10 Questions You Should Ask A Wedding DJ Before You Hire One
1. How many weddings have you conducted and played for in your DJ career?
DJ experience may be the essential criterion in selecting a DJ. While there might be a good club DJ that you like in a downtown setting, if that DJ has not played for at least 50 weddings, you should consider looking for one who has. We have many DJs on our staff that has successfully conducted 150 weddings, with some having more than 300 under their belts! DJing at a wedding is very different from playing at a club. Many club DJs do not transition well to weddings because clubs have not prepared them for the social acumen and announcing skills that wedding DJing requires. You want a well-rounded, well-spoken DJ and at ease in various social settings–not one who merely plays music for similar crowds night after night. Weddings have diverse groups of people of different ages, backgrounds, and musical tastes. Experience teaches DJs how to bring together various groups on the dance floor. One-dimensional club DJs struggle with this important aspect of wedding DJing; therefore, you want a seasoned professional with extensive experience performing in front of weddings, corporate parties, and other social occasions. In short, club experience does little to prepare your wedding DJ for what your wedding needs. Thus, look for someone who has the experience of 50 or even more weddings.
2. Can I see and hear my DJ before hiring him or her?
The DJ is one of the most critical factors in determining the success of the wedding. It may be an essential factor and decision you make about your entire wedding. Seeing the DJ in action in a wedding setting is almost impossible due to the private nature of weddings. Any DJ that suggests you come to a wedding they are playing is unprofessional and not worth consideration. Weddings are not appropriate advertising showcases for uninvited guests to assess the DJ. So how does one see/hear the DJ? With over 40 years of DJ experience, I have concluded that the only way to guarantee the quality of the DJ is to see wedding videos of the DJ in action at an actual wedding. Most professional DJ services have videos that help you choose the right DJ for you. At Abe One DJ's, I don’t want to tell someone that either Mike or Ryan, two of our experienced DJs, is the best DJ for their event. I want my customers to have some say in the decision and to be able to say that, yes, that DJ on the video sounds perfect for our event! Furthermore, your DJ company should furnish the phone number of the DJ you select so that you can speak with them. Email is insufficient: you must talk with your DJ to ensure you both have the exact expectations for your wedding.
3. Can I see a sample contract before I commit to hiring you?
This is another critical consideration. Review the contract to make sure it makes sense to you and that there are no unreasonable clauses the company providing the contract wants you to sign. For example, one DJ used to tout his reviews and urge potential customers to view them. Then in his contract, he would write in a clause stating that if the client ever said anything wrong about his company on social media, the DJ company would sue the client for 5,000.00. Would anyone sign that contract? I sure wouldn’t, as having you sign away your first amendment rights isn’t something I would recommend. It is your right to say what you want about someone, and nobody should be able to take that right away from you. Speaking your mind on social media is the only way clients can keep their DJs accountable.
4. How many reviews do you have on Google or wedding wire?
That is another area that can tell so much about a DJ or company. If the DJ you are thinking about using has very few reviews, it is cause for concern. Having very few reviews means either the DJ company hasn’t done many weddings or has not done well enough to get good reviews from a sufficient number of clients. I would want a DJ to have at least 50 Google reviews and 50 reviews on Wedding Wire or The Knot to even consider them.
5. How do you deal with music lists?
A great DJ will gladly accept your playlists and do-not-play lists. The DJ must be flexible and willing to listen to the clients’ needs and wants. With our company, we accept lists for pre-ceremony, cocktails and dinner, and dancing. The client typically will give us a majority of the music if they so wish. Timing is everything. A good DJ will fit all of your music requests in at the correct times. You should be able to put trust in your DJ to keep the dance floor rocking with great music. The timing of when songs are played is the key to a successful dance floor. Experienced DJs know how to execute perfect timing! At Abe One DJ's, these decisions would be reviewed at your pre-wedding consultation with your DJ to ensure you all have the exact expectations.
