Booking a Wedding DJ happens maybe once in your lifetime
So how do you know what to look for and what questions to ask?
Booking a Wedding DJ can be a real challenge. So let us help you. Many of the suggested questions below don’t have a definitive answer, but some do!
The most important question to ask when booking a Wedding DJ is “will you issue a contract?” (sometimes called a booking form) and if you’re unsure of the answer you need to hear, it’s a definite YES!
Let me explain why – A contract will confirm who the DJ is, the event date, venue location, set up times, performance times, any special arrangements or requirements from both parties. The cost, how and when payment takes place, cancellation options and suchlike details.
You might think this is a little over the top, after all you’re ‘only booking a Wedding DJ’…
In fact you are booking a Wedding Professional who you need to ensure will turn up on the day and not cancel at the last minute!
You would be amazed by the amount of last minute calls and facebook messages on Saturday afternoons, with Brides in tears as their Wedding DJ has cancelled or just hasn’t turned up.
They have never had a contract, often they had just one phone chat and ‘booked’ the cheapest DJ they could find. Do you really want to take that chance on your big day?
Here are some questions we recommend asking when booking a Wedding DJ. You won’t need to ask all of them, they give you an idea of the kind of things you should be asking for when booking a Wedding DJ
Although this a long list of suggested questions, asking just a few and having a chat with a prospective Wedding DJ will give you a feeling of how flexible he or she is, and whether you can work together to create a great Wedding reception with the music you want
Will I get a contract?
Of all questions you might ask, this is probably the most important!
The Wedding DJ you choose could be amazing, but if he’s not contracted to you then are you sure he will turn up? With no contract, his amazing talents might be enjoyed somewhere else that night
Insist on a contract, that states the DJs full name, event date, times, venue, any special requests like set up arrangements. You should also have written confirmation of the DJs requirement in terms of power or access. Make sure it states who your DJ is and that the person you speak to is the person who is DJing for you, not a casual friend of his third cousin’s father in law (unless this is what you’ve arranged).
This should all be in the contract, along with any deposit required, when full payment is due and what the cancellation and compensation details are.
If your Wedding DJ refuses to issue a contract, even though he may be happy to take a deposit, look for a different Wedding DJ!!
How much music do you have?
Your Wedding Dj should have something over 8000 songs, this should give enough scope to fill the dancefloor with a wide variety of music for the various age groups, but also satisfy requests on the night.
What music do you have?
If you have international guests, or you like styles which are perhaps not general commercial chart, you will need to ask about this. Your Wedding DJ should fill you with confidence that not only do they carry these styles, but are happy to use them to fill your dancefloor.
Many Wedding DJs will carry at least a small amount of just about every style you might need, right across the various era’s of music, including many nationalities such as French, Serbian, German, Latin, Scottish, Irish, African, Israeli and much more.
Perhaps just as important, is the fact that they will be happy to play it!
What music will you play?
If you have chosen the styles and any particular songs, these should be your Wedding DJs priority. Around this brief your DJ will gauge the audience, and using their experience to will choose songs that will get people on the floor.
This is the kind of response you’re looking to book a Wedding DJ
Can I choose the music?
If you want to choose every song for them to play, and even the order, they should advise against it, but be happy to accomodate your wishes.
When booking a professional Wedding DJ, they ought to know better than you what will fill the dancefloor, that’s what you’re paying for! However they should be equally keen to incorporate your favourite songs and styles. They should offer advice, but be open to your suggestions.
Many Discos offer a free online music database where you can choose as many songs as you like (bear in mind around 19 songs per hour is the most they can play!). You also get a further login for your guests, so they can choose 2 songs each, and of course your Wedding DJ should be happy to take requests on the night
Choose songs for to avoid playing
Either giving them a list, or using an online music request system you can select songs for your Wedding DJ not to play.
They should discuss general styles you like and don’t like so the evening goes the way you want it to
Do you have 'clean' versions of songs?
Your Wedding DJ should have a large amount of ‘radio edit’ and cleaned versions of songs
If you need them to make sure they plays these instead of the originals, just let them know and they should be happy to accommodate your wishes.
