A BRIDE’S CHECKLIST ON HOW TO HIRE A WEDDING DJ.
What do your guest remember about your wedding…? Two things, the food and the DJ. A wedding can be incredibly stressful to organize and of course to fund. After all the hours of planning for the biggest day of your life, you would like everything to run smoothly. Once the initial nerves have gone and after the” I DO’s”, you can relax and enjoy your wedding that you have planned for so long. And then comes the best part, the reception!
Everyone looks forward taking off their uncomfortable shoes, letting their hair down and seeing Granny take over the dance floor, dancing to one of her old-school favorites. Most of all, having your friends and family together on the happiest day of your life. That is why having a professional sounding PA and great DJ is most important to the success of your wedding.
So, this blog is created especially for the BRIDE’S CHECKLIST ON HOW TO HIRE A WEDDING DJ.
Finding a DJ would be the first step, but where do you start? Typing in wedding DJ in Google will show you the top listed DJ’s that paid to get their page on top, but the question is, are they good? We would recommend you to follow up with references, being the best way to get someone else’s opinion before contacting the DJ. Find out from the wedding venues/event planners who they would recommend, they usually can match you with the perfect DJ for your wedding idea. They have worked with them before and knows if the DJ are well dressed, arrives on time and that the weddings they do are always a success.
Making the first call is very important! See how the company/person conduct themselves over the phone, are they friendly and excited that that you have choose to phone them, and keep in mind, professionalism plays a vital role. As a DJ we understand that you do not trade in this field and that it might be overwhelming to ask the right questions. A Professional DJ would make this phone call easy for you, explaining what they offer in a manner that everyone understands.
The questions you should ask on the first phone call should be:
How long have you been a wedding DJ?
How many weddings have you done?
Do you have references?
Please forward me links and material that we can go to and have a look at like a website, Facebook etc.
Meeting face to face is the most important part! I have heard of so many DJ’s that only conducts their bookings over email, which in some cases is the only way, as the bridal couple is either out of town or overseas. Meeting with the DJ is nevertheless the first step to putting a face and trust into someone you are about to spend a lot of money on. Firstly, look at how the person is dressed, did they arrive on time for the appointment and are they giving input on the proceedings. This would tell you straight away how experienced they are with weddings. Meeting with them, gives you also the chance to ask all the question about the playlist, lights and where you would like them to set up in etc. If the person did not make an impression on you move to the next option, it’s always better to get more than one quote.
The playlist is where the fun starts! A DJ’s should be equipped with a massive selection of songs ranging from old to new and for those unexpected requests on the night. The playlist should be pre planned to set the mood for the wedding. I usually send a recommended playlist to the bridal couple after we discussed what music they would like at their wedding, which they may edit as they please. As weddings are planned way in advanced, it’s a good idea to add or remove as time goes on to make sure all you favorites are listed on the night. This will also include what type of music you prefer for the pre-drinks and background music. A good gesture to you guests is to add a section on the RSVP for them to choose one song they would like to hear on the night.
Special songs are very important to discuss with the DJ. These songs include the wedding march, Mr & Mrs walk-in song, opening dance and all of the in between. It’s a good idea to supply a good timeline listing when each song should be played to make the event flow seamless. Having all the songs planned in advanced makes the wedding flow like a theater production and will impress all your guests. Most of our couples supply us with a flash-drive or email the special songs to us to make sure it’s the correct songs and we can list it in your folder on the laptop.
Communication – make sure your DJ get a copy of the itinerary sheet with all the details of the venue, event planners and how the proceedings work on the night. If you have made any changes to the itinerary, send an updated version, to make sure no one is running around on the day to compensate for the changes.
Videographer in some cases would like to use the audio from the speeches and overdub songs on the final. Best is to make sure you find out all the details from the videographer and inform the DJ, it makes it easier if they would like to connect a mic to one of the mixing desk’s channels etc. Give the Videographer the DJ’s number/email, so they can be in correspondence with each other about the tech stuff.
Live acts – If you are planning on having someone sing to a backtrack or an acoustic guitarist playing music in the background, it would be a good idea to inform the DJ, so that we can bring extra microphones and cables and plan our setup in accordance with them. As DJ’s we learn to be on our feet at wedding, but nothing is worse than a surprise live act and you don’t have the right equipment for the job.
Equipment – Luckily, we live in an age where wireless technology is easy to get hold of and every DJ should have a wireless microphone, mic stand, extra batteries and backup mic handy. Using the microphone correctly could ensure that you sound good & clear. Rule of thumb…keep the mic about a thumbs length away from your mouth and you’ll sound great!! When you are holding the mic to far away from you mouth the DJ will have turn the mic volume up which could cause feedback – the high pitch screeching sound coming from the speakers.
Lighting is great way to make a dancefloor to feel more inviting but overdoing it can also be disruptive to the guests and nobody likes to dance with the light on. Dimming the venues lights when the party starts is always a good idea to get the people on the dancefloor. When thinking of lighting, think décor as well, hire some extra LED lights to put in the corners of the room set a tone for the room. Using blue ambient lighting and white draping makes the room look like a winter wonderland, if that’s what you are going for…I’m sure you get the idea.
Smoke machine always sounds like a great idea and sometimes they are, depending on the venue. There is nothing worst than a room filled with smoke while you eat, this obviously can be avoided by not turning them on till much later during the night. Also keep in mind that smoke is never good for photos and videos.
Dance floors - I see that many wedding venues these days require that you hire an dance floor for the reason that after the wedding their floors need to be repainted from the high-heels and equipment. We always focus on not damaging any floor etc. at the venue, because we know that it might affect the deposit for the bridal couple.
Master of ceremonies – First step from the MC should be to discuss proceedings with the DJ and make sure to do a sound check. This is important as it determines the flow of the wedding as they work hand in hand together.
Food – We like food and have been at the venue hours before, so please make sure to cater for the DJ and his/her helper.
Requests – Usually when I’m having a consultation with the bridal couple, this is something that we do discuss. Decide if you would like to have requests or not. Best idea is to make the maid of honour and best man in charge of requests. You get many requests that just kills the dancefloor, asking them to say yay or nay makes it easier to distinguish between good and bad songs.
Grandpa’s & grannies – although I have seen many of them tearing up the dancefloor later than the younger generation, you should keep their seating arrangement in mind. Placing them close to the PA System might be a bad idea, as they will ask for it to be turned down. Best idea is to seat them as far away from the speakers as possible, but still close enough to hear the speeches.
After your big day is done and you return from your fairytale honey moon, make a point of sending a mail to the DJ highlighting the positive and even negatives of the service. Every entertainer strives to achieve a form of excellence and your feedback really matters.
I really hope all the information information helps to guide you in your journey as to find the perfect DJ for your big day. Feel free to contact us if there is anything you need help with, or to get a quote for your wedding.
Stephen Du Plessis
071 491 7267 or