If you’ve already made the decision to entertain your guests with a DJ rather than a live band – congratulations! You’ve made the first big step in determining the environment and mood for your wedding festivities. But now comes the hard part of narrowing down which DJ to hire. Like every wedding, every DJ is different. It’s up to you to find a DJ that suits you and your soon-to-be spouse and what type of scene you want to set for your reception.
1. Decide what services you want from a DJ
DJs can provide all kinds of services outside of playing music. While that’s probably your number one need, make sure you think about whether you need a DJ with microphones and one who will act as the emcee for the day. Do you want someone who talks a lot to hype up the audience, or are you looking for someone who’s just going to let the music speak for itself?
Also, think about how much time you’ll be expecting from your DJ. Are you looking for someone to play music during your ceremony, dinner and the reception? Or are you simply looking for someone to get folks on the dance floor after everyone’s done eating? Making these decisions early will help you select a DJ with the right kind of content for your event.
2. Do your research
Once you have a solid idea of the type of DJ you’d like to have at your event, it’s time to do a little research. Make sure to take the time to ask for recommendations from friends and family, as well. Whether they loved or hated their DJ, they’ll be honest with you. When you find a DJ you’re interested in, check out their website and social media pages. Get a taste of their style through their posts and the way they describe their style. Make sure to check out any videos or sound bites they have shared.
3. Check the reviews, but take them with a grain of salt
Reviews give lots of insight into style and how much a DJ likes to be involved at an event. Reviews are a great way to gauge your client’s track record and professionalism. People will mention if the DJ spoke a lot, was able to get people dancing, and/or played good tunes. Testimonials are also great for recognizing the amount of experience an entertainer may have. A handful of reviews versus hundreds of reviews can give you insight into how long the vendor has been DJing weddings.
However, it is important to note: The people who usually review vendors are the ones who have something to say. That means people will pour their hearts into reviews, but they may only do it because they either loved or hated the vendor. Those who felt “pretty good” don’t usually leave a comment. Remember to take reviews with a grain of salt. But if you see something repeated (like, “lack of communication”), it’s a good thing to keep in mind.
4. Talk with your venue
Many venues have preferred vendor lists of service providers they have a history of good experiences with. Not only will this make you feel secure that your DJ has been vetted, but also that your DJ knows the space. A banquet hall reception might have a completely different sound setup than a historic venue or a garden. Having a DJ that’s conducted weddings at your venue is a huge bonus!
When scouting DJs, keep in mind what they will provide and what you or the venue will need to provide. It’s important to discuss the logistics of the event with them before signing a contract. If they’ve never worked at your venue before, they may want to walk through your venue with you prior to making a commitment to ensure that their equipment will work.
5. Set up a meet-and-greet
After doing your research and checking online reviews, set up a meeting with your top two or three choices. Check on availability for the date and time of your event first so you don’t waste either of your time with a wedding that won’t even fit in their schedule. Once you’ve confirmed they have your desired date open, it’s time to get a temperature check! When meeting with the DJs, you’ll want to make sure your personalities match. This goes beyond just tastes in music, but also includes a sense of humor, demeanor and even personal fashion style. If their sense of humor leans to be more mature – you won’t want to risk them cracking a dirty joke on the microphone, leaving grandma clutching her pearls! There are a lot of styles and personality types out there, so don’t be afraid to be picky with finding someone who clicks with you.
You’ll also want to make sure the person you meet with will be the actual person who is playing music at your wedding. There are a lot of incredible DJ companies out there with a whole team of DJs, so you’ll want to make sure you meet who will be on the ground on your big day.
6. What kind of company
Speaking of making sure the DJ you meet with is who will be at your wedding…it’s important to identify the structure of the company you’re hiring. If you opt for a DJ who is a one-man show, you can feel confident in their consistency and know exactly what you’re getting. The downside is that their schedules are much tighter- since they are the only ones running the show!
On the other hand, multi-DJ companies may operate with a team of dozens of rotating DJs. In this instance, reading reviews can be deceiving, as different feedback will only apply to a certain DJ, rather than the company as a whole.
7. Compare notes
Now it’s time to have a frank discussion with your betrothed to see if you’re on the same page. We love a good pro and con list, so don’t be afraid to whip one up. Of the DJs you’ve interviewed, who are your top choices? If you and your fiancé’s selections don’t match, where is the disconnect? What are the non-negotiable aspects you need this DJ to fulfill? Talk it all out.
There are so many Chicago-land DJs to consider for your wedding. Here are some pros to check out and get your search started: