The Wedding planning process is a long and complex, with many factors that need to be taken into account – booking your Wedding DJ is no different, with many questions you need to ask yourself and your potential Wedding DJ.
Here’s a couple to consider:
1. Is this your full-time business? Are weddings your primary focus?
You want to find out early what kind of performer you’ll be getting on the night – an easy way to gauge this is to establish how serious Wedding DJing is to them. Whilst it might be the case that Cousin Johnny has some DJ decks and likes to DJ occasionally, there’s a big difference between a hobbyist DJ and professional Wedding DJ; a lot more comes into play than just the mixing skills of the DJ!
A professional Wedding DJ will have indepth knowledge of the Wedding process – both pre and post ceremony – and will generally have a more rounded view of the expectations of Weddings. You’re going to want your Wedding DJ to have the confidence in a Wedding setting to light up the dancefloor.
2. How do you tailor the music and build a playlist to appeal to all?
You want a Wedding DJ who will make your music tastes the grand centrepiece of the evening’s entertainment, while the DJ does the set dressing with their own bank of songs. It’s your special day, and the music should reflect this. If you want to have a 1920s Swing-style Great Gatsby throwback session, your DJ should make it so. If you want a huge moshpit, your DJ should be willing and able to make that happen.
A good Wedding DJ should ask for your must-play and no-play lists well in advance, regardless of length, to ensure the music is tailored to your vision of your perfect evening’s entertainment. No matter how experienced the DJ is, or how big their library is, they don’t know your own music taste better than you. You want a Wedding DJ who can strike a balance between playing everything you want to hear and filling in the gaps with their own music knowledge.
3. How do you fill the dancefloor?
Filling the dancefloor at a Wedding is a daunting task – it’s much harder to fill the dancefloor at a Wedding than it is at a Club! A very diverse range of tastes, decades and vibes must be taken into account, and it’s a challenge to find the sweetspot to get everybody moving.
There’s a number of ways for Wedding DJs to fill the floor; announcing for the guests to storm the Bride and Groom after the First Dance comes to a close; providing a ‘couples-only’ dance to accompany the Bride and Groom, or to chuck out a golden-oldie from the bridesmaids’ uni days.
When booking your Wedding DJ, it may be worth asking how they plan on interacting with the guests – through music, conversation and announcements – in order to keep the energy high all night. Getting people on the dancefloor is only half the battle, getting them to stay is the real challenge!
4. How do song requests work?
Between your own music tastes and your wedding DJ’s library, you should have most of your bases covered to get everybody dancing. However, there’s no way to please absolutely everyone and song requests are sure to arise.
There may be occasions when a request arises that goes against the vibe you and the DJ have discussed – a skilled Wedding DJ will have the flexibility and knowledge of when and how to drop such requests in order to leave everyone satisfied.
In your planning meeting with your Wedding DJ, it may even be worth discussing how you want to handle requests – you may want the Wedding DJ to stick to the agreed upon playlist, you might decide you would like to screen requests through a bridesmaid or groomsman who would make the final call on which requests get played, to avoid interruptions to the newlyweds dancing.
5. What’s your equipment setup?
DJ equipment is their guitars, drums and amps all rolled into one, allowing them to load, play, alter and adjust music on the fly with precise controls. DJ’s could talk all day about their equipment and setup, but what matters at the end of the day for your wedding is that they know how to use it with confidence and that technical hiccups won’t occur.
A Wedding DJ should know exactly how to set up and pack down their equipment, and the technical expertise in order to deliver consistent and high quality sound – it’s no good having a shiny expensive setup for the speakers to be turned up too loud causing distortion and fuzziness. You want a crisp, clear sound so that those on the dancefloor feel the bass in their chest, whilst those chatting at their tables can hold a conversation without having to strain.
Don’t forget to ask how soon before the reception they plan to arrive and how long it will take for them to set up!
6. Do you have any examples of your mixing?
When booking your Wedding DJ, you want a DJ who can keep the music going seamlessly all night – not a glorified ipod shuffle with awkward silences!
The best mix is the one you don’t even notice is happening – you want the mixing to add to the atmosphere, not distract from it. It has the added benefit of working through songs and covering more musical bases in a shorter period of time, rather than letting all 14 minutes of ‘Rappers Delight’ by the Sugar Hill Gang play out and the guests getting bored!
7. Who will be DJing the Wedding, do you send someone on your behalf? What happens in case of an emergency?
Your Wedding is likely to be one of the most personal experiences of your life – when booking your Wedding DJ you want to make sure you get someone who will make your evening of entertainment as personal and customised as possible.
At Wind Tribes, what you see is what you get – we work as a Wedding DJ duo – you will be dealing with us and us alone from the moment you get in contact, to the moment we pack our equipment down at the end of the night and part ways. There are no middle men – any questions or requirements go directly through us, so there’s no chance of there being information lost in translation.
As we work as a duo, in the extremely unlikely case of emergencies if one of us is unavailable, the other will be there to hold down the fort.
8. How well do you know the venue? Would you be able to visit beforehand?
Each Wedding venue is different, and will have different protocols for setup, acoustics and space arrangements. You will want to make sure your Wedding DJ is aware of the setup, so that they can place themselves in the optimum position – out of the way with an open dance floor space, where the sound system can project efficiently.
It’s always worth asking if your DJ is able to stop by the venue in advance. This is worth doing not just from a technical standpoint, but to meet and coordinate with the staff to ensure the best setup, learn the rules of the venue and just get a feel for the place – you don’t want them turning up on the day with no idea of where they’re going or what they’re doing!
9. Do you offer a written contract?
Whilst contracts aren’t very jazzy or exciting, they do provide reassurance and confidence to know that you’re in safe hands. A written contract means both parties know what they’re getting and know the terms – and should ensure there’s no murky uncertainty in the expectations.
10. Can we meet to discuss my wedding?
When booking a Wedding DJ you should try to meet with them at the earliest opportunity – communication over the internet works for getting information across, but you don’t really get a feel for a person until you meet them face to face and have an actual conversation with them. Plus you don’t want to be meeting your Wedding DJ for the first time on the actual day of your wedding!
You will no doubt have a long list of questions for the meeting and a good Wedding DJ should have their own list of questions. You may end up talking for hours and going over every little aspect – the more the better!
Hopefully this list should give you some ideas of things to consider when booking a Wedding DJ – there’s a lot of considerations and details that your DJ should be more than happy to take into account, giving you the confidence that you’re in good hands for your evening.
Oli & Tim