These commonly asked questions will help you when you consult with any DJ you may be considering for your event. You should feel comfortable asking any potential DJ the following questions:
Do you offer a written contract and/or require a deposit?
All of the disc jockeys 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. A written 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. 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.
Almost every DJ will require some sort of deposit or retainer in order to secure your date. This is for their protection and yours. The industry standard for deposits is typically between 20-50%. Some DJs require far less, but this is not always a good idea. If the contract language doesn’t stipulate a specific guarantee of services and clearly outline a cancellation policy, the DJ may only legally be responsible for returning your deposit in order to back out of doing your wedding. While it may be considered unprofessional, there certainly isn’t any financial incentive for the DJ if he’s only forced to pay a small fee for backing out on you.
Will you be the DJ at our wedding?
Sometimes the person you speak with is not the person who will be your DJ on your wedding day. This is a very common practice among large agencies. It is important that you have an opportunity to interview the specific DJ that you will be working with and determine whether you feel comfortable with them. You should also expect that the individual DJ’s name is specified on your contract – it is the only way you can be guaranteed his or her services at your wedding.
Do we need to meet with you in person before we sign a contract?
Nowadays many of our clients prefer to conduct consultations/meetings via phone or conference apps such as Facetime, Skype, etc. That is totally fine and often times more convenient for them. We do not require you to meet with us in person, however, it is preferable that we do conduct one in-person consultation at some point prior to your wedding or event, even if just to review your timeline, music selections, etc. Your "gut" feeling is very important in selecting the right disc jockey so communication is always key.
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.
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. Others 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.
Do you act as the Emcee and make all of the announcements?
Any professional wedding DJ should be comfortable with making announcements and serving as the emcee for the wedding, it is a standard part of the job. Some DJs, however, are not comfortable with this and prefer to pass these duties on to someone else, such as a site manager, who may not have a professional voice or experience speaking on a microphone.
Do you work exclusively for this company?
Some 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. Sometimes, 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".
What makes you different from your competitors?
Any professional DJ 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, 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!
Have you played at our venue?
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.
Do you carry your own liability insurance?
It is absolutely essential that any DJ you consider carries a full liability insurance policy. They are fairly inexpensive, so being uninsured is inexcusable. Some reception sites require that all vendors working at their facility to provide proof of insurance before the wedding. Liability insurance protects you and the reception site in the unlikely event that your DJ injures one of your guests or burns your reception site to the ground.
What if something happens to you and you can’t make it to our event?
Despite planning and preparation, accidents do happen. If the DJ is injured, ill, 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.
Do you require a meal?
Some DJs require that they receive a meal at the wedding, and some even demand that they be fed the same food as your guests. Others do not require a meal at all, or simply accept one if you happen to offer. Be sure you know what the DJ’s requirements are so you can plan accordingly.
Will we meet again before the wedding?
Just as some deejays will prefer not to meet you when you book them, others will prefer to conduct a final meeting or consultation in the weeks before your wedding. This is your opportunity to go over your musci selections and overall deatils of your event.
These questions are essentials in our professional opinion. Taking time to get to know your vendors prior to booking them is a great way to ensure everything runs smoothly on your big day!