Top 3 Must Ask Questions When Booking A Wedding DJ
If you’re currently in the process of planning a wedding, we just have two things to say: First, Congratulations! We’re so happy for you! Second, we’re sorry…for all of the overwhelming information that is out there.
We definitely don’t want to contribute to the overwhelming info overload. There are a million sites with a million questions to ask potential DJs. And, while we believe in being thorough, we also believe nothing beats direct, powerful questions that would allow you to use your intuition and gut instinct to determine whether the vendor you’re questioning is the right fit for you.
Below, we have 3 of the Top Questions to Ask a Professional Wedding DJ. Each question provides a description of why it’s effective and what you might be looking for, regarding a good response.
If you’re able to, meet your potential DJ in person, so you can see their body language and facial expressions as you ask the questions. This allows that gut instinct and intuition to kick in and let you know if they are being honest or have something to hide.
What three things can you provide, unlike your competitors, which will make my wedding memorable?
Why it works
This question puts pressure on the DJ to think fast and think of multiple things at once. Pay attention to their body language, facial expressions and how smoothly they answer. What they actually say isn’t nearly as important as how they say it.
There are many moving parts to a wedding, any of which can go wrong at any given time. Typically, your DJ is the person everyone looks to if things go wrong, even if you have a planner/coordinator. Read that again. It’s true. If anyone is running late, people ask the DJ what’s happening. If the music stops playing because of a power outage, no one looks at the planner or property manager, they look at the DJ. If the food is not on time, if somebody loses their wallet, if people aren’t going where they are supposed to…everyone comes to the DJ to help fix the problem. So, the DJ has to be able to think fast and work quickly, calmly, and smoothly under pressure.
This first question applies pressure quickly and allows you to see how the DJ reacts to stress. If they break a sweat and start raising their voice, you might not want that kind of hot head in control of one of the most important days of your life. If they fumble their words or struggle to come up with the reasons they are better than their competitors…you might want to look at their competitors. In fact, a good DJ will likely struggle to keep there response to only three items.
Example of a Good Response
“I have lots of energy, I work well under pressure, and I coordinate with all of the vendors to help make sure your event is unforgettable, in the good way”.
Most well-rounded, non-stressful DJs will usually give a response similar to this. Ultimately, it’s how they say it, though…that’s what really counts.
What are two examples of when something went wrong at a wedding? Provide one example of something that was out of your control and how you overcame it, and the second example of something that was your fault and how you overcame it, and the steps you took to prevent it from happening again.
Why it works
You’re really turning the wrench now. This is actually a five part question that shows how the DJ handles things out of their control and how they own up to their own faults. The idea behind this is helpful for both you and the DJ. Again, notice how they react, physically, but what they say is very important here.
The first part of the question allows you to see how effective the DJ’s problem solving skills are. If they are able to provide an interesting and effective answer, you know they have the ability to think outside of the box and make things work, even when things go wrong that are beyond their control.
The second part of the question creates a little vulnerability on the DJ’s behalf. If they admit they have dropped the ball in the past, this forces the DJ to admit that they aren’t perfect (there’s usually a lot of inflated ego with DJs). It breaks down a wall of deception and allows you to see them for what they are, which is a human. It’s humbling for them, but also helps you to not place them on a pedestal and not to have unrealistic expectations. Mistakes can happen, but it shouldn’t be the end of the world, and a good DJ can smooth over the bad.
If the DJ doesn’t admit to messing up in the past, they are one of two things: 1) A liar or 2) Inexperienced. You you don’t want either one of those types of DJs handling your event.
Example of a Good Response
“One thing that was out of my control was a power outage. When we realized there would be no power for a while, we ran extension cords to a power converter in our van. We weren’t able to play as loud as we wanted, but we still had fun, and the bride and groom were extremely happy.”
“One thing that was my fault was when I showed up late to set up for an event. I didn’t plan ahead for bad traffic and a difficult parking situation. I made it up to the bride and groom by giving them an hour of free overtime. The way I made sure that never happened again is, I now make plans to arrive at least two hours early for every event. This way I’m always early, or at the very least, right on time.”
In both parts of this response, the DJ shows their ability to problem solve and it shows their ability to own up to a mistake, which is common for newcomers and how they now have plans in effect to prevent future problems. If they plan ahead for one thing, it is likely that they plan ahead for many contingencies.
How, when, and why did you get into this business…what’s your story?
Why it works
Here goes another, multi-part question which gives you a close look at the DJ’s driving motivation and a snapshot of how much experience they have. This is the question that separates the pros from the hobbyists and weekend music enthusiasts that just want to earn a quick buck.
It’s true that it is a business and you do want a DJ that loves music, but they need to be more invested in the experience than just the love of music and money. When you ask this question, try to determine how passionate they are about the experience for you and for them. In the end, that’s what you really want: A DJ who is passionate about giving you a great experience. And their backstory can give you a good insight as to why they do what they do.
If the DJ is truly passionate, their story will include some reference about how great it feels to be part of their client’s stories. Again, this is a good time to pay attention to their facial expressions, body language, tone and pace of speech. If they look really happy and excited to tell you about their story, then you’re probably on the right track. You now get to see how entertaining your DJ is and it gives you a better look at how they might interact with your crowd. If they are truly passionate about their story, they will entertain you and make you feel passionate about them.
If the DJ can’t even deliver an entertaining story, in a fluid manner, about their “why”, then you might be talking to the wrong person. This DJ is likely only in the business to make money or they are extremely inexperienced. So, either the motivation is wrong or they need more time to develop their MC skills. An experienced DJ and Master of Ceremonies will not only be good at playing music, but they will also be good at passionately entertaining you and your guests.
When they answer this question, they should let you know how long they’ve been in the business, as well. Anything less than five years will be a good indicator that this DJ hasn’t had enough experience. It doesn’t matter how great they are, if they started their own business, it still takes a couple of years to build momentum. Unless they are the most unfortunate DJ in the history of the world, it is unlikely that they faced the majority of challenges that come with weddings within a few years. That’s why a five-year history gives your prospective DJ the opportunity to face all sorts of tough situations. If they made it this far, they must be pretty good.
You also want to take into consideration how many events they average per year. If they’re only doing 1-10 weddings per year, they aren’t going to have the experience needed to pull off a great wedding, especially if you have certain expectations and a specific vision for your wedding. You’ll likely be happy with a DJ that averages 30-60 weddings per year. This means they’re busy, but they don’t overload themselves and stretch themselves thin, allowing them to perform at peak levels most of the year.