Hiring a DJ
Things to consider when hiring a Disc Jockey!
When planning to meet with a potential DJ, you should bring a printed list of questions with room to take notes to interview the potential DJ. In fact, print this page and use it to interview the potential DJ.
How long has the DJ been in business?
Who will actually be the DJ at my wedding?
Does the DJ also handle the MC duties?
Believe it or not, there are some DJs that only play music and DO NOT make ANY announcements. I've had caterers, event coordinators and even photographers tell me that they had to make the announcements at previous weddings. Make sure your DJ is also an MC!
What is the DJ's style?
Some DJs like to talk all night long and can get outrageous with comments or props such as air guitars or silly hats. Other DJs may motivate people to dance with good music selection and only make announcements as needed. Some DJs don't talk or use a mic at all as was mentioned earlier.
How good is the DJ's music library?
Forget about how many songs a DJ has, ask about the genres or styles of music the DJ has. You can only play between 60 & 80 songs in four hours. A DJ may say they have 10000 or more songs, but if they aren't the styles you are looking for, it doesn't matter. A great DJ will have a good variety of music to appeal to the different generations at a wedding.
Does the DJ have backup equipment with them for every event?
Does the DJ have references?
Ask your prospective DJ for references. Find out what previous clients thought about the DJ. The DJ should be able to provide you with references that you can contact.
Is the DJ insured?
This is a question that most people do not ever think about. What happens if one of your guests trips over a cord and gets injured? You could be opening yourself up for a lawsuit. Many venues now require that all vendors have liability insurance. A professional DJ service will be insured!
Does the DJ help with planning your event?
A professional DJ will be able to assist you with the planning of your event. They should provide you with a detailed planning guide which will help you organize your event and coordinate with other vendors. This way you know your event will go smoothly.
What is your budget?
Disc Jockeys have different rates. Do not cut corners on your DJ service. Just because a DJ offers a lower price does not mean you will be happy with the DJ. In fact, a cheaper DJ is usually a signal of inexperience. Hire a DJ who has the experience you are comfortable with and fits your budget. An experienced professional DJ is worth every penny. Your guests will remember your entertainment.
Here are a few red flags that should tell you to look elsewhere!
Make sure you can interview the ACTUAL DJ who will be performing for your event? If a company says that all of their DJs are the same and they will assign a DJ for your event that's a big red flag! The client need to have a comfortable working relationship with their DJ and be able to interview the actual DJ.
Beware, if the contract says "Deposit" with regard to the booking, the DJ company CAN substitute ANY performer to fulfill the contract WITHOUT prior notification to the client. If the contract says "Retainer Fee", then the client has personally retained a specific performer and the DJ company must discuss any performer change with the client and provide an option for the client to cancel the contract and be refunded the "Retainer Fee".
Avoid a DJ company who says they will beat anyone's price. Quality wedding DJ services range in price from $800 to $1600 for a four hour Saturday wedding reception without additional services such as lighting or video. While that may seem like a large range, supply and demand factors such as the wedding date can effect the price. May, June, September & October are the most expensive months. January is typically the least expensive. But even at $1600, for a wedding reception with 150 guests, that's less than the per person cost of a movie ticket. That's a great entertainment value! DJs that sell themselves on lowest price are either desperate for business, have inadequate equipment or will send out an inexperienced DJ.
I hope this information is helpful. An excellent, experienced and respected DJ will be a member of local industry associations such as the Triangle DJ Association, International Special Events Society - Greater Triangle Chapter, Triangle Wedding Guild etc. As mentioned earlier, get a list of at least 10 references. The DJ's equipment should be professional grade commercial sound equipment and include wireless microphones. The DJ should be able to provide photos of their systems set up at different locations and have backup equipment on site for every event.