How to Hire a Wedding DJ and How to Avoid Disaster
In my experience, people who hire me as a DJ have never hired a DJ before, or they have a minimal experience with DJs in general. There are a lot of factors to take into consideration when hiring a wedding a DJ. Depending on your needs and your budget, you can hit a home run or strikeout! Reviews do not always tell an accurate tale about your wedding vendors.
As a wedding vendor, I have worked with some excellent professionals, but I have worked with some train wrecks as well. I have also had great clients, but some people are not effective at communicating their needs at all times. We are all guilty of this, especially in areas of inexperience. So, how do you hire a wedding DJ? How do you avoid disaster? More expensive does not always mean "better."
So you chose your DJ. You are really excited! You have beautiful flowers at a gorgeous venue. You chose the bartending company and photographer that money can buy. Then, the DJ shows up! This you this!! Oh no!!
Rule 1: Always ask for real photos.
Sure, anyone can provide a picture. With the DJs selected gallery, look for consistency, or look for a photo where the DJ is actually in the picture. Pictures say 1,000 words, right? If your DJ is posting too many stock photos on Instagram, that is probably a red flag.
Rule 2: Determine what is provided.
A DJ may nickel and dime you if you're not careful. Some DJ's will charge you for each individual hour, each microphone, lighting packages, etc. Nothing wrong with this process, but you may be shocked at your final price. If you need a DJ for a traditional wedding, you will need a DJ for about 6 hours. The timeline will cover the ceremony, cocktail hour, dinner, and reception activities. Ensure the 6 hours come with MC (master of ceremony) services and microphones, or you could be stuck with some extra costs. The sales tactic is not uncommon. A DJ may tease you with a low price, but they may have a long list of add-ons before it is all said and done.
Also, the DJ may have some exciting add-ons that can be rented to create a touch of luxury on your Big Day! The dancing on the cloud effect, the sparkler fountains, venue uplighting, and custom monograms are just a few services normally provided by higher-end wedding DJs. Ask questions about packages.
Rule 3: Actually shop!
Just because a venue may have a "preferred" list does not mean these vendors are the best fit for your wedding. Normally, these lists are made with backroom deals that may not have your wedding day and interests in mind. Some of the DJ companies may have 60 year old DJs or entry level services at increased prices that may not fit your intentions. Make sure you ask for referrals and do your homework. Your area may have Facebook Wedding Groups where vendors advertise. In Nashville, there is a local wedding vendor podcast named the ConnectWed Podcast. Each episode features a different wedding vendor. Your area may have some similar that lets you read or listen to stories of the people behind the brands. Find all the viewable episodes here: Tap to View the ConnectWed Podcast
Check out your local wedding publications as well. Here in Nashville, you can find a lot of information from the following:
The Nashville Bride Guide
June Bug Weddings
The Pink Bride