Wedding DJs bring life to your wedding day. After all, they’re not there just to play music. A wedding DJ helps ensure the events of your big day flow smoothly, introduces the couple and the wedding party, interacts with your guests, and observes what’s happening to make sure your event doesn’t lose momentum. You may love the DJ at that nightclub but that doesn’t mean he or she can work a wedding like a professional wedding DJ can. So what do you need to know before hiring one? Read on for some tips.

Book a Professional

“Do you want to hire someone who does it on the side? Or do you want to hire someone who that is all they do?” says Lewis Grell of LG Entertainment in Houston. Hiring an experienced DJ over someone who does it as a hobby is key if you want a memorable event. That’s not to say a person who does it on the side can’t do a decent job, but professional DJ companies have the experience, equipment, insurance and organization that DJs who do it on the side may not. Plus, you don’t have to stress about any unexpected surprises. “We’ve had a lot of people book us three weeks out, a month out because they’ve had their DJ cancel on them. You shouldn’t be stressing about that,” said Daniel Wayne, owner of The Wedding Show, a Houston production company.

Don’t Choose on Price Alone

Most couples search for and hire wedding DJs on price alone, says Wayne. But both he and Grell recommend not cutting corners when it comes to booking a wedding DJ. If you’re on a budget, there are some things you can do to save a little while getting a high-quality DJ.

  • Wedding Date: Getting married on a Friday or Sunday? Ask your DJ company whether they can give you a discount. These are typically less busy days so there’s a little wiggle room. The Wedding Show takes $300 off for Friday and Sunday weddings. If your wedding is in the off-peak season, you can also ask about discounts, said Grell.
  • Payment: Wayne says some companies will also offer discounts to people who pay by check instead of credit card, or who pay up front. You won’t know unless you ask but many couples don’t think of asking.
  • Bundle: Many DJ companies offer other services, such as video, photography, or photo booth rental. By hiring the same company for various services, you can also save a little money.

Ask The Right Questions

There are many questions to ask the DJs you’re considering but make sure you don’t miss some important ones. Grell suggests asking about “what if” scenarios to determine if they’re a professional company that’s going to be equipped to handle your event. What if the DJ gets sick? You’ll want to know how the company will handle these types of situations. Also ask about equipment, says Wayne. What types of microphones do they use? Do they have backup equipment in case something fails? If they’re doing your ceremony and reception, do they have separate sets of equipment for each? Your day will go smoother if your DJ doesn’t have to take the equipment from the ceremony to the reception.

Give Them The Info They Need

A professional company will ask for what they need or have some type of form that you can fill out to give them this information. Your DJ will usually need your wedding timeline and a playlist that will allow them to get to know your likes and dislikes to then build the entire wedding playlist. If a DJ doesn’t offer you any sort of planning guidance, says Wayne, make sure to be as detailed as possible when giving them your song choices and other information.

Like That MC

Your DJ typically is the emcee for your wedding, so you may want to find out about his or her personality, says Wayne. How are they going to interact with the crowd? Can they carry a conversation? If you can’t see videos of past weddings, ask to meet with the DJ to make sure he or she is the right fit for your event.

Book Early

After you have the venue and the photographer, book your DJ, says Grell. Many companies are booked every Saturday of the year so do it as early as possible.