All the Questions You Need to Ask Your Wedding Band or DJ
Let’s be honest here: The music can make or break a party, which means the band or DJ is one of the most important factors of your reception. And you definitely don’t want to hire someone without thoroughly vetting them first. Ask the below questions when you meet with any potential musicians to find the right fit for you.
How would you describe your style?
You need to figure out if their style will work with the vibe you’re going for. If you want an elegant cocktail party with lots of casual conversation, a band that describes itself as “rock and roll with a whole lotta edge” is a music mismatch. (And if you’re having trouble determining what kind of band or DJ you want
Can we come listen to you perform?
Seeing them perform live will give you the best idea about what your wedding entertainment would actually sound and feel like. While most musicians and the couples that hire them mutually agree in advance that the wedding is closed to prospective clients, some will have mini “concerts” for the public to attend and see whether they’re a good fit or not.
Do you know our reception space and its acoustic, power and amplification requirements? If not, will you check it out beforehand?
Your musicians may need an extension cord, backup generator or other supplies, and it’s important to know this beforehand. If they don’t want to check out your venue, cross them off your list.
Can you play the songs that are important to us (such as a traditional Jewish hora tune or a favorite pop hit)?
The band or DJ should be able to play, learn or download any tune you’d like. If a band says “yes,” but they’ll need to learn and/or arrange it, ask them if they’ll charge for that.
How did you pick your DJ?
We ended up going with the more expensive one, because his personality was outgoing. He was so much fun to talk and our meeting ended up running longer than anticipated. We were looking for someone outgoing and confident in what they did. We sa down and talked to 3 different DJS. Make sure you talk to them on the phone or in person. The DJ sets the tone for everything at your wedding you want to make sure they are good at it.
This is going to sound corny, but it will just feel right. I spoke with a few DJ’s, I even booked one, then canceled because he and I just did not connect as far as what my vision was, etc. The DJ I ended up finding was extremely personable and knowledgeable. He took the time to go over every detail and explain his cost compared to the industry, etc. He also gave me great tips on finding a photographer and made suggestions on how to cut back cost. I trust that he will make my wedding day run as smooth as possible.
I picked 5 DJs based on their reviews and pricing and made a spreadsheet. I listed what they were offering, how long they would be there, extra fees (set up, traveling) and the cost of each one. It really helped me to see all the options laid out and I was able to narrow it down to two. I contacted both and figured out which one would work best for what we needed/wanted.
They’re not corny, cheesy, they don’t dance, they don’t have plasma TV’s, uplighting or photobooths, they are always there early, they don’t dress like slobs, they don’t put giant ugly banners on the DJ booth (which always looks neat). They don’t do games, they don’t miss ceremony cues, they don’t mispronounce names and they actually have the processional order and the entrance details down before they are going to happen. We live in an area with very busy airwaves; they bring backup equipment in case the frequencies are a problem (Hudson river area, flight path, marinas….). They play well with others. They have interesting music suggestions beyond 1000 years and I think I wanna marry you. If I have couples that need international music, I have two DJ’s that shine in that area.
Most importantly, they realize it’s not THEIR wedding; they’re not the show, the couple is. Their prime reason to be is to be the catalyst for the evening, to create a soundtrack and concierge the night, not to have everyone looking at them.
Most Important Tips For Finding The Best Wedding DJ
Find a DJ that does more than just play music at the reception.
You have a playlist. You also have a do not playlist. You hire someone who knows how to mix music well. How hard can it be? The truth is, it’s not. Music should be the easy part for the best wedding DJs. Most brides and grooms today are looking for a lot of dancing at their wedding, and while you’ll want a legit DJ spinning your music, the secret isn’t all about the mix
Talk about timelines.
More often then not, you’re going to want your wedding DJ to make announcements and play music. But what you didn’t know, is that you should look for a DJ that takes it even further. The best wedding DJs know how to create and run a wedding timeline that is engaging and ensures that all of the details are covered. Things like checking in with the bride and groom, making sure photographers capture the important moments, and working directly with the banquet manager are just a few of the most basic details that the best wedding DJs are trained to cover. If you enjoy perfection, you’ll want a DJ that will ensure you can relax and be a guest when it matters most.
Hire a two person wedding DJ team.
The best wedding DJs consist of a two person team, an emcee and a DJ. It’s practically impossible for one person to play music and run your wedding reception at the same time. Formalities can be announced from behind the turntables, but don’t be surprised if the solo DJ talent that you hired to focus on the music for the reception is a little overwhelmed by the additional demands that come from performing for a wedding (as opposed to a nightlife event). A two person team will make formalities smoother, allow the emcee to check in where needed, and much more. In addition, some venues that host multiple weddings on the same day only allow for a small window of time for your vendors to setup. If this is the case, hiring a two person team is going to ensure that they are setup in time. You should have a great DJ focused on the music at all times, and a great emcee to focus on the rest of the party.