6. How do you get the crowd going?
Your DJ should understand how to read a crowd, build energy, and keep that energy high. Your DJ should also have the skills to blend the music between fast and slow to keep the most guests involved, be able to determine who is dancing and who is not, and adjust the music accordingly. Such skill can only be achieved through wedding DJ experience.
7. What is your policy on guest requests?
Guest requests can be tricky if they aren’t aligned with the musical tastes of the bride and groom. How do you handle this? What We do at Abe One DJ's is to allow the Bride and Groom to request the majority of their wedding music if they so wish. We want you to have the best party of your life and dance, but not be concerned or worry about whether anyone will dance to your subsequent request? We like to allow for some flexibility so the DJ can bridge the bride and groom’s music with a few of his own (transition songs) and allow some requests to be made by guests, provided they fit the vision that the bride and groom have for their wedding. This takes all the pressure off the bride and groom to build the perfect playlist for all guests and puts it on the DJ. Guests are usually happier, too, if they can request a few songs at the reception. If the bride and groom script the music 100%, the DJ has to tell people making requests that the bride and groom have a scripted playlist, and we are not accepting submissions. We have played at 100% scripted weddings and will do 100% scripted weddings, but we have found that weddings that let the DJ have some flexibility are generally more successful.
8. What type of sound equipment do you use, and do you have backup equipment?
Equipment is vital. The standard speakers that 90% of DJs use Can vary because of preference. Professional-grade equipment is critical for excellent sound quality at the wedding. A DJ buying budget brand gear usually equates to budget brand DJing; moreover, high-end equipment is essential for doing once-in-a-lifetime events. Good DJs should have quality gear, but professional DJs should also carry backup mixers, media players, laptops, mics, and speakers. If quality brand name gear is not standard with your DJ, you may want to move to the next vendor.
9. Do you guarantee a specific DJ, and what is your backup plan if the DJ is sick or unable to perform for any other reason, such as a death in the family?
At Abe One DJ's, we deal with this potentiality as follows. We have people who request one DJ and also a backup DJ. If anything were to prevent your DJ from performing, your second choice would come in and cover the event. We also have a network of DJs that work for us, and we always have a backup DJ that is on call for each weekend. Ensure that your DJ has a backup plan to cover your once-in-a-lifetime event should something unexpected occur.
10. Why should I hire your company over someone else’s?
What separates Abe One DJ's from other DJ companies is the number of DJs we have to choose from and the experience. Our staff has been with us for 5-20 years on average, with some having been with us for more than 25 years. When it comes to music selection, skill, and knowledge, nothing is more important than experience. I feel we have the most robust staff in the area. I base this on our excellent reviews, exciting DJ videos, and the personal interactions our clients have with our DJs through phone calls or in-person meetings. Our company has been in business for over 40 years, and we have not stayed in business that long by doing a poor job or not treating people right. Our reputation is everything, and we work hard at every event to continue to maintain that reputation. A quote from an old DJ I knew told me inexpensive DJs are usually not great, and great DJs are generally not affordable. We have done over 7,000 weddings in our 40-year career, and with each wedding we do, we learn and grow as a company and hopefully continue to set the standard for DJ excellence in the United States. We have DJ’d weddings in Charleston, WV, Charlotte, NC, Roanoke, VA, Columbus, Ohio, Lexington, Ky, Nashville, TN, Knoxville, TN, and Dallas, Texas. Getting asked to play outside of our regional zone is a tribute to the reputation of our DJs and our company.
Talk to at least three different DJs before you make your decision! I once remembered a customer that set up an appointment to talk with me over the phone, and an hour before the call, she emailed and said that she spoke to one DJ first and liked him and booked him. That may be all good, but what if she talked to DJ #2 and liked him more? Then she spoke to DJ #3 and liked him even better than the first two? Since you probably don’t hire a DJ every month, you want to get a baseline of what is out there regarding price, format, and experience. That can only be achieved by talking to multiple people and comparing conversations. 3 is usually a good number to allow you to see differences between companies. Never book a DJ over the internet because their voice is what makes or breaks a wedding.