You’re getting married—and that calls for celebration that has everyone on their feet from cocktail hour until last call! The best way to do that? Craft a catchy playlist so people can’t help but spring out of their seats! From your first dance to the final steps, music sets the tone for the reception and has a heavy hand in determining your guests' experience.
If you and your fiancé opt for a DJ instead of or in addition to a band, you’re putting the responsibility in their hands to ensure your wedding reception hits the right notes—literally! Along with finding an entertainment company that falls within your budget and has your wedding date available, you want them to be able to fluent in your favorite ‘90s boy band hits, understand what’s going to go down on the dance floor when your family does the Hora, or know that you’ll be expecting a heavy rotation of Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra to keep great aunt Jane happy. No matter what you’re looking for, a DJ and their team should be able to work with you and your partner to make your wedding night special.
Here’s what two professional wedding DJs want you to know before you resort to letting Spotify control the tunes on your big day!
Know how to spot a fraud
We all know a guy who considers himself a DJ because he played top 40 hits at his frat’s parties in college. And the one who thinks being a DJ means only playing EDM and house music. “Technology now has enabled everybody to call themselves a DJ,”says Scott Siegel of Purple Parrot Entertainment. “Don’t just find somebody on Craigslist or some social media site and go by pricing. If it’s too good a price, you have to hope the person’s going to show up.”
Siegel suggests having a conversation with the DJ to learn more about their business and if they’ll be able to offer services that meet your specific needs (e.g. you’re a country crowd, but this company excels at hip-hop and R&B). “There are many guys who are like car salesman and they’re very forceful,” he warns. “They have these pre-programmed parties. They go in there, they’re not going to take requests, they’re not going to abide by the bride and groom’s wishes because they [think they] know better.”
Along with experience, ask to see pictures and videos of events any prospective DJ has worked. And finally, make sure they’re bringing legit equipment—not the same MacBook they went into freshman year with 15 years ago!
Don’t rely on WiFi
Siegel also cautions against letting your party playlist live on the internet. “Nowadays a lot of DJs are starting to say, ‘I’ve got 50,000 songs and they’re on the cloud,’” he says. “You know very well how many times have you gone to make a phone call somewhere and you can’t get a signal. There’s a chance you’re not going to be able to get a signal at that barn, the vineyard, or a catering hall. Or if you go to a catering hall and the venue says, ‘I can’t give you our password.’” Instead, go with a DJ who not only has all of their songs downloaded, but also has a backup drive in case of emergency.
Figure out your DJ’s preferred form of communication
Can’t get that Justin Bieber remix you just heard on Pandora out of your head? Siegel wants you shoot him an email right then and there if you want to add it to your wedding rotation. “I‘ve always told prospective brides, my phone’s always open. Call me, email me. If you heard a song on the radio and love that song, call right now,” he says. “For me to write it down in my notes is no big deal, but you could forget about it in five hours. I like to keep the line of communication open.”
But Allstar DJ’s Paul Groh prefers his clients to compile their requests and notes (e.g. “Please shout out cousin Mike’s 30th birthday.”) in one email or Word document and send it to him no later than two weeks before the wedding. “We recommend they do not text or email bits and pieces of what they want for their wedding,” he says. “We get bombarded with online stuff and it gets lost. Everything should just be in one document. Get the DJ all of the information two weeks before because if they’re working Friday night and you have a wedding Saturday morning, they have no time to plan it out.”
So find out which method your DJ would prefer and make sure not to annoy them with 1 a.m. texts from the bar when you hear a Lizzo jam you just have to dedicate to your former roommate if they’re not into it.
Let your DJ know who will be in attendance
Whether your reception will consist of mostly friends, your parents' friends, or family of all ages, inform your DJ so they can be prepared with music that’ll please that specific crowd. “I hear it all the time when I’m DJing for senior citizens,” Siegel says. “They come up to me and say, ‘I went to my niece's wedding, and they didn’t play anything [I like] and I sat there all night. And it was so loud!’ I like to know the entire room. I like to find out how many guests do you plan on having? What’s the demographic? Don’t walk in and think that they’ve got everything and know anything because there are more DJs out there that know the current house music and that’s it. If I’m going into a party that’s very Latin heavy, I need to know that music.”
