If you and your guests are the party-into-the-wee-hours type, then you likely will hire a DJ for a portion of the reception or after-party. A DJ is a great way to incorporate songs from all genres and keep loved ones on the dance floor all night long.
Whether you have already settled on hiring a DJ or are still thinking about your decision, there are a few things that must be considered. Just like other aspects of wedding planning, this is also something that should be contemplated before finalizing, leaving deposits, or signing contracts.
Here are a few questions to keep in mind:
How do I get started?
Do your research – both online and word of mouth. Ask your planner or other wedding professionals you’ve hired if they have recommendations. Once you have whittled down the list of potential DJs, take the time to meet them in person and make sure you feel comfortable. If you feel you mesh well and he or she can provide what you are looking for, ask them play some of their mixes or sample tracks, so you can get a better taste for their work.
Does he/she provide equipment and special lighting?
If you want extra effects during the dance party, you will want to ask if outside equipment and lighting will be provided. Keep in mind, these are likely additional services and will increase their fee amount. So, for example, if you want your New Year’s Eve wedding to have a sparkling disco ball and wild lighting at midnight – can he or she provide this service? Can they contract other musicians, such as a drum player to play to the beat of songs for added energy? Ask for examples and videos of past events where they provided these types of services.
Is he/she willing to deejay for the amount of time you expect?
Some DJs charge hourly, whereas others may charge just for bookings. In case he/she charges hourly, make sure he/she is able and willing to deejay for as long as you need. You do not want the music to be cut short and have nothing to dance to towards the end of the night. You will also want to factor in any live band entertainment or dinner music that you would like into that allotted time, so take a close look at what timeframe you will actually need him or her to play.
Does this DJ take requests during the event?
When guests are dancing the night away, some will want a certain song to be played or replayed. If this is something you are concerned about, make sure to ask if he or she takes requests, given that some DJs have premade mixes that cannot be interrupted. Some couples do not want the DJ to take any requests at all and stick to their playlist, so also make sure your DJ feels comfortable politely telling guests that he cannot comply with all requests.
Can I choose certain songs beforehand?
Maybe you have a burning passion to hear a specific track, or an entire album. Ask your DJ if you can give him or her a playlist that you must hear on your special day. Many DJs will ask ahead of time if you want a song or songs played, but be sure to ask in case it is not mentioned. Also, be very sure that your DJ understands the types of genres you want played, what part of the day/evening, and how he/she normally transitions from cocktail hour to dinner to dancing.
If you keep these questions in mind, you will be sure to find a DJ fit for your magical day. Turn to Spotify or Apple Music for inspiration on must-have tunes for your reception. You can also check out the DJ experts at Happen for inquiries or other wedding music-related questions.
Opening photo by Jay Lawrence Goldman Photography