How to Choose a Wedding DJ + the MUST ask questions

Friday, August 8, 2014

Every time someone asks me how the wedding planning is going I feel like this:

The excuse right now is that we are experiencing extreme "decision fatigue" after making approximately 1,000,000,000 life-changing decisions in the home-buying/home reno process, and after I had a meltdown at the Home Depot counter involving eggshell versus semi-gloss paint ("PLEASE JUST TELL ME WHAT TO PICK I LITERALLY AM NOT CAPABLE OF MAKING ANOTHER DECISION") we decided to take a lil break on decision making for awhile.

Don't get me wrong, we have made some important decisions: venue, photographer (lucky us- a friend we met on a cruise just started a photography business and hooked us up), videographer, and DJ. Lucky for me, Harrison runs a DJ business on top of being a realtor, so we knew exactly what and who we were looking for in our entertainment. I've been to weddings were a sucky DJ sucks the fun out of the party, and I've been to weddings where the DJ turns the party ALL THE WAY UP (we are obvi looking for the latter). People ask him for advice on choosing a wedding DJ all the time, and here is what I think is most important:

How to find a DJ:

  • Think about the weddings you've been to. Who were the DJs? Were there any you particularly liked? Book them!
  • Ask friends! 90% of Harrison's business (both DJ and real estate) comes from referrals
  • Check who has the highest WeddingWire and Yelp reviews

What to discuss with the DJ before hiring:
  • Can we hear some of your mixes?
  • What kind of set up do you bring (i.e. speakers, tables, etc)? Make sure they know the size of your space and the size of your party, and that they have the equipment to play to that size.
  • Do you provide lights? (Think colored lights, uplighting, dance floor lighting, flashy lights, lasers. Remember that laser lights can interfere with photography/videos so make sure to cross check the light set up with your photographer/videographer)
  • Do they provide microphones for the toasts? Are these wireless mics? How many mics can they provide? 
  • Discuss the type of music you want played- does this DJ have all that music on hand? 

Things to consider about the DJ before hiring:
  • Does their personality fit your wedding? Do they seem flexible enough to work with your wedding party? 
  • Do they have the right energy for your party? Remember they are usually the ones announcing the wedding party and bride and groom at the reception- this can be a make or break for the energy.
  • Do you like their mixes? Do they have good transitions from one song to the next? Is it the type of energy you want at your wedding?
  • Are they listening to you? Remember: YOU are paying THEM. THEY work for YOU. 

Things to discuss with your DJ for the wedding day:

  • Playlists: must play songs, and DO NOT PLAY songs (I think the most common "do not play" song Harrison gets is Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke. Ha)
  • Where your DJ will set up and where the speakers will be (this seems obvious but it is something that I have seen forgotten at wedding I've attended. Make sure you know where the dance floor is and that the DJ knows exactly where you want him and where you want his speakers blaring from!)
  • Seating arrangements pertaining to your DJ: we are putting all young people close to the DJ and the speakers. A common problem Harrison runs into is having the grandparents seated next to his speakers- they request the music turned down because they are trying to sit and have conversation. The younger people who are put in the back immediately come and request him to turn the music up. The older people want it turned down again. This is easily avoided by putting older people further from the speakers and younger people next to the speakers
  • Do you need radio edited versions of songs?
  • Who will need microphones and when?
  • Should the DJ take requests or stick strictly to the guidelines you give them?

Tell me: what are your experiences with wedding DJs? Any great ones? Any horrific wedding DJ stories? Anything you would add to this list?


  1. This list is soooo good! Honestly, this was our most stressful detail to date because we wanted to make sure the DJ we found wouldn't be a fuddy dud, but we didn't want a DJ who just totes doesn't get us... Luckily we found a guy. But it was after much "oh my gosh we just won't have any music" moments lol!

  2. Because I will never need a wedding DJ again cause I have sworn off marriage, I can't comment so I'll just leave you with this.

    Ur welcome.

  3. Ha! So I too had reached decision fatigue in the wedding planning process... And did ZERO research and asked ZERO questions upon booking our DJ. And I totally agree that good music pretty much makes or breaks your wedding. Despite my irresponsibility, he turned out amazing! The day before I spoke to him for about 10 minutes, and from that basic conversation, homeboy was ON POINT. I think he was a mind reader, because he kept it classy until 10pm, then got that shizz turnt upppppp, just like I wanted but failed to communicate with him.

    But don't be like me. I just lucked out like crazy.

  4. This is a great list. My husband is a DJ on the side. He used to play in lots of clubs and we did a lot of weddings, but now he strictly produces music at home on the weekends. I think you hit all the important things that they need to know and you need to ask. Its all about a good music collection, a list of must haves, a great personality and an ability to read a crowd. :)

  5. these are really good tips! here's what we did, because we cheap. 1. made a playlist. 2. put on iphone. 3. got a friend of a friend who is a0 'DJ/MC' for some oldies club thing to make announcements and press play 4. paid him like $200. 5. danced until 2am. fun times! I'm glad we did it that way because I was so stressed out about paying someone so much.

  6. Really great questions to keep in mind when hiring a DJ. We went the Live Band route and I really loved it - but love DJ's at weddings too! I dont think they should take requests at hired them you get to decide what they will play lol!

  7. I like Kristen's idea (commented above) for a DJ. It's cheap and with the way remixes and songs are available on Itunes now, you can have all that you want. Otherwise they can be sooo expensive. What do you think you'll do?

  8. This is all such great advice.....I hope soon in the future I need it!!!

  9. I think I make the same face when people asking me about wedding planning! I get all "umm we have a date and venue, that's good right?" I like pretending like the rest will just fall into place for me.

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  11. I believe "Happy" by Pharell is currently the most requested "do NOT play" song! :)
    wedding dj

  12. This is a great list even for me who is still unwed haha!

  13. Thank you for these tips! We made the mistake of not asking our DJ about the mixes he had before we hired him to do our daughters' wedding. He ended up playing a lot of hokey music that we weren't very excited about. I wish we would have known about this list of questions before that wedding reception! Thanks for sharing your expertise with us.

    1. I'm so sorry to hear about that unpleasant experience, Sergio. That's why I love what the post said about asking to listen to some of their mixes before the wedding. Different DJs have different styles, so it's important to find one that matches your style, or the bride and groom's. I don't think a lot of people think to request that they DON'T play certain songs. However, that's just as if not more important than songs that do get played. Thank goodness there are so many DJs out there to choose from!

  14. With Royal, we offer the prospective client to preview an event if they are in doubt.

  15. Very informative Blog,Continue the good work; keep posting such a useful stuff.

    Wedding Reception Entertainment

  16. We offer doubting clients the change to preview one of our events before putting a deposit, but the tips here are great!

  17. hmm.. agree with your thoughts here, Its is also mandatory to ask these questions when you hiring a DJ service. Thanks!!

    Wedding MC Melbourne

  18. mm.. agree with your thoughts here, Its is also mandatory to ask these questions when you hiring a DJ service. Thanks! Edmonton DJ

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