When you book a venue, you take a look around the venue and view the rooms all decorated for a wedding.
When you book a photographer, you look through their previous photos.
When you book a florist, you take a look at some sample arranged flowers.
So when you book a DJ, how do you ‘look’ at their previous work?
Looking at a playlist for an evening doesn’t give any indication of how well received the songs were.
So how about going to see a DJ in action at another wedding? It’s a suggestion I regularly see.
At Freestyle Entertainment, I don’t allow prospective brides and grooms to come and see me in action, and that’s for a number of reasons:
- How would you feel if I invited random people to come to your wedding, whilst I was performing, so that they could ‘see me in action’? I’d never do that, and it’s for that reason I wouldn’t be able to invite you to someone else’s wedding that I’m performing at.
- Even if I did invite you, it wouldn’t be a representation of how your wedding could look. Every playlist at every wedding is unique – and that playlist is based on the likes of the bride and groom and their guests. I’ve performed at weddings that have been a bit ‘rockier’, some that are more ‘up to date’, and some that contain music from different cultures and countries.
- Some DJs also do ‘pub gigs’ and ‘clubs’ that are open to the public. But a pub gig is nothing like a wedding. And do you want a wedding specialist looking after your wedding, or an ‘all round DJ’ who mainly does pub gigs, and a few weddings on the side? And rarely does a ‘club DJ’ style of music work at a wedding, unless that is something that you and your guests specifically want.
So what is the solution?
Admittedly, booking a DJ is tough compared to other services where you get to look through their previous work.
So it’s well worth taking time to get to know the DJ and see if they reflect your style. Before contacting DJs, consider the style of music that you do and don’t like. Think of previous weddings you’ve attended as a guest, and think back to what you did and didn’t like about the DJ you saw. You can then build up a list of Dos and Don’ts – especially consider how much ‘cheese’ you want. When contacting DJs, don’t give them this list – sadly, many will just say ‘yes, I can do that!’. Instead, ask them what a typical playlist would look like if you gave them no guidance at all. Ask them about what sort of cheese they do and don’t play, and see how close it is to what you want. If you want some fun songs, like Michael Jackson, Bruno Mars and Whitney Houston, but without ‘action songs’ like Agadoo and the Conga, then you don’t want a club DJ who’s going to be playing the latest Ibiza anthems – and you also don’t want a cheesy DJ who is only going to play Macarena, Oops Up Side Your Head and The Birdie Song all night!
Also, ask the DJ what ideas they can bring to your wedding to make it fun and more memorable than just playing music. They may give you some suggestions you didn’t even realise existed. Many DJs also look after the music for the whole day – and can even host your wedding day, making all of the announcements, so that guests know what is happening and don’t miss any of the key moments, such as the cake cutting. Have you even thought yet about who will look after the music during your ceremony, including the all important ‘processional music’, as you walk down the aisle?
Finally, take a look at photos and videos from the DJ. Does their set up look modern and tidy? Does it fit in with a wedding, or does it look like something from the 80s, and takes up more space than you have available?
Only at this stage is it worth asking a price. Otherwise, if you get the price first, you don’t really know what that price includes, or if they’re the right person for you. A good DJ is worth paying more for – after all, the evening alone is around 1/3rd of your wedding day. And a full time wedding DJ will devote more time to the planning and preparation of your wedding to ensure it’s exactly how you imagined, with you both on the dance floor, surrounded by friends and family.