The Most Important
Questions to Ask before booking a Wedding DJ
Ask the right questions ...and avoid booking "DJ Disaster."
If you're wondering what questions to ask when shopping for a DJ, these points should help you find a DJ who will be punctual, prepared and personalized.
1. Is the DJ’s professionalism evident in the first call / email? Your DJ should want to do your wedding – and do it your way. He / She should be prompt, positive, and enthusiastic, with excellent communication skills. A willingness to tailor announcing, formalities and music is a must, as is a website containing a clear explanation of what that DJ offers in the way of planning, music and equipment.
2. Will the DJ play the music I want? It’s your wedding. Your DJ should be willing to make sure the evening’s play list will suit your taste and that of your guests. Music availability is almost a non-issue these days, but your DJ will only be able to play about 45 songs in 3 hours of dancing. Having the right 45 songs for your crowd (and your wishes) is a lot more important than having thousands of songs you and your guests don’t want to hear.
3. What do their reviews tell you? The quantity of reviews (at WeddingWire, Google Business, Yelp, Etc.) will tell you how much experience that DJ really has. The quality of those reviews will indicate whether they have the kind of experience you want for your wedding. Do you want an interactive DJ or an unobtrusive DJ? Do the clients say their events went as planned? Taking time to read a DJ's many reviews will tell you a lot more than watching a video (of what they did for just one client) or even meeting with the DJ in person. Reviews provide the insight (and hindsight) of numerous other couples who have actually experienced that DJ's planning process and performance style.
4. Ask the wedding coordinator at your venue: which DJs do they prefer? The wedding contact at your venue is in the unique position of seeing different DJs in action every weekend. They know which ones are well prepared and which ones are not. They can probably tell you some interesting stories and can usually offer an objective, experienced and un-biased opinion of which DJ companies know the venue and will provide a quality service.
5. Do they have professional grade equipment that will provide a quality performance? Pro-grade gear is made to be dropped during load-in, vibrated for hours by a bouncing dance-floor, sustain the occasional spilled drink, etc. …and still perform at full capacity. Consumer-grade DJ items (laptops, low-quality speakers, etc.) lack the necessary controls to properly beat-mix music and are not built to deliver clean, rich sound to large crowds and withstand the rigors of road use. Your DJ should use pro-grade gear, transported in protective road cases, for optimum sound quality and reliability. Ask each DJ what brands they use then research the names. Rane DJ mixers cost around $1600.00. Mixers by Gemini, Numark and Behringer are $200. To which would you trust your event?
6. Will the DJ have a complete backup system on-site at your wedding? Backup gear is incredibly important. Even the best equipment will eventually fail. If it fails during your event and the DJ has no backup (or the backup is "back at the office"), the party is over. Insist on an on-site complete backup system (mic, player, mixer, amp, speakers and headphones) as part of the contract.
7. Does the company run a well-organized operation? Preparation is one of the most important aspects of a DJ's job. The DJ’s ability to create a clear and detailed plan for his / her timeline, preparation of any announcements and formalities, and programming of the music is essential. A poorly organized DJ will figure out, by the end of an event, how it should have gone. A well-organized DJ will have tools and methods in place to determine, far in advance, exactly what is expected on the day of the event.
8. What happens if the DJ has to cancel? Life happens. Many DJs don't have a backup if, for some reason, they can't do the event themselves. Some will even book a gig at a low price then cancel when a more profitable event comes along for the same date. We receive frantic phone calls every couple of weeks during the busy season from clients (of other DJs) who's DJ has cancelled, leaving them scrambling to find a replacement at the last minute. We've done thousands of events since our inception, and our DJs have had illnesses, broken bones and family emergencies on event days, but we keep a backup DJ on call in case of emergencies and we've never had to cancel an event.
9. Is the DJ a subcontractor or an employee and is that DJ insured for both liability and worker's comp? Actual DJ companies (where the company owns the gear and the DJs are employees) provide worker's compensation and liability policies to cover their DJs. Many "DJ companies" are actually booking agencies, subcontracting their events to individual DJs, each with their own DJ system, style and level of experience. This allows the agency to avoid not only the equipment expense but employer responsibilities such as payroll taxes, worker's comp and liability insurance. Such operations usually offer lower prices but, if the DJ gets injured carrying gear into your event, or a speaker falls over and hits Aunt Mabel, you (the client) may be responsible. Our DJs are employees of our company. We pay payroll taxes and cover our valued employees with both liability and worker's comp insurance.
10. Is a low price really a good price? DJs tend to charge what they are worth. Good DJs cost more because their superior skills and reputation are in high demand. If a DJ costs significantly less than others in the same market, there is usually a reason why. Your DJ can make or break your event, so invest in a good one. We believe in socially and environmentally responsible business. We compensate our DJs fairly, which makes them enthusiastic about working for our clients. Five years ago we finished construction on our new, super-insulated, solar powered, bark-sided office. You can see the 12-panel array out back and the Peak DJ Prius heading to events all over Vermont and New Hampshire. Perhaps yours will be one of them!
All of us at Peak Entertainment love doing weddings. Ask these questions as you shop for DJs. We're confident that we'll hear from you again.