Choosing a wedding DJ is a tricky task. There are so many on the market, and prices can vary from as little as £50 (for a local guy who does it for fun), to £800 – £1,000+.
Whilst researching this subject I came across the quote “Hiring a DJ is a little like buying a car… do you want a Robin Reliant or a Porsche?” This made me laugh, and it’s very true. I think it’s important to keep in mind that it’s worth paying out for at least a nice reliable Ford or Volkswagen.
Here are a few considerations when choosing a wedding DJ…
A lot of couples choose to book a wedding DJ rather than a live band because of cost implications, and generally it is cheaper. However, if you’re booking a DJ it’s well worth keeping aside a large amount of money for this (especially if they’re the only entertainment and there’s no band).
If you consider how much you are spending on the rest of the day, you don’t want to cut back on this and have the reception ruined by entertainment that just isn’t good enough. This is a part of your wedding that could make or break the day, for you and your guests. When the evening reception comes everyone wants nothing more than to celebrate this wonderful day with you. So, it’s worth spending some time and money on making sure you have something fantastic for the party.
It’s About You
When it comes to the music choice it’s really important to make sure your wedding DJ will be playing music that you like. When you consider that the DJ has access to a huge range of styles, it would be a real shame if they played an hour of drum and bass when you and your guests want some good old Wham and Dire Straits! Or, for many people, it would be the other way round. Whichever one it is, find a DJ who will play the music you want to hear.
Your wedding DJ should be a mix between someone who is considerate of your tastes, but also has a lot of wisdom and experience. They need to know what works, how to structure the dynamics of an evening, and how to work in styles/genres that will suit all the guests. If you can imagine a dinner party of eight guests discussing their music tastes – imagine the diversity in artistes that would be brought to the table. Now imagine this, but with 100 or so of your wedding guests!
Everyone has different music tastes so it’s important DJs play something for everyone, but structuring that diversity is quite a tough task. It takes a lot of experience to take guests on a journey through these different styles in a seamless and smooth manner.
Lighting and Equipment
The general idea is the more you pay for a DJ the more gear they should have. This isn’t always true, but it’s a good idea to find out how much lighting they will bring and how large their PA system is. If you want to get even geekier, find out what make their PA system is and do a little online research to see if it’s a good brand. Sounds silly, but there’s nothing worse than a DJ blasting out music through a cheap and over-driven speaker system… painful stuff!
Personality – Are They Your Kind of Person?
I’ve said this many times in my articles, but for me it’s all about the people. In fact, I think most people prioritise the people-factor when buying any product. Even when buying into something as boring as a bank account, mortgage or car insurance, if I can find a company that employs lovely people, I’ll generally go for that company, and many other people are the same. If you can find a DJ you get on well with, chances are they’ll get on great with all your guests and give them a great night.
A certain amount of confidence is always necessary for a DJ. Someone who will get your guests worked up into a frenzy, encourage dance-offs and always be happy and smiling, is a great enhancer to the party vibe.
I also think a DJ who is passionate about music is always worth looking for. I have come across many DJs who seem a little disenchanted with their job. Perhaps they used to love music, but after doing it for 30 years they’ve ended up forgetting why they started in the first place. But when you find one who enjoys the tunes they play just as much as you and your guests will, it means they’ll do a better job. It usually means they’ll pull out awesome songs that you haven’t heard in years, which creates that ‘Oh my word, I love this song!’ atmosphere amongst all the music lovers.
Professionalism – The Boring but Essential Bits
Its very important to make sure your wedding DJ provides you with a contract for your booking. Imagine how awful it would be if they let you down at the last minute, after you’ve paid a big deposit or even paid the whole amount in advance. This should detail a rough idea of timings (so you know if there are extra charges past a certain time), their requirements for the day, and cancellation fees.
It’s something that works both ways. Once you’ve signed their contract you’ve committed to using them, so any DJ who doesn’t offer you a contract should set alarm bells ringing.
Questions to Ask a Wedding DJ
1. What Events Have You Played?
You want an all-round performer who is used to working a tough crowd. A primary focus on weddings is great, but it’s good to know your DJ has wider experience of private parties and corporate events.
2. How Do You Get the Crowd Going?
From your favourite song to a good luck dance, your DJ needs to fill the floor. Ask to see photos and videos from events so you can check whether their approach works.
3. Have You Played Our Venue Before?
Although not essential, it could be beneficial if your wedding DJ has played at your wedding venue before. If not, check that their set up can be customised and adapted easily.
4. How Are You Going to Make Our Wedding Unique?
A good wedding DJ will add value to your celebration by ensuring they provide a high-quality service and experience for your guests. With an extensive knowledge of music, old, new and commercial, they’ll structure the night, read the crowd, and know the tunes needed at a given moment.
5. Why Should I Choose You?
If your DJ identifies key attributes that mesh with your wedding vision, they’re the right person for the job! Whatever your taste in music, your age or the overall theme of your wedding, a DJ should be able to fit with that.
Good DJs aren’t necessarily showmen or rock stars. Wedding DJs are professionals who are there to do a job, and do it to the best of their ability, so talk to them and let them know what you want.
Remember, a wedding DJ isn’t there to stand out. They’re there to make sure the bride, groom and guests have a good time. Don’t hire someone who is too big for their boots or only wants to play certain music. If you want the Grease soundtrack then that’s what you should get.
However, a DJ also needs to know how to act and what to play at any given situation. They should be a safe pair of hands for sound tracking your party. Make sure that when you hire a wedding DJ, they have all of these skills.
Reasons to Choose a Professional Wedding DJ
Guest post by Sera Golding of MIB Music and Richard Shire of UK Mobile Discos (Questions to Ask a DJ)
Wedding DJ: Tom Leishman of Picture My Love
Overhead Shot of Guests Dancing: Anna Lee Media
Guests with Arms in the Air: Red White and Green Photography
Infographic: UK Mobile Discos