Nothing steals the spotlight from the happy couple like a disappointing disc jockey. And we’re not talking music here. Even if the DJ does remember the “Electric Slide,” the equipment, clothes, lights—even the attitude—can make or break a reception. Avoid a DJ disaster by doing your homework.
Get references. Coworkers, family and planners are good sources. So is the reception venue. “That’s huge,” says Dana McDonald, a professional DJ both on the radio and on the dance floor. “The venue wouldn’t recommend you if they didn’t like you.” If the venue didn’t recommend the DJ, ask if he or she previously worked there. Once you get names, visit the Web site, says Chuck Wortman of Elegant Events, a DJ and lighting company.
Pinpoint the particulars. There are DJs who work alone, DJs who are subcontracted by a company and company employees. Who exactly will do the job? That person’s name should be on the contract. What is the DJ’s experience level? If that DJ falls ill, who will come instead? Is the DJ insured?
See the DJ in action. Ask for a DVD. Yes, they only provide a slice of the performance, but it helps. It’s not always feasible to see the DJ live at a reception, Wortman says. It’s someone else’s big day, and you’re a wedding crasher.
Ask about the equipment. Some use CDs, some use computers and some use both. Any equipment should be top quality and in good shape. That includes the display.
Specify the attire. “I’ve seen DJs show up in god-awful clothes,” Wortman says. Don’t leave it to chance.
Get a contract. How many hours will you receive? What’s the policy if you run long? Don’t settle for cheap. “The difference between a few hundred dollars can be night and day,” McDonald says. “A cheap DJ can ruin a party.”—Pam George