Most people that plan a wedding have never had to book a photographer, arrange food for so many people, or hire entertainment before, and so often they’re not sure what questions to ask when sending enquiries to prospective suppliers, and so the first/only question often asked on an email enquiry is “How much do you charge?” Depending on the answer to that question, many people will then decide on whether it’s expensive or not, based on the budget they’ve allocated.
Deciding on the Entertainment Budget
But, from speaking with many couples over the last few years, it’s interesting how the budget is allocated. It seems to be quite a common scenario for couples to ask friends of theirs that have been married in the last couple of years, how much they paid for their DJ, and then base their budget on that for the entertainment. Yet when those same couples are asked, why they didn’t book that particular DJ from their friends wedding, the usual response is that they didn’t think he was that great! Yet the budget was decided on by the price of a DJ they wouldn’t book!
Wedding DJ Price
Like most services, there’s a massive extreme in the value you receive from a very cheap DJ to that of a DJ that will leave you and your guests with fantastic memories of a magical day, and so comparing on price alone could result in the memories not being quite so magical. But if you’ve never booked a DJ before, how on earth would you now what questions could help you choose a DJ that would be just right for what you want on your day?
Questions to ask when booking a DJ
- Will he guarantee that he will be the person that arrives on the wedding day? Many DJ agencies/companies have great salesmen to book the wedding and then send someone else along on the day.
- Does he have creative ideas to make the wedding unique and fun? Do you want a DJ that only plays music, or one that also interacts with your guests and helps generate a fun atmosphere.
- (PLI- Public Liability Insurance & PAT Certificate – Portable Appliance Test), and he is a member of one of the trade associations, such as NADJ (National Association of DJs) or SEDA (South-East DJ Association). Being a member isn’t a guarantee of being a great DJ but at least it shows he takes the job seriously and is trying to develop himself. It will also mean he’ll have the aforementioned insurance.
- Will he meet with you to discuss your day in detail? The entertainment plays a major part in the success of the day, it’s imperative to ensure there isn’t a personality clash, and that 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. This is best done by meeting the prospective DJ in person.
- Does he have testimonials and/or client evaluations of his service and is it possible to contact some of his former clients? A good DJ should be able to produce happy reference letters testifying what a great job he has done at previous weddings.
- Will he talk too much on the microphone? What is your preferred style for the DJ using the microphone? do you want a DJ that talks a lot between songs? one that rarely talks at all? or something in between? This is something else you should check. Remember he will be using the microphone to introduce your first dance etc. and when he uses the microphone he is effectively your spokesperson on the day and a reflection of your choice.
- What does he think is more important – professional equipment or unique talent? This will enable you to identify whether he feels real value is found in the amount and quality of the gear that he has, or in his actual talent as a DJ.
- Does he have back-up equipment in case anything should malfunction on the night? A professional will have additional equipment to ensure that if there is a problem with the equipment (and let’s face it, ANYTHING electrical can go wrong!), that he can still continue.
- What he would he do if he fell seriously ill on the day or injured himself? would he be able to contact a good quality replacement?
- Will he visit your venue before the day itself? to ensure he is familiar with access, parking, where he has to setup etc. rather than taking a chance on all of this on the day.
- Will he provide a booking form that clearly lists the services he is providing? It should also list all the other relevant details such as the fee, venue details, time of arrival, his contact numbers etc.
- Will he 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! When he meets with you this is an item that should definitely be discussed so that you are confident that he knows what you both like and dislike. And, will he take requests from your guests on the night?
- Do NOT ask him if it is ok to watch him 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.
Please do let me know if you’d like me to expand on reasons for any of the questions mentioned.