You should begin by compiling a list of all the reputable disc jockey services in your area. Here are a few suggestions for finding out whos good and who isnt:
Yellow Pages - youll find some of the more credible companies listed here.
Internet - do a search to find who in your area has a web site.
References - talk to recently married couples to find out who they used. Would they recommend them? The banquet managers at hotels and convention centres are also a good source of information. They see all the disc jockeys in the market. Ask them who they recommend.
What to Look for & What Questions to Ask
Now that youve compiled a list of the more reputable disc jockey services in your area, you should contact each and begin the important task of choosing the one thats right for you. Heres a list of things to look for and questions to ask:
You dont want any surprises on your wedding day. A written and signed contract ensures that your disc jockey is aware of all of the mutually agreed details of your wedding dance. Make certain you keep a copy for your records.
A basic contract should cover the following areas: function date & location; contact name at function location; brides & grooms name; addresses and phone numbers for all parties; services to be provided (music, lighting, etc.); cost, including whether a deposit is required; hours of service; cost for additional time and music requests. Ask to have a sample contract sent before you make a decision.
Your disc jockey should arrange to set up their equipment and do appropriate sound checks prior to your guests arriving for the reception. This will ensure that there is a smooth transition into the wedding dance. Ask your disc jockey when they set up their equipment.
Every wedding dance deserves a disc jockey who has the experience and professionalism to handle the multiple demands of such an occasion. You should look for someone who is professional, experienced and understands the importance of customer service. This includes areas such as playing for the crowd and not from a pre-determined play list, dressing for the occasion, using the microphone only when and where appropriate, and volume control to ensure that the music is loud enough to make dancing comfortable yet not so loud as to discourage conversation. Ask your disc jockey service what their policies are on each of these issues.
A wedding dance brings together the greatest age range of people youll likely ever have together in one room. The need for your disc jockey to have a selection of music which will appeal to their various musical tastes cannot be overstated. Ask to see a list of music to make certain they have the types of music you want played at your wedding dance.
Having all the music in the world doesnt make someone a good disc jockey. Equally important is ensuring they have the ability and experience to know what to play and when to play it. You can only find this out by checking their references.
Many disc jockeys offer to play background music during your reception and dinner as part of their contract, or for an additional fee. However, this may not be your best source of music at this time. The reason is that the ideal disc jockeys setup is intended to concentrate the music in one area (the dance floor) while minimizing the sound in the rest of the room (so you and your guests can talk). This type of set-up does not
usually work for background music since those guests close to the speakers must bear music that is far too loud to be considered background while those at the other end of the room may not even notice that music is being played. A better solution to your musical needs during your reception and dinner is to hire a performer to play background music or to have the facility play recorded background music through ceiling speakers. This arrangement provides an even and more pleasant distribution of music throughout the room.
Every disc jockey in the world takes requests, but many just dont play them! Again, you can only find out whether or not a disc jockey plays requests by checking their references.
Every industry has tools of its trade. In the disc jockey business the tools are sound and lighting equipment (in addition to music already covered above). Professional equipment designed to meet the demands of playing night after night is expensive, but necessary. While it may be difficult to know which equipment is suitable, you should attempt to ensure that your disc jockey has a system that will perform reliably.
Most disc jockeys can provide a range of lighting options. Give consideration to whether or not you want a lighting package in addition to the music. There are times when lighting will enhance a wedding dance, but other times when it is not appropriate. This is very much a personal decision and should be made with consideration given to the preferences of family and guests attending your wedding dance.
Lets face it, weddings are expensive. You need to make certain you get the best possible price for everything you buy. However, too often professional quality is sacrificed for a low price. Price and quality must be balanced if you hope to get someone you will be pleased with. The old saying, you get what you pay for definitely applies in the disc jockey business. You should expect to pay between $450 and $700 for a professional disc jockey service. Additional services, particularly lighting, will cost an additional $100 to $300. Additional time can cost between $50 and $100 per hour.
Our best advice dont make your decision entirely on price.
What happens if, despite your best attempts, you are not pleased with the service or music your disc jockey provides? Of course you hope this wont be the case, but by posing this scenario in advance youll get some indication of the degree your disc jockey is oriented to customer service and satisfaction. A professional disc jockey service will offer to refund your money if you are not completely satisfied.
Making the Decision
You must have confidence in your disc jockeys ability to provide you with the type of service you expect at your wedding. If youre not sure, keep looking. You dont need to compromise; invest some time finding a disc jockey service with which youre comfortable. Use these guidelines and your wedding dance will be a resounding success.