1. A specialist Wedding DJ or a ‘Jack of all trades’ DJ?
Determine whether the DJ is a Wedding DJ or just an all round DJ, there are formalities and protocol at weddings that have to be adhered to.
Most part time ‘Bedroom DJs’ will charge less than a Professional Wedding DJ, they don’t have the expertise, the experience the training or the overheads that come with running a successful business, but beware, if the ‘Bedroom DJ’ gets another job offered that is paying more the chances are they WILL take the better paid job and leave you with a poor excuse or another sub standard DJ.
You want to ensure that your DJ isn’t a one-dimensional part-time ‘Bedroom DJ’, having a full time Professional Wedding DJ who has been in business a long time should tell you everything you need to know, nowadays any business that have longevity means they are doing the right things in the right way.
Beware if a potential DJ bad-mouths former clients and or their competitors, one of my brides met with a DJ who was complaining about a bride being a huge bridezilla! This made her wonder what he may say about her?
2. Is your DJ answerable to an organisation or professional body?
Most professional Wedding DJs in the UK have undergone training to perfect their skill, this is normally over a long period of time and ongoing, they are trained to not only be an evening DJ but to host the whole day if needed whilst providing a vital link between the Bride & Groom and the wedding venue.
Nearly all Professional Wedding DJs in the UK will be members of the NADJ (National Association Of Disc Jockeys) or SEDA (The DJ Association) with membership (NADJ) comes a closely vetted P.A.T (portable appliance test) certificate to confirm all equipment is fit for purpose and will not poser a risk to both customers and the venue as well as £10m Public Liability Insurance, both are a necessity for wedding venues.
*TIP…Imagine turning up to your wedding to find out that the DJ is not allowed to perform because he doesn’t have the correct certification, what would you do at the last minute?
3. 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 wedding full of Indie or Britpop or Cheese, then they will need to deliver that and anything else you want, for that matter.
A skilled Wedding DJ will gladly accept your must-play and do-not-play lists, no matter how short or long, most will also supply an Online Planning Account to allow you to add your music choices as & when you please. I tell my couples in the first consultation meeting that they are in control of the music that will be played and they need to allocate time to work with me to ensure the smooth running for their wedding.
*TIP…All of the above can only be achieved with an entertainer who is flexible and willing to listen. It’s easy to come up with lists of songs to play—determining the placement of the music (e.g. cake-cutting and bouquet toss) and how it fits into unique themes is the real challenge.”
4. How do you handle song requests?
There could be instances where the client music choices are somewhat different to what the guests would like, how a does the DJ strike a balance to deliver on the couple’s desires—while still satisfying the guests’ requests?…….this is determined by the skill and experience of the DJ.
Some DJs (with the permission of the newlyweds) may tell party-goers that they need to stick to their playlist, but they’ll do their best to fit in their song, while others will appoint a bridesmaid or relative to screen particular requests (so that the DJ doesn’t need to interrupt the new Mr. and Mrs. mid-dance).
5. How do you get the crowd involved?
There are all kinds of incentives that DJs use to encourage guests to fill 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’ clubbing days or even with the use of props.
Ask them to show you videos from previous events to get a sense of how they will interact with your guests in person. Meeting a DJ before you book them is a MUST, make sure you can work with them and they can work with you.
*TIP…You want to make sure your DJ understands how to read a crowd, build up the energy and then keep it up. Your DJ needs to have the ability to blend all sorts of genres to accommodate everyone and keep them on the dance floor.
6. What equipment do they use and does it matter?
Ask if your DJ is certified and knows all of the ins and outs of connecting a system. An experienced DJ will allow their equipment to operate without over-driving it, which is when guests start to complain about it being too loud (sometimes referred to as ‘muffled’ sound). When I play at a wedding, you will hear every word, nice and crisp, at a moderate level; I guarantee guests will still be able to talk at their tables while others are showing off their latest moves on the dance floor.
Backup equipment is also essential: DJs should always have the equivalent of a “flat spare” on hand, whether it be a microphone, computer, mixer, etc. Don’t forget to ask how soon before the reception they plan to arrive and how long it will take for them to set up.
7. A Laptop, a controller, CD’s or Vinyl, does it matter?
If truth be told, no, it doesn’t matter what medium the DJ plays from, what matters is that it professionally well maintained and produces a nice sound.
Depending on the type of wedding you want and the music played, it doesn’t really matter if the DJ can beat-match or not, if you are hoping for a club feel then of course you need to confirm your DJ is comfortable mixing.
*TIP…A good ‘Club DJ’ does not mean they are automatically a good ‘Wedding DJ’ & vice versa.
7. Have they played at your chosen wedding venue before? If not, can you make a site visit beforehand?
The sound varies drastically depending on the room where your reception will be held. Don’t underestimate the importance of a site visit, I know of DJs who have had disgruntled couples at wedding receptions because the DJ didn’t know how to work the room’s acoustics, the sound on the microphones was so poor the wedding guests could barely hear the speeches!
*TIP…Try to meet your DJ at the venue, this will allow him/her to be introduced to the venue staff and get acquainted with surroundings.
8. What happens if the DJ is taken ill or has an emergency?
Something that you hope will never arise but needs to be addressed should the worse happen.
Is the DJ part of a network of DJs who can be called upon to cover if needed, again if they are part of an organisation or association the chances are they will work together top ensure your day continues without a hitch
*TIP…Will a part time ‘Bedroom DJ’ find last minute cover in the case of a emergency?
9. What other services do you offer?
Professional Wedding DJs will also offer lots of other services, ask what they can offer? Finding out a week after your wedding that you could have been ‘Dancing On Clouds’ or your names could have been displayed on the walls of the venue is too late, don’t miss out on that ultimate wedding photo.
Some DJ packages come with extra services such as intelligent lighting, I like to explain it as personalising your day.
Remember to get any details clearly outlined in your contract. Also don’t feel pressured into signing up for extra amenities if you don’t need them, I know of a bride that was told that her venue came equipped with intelligent lighting, the DJ told us their lighting was still necessary for a true “club-like” experience. Next!
10. Why should I choose you as my wedding DJ?
Ask if they have any awards, ask to see real testimonials and reviews and ask to see video of full dance floors.
Just ask that question “Why should I chose you as my Wedding DJ” and listen to the response……….Is it their amazing sound equipment? Their can-do-anything personality? Or is it their professionalism and dedication towards making your wedding a success, or a guarantee that the dancefloor will be full all night?
Hopefully, all of the above!