Beware of the all-in-one.
Generally, any company that provides a lot of multiple services such photography, videography, entertainment, decorations, etc. in one package is not great at any of those things, or only great at one of those things. Your DJ should be able to provide you with music for your ceremony & cocktail hour, and also lighting and sound for your reception. But beyond that, you’re not going to find the best of anything all from one single vendor.
Know what you should wait for, and know what you shouldn’t.
Uplighting gets cheaper every year. There’s a new style photo booth coming out each month. The point is, no one is going to run out of a commodity like lighting or photo favors for your wedding date. However, great wedding DJs get booked up far in advance because they have a high demand. With only 52 weekends a year to perform from the 100s of requests they get each year, make sure you don’t wait too long to secure a DJ. Unless you don’t want the best, which in case you should wait as long as you’d like.
Tips for Choosing Your Wedding DJ
KNOW THAT YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR
When you start talking about wedding DJ budget, you also have to talk about value. People will invest only where they see a direct value. Be wary of national websites that create wedding budgets. Since those websites that do things on “average,” they are good for couples looking for an average experience. You deserve more! Because entertainment is a service-based business, it is not a product-based business. This means that wedding entertainment professionals are singular – there’s only one Jason Jani. In addition, there’s only one Denny Testa. Your wedding DJ cost will correspond to the experience and professionalism of that DJ.
BOOK OPEN FORMAT STYLE
What is an open format wedding DJ? Open format entertainment mashes different genres of music together, so that wedding guests of all ages can enjoy themselves at your wedding reception. An open format DJ may play Jackson 5, then NSYNC, then Usher, then The Chainsmokers. It’s a DJ’s job to create a unique experience so everyone at your NJ wedding or NY wedding enjoys themselves. Bad song requests can kill your dance floor – an open format DJ ensures that doesn’t happen as they read the crowd. Good songs can inspire and create emotion – music has the power to bring people together and escape from life’s stresses. This is why song selection and timing matters. Therefore, the right open format DJ will spin live and keep the party bumpin all night long!
FEEL THE VIBES
Chemistry is a big part of choosing a wedding vendor. Your wedding is probably the biggest and also most expensive event you’re ever going to throw, so you should meet with your wedding entertainer prior to your big day. This will relieve stress and ensure you’re making the right choice for you. Start with Googling the person/company and reading their reviews. Watch any videos they may have from other weddings. If you can tell that you like their style, schedule a meeting with that wedding DJ to make sure you vibe with each other in person. Then seal the deal!
PEEP THE GEAR
DJ Jason Jani incorporates DJ gear into your wedding reception that subtly enhances the atmosphere. Special lighting, screens, as well as equipment that looks like strategically placed furniture rather than a bulky DJ booth make your wedding reception look expertly designed and clean. The right entertainment gear adds ambiance to your wedding reception instead of taking away from it. Ask your wedding DJ what gear he/she brings along and how it looks in a ballroom, backyard, or wherever your wedding reception is taking place!
SHARE WHAT YOU LIKE
Your wedding is your wedding – not a replica of what other people have experienced. As a result, detail with your wedding DJ what is important to you. Some couples may have specific songs lists of what they want to be played. Other brides and grooms may give their wedding entertainer complete freedom to play what they feel is right to keep guests on the dance floor. Love Beyonce? More of an 80s fan? No matter what your style is, make sure you communicate your wants and needs, so your wedding DJ is on the same page.
Questions to Ask Wedding DJs and Bands
Every wedding day has a soundtrack of its own—from the walk down the aisle to the first dance, the bouquet toss to your final farewell, music helps set the tone for the entire day… which is why your DJ or band has such an important role. To help you better vet the candidates, we’ve compiled this master list of questions to ask wedding DJs and band before booking. The more knowledge you have, the better equipped you’ll be to make the right decision and find the one for your wedding.
First things first, you’ve got to figure out the basics… like, is the DJ or band even available on your desired date? The answers to the following questions will help you get a sense of how experienced the candidates are.
How long have you been doing this professionally? Why you need to know this: Obviously, there’s a difference between volunteer gigs and legit, paid performances. Make sure your candidates are seasoned so there are no hiccups on the most important day of your life.
How many weddings do you do on an average weekend? Why you need to know this: If the band or DJ is playing ’round the clock all weekend, their performance might suffer. If they’re running on empty, you might want to rethink booking them.
Will you be the DJ/bandleader personally playing at our wedding? Which band members should we expect? Why you need to know this: Bands usually have a roster of performers and might alternate who’s playing based on their availability