This is on top of the list, and for a good reason. You want a DJ that you can jive with and know is going to throw you a good party because that’s exactly what they’re doing – throwing you a party! It’s incredibly important that your DJ is fun to talk to and gets along with your personality. They are going to dictate the flow of the night and can make or break a party based off their personality. Look for someone that is outgoing and knows how to get a crowd dancing.
You would be surprised how many DJ’s now a-days don’t know how to live mix and beat-match songs. Why is this important? A good DJ will know how to blend songs for a perfect transition to eliminate silent gaps between tracks and keep the party going. A DJ & MC for your wedding is to first make sure they’re an actual DJ. Listen to some mixes to check out their live blending techniques and look for versatility and how they move from genre to genre. Another question is to ask how long have they been DJing weddings and what other qualifications they have besides a passion for music.
Even though you may not know the ins and outs of what appropriate DJ equipment looks like, make sure the person you choose to host your event is prepared! If you’re hosting your reception in a huge ballroom, make sure they have speakers loud enough to project sound throughout the entire room. Not only is it important for them to have the appropriate equipment for the job, make sure they have backup speakers, cords, microphones, mixers and other essentials. Speaking from experience, DJ equipment breaks ALL the time so it’s important they’re prepared. In addition, try looking for a DJ that has a variety of uplighting selections– good lighting can completely change the mood of a wedding reception.
Choose a DJ that has a good selection of music and fits your own personal taste in music. If electronic music is your preference, why would you hire a DJ that specializes in Country weddings?
There are two sides to being a successful wedding DJ. There’s the DJ and then there’s the MC (master of ceremonies) portion. You want a personality that will not only play good music and play it well, but someone who knows how to speak on a microphone and interacts with your guests in a fun way! Does he/she have ideas on some good wedding reception games and activities. Sometimes the party may get a bit slow, so having a good MC to get the crowd excited will ensure the success of your party. Meeting in-person with the DJ will give a good idea of their personality which can be key to having a great reception.
At this point in the process, you’ve probably already selected a venue, a photographer, and possibly other vendors. We work with other vendors for a living! We’ve seen it all and worked with almost everyone, we always have suggestions on other vendors that will complement your wedding well. In addition to asking for referrals, you can also check their reviews on Google, Facebook, the Knot, WeddingWire, etc. Nothing goes further than reading good reviews.
This goes for all vendors, but I can’t stress this enough, make sure to ask your DJ what they typically wear to a wedding and tell them what the dress code is for your particular day. Your DJ is running the show, so all eyes are going to be on him/her. I recently attended a formal wedding where the DJ was wearing basketball shorts, a tshirt, and a baseball cap – not kidding.
Here’s a helpful list of questions you can bring to your consultation:
Are you familiar with our venue? If not, will you check it out beforehand?
What is your musical style and influence?
What’s your specialty (corporate and wedding DJ services, parties, etc)?
What do you wear?
Do you have any references for us?
Can we see you in action?
How do you find that sound level sweet spot - not too loud, not too soft?
What kind of equipment do you use? Do we need to rent anything extra?
What’s your music library or song list like? What genres can you cover?
Can you play songs important to us (religious, meaningful, cultural, etc)?
Can you help us pick music for processional, recessional, father-daughter dance, etc.?
Can you do custom songs, mash-ups, etc?
Do you offer lighting or other special effects services?
When do you arrive? Do you set everything up - how much time does that take?
Do you take song requests? How do you handle them?
How do you pump up a shy crowd?
Do you take breaks? When/how often?
Do you accept a “Do Not Play” list?
How many hours of service are included in the base price? How much are additional hours?
Are emcee/master of ceremonies services included? If not, do you offer that service?
What’s your contingency plan (sickness, equipment failure, etc)?
Are you insured?
Do you have a cancellation policy?
What’s your deposit? When do you require final payment?
Are there any additional fees I could incur?