Try not to request too many songs
While providing input such as, “We love ‘80s rock!”; “Our friends go crazy for Rihanna!”; or “Throw some Barry Manilow in there for my stepmom,” helps guide your DJ in the right direction, couples don’t need to make too many specifications. “You’ve got to trust their judgment,” Groh says. “Give them 10 or 20 of your favorite songs and let them do the rest of the work. And if you want to see dancing, make sure the songs are danceable. Sometimes people, what they hear on the radio, it may not be something that’s good for dancing, but the DJ knows.”
Be flexible with “do not play” songs
In a similar vein, be open to accommodating your guests’ requests, even if it’s not what you want to hear. “It’s very common for brides and grooms to say, ‘Please don’t play any line dances,” Siegel says of tracks like “Cupid Shuffle” and “Macarena.” “What do you want me to tell somebody if somebody comes up—your aunt or uncle—and they want to hear the ‘Cotton Eye Joe’? Maybe say, ‘No line dances but if somebody asks then you can play it.’ Because the reality is, most of the songs are three minutes. We’re not going to go and play 20 of them. We’re not going in planning on playing on them, but if somebody does ask, there are more times when somebody may be more amenable to doing something.”
Feed the DJ and their team
“Ask how many staff members are coming and have a meal ready for them," Groh suggests. You can’t perform if you’re hungry. You get grouchy. It’s not a good thing.” If you can’t budget meals for the entertainment company and other vendors, offer to let them eat during cocktail hour. “If the DJ is doing the ceremony, the cocktail hour, the four-hour event, and the after-party, it could be six, seven, eight hours plus setup and takedown before they’re eating,” Siegel says. “It is courteous to feed or at least to offer to feed the entertainment.”
Don’t feel obligated to tip
At the end of the night, though, couples shouldn’t feel pressured to provide an additional tip. But they should check if their contract signed requires one. “It’s at the sole discretion of the client,” Groh says. “For excellent service, somewhere between 10 and 20 percent, but we leave it up to their discretion. It’s not required.”
If newlyweds do decide to tip, they can put someone else in charge of the responsibility, or dole it out in the middle of the party. “Maybe have their mom do it, maybe have their sister do it or their brother,” Siegel adds. “At the end of the night, truthfully, the bride and the groom have a lot of other things on their mind. So if they do plan on it, maybe during the night give the DJ an envelope and say, ‘I want to give this to you now because I’m going to be busy later. Thank you so much for being a part of our wedding.’ If you’re giving it to the guy during the night, if he’s doing a good job, he’s doing to step up his game a little bit more.”
But Siegel reiterates of tipping, “It’s optional, but it’s definitely appreciated!”
- How to Pronounce Names.
- Tell Them Whether or Not to Emcee.
- Share When to Play What and for How Long.
- Provide Context for Song Requests.
- Give Your "Do Not Play" List.
- Is the DJ available on the date you need them?
- How long have they been in business?
- How many events/weddings have they provided music for per year?
- Are weddings their main events or do they play at other events or clubs?
- Do they have another event the same day or weekend?
It's usual for Wedding DJs to provide music for around 4-5 hours. Just bear in mind that even the most professional DJ needs a break now and then, and your guests would probably welcome a breather from dancing every 90 minutes or so too!How many songs do you give a DJ for a wedding? ›
Try not to request too many songs
“You've got to trust their judgment,” Groh says. “Give them 10 or 20 of your favorite songs and let them do the rest of the work. And if you want to see dancing, make sure the songs are danceable.
