Let’s play a quick game of 20 questions. Are you animal, vegetable, or mineral? Okay, just kidding. These are 20 questions that you should get answered before you book a DJ at your wedding. They cover aspects of the reception from how long they plan to work to whether or not they take requests. Use it as a guide and you’ll be sure to get the musical experience you and your guests are looking for.
- Are you available for my day? This one’s pretty essential. Can they play the day of your wedding? We can’t imagine you would change your date for a DJ, no matter how good they are.
- Have you played that venue before? Someone who hasn’t seen your wedding venue isn’t a deal breaker, per se, but someone who is familiar with the space will know exactly what equipment they need to bring.
- Will you be the person who performs at the reception? Some DJs are in business for themselves, but others are part of a company. If you’re hiring someone based on how much you like them, you want to make sure they’re the one who shows up.
- Do you have any references? It’s perfectly okay to ask if your DJ has some testimonials from satisfied customers.
- Can you play X song we love? Some DJs have their own do-not-play list, which means they might not play that one romantic song you fell in love to if they think it’s overplayed; which is kind of a deal breaker.
- Do we need to provide any equipment? Ideally, the DJ should supply his/her own equipment, with you picking up the slack only if you have a special requirement for the setup.
- Who will do the setup? You shouldn’t have to provide equipment, and you shouldn’t have to load it in and out either. You can offer to help with setup for a discount, but it should be part of hte service.
- Will your show be appropriate for all ages? Your reception will include everyone from kids to grandmas. Make sure the volume level and content are appropriate for everyone.
- Are you okay with a do-not-play list? We attended a wedding reception where the DJ insisted on “feeling the crowd,” ignored the do-not-play list, and played some raunchy hip-hop that incensed the bride’s grandmother. This is a cautionary tale.
- How do you handle requests? Ideally, a DJ will agree to take a few requests, but can turn some down based on his feeling of what will keep the dance floor full.
- What will you wear? It shouldn’t matter much if your DJ is in shorts and sandals or a tuxedo, but it’s nice to know in advance.
- What are your set-up needs? Find out how much time the DJ needs in advance of the show to setup and break down their equipment.
- How many hours will you work? If your reception is still rocking at 10 p.m., will the DJ stay, or will they bail and leave you to use your iPod and Bluetooth speaker to keep the party rocking?
- What is included in your cost? Does the fee include equipment, set-up, and tear-down? What about music licensing? How many hours of DJ services? Make sure you know what you’re buying and that there are no hidden costs.
- What’s your back-up plan if you have an equipment malfunction? They should have a contingency plan for a blown mic or bad speaker.
- What’s your cancellation policy? Ideally, you should be able to cancel with sufficient notice and not be on the hook for any extra money.
- Can you provide wireless mics for the ceremony? If you need a sound system for the wedding itself, it’s okay to ask if the DJ can help out on that end–for an extra cost, of course.
- What kind of space do you need? Find out how much room the DJ needs for equipment, lighting, etc.
- How do you prefer to be paid? We strongly believe that in the year of our Lord 2015, anyone and everyone should take a credit or debit card for payment. It’s not a deal breaker if they insist on cash or check, but it would make me consider choosing someone else.
- Do you require a meal? Your caterer will likely set aside meals for vendors. Find out if your DJ needs one so you can get an accurate headcount.
If you ask these 20 questions of your DJ and make sure they’re answered to your satisfaction before the ceremony, you’re sure to have a rocking reception with minimal hassle.
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