Today I want to talk a little bit about your Dj. I know you may be thinking, “This is a photography website, what does a Dj have to do with anything?”. But believe it or not, a Dj is huge when it comes to wedding reception photography. If he is not doing his job, your guests aren’t having as much fun. And bored guests make for boring photos! You want a Dj that will engage with your guests, make them laugh and get them out on the dance floor. And not only that, but you want to be sure that they have the needed experience! I have seen some complete train wrecks when it comes to Dj’s. They either showed up late, forgot some gear or appeared to not know how to use the gear that they had! I even had one Dj have a power button that should have been covered on the back of his mixer, get bumped by a guest. This resulted in about 10 minutes of silence while his system booted back up! So for this article, I joined up with my favorite Dj ( Mike from magnightentertainment.com )to come up with a list of questions that you should ask Dj’s that you are considering to cover your big day!
Be sure to do some research on any potential Dj. The internet is a wonderful source for reviews and information about your prospective Dj. WeddingWire, Knot, Yelp, Facebook, are all great places to see what people are saying about your Dj.
The first thing you need to ask yourself is: Will I be hiring a Dj solely based on price? Or is training, personality, and professional equipment more important?
Questions to ask when interviewing a Dj:
Do they supply lighting? (See if they have any photos or videos of their lighting setup in action. Great lighting can really take things to another level!) There are several types of lighting: Dance Floor Lighting: (just for the dance floor, a way to liven up the party and bring some fun, colorful beams of light that dance to the music) Up-Lighting: (The lighting that sits on the floor, shoots up the wall ending at the ceiling. Up-lighting will transform your celebration space. If they will be providing uplighting, is it wireless? In 2018, it should be! Wires are not pretty, and quality uplights are not only bright, but wireless. Can you easily change the color of the Uplighting if you do not like it? They should be programmed in a way that they all change together, and quickly for that matter. Will they provide a Monogram Projection Lighting? (the really pretty projection with your name in lights, NOTE* these are "gobo" lights, and a gobo is about $100 typically. In total if they are not charging $200-$300 for the monogram projection, they most likely are not doing it correctly.
How would you describe your style? (Do you want a Dj with a classic booming radio voice or do you want someone with super high energy?)
Can we watch you preform anywhere? If not, do they have any sample videos? Guests are not allowed to crash weddings, plus every wedding is different. But having videos of them in action is a PLUS!
Have they worked at your venue before? (This is good to know because if they have, they will know the layout. They will know where the power is, if they need to bring their own power, and the acoustics of the space.) If they haven't been to the venue, do they have procedures to check in with venue prior to the wedding, so they are prepared?
Can they play songs that are important to you. (whether it is a song that has significance to your family, or possibly something to do with your religion, you want to be sure that they can play whatever you may need.) Do you have a way for me to submit my music requests? Is there a limit to custom requests?
Do we need to rent any additional equipment? (Some Djs offer things like uplighting or additional Dj lights. It is always good to know what your options are.)
Do they plan to use lighting or special effects? (great Dj lighting can transform a nice dance floor into something truly, truly magical. See if they have any video of their lighting in action.)
Who will be doing the setup ( You may need to give this information to your coordinator if anyone other than your Dj is setting up the equipment.)
How do you ensure a comfortable sound level for all of the guests? (You definitely want to fill the space with that sweet, sweet music, but, you also do not want your guest to have to be screaming at each other! You also do not want to be on your honeymoon with ringing in your ears.)
What do you typically wear? (Make sure that they look professional. It is also great to have an open dialog with your Dj about the type of event you are having. If you are having a super formal event, you do not want your Dj to show up in jeans and a t shirt.)
How many hours are included in the packages? (You may want them to be playing music during cocktail hour which equals extra hours)
Can they assist you in choosing your processional, recessional, father-daughter dance, etc.? ( Sometimes if you are stuck when it comes to making these choices, they can share some wisdom of what has worked well in the past.)
Are you the Dj that will be at our wedding? (It does not matter how well you and the Dj hit it off, if he isn’t going to actually Dj at your event) Do they train their Djs? What is their training process like? Will they be able to speak to their Dj?
How do you handle song requests? ( Do you want the Dj to be flexible, or do you want them to stick to a set playlist?)
Are they a master of ceremonies or do they supply one? (It is great to have a Dj to play songs, but what you really want is someone that can jump on the mic and get the crowd worked up to have a great time. You really want someone that is comfortable on the mic.) The MC will put the "heartbeat" into your celebration. They should be almost like a friend on the mic familiar with everything "weddings". They are the leader for all of your guests and vendors
How many weddings do you do in an average year? (This is just a good way to gauge their experience level. You can also see if they have any references that they can give you or check out their reviews.)
How do you get wedding guests on the dance floor? (Sometimes the crowd needs a little bit of encouragement to get out on the floor to start having fun. Whether they are shy, or just not super crazy about the idea of dancing, it is your Dj’s job to get them worked up into a fun frenzy! Make sure that he has the ability to do so!)
Do you have liability insurance? (a lot of venues require it for your Dj to even set foot on the property. It is just an important thing to have. This will protect everyone involved in the case of an accident)
Do you have another wedding/event on our date? ( If you are booking a high energy Dj, you probably do not want him spending all of his energy at a event before yours. He needs to show up at your event refreshed and ready to rock! You also need to see if he has anything booked after your event just incase you decide to take the party into extra innings. See if he is available to work overtime and how much additional hours will cost.)
Do you have a backup plan in case you are sick or have an emergency? (Djs are people too. As much as I'm sure they would love to be perfectly healthy 365 days a year, unfortunately, one of these days they are inevitably going to get sick. Do they have a backup plan? You do not want to be stranded last minute trying to scramble to find a new dj. Rarely do you get a quality dj with little to no notice.)
Do you have a backup plan in case of an equipment malfunction? (Unfortunately, when it comes to any electronic device, things happen! And if things happen on your wedding day, you want to be sure that your Dj will have what he needs to quickly fix the problem and get the party back on course.)
What is your cancelation policy? (If your wedding date needs to be moved for some reason or unfortunately cancelled, what is their policy on refunds?)
Hopefully, this will help you find the perfect Dj to make your reception truly epic!!