The bride's checklist for a wedding dj
So we all know that good wedding dj’s are scares and let’s face it, most bridal couples contact a wedding dj cause they heard about him / her from a friend or a friends friend via the grapevine and if you are lucky, you were at a wedding where this particular dj played and impressed you. In my experience, most of the time, bridal couples doing the dj sourcing, book and pay without really knowing if he / she is capable of fulfilling this incredibly important position at your big day!
I created this blog to help brides (bridal couples) to have a basic guideline to work from when sourcing / choosing a wedding dj. As I am going through the process of organising my own wedding, I realised that as a very experienced dj, there are many other aspects of a wedding that I am not so pro at. I hope that the tips below will assist you in selecting the best wedding dj for your BIG day!
When you consult with Google, which you more than likely will, contact some of the local wedding venues in our area and ask them who they use or who they would recommend. You might find a dj that knows exactly how to use meta data on his / her site in order to rank high on Google, but are not as good as Google says when it comes to being a wedding dj. I know some brilliant wedding dj’s that don’t have a website #justsaying 😉
First Impressions last – when you have the contact details and you make the first call, note how he / she answers the phone and how they conduct the call. Professionalism is vital even for wedding dj’s. You should be as professional as you would be in any other industry. They way he / she handles the call will quickly give you an indication whether you should move swiftly along to contacting more dj’s.
Ask qualifying questions on the first phone call like:
How long have you been a wedding dj for?
More or less how many weddings have you dj’d at?
Can you give me references
Do you have a website and other links or material that you can send us to look at?
Make an appointment to meet face to face. This isn’t always possible – I know as I handle many wedding enquiries and bookings vie e-mail, FaceTime etc as the bridal couple is either out of town or overseas. Once you meet up, is the dj late or on time for the appointment? How is he / she dressed? How does he / she converse over your big day? Is he / she giving input and pointers on the flow of proceedings etc etc. This will tell you straight away how experienced they are with weddings. Any dj that has been in the wedding arena for some time will be able to give you ideas or some sort of input based on your itinerary.
Get more than one quote – unless you are completely sold on the person and your gut tells you its good to go! Compare the packages and options. Consider how the quote is presented, you should get a list of items that will be used on the day – avoid a smack bang quote that has dj services and a price tag with banking details. Sadly some dj’s out there are too lazy to make the effort to present their quotes in a professional manner, and you should ask yourself, how will they approach playing at your wedding if the quote (or anything else for that matter) is sloppy.
Music library – Your dj has to be more than prepared to play at your wedding. a professional wedding dj should come to your wedding equipped with a BIG selection of music to cater for those unexpected requests from the new mother-in-law and so on. Ask your dj if they have a wide variety of music. Mail your dj a list of your personal top 20 songs / artists so he can get an idea of what you prefer listening to. Another great idea is to get your guests to send you one one they would like to hear at your wedding and send that list to your dj.
Dry run of your wedding – get your dj involved for a dry run before the big day. Literally have your formality music ready on the dry run and walk everything through, step by step, from the ceremony to the reception.
Communication – make sure your dj’s contact details are on the itinerary sheet which goes out the guests and wedding venue managers on duty. Make sure your dj gets a copy of the itinerary too. If there are any changes to the program or songs list, make sure your dj gets it and confirms that he / she are aware of / have made the changes on his / her end.
Formality songs – this is all your special songs from the weddings march to arrival songs, opening dance and everything in between. Make sure the exact list of songs, artists and specific versions of songs are given to your dj – some couples give us a disc / flash drive with everything on it which is great – this way you are sure that nothing goes wrong with those specific songs on the day. Ask your dj to create a folder with your name on their laptop so all the songs are ready in one place. Here are some formality song items to consider while planning your music:
Brides maids song
Blessing song (quick 30 second snippet usually)
Exit song / confetti throw song
Reception Walk in song – welcome Mr & Mrs xxxx Cutting of the cake Opening dance Daddy / Daughter dance Mother / Son dance Bouquet Toss song Garter Toss song Exit song – couple leaving reception
Videographer – if you have a videographer at your wedding and they want to use the music that was played on the wedding, communicate this to your dj so he / she knows to record the set and hand it to the videographers at the end of the evening. There is nothing worse doing a wedding and the videographers want to connect mic receivers to your gear and you didn't plan for it because you weren't aware of it.
