Questions to ask your Wedding DJ, (& Answers).
Let's face it, hiring a Wedding DJ can seem like a daunting task, especially considering that many people may have never hired a DJ before, or may never hire one again afterwards. According to The Knot, these 16 questions can help you to make sure that your DJ is a great fit, and covers all the bases. We've provided our answers so you can save time, and rest assured that we've got you covered!
1. What's your performance style like? What type of music do you specialize in?
Each of our DJs have their own unique style and specialties. I, for example, generally have a more formal style. I tend to keep speaking on the mic to a minimum, making necessary announcements, and occasionally hyping the crowd. My goal is to not be the center of attention on YOUR Wedding day, and instead, be a friendly, approachable MC and Host. With that being said, myself, and our DJs, are all experienced MCs as well, and we are fully capable of getting on the microphone with more excitement if requested, though we tend to err on the side of caution to avoid being too "cheesy" or annoying.
Regarding music, I personally am a fan of just about all genres, but some of my favorites include classic rock, hip hop, EDM, and the blues. Overall though, I really appreciate and thrive off of working with of the Couple's taste in music, mixing in music from similar artists or styles as the songs they've requested. Generally, myself and our DJs focus on Top 40s from today and the past, but each of us tends to add their own flair to it. For me, I enjoy throwing in a few remixes of popular songs from time to time, but I am always careful to avoid remixes that ruin a good song. After all, it's no fun when you start singing a classic and the song changes completely to the point where you can't sing it through. While some songs have great remixes available, most are near perfect as is. Lastly, there is great debate among the DJ community about quick mixing versus playing the full song. In my personal opinion, both quick mixing and playing the full song work when used appropriately. There are some songs that may be repetitive that work better for quick mixes, while others, (singalong classics such as Bohemian Rhapsody, Mr. Brightside, etc.), really deserve to be played in full. I believe a good DJ is one who knows how to maintain the balance between these styles.
2. How long have you been DJ'ing weddings?
I have personally DJ'd Weddings since 2012, over 10 years, and it has been an absolute honor! Our Love & Light Entertainment DJs similarly have many years of experience, and we work hard to vet each and every DJ before we deploy them at Weddings.
3. What are your favorite wedding songs to perform?
My favorite songs to perform are typically those that get crowd participation. While line dances are easy wins for most crowds, it can be much more exciting to find other gems that really engage the crowd. For example, "All I do is win" by DJ Khaled is always a fun one because "everybody's hand's go UP.... and they stay there...". "Can't take my eyes off of you" by Frankie Vallie and The Four Seasons is another that tends to get all ages involved, especially when the chorus hits, and you hear everyone singing along. Throwback jams always tend to get a good reaction as well, and can really help to engage different age groups. Of course, as technically a "Millennial", pop hits of the 90s and 2000s like Backstreet Boys, or Brittney Spears always seem to get a strong reaction from my generation, but even older popular songs can be epic. Songs like "Funkytown", "Greese Megamix", or "Dance with somebody" are all excellent choices for your Wedding. I also really appreciate the different event based dances, like the Anniversary Dance, where we can choose a slow song or two that fits the Couple's tastes. It's inspiring and beautiful to see all of the Married Couple's at a Wedding, especially those with decades or more together.
4. Can we give you a list of must-hear songs? What about a do-not-play list?
Each and every Client of ours gets access to our Portal where you can fill in lists including:
Do Not Plays
Play If Possible
Play Only If Requested
Cocktail Hour/Dinner/Dancing & More
There are suggestions built into the Music Request System that allows you to find top requested songs for your events (first dance; cake cutting; parent's dances; etc.), and lists of the most requested songs. The System even allows you to connect your Spotify account to easily pull in your playlists. Furthermore, there is an optional Guest Request System that allows you to invite guests to make requests ahead of time, but don't worry, all of the Guest Requests submitted will send you an email so that you and your DJ can be sure that anything that does not fit or that may be inappropriate makes the final cut.
5. Will you take song requests from our guests during the event?
In addition to our Music Request Systems, our DJs are happy to take requests on the day of the event, so long as the Couple is okay with that (some of our Clients have asked that we not take requests). Guests can come up to the DJ booth to make a request, or can text their requests to our Request Line. Each of our DJs has a dedicated phone number which guests can text requests to.
6. Can we watch you perform before the wedding date?
Our DJs are focused mostly on Weddings and Private Events, so in most cases, we do not have public-facing events that we can invite you to. However, if we will be performing at a public event, we are more than happy to have you stop by and check out our performance.
