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Wedding Planning Tips and Ideas – Wedding FAQ's

Posted on August 27, 2013



The best way to start Wedding Planning – By James DJHD

How far in advance should a couple book their DJ?

The earlier the better, but if I have to give a specific time, I’ll say no later than 1 month. A couple can still book a DJ later than that if needed but it will put more pressure on both the DJ and the couple. The DJ has to find all the song requests and make sure everything’s organized according to the timeline of the event. The DJ should provide a blank timeline for the couple and either have them write down the order of events in the order they wish, or, have an event planner or DJ assist them with suggestions. The DJ also has to get familiar with the names of the bridal party if he/she will be making introductions or making any other special announcements. Some names may be harder to pronounce, so your DJ may have to rehearse them at times to remember how they’re pronounced. Another great reason why a couple should book a DJ early is that he/she may have to do a site visit beforehand to see exactly where they will be set-up and where they will place lights and video projection if requested. Having ample time to review and have everything prepared can ensure that a couples wedding event will flow smoother. 

Are all DJs required to have insurance? What type of insurance should couples check to make sure their DJs have?

All DJ’s should have liability and property insurance whether they purchase it individually or are covered through an agency. In the event that an unfortunate situation happens, such as, a member of the couple’s party damaging equipment owned by the DJ, it can be covered and replaced by the insurance company if needed. Or if a member of the couple’s party get injured from the DJ’s equipment malfunctioning, breaking, or falling over, that member can be compensated according to the details of the insurance. 

How far in advance of the event should the DJ arrive at the event?

It depends on how much equipment the DJ is required to provide. Basic set-ups usually take anywhere from 20 min. – 45 min. to setup, meaning the DJ should be there an hour – 2 hours in advance because he/she also has to consider finding a good parking space and how long it will take to load everything out of their vehicle and get it into their destination. Sometimes the venue can be a pretty good distance away from the parking lot or driveway. You also have to consider if there will be other vendors, and individuals coming in out at the same time. DJ’s usually pack their equipment on a cart which makes loading in much easier. But what if there are steps? The DJ may have to carry in equipment piece by piece, which can be extremely time consuming. Also, if the DJ is not accompanied by an assistant, it will have to be carried in alone.

Are there any setup or breakdown fees that the couple is required to pay?

Usually not. Some companies may require this additional fee but many companies do not. On the other hand, only if it’s an extremely sophisticated event that will take over 2 hours and require additional labor, there may be an additional fee.

Can couples typically request specific songs they’d like the DJ to play? If the answer to this is yes, how and when should these requests be made by the couple?

Yes! It is preferred that couples request their favorite types of music, specific artists, and songs. It’s difficult to determine what types of music a person likes just by speaking with them or meeting them. Song requests should be brought up early and should even be mentioned in the questionnaire provided by the DJ. I’ve been surprised many times by different kinds of people who like different kinds of music. It’s always wrong to stereotype and assume, so the best thing to do is have them write down or email you a list of their favorite genre’s of music, artists, and songs. It’s always better to know instead of playing the guessing game. Once again, these request should be made as early as possible if you want to be sure the DJ can find and organize all of your music. The DJ should also be able to play your immediate requests even during your event. That’s why it’s a good idea to choose a DJ with a wide variety of music.

Do Disc Jockeys usually play requests made by the guests? If yes, how is this typically done?

The only way a DJ should play requests made by guests is if it’s allowed by the couple. This should be discussed before the event takes place and even mentioned in the questionnaire. The couple knows their guests better than the DJ and should know if their guests will make crazy or inappropriate requests. All DJ’s should ask the couple if guests are allowed to make requests during their event. If necessary, they can warn the DJ of certain people who might make inappropriate requests. They should also let the DJ know if their guests can only requests certain kinds of music. And believe me, some guests will make requests that shouldn’t be played in front of certain crowds.

Can couples request specific songs that they don’t want played at their wedding? If yes, how is this handled?

Yes! Not only should there be a list of songs the couple wants played, but also a list of songs the couple does not want played.This is equally important because certain songs can ruin the mood of an extremely important day. I know of songs that I can’t stand and never want to hear ever again and I would be upset if a DJ played it at my wedding. There may be songs that the couple doesn’t hate but feels is not suitable to be played at a wedding. Once again, these unwanted songs are just as vital as the requested song because they trigger bad memories and/or negative emotions. But remember, if the DJ doesn’t know about the songs you don’t want played, he/she may not know…unless of course they can read your mind.

What are some extra services that a couple can add on to their wedding packages?

Fog Machines/Cloud Effects

Video Projection for Slideshows or Video Clips

Party Lighting

LED Uplighting

A Spotlight

A First Dance Custom Mix

How can a couple see a DJ “in action” at an event, prior to deciding whether or not to hire them?

By either inviting them to a public event where they will be performing or by showing them previous photo and/or video clips. Video clips will show live action of a DJ and how he/she performs and can come in very handy when wanting to preview a DJ before signing the contract.

What if the DJ’s equipment breaks during the wedding?

The DJ should ALWAYS bring back-up equipment! Without back-up equipment of some sort, a wedding can be ruined and never forgotten. Once again, this is the most important day of many people’s lives and it’s unfortunate if an event has to be without music or end up being cut short because of not having back-up equipment.

How does it work with deposits? Specifically, how much should a couple place down for a deposit and when is the balance due?

Deposits along with a contract is what’s usually needed to secure your event day and time range. The deposit amount is up to the DJ but is normally 50% of the total price. Once this is paid along with a signed contract, the DJ can’t cancel on your event even if he/she is offered more money for a service unless you both sign a written agreement of cancellation. The balance should be paid at any time before the event or by the deadline negotiated and signed between the couple and the DJ. If the balance is not paid by the deadline, the couple could possibly be charged a late fee if it’s written in the contract and signed.

If the event needs to be cancelled or re-scheduled, when is the latest that the couple should notify the DJ?

If the event is cancelled or re-scheduled, the couple should notify the DJ as early as possible. If cancelled, there could be a cancellation fee if it’s stated in the contract. The reason behind a cancellation fee is because the DJ may have to turn down other potential clients in order to serve you. If you cancel, then the DJ will end up missing out on business that he/she could’ve earned. Emergencies will always happen from time to time and that is why it’s important to make sure the contract is completely understood before signing. The same principle applies to rescheduling. There can be a fee if it’s stated in the contract because the DJ could lose out on business if a reschedule date is not confirmed.

What should a couple pay attention to when interviewing DJs for their big day?

A couple should pay attention to the DJ’s aura. Do you get a positive vibe from the DJ? If you want DJ to make announcements or MC your wedding, does he/she speak clearly? Can you understand how the DJ describes his/her services? Does the DJ seem experienced? Can the DJ answer all of your questions? Does the DJ portray confidence? Can the DJ give you great advice? Is the DJ friendly and easy to get along with? Was the DJ late for your interview? Hygiene? Anything that will strike negative or positive feelings within you.

Is it extra for the DJ to also act as the MC/Master of Ceremonies?

This is totally up to the DJ. It is extra work, and focus to pay attention to the music and interact with the guests at the same time. It also depends on how much interaction the couple wants from the DJ. In some cases, the couple may want an DJ who is constantly engaging the guests at