I’m engaged! Now how do I choose the right DJ?
You’re engaged to be married – congratulations! What an exciting, joyous and (slightly) nerve-racking time you’ve got ahead of you. So much stuff to sort out and so many aspects of your wedding to meticulously plan. Where on earth should you start!?
I’m DJ Mike Readings and I’m here to give you some professional advice on booking a wedding DJ for your big day.
Now you might be thinking, “Mike, a DJ is the least of our worries right now”, but don’t underestimate how important us guys and girls are in taking your wedding from ‘great’ to ‘absolutely amazing’.
** DJ Mike’s top tip: Your evening entertainment will inevitably represent 5 or more hours of your special day – the equivalent of your ceremony and your wedding breakfast combined! That’s why you need to take your time, consider your options carefully and, ultimately, choose very wisely when it comes to picking your wedding DJ. **
How much does a wedding DJ cost?
Now, one of the first questions happy couples have when they’re planning their wedding is ‘how much does a wedding DJ cost?’ And the answer is ‘it depends’. It depends on whether you simply want someone to show up and play some tunes, or you want a well-rounded, professional partner who’s going to work with you to ensure your big day is absolutely perfect.
Here are some example costs and what you should expect:
|Budget DJ||Specialist Wedding DJ||Elite Wedding DJ|
£200 – £400
|Example Cost: |
£500 – £800
|Example Cost: |
Pub & social club gigs
Multiple weddings throughout the year
Weddings every week throughout the year
|Commitment: Part time DJ and agency work||Commitment: Full time||Commitment: Full Time with a number of relationships with venues|
|Online presence: Facebook page||Online presence:|
Professional website, Facebook, Youtube & Instagram
|Online presence: Professional website, Facebook, Youtube and Instagram|
|Communication via: Email||Communication via: Willing to meet up in person or via FaceTime (or similar)||Communication via: Willing to meet up in person multiple times before your big day & FaceTime (or similar)|
|Reviews: Multiple websites, Facebook and Google reviews||Reviews: Multiple websites, Facebook, Google and video reviews|
|Awards: Numerous wedding industry awards & accolades – has perhaps been a judge for such awards too|
At the end of the day, you need to ask yourself how important a role is your wedding entertainment going to play in the overall success of your big day? Then, decide how much value it’s going to add and how much pressure it’s going to relieve if you hire an elite wedding DJ who’s more than willing to help you with numerous aspects of your planning.
Of course, your available budget is going to be a significant factor when choosing a wedding DJ, but please don’t underestimate the extra value a true pro can bring to the party.
What should I expect from my wedding DJ?
** DJ Mike’s top tip: Use your experiences of previous friends’ and loved ones’ wedding DJs – the bits you loved and the bits you really didn’t like – to shape some questions to ask any potential DJs you’re thinking of hiring. **
First and foremost, any wedding DJ worth their salt should be seriously passionate about your big day. They should be willing to listen to any questions you’ve got and actively provide advice – based on their experience and professional knowledge – on what will make your special day even better and more memorable (for the right reasons).
He or she should be extremely proud of their showreel and be excited to show you footage/photos of busy, happy dance floors from their previous events. If they’re not, consider why.
Your wedding DJ also shouldn’t pretend to be a mind reader. What do I mean? Well, they shouldn’t assume they know what songs and tunes you want played on your wedding day. Instead, your wedding DJ should ask what music you, your family and your friends love. Especially the songs that remind you of great memories when you were growing up, family parties and nights out with your friends.
Ask if they’ve got example playlists you can view and listen to so you can see the type of music they play. Ask what works well and also tell them the kind of music/specific songs you really don’t like.
To give you some food for thought,
Here’s one of my own wedding playlists from Todd & Hannah’s wedding 27/8/21
Your wedding DJ should also be willing to create a plan that covers many aspects of your special day. Stuff like timings, musical preferences and venue/supplier details should all be included, as well as notes on everything else you’ve discussed during your pre-wedding conversations.
Furthermore, your DJ should be more than happy to liaise with your wedding coordinator, photographer and videographer ahead of your big day to ensure everything goes smoothly and to plan. If all of your wedding partners and suppliers are working seamlessly together, your big day is going to stand a much greater chance of being absolutely perfect.
Don’t be surprised if your DJ asks you to sign a contract when you agree to work with them. It protects both of you and outlines what’s expected of each party. DJs who insist on using contracts will likely ask for a deposit up front. This isn’t unusual and simply serves to secure your date to avoid any last minute disappointments. Also, expect the final payment to be due ahead of your wedding. Nobody wants to have to go through the rigmarole of paying the DJ at the end of the night when they’ve just had the time of their lives (and are probably a little tipsy).
The slightly boring but really important matter of insurance and safety.
It goes without saying that any wedding DJ you are considering hiring has full Public Liability Insurance. Not only is it a legal requirement for nearly every venue, but it also shows that the DJ you’re thinking of working with takes their responsibilities and the safety of their clients seriously – which tells you what kind of person they are.
DJs also need to get their electrical equipment PAT inspected on a yearly basis. In a nutshell, a PAT inspection ensures the equipment is safe to use. If a DJ cannot show you that their equipment has been PAT inspected, be very wary. If they overlook such an important factor as this, what else will they overlook when it comes to your wedding!?
And finally…Your free wedding DJ checklist
Consider all of these points when you are choosing your wedding DJ. Write them down or print this blog out and literally run through them during your initial conversation with a potential DJ partner.
- Are they willing to meet up before you book? Read : DJ Mike Readings Blog The importance of meeting your wedding DJ
- Do they have plenty of reviews you can read/watch?
- Do they have sample videos from past events?
- Do you feel a connection with them?
- How responsive are they in their communication?
- What’s their favourite genres to play?
- What is unique about this DJ?
- Do they have any ideas they can share? Check out DJ Mike Readings Blog Bon Jovi + Inflatable Guitars = Epic Wedding Memories
- How unique will your wedding be compared to the DJ’s last wedding?
- How will they orchestrate your first dance, cake cutting and grand entrance?
- How will they make the end of your wedding EPIC! Check out DJ Mike Readings Blog Why you need to plan on choosing the last 3 songs