7 Things You Need to Know Before Hiring a DJ

Your music sets the tone for your big day. Find the right DJ for you with these tips. 

wedding dance floor
Photo: Ellie Asher Photography via Bridal Bliss + Rock Paper Coin

Check in with your venue first. "Before hiring your DJ, it's important to check in with your venue. You'll want to be informed about any restrictions they might have — like noise limits, a music curfew, availability/load of electrical circuits, and time limits for setup and breakdown of the DJ's equipment. When doing your site tour, check where the outlets are located in your event space. That will help you get an idea of your floor plan, including where the DJ can set up shop and where the dance floor will be." —Jenna Miller, Creative Director of Here Comes The Guide

Find out their style. "You may want the laid-back type and just dance all night, or you may want someone getting your guests up and being vocal during their sets. It's best to know how they operate before the big day." —Erica Trombetti, Infinite Events

"Ask things like, 'Do you get on the mic to entertain and introduce songs?' or 'Do you hop on the mic to encourage folks to dance?' or 'Do you focus on just changing the music to engage the audience?' See what their style is and if it’s what you're picturing for your crowd. You can also ask them for a sample of how they mix transitions between songs to get an idea of how things will sound on the wedding day — no awkward pauses here!" —AJ Williams, Founder & Creative Director, AJ Events

"Ask your DJ before your book if he/she/they take requests? So many guests get inspired while they're on the dance floor and insist on hearing a specific song. You can always supply your DJ with a substantial do-not-play list, but keep your guests dancing and allow them to request something that will be sure to keep the floor full." —Nora Sheils, Founder of Bridal Bliss and Co-Founder of Rock Paper Coin

wedding first dance
Photo: Laura Ford Photos via Feathered Arrow Events

Remember it’s more than just the cost. "WedBrilliant can be such a great tool as you choose a wedding DJ. Couples can post the specifics about their wedding and goals for their DJ and DJ pros will send customized bids that highlight their experience, their role during the ceremony, and how they engage and entertain everyone during the reception! Some key tips to keep in mind: select a DJ who has great experience at weddings, and ask to see clips of them in action; find out how they get guests up and out of their seats and how they keep the fun going; if you don't have a separate emcee for your wedding, make sure to ask prospective DJs about their experience making announcements and getting everyone's attention; put together your ideal playlist for your DJ, but don't forget to also add a 'do not play' list, to avoid any surprise guest requests!" —Melissa Wilmot, Founder & CEO of WedBrilliant

Get recommendations! "Keep in mind that the DJ is the heart of your reception. Bad DJ = bad party, amazing DJ = amazing dance party. Don't skimp on your DJ and try to get recommendations from your friends if you don't have a planner that can send tried and true options." —Sheils

Make sure your personalities mesh. "Always, always, always meet with your DJ either virtually (camera on) or in person. You need to vibe with this individual with the get go — so if your gut is telling you something isn't jiving, say thanks and move on to the next. DJs play such a pivotal role in keeping the night going, it's imperative that you feel a connection, and that this individual is excited at the prospect of working on your day. Always read the reviews — on multiple platforms! See what people talk about the most with your potential DJ, and if that aligns with the priorities you have for the evening." —Ashley Lachney, Owner of Alston Mayger Events

wedding reception dance
Photo: Lefebvre Photography via Infinite Events

Ask about their back-up plans. "It's good to know what happens if they are sick, or if their equipment fails, along with how they are on the microphone." —Trombetti

"Make sure your DJ, and really all of your vendors, have team members or a network they can tap into if the unthinkable happens. No one wants to be stranded on their wedding day without music! Plan ahead and hopefully the Plan B is completely unnecessary." —Sheils

Make sure to hop on a call with your DJ first. "When looking for the right DJ, you want someone who can put together a great playlist to keep your guests on the dance floor and someone who can be a good emcee. Nothing kills a wedding more than a poorly put together playlist and someone who isn't great at hyping up the crowd and making announcements for smooth transitions. Always hop on a call with a DJ to ask questions and get a good sense of who they are, what they can do, and that you guys vibe!" —Kari Dirksen, CEO + Lead Planner, Feathered Arrow Events