Booking a DJ can be one of the most challenging aspects of wedding planning. After all, the DJ basically runs the show at your reception. A good DJ can make the reception enjoyable and memorable. A bad one can also make for a memorable occasion, but not in a good way! One of the best ways to ensure you hire a great DJ is to ask a lot of questions before you actually sign a contract. Here are five such questions you should ask any DJ you're thinking of hiring.
1. What kinds of events do you usually DJ?
There are DJs who specialize in weddings, and there are others who will take on any sort of event. It's not that there's anything wrong with a versatile DJ, but if the one you're hiring is used to performing in clubs or overseeing kids' birthday parties and this is the first wedding they've done in over a year, you may not get what you're paying for. You really want the DJ you hire to do weddings regularly, even if it's not their only focus. They'll be aware of what to play and what not to play, the general order of events, and how to handle family members and rowdy friends.
2. Do you allow customization of the soundtrack?
Some DJs have a standard wedding soundtrack and don't let their clients make too make changes to it. Others go into full detail, letting you make comprehensive lists of songs you want and songs you don't want, including what time you want various music played. Find out where the DJ you're thinking of hiring lies on this spectrum, and make sure you're okay with their level of customization. There's no harm in hiring someone with a more "set" soundtrack, as this often comes cheaper — but it may not be the best choice if you have very specific music preferences.
3. Do you accept requests?
How will the DJ act when your Aunt Sally wanders up to the booth and requests "Highway to Hell" when they're trying to do a set of slow, romantic songs? First, find out how the DJ handles requests — some flat-out refuse to take requests during a wedding unless they come from the bridal party. If they do take requests, ask how they tactfully turn down songs that are not fitting or that the bride and groom do not want played. Some DJs will just reply, "Sorry, I don't have that one" or "That's not on my list."
4. Do you have backup equipment?
There would be few things worse than having all of your guests up and ready to dance when the main speaker dies. A reliable DJ always carries backup equipment. If the DJ you are interviewing does not have extras of at least the basics, they may not be the person you want to hire for your biggest day.
5. Are you familiar with the venue?
The way a DJ has to set up in a venue depends on the venue's layout and acoustics. If the DJ has played in your reception venue before, you can count on them knowing a good setup. If they have not played in your venue before, that does not mean you should not hire them -- just that you really should make plans with the venue for the DJ to visit before your wedding, get a sense of the layout, and figure out where to set up.
If you ask these questions when interviewing various DJs, you will have an easier time finding one who makes your wedding the day you've always dreamed of.