When it comes to hiring a DJ for your special day, it’s important to select a vendor that is going to show up and do it right the first time. After all, you only get one shot at your Wedding Day. When brides talk to me about stresses around hiring a Wedding DJ, a few common concerns come up. I’ve heard brides express worry around being embarrassed by the DJ, the DJ playing the wrong songs at the wrong times, or worst case, the DJ not showing up at all. While these are all obvious ways that a DJ can make a mess of your big day, there are still a few less commonly considered ways that a DJ can make your Wedding Day memorable for all of the wrong reasons.
As with all event planning, I believe that screening vendors is one of the best ways to ensure your event goes as smoothly as possible. So with each mistake, I’ll recommend a question to ask in the interview process to help make sure you avoid a messy ending.
- Not So Grand Entrance – While lots of people think of the DJ playing the wrong songs at the wrong time when they think of common Wedding DJ errors, another common way that a DJ can make things awkward is to mess up the name pronunciation and / or entrance order during the Grand Entrance. It’s definitely awkward for everyone when the person walking in isn’t called by the correct name or title.
Interview Question: Do you have a process for handling the Grand Entrance?
The DJ should say something along the lines of meeting with you before hand to get details about the order and names for the grand entrance. I work with my brides to determine the names and how they’re pronounced, the order in which their entering, and what music they’ll be entering to in our programming meeting. I also have an onsite helper to make sure the wedding party is coordinated and lined up in the correct agreed upon order. If the DJ you’re interviewing does’t say something like that, beware!
- There’s No I in Team. The DJ Doesn’t coordinate with the vendors before moving through the timeline causing your photographer to miss key shots, or other things to run less than smoothly.
Interview Question: Do you have experience doing Weddings? What role do you play in coordinating with vendors on the day of the Wedding?
The DJ you’re interviewing should not be doing their first wedding ever. If they are, they won’t have the experience to know about these smaller details like the need to work as a team with the other vendors to make sure things go smoothly. Either myself or my assistant are in constant communication with the catering staff and photographer to make sure things are moving smoothly. We are also prepared to all work together to make any on-the-fly changes if need be. I also make sure to communicate with the photographer before moving into any important events on the timeline to make sure they’re in place for pictures. If the DJ you’re speaking with doesn’t talk about working together with the vendors, consider hiring a different Wedding DJ.
- No Control of Event Flow. This is when a DJ doesn’t have control over the movement of the timeline causing the wedding to either drag, or time to run out before all important events have occurred (Bouquet Toss, Cake Cutting, Grand Exit, etc).*Note – a photographer who isn’t a team player or has poor time management can cause this to happen as well.
Interview Question: How do you keep the Wedding Flowing when timeline issues arise?
Let’s be real. Timelines in Weddings pretty much never go exactly as scheduled. The important thing is to work with a DJ who understands that it is their job to be in control of the timeline. If dinner is running late, or the champagne isn’t ready for the toast yet, or the reception hall isn’t ready to be seated yet, how does the DJ handle this? For me, I work with the other vendors and the couple to communicate the issues and determine what we can adjust. A Wedding DJ who’s a good fit is going to have a plan which involves taking charge and communicating for when things don’t go as planned.
- Failure to Prepare for Equipment Failure. As with anything, sometimes unforeseen things happen. This can include day-of equipment failure. How awful to have the DJ on site and in place but their speakers or laptop or setup fail and they now cannot play. And you’re left with no music which is just as bad as having no DJ at all.
Interview Question: Have you got a backup plan in case of equipment failure?
A responsible professional vendor will have a backup plan. Don’t roll the dice on your Wedding Day. Choose a vendor who is prepared for any and all scenarios.
- DJ Wildcard. This is when your scheduled DJ pulls a day-before or day-of DJ switch. (I’m sorry something has come up and I can’t make it but I’ll be sending out DJ _____ to cover me. Don’t worry. He’s great! ) I’ve actually been the DJ that’s been sent out last minute when someone suddenly didn’t have availability to do their contracted wedding anymore. The stress that you’re left with in not knowing who this person is or if they’ll show up and do a good job is an extra level of stress you DONT NEED. Especially when paying premium rates for a Wedding DJ.
Interview Question: Make SURE the person you’re hiring is the person who will be showing up.
Lots of companies book DJs for Weddings with several DJs on their rosters. There’s nothing wrong with this, but it will set your mind at ease to know who’s showing up ahead of time. When I book a DJ under my company that’s not me, the client is aware that a DJ other than me will be working their event. I also list in the contract the name of the DJ that’s handling the event and allow the DJ and the client to interact from the beginning so they’re comfortable working together. Be leery of a DJ or agency who won’t confirm who will be showing up on the day of your Wedding at the time of the contract signing.
Do your homework in the screening process, and you’ll find you’ll be much more likely to have a smooth and successful event. Don’t be afraid to ask a DJ more than if they’re available and how much they cost. Djing a Wedding successfully is part DJ skill, part personality, and part ability to manage an event. It’s the interviewing that will separate the amateurs from the true professionals. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to ensure the right fit.
Need some more ideas on how to find the best DJ (or any vendor really) for your upcoming event? Check out my blog about it HERE.