Think back to all of the weddings you've attended and chances are, you'll remember the music that was playing.
Hiring the services of a professional DJ is a popular option for good reason. It saves you the stress of building playlists in the run-up to the wedding, and banishes on-the-day worries about technical troubles.
A good DJ can judge a crowd and adjust tracks accordingly. If your reception space has sound issues, they should have the technical know-how to overcome them. Plus, you don’t need to worry about anyone messing with your carefully curated playlist.
We spoke to industry insiders about key tips for hiring a wedding DJ.
The cliché of a wedding DJ is a super-cheesy disco with fashing lights and unfortunate ‘banter’. Thankfully, this is not the only option. There’s a wide range of styles out there, from festival-cool to sleek urban vibes. You can hire DJs who play vintage classics on gramophones, or set up a special ‘disco shed’ complete with garden game; both of these make for great unusual wedding entertainment ideas.
You could even book a service that allows guests to take a turn on the decks.
Think carefully about what style suits you best as a couple, but take your guest list into account, too – an evening of metal music may prove a bit much if you and your partner are the only people present with a fondness for heavy rock.
We know weddings can involve some rather big spending decisions, but try not to choose a DJ solely on the basis of a low quote, particularly if the party will be the main focus of your celebration.
“There are good up-and-coming DJs who will play for a competitive price,” says leading DJ Matt Maurice. “However, there is an element of risk in booking someone with no track record.”
Listen to the DJ's advice
Your chosen professional will have experience of working a room and keeping guests of all ages happy. Even if you have a strong sense of what you want, it’s worth taking their advice when it comes to the playlist.
“The couple provides the ideas and the DJ supplies the knowledge,” says Matt. “It’s like a musical journey with each destination being a tune. Your DJ should be able to decide the best route to take.”
Some DJs will ask you for 10 or so songs that you love to get an idea for what you like then build the playlist from this. If there are any songs you absolutely do not want played at your wedding, make this clear. Your song with your ex blasting through the speakers would be a bit of a mood killer!
Consider your wedding venue when choosing music
Different rooms have different acoustic needs, so make sure your DJ knows not just the name of the venue, but the exact space where the party is taking place.
"They don’t necessarily have to visit beforehand to understand the technical requirements. “We don’t generally visit unless the client is also booking a more complex sound and lighting production,” explains Matt. “We can normally ascertain the procedure from a phone call, website images and foor plans.”
Questions to ask your wedding DJ
As with all wedding suppliers, there are questions you need to ask. Will your DJ provide all the equipment? Will they submit a playlist for approval in advance? How long does everything take to set up? What happens if the DJ is ill or their transport breaks down?