I googled “questions to ask a DJ” and up popped a free ebook with the anxiety provoking title of Don’t Hire That DJ, by the owners of MyDeeJay, Inc. And though I really had thought the hard decisions were over now that we had a the date, venue, guest list and caterer, my curiosity kicked in.
After reading the book, I decided to offer my fellow (and weary) wedding planning travelers a few minutes of reclaimed time and provide my summary as this week’s post. If you’ve got the time, absolutely read the book — it’s free, about 30 pages in length, and has a helpful, not snarky, tone.
Otherwise, after reading their book and too many blog posts, this is my 5-step process for hiring a wedding DJ:
1. First determine the DJ’s role. Though it is primarily about the music, the DJ will also be “the voice” of our event. So, I want to know that our DJ will be a good match for our personalities, theme and needs. For some people this might include cultural and generational similarities. For me, what makes a DJ “good” is the same as what makes any other good pro — passion for their work. You know it when you see it because you can feel it.
2. Create the short list. I am asking for a couple of suggestions from our caterer and venue manager. I also will scan weddingwire.com and gayweddings.com for reviews and comments. As I have done with all other selections – I’ll start with my top 3. I’ll look at their websites, I’ll make contact via email and see if they respond, how they respond and what information is provided up front. We’ll then go meet at least 2 of them.
3. Interview. The DJ has to want to meet us. If he/she does not have time for that, I will move on. I want to know that the person I interview is the person who will be there. A conference call or FaceTime meeting is not going to work. I need to have an opportunity to connect (or not…) with this person, see how they present themselves, and how comfortable they are with us and with themselves.
- Are they more of an entertainer or a behind-the-scenes type — do they have “a style”?
- Experience – with Santa Margarita Ranch, with same-sex couples, with music that was popular when there were cassette tapes and Walkmans.
- Willingness to work with us, our particular musical interests and our vision while also bringing their knowledge and professional opinions — into the mix — so to speak!
4. Cost. The average cost is reported to be $100/hour with a minimum number of hours. Since we haven’t signed a contract yet, I will let you know how accurate this estimate is.
5. Warning signs to move-on:
- -speaking poorly of fellow professionals
- -lack of professionally written contract
- -high pressure sales approach
- -contract add-ons that increase the cost
- -interaction with a sales rep rather than the DJ