10 Questions to Ask Before Hiring Your DJ


words by | Eve Green

Having great music at your wedding reception is the best way to guarantee a fun party and good times for all your guests! Once you have settled on your top DJ (or band) contenders, consider asking them the following questions to help you decide which is a perfect fit for you and your fiancé, and the style and mood you want your wedding music to set.

1. What sets you apart from other DJs or DJ Companies?

We spoke with Jason Kelly, Owner of Book That DJ, and asked why this question is so important for couples to ask. Jason states, “We believe that brides and grooms should do their research when selecting a DJ for their big day. The DJ is a major factor in the overall experience they and their guests will have. When asking a DJ or DJ company what sets them apart from other companies, they'll be able to gain more knowledge about the person or company they are going to have to rely on for their wedding experience. If your potential DJ or DJ company can effectively show and prove what sets them apart without trying to ‘Sell’ you or ‘Swindle’ you with lower pricing or discounts, your experience is more likely to be a great one. Also, be aware and beware of any DJ or DJ company that answers this questions by focusing on disparaging other DJs or DJ Companies in order to seem to be the better option.”

2. Do you have a uniform or what do you typically wear while working at weddings?

Your DJ likely has a uniform or a selection of appropriate attire for weddings. Depending on the style of your wedding, you may have a preference of whether the DJ wears slacks or a tux. A tux would be an ideal option for a formal weddings, while slacks would suffice if your reception is casual affair.

3. Do you utilize any special lighting or effects?

Some couples are willing to pay a premium for lighting and special effects, while others may choose for a more subtle approach! It just depends on the couple’s style preferences. It’s important to review these items before signing your contract so you aren’t surprised when you are billed for those additional elements that can take your party to a whole new level.

4. How much time do you put in before the wedding?

While a couple is spending endless hours planning their wedding, the professionals should be busy preparing for your big day, too! Any good DJ will invest lot of time into your wedding long before the big day arrives! We spoke with Tom Momenee, Owner & DJ of DJTomTom, about why it’s important to ask this question. Tom states, “One reason I think couples should ask this question is because a lot of clients have no idea the work that goes into a wedding. So they see the price of a DJ and think it is too much for ‘just 5-6 hours of work’. The second reason couples should ask this question is so they are able to understand how much preparation their DJ will put into their wedding. They have to realize the DJ will make or break your reception and the time they put into prep work can make or break their performance.” Between the booking consult, final meeting, music preparation, equipment check, and rehearsal, he spends about 8 - 11 hours preparing for the big day.

5. How much time do you put into the actual wedding?

Tom also gave us the scoop on a typical day-of wedding time commitment. Between setup, the actual events, and tear down, he and his assistant spend between eight and a half to 10 and a half hours on the ceremony and reception. From the preparation to the day of, the total time dedicated to a typical wedding is 26-33 hours. Don’t think a DJ is only working for one day, but consider just how much preparation is required to make the wedding day successful.

6. How do you get guests on the dance floor?

We all know that sometimes guests need a little nudge to loosen up and get out on the dance floor. This is where your dj comes in! Whether your guests just need help getting the party started or if they aren’t feeling the music, your DJ should be able to read the crowd and adapt to it and to find the right tunes for your guests. Also ensure your DJ knows how to get everyone's energy up and keep it there through the entirety of the reception.

7. Will you work with a playlist?

The couple usually wants to provide their DJ with a playlist. Most DJs will provide the couple with a form to fill out that lists their top song preferences and, well . . . the songs they don’t want to hear - the do not playlist. Ask the DJ what is the policy for handling song requests. If a guest requests a song from the do not playlist you will be rest assured that your DJ can stick with your wishes.

8. Are you able to play songs that aren’t in your collection?

This is a very important issue for couples with a unique or distinct taste in music. If your favorite song as a couple isn’t available to the DJ, it might have a big impact on your plans. Simply ensure that your DJ’s company has access to songs not included in their collection. This usually isn’t a problem but it’s good to know before you sign on the dotted line.

9. What pricing and packages do you offer?

Find out what packages your DJ offers, or whether they have a set minimum (or maximum) number of hours they will work. The package you choose could drive the schedule of your reception, because when the music stops, the party is usually over. Remember that your DJ will need dinner and an occasional break, too!

10. Are you able to provide all the necessary equipment, including backup equipment?

You will need to know if your DJ plans to utilize any of the venue’s on-site equipment, as that could incur additional charges. And don’t forget about backup equipment! We have all been at an event when the party vibe crashes right along with malfunctioning equipment!  You likely won’t have to worry about technical mishaps if your DJ is prepared with the necessary backups.

The right DJ for your wedding day celebration will have a great impact on the success of your reception. A skilled DJ will masterfully emcee the event without overshadowing it, that you and your guests will remember for the rest of your lives!