spirit level accordingly.

Top Tips for Hiring a Wedding DJ

Just like your cater or your photographer, the wedding DJ is a professional that’s responsible for certain deliverables and meeting expectations. Here are some of the general areas to note and the questions to ask when you are trying to find a DJ.

Scheduling

At the larger staffing agencies, most often the first person you speak to won’t be the one spinning records at your wedding reception. When you are making arrangements with one of these employers, be sure to ask for a time when you can meet the specific DJ who you will work with. This person’s name should also be included in your negotiated contract to guarantee their services.

Some professional DJs schedule as many events as they can in a weekend to make their jobs profitable. It’s not unlikely that DJ’s may work between four and six events in a weekend. As a result of this kind of schedule, it’s not unreasonable to expect a DJ to be exhausted as the day wears on towards the last scheduled event.

Scheduling Questions to Ask a Wedding DJ About

Are you the scheduled DJ to perform at our event or will it be someone else? If it’s someone else, when is a good time to meet with them?

If you are the scheduled DJ, do you have other events to do that day as well? Where would our event fall on your schedule (i.e., first, middle, last.)

Set Up

Professional DJ’s usually plan to arrive at wedding reception venues between an hour and an hour and a half before the reception begins. This lead time gives them the time they need to set up and test their equipment before the first waltz has been danced.

Familiarity with your reception venue is also an important consideration in hiring a wedding DJ. Every site has its own physical layout, configuration, and acoustic considerations whether it be an outdoor patio or country club wedding reception.

Find out if your hired DJ has worked at your planned reception location before. If they haven’t, you have every right to ask them to make plans to visit the venue ahead of time. With this upfront preparation, they can prepare themselves on the physical layout and make any adjustments to their own set-up routine as necessary.

Set-Up Questions to Ask a Wedding DJ About

How familiar are you with our planned reception site? Have you played there before? When can you arrive to set up your equipment?

Sound System Equipment

Be sure to ask potential DJ’s about the quality of their sound systems. They should be able to describe their sound system components such as their turntables, headphones, controllers and wireless mic systems. They should also be able to describe any backup systems they have in case these primary components don’t work properly.

Sound System Equipment Questions to Ask a Wedding DJ About

How will you know if your sound system equipment is compatible with our reception site’s acoustics? What is your backup plan in case your equipment fails?

Services Offered Throughout the Event

Most wedding DJ’s are happy to make announcements or serve as an emcee throughout the reception event. Since this is an added requirement to your contract on top of playing music, you should confirm this ahead of time.

You also want an energetic and charismatic entertainer who knows how to encourage even the most hesitant dancer to get their groove on. Ask your DJ candidates how they can read a crowd and what incentives they have to encourage the party atmosphere to keep going until the reception is over.

Services Offered Questions to Ask a Wedding DJ About

Will you be our emcee and make all of the pertinent announcements (i.e., “first dance,” “the cutting of the cake,” or “throwing of the bouquet”?) What’s your method to interact with the guests? How do you motivate guests to dance and party when they look like they don’t want to?

Requested Music Playlist

Professional DJs should be ready to honor any of your personal requests for wedding songs. This includes your favorites as well as your “don’t-play” list. Differentiating these two lists will give clear direction to your DJ and avoid any embarrassing or uncomfortable confrontations.

Be sure to give the DJ any guidance on any music that you don’t think is appropriate. This includes any music genres or those songs that include explicit lyrics or subject matter.

Playlist Questions to Ask a Wedding DJ About

Do you have these specific songs that are meaningful to my spouse and me? Do you play any songs that contain explicit lyrics? What music genres do you usually play?

Next Steps

Getting closer to hiring a wedding DJ for your special day? If so, you should execute the following.

Schedule some interviews with prospective DJ’s and ask them to share scheduled obligations that intersect with your special day. Any agreements with these professionals should include what services they will offer throughout your event as well as what time the plan to show up and install their equipment.

Don’t forget to check our website for other things to think about when planning your wedding. We’re here to help you celebrate your own unique love story. Let us help you make it a day that no one will ever forget.