From the moment you walk down the aisle to your first dance as newlyweds, music sets the tone of your entire wedding day. The DJ you choose will play a critical role in these standout moments, so it’s important to hire someone whose style aligns with yours. Interviewing potential candidates beforehand can help ensure you’re making the right decision.
The first step is to decide if you prefer to hire a DJ or a band. From there, we’ve compiled this list of essential questions to ask wedding DJs to see if they’re a good fit before you book.
Especially if you've already started sending out wedding invites, be sure to confirm that the DJ you want to book has availability. The last thing you want is to find someone who seems like a perfect fit only to realize they’re already booked on your special day.
Depending on how in-demand their services are, some DJs require you to book weeks or months in advance. If you’re still considering a handful of options, make a mental note of the best time to reach out to book for each.
Hiring someone experienced is key to ensuring you’re happy with the music and sound quality on your wedding day. Asking how long a DJ or musician has been playing professionally is a good way to gauge their expertise. If you’re interviewing a band, ask how long they’ve been playing as a group to get a sense of how they work together.
Playing at a wedding is a lot different than playing at a nightclub or bar. Make sure any DJs or bands you’re considering have experience with weddings specifically. Ask how many weddings they’ve played in the past year as a way to gauge their experience level.
If your DJ is running on fumes from bouncing between events all weekend, their performance at your wedding might reflect that. Ask how many events they play in a typical weekend to get an idea of how busy they truly are.
Team-Z Tip: If your DJ has been playing around the clock nonstop on your wedding weekend, you may not be as satisfied with their performance.
Depending on the package you book, your DJ may only provide sound during your reception. If you want to make sure you’ll also have coverage during the ceremony and cocktail hour, discuss your options—and their price points—before signing a contract.
Hiring a DJ who’s played at your wedding venue before is a huge bonus because they’ll already be familiar with its layout and acoustics. If they haven’t played at the venue before, ask if they’re willing to do a walkthrough before the big day. This will help them get an idea of the best location to set up and any special equipment they may need to bring.
This might not seem necessary, but it’s actually super important to ask! If you’re hiring a DJ through a company, you want to make sure the person you’re speaking to is actually going to be the person performing on your wedding day.
If you’re talking with a bandleader, be sure to ask how many additional band members will be playing at your wedding. Setting up a time to meet them as well can help ensure everyone’s a fit before making your final decision.
Asking your DJ to share testimonials is a great way to determine whether previous clients were satisfied with their experience. Not only will this give you a glimpse into their working style, but it’ll also give you peace of mind that they’re pleasant and professional while playing at events.
When it comes to what to ask a wedding DJ, it’s important to get a sense of their personality and whether or not it gels with yours. Asking how they would describe their performance style can be a fun way of getting to know them better both personally and professionally.
You can get an idea of a DJ’s ability by simply asking them how long they’ve been playing professionally. However, you’ll likely get a more accurate picture by asking to see a video of a live event they played. Or, if it’s a wedding reception band, you could even request a sample of their original music.
If your ceremony or reception is being held outdoors, it’s important to make sure your DJ has the equipment—and ability—to accommodate that. Amplifying sound is much more difficult outdoors, not to mention there will likely be a lack of accessible power outlets. A professional DJ will be able to foresee any potential roadblocks and discuss solutions to overcome them.
A good DJ will be able to put together custom playlists to better align with your style, but when it comes to hiring a live band, your options may be limited. Ask what genre of music they specialize in to see if it aligns with your preferred style.
Your options for songs will likely depend on how your potential DJ sources their music and how extensive their library is. Be sure to mention any songs that are a must-play. For bands, it’s helpful to request a list of songs they’re able to perform.
While you may love jamming out to vintage hits, you’ll probably want to hire someone who has plenty of current tunes available in their song library as well. Discuss how your potential DJ keeps their music collection up to date to gain some insight into their process.
Asking your DJ their favorite songs to play at a wedding is a great way to get a small glimpse of their personality. If they’ve played a lot of weddings in the past, they might have a list of songs in mind based on your style and theme.
If you have a specific song in mind that you absolutely have to hear on your wedding day, make sure to communicate that. Most DJs have no problem accommodating these requests, but it’s always good to discuss beforehand.
Likewise, if there’s a certain song you can't stand, you’ll also want to communicate that with your DJ ahead of time. Ask if you can put together a “do not play” list of songs you would prefer they avoid completely.
If you want your wedding reception DJ to take song requests from guests on the fly, make sure to bring that up before booking. While there are many DJs who are comfortable improvising, others prefer sticking to a planned playlist. If you don’t want your guests to be able to make requests, you should also communicate that desire to your DJ.
Team-Z Tip: Taking guest requests can be a fun way to get everyone involved, but make sure your DJ is up for it first!
Make sure to bring this up before hiring a DJ for a wedding if it’s an important requirement for you. It’s common practice for wedding DJs to also act as the emcee for any announcements that need to be made. However, don’t just assume without asking!
Be sure to discuss your potential DJ’s wedding emcee style. Do they prefer to speak in their normal tone or a more theatrical announcing voice? Ask whether they like to keep announcements short and sweet or draw it out to inject some personality into it. If they’re up for it, having them do a sample announcement for you is the best way to see if their style aligns with what you want.
When it comes to hiring a DJ for wedding reception entertainment, make sure you’re on the same page about how the night should unfold. If your goal is to get as many guests on the dance floor as possible, it’s important to make sure your DJ is on board. Some DJs are more than happy to urge people out of their seats. Others, however, may prefer to let things happen naturally.
Your DJ plays a key role in your reception, especially if they’ve also agreed to act as the emcee. It’s helpful to know how often they typically take breaks so you can plan accordingly and accommodate them.
