Fall ’13: 10 Questions

I’ve been asked many times what are some questions couples need to ask before they hire a DJ.  Here are ten that every couple should, at the very least, be thinking about before signing a contract or sending a deposit:

1. Will you provide a written contract to review before I hire you?…. Most DJ contracts protect only the DJ and do little to protect the client. Read the fine print. At your initial consultation, make sure you receive a contract that you can take home so you can review pricing, packages, and services BEFORE hiring the company or sending any money.

dj wedding singer2. Do you have a professional microphone style?….  To avoid the dreaded “Wedding Singer” scenario, make sure your DJ / MC matches the style you want at your wedding.  Some DJs are very talkative, some say little at all, while others are somewhere in between.  There is a fine line between cheesy and classy.

3.  Can I see a copy of your liability insurance?….  The mobile DJ industry is completely unregulated.  There is currently no licensing or certification. Though it is not a requirement to have this document, finding someone who does shows that the company at least takes their business seriously. Many wedding venues are now requiring DJs to provide liability insurance before they can set up.

4.  Will you attend my ceremony rehearsal?….  If your DJ will be providing ceremony services, it is important that he / she attend the rehearsal to review all ceremony details. These include rehearsing processionals and recessionals, and reviewing details with the officiant. In addition, on wedding day make sure your DJ will use a separate sound system at the ceremony site to avoid a lengthy equipment transfer.  Two sound systems should be used – one for ceremony, one for reception.

5.  Do you have a plan if the power goes out?…  After a power failure almost ruined a reception I did back in 1998, I bring a generator to every wedding now. Backup sound equipment is also a must, and it should be on-site and not back at the office.

6.  Is this your full-time job?…  Only 10% of all wedding DJs do this as a full-time career. This may not be a deal-killer for most couples, but remember, DJs who have a full-time commitment to their wedding clients tend to invest more time in the planning process, and generally return calls and e-mails more promptly.

7.  Will you send everyone a timeline before the wedding?….  The number one mistake couples make when hiring a DJ for their wedding is…they just hire a DJ.  Most DJs view their role at a wedding as simply playing music and making a few announcements. If you want your wedding reception to flow smoothly and not worry about the details, then it is imperative to find a DJ that does more than just play music. Make sure they are able to “run the reception” and are willing to e-mail a timeline to your Wedding Party, Parents, and your Wedding Team so everyone knows what to expect on wedding day. Your DJ should also be willing to provide a list of all the things they do BESIDES playing music, including things they will be doing “behind the scenes” to ensure that everything goes smoothly on your wedding day.

dj tbwre8.  Can you give me any fun, unique ideas that will seperate my reception from the others I’ve attended?… Your DJ should be able to offer you suggestions for personalized and customized activities that can be incorporated into your reception from the wedding party introductions through the grand finale. Based on their experience, they should have many unique ideas that will make your wedding an event your guests will never forget. Peter Merry’s book, “The Best Wedding Reception Ever” (pictured here) is a great resource.

9.  Can I get in writing who my DJ will be?…  If it is important to you that the DJ you met at your initial consultation is the same one that shows up on wedding day, consider asking for that DJ’s name to be on the contract.  Some companies substitute DJs at the last minute – also known as the “bait and switch”.  Furthermore, consider asking if your wedding will be the only one they will do that day.  To make up for low prices, some DJs will even double-book dates!

10.  Do you have a money-back guarantee?… Some sort of guarantee should be in place in case you are not satisfied with services rendered on wedding day. This goes for not only your DJ, but for all the vendors you hire.

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