You tried on 50 wedding dresses before you found a perfect fit, so why not put an equal amount of research into choosing the DJ for your wedding dance?
Here are eight things to look for in a potential DJ, courtesy of Aaron Mauldin of Aaron’s DJ Services in Kern County, CA:
It is important to remember that sound equipment and music selection can only take you so far. In fact, ability, talent, and professionalism are just as (or even more) important. Make sure you feel comfortable and know that your day is in the hands of a real professional who knows how to troubleshoot equipment issues and how to entertain a crowd.
Music is about more than just how large your library is, it’s all about genre familiarity. Ask the DJ directly about their musical knowledge. What types of music do they carry, and what are they knowledgeable in? What is their specialty? After all, it won’t matter if their library contains 200,000 songs — if they aren’t personally familiar with your favorite types of music, they won’t be properly prepared to entertain you and your guests.
Ask for them — and actually call them! Anyone can put an ad in the yellow pages, host a Web site, and talk themselves up. Sadly, that doesn’t guarantee that they are a good DJ. When you are considering hiring someone, ask them for no fewer than three references from former clients. Contact them, and ask about their experience. Were they happy with their choice, and would they recommend them? Professional references are also handy. Ask if they belong to any DJ or bridal associations, and check to be sure that they are a member in good standing. Many times these types of groups will collect complaints on DJs with poor reputations.
When you hire a mobile entertainer, they are pledging to provide specific services for a specific dollar amount. This agreement must be in writing to protect both parties. If it isn’t, you won’t have any recourse if they don’t live up to their end of the bargain. If there are certain guarantees, make sure these are listed in writing, as well.
Make sure your DJ has a contingency plan, in writing, that states what will happen if they are unable to appear, experience equipment failure, or encounter some other unforeseen problem. Most professional companies can offer a performance guarantee and will arrange for a solution to a last-minute emergency. If they can’t or won’t offer this, be careful.
It should go without saying, but find a DJ you personally like, someone who is easy to get along with. If they seem difficult, touchy, rude, or simply don’t appear to “click” with you and your fiancé/fiancée, find someone else! Keep an open mind and don’t feel pressured to go with a particular company.
Many DJ companies have a varied staff who they assign for events. Make sure you get to meet the individual who will be there at your event, and that they will take the time to give you and your event as much personal attention as you deserve. Ask about how they handle planning, for example. Do they meet with you to discuss music? Do they personalize the event based on your feedback?
The old saying is just as true in the DJ world as anywhere else: You get what you pay for. A recent home improvement show depicted a young man who was inexperienced in construction and hiring contractors. He opened the phone book and called around for bids on a new roof, and hired the one he thought was the most reasonable. The contractor did a terrible job, and the next week he had had to pay a qualified contractor twice as much to undo all of the bad work the first contractor had done — and then complete the new roof properly. Your wedding is not the time to learn this lesson. Devote a proper amount in your budget for good entertainment, and don’t hire a DJ based on price alone.