Every wedding day has its own soundtrack. From walking down the aisle to the first dance, the throwing of flowers to the last farewell, music sets the tone all day long – this is why your DJ or band plays such an important role.
To help you better screen the candidates, we’ve put together this master list of questions to ask wedding DJs and bands before booking. The more knowledge you have, the better equipped you are to make the right decision and find the one for your wedding.
First things first, you need to figure out the basics … is the DJ or band even available on your preferred date? The answers to the following questions will help you get an idea of the candidate’s experience.
- Is my wedding date available?
- How long have you been doing this professionally? Why You Need To Know: Obviously, there is a difference between volunteer appearances and legitimate, paid appearances. Make sure your candidates are experienced so that there are no hiccups on the most important day of your life.
- How many weddings have you played?
- How long have you been performing together (when interviewing a band)?
- How many weddings do you have on an average weekend? Why You Need To Know: If the band or DJ is playing 24/7 all weekend, their performance can suffer. If they are empty you should reconsider booking.
- Are you performing at more than one event on a day?
- Will you be the DJ / band leader in person at our wedding? Which band members should we expect? Why You Need to Know: Bands usually have a list of artists and can switch who is playing based on availability.
- Did you hold events in my wedding location?
- What makes you different from your competition?
- Can you describe your style?
- Are there any other services that you offer, such as lighting design or a photo box?
- Can you give me current couples whom I can contact for references?
You probably already know a little about the wedding band or the DJ since you were interested enough to interview them. Learn more about her and her style so there are no surprises on the big day.
- Do you have a CD of your music or a video from a previous wedding you performed at?
- Can you help me choose the music for my procession, recession, father-daughter dance, etc.? Why You Need To Know: If you’re having trouble choosing music for a first dance song or a father-daughter dance, etc., a DJ or wedding band tends to know a thing or two about choosing the right music. They can definitely be a helpful resource.
- How extensive is your music library or song list? Which genres can you cover?
- Do you have a list of wedding songs that you play or perform for weddings? Why You Need to Know: Ask them in advance if they have a list of songs they will recommend during the wedding. If they leave you this list, make sure you provide them with the songs you want to play on the dance floor before your wedding buzzes around.
- How do you keep your music collection up to date?
- If for some reason the DJ or any of the band members scheduled for my event can’t perform, do you have a replacement ready?
- Do you take breaks How many and when?
- What music is offered during the breaks?
- How many band members will there be on that day?
- Do you act as the moderator and make all the announcements?
- How would you define your moderation style?
- What do you do to motivate the audience when no one is dancing?
- Do you accept inquiries from our guests?
- Can we submit a “Do Not Play” list? Why you need to know: You never know what your guests will want in the end.
A “don’t play” list ensures that you don’t hear anything that you and your new partner hate.
Prices and Payment
Price is one of the most important factors when choosing a wedding DJ or band, but just asking for a price is not that easy. You need to find out exactly what that price includes. Under no circumstances do you want to discover surprising fees after signing the contract.
- What is your tariff? Why you need to know: When you talk about the tariff, make sure the tariff changes based on the day (or even the time of day) and exactly how many hours you buy with that tariff. If the price is in the standard (even if it is over budget), great. If it turns out that the DJ or wedding band is the right one, you may be able to negotiate a discount or increase your budget to use that DJ or band.
- Does this price include assembly and dismantling between the ceremonial and reception locations? What, if anything, is not included?
- How much would you charge for overtime?
- Can there be additional fees that I have not taken into account, such as travel expenses or fees for special musical requests?
- When do I get a written contract?
- What deposit do you need and when is it due? Do you offer a payment plan? Why you need to know: See if you can pay for them before (or after) the wedding. Trying to pay for wedding providers on your wedding day is a mess – if you can pay for them upfront, this is preferable.
- What is your refund / cancellation policy?
- How far in advance do I have to book you for my wedding?
- What information do you need from me before the wedding day?
- Are you insured? Why you need to know: Ideally, your wedding DJ or wedding band has liability insurance. It covers all damage that may occur to the performers themselves and to the equipment.
Many venues require DJs and bands to have liability insurance, so it’s important to know if they have one in advance.
- Now for the less exciting but still critical details like power supply and timing.
- Can you provide wireless microphones for the wedding ceremony?
- Does your equipment need special sockets that I need to inform my wedding venue about?
- Are you bringing backup equipment?
- What kind of room or stage do you need for the DJ or band? If my website doesn’t offer what you need, will you organize the stage or am I responsible for the rental?
- Do you put up a sign or banner with your equipment?
- How much time do you need for setup, sound check and dismantling on the day of the event?
- When will you arrive at the location and when will you leave? Why You Need to Know: You want to have a confirmed arrival time from them in advance of your wedding, and it should be early enough for the performers to get set up. Also, find out when to go. If you want them to stay for the after party, include that in your contract before the night comes.
- Will we meet again before the wedding?
- When is our deadline for submitting our music requests and event details?
- What will you wear to our wedding?
- Do you (and each band member when you book a band) need a meal? Why you need to know: It’s something to add to your budget. This can be very costly, especially if you are booking a ten-piece band.
- What’s your policy on drinking or smoking during the wedding?
- Is there anything we should know about your services that we haven’t talked about yet? Why You Need to Know: By this point, you’ve probably got everything covered, but it never hurts to make sure. Cover all of your basics and see if anything has been left out from the wedding DJ’s or the band’s perspective.
- You have questions for us? Why you need to know: Now that you know everything you wanted to know, find out if the wedding DJ or wedding band needs additional information.