7. What's included in your pricing package? Will you also act as an emcee?
Our pricing and packages vary, but generally all include setup and breakdown, sound coverage, wireless microphone(s), and Portal access (including Planning Tools and Music Request Systems).
All of our Packages come with a DJ and MC. In most cases, our DJs also act as the MC, however, occasionally we may bring out a separate MC.
8. Does your contract include an overtime clause in case we want to extend the party?
While we do not have an overtime clause currently written into the contract, our DJs typically only work one event on days in which Weddings are booked. With that, most of our DJs are more than happy to stick around if requested for an extra hour or two of overtime for an hourly rate.
9. Have you performed at our venue before? If not, will you check it out beforehand to learn its acoustics
and see what type of equipment or sound system you need?
Our DJs have worked at many of the Venues in the DMV area, and are familiar with most. If we have not performed at the venue, we either visit ahead of time, or if we are unable, we can rely upon photos, videos, floorplans, and the experience of our team or other vendors who have worked there.
10. Do you require backup equipment? Will you provide this if necessary?
We bring backups of our most important pieces of equipment to events. In the event that we require a backup that we do not have on hand, we have staff on standby to bring us out whatever is needed.
11. What's your backup plan in case of inclement weather while performing outside?
Most venues tend to have backup plans to account for potential inclement weather that includes moving the event indoors, and our DJs are flexible in this regard. In the event that there is no indoor option, we are capable of playing anywhere there is sufficient overhead coverage for our equipment. In the event that there is no overhead cover, given ample notice, we can bring a canopy for a fee, or we may need to reschedule.
12. Will you coordinate a soundcheck at the wedding venue on the day of?
Yes. Our DJs prioritize setting up audio first before lighting or other equipment. Once audio is setup, a soundcheck takes place to ensure sound is clear, and covers the space adequately.
13. Do you require liability insurance?
We do not require liability insurance from our Clients. We are liability insured and can provide proof of insurance upon request. Most venues also have insurance coverage, which provides additional safeguards.
14. What's your cancellation policy?
While our deposit is non-refundable, we review each and every cancellation on a case by case basis. It is important to note that our Company has overhead costs, and any date that is booked and cancelled is a loss of a potential paid event. Depending on how far in advance the event date and cancellation are, we may be able to provide a full or partial refund. For rescheduled events, we offer rescheduling for any future open dates at no additional cost.
15. How many breaks will you take throughout the evening? What will you use as filler music during this time?
Generally speaking, the only time our DJs take breaks is to eat dinner and use the restroom. If and when our DJs take a break, there will always be music playing.
16. How do you encourage a shy crowd to get up and dance?
There are many techniques you can use to keep the dance floor moving. In fact, I've recently published a Blog post on our website that addresses this exact question in detail, which you can view Here. Our approaches tend to be song based, and less MC based. While the previously mentioned Blog post contains a lengthy list of things that can be done to keep the dance floor full, here are a few things I like to do, including a few not including in the post:
Playing requests: By mixing in your Guest's requests, we typically see better engagement on the dance floor.
Switching the tempo: After a 15 or more minute set of dancing, some people may get a bit burned out. A good DJ knows how to lower the tempo slowly to keep the dance floor packed all night. Adding in a slow song every hour or so also helps to reset things, after which the DJ can bring the tempo and energy back up slowly.
Slow songs: We've found that some people tend to only make their way to the dance floor for slow songs, so including one every so often is a good way to ensure everyone dances at some point during the event.
Singalongs: In addition to dance floor classics, mixing in singalong classics from time to time can help to bring out those that may not want to dance at all. Songs like "Take Me Home, Country Roads" by John Denver, "Brown Eyed Girl" by Van Morrison, or "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)" by The Backstreet Boys are just a few examples of classic songs that we've seen a great reaction to.
Save the bangers: A good DJ knows how to reserve the best songs for the right moment, and always saves some floor-fillers to play when the floor is vacant.
Read the room: When playing music, reading the room is a good indicator of what works and what doesn't, and this strategy is crucial to ensuring everyone gets to hear some tunes they like. If I play something from the 70s or 80s that clears the dance floor of younger people, then I know to avoid these when the younger crowd is on the floor. However, if an older crowd is the majority on the floor, I may stick more to those jams. Ultimately a balanced mix of genres, decades, and tempos is the best approach. It also helps to examine those not on the dance floor. When playing a Classic Rock hit, are there people dancing or singing in their seats? This can be a good indicator to play more of those types of songs, which may eventually encourage them to make it to the dance floor.
We hope this helps to answer some of the questions you may have for our DJs. If you have any other questions, or would like to discuss further, you can Contact Us, or reply to this post. Be sure to stay tuned to our Blog for more tips and articles.