My expert wedding planning advice? When booking your wedding vendors, don't let your wedding music be an afterthought. Having photographed over one hundred weddings in the last decade, I've seen wedding DJs both make & break party vibes.
The times where I've seen the wedding tune-age really destroyed the party – ie. music not matching the vibe, bad transitions, poor sound quality & cheesy song choices – the problem was almost always was due to poor planning. Not vetting your wedding DJ is a major no-no if having a killer dance party is a big priority for you. This means you can't just hire whoever is local or available. This means you need to ask questions & listen.
Luckily, we have those questions…
1. What's your DJ style?
“This is a great question to figure out if this DJ is right for your own vibe! Do they get on the mic to entertain and introduce songs? Do they hop on the mic to encourage folks to dance? Do they focus on just changing the music to engage the audience? See what their style is and if it's what you're picturing for your crowd!” – AJ Williams, Founder & Creative Director, AJ Events
2. What do you need the planner to provide?
“Most DJs bring their own equipment, but the answer to this question can include things like a table, a standard linen for the table, a booth, close access to outlets, etc. Make sure you know ahead of time who's responsible for what!” – AJ Williams, Founder & Creative Director, AJ Events
3. What are your meal requirements?
“This is a super important question – make sure to ask your DJ how many meals they'll require (especially if they're bringing a partner!), what their dietary restrictions are, and if there are any important time constraints you should be aware of!” – AJ Williams, Founder & Creative Director, AJ Events
4. Can I have a sample of how you mix transitions from song to song?
“This is a VERY important question! Transitions are everything, and they can be kind of like a “signature” for each DJ – ask to hear a sample to make sure things feel perfect to you so that you can rest assured there will be no awkward moments on the dance floor!” – AJ Williams, Founder & Creative Director, AJ Events
5. What happens if you are unable to make it on the wedding day?
“What if there is some sort of emergency? You must make sure your DJ, and really all of your vendors, have team members or a network they can tap into if the unthinkable happens. No one wants to be stranded on their wedding day without music! Plan ahead and hopefully the Plan B is completely unnecessary.” – Nora Sheils, Founder of Bridal Bliss and Co-Founder of Rock Paper Coin
6. Do you take requests?
“So many guests get inspired while they're on the dance floor and just have to hear a specific song. You can always arm your DJ with a substantial do-not-play list, but keep your guests happy and allow them to request something that will be sure to keep the dance floor full.” – Nora Sheils, Founder Bridal Bliss Co-Founder Rock Paper Coin
7. Are you also an MC?
“Occasionally, I've worked with DJs who don't make announcements or ‘steer the ship' come wedding day, and it becomes up to the officiant (or a charismatic wedding party member) to make those calls throughout the night.” – Ashley Lachney, Alston Mayger Events
8. How will you get people dancing?
“We simply can not have an empty dance floor! But occasionally, it happens. It's important to ask your DJ what they'll do if guests seem to be steering clear of the dance floor. For example, what are their foolproof dance-inducing songs? Let's make sure you like their choices, for instance, I absolutely loathe when DJs play ‘Shout'.” – Claire Eliza, Editor-in-Chief of Bridal Musings
9. Will you improvise or is it a set playlist?
“A good DJ can read the room, that means changing directions if the wedding schedule goes behind, switches gears or needs a boost of energy.” – Claire Eliza, Editor-in-Chief of Bridal Musings
10. What are the logistics involved in working with you for providing sound throughout the day?
“It is important to discuss the venue logistics and how your guests will move around the venue with the DJ to make sure there will be adequate sound coverage at all of the right times and in the right spaces. Will or can the DJ provide ceremony music and amplification for your officiant and readers? Does the DJ's coverage include your entire wedding and the times you need? How early will the DJ arrive to load in, do a soundcheck and get all set up so it's smooth sailing and great music when guests arrive? When does the final planning meeting occur where final song choices, do not playlist, wedding timeline of events and MC announcement of pronunciations are discussed? How will you decide which music to play throughout the evening and is there a loose plan for which genres at which times?” – Valarie Falvey, Kirkbrides Wedding Planning
11. What happens if something goes wrong?
“It's good to know what happens if they are sick, or if their equipment fails, along with how they are on the microphone. You may want the laid-back type and just dance all night or you may want someone getting your guests up and being vocal during their sets. It's best to know how they operate before the big day!” – Erica Trombetti, Infinite Events
12. Do you have equipment that will work for my outdoor wedding?
“For outdoor weddings, do you have equipment that can be used outdoors in situations where power access is limited and elements like wind can affect sound? Definitely ask what gear they have! Do they offer up-lights or dance floor lighting? Can they provide a mic and speaker for your ceremony? Make sure they have more options than just playing for the reception!” – Stephanie & Jamie, Cape Cod Celebrations
Feeling a bit disorganized? We have a number of beautiful wedding planners, journals & organizers to help keep all your plans in check.
These tips were gathered by Be Inspired PR, a PR + Social Media Agency for wedding, wellness & lifestyle clients. With over 10+ years of experience, we’re here to take our clients to the next level! Find oodles of stylish wedding inspiration on their Instagram & Pinterest.