Mobile DJ advice – 12 questions to ask a Wedding DJ:
If you’re looking at booking a mobile DJ for your function you may feel a bit overwhelmed, as there is so much to think about. You not only have your own personal requirements with regard to the music or set up but you also need to consider your guests and are likely to have a budget in mind. This is probably the first time you have ever planned an event, let alone had to hire a multitude of suppliers to make it all come together on the day!
Unfortunately there are no qualifications or governing bodies for a lot of wedding DJ’s. Anyone can go out tomorrow buy the necessary tools for the job and start selling their services to you at a wedding fair. These suppliers, may be very nice & will usually mean well, but may lack the ability to do the job properly, which will impact on your wedding. Don’t settle for the first quote (even if it is ours), do your research & try & meet at least 3 different suppliers to compare the results.
However well intended he might be, you really don’t want to end up with this guy!
Here are 12 questions we would ask if we employed the services of a mobile DJ:
1: Do your background research:
Before you contact a DJ and ask “how much do you charge?”, have a good look through the website and try and find some videos or information as they will often show what you will get. It may also prompt you to think of considerations and ideas that hadn’t occurred to you before.
2: How long have you been a DJ?
Forget state of the art equipment and cool personas. At the end of the day, if they don’t know how to play the right track at the right time (and create a flow) then they will have an empty dance floor! We would want to see at least 3 years’ working experience with at least 50 events played each year.
3: Are you a wedding specialist?
Weddings come with a lot of extra formalities (such as First Dance) and multi-generational guests all wanting a different sort of music, so an amazing DJ in a local bar may not be suited to your wedding as it requires a different skill set.
4: Have you played at my venue? Will you make a site visit?
As mobile DJs every venue is different, so employing a DJ with a working knowledge of your venue is a great start. Access is one of the main concerns and also timings. Ask the DJ if they intend on conducting a site visit just so they are sure that they are prepared on your wedding day.
5: Do you have PLI (Public Liability Insurance) and PAT (Portable Appliance Testing)?
PLI is protection if the DJ damages property or injures you or your guests. PAT is a safety test on equipment. Both are not required by law but are essential and don’t cost much money, so there is no excuse not to have them. Your venue will often require proof of these documents which is an obligation for their insurance company.
6: Do you accept a playlist and take requests?
A DJ that chooses the wrong music and can’t work a dance floor will end up with no one dancing. Most DJs will be open to crafting a bespoke playlist for you and openly encourage requests on the night. Why not ask them for a playlist from the last 3-4 events?
7: Can I meet my DJ in person?
A lot of companies, us included, will do a meeting in person before booking and this is probably the best way to see what you are going to get and ask all the right questions. You would not invite a stranger to your wedding, and the familiarity between you and your DJ REALLY pays off on the day.
8: What equipment do you use?
A good quality sound system is key, as bad quality sound or really high volumes will drive your guests out of the room and might even result in the sound system being automatically shut down if your venue has a noise limiter. Ask your DJ if they control their lighting by DMX, which means you won’t have loads of lighting effects flashing randomly. Ask the DJ for photos of their set up; you will know if it will fit into your wedding or not. Check they are aware of restrictions imposed by noise limiters and will work within the parameters of your venue’s regulations.
9: Will you provide a written contract?
It seems obvious but make sure you have a written contract in place with the date and reference to any payments you have made or money that you owe. Also include any other necessary event information and services.
10: When will you arrive, how long do you need to set up?
Some DJs may take an hour to set up, others 20 minutes; it’s worth double checking with the venue and DJ and organising a time to set up. This may be on turnaround in the same room as the Wedding Breakfast, so timings may be tight, especially if things are over-running.
11: What is your plan if things go wrong?
What happens if you are sick on the day? What happens if your laptop or speakers die during the First Dance? What cover do you have if you break down en route to our wedding? These are all questions a good DJ will have answers for, as they should have planned for every eventuality.
12: What makes you different?
Ask what they think their strengths are and why they are better suited for your wedding. Every DJ is different, so working out what you want based on an individual’s style is really important.
Don’t just ask “how much do you charge?” Explore your potential DJs strengths and weaknesses and try to get the most out of them, as it will make a huge difference to your wedding day. Good luck and all the best.