Your DJ obviously won’t be able to make announcements during breaks, but they should still have something playing to keep things running smoothly. Ask what they typically use for filler music or if they have an assistant that’ll take over.
Choosing the tracks that’ll play as you walk down the aisle, have your first dance, and experience other standout moments can feel like an impossible choice. Ask your potential DJ if they can assist with this process. If they’ve played a lot of weddings in the past, they likely have a good idea of the right tempo for each moment.
One of the most important aspects to consider when choosing a DJ is whether or not their price is within your wedding budget. Be sure to ask about their hourly rate and any packages they offer. Get clear on the specifics included in each package as well as available add-ons.
For many couples, the wedding ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception are all held in different locations. Avoid any surprise charges by making sure your DJ’s rate includes the time spent breaking down and setting up between locations.
If the dance floor is still full but your DJ is scheduled to go home, will they be willing to work overtime? If so, discuss the rate for any overtime hours to make sure you stay within your budget.
Many vendors require a down payment to secure your wedding date, and a DJ is no exception! Be sure to discuss how much the deposit will cost, when it’s due, and whether or not it’s refundable.
Hiring an experienced DJ can be expensive, and for many couples, paying the full balance up front just isn’t doable. Luckily, many DJs offer payment plans to ease your financial stress. If you’re on a budget, inquire about whether paying in installments rather than up front is an option.
Team-Z Tip: Many vendors offer payment plans to ease financial stress and make wedding planning a little more manageable. Don’t hesitate to take advantage of them!
Ask your potential DJ or band whether they charge any additional fees for special music requests—whether it be from you or your guests. It’s important to ensure you’re on the same page, especially so you stay within your set wedding budget.
Most DJs are able to provide access to wireless microphones throughout your event for things like toasts and speeches. If this is something you want, be sure to discuss it beforehand. Ask if it’s included in their rate or if it costs extra.
Some DJs offer add-ons like light shows and video screens for wedding reception entertainment. If you’re interested in these additional services, be sure to discuss whether that’s something they offer and how much it costs.
If you’re having a destination wedding or the DJ you’re considering will have to travel a long distance to your venue, ask if they charge a travel fee. If so, be sure to discuss how much it costs and what it covers so you’re not caught by surprise.
It’s always a good idea to consider your options in case you change your mind or need to postpone your wedding date. Take the time to discuss your DJ’s cancellation policy and whether they offer refunds for any payment installations.
Before signing a contract, be sure to ask whether your DJ carries liability insurance. This is something a lot of couples don’t really think about, but it’s important to keep in mind since many venues require all vendors to be insured.
Discuss the backup plan in the event that they’re unable to perform at your wedding due to sickness or another unexpected circumstance. They may be able to outsource the work to another DJ with a similar style. If you’re hiring a band and one of its members is unable to perform on the big day, ask how that may impact the group’s performance.
If your wedding is being held outdoors, it’s a good idea to ask your DJ what their backup plan is in the event of inclement weather. They may have a canopy or something similar to keep their equipment from getting wet.
There’s always the possibility of equipment failure, and if that happens, you don’t want to be left without music or sound. This is why hiring a DJ who’s prepared for this scenario is so important.
Your DJ should conduct a sound check on the morning of your wedding to make sure everything is ready to go. Since you’ll likely be busy getting ready, ask if they can coordinate this with the venue and what time they plan to do it. Avoid any DJ who says a sound check isn’t necessary—ensuring all equipment is working properly is essential to keeping your day running smoothly!
Discuss how much time your DJ will need to get all of their equipment set up as well as conduct a sound check. This is important information to communicate to your wedding planner and party so they can plan accordingly.
Ask your DJ what time they plan to arrive on the day of the wedding to ensure there’s enough time to set up and prepare before the ceremony begins. Confirming their arrival time is also important so you can communicate it to your wedding planner if applicable.
Your DJ will need to eat at some point, especially if you have them booked for the whole day and not just a few hours. If they have an assistant or you’ve hired a band with multiple members, make sure you’re clear on how many vendor meals will be needed. You should also ask whether they have any dietary restrictions and factor this into your budget.
Team-Z Tip: While it’s not a requirement, providing meals for your vendors—including your DJ—is a kind gesture that shows how much you appreciate their service.
Ask your DJ if they require a stage and, if so, who is responsible for providing it. This is a super-important question to ask because the cost of renting a stage can make a sizable dent in your budget.
Ask if their equipment requires any special electrical outlets so you can be sure your venue has them available. This is another reason it’s a good idea to have your DJ do a walkthrough of your venue before the big day.
Many artists opt to set up a sign or banner with their equipment as a way to advertise their services. If you have a specific idea of how you want your wedding to look and a banner would interfere with that, discuss your vision with any potential DJs up front.
Once you’ve decided on a DJ, find out when you’ll receive a contract and when it’s due back with your signature. Make sure you’ll have ample time to read the contract carefully before signing. Having a legal agreement protects both parties, so avoid any DJ who says they don’t send a contract.
One of the most commonly overlooked questions for wedding DJs is the deadline for song requests. To give your DJ plenty of time to prepare for your big day, be sure to discuss when your must-play and do-not-play lists need to be finalized.
Now that you know everything you need to know about your potential DJ, turn the conversation over to them. Inquire about what they need from you and answer any questions they may have about the big day. This will also give them the opportunity to bring up important points you may have overlooked.
Hiring a DJ for wedding entertainment can be an overwhelming—not to mention time-consuming—process. You want to be sure the candidate you choose aligns with your wedding style and can help make your vision a reality. Now that you’re armed with our list of essential questions to ask wedding DJs, hop on over to our vendor page to find a local artist that’s in your budget!