For couples who love music and dancing, one of the most fun parts of wedding planning is finding the right DJ.
Some couples prefer a live wedding band performing at their reception, but most spouses-to-be opt for a DJ instead. And finding the right one is just a matter of knowing where to look and asking the right questions!
This post explains everything you need to know about wedding DJs.
We’ll review where to find one and how much to budget. You’ll also learn what to expect when hiring a DJ entertainment company and how to make the entire process stress-free!
Where to Find a Wedding DJ
There are all sorts of ways to go about your search for the right DJ for your special day, and one way is to start with what and who you know.
Did your best friend or coworker have an amazing DJ at their wedding reception?
Ask which wedding entertainment services they hired and put them on your list of people to interview!
Another way to search is to ask for referrals from family and friends. For example, you might have a distant cousin, neighbor, or friend of a friend that DJs professionally and not even know it!
You can also ask your wedding planner and wedding venue if they have a preferred disc jockey they use regularly. A wedding DJ company familiar with the venue will already know the acoustics in the room and be able to set up their equipment to get the best possible sound. Great sound is a must to take your reception to the next level!
Just keep in mind that not all DJs are great wedding DJs. Hiring a special event DJ with specific wedding experience is best. In other words, don’t hire a DJ whose only experience is doing sweet sixteen birthday parties or corporate events.
Discover all there is to know about wedding day music — from the cocktail hour to the first dance songs — in our Ultimate Wedding Music Guide.
How to Choose a Wedding DJ
The first step is to decide what type of DJ you want, as not all will be right for your type of event.
Do you want a wedding DJ service that specializes in traditional wedding receptions and plays the classics? Or would you rather hire a club-style wedding DJ that knows all the hottest new songs and can turn your reception into a massive dance party?
Knowing the type of DJ you want will help you narrow down your list of interviewees.
The second step in finding a great DJ for your big day is to set up interviews with at least two or three different pros. During your consultations, get a sense of who they are, find out what they offer, and compare the costs for their services.
When you interview potential DJs, be sure to ask LOTS of questions.
Here are eight questions you should always ask:
1. Are They Available on Your Wedding Day?
So as not to waste your time or theirs, it’s best to ask this question before you schedule an interview. There’s no need to meet with a DJ if they’re already booked on your date.
2. What Is Their Musical Taste & What’s in Their Musical Library?
The best wedding DJ for you will be the one who knows and understands the type of music you want them to play. In other words, don’t hire an electronic trance DJ if you want your wedding reception to be a hip-hop dance party.
3. What Type of Equipment Do They Use?
You’ll want a pro who uses a state-of-the-art sound system and brings backup gear for the best sound quality. Sometimes equipment fails, so ensure your DJ has a plan B — just in case!
4. How Do They Engage With the Crowd?
Ask the DJ how they typically handle wedding announcements. Some only play music, while others are full-service DJs that double as skilled emcees!
5. Do They Work Alone or as Part of a Team?
If your DJ has a medical or family emergency on your wedding day, could they send a replacement to handle the job? Make sure they have a backup plan!
6. Are They Insured?
This may seem like a minor detail, but it’s not — many venues require DJs to carry liability insurance.
7. Do They Have Samples of Their Work?
In the age of social media, it’s common for DJs to post videos of their skills or drop their own mixes on SoundCloud. Ask your candidates for links to online videos or samples of weddings they’ve worked in the past so you can see and hear them in action!
8. How Much Do They Charge?
When it comes time to discuss pricing, get all the details to know exactly what you’re paying for. And before you sign a contract or make a deposit, be sure to ask if your down payment is refundable.
How Much Does a Wedding DJ Cost?
The average cost for a wedding DJ is approximately $1,000 to $1,200, with some charging as little as $500 and some charging upwards of $2,000. It all depends on their experience level and what services they provide.
Want your DJ to set up additional equipment, like uplighting or a photo booth?
Extra rentals and additional services will add to the overall cost.
Keep in mind that wedding DJ pricing varies quite a bit, depending on what type of DJ they are, your location, and their experience level.
Of course, you get what you pay for, so professionals with years of experience will always cost more than amateurs looking to build their portfolio.
When to Hire a Wedding DJ
It’s common for professional wedding DJs to book their schedule about a year in advance. So as soon as you set your wedding date and venue, prioritize hiring your entertainment.
Act quickly if you want a great wedding reception where everyone spends hours on the dance floor. Otherwise, the best DJs in your area could get snatched up by other couples getting married on the same day!
Once you decide who to hire, sign a contract and make a deposit to lock in your date.
Make sure that your contract includes every single detail:
After you hire your DJ, give them a playlist and a “DO NOT PLAY” list full of songs that grind your gears (i.e., “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke).
Also, let them know if you want them to stick to a specific list of songs or if you want them to accept and play requests from your wedding guests and wedding party. You can orchestrate your entertainment any way you want!
Should You Tip Your DJ?
Like all of your wedding vendors, it’s customary to tip your DJ. The standard is about 15%, so factor this cost into your overall wedding budget ahead of time.
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From your first dance to your last song of the night, your DJ will majorly impact your wedding day festivities! So interview a few different professional DJS, ask lots of questions, and find one that can provide the services you want at a price you can afford.
And if you’re torn between hiring a band or having a disc jockey, don’t worry — you can have both!
Like all aspects of wedding planning, choosing your music and musical entertainment is a personal decision. So it can be whatever you and your future spouse want it to be.