Disc jockeys contribute more than music: Most DJs have access to the same music, so pay special attention to their characters and the services they provide. Your DJ will play an important and highly public role; choose someone who complements your reception and that you trust to respect your preferences. You should be able to trust your DJ to select appropriate music independently during the reception itself.
Meeting with a disc jockey: The most reliable DJs are usually found through referrals. However, be sure to meet with DJs in person; tastes vary, and videotapes never show everything. Make sure the person you meet is the one you are hiring for your event. You should also ask to meet his or her substitute. Ask to see equipment, portfolios, or presentations of their shows so you know what to expect. Discuss appropriate dress and your particular theme. If they do more than one show per day, check to make sure they have the appropriate equipment setups for two or more shows. The DJ should be able to provide you with a list of selections so that you can choose favorites ahead of time. A DJ may even expand his collection to accommodate a few of your favorites. Be sure to provide music that people of all ages will enjoy.
Written contract: Obtain a written contract stating exactly what you have agreed upon: date, number of hours (including setup), types of equipment, who will be doing the show, the total cost, provisions for overtime services, insurance, attire, etc.
Master of Ceremonies: Consider asking your DJ to act as Master of Ceremonies at your reception. Be clear about how you want this role to be handled. A Master of Ceremonies adds direction to the flow of traditional reception events: cutting the cake, throwing the bouquet and garter, announcing the first dance. One DJ recommends that the "first dance" should immediately follow toasts to the bride and groom. This breaks the ice and gets the party going, especially when the rest of the wedding party takes to the dance floor during or after the first dance.
Volume of music: Discuss volume as well as music selections with the DJ. Keep the volume of music low for the first hour of your reception, allowing guests to mingle and ensuring that the level is comfortable for all guests. When dancing begins, the volume can be raised.
Setup requirements: Inquire about your site's dancing accommodations. Find out whether your DJ needs early access to the room, and about space and electrical requirements. Make sure your facility contact knows about these needs and that they can be met.
Cut-off hours: When you make all the final arrangements with your facility, be sure to ask if they have any specified cut-off times for music. Some facilities require that music be stopped as early as 10 p.m. for the comfort of neighboring homes, businesses, or other guests.
Special effects and requests: Most disc jockeys are glad to play special songs if they are requested. Also inquire about any special effects they can supply, such as lighting, strobes, mirror balls, and fog. Be sure to notify the DJ if certain songs or musical styles should not be played, even if guests request them.
10 Crucial Questions to ask your DJ:
- How many weddings have you played at and do you have references?
- What types of music styles do you play?
- Can you take requests?
- What type of equipment do you use and how much space do you need for set up?
- Do you take a break?
- Will you be the person at my wedding or another representative from your company?
- Have you played at my venue?
- Do you have insurance?
- Do you guarantee your work?
- What do you wear?