The bride and her family pay for all professional services, including food and decorations. The groom's family pays for the DJ or band and liquor.Do you need to tip the DJ at a wedding? ›
Tips are optional for ceremony or cocktail hour musicians, as well as bands and DJs, but they are suggested, says Norwood. "Anywhere from 15% to 20% on the final contract is a good amount for a single DJ," she says.Does DJ play music during dinner at wedding? ›
As you and your guests are eating dinner, you can expect the DJ to play background music, but don't expect the music to be too loud because the DJ understands that guests will likely be talking to one another. If they were playing music too loudly, then people wouldn't be able to hear each other.How many songs are played at a 4 hour wedding? ›
A good rule of thumb is 15 songs per hour. A typical wedding reception will see about 3 hours of dancing after dinner and all the formalities are over. That is just 45 songs.How long should first DJ set be? ›
How long should my first DJ set be? Most DJ sets are expected to last 60 minutes. I suggest having at least 90 minutes prepared, just in case. Again, its best to establish this with your client beforehand.Who walks down the aisle first? ›
From walking down the aisle first to last, the traditional order is: Mother of Bride, Mother of Groom, Grandparents of Bride, Grandparents of Groom, Groom, Officiant, the Wedding Party, Maid of Honor and Best Man, Ring Bearer, Flower Girl and lastly the Bride and her Father.
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A wedding DJ sets the tone for your reception by playing the right songs at the right times, and reading the crowd accordingly. If you want your party to be a total rager, they'll know the right tunes to put guests in a dancing mood.What are the 7 commonly asked interview questions? ›
- Where do you see yourself in five years time? ...
- What are your strengths/weaknesses? ...
- Why should I hire you? ...
- Tell me about yourself/your work experience. ...
- Why do you want this job? ...
- What are your salary expectations? ...
- Why are you the right fit to succeed in this role?
- Tell me about yourself.
- Why are you interested in working for this company?
- Tell me about your education.
- Why have you chosen this particular field?
- Describe your best/worst boss.
- In a job, what interests you most/least?
- What is your major weakness?
- Be professional. ...
- Cover the little details. ...
- Don't be late. ...
- Be clear about what's expected from you. ...
- Have a vast musical knowledge of multiple styles. ...
- Make sure your social skills are up to snuff. ...
- Know what song requests to take. ...
- Know how to read a crowd.
DJ: 10–15% of the total bill or $50–$150.Do you tip DJ and photographer for wedding? ›
Photographer and Videographer
Traditionally, photographers and videographers did not require a tip as they are business owners. However, a cash tip is always appreciated by these wedding professionals, who spend hours with you on the big day.
The bride's side of the family traditionally pays for the bride's wedding dress and the bridesmaids' dresses. Increasingly, however, bridesmaids are paying for their own dresses.Does the groom's family pay for the DJ? ›
As a guide, here's a list of the expenses traditionally covered by the parents of the groom: the wedding rings, officiant's fee, marriage license, the bride's bouquet, boutonnieres and corsages for the immediate family, music (band/DJ), liquor at the reception and the honeymoon.Do you tip DJ if he owns company? ›
Owners are not tipped. Self-employed vendors or business owners are typically not given gratuity. Bands or DJs not booked through an entertainment agency are also not tipped.
Tipping is never a requirement but is a great way to show your gratitude if your DJ “rocked your dance floor“. TheKnot.com states tipping your DJ is 'optional but preferred', and we agree. The average DJ tip is $50 – $200. A common honest mistake is tipping your DJ but not the rest of the crew.How does the DJ introduce the wedding party? ›
The first couple or person in the entrance line enters and the DJ or emcee announces his/her name and role. After the first person or couple is announced, the emcee will pause for a few seconds. The next couple should begin walking in during their introduction.Do DJs bring their own speakers to wedding? ›
DJs can choose to bring their equipment to a venue. Bringing equipment may be necessary if the venue doesn't have it or if the DJ isn't comfortable with the provided equipment. However, if the venue already has equipment a DJ can confidently use, this may be easier than setting up their own.Do you play slow songs at weddings? ›
Did you know that over 60% of wedding guests are couples? With over half of the people attending a wedding being a couple, wedding slow dance songs are a must have at any reception. Now that doesn't mean to overflow your reception with an enormous amount of wedding slow dance songs.Can you give a DJ a playlist? ›
It's always appreciated when you provide your DJ with a small playlist for both the Dinner and Dancing sections of your wedding. This helps them get a clearer idea of exactly what you are after and then they can expand on your choices based on the dance floor response and requests from your guests.What makes a great wedding playlist? ›
A good wedding reception playlist will have high moments and low moments- fast songs and slow songs. Times for people to dance close, times for people to slow dance, and even times for people to go get a drink so they can enjoy the dance floor even more.What is the song list for Do Not play wedding? ›
- Chicken Dance.
