I am really excited about sharing this blog post with you today. I have partnered with one of my favorite Arizona DJs, Jeff Marcus with Rock Around the Clock, to bring to you the most comprehensive guide for How to Choose your Wedding DJ. Our interview was an amazing combination of learning more about his profession, and how we can provide the best service and education to couples in our industry. Instead of a traditional Q&A interview style post, I am going to combining both or our thoughts into one organized guide. When you see words in italics, those are Jeff’s words/thoughts. Hopefully you find this information helpful and feel free to share it with others. We have a lot to cover, so let’s jump right in.
I’d love for you to take a minute and think back to a couple of the most memorable weddings you’ve attended. What do you remember the most? Do you remember what was served for dinner, or what color the flowers were? Maybe you remember the venue atmosphere or the delicious cake. It’s likely that what you remember the most, is whether or not you had a great time. In addition, you will likely remember other various details and important moments from the day documented by the photographs taken. You might not have realized it, but the DJ had a lot to do with setting the tone for the wedding.
The DJ is the one constant thread throughout the duration of the entire day. From the ceremony, to the last dance, they ensure the flow of the wedding is seamless, from each transition, introduction of a special dance or event to reading the crowd and choosing songs that will keep the guests entertained and interacting throughout the whole night.
It can be hard to determine which vendors are the most important and which should take priority when planning your wedding budget. Check out this post for tips on how to get the most bang for your buck and which vendors I believe deserve to be top priority. I would encourage you to really take a hard look at your list of vendors and determine which ones are going to leave the most lasting impact on you and your guests. I would also encourage you to spend more time researching and communicating with potential vendors than you do pinning ideas on Pinterest. Don’t get me wrong here, Pinterest is a great planning tool and I love it. Just be sure you’re using it the most effectively. Check out this post for my tips for using Pinterest for wedding planning.
Your DJ is one of the hardest vendors to choose, because they are selling an experience. They typically don’t have anything tangible to show you their skills. So you’re going to have to play detective here and really ask more thought provoking and engaging questions.
I recommend sending each of your candidates an e-mail to inquire about your date, and to set up a time to chat on the phone. This step is so crucial and will eliminate so many back-and-forth e-mails. You can get so much information across in a 15 minute phone call that would take days and multiple replies to convey via e-mail.
Don’t be afraid of the phone!! It may feel awkward at first, but just remember these phone calls are going to save you so much time. Also don’t let the price deter your from talking to each potential candidate. This is likely the first time you’ve ever hired a DJ so it’s important and educational for you to hear each and every one of them out. Find out what their prices include and why each additional item might be something you would want to consider.
If it takes more than 48 hours for a potential candidate to respond to your initial e-mail that should be an instant red flag. Most industry professionals respond to new inquires within 12 hours. If they are taking too long to get back initially, that may be a reflection that their response time in the future may take even longer.
Expert Tip: Prior to your phone interviews I recommend downloading an app called callBOX to your phone. This app will automatically record your phone calls and you can go back and replay your interviews while making your decision about who to setup in person meetings with. You can also play them back with other decision makers so you don’t have to take notes, or coordinate schedules for everyone can be on the call at the same time.
Remember you should look for these two things EXPERIENCE + PERSONALITY. As mentioned before, your DJ sets the tone for your whole wedding and you want to make sure that their personality will jive with you and your guests.
At the end of your conversation, you will probably have a good sense of their personality and if you want to proceed with an in person meeting. I would try to narrow your choice down to 2 potential candidates and schedule in person meetings with each. Yes this will be a little time consuming, but so worth it!! If you find more than 2 people you like, then of course book in person meetings with those potentials as well. I only recommend 2 just to make your decision easier. You will do most of the work on the phone so the by the in person meeting you should already know the DJ fairly well.
This is the most crucial step to choosing your DJ. You want to make sure that you pay close attention at this meeting. Save your questions for the very end. A good DJ will have a flow to their in-person meetings and should answer a lot of your basic questions up front. Some of these questions below will really help you get a good sense of how your DJ operates on the fly. A good and experienced DJ will say things like “every crowd is different”, “what works at one wedding, might not work at another”, “your input is really valuable”, “I want to get to know your crowd”, ” my goal is to get the older and younger crowds on the dance floor together”
Interview Questions for your DJ
What will you do to surprise our guests?
How do you keep the party going?
I like to respond to what’s happening. I read the crowd and choose follow up songs accordingly.
Will you come to our wedding with a pre-selected playlist?
Every wedding crowd is different, you cannot play the same order and pre-chosen songs for each wedding.
Do you have backup equipment?
Yes! Only the top of the line sound equipment is used, but even Ferrari’s break down. Regular maintenance is performed to keep that from happening, but you are covered from speaker cables and surge protectors to mixers, amplifiers, computers and microphones.
Tell us about a time where you had to improvise at a wedding and how did you handle it?
Where do you think the balance is between too much talking at a wedding and not enough?
How do you like to transition into new songs?
How do you handle requests?
Do you provide a timeline?
What kind of planning materials do you offer?
I hope that you have found this guide helpful and gained a little more insight into why I think there is a lot more that goes into a DJ than just the price. I’ve photographed over 100 weddings and I can still remember those weddings with awkward silence, bored guests and empty dance floors. Don’t let your wedding fall flat.
Put the time into getting to know your DJ and if you’re looking for an amazing DJ who knows how to pack the dance floor and provide amazing service throughout your whole day, contact Jeff with Rock Around the Clock!! He’s truly the real deal.
Looking for a photographer to document your day? Let’s set up a coffee date and chat details about your wedding. I can’t wait for us to connect!