Important Questions to Ask Your DJ
How did you become a DJ? Why do you DJ weddings?
There is no feeling better than dropping in on the best day of someone's life and throwing them the raddest dance party of all time. Each DJ has their own tale of how they ended up in this life. So be sure to ask.
What is your creative process? How do you build out your sets?
Each DJ will have a different process, but each should include some element of 1) forethought, 2) incorporation of your musical preferences, and 3) flexibility - the ability to change the set in order to realize the potential of the moment at hand.
How do you get people dancing?
Good DJs will be able to build the energy of a dance floor over the course of the night. It should feel organic and unforced. The goal is to have people feel like dancing, long before it is socially acceptable to do so. The build-up is just as crucial as the ultimate delivery. Socially engineering a dance floor is a science. Your DJs ability to lead the people where they need to go is the difference between dancing the night away and a flash-in-the-pan dance party that dissipates as soon as the cake arrives.
What does your setup look like?
You can learn a lot from a DJ's equipment list. (So you should ask about that.) But you can learn even more by seeing a picture of how it all looks when its all put together. DJ setups can be either techie monstrosities or aesthetic works of art. Go for the latter.
What are your performance requirements?
At a minimum, a DJ typically needs an outlet and a table. But there may be other requests that are easy to accommodate that can make their job much easier. This may have to do with where they are placed in relation to the dance floor or with the flow of the event timeline. These seemingly small details can make a big difference when it comes to how your guests experience the music.
What is your style of MCing?
We recommend not hiring anyone who thinks they are funny. Once they have a mic in hand, all bets are off. Very few exceptions here.
How do you handle requests?
A Do-Not-Play list can be helpful for avoiding any potential (and typically well-intentioned) grenades from guests. A good DJ will navigate requests with ease, incorporating those that enhance the experience for everyone. A great DJ will be two steps ahead of everyone, and nobody will request anything all night.
Who will be performing on the day? What makes them exceptional at what they do?
Depending on how the company is structured, you might be booking a specific person or the company. Be clear about what you're actually getting. At the end of the day, it needs to be the right person.
How does overtime work if we want to keep the party rollin'?
This should be a common request for them (the DJ) with a clear system in place. If not, consider why this might be...
Do you have any shows coming up that we can attend?
Many performers have a weekly residency or regular public events where you can see them perform before the big day. Always worth asking.
Are there any additional fees?
All rates should be clear and simple - with no surprises.
What backup systems do you have in place if something goes wrong?
Producing any large-scale event is about managing risk. Venues can be unpredictable, equipment can fail, but the show must go on. Every necessary system needs a backup of some kind.