When you think about the wedding day, what's one of the first things that come to mind? The music! When planning for your big day, there are a lot of different decisions to make. One that should be near the top is who will DJ your reception. This blog post will provide 10 tips and considerations to help you decide on the best DJ for your wedding reception.
Interviewing Your Wedding DJ
Chances are you have never hired a wedding DJ service before, and even though you have some idea of how you would prefer the night to go, the experts you are interviewing do this for a living and any good DJ service will be able to help walk you through the night and help you prepare for unforeseen situations. This will give you the confidence to know the night will be handled with the professionalism you would expect from a true expert.
Consider Your Entertainment Budget.
If you are on a tight budget, it is important to know what the going rate for weddings in your geographic region is before you start interviewing DJs so that you can really compare prices and determine if they will be able to provide all of the services you need. Your budget can be one of the most important parts of the hiring process. Some DJs charge higher fees, simply because this is one of the most important nights of your life. And although this true, the value should be based on the quality of services offered, not the importance of the night. You will want to make sure to find out what specifically comes with any package that is being proposed and make sure you feel like they are more interested in the show, versus the higher dollar packages.
Your Other Wedding Vendors
Ask every company you interview what their policy is on interacting with other vendors. A true master of ceremonies will take responsibility for the entirety of the night. They check in with catering, photographers, videographers, and even help the house staff move tables if need be. They are there to put on a show and every variable should be under their influence. If the videographer needs an audio feed for the video, they should be able to offer it, if the photographer needs the laser lights to be shut off so there are no red dots on peoples foreheads in the photos, the DJ should be willing to comply, and if catering is running a bit behind, the DJ should be able to manage the time and readjust the schedule in a way that no one even suspects there was an issue. If the DJ you are interviewing is willing to help in these small ways, you know they are right to handle your special night.
Choosing Your Music.
The DJ should know your taste in music and also have the ability to read a crowd. If you’re having a more retro dance party, they need to be able to mix all of those songs together seamlessly so people are on the floor from start to finish. Every DJ - like Sugar Sand Sound wedding DJ's, has their own process, but in general, the music choices should both adhere to your wish's discussed before the event and what the guests are responding to. Remember, your guest showed up to a party and if they are forced to listen to a limited selection you have defined, you will, unfortunately, be letting down your friends and family, they will leave early and remember the wedding as something other than the happy, fun night it could have been. Make sure to interview your DJ and get a full understanding of their music process and what they recommend for each phase of the night.
Communication & Planning The Event
Communication is key to make sure everyone has a solid understanding of what needs to be done. We recommend that you meet with your DJ at least one month before the event so they can properly plan for equipment, sound levels, and lineups. This will also give them time to understand how much music or ambiance you would like included in each phase of the night. You will want to cover topics like the ceremony music, cocktail music, the grand entrance, and special dances. You will also want to go over who will be doing speeches and toasts so the DJ can know who will need a microphone. This little bit of planning will help avoid problems from arising during the night.
The Wedding Venue
Every venue has different rules on how things can go, as it pertains to the DJ, there are some vitally important considerations. First, the venue should be able to provide the power requirements for the DJ and any other equipment you are renting. Next, you will want to understand any restrictions on sound or noise ordinance, many areas have noise ordinances that force the music to be turned down at a specific time, and some venues will not allow loud music at all, as it could disturb the other guests. You will also want to understand things like where the restrooms are located in relation to the reception as well as things like wifi passwords and how alcohol is handled. All of these things are important for your DJ to know about. Often professional DJs have worked at the most popular venues before, but don't assume they will be able to guide you, as they may have had limited experience there or non at all.
The DJs Equipment
Check out their equipment before you make a decision. This might seem like a strange idea if you do not know about the equipment, however, it is important to understand what is going to be in the background of your wedding photos. If they have huge cabinets with fuzzy carpet and stacks of speakers to the ceiling, it could easily affect the character of the room, and since setups like that are often quite old, they may not actually sound that good. Line array speakers have become much more popular in recent years and offer a sleek look, with a small footprint all while delivering impressively clean sound to the entire room, no matter how big or small the room is. Microphones are another consideration as well, you will want to ask about the range of the microphones and how well they pick up across a room. The Dj's answers should give you confidence that they are true experts and know exactly how to deliver on the big day.
Professional Wedding DJ vs. Family DJ
For the most part, family members are usually not professionals and as a result, they may not have the experience or skills required. Often the worst wedding DJ stories come from hiring a friend or family member. There are a couple of reasons this can happen, and the most common is simply they do not work in the wedding industry and do not know what to expect. It is a common misconception DJs just play the music when the truth is they are something closer to the director of a play. They have many jobs through the night and if a friend or family member is just playing music those other jobs get left undone or improvised at the last moment. The second most common reason is simply the relationship they have with you, of course, they do not want to let you down, but they also know you will forgive them, and this dynamic can lead to a lower level of attention to important dynamics throughout the night.
Understand The Lighting
It is important to coordinate different colored lighting with your music, especially if you want to have a dance floor or party atmosphere. We recommend that when selecting lighting options, take into consideration how these will look in the photos as well as how it could make the room feel. The right uplighting can set the mood of the room and instantly transform a normal room into a much or intimate and pleasurable room to be in. This will inspire your guests to relax more and enjoy the experience of the night. the dance lighting is another consideration, you want enough light to cover the dance floor, but not so much that it changes the feel of the room, if there are too many dance lights it can be overwhelming for everyone in the room, a good DJ will know the right amount of dance lights. The last light to consider is called a gobo light. This is a custom light that some DJs offer, often it is a monogram with the couple's initials, name, or family crest. The light moves across the walls and ceiling helping add the feel of a much bigger event while celebrating the new union of 2 families. You should ask your DJ if they offer this light and brainstorm on how you want it to look.
Read The Contract
When you find a DJ company, they will be happy to send over their contract for you to review. This is important because it can answer any questions and make sure there are no hidden clauses or language in the contract that could lead to trouble down the road. Taking the time to do this will always pay off, as DJs have certain requirements like electricity, boundaries with guests, and other specific requirements to do their jobs. These can be up to you to make sure they have, and the contract will spell this out. This also serves as the commitment they are making to you, basically, it says, no matter what you have a DJ for the wedding night, or you will be due refunds and/or damages.
Check if They Have Event Insurance
Most professional DJ services will have liability insurance to protect themselves in the event of an accident. However, this often does not just protect them, it can also protect you and any of the guests should they be liable for any unfortunate mishaps. Often the policies cover property damages, as well as medical damages. It is often required for a DJ to work at certain venues and 1 million dollars of coverage is a commonly required policy. Confirming what the insurance policy covers will give you more confidence that everything that can be accounted for has been covered properly.
There you have it, 10 important things to consider when hiring a wedding DJ service. You deserve your special night to be amazing and the right DJ can help make that happen.