Additional Items – if you have someone playing guitar and singing at either ceremony or reception for example, make sure the dj is aware of exactly what they need prior to the day. I always get the contact details of the “artists” and chat to them direct about their cabling & microphone requirements so you can load the right equipment to get the job done. As dj’s we learn to be flexible and on our feet at weddings, but there is nothing worse than a surprise live act and you don’t have the right cabling or equipment to make it happen.
Food – Dj’s need to eat and drink. Make sure you catered for the dj & partner / helper for food and a couple of cold drinks at least. The rule in my agency is if you dj / mc at an event, no drinking until after, but if the bridal couple insist on you having drink with them, one drink is ok. A professional dj does his job sober and makes sure he / she stays on top of the game. Things can get messy when you have a drunk dj and something goes wrong with the equipment.
Microphone – Technology is on our side and you should at least be issued with a cordless mic at the wedding. It’s always a good idea for the dj to have a mic stand handy. Some people get very nervous and can't hold a mic and their speech notes simultaneously. Spare batteries are a must and it is the dj’s responsibility to have spare batteries and a back up mic, even if it is a corded mic. Technology can fail us at the worst of times some times. When using the mic yourself, hold it one thumb length from your mouth when you talk. Doing this you will sound clear & good. If you hold the mic too far from your mouth, the dj will be forced to push the mic volume up and you will probably get feedback (a sharp screetchy sound coming from the speakers).
MC – Your MC should touch base with the Dj as soon as he / she arrives at the venue so they can do a quick sound check and also discuss the proceedings of the day – they MC and dj is key to the flow of the events of the day and evening – this is incredibly important.
Lighting / Smoke Machines – or any other special effects you are considering to add to the reception to blow your guests away should be carefully considered. Smoke is never good for photos or videography so if you would like to have special effects, get your dj to hold back until the photographer / videographer is done for the night. Most lights are fine, double check with your photographer / videographer what will work and what won’t. You don’t want your photos / video spoilt – it’s all you will have left of your wedding day.
Requests – decide before hand if your dj can play requests from your guests. I have been in really bad situations before where i played requests that absolutely killed the dance floor. Yes it is also up to the description of your dj, but you know your guests and will know whether its a good or bad idea.
Older Folk – Weddings are usually attended by all ages from 2 to 80 plus. One thing most couples neglect, is the importance of the seating arrangement for your older guests (from a noise perspective). I know some families have the crazy energetic grandmothers and fathers that party with the youngsters till the sun comes up. If it's not the case with your family, try and seat them as far away from the speakers as possible. If you seat them too close to the speakers, they will ask for the volume to be turned down because it can be a bit overbearing. This means that the music could be too soft for the rest of the guests in the venue.
Feedback – You are on your honeymoon and don’t care less about anything other than your romantic trip away with your new hubby / wife & rightfully so! Try and make a point of sending a mail to the dj or agency highlighting anything positive / negative worth mentioning. This feedback always helps us to look at ways of improving our products and services. Quite honestly, I had no idea I was going to list so many items when I started this blog lol! I hope you found this informative and will help you find the best dj and better guide you on your approach for your wedding day.
From all of us at MixAcademy Entertainment, we wish you a pleasant planning process and we wish you and your fiance the best for the journey lying ahead!
Feel free to CONTACT US if there is anything we can assist you with or if you would like a comprehensive quote for any of our products & services. If you have any custom recording requirements for your wedding, see the THIS blog for more information. God bless!