An article written by Tony Winyard published in Ultimate Wedding magazine
For most weddings entertainment is a big factor as it is what the guests will remember from the wedding in years to come. If you think back to weddings you’ve attended from years gone by you might not remember the cake from that wedding 5 years ago, or the favours from the wedding 7 years ago, but it’s quite likely that you’ll remember whether you had a good time from every wedding you’ve attended and much of that is down to what entertainment they had.
Unless you’re a fan of taking big chances you’re going to want some reassurance that the entertainer you book is going to deliver what you want, and the only way to do this is by meeting them in person. Even if you were at a wedding a few years ago where there was a great band or DJ you should still meet with them for many reasons. Some of which are covered further in this article.
Are you definitely available on our date? -In case other couples have enquired but not yet confirmed.
Do you care about my wedding? (And watch for their reaction) -Have you ever been at a wedding where the DJ looked totally disinterested? For some this is nothing but a job and they have no passion for it. Is that the type of DJ you want performing for you?
Will the person you meet guarantee that they will be the person that arrives on the wedding day? -There are some people that are great salesmen, and they’ll sell you the dream about how great your wedding will be and lead you to assume that they will be the DJ on the day, and then when it comes to it somebody completely different turns up, who you know nothing about. This can make many a bride a little uncomfortable and worried.
Do they have creative ideas to make the wedding unique and fun? –Do you want somebody to simply turn up and play music? Or are you looking for someone to be more involved in your day and to help with background music for the drinks reception, wedding breakfast, help with introductions etc.? They may have some ideas to make your wedding a little different to all the others you’ve attended.
Do they have the required insurance? (PLI- Public Liability Insurance & PAT Certificate – Portable Appliance Test), and also a member of one of the trade associations, such as NADJ (National Association of DJs) or SEDA (South-East DJ Association) –Many venues require this from the DJ before they are allowed to perform at the venue. Being a member of a DJ association isn’t a guarantee of being a great DJ but at least it shows they take the job seriously and are trying to develop themselves. It will also mean they’ll have the required insurance.
Do they have testimonials and/or client evaluations of their service and is it possible to contact some former clients? –If the DJ has told you they have x number of years experience in DJing at weddings and yet can’t show any genuine testimonials that could be cause for concern?
Will they meet with you to discuss your day in detail? –This is absolutely imperative, to get to know their personality so you can assess whether you want that person interacting with the people closest to you. It also allows you to ask a number of these questions to gain some reassurance. The entertainment plays a major part in the success of the day, it’s essential to ensure you are comfortable with your choice of DJ and that you’re comfortable he has the necessary experience, music knowledge and music collection and that he’s willing to play the music YOU want, rather than what he likes.
What does the DJ think is more important – professional equipment or unique talent? -If they answer “professional equipment” it is very unlikely they have much creativity and a greater chance that you’re going to receive the same wedding they deliver every week to every client they work for.
Do they have back-up equipment in case anything should malfunction on the night? –If they do not confidently answer, “yes” to this question it could be cause for concern.
What would they do if they fell seriously ill on the day or were seriously injured? Would they be able to contact a good quality replacement? –If they can’t confidently reply how they would proceed in such a situation, it could be more cause for concern.
Will they visit your venue before the day itself? Some venues have extremely difficult access. Some may have a lot of stairs. Others require very long leads to connect to the power and so on. If your DJ doesn’t know any of this, in some cases they could be severely delayed.
Will they provide a booking form that clearly lists the services they’ll provide as well as all the other relevant details such as the fee, venue details, contact numbers etc.? –Having a signed document with these details provides reassurance that they have the correct details.
Will they allow you to submit a request list of your favourite songs? –And just as importantly, a list of the songs you definitely do not want to hear! This is an item that should definitely be discussed so that you are confident that the DJ knows what you both like and dislike and to give you some reassurance that they’re not going to try to “educate” with their music taste all night. Also check that he’ll take requests from your guests on the night?
Do NOT ask the DJ if it is ok to watch them perform at another wedding! You would most likely not like your DJ bringing in strangers to your wedding so it is not fair to expect to intrude on somebody else’s wedding.
The two main DJ associations are NADJ (The National Association of DJs) http://www.nadj.org.uk/
and SEDA (South East DJ Association) http://www.seda.org.uk/
both associations list their members on their websites.