If you decide to hire a DJ for your wedding, you’re in good company. DJs are the most popular choice for wedding entertainment. Your DJ will set the pace for your wedding, introduce the wedding party and those making toasts, lead activities or games, and get people on the dance floor. Make sure you pick a great DJ by checking out their reviews, asking other wedding vendors for recommendations, and interviewing prospective DJs.
What do you ask a wedding DJ?
Ask your wedding DJ about their wedding packages, their work experience, and their professional style. These questions will help you decide if they are a good fit for your wedding. I made a list of more questions to ask your DJ before you sign the contract.
Questions about DJ Packages
How much do your DJ packages cost?
Ask your prospective DJ how much they charge for their services. The average cost of a DJ is $1,200, though price will vary based on your location and their experience level. There may also be upcharges for additional services. If it’s in your budget, it’s worth spending the money on a stellar DJ. The best DJs guide the perfect wedding atmosphere without you even noticing it.
How many hours are included in your DJ package?
Now that you know how much the wedding package costs, it’s time to find out what’s included in it. Your wedding day plans will determine how many hours you need your DJ. Wedding receptions usually last four to five hours. Factor in extra time if your DJ is also doing your ceremony, cocktail hour, or after-party.
How much does it cost to add extra hours to the DJ package?
During your wedding day, you might decide to tack on an extra hour or two because you’re having so much fun. Find out beforehand if that is possible and how much you will pay per hour of overtime. This is also a good question to ask your wedding venue. See our list of wedding venue questions here.
Does the wedding package include emceeing?
Usually, the DJ doesn’t just provide music, they also emcee. Announcing the wedding party, the first dance, and father-daughter and mother-son dances are all considered emceeing. You may also want your DJ to introduce your toast-makers and lead activities and games. Ask about this beforehand so you know what to expect.
Does your DJ package include uplighting?
Uplighting is dramatic floor lighting that makes your venue look like a night club. Uplighting adds a party atmosphere and can be customized to match your wedding colors. If you want uplighting, check with your venue first. Some venues include their own uplighting; otherwise, you will have to contract with a vendor, like your DJ, to provide the lighting.
What kind of sound equipment do you use?
Your DJ should have professional sound equipment, including speakers, wireless microphones, and mixing equipment. They will bring additional supplies depending on your wedding venue and number of guests. Outdoor weddings, for example, need more amplification because sound can get lost in the wind.
How much time does the DJ need to set up their equipment?
The DJ will need to transport their speakers and other equipment to the venue. Then they will set up their equipment, including uplighting and any other extras. This will probably take 1-2 hours.
Questions about DJ Experience
Do you own your own DJ equipment or do you rent from another company?
An established entertainment company will likely own all of their own equipment, including speciality equipment. If your DJ is borrowing or renting equipment, that’s a sign they are new to the game.
Have you ever DJed at an outdoor venue?
It can be tricky to get the sound right at an outdoor venue. First, you have to compete with noise from nature and traffic. There are less surfaces for the sound to reverberate off of, so your Maid of Honor’s toast might get drowned out. DJs also have to be prepared to use their electrical equipment outdoors, possibly with limited outlets. Finally, the DJ will have to consider how to protect their equipment if it rains. There’s a lot of factors to consider at outdoor weddings, so you need a seasoned DJ.
Have you ever DJed at my venue?
If your DJ has been working in your area for a while, they have likely performed at your venue before. If not, ask if they can arrange a walkthrough so they know what equipment to bring for that specific space.
Do you have experience leading (the wedding shoe game) (the bouquet toss) etc?
If there is a specific activity or game you want your DJ to lead, ask them if they are familiar with it. They have likely done the bouquet toss to Single Ladies at many (many, many, many) weddings. But if you want something a little different like the wedding shoe game, a bingo game, or a dance contest, ask if they are comfortable leading those activities.
How many weddings have you DJed for?
The DJ might claim that they have 15 years of experience in the business. And that sounds impressive, until you realize 15 years might mean 200 proms and no weddings. Weddings have a specific sentimental feeling to them, and you want an experienced DJ to help set the mood.
How will you ensure that you pronounce our names correctly?
There’s nothing more awkward than hearing someone say your name wrong. As someone with two silent letters in my name, I feel this in my soul. Your DJ should have a plan so they do not mispronounce you and your fiance’s names (and other people they are announcing). For example, they could write down your names phonetically and then double check with your coordinator the day of. Unless your name is Jane Doe, it’s good to plan ahead.
Can I speak with couples you have DJed for?
If you do not know anyone who has used this DJ, I recommend asking for at least one reference. By speaking with a previous customer, you can get a sense of the DJ’s professionalism and abilities. In lieu of references, read plenty of third-party reviews. I.e. not the testimonials on the DJ’s website.
Do you work with bands / other musicians?
If you’re thinking of hiring a musician for the ceremony, a special dance or performing a song yourself, make sure you give the DJ a heads up. And ask them if they have the right equipment or mind sharing the spotlight. Most DJ’s don’t have a problem with special requests and have microphones as part of their equipment set for things like this. But they might have fees associated that you’ll want to know about upfront.
Questions about DJ Style
Do you work off of a playlist that the couple provides?
Most DJs want the couple to collaborate in making the playlist. If you and your fiance email some songs over, this gives the DJ a sense of your musical taste and ensures that your favorite tracks will be included. It’s a red flag if the DJ doesn’t want your suggestions, because it shows they will not personalize their playlist for your day.
On the flip side, it’s a bad sign if the DJ expects you to curate the entire wedding playlist. This shows that they are not experienced enough to select their own playlist so they are offloading work to you. And at that rate, you might as well just DJ your own wedding with a Spotify playlist. (Didn’t know that was an option? Read all about my experience DJ’ing my own wedding here.)
Will you use a do-not-play list?
Maybe you’re sick of doing the Cha Cha Slide at every wedding. Maybe you just hate Ed Sheeran. Either way, see if your DJ will follow a do-not-play list so you can avoid cringing on your wedding day.
Will you accept song requests from guests?
Check ahead of time to see if your DJ likes to accept song requests from the guests. There’s no wrong or right answer; it’s your own personal taste. A happy medium is for the DJ to say yes to everyone but only actually play the good suggestions. Good suggestion = upbeat and won’t offend grandma.
What is your style as an emcee?
There are several different styles of DJing. Some DJs incorporate humor into their announcements and try to keep things upbeat and fun. Others are more restrained and prefer to let the music do the talking. Make sure you pick someone who matches your ideal vibe.
Can I see a video of you DJing a wedding?
It’s important to see your DJ in action. Your DJ might describe themselves as “energetic”, but end up being loud and obnoxious. Likewise, maybe the “lowkey” DJ is just boring. The best way to determine their style is to see it for yourself.
What kind of music do you like to play at weddings?
Your DJ likely went into this profession because they are passionate about music. Use this question to get to know them a little better and learn more about their style. It’s a great sign if your musical tastes align. However, don’t worry if you like different music. Most DJs are chameleons and will shift their style to match yours.
How does your DJ set the tone with music?
Ask your DJ how they will set the tone of your wedding using music. During the cocktail hour and dinner, they will probably play more relaxing music. Then as the night goes on, they will use upbeat tunes to get the crowd dancing. A savvy DJ reads the energy of the room and adjusts their playlist accordingly.
Now you are prepared to meet with your DJ and find the right one for your wedding!
Not sure if you want a DJ? I previously discussed alternatives to the traditional wedding DJ here.