Top 6 Tips for Hiring a Wedding DJ

The first guest post on my blog comes from a preferred vendor, Nick Salve a wedding DJ here in Maine. I asked Nick to help me out with providing you all some good advice on choosing a DJ for your wedding. Here are his top 6 tips for hiring a DJ for your wedding.Bickerstaff181-copy
1. Experience

Find someone who knows what they’re doing.
When planning a wedding, you normally have two people who have never thrown a major event before in their lives. Unless you are hiring a professional wedding coordinator, your DJ/MC is going to be your best resource for making sure things happen smoothly and on-time the day of your ceremony. Your DJ is your primary source of communication between the venue. the caterers, your guests, and you.
2) Your iPod is not a DJ.
Yes, it may be better looking than some of the DJs out there, but your iPod lacks 1 major skill when it comes to entertaining a crowd: a personality. Your DJ doesn’t just play music; your DJ is there to entertain. Your DJ has spent wedding after wedding learning which songs are able to get the older people out on the dance floor without alienating anyone under the age of 65 and vice-versa.
3) Ask if your DJ uses MP3s or CDs.
We live in the age of HD compression and wireless hotspots. If your DJ is 100% digital, he or she has the world of music available to them as long as they’re in range of a cell phone tower. Anything you want to hear can be played within minutes of it popping in to your head. Keep your options open.
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4) Know your budget.
Most wedding DJs (especially in the Northeast where I’m from) don’t make our full time living from DJing. This means our rates can be flexible. When I quote a customer, I take many factors in to account. How far do I have to travel? Can I get by with just 1 PA system, or do I need to bring a second system? How many hours am I going to be there? I have base prices to start from but, honestly, would rather cut out a few hundred dollars rather than get nothing at all. Tell your DJ how much you’re able to spend and see if they will work with you.
5) Don’t hire your uncle to do it. Even if he’s a professional DJ and does this for a living, really try to avoid having family work at your wedding. No one wants to go to their loved-one’s wedding and have to work. Even if they agree to do it with a smile on their face, they don’t want to. They want to be seeing their family, drinking beer, hanging out, and dancing. Let your family be your family at your wedding. You won’t regret it, I promise.
6) Follow your gut.
Don’t just go to the first person to email you back.Talk to a couple people. You’re going to like one person more than everyone else. Go with that person. If they’re more expensive, ask if they can work with you on the price. Your DJ isn’t just working for you, they’re a guest at your wedding. They’re going to be talking to every single person there. Make sure you feel like “This is the kind of person we’d invite to our wedding anyway.” Take the time to find the person who works for you.

6 comments

  1. You make a good point about how an iPod doesn’t make a great wedding DJ. Also, I don’t know how thrilled I would be about making a playlist for the occasion. I think hiring a professional is always the better way to go, especially if they have worked at weddings before. After reading this, I think I am going to have my fiance help me find a Dj to hire for our wedding.

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  2. Thank you for the help. My fiance and I are in the process of looking for a wedding dj for our reception. We definitely want to find someone with experience, as you mentioned. Would you try to find someone that has customer reviews or testimonials?

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    • Thanks for your comment, Justin! I would definitely reach out to find a DJ with reviews or testimonials. Finding a DJ to work with your style is important to the flow and stresses of the day! Good luck!!

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  3. Asking about the equipment a wedding DJ will use seems like a really good idea. You made a good point about how digital technology can mean that WiFi is necessary to get the playlist that I want. I suppose it would be a good idea to ask if a DJ will be using an MP3 player or a CD since they don’t require an internet connection. The venue I’m having my wedding at is going to be an outdoor wedding in the canyon, so I should iron out these details beforehand.

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  4. I really agree that experience and personality are really good tools to get people up onto the dance floor. Most people want their wedding night to be a party. Plus, a dance floor full of people is a lot better looking than an empty one in the photos. Since those are what will be remembered, that is what’s important.

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  5. You wrote that with a DJ, you don’t have to worry about anyone being alienated by the music that is being played. A close friend of mine is going to be hosting a bar mitzvah for their son, and they wanted to get a good DJ. Since there will be both old and young folks there, they’ll need a DJ who has a vast library of music. Thanks for the great information.

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