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Hey, Mr. DJ
Your wedding DJ typically acts as the official MC of the event, making him (or her!) a very important vendor. Of course you are going to give your DJ a song list so they know what to play for the processionals, recessionals, special dances, etc., but there’s a lot more the DJ should know to ensure your event is exactly how you want it. Here’s a list of TEN things your wedding DJ needs to know!
1. For what parts of the event they are DJing and/or need to provide mics
This is important if, say, you have a live string quartet for the ceremony, and the DJ only needs to provide a microphone for the officiant and won’t play music until the cocktail hour. Will you have a speaker during the ceremony (as in, someone who is reading a poem or verse), then the DJ may need to provide an extra stand mic.
2. Timing and location of wedding ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception
This is especially important if venues are changing or there are multiple hours in between the ceremony and cocktail hour.
3. Whether the ceremony, cocktail hour, and/or reception are indoors or outdoors
DJs need to understand the elements in which they will be working. If outdoors, will there be shade cover? What is Plan B in the event of inclement weather?
4. If guest tables will be positioned between the DJ and dance floor
This will impact the location of the speakers which are normally situated next to the DJ, but can be adjusted if that would be a nuisance to adjacent tables.
5. If the DJ will announce the bridal party and/or newlyweds
Will parents/grandparents be announced? How about bridal party? Will the gents escorts the ladies or will they be announced individually? How do you want the DJ to announce you and your new spouse? This all feeds the timeline, as well.
Did you know some DJs offer lighting packages, too? If they don’t, or if you are looking for a more affordable option, don’t be afraid to rent! The company Rent My Wedding has amazing rental options for monogram lighting (pictured), uplighting (a must!), starry night lighting, etc.
6. Desired "motivation" level during open dance time
The motivation level is the amount of interaction above and beyond acting as DJ and MC. Do you want the DJ to play songs and make announcements only? Then you’re looking for a low motivation level. Do you want the DJ to use the mic and encourage dancing, but not get on the dance floor? You’re looking at a moderate motivation level. Do you want the DJ to get on the dance floor, set up special dances (e.g., soul train), and be a ball of energy? Then you’re looking at a high motivation level. The latter may require the use of a DJ assistant. It is super important to be on the same page as your DJ when it comes to motivation level.
7. Information for Announcements
You will be creating a timeline with your DJ and you should ensure that there are no surprises. Are you doing a choreographed first dance that requires you to be in-place? Do you want to do a bouquet toss? Is your cake going to be placed on a dessert table and not handed out to guests? Is there an early shuttle departure time? Will you be giving centerpieces away? The DJ needs to know all these things.
8. Music Style and Allowances
What kind of music do you want for cocktail hour? What kind of music do you want during dinner? What decades of dance music do you want played during open dance? (50’s to today). Are there certain genres you want to focus on or exclude? Are you a yay or nay on line dances? How about song transitions? Do you like speed mixing (when only a short amount of the song is played before switching to the next) or do you prefer songs to stay on for a littler longer?
Moreover, do you want the DJ to accept guest requests? And if so, should they be allowed to play requests even if the song is on the “do not play” list?
Is the DJ allowed to read the room and play music accordingly or do you want to provide the whole playlist?
9. Guest Demographics (Age)
It helps the DJ to plan if they understand the age demographics of the party. Are there going to be a lot of children? Is it mostly going to be young adults? Or maybe it’s mostly older family members.
10. Vendor List
The DJ needs to coordinate with the other vendors to ensure everyone is ready for the events of the day. If the DJ starts playing the processional music but the bridal party isn’t ready yet, that’s not going to go over very well. Alternatively, if things begin before everyone’s ready, your photographer may miss photo ops which would be truly devastating! People in the industry tend to know each other too, so it’s possible your DJ has worked with your officiant, or day-of coordinator, or photographer before. If they know that in advance, they can prepare for the interaction (whether it’s a good or bad thing).
TIP: Not all DJs are MCs and we encourage you to clarify this during your search. Some don’t want to make announcements and just want to play music. Some have assistants for the announcements. Just make sure when you are interviewing companies and DJs, their role is clear.