- Cha-Cha Slide.
- Cupid Shuffle.
- YMCA – Village People.
- Electric Boogie (Electric Slide)
- Hokey Pokey.
- Wobble – V.I.C.
If there is one skill every beginner DJ needs to learn, it's beatmatching! This is where one track's playing speed, or tempo, is adjusted so its beats per minute (BPM) match with another. The two tracks can then play simultaneously at the same tempo and mesh together as one rather than clash.What is the most common DJ setup? ›
- Laptop & DJ controller. ...
- Pro DJ separates. ...
- Standalone all-in-one systems. ...
- Records decks and a mixer. ...
- Digital Vinyl Systems (DVS) ...
- Laptop-only DJing. ...
- Phone/tablet DJing.
- First of all, you're going to start by turning on anything that plugs INTO your mixer or DJ Controller first. ...
- Next, turn on your mixer or DJ Controller. ...
- Finally, now is when you should turn on your PA system or speakers.
The flower girl is typically the last one to walk down the aisle before the bride. Finally, the bride walks down the aisle last to her wedding with her father or other escort that will give her away. The father of the bride will lift the bride's veil and kiss her before the bride approaches the groom at the altar.Who does the maid of honor walk with? ›
Typically, the maid of honor walks down the aisle with the best man, but this "head bridesmaid" could also walk behind the bride. If you have two MOHs and only one best man, you could either have him escort both MOHs down the aisle or tap another VIP (such as one of your brothers) to serve as a second escort.Who walks the mother of the bride? ›
The mother of the bride is traditionally escorted by her son if she has one. Otherwise, any close male relative, the best man, or a groomsman walks with the mother of the bride during the procession.What is a DJ top salary? ›
- David Guetta – $150 million.
- Steve Aoki – $120 million. ...
- Swedish House Mafia – $100 million. ...
- Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo – $90 million. ...
- Thomas Bangalter – $90 million. ...
- The Chainsmokers – $80 million. ...
- Skrillex – $70 million. ...
In conclusion, there are many factors that contribute to the cost of a wedding DJ, including their experience and skill level, the quality and variety of equipment and technology they use, location and travel expenses, time commitment, and customization and special requests.How can I save money on a wedding DJ? ›
By only hiring your DJ during the reception, you are cutting down the timeline which of course, decreases the price. To save further, make a playlist/CD to play of your own at the ceremony and cocktail hour, leaving room for your DJ to pump up your reception!What do you need to DJ records? ›
- 2 x DJ Turntables.
- 2 x DJ Cartridges (needles)
- DJ Mixer.
- Slipmats (felt mats that go between record + turntable platter)
- DJ Headphones.
- Vinyl Records.
- RCA Cable (to connect mixer to audio output)
- Communicate about the music and sound.
- Talk about your guest demographic.
- Provide details of the order of events and floor plan.
- Put your DJ in touch with your venue.
- Make time to speak to your DJ the week of your wedding.
Pack twice as much music as you need
You're a pop DJ, and you guess the average length of each song you want to play is three minutes. That means about twenty songs an hour. So you'll probably end up playing sixty songs in your set. Therefore, the crate you pack should contain 120 songs.
Most scratches are produced by rotating a vinyl record on a direct drive turntable rapidly back and forth with the hand with the stylus ("needle") in the record's groove. This produces the distinctive sound that has come to be one of the most recognizable features of hip hop music.
While in a public setting, a DJ license is always required (as long as someone else's copyrighted music is performed), if a performance is intended for a private audience, no permission is necessary.What do you need for your first DJ gig? ›
- Get to know the venue and the staff. ...
- Throw a party there if you can. ...
- Sell them a brand, not just a DJ. ...
- Get publicity in place before you approach the manager formally. ...
- Ask for the booking. ...
- Talk money. ...
- Prepare for the gig.
Some DJs buy songs from popular sites or get songs sent to them in subscriptions. Some DJs also make their own music on music production software which they perform live. They're also labels that send DJs tracks way before its released.