Hiring a wedding DJ is much more than trying find the cheapest possible deal. We asked Andy from Milton Keynes Mobile Disco to give us his 10 top questions you need to be asking before booking your evening entertainment supplier…

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How much should I pay for a DJ?

Very often “how much are you?” is the only question people ask. It is perhaps more about what level of customer service is being offered. A really good wedding DJ may very well cost upwards of £600. Some may cost considerably more and others a bit less, however, do not make the mistake of booking on price alone.

Some of the factors that drive prices can be the quality of equipment and the level of experience the DJ has. Cheap DJs are usually cheap for a reason.

There is a lot more work for the DJ with a wedding such as preparation and liaising with other suppliers so don’t be surprised if you notice that the same DJ charges more for a wedding than a run-of-the-mill family party.

Can we meet to discuss my wedding?

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A good DJ will have no problem with this. People can be very different when you meet them face to face. It is really important that you actually like the DJ you are booking as they will be a big part of your day. I’ll bet when you meet and get chatting you actually have loads more questions than you realised!

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What song should our first dance be?

Quite possibly this should be something that is special to both of you. A good DJ should be able to help but not dictate to you. Some popular choices include Endless Love by Lionel Richie & Diana Ross, Can’t Help Falling In Love With You by Elvis Presley and Marry You by Bruno Mars.

A lot of couples get nervous about this, but don’t worry. It’s wonderful if you’re really graceful but if you’re not try and practice a bit. If all else fails just smile and try and avoid falling over. You are among people who love you for who you are and not your ability to shake it on the dancefloor.

Are you PAT tested and do you have PLI?

OK, it’s a really boring but believe us it’s very important. PAT testing stands for Portable Appliance Testing and it means all electrical equipment has been checked in the last year and the DJ should have a certificate to prove it. PLI is Public Liabilty Insurance. The venue should have their own but the DJ should also have it in their own right. Without these a venue may turn your DJ away. Accept no excuses. The DJ should be able to email you and your venue a copy on request but make sure you see it before you pay a penny. DJs who are members of SEDA and the NADJ will have these.

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Do you offer a written contract?

Boring again but really important. A written contract is really important so you both know what you are agreeing to. If nothing else it should offer you some re-assurance.

How long have you been DJing? How much wedding experience do you have?

Unfortunately anyone can buy some second hand tat off eBay and call themselves a DJ and this is why it is important to meet people.

Note the ”experience of weddings” question. A DJ who goes down a treat after a few beers down the pub may not be ideal for your wedding. You may wish to ask if the DJ is either a full time professional DJ or a part time DJ who does another job as well. That said the standard of some part time DJs can be very good and quite possibly better than some full time professionals. Only you will know what is right for your wedding.

Can we see you at a booking?

Unfortunately it would be seen as unprofessional for a DJ to invite potential clients to someone elses wedding so they can watch them at work. Let’s be honest, how would you like it at your wedding? So expect the answer to be no. However, it is never a bad idea to ask for a couple of references. Perhaps the DJ has some video footage or photos they can show you of a previous performance.

You’re playing to a mixed crowd. What music do you have?

A good DJ will keep the dance floor busy, but perhaps not with all of the people all of the time. Some guests may not have seen each other for years and just want to sit and chat. So if some people are just sitting down but having fun don’t worry.

A good DJ will be able to read a crowd and blend different musical styles together. It is always a good idea to discuss what music you want to hear. Be aware that a DJ who plays only the latest “banging tunes” might be enjoyed by a younger crowd but it may mean older people leave early. If you’re looking for a DJ who can mix well ask him or her for a demo CD of their own mixes.

You might like to give the DJ some guidelines or a list of 10 or 15 tracks to fit into the evening that have gone down well at previous family weddings. Couples who try and play list the whole night very often handicap the DJ who will be unable to fit in requests from guests or play a few of their own choices that they know will get the dance floor shaking.

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What equipment do you carry and do you have back up?

A good quality sound system is essential. Ask questions about lighting too. It may help you to have a meeting with your DJ and Wedding Organiser at the venue. Don’t forget to ask if they carry spares though. If an amplifier goes down what is their plan?

When will you arrive to set up?

This needs a bit more thought than you might realise. Some DJs may have a lot of kit and it may be better for them to set up before you arrive than dragging kit through a room of people who are eating. You might like to have the DJ play background music during a meal. A good DJ will anticipate that there may be some unforeseen events such as traffic delays and plan to arrive early.

We’d love to know what wedding entertainment you’re planning. Come and chat to the team in the Wedding Ideas forum…