Can I bring an iPod?
Check with your Wedding DJ before the day, in case you want to play your own background music perhaps, or if you have some special music you need included which they don’t have.
Bear in mind that playing music to the public from an iPod or similar is breaking copyright law. Your DJ is within their rights not to play it.
As with everything, discuss this before the event
How big are your speakers?
Unless you are in the business, most brand names will be meaningless, you may have heard of JBL and JAMO, but do you know which is far better than the other? (it’s JBL by the way).
There are Music Power Watts and RMS Watts, only RMS gives the true indication of actual volume achieved. SPL is a more accurate way to define sound levels, but let’s not bore you with that!
Size often isn’t a good indicator of quality (how many times have you heard that!). If you are booking for an 18th birthday, then high volume may be something you are looking for, but if it’s a Wedding, then more discreet speakers would perhaps be more appropriate.
Your Wedding DJ should help guide you through which systems they have, and which they recommend. You may not understand half of what they say, but you should get a feeling that they know what they’re talking about.
Your DJ should point out that it will be loud enough to encourage dancing, but they will monitor the volume. That way those guests who would rather talk than dance, get to enjoy their evening as well
What if your system breaks down?
You need to know that in case of any equipment breakdown, the show can go on. Your DJ should reassure you that they carry backup equipment with them, both sound and lighting. In the unlikely event of a problem, it can be up and running again very quickly
What if you get ill?
You need assurance that if they get ill, you will still have a Wedding DJ. Most DJs will know other Discos who may be able to cover your gig at short notice. Have a chat with your DJ, they should reassure you how they would cope in this emergency
How long does it take to set up?
For a party where there is a break while dining tables are maybe moved, to allow a reset of the room for the evening, this might be important. Or perhaps where you’ve hired a hall from let’s say 7, but of course the party can’t start until the Disco is set up
For a normal amount of equipment with reasonable access to the room/ marquee, allow an hour. Should you book extra’s such as uplighting, this takes longer but your Disco would discuss this so you are fully aware.
How long to pack away?
For a normal amount of equipment it’s usually around 45 minutes. Bear this in mind when planning your timings, in case the venue insists both guests AND equipment are out of the venue by a certain time.
What will you wear?
For a Wedding, most professional Wedding DJs would normally wear black tie (dinner suit) or at least smart shirt, jacket and trousers. We think you and your guests have made an effort, therefore so should we.
However if you would prefer them in casual, fancy dress, very loud Hawaiian shirt, then just let them know! They should be flexible to your requests, as with all other arrangements
Will you get drunk?
“Absolutely not!” should be the answer. Hopefully followed up with “I don’t drink alcohol while working”. You wouldn’t expect a plumber to be sipping a Bud while sorting your central heating, or a doctor with a hip flask. The waiters & bar staff are unlikely to be drinking, so why should your Wedding DJ?
My venue has asked for PLI (Public Liability Insurance)
Many venues now ask for this in case of claims by guests following an accident. Your Wedding DJ should have cover, but do check the level in case it’s below that required for the venue.
Some Venues ask for £2million, some for £10 million just in case of any accidents with their equipment or set up. Your Wedding DJ should be happy to email either you or your venue with the policy. 99% of the Mobile Discos on our database have £10m PLI already in place as part of their Membership
The venue has asked for PAT
This is Portable Appliance Testing. All electrical equipment taken into a venue should be annually tested by a qualified Electrician. Each item having a sticker as well as having a test certificate.
Some venues will insist on seeing this, either before the event, or on the day. Your Wedding DJ should be happy to email either you or your venue with the Certificate
Can you set up earlier?
You may wish to have everything set up early, perhaps before your Wedding Breakfast, although it’s not always appropriate.
In a marquee this is the preferred option as guests will rarely go somewhere else after the Wedding Breakfast. Bringing a lot of equipment through your crowd of guests is not really what you want. If however you have chosen a beautiful venue with nice architecture, do you really want 21st century equipment in your photo’s… probably not.
It’s something you should discuss. Your Wedding DJ should be flexible to your arrangements. If this increases the time for your booking, they may increase their price to compensate