First of all the most important thing is to start looking early. A year in advance is always recommended and six months if you’re on a tight schedule. Most of the good DJ’s that do weddings get booked pretty early.
Referrals are always your best place to start. Ask some friends that have recently been married and see if they had a good experience with a particular DJ. If that is not an option then check with your venue to see who’ve they have worked with and who they might recommend. Bridal magazines will sometimes have ads for DJ’s and the Web is also a good source these days.
At this point you should have a few names of companies that you’d like to talk to. Now it’s time to interview them. Yes, I said it… Interview them.
I know this is my site but I also realize that I’m not the DJ for everyone. When you talk to your potential DJ you should find out about their experience, what services they offer and most importantly do you like them? Can you see them at your wedding and as part of your big day?
This is one of the biggest days of your life. Take time to put together your perfect team so, that on the day of your wedding you can relax and focus entirely on the person you’re getting married to and have an amazing time.
In my opinion not all DJ’s are good wedding DJ’s so you really want someone who has experience and a passion for doing weddings. Some things you may want to know about your potential DJ is: How long or approximately how many weddings have they done? Are they willing to make it your day and not about them? What value added services do they offer? (ie: lighting). Can they provide you with referrals (either a bride or a venue)? Are they a full time DJ or is this just a weekend thing for them? Lastly I would ask about price… Although not a guide to how good a DJ is remember this; “While you can get a good DJ at a cheap price you will never get an outstanding DJ at a cheap price”. A great DJ knows what he’s worth but will still not over charge.
Money is always a touchy subject for people especially in this economy but I’ll give you a rough idea of what you’re looking at to ensure you
have an amazing experience.
There are things that first need to be considered and they are: Is the DJ providing a system for the ceremony? Will you be using wired or
wireless mics? How many guests will there be? Do you need extra speaker(s) for a cocktail area that is away from the main reception area?
Do you want uplighting? (Uplighting adds to the ambiance of the room) Do you want to see your name or initials shown on the wall or floor?
(A very nice effect for those that choose it) Any other special lighting concerns? (Most brides don’t ask for things because they really don’t
know they exist).
There’s a lot more to consider than most people think.
An average 4 hour wedding with no special options will run from a low of $500 to a high of about $1000
Add ons vary from DJ to DJ but you can expect to pay 100 for a low end beach system and wired mics to 400 for a high end system with
wireless mics. Average uplighting fixtures rent for about $25 ea with setup and more for the fancier lighting effects. And that’s about it.
Most DJ’s include basic lighting but I would recommend at least having a dance floor wash to encourage people to dance. Extra hours are
billed at an hourly rate with the average being $175/hr.
DJ Placement: Placing the DJ’s table next to the dance floor maximizes his/her ability to control the sound and interact with your guests. It is not recommended to have the dance floor in an adjacent room from where your guests are seated. Also, be wary of facilities that require you to share a “common area” with other parties or guests. Such arrangements may promote uninvited guests to share in your celebration or impair the overall success due to volume limitations or other restrictions.
Music: Try and not select EVERY song your DJ will play. Our DJ’s are professional and are very familiar with blending music for the enjoyment of all guests. Although we encourage you and your guests to make requests, be careful not to focus on only one or two types/genres of music for your entire event. Remember, the events where everyone has an opportunity to enjoy at least a few songs are the most successful. This is even more important at wedding receptions where there are a lot of varied ages. Requests for the more “intense” selections should usually be held until a little later in the event. Do you really want to chase some of your guests away before the important formalities are finished?
Lighting: Be sure the lights are dimmed when it’s time to start dancing. Soft lighting during dinner creates a more comfortable atmosphere. Dimming them after dinner will help facilitate an environment for dancing. Most people are reluctant to dance if the room lighting is too bright. Determine the desired lighting levels for dinner and dancing when you meet with the facility’s event coordinator.
Photographers: Select a photographer who has the skills to capture your special moments efficiently and unobtrusively without impeding the flow of your event. A good photographer will want to get you back to your guests as soon as possible before they become restless. Also, choose a videographer who uses equipment that does not require full lighting which may distract from the overall atmosphere.
First Dance: Our recommendation is to do it as early as possible . One of the most important highlights of any wedding reception is the bride and groom’s first dance. Having your first dance after the grand entrance or right after dinner helps to ensure all of your guests share in your special moment. Don’t delay this or your other formal dances too long. Doing so will quickly deflate the energy of your reception and some of your guests may leave.
Group Activities: Quirky and weird maybe, but from experience we would recommend thinking twice before you reject those so-called “cheesy” group dances like the Macarena, Chicken Dance and YMCA. These dances tend to be great “ice-breakers” if your group is a little sluggish to bust a move. It may also be the only opportunity some of the non-dancers have to participate in your special day. Although it’s not necessary to kick off your event with any of these activities, allow your DJ to keep all options open. Many of these group dances are often requested by your guests and can provide a little humor in some of your photos.