Photo by Hopkins Studios
The music you choose for your wedding really sets the tone for the day. An expert DJ or band can assist you in creating a playlist that suits your style, but it really depends on your personal musical taste, and that of your spouse and guests. In our new WinterBook, we compiled a list of tips for creating your playlist, and also asked several music pros to provide some unique playlist ideas.
Photo by Rogue Art Photography
Breaking it down on the dance floor is one of the highlights of the wedding reception, so you want to make sure you’re hiring someone who fits your needs and your overall vision. Considering the wide range of styles and skill sets when it comes to DJs, a thorough assessment is pretty important. Here are a few good questions to ask your wedding DJ before signing on (and to find a great wedding DJ, visit WeddingWire’s vendor reviews):
1. How would you describe your style? Is he the type who likes to talk and engage the crowd a lot? Is he very formal, more laid back, or super energetic? It’s important to get a sense of whether his tone is going to match the vibe you’re going for.
2. How do you work with couples to determine a playlist? Find out whether he has some basic strategies for feeling out his clients’ specific styles and preferences and how he helps customize their experiences.
3. What are your favorite first dance songs? This will give you a good sense of his style and taste and help you determine whether you might mesh well together. If his are all top 10 hits and you’re thinking classics and oldies, for example, it may not be the best fit.
4. Have you ever played at my reception venue before? If your DJ has experience with your venue, that’s a plus. If not, it’s not a deal breaker, but it is important that you set up an appointment to walk through the space together. You want to make sure your DJ knows the layout, is familiar with the acoustics of the space, and is acquainted with a staff member or coordinator, if possible.
5. How extensive is your music library? This one speaks for itself. You want a wide selection!
6. What type of equipment do you use? This will not only give you further insight to his level of experience and skill, but is important to know from an aesthetic and logistical standpoint. What does it look like and how much space does it take up? Does it require special electrical outlets?
7. What does setup and breakdown entail? It’s important to have a basic understanding of this to properly plan in terms of timing and communicating any specific needs or concerns to your venue.
8. Do you have a demo or a recording of a wedding you’ve done in the past that I can see? Watching your DJ in his element will really give you the best sense of his interaction with the crowd, his energy, pacing, personality, style and level of professionalism.
9. Do you work with an assistant or second DJ? Depending on the size of your wedding, having an extra set of hands can be well worth it. This will help everything from setup to song requests run a lot more smoothly.
10. Do you offer any other services? Some DJs offer packages with additional services like video screens and lighting. Depending on the experience you’re going for, having these options available from a single source could be beneficial.
Photo by Paul Rich Studio
While many brides and grooms opt for a traditional tune to accompany their first dance, DJs have reported an increasing number of newlyweds choosing current hits for the occasion. To get a closer look, we turned to the experts. Today, some of our favorite DJs share their recommendations for couples looking for a modern spin on that special first dance (see our picks here).
I don’t know about you guys, but I am ready to PARTY at my wedding. And no party is complete without a bangin’ soundtrack. That’s why booking the right talent was top of our planning priorities list.
When we looked for DJs, we kept an eye out for those familiar with the club scene — someone who could layer beats and keep the flow going — rather than the ones who are equipped with party “extras” like plastic leis and inflatable saxophones. And we were pleased to find out that what we were looking for — a chill yet adept table jockey — is much cheaper than the guy who pulls up in a party bus.
So how’d we vet these dudes? I administered a mini DJ test…
Orchid Boy and I went back and forth for two months trying to decide if we should hire a DJ or go DIY with our music. In an informal poll of my married friends, the average cost for DJ services on Long Island was $1,300. According to our catering manager, if we go with their DJ, the cost is about $700 (half of their usual price), which is within our $900 budget.
I’ll be the first to admit that a DJ can make or break a party and I could just as easily argue why it’s beneficial to have a DJ, but I think giving them $1,300 to have a computer play music is a little much. It’s not that I have an issue with DJs, it’s just that I’m on a budget and I can’t afford their services. And the services they would give me for what I have budgeted would probably amount to an iPod wedding anyway.
Simple economics made our decision for us. Five hours worth of music only consists of 100 songs. If Orchid Boy and I had to purchase five hours worth of music from iTunes, it would amount to about $129 (100 songs X $1.29, which iTunes now charges). Factor in our own music collections and the cost comes down.
Since Orchid Boy is a musician he owns, or can borrow, most of the PA equipment necessary to play music at our venue. If we really had to, our venue said we can rent the system for about $100. Factor in another $100 that I would pay some high school kid to man the music table and hit play when necessary and we have a savings of about $400.