How Do I Pick The Perfect DJ?
Updated: Jan 8, 2021
So you’ve picked your wedding date and you have your venue. You may be asking yourself, “What is the next step?”. Deciding on your entertainment of course! Let’s say you have grappled with the daunting decision or whether to go with a band or a DJ for your reception. And, you have made the wise decision to go with a DJ. The next step is to try and figure out who the perfect DJ will be. The short answer is whichever DJ suits your needs. After all, it is your day.
What follows are a few pointers on how to make an informed decision and ensure that your wedding is memorable for both you and your guests.
Things to consider when deciding on a DJ:
Where is your DJ’s home base?
Hiring a famous DJ whose home base is on the West coast when you live on the East coast can become quite expensive. Consider staying local.
Word of mouth is a really good tool.
Have you seen your DJ perform? This is always a plus and helps streamline your decision making.
Haven’t seen your DJ perform? Well, have any of your friends or relatives seen your perspective DJ in action? Referrals from people you know, that have similar tastes as you, are always helpful in making informed decisions.
You haven’t seen your DJ and no one you know has either! This is where technology comes in. The first thing to do is go on Google, Yelp, Wedding Wire, the Knot and Facebook to see their reviews and the credibility and reliability of your perspective DJ. You are going to want to focus on someone that has over 50 reviews. I strongly suggest you keep looking if your perspective DJ has a small internet footprint and fewer than 50 reviews.
Why are reviews so important? Well it is simple, reviews are from people just like you, that have already experienced the working with the DJ and have seen him/her in action.
Does a picture really say a thousand words? You bet! A well put together website says a lot about the professionalism of your perspective DJ.
c. Making contact…
This is not the time to text. Your initial contact with your perspective DJ should be via telephone. Have a conversation, feel them out. An email can be very one dimensional. You want to get the full picture when dealing with someone that is going to be responsible for entertaining your guests on one of the most important days of your life.
Don’t lead with pricing. I have a lot of experience with potential clients contacting me and just asking for a price-list. I do not recommend this approach. Hiring a DJ is not like deciding whether or not to splurge on lunch. You might be wondering why this is important. Well, it is really quite simple. Just because two different DJs are giving you speakers does not mean that these speakers are created equally. The same goes for lights and TVs. Asking questions like: “How large are the TV screenes?” “What is the resolution of the TVs?” You should be looking for 4K or better. “How will you be using these TVs during my event?” Asking for visuals of what the DJ will be providing is another good way to inform your decision making.
Now that you know what you are getting we can talk pricing. The price range for most DJs in the tri-state area is between $2000 and $5000. You should find consistency in pricing across DJs unless you are looking for something completely over the top. This means that there should be a +/- of between $300 and $500 for comparable packages. Caveat emptor or let the buyer beware. I would be very leery of someone giving you what everyone else is giving you for half the price.
How do I make my choice between DJs offering a comparable package at a similar price? Go with the DJ that you love, the DJ that you have made that special connection with because a good portion of what guides your decision is the connection that you have made with your DJ. Keep in mind a tried and true rule of thumb. Your guests will always remember two things about your wedding reception - the food and the entertainment. As such, your decision in these areas is quite important.
d. Will you be your DJ’s one and only? A key question to ask your perspective DJ is whether or not your event will be his/her only event. You should focus on hiring an entertainment company that only performs one event at a time. Let’s face it - no one wants to be someone else’s sloppy seconds. So, while a company that only does one event per day may charge slightly more, the additional cost is worth it because your event will be their main focus.
Some pitfalls to consider when booking with larger companies. You don’t usually know who your entertainers will be when dealing with larger companies. As such, you will not have the opportunity to communicate with the actual DJ in the weeks and days leading to your event. I would prefer to be able to speak with my entertainers every step of the way to make sure my event is perfect, which is not generally an option with larger companies.
Who is working for whom? One of the biggest critiques I have heard from my clients about other companies that they have used is that most DJ companies are not very flexible with regard to song selections. I have heard that some DJs will deny brides and grooms song requests if they disagree with them. Remember that your entertainer works for you! Your song selections should be your choice. Another critique is that some DJs will not take requests from your guests. Again, the entertainer works for you and your guests are an extension of you. Enough said!
e. Can one person really do it all? You should also try to avoid the “one man show.” Some DJs will offer a substantially less expensive price because they are just offering one person. This one person acts as both a DJ and Master of Ceremonies. A DJ is meant to play the music and a Master of Ceremonies handles the formalities,
orchestrates timing with the maître d and entertains the crowd. Most events with two entertainers are substantially better than events with one entertainer doing the job of both the DJ and MC for obvious reasons.
As I mentioned earlier, choosing your entertainment wisely, is one of the biggest decisions you will make in ensuring that your special event is memorable for both you and your guests. The way to do this is ask the right questions, as the answers to those questions will help you make an informed decision. Consider the following: Which DJ do you feel the most connection with? What are your non-negotiables? Are you willing to pay a little more for better equipment and a team? Are you willing to haggle? The answer to this MUST be yes. After all, what is the worst that can happen?