As an East Idaho DJ, Chris is sharing this list of “The 7 Questions to Ask Before Booking a DJ”. Chris has been in the entertainment business for over 17 years and is the lead DJ at Wildfire Entertainment. We’ve worked together on two beautiful Fall Weddings at LaBelle Lake and I was so impressed by his skill! So, let’s see what he has to say about booking a DJ in East Idaho!
As a DJ, The first question that I’m usually asked when someone contacts me for their wedding is, “What are your prices?”. This is a good question to ask, but I’m going to try to convince you that it shouldn’t be the first question you ask. Asking how much before knowing what you’re getting can lead to unexpected results. Below is a list of questions to ask in addition to the normal, “are you available?” and “what do you provide?” questions. These will help you find the right DJ for you.
First, let’s lay a little groundwork: Your DJ can be one of the best or worst decisions you make for your wedding. A great DJ can help you plan, coordinate, provide structure for your wedding, and help entertain your guests. A terrible DJ can ruin a wedding with bad music choices, obnoxious or inappropriate announcements, showing up late, not showing up, equipment failure… I could go on and on. Please don’t hire a bad DJ. These questions will help you avoid that.
This question is crucial. A radio DJ or a Highschool party DJ will not be able to give you what you want for a wedding. It’s the equivalent of renting a motorcycle for shuttling your guests, it wouldn’t be up to the task. You need to make sure that your DJ is experienced in entertaining for weddings. I’ll give you a couple of examples as to how this could go awry.
It’s time for your romantic first dance as a married couple. You’ve dreamt of this moment and how all of your guests would watch you and your new spouse elegantly glide across the dancefloor. Maybe, just maybe, even a few of them will tear up watching how in love the two of you are.
Then, your DJ gets on the mic and says or screams, so loud that it starts distorting the speakers, “OK WHAT’S UP EVERYONE. QUIET DOWN! HEY LISTEN UP! OK EVERYONE MAKE SOME NOISE FOR THE HAPPY COUPLE! THEY’RE GONNA DO THEIR FIRST DANCE NOW! C’MON, YOU CAN DO BETTER THAN THAT!!! DOESN’T THE BRIDE LOOK HOT!?! YEAH! GIVE IT UP FOR EM!” Then imagine, as a surprise, they drop in a remix of your first dance midway through to try and get everyone to join you on the dance floor, ruining your private moment between the two of you that you had dreamt of for so long. Imagine the DJ making terrible, annoying, inappropriate, and incessant announcements all night long. He makes a crass joke in front of your sweet grandma! OVER THE SPEAKERS! Who gave this guy a mic? Unfortunately, I’ve seen this happen, no exaggeration. Don’t let this happen to you.
You’ve always dreamed of a fun dance party with all of your friends and family. DJ #2 takes requests all night long and plays all of them (good or bad). His selection is pretty limited because he’s playing music off of CD’s. When not playing requests, he plays songs that no one knows and you can’t dance to. To try and get your guests on the dancefloor he plays the hokey pokey and the chicken dance. He announces each song so everyone knows the artist and song title, in a cheesy radio voice, “That was Three Dog Night singing, Shambala.” (Don’t know it? Exactly.)
There’s awkward silence between every song because he doesn’t know how to mix from one song to another. The constant starting and stopping of music ensures that the energy never really catches on. The dance floor will be empty for most of the night. When a good song does get played, guests clear the dance floor immediately after the song finishes. Guests get uncomfortable and bored and leave early.
These are extreme (and horrendous) examples. Finding an East Idaho DJ who is well versed in weddings will help avoid these kinds of disasters.
The easiest way to know whether you’ve got a DJ who has done at least a few weddings is how they view their role in the schedule. A great DJ will help you plan and execute your timeline. They help you avoid awkward moments by coaching you beforehand and adapting in the moment. A schedule for your wedding helps guests feel comfortable. Think about when you’ve attended weddings: don’t you hate it when you aren’t sure what’s going on, what’s next, or what you’re supposed to be doing?
An experienced DJ will help guide you and your guests through the day by making a few professional announcements and coordinating, without being overbearing or putting all of the attention on themselves. This leads to our next question:
This is a bit of a sneaky question. You’re trying to find out (at least) three things. Will They:
Bonus tip: If you don’t feel comfortable talking with them on the phone, you’ll feel far less comfortable when they are making announcements to all of your guests.
No one wants to think about anything going wrong on their wedding day, but you need to because life happens. It’s important to have a backup plan. Great DJs will be prepared. We always carry extra equipment with us. Wildfire Entertainment always has at least 1 DJ on call to jump in, in case of emergency. We’ve never had to send an alternate DJ, but if we did, we’d be ready. We’ve had equipment fail. It’s extremely rare, but it happens. When it did, no one knew anything had gone wrong. Having a DJ with a plan already in place will avoid disaster.
Side note: If you get an extremely cheap East Idaho DJ, I’m talking $400 or less, be aware that if another higher-paying gig comes along on your date, there’s a good chance they’ll take it and bail on you.
Many companies have a team of DJs & MCs that work for them. Make sure you know who will actually be performing at your wedding. The first person you talk to when asking this list of questions will often be the owner or a salesperson. They can help match you to the right DJ/MC in their team. However, it’s also essential that you talk to your performer before booking.
A professional DJ will require some sort of deposit and contract. This keeps you and them protected. Plain and simple.
Asking this question first only tells you what you’re having to give up. Not what you’re getting. Be selfish! Find out how much you get! Once you understand what you’re getting, then the price should make more sense.
For more information about how much Wildfire Entertainment DJs cost, check out their blog post here.
This may seem counter-intuitive: but you don’t want a “Yes Man” DJ. Someone with experience has seen things that work, and things that don’t work. They will have the foresight and care to help you find a better solution that will give you your desired outcome. If, in the end, they’ve given their professional opinion and you’d still like to do it your way, then they should absolutely go with your decision as their client.
As a client, how much control do you get over the music? I like to give our clients as much or as little control over music as they like. Find out how your potential DJ handles this.
These are questions I wish potential clients would ask more often. It’s important to find a DJ/MC that will give you everything you want on your wedding day. Think about your priorities for your wedding. At the end of the wedding day, what will you want to remember? What will you want to feel? What are your ‘must-haves’ and ‘must-not haves’? Then look at your budget. Do they match? Make sure you aren’t spending money on less important things. It’s easy to get swept away and lose control of your budget. If special moments are your goal (walking down the aisle, first dance, parent dances) having a good DJ will help make sure those things happen. If you want to spend time with your loved ones and you don’t care about the music or entertainment, don’t hire a DJ! Align your budget with your dreams.
My advice to most couples is to hire a great photographer (I can recommend an AMAZING photographer if you need one) and a great DJ. A great photographer will capture your day beautifully, whether everything goes according to plan or not. A great DJ will make sure everything goes according to plan. Wildfire Entertainment is the East Idaho DJ every couple needs!