Every wedding day has a soundtrack of its own—from the walk down the aisle to the first dance, the bouquet toss to your final farewell, music helps set the tone for the entire day … which is why your DJ or band has such an important role. To help you better vet the candidates, we’ve compiled this master list of questions to ask wedding DJs and band.
A packed dance floor is a key component to a fun and memorable wedding reception, so make sure you hire a pro who can get the party started! When on the hunt for a great wedding band or DJ, look out for someone whose energy, style, and music preferences are aligned with your own. There’s a wide range of music and performance styles out there, and the goal is to find the best fit for your wedding.
How would you describe your style?
You need to figure out if their style will work with the vibe you’re going for. If you want an elegant cocktail party with lots of casual conversation, a band that describes itself as “rock and roll with a whole lotta edge” is a music mismatch.
Can you show us your music library or song list?
A DJ will likely have a music database you can browse through, while a band will have a list of songs they can perform. Ask if you can take a look—you want to make sure there’s a wide selection! Tip: some bands will be willing to learn a special song or two just for you. If you have something specific in mind but don’t see it included on the playlist, don’t automatically consider it a deal breaker. Ask if they would be willing to learn it for you—you might be pleasantly surprised!
What type of equipment do you use?
Any DJ you consider should be proud of his sound system, and should be using professional-grade equipment. Most DJs understand that you are very unlikely to have a working knowledge of professional DJ equipment, but he should be able to describe his sound system to you.
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.
Can you play the songs that are important to us (such as a traditional Jewish hora tune or a favorite pop hit)?
The band or DJ should be able to play, learn or download any tune you’d like. If a band says “yes,” but they’ll need to learn and/or arrange it, ask them if they’ll charge for that.
How many musicians are in the band, and available? How many vocalists? Are there different options as far as how many musicians/instruments we can hire?
If you’re interviewing a DJ, you want to know if they work with a partner, and if it’s a band, who exactly would be there on the day of.
How many hours are included in the package?
Some musicians and DJs will have a minimum amount of time they’ll play. But beyond that, you’ll also want to know how many breaks they’ll need (and how long they’ll be), and the backup plan for those breaks (such as approved filler music).
How long have you been doing this professionally?
A wedding is such an important occasion, and you don’t want your DJ’s first wedding to be your own. The number of years someone has been a DJ will give you some indication of their experience level, but some DJs only perform for a few events (and fewer weddings) each year. A DJ with half as many years in the industry may have many times as many weddings under his belt, so you should also ask how many weddings the DJ has done. Also be sure to ask if the DJ has any formal training, either from a DJ company or a DJ school.
What sets you apart from your competition?
Any professional wedding disc jockey or musician will take pride in their work, and be able to answer this question honestly and communicate the things that make their services unique. Some DJs or bands, however, will take this opportunity to “bash” their competition and say negative things about specific DJs or bands. We consider this type of behavior unprofessional, and is a poor reflection on them.
Do you take any breaks? How many and when?
Live bands will generally require at least one break during the night. It’s best to know when, and for how long, they plan to be off the floor so you can mix in some other entertainment to keep the party going.