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how to pick a good wedding DJ

A talented wedding DJ will ensure your wedding guests dance until the early hours. Below is a complete guide covering everything you need to do to secure a DJ that is right for your wedding day.

how to pick a good wedding DJ

disco props - wedding entertainment - booking a band - top wedding songs

When to book a wedding DJ

It is recommended to start searching for a DJ 9-10 months in advance of your wedding day.

Wherever possible, it is also recommended to begin your search earlier if your reception music is a high priority to you. Popular regional DJs can often get booked up quickly due to word of mouth from friends, family weddings. Looking early will give more choice, especially if you are looking to get married in an area you are not familiar with.

Wedding DJ hire costs

A good wedding DJ will cost between £500 and £800. Cheaper DJs can be found, but prices will reflect the mixing talent, MC abilities and music selection, so it is recommended to stay in this range.

Reception music can make the difference between a wedding being a hit or a flop with wedding guests so a little extra spend here will ensure a night to remember. DJ Fees will often include travel, equipment and disco lighting, but it is worth asking for a detailed breakdown inclusive of VAT from the outset.

Related articles: wedding music entertainment options - hiring a wedding band - creating a wedding playlist - top wedding songs

how to pick a good wedding DJ

Should I use the DJ included in my wedding package?

To ease the stress of wedding planning, many venues will include a DJ in the overall package or will recommend a particular DJ. As it is your day, it is worth meeting with this DJ and, where possible, seeing them live to determine that they are right for you before confirming. Wedding venues are often very happy to give out contact details, which will enable you to follow the fundamental questions and guidance below (jump to step 5).

1. Check your wedding venue has any music restrictions

Once you have decided on a budget for your live band, it is worth finding out if there are any restrictions on live music at your venue so you can adapt your search accordingly. Below are questions to ask your venue:

  • Does the venue have any sound limitations (this can affect power supplies
  • Do they have any other restrictions on DJs (equipment, sockets, location for set-up)
  • What insurances are needed
  • Is it possible to connect your chosen DJ with the venue directly to organise logistics?
  • Any on the day tips to make set up/DJ arrival run smoothly?
  • how to pick a good wedding DJ
    2. Find professional wedding DJ

    To avoid having one of those naff DJs that resembles a distant uncle/aunt and plays cringeworthy music it is recommended to only include full-time professional wedding DJs in your search. These can be found by:

  • Looking at regional and national wedding award-winning DJs and those nominated
  • Contacting DJs from friends/family weddings where the disco was really popular.
  • Contacting your venue to get recommendations about DJ
  • Asking your photographer/videographer for any suggestions as they will often have good contacts or remember great DJs who enabled them to get dancing photos.)
  • how to pick a good wedding DJ
    3. Shortlist wedding DJs

    When shortlisting wedding DJs, it is worth paying particular attention to the below so you can shortlist effectively:

  • Review the professionalism of their website and clarity of costs
  • View videos on them DJ live
  • Review their repertoire (avoid genre specific DJs)
  • Share videos with trusted people to get their opinions (the DJ must be compatible with guests too)
  • Look to see if DJ works through an agency (this will often make booking easier and the T&Cs expansive)
  • how to pick a good wedding DJ
    4. Check availability and costs of preferred DJs

    Contact each of the DJs on your shortlist to gather information about their availability, services and costs. Make sure to include:

  • Review the professionalism of their website and clarity of costs
  • Date of your wedding and venue
  • Why you liked them
  • Request for full services and costs
  • Request for links to videos and recent weddings

  • From the responses, you will be able to gather interest level, relative costs and fit for your wedding. When you have a preference order, it is then worth contacting them each individually to arrange a Skype chat and a time to see them DJ live.

    5. Watch the DJs perform live

    When organising a time to come and see the DJ play live, it is recommended to ask if it is possible to see them DJ to an audience. This will help to gauge, not only your reactions but those of different demographics. It is crucial to pick a DJ who will get your family and friends all dancing. Make sure that the sound quality is clear and volume is not deafening. It is also important to see how the DJ interacts with the crowd and the announcements that they are comfortable to make – these can ease the order of evening in the evening.

    how to pick a good wedding DJ
    6. Questions to ask wedding DJs before booking
  • Once you have checked out that your wedding DJ will get your guests dancing, it is time to organise a final Skype chat or face to face meeting to cover off specific questions.
  • Backup or coverage in case of sickness (a backup DJ is a must and should be included in the T&Cs)
  • Requirements from your venue will be covered (insurance, restrictions etc.)
  • The total performance time included in the price and announcements that will be included.
  • How much involvement in the playlist they recommend you have
  • how to pick a good wedding DJ
    7. Booking a DJ for your wedding

    Once you have found a DJ right for your wedding day, it is recommended to book early to avoid disappointment. Booking will typically involve paying a deposit and then paying the remaining balance nearer to your wedding date.

    What to do after booking

    After securing the services of your wedding DJ, it is recommended to keep in regular contact. This can be done by progressively by; putting the DJ in connection with the venue, giving a list of your favourite songs, checking what refreshments they would like on the day, providing guidance on the running order of the day and then finally giving them an alternative wedding party contact for the day.

    Do not stress too much about making contact though as wedding DJs are professionals and will contact you to prompt all of this information, as needed.

    how to pick a good wedding DJ
    Planning what music the wedding band will play

    One of the biggest luxuries of choosing a live DJ is in delegating the stress of song selection to them. They are the professionals who will have a good understanding of what gets a wedding party dancing. However, to ensure that they do play some of the songs that mean a lot to you, it recommended to make a list of up to ten tracks you would like to hear and ten tracks you'd want to skip.

    On the day DJ tips

    Designate a member of your bridal party to update the DJ on the running order. wedding timings often change over the course of the day, and it is essential to get the DJ announcing your first dance and starting music as soon as the wedding breakfast is over.

    What to do if you want to have more control over your wedding music

    Many couples prefer to entirely select all their wedding music and cut costs by just asking their venue to recommend someone to play their music. If you are limited on funds but have the time to create your music, please click here for a guide to creating your playlists.

    Related articles: wedding music entertainment options - hiring a wedding band - creating a wedding playlist - top wedding songs