How to choose a Top DJ
What to ask.
1. Are you available? You should always start off by indicating the date, time and location of your event to ensure that the DJ isn't already booked.
Saturdays tend to fill up especially fast and a year in advance is really not to soon to guarantee the availability of that perfect DJ.
2. How much do you charge? Probably the worst way to choose a DJ is on price alone. With prices starting as low as €150 for the night, it's tempting to choose the cheapest one available. However, when considering the pricing of one DJ to another, it's important to make sure that you are comparing apples to apples. Are you really getting the same service? How much experience does the DJ have? Will he act as the master of ceremonies or just play music? Will he help coordinate the event? How much does he charge for overtime? How much equipment will he bring? Does he provide his own music? Does he have professional equipment? The list goes on and on. Just remember to use your best judgment and make sure that a lower price is exactly that and not a lower level of experience, quality, planning and commitment.
Professional DJ prices vary from region to region, so be sure to call around to get a good idea of pricing in your area. Remember, when it comes to the success of your event, less expensive does not always mean better value!
3. Do you use a written contract? This is a definite must! If they dont use written booking forms dont hire them.
4. What is the DJ's level of professionalism? As you speak with DJs, pay attention to their professionalism over the phone. Did they just answer the phone, "Hello?" or with their business name? If you get an answering machine or voice mail, does it say, "Thank you for calling So and So's DJ Service" or "You have reached the Smith residence...".
This may sound like a small detail, but their level of professionalism and commitment tends to spill over into their performance at the event. You want to hire someone who is 100% committed to your function, not just someone who DJs as a hobby.
5. How will the DJ be dressed for my event? Jeans and a T-shirt may be appropriate for a summer Barbecue, but certainly not a wedding reception! Make sure they will dress appropriately.
6. Do you have experience with the type of function I am having? This is especially important. This may be your first wedding, but it shouldn't be your DJ's! Your DJ should be able to act as the Master of Ceremonies, provide pre-event planning and coordinate with the other suppliers to make sure that the event runs smoothly from start to finish. A 21st party DJ may not be suitable for Weddings.
7. Do you offer a written schedule of events? A written timeline will not only prevent important events from being missed, but allows customisation also.
8. Do you provide a music list and take requests? It's important that the DJ has and plays some or most of the music you want to hear; after all, it's your party!
9. Do you use professional sound equipment and include special effects? Professional sound equipment is a necessity! It will not only sound better, but it's designed to handle the stress of the day to day performances and will be less likely to break down during your function. Also, confirm that the DJ is not using outdated equipment like turntables, cassette decks. Special effects e.g. lighting may or may not be appropriate for your event.
10. What if something goes wrong? Do you have backup equipment? It's important that the DJ has a plan in the unlikely event there is an accident or equipment failure. The plan should include a DJ that is on-call, as well as, onsite backup equipment.
11. Do you offer a consultation at no charge or obligation? Many professional DJs will typically offer a free consultation where you can get together and learn more about their entertainment company and of course discuss what type of music is to played at the event.
12. Do you have references or performance evaluation forms from past events? Feedback from past performances is a good way to determine the overall satisfaction of other people who have had events just like yours.
13. Do you have full liability insurance? This is a must nowadays. Any legitimate business person carries liability insurance to protect themselves along with you and your guests. Some locations may require your DJ to have liability insurance.
Interesting Wedding Statistics:
AFTER THE VOWS.....
*72% of all brides say they would have spent more time choosing their reception entertainment.
*Almost 100% say they would have spent more of their budget on the entertainment.
*During wedding planning, Brides say their highest priority is their attire, followed by the reception site and caterer - reception entertainment is among the least of their priorities.
Within one week after their reception, *78% of Brides say they would have made the entertainment their highest priority!
*When asked 81% of guests say the thing they remember most about a wedding is the entertainment.
*65% of all couples that chose a band to entertain at their wedding, said, if they had it to do over again, they would have chosen a disc jockey.
These statistics were published in St. Louis Bride & Groom Magazine. Sources include: Simmons, 2001; USA Today, 2002; National Bridal Service, 2001; The Knot, 2002; Brides Magazine, 2001.