Updated: Jul 9, 2021
Ask questions that rephrase these: Is this DJ any good? Will they embarrass me? Will my guests dance? Are they quoting me a fair price?
By DJ Ben Boylan
So you're planning your wedding and decided to hire a DJ. But how will you know if they are any good and if they are giving you a fair price? There are many articles like this online (questions to ask wedding DJs), but this one is different. I'm a DJ, and speak to a lot of couples. Most of them have no idea what to ask. In this article, I tell you exactly what to ask to make sure you get a good DJ.
1. How many weddings did you DJ last year?
Experience is really important. Most people worry about their DJ playing the wrong song, but you're more likely to remember if the DJ's mic stops working. They should have done more than 10 weddings in the previous year. Many DJs do more than 40 per year.
2. At how many of them did you provide sound at the ceremony?
Dealing with wireless mics outside, or in general, can be tricky. You don't want the sound to drop out while you are doing your vows! If you are set on using wireless mics then make sure you pick someone who has a lot of experience using them.
3. What songs would you play from our favorite genres to get our guests to dance?
This is a much better question than "what kind of music do you like?" It's especially important if you are the type of person who doesn't want to hear the typical wedding playlist at your reception. Feel free to be specific. A DJ's main expertise should be choosing interesting music, so go crazy.
4. Can we choose as many of the songs as we want?
Some couples are happy to let their DJ choose all the music, and why not? As I just mentioned, that is a DJ's true talent. But a lot of couples like to pick songs to be played during their dance set. Some like to pick a few and some like to pick a lot. Ask your DJ if this is ok. Many DJs limit you to 10 or 20 choices.
5. What is your announcing style? Could you do a sample announcement for us now?
This is a great question to ask your wedding DJ. Traditionally, a lot of wedding DJs would do the introduction, and other announcements, in a theatrical sportscaster's voice. Some DJs do the complete opposite and use their natural voice. And everyone else does announcements somewhere in between. Have the DJ do a sample announcement for you.
6. Do you "hype up the crowd" on the mic during dancing?
Some wedding DJs say things during the dance set like "hands up," or "ladies make some noise." Other DJs have a two-person team, where one of them is playing the music, and the other one is on the dance floor with guests talking on the mic and even leading line dances. It's up to you to decide whether this is what you want.
7. Are the ceremony and cocktail hour included in your price?
Many DJs offer the parts of the wedding a la carte: the ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception. The main issue with this is, almost every couple needs a microphone at their ceremony. So you could book a DJ for the reception only, and then two months before your wedding someone at your venue asks you who is providing the mic at your ceremony. So please ask your DJ which parts of the wedding, and how many hours, are included.
8. Do you advertise your prices on your website?
Some DJs keep their prices hidden because they feel like they will scare off potential clients, and once they speak to them they will be able to explain their worth. Others hide them so they can guess your budget and give each client a different price.
9. If you cancel, can we have our deposit back?
This is mainly one to watch out for when dealing with DJ companies who have multiple DJs. If you choose a DJ and he or she has to cancel, will the company return your deposit if you wish? Or will they say sorry, and then give you a list of other DJs you must choose from?
10. What about your job are you passionate about?
I already told you I am a DJ. Let me tell you something else. I love my job! I LOVE it! I love organizing music and I love collecting it. I love making playlists. And I LOVE making people dance by playing a cool song. I've talked to other DJs who love it just as much, but they are passionate about other things. Try asking this question.