The Knot listed 19 specific questions to ask your DJ before you hire them. I figured it would be a nice post to answer their questions.
1. How would you describe your style?
My style is party focused. I mix beats and only play the slow songs that we discuss ahead of time. I work best with couples who are focused on throwing a party that is also a wedding. I MC the event but only when necessary. I keep events fast paced (i.e. cake cutting) so that the energy stays high. I keep people dancing by playing great music, not by getting on the mic to tell them to dance. With so much great music in the world, there is no need to ever play the Macarena or chicken dance.
2. Can we come take a quick peek at a wedding you're working?
Sure! I also often play around Denver and love when clients come and check out the live show.
3. Do you know our reception space and its acoustic, power and amplification requirements? If not, will you check it out beforehand?
I am happy to check out the space beforehand if you have any concerns or if the space is unusual, but most of the time it’s not necessary as all I need is a standard outlet and a table. We will figure out my placement based on the floor plan of the event/dance floor.
4. Can you play the songs that are important to us, such as a traditional Jewish hora tune or a favorite pop hit?
Of course! I will bring any requested songs, I love the Hora. I can download requests on the fly and play songs that the bride and groom bring.
5. Would we need to rent any instruments or equipment (extra speakers or a stage)?
I only require an outlet, a table and some dressing for the table.
6. Do you plan to use lighting or any other special effects?
I use 2 lights that add a little color to the dancefloor. This allows the main house lights to be turned down a little so that guests are more comfortable when dancing.
7. Who will do the setup?
I do the full set up. It’s complicated and I would caution you from going with anyone who doesn’t do their own set up since it is very specific to the DJ.
8. How do you ensure a comfortable sound level for all the guests?
I check the sound level before and during the event by walking around the room. As people fill up the dance floor, I raise the volume level because people actually absorb a lot of sound.
9. What do you typically wear?
I typically wear a suit. I also have a tuxedo or can dress down if the event is more casual.
10. How many hours are included in the package?
I charge by the hour and I never take set breaks. I DJ cocktail through dinner into reception. The cocktail hour and dinner gives me an opportunity to learn the crowd and play some amazing music that is not dance-able.
11. How do you handle song requests?
In our meeting, we discuss if you want me to take requests from your guests or not. Most of the time, nobody requests anything and I would never play a song off the 'do not play' list or a song that I think would break the vibe.
12. Can you act as the master of ceremonies?
I can certainly do all your intros and any announcements. I usually work with the wedding planner to stay on schedule and make announcements to keep everything on track. I can also release the tables for a buffet if necessary.
13. How many weddings do you typically do in a year?
I have been working weddings for nearly 10 years and average about 25 weddings a year.
14. Do you have another wedding gig before or after ours?
The day is yours. I won’t work before or after the event. If you would like some overtime, just ask.
15. What's your sick-day policy?
I have never been sick or hurt the day of a wedding (my wife even scheduled her last c-section around a booking). I have a service that I have passed weddings over to in the past. I do have all your music organized on a flash drive so that I could give it to another DJ in case of an emergency.
16. Do you have liability insurance?
I have an insurance policy that has a $1 million liability.
17. What's your backup plan if there's an equipment malfunction?
I bring a backup laptop and only need one turntable to mix beats.
18. What's your cancellation policy?
My cancellation policy is 2 weeks prior to the event. If something has happened, a death or a break up, I have no interest in keeping the 50% deposit. The deposit to is there to ensure that we both show up that day. If something bad has happened, give me a call and we can figure it out together. I’ve had this come up twice so far and feel it’s good karma.
19. How do you motivate a shy crowd to dance?
Play good music. I do not invite people or dance with your guests. If you know how to read a crowd, play music the crowd will like and the dance floor stays packed all night. I am an MC but I am a more music focused DJ.