How To Pick a DJ

Photo from The Wedding Lens!

So let’s say that you’ve read my blog on “all about wedding music” and decided that you really do want a DJ at your wedding reception. That’s great! A DJ can provide a variety of music and usually is a bit less expensive than hiring a band. Remember, whoever you hire, you need to tip ’em, so more band members = more tips. (That said, bands are more eco-friendly… so I’m not pushing one or the other!)

When selecting a DJ, you should still follow all the guidelines on hiring any vendor: talk to people, check out reviews, find out price, ask them questions, and check references. (Incidentally, if ANY vendor does not answer the phone or return your call or email within 24 hours, ditch ’em. It demonstrates how unprofessional they may be — not to mention irresponsible… which is something you shouldn’t have to worry about among everything else!)

 That said, DJs are a special breed because sometimes you might not realize all the questions you should be asking! Here are some questions to ask:

  • Will you personally be the DJ at the wedding reception? Or do you have someone else who you will send?
  • How many weddings have you DJ’d?
  • Have you DJ’d at the venue before? What did you like or not like about it?
  • Will you also act as an Emcee for the reception? (In other words, introduce the couple, the speeches, & make any other announcements)
  • Do you have a wireless microphone (or any microphone) that can be used for the speeches?
  • Do you also provide dinner music?
  • What kind of music do you play? (Be sure to ask about specific bands, types of music, songs, etc to make sure the DJ has it! It might be helpful to ask to see a song list, if he/she has one)
  • How many songs are in your library? Are you open to purchasing/obtaining any additional songs or music?
  • What format is your music in? (ie records or mp3s)
  • How much time before the reception do you need to arrive to set up your equipment? Do you need any specific equipment to be at the venue already? (A tablecloth for a DJ table? A DJ table itself?)
  • Do you have backup equipment?
  • Do you use special lighting effects? Can you?
  • What do you usually wear as a wedding DJ? (You want to be sure that the DJ doesn’t show up in jeans and a t-shirt if you don’t want him or her to!)
  • What is the fee? Does it include tax and gratuity? Do you require a deposit? Are there any additional charges?
  • Will you need a meal during the time you’ll be DJing? How many breaks will you need?
  • Ask to see the terms of the contract to make sure everything is as you agreed!

Obviously some of these questions are more detailed — but they should all be asked before you sign the final agreement. There’s nothing worse than committing to a vendor who isn’t the one that’s right for you!

Got other tips?

~ Natasha


All About Wedding Music!

When planning your wedding, you’re probably thinking a little bit about music. There are several different times you should be thinking about… and several different options (as always!).

Couple dancing to their live band! Photo from The Wedding Lens

Times for music.

  1. During the wedding, most people have some type of music playing.
  2. At the reception, people play music — some for ambiance while eating and some for dancing.
  3. If the wedding and reception are at the same location, sometimes people have music for a cocktail hour.

Types of music

  1. Live: solo, small ensembles, bands. You can have a solo or small ensemble to play classical music during the ceremony. Some people also like to have a live band perform the top hits (or classic oldies) during the reception. It creates a different kind of ambiance than just a DJ.
  2. DJ. A DJ can play whatever you want — and leave out what you don’t want! If you are having trouble creating a full list of songs that you want the DJ to play, consider instead giving the DJ a “do not play” list. That way, you make sure that song you hate doesn’t accidentally get played! You can also control whether the DJ will take requests or not. If you’re on a budget, a DJ is often less expensive than the live band.
  3. Playlist (created by you!). Creating a playlist takes some time to put together. And it requires knowing a bit about technology — both so you can create the playlist and ensure that it gets played at the venue! This is obviously most cost-effective, assuming you have the technology and the time.

Remember, you don’t have to have music at any point and you can mix & match. Some people might want recorded music for the ceremony (via a playlist), but a DJ to control the music at the reception. Do what works best for you! Just be sure that you think carefully about the music: the type, the words, and the overall ambiance you want to create during each part of the wedding day.

What kind of music will you have at your wedding?

~ Natasha

How To Pick Vendors for Your Wedding

So you’ve picked your venue and your wedding date and NOW you have to figure out the vendors… For what, you ask? Vendors for food, flowers, music, and any other miscellaneous things you might want (like a photobooth!). How do you even begin to pick your vendors?


Step One: Find options

  • Ask friends for suggestions.
  • The internet makes finding vendors pretty easy. There are tons of websites with suggestions. And most vendors have websites that give you an idea of what they do.
  • Look at ads on the web. One of my friends found her photographer through a Facebook ad… which led her to look at his website. And they loved him!

Step Two: Find reviews

  • Search any potential vendor on the web. There are so many sites with reviews (like that can provide valuable feedback and advice for a particular vendor.

Step Three: Find out their rates

  • Contact the vendor to find out what they charge AND whether that cost is within your budget.

Step Four: Find a time to meet

  • There’s no replacement for meeting people in person. You’ll have to work with them and the best way to judge that is in person! Find some time to meet and see how it goes.

Step Five: Check references

  • Ask the vendor for references and check them out! No harm in finding out what the real deal is.  Of course, you may not need to do this if a friend referred you to the vendor.

How did you find your vendors?

~ Natasha

Learn more about The Wedding Lens & our FREE photo albums!