- Liège Olmos
WEDDING PLANNING STEP 5: CHOOSING THE DJ
This is a very important step when you are planning your wedding. The dance floor determines the success of the wedding party . Being one of the services more visible , the choice of DJ should be done with care and research. According to professionals, the choice must be made in advance.
The sound is the oxygen of the party. If not well dosed, may not meet the expectations of the people. There should be a thin line between the bride and groom and the professional. It is a mistake to choose the professional just because he's popular on the market. If there is no affinity, not going to happen so positive.
In addition to the musical affinities, the bride and groom must take into consideration the type of equipment used by professional, a determinant of quality of services. There are high-level technological equipment, with computerized and database products with more than 10 thousand repertoire songs. The needs and the profile of the party are going to define this choice.
Our DJ was Jeferson Leão, from Moving Djs. Jeff was the responsible to keep our dance floor full during all the time! He understood our profile and executed the entire playlist with extreme competence and animation. He only stopped when the lights in the room went up.
To support the DJ, and ensure perfect lighting and sound, we hired Rodrigo Disco that was also responsible for effects and projections on the dance floor and screens.
So for you don't dance when choosing your DJ , follow some questions to ask and good luck!
1. Do you offer a written contract?
All of the wedding djs you interview may not have the same standards of professionalism. A written, legal contract is one of the first indicators of whether a DJ is professional and reliable. Furthermore, a contract establishes the DJ’s obligation to the client and outlines what is required for the DJ’s success, by outlining his setup requirements and other factors related to his performance. For this reason, a written contract is absolutely essential and any DJ not using a written contract should not, in our opinion, be considered for a wedding reception.
2. May we meet with you in person before we sign a contract?
Many wedding DJs attempt to conduct their interviews over the telephone and through email instead of meeting face-to-face with prospective clients. In our experience, there are two reasons a disc jockey would do this – either they don’t feel you are worth their time, or they have something to hide. Some deejays are very different in person than on the telephone and what is presented on their website, and you should insist on meeting in face-to-face so you can judge for yourself whether they are a good match for you and your wedding. Your “gut” feeling is very important in selecting the right disc jockey, and it’s practically impossible to make this evaluation unless you are together in person.
3. Do you work exclusively for this company?
Most large agencies use independent DJ subcontractors to perform their events. Often, these DJs work for several agencies and also accept bookings directly. A disc jockey, or the agency through whom he is booked, should be able to explain the DJ’s obligation to that agency and what will happen if he leaves that agency. Often, there is nothing more than a verbal confirmation between the independent DJ and the agency for each booking — a frequent cause of problems. If you choose a DJ who subcontracts for several agencies and books his own events, you need to be clear on what will happen if he is accidentally double-booked for your wedding date, or what would happen to your event if you contract the DJ through an agency and he decides to skip out on your event to book something else for a higher price. To find out whether your DJ is available independently or through numerous agencies, try performing a web search for their name and the word “DJ”.
4. How long have you been a DJ and how many weddings have you done?
A wedding is such an important occasion, and you don’t want your DJ’s first wedding to be your own. The number of years someone has been a DJ will give you some indication of their experience level, but some DJs only perform for a few events (and fewer weddings) each year. A DJ with half as many years in the industry may have many times as many weddings under his belt, so you should also ask how many weddings the DJ has done. Also be sure to ask if the DJ has any formal training, either from a DJ company or a DJ school.
5. How many weddings do you do each year?
Just like any other profession, performing for weddings requires one’s skills to be in top form. If a DJ performs for only a few weddings per year, they may not be “at the top of their game” by the time your wedding date arrives. Asking how many weddings they do per year will give you an indication of their level of commitment to your type of event.
6. What makes you different from your competitors?
Any professional wedding disc jockey will take pride in their work, and be able to answer this question honestly and communicate the things that make their services unique. Some DJs, however, will take this opportunity to “bash” their competition and say negative things about specific DJs or agencies. We consider this type of behavior unprofessional (in fact, doing this is strictly forbidden for members of the American Disc Jockey Association), and is a poor reflection on them. In fact, you may want to consider making it a point to meet any DJ that they say something bad about – DJs that engage in this type of thing will often target the DJs they’re afraid you’ll book instead of them, and they’re probably right!
7. Have you played at our reception site before?
Wedding experience is important, and so is familiarity with your reception site. Every site poses different challenges – different load-in and security procedures, different room sizes and configurations, different acoustics, even antiquated electrical outlets that need to be grounded manually. Hiring a DJ that is familiar with your site will give you peace of mind that you won’t have any surprises on your wedding day. Obviously, even the best DJs can’t have performed at every site in the area (since there are hundreds available in any area), but if he hasn’t been to yours, he should be willing to adequately prepare himself prior to your event by visiting the venue and/or speaking with the site contact and studying a floor plan.
8. What do you do to motivate the crowd if nobody is dancing?
Different wedding disc jockeys handle this situation in very different ways – some opt to use the microphone to try to “energize” your guests and motivate them to dance. Others would never do something like this and prefer to use careful song selection to ensure dance floor success. You need to know what the DJ would do in this situation, and determine if that is the way you would like the situation handled.
9. What if something happens to you and you can’t make it to the wedding?
Despite meticulous planning and preparation, accidents do happen. If the DJ is injured or otherwise unable to perform on your wedding day, what is the backup plan? Most responsible professionals have some sort of backup strategy should this situation ever arise, but others do not. Often, DJs will be members of a local DJ association, and network with other DJs who could possibly provide backup services for them in the event of an emergency. Others take this planning more seriously and reserve a specific DJ for every date, ensuring that backup is both available and prepared in case of an emergency. You need to feel comfortable that you will still have a qualified, prepared DJ on your wedding day, regardless of the circumstances, so the answer to this question is very important.
10. How involved can we be in selecting music for our event?
This is an important question to ask, because some DJs prefer to control the majority of the playlist and supplement their choices with a small handful of your specific requests. Other disc jockeys prefer to let the client choose the majority of the music, and then use their expertise to make it all work. The DJ should be accommodating of your music tastes, and you should feel comfortable with the DJ’s approach and the amount of involvement you’ll be able to have in choosing the music.
11. When do we need to submit our music requests and event details?
Most professional DJs will give you a printed song list and planning worksheet with which to communicate the details of your event; others will give you access to an online planning system that will guide you throughout the entire process. You should be given ample time to make decisions regarding your music choices and event timeline, but the DJ should also require this information far enough in advance so that he can adequately prepare for your event. A DJ who doesn’t ask for your requests at least a couple of weeks before your wedding may not be able to fulfill them. In addition, the DJ should be willing to accommodate any later changes or additions whenever possible, rather than locking you into a first dance song that you later regret or refusing to alter the order of your toasts.
12. Do you take requests from our guests?
Most DJs are happy to do so, but you should also feel reasonably assured that any request they chose to play would not be something you didn’t like.
13. Can we submit a “Do Not Play” list?
Any professional DJ should be willing to honor your requests, including your request forcertain songs and genres to not be used. Submitting a “Do Not Play” list will give a DJ a clear idea of your limits and your expectations for their song selection at your wedding.
14. What do you require from us?
Every DJ will require a few things that you’ll need to provide them in order to be successful. The most common are adequate shelter, electricity, and a table for their equipment. Make sure that you understand exactly what the DJ needs from you so you can communicate those needs to your reception site and caterer.