Guest post by Joe of Firedog DJs
These are the 10 most important questions to ask any professional disc jockey you are considering for your wedding, and will help you accurately gauge the professionalism, reliability, and honesty of any wedding DJ you are considering. This list of questions will certainly help you once you reach the DJ interview process, but doing some research beforehand will help you determine whether certain wedding DJ’s are even worth interviewing. Good luck in your search!
1. Do you offer a written contract?
All of the wedding disc jockeys you interview may not have the same standards of professionalism. A written, legal contract is one of the first indicators of whether a DJ is professional and reliable. Furthermore, a contract establishes the DJs obligation to the client and outlines what is required for the DJs success, by outlining his setup requirements and other factors related to his performance. For this reason, a written contract is absolutely essential and any DJ not using a written contract should not, in our opinion, be considered for a wedding reception.
2. Will you be the DJ at our wedding?
Often, the person you speak with is not the person who will be your DJ on your wedding day. This is a very common practice among large agencies. It is absolutely paramount that you have an opportunity to interview, in person, the specific DJ that you will be working with and determine whether you feel comfortable with them. You should also expect that the individual DJs name is specified on your contract as it is the only way you can be guaranteed his or her services at your wedding.
3. How long have you been a DJ? How many weddings have you done?
A wedding is such an important occasion, and you don’t want your DJs first wedding to be your own. The number of years someone has been a DJ will give you some indication of their experience level, but some DJs only perform for a few events (and fewer weddings) each year. A DJ with half as many years in the industry may have many times as many weddings under his belt, so you should also ask how many weddings the DJ has done.
4. Do you act as the “Master of Ceremonies” and make all of the announcements?
Any professional wedding disc jockey should be comfortable with making announcements and serving as the emcee for the wedding, it is a standard part of the job. Some DJs, however, are not comfortable with this and prefer to pass these duties on to someone else, such as a site manager, who may not have a professional voice or experience speaking on a microphone.
5. May we meet with you in person before we sign a contract?
Many wedding DJs attempt to conduct their interviews over the telephone and through email instead of meeting face-to-face with prospective clients. In our experience, there are two reasons a disc jockey would do this as either they don’t feel you are worth their time, or they have something to hide. Some deejays are very different in person than on the telephone and what is presented on their website, and you should insist on meeting in face-to-face so you can judge for yourself whether they are a good match for you and your wedding. Your “gut” feeling is very important in selecting the right disc jockey, and it’s practically impossible to make this evaluation unless you are together in person.
6. What do you do to motivate the crowd if nobody is dancing?
Different wedding disc jockeys handle this situation in very different ways, some opt to use the microphone to try to energize your guests and motivate them to dance. Others would never do something like this and prefer to use careful song selection to ensure dance floor success. You need to know what the DJ would do in this situation, and determine if that is the way you would like the situation handled.
7. What if something happens to you and you can’t make it to the wedding?
Despite meticulous planning and preparation, accidents do happen. If the DJ is injured or otherwise unable to perform on your wedding day, what is the backup plan? Most responsible professionals have some sort of backup strategy should this situation ever arise, but others do not. Often, DJs will be members of a local DJ association, and network with other DJs who could possibly provide backup services for them in the event of an emergency. Others take this planning more seriously and reserve a specific DJ for every date, ensuring that backup is both available and prepared in case of an emergency. You need to feel comfortable that you will still have a qualified, prepared DJ on your wedding day, regardless of the circumstances, so the answer to this question is very important.
8. Can we submit a “Do Not Play” list?
Any professional DJ should be willing to honor your requests, including your request for certain songs and genres to not be used. Submitting a Do Not Play list will give a DJ a clear idea of your limits and your expectations for their song selection at your wedding.
9. What will you wear to our wedding?
Most wedding DJs own, and are comfortable wearing, a tuxedo when they perform however unless this is a formal event we will be in a nice suit to match you guests. However unless your event is something even less formal we will dress in an approriate manor to match the theme such as slacks and a polo. It is important to us that our DJs look meets your expectations.
10. Are you insured?
It is absolutely essential that any DJ you consider carries a full liability insurance policy. They are fairly inexpensive (less than $250 per year in some cases), so being uninsured is inexcusable. Some reception sites have even taken the step of requiring all vendors working at their facility to provide proof of insurance before the wedding. Liability insurance protects you and the reception site in the unlikely event that your DJ injures one of your guests or burns your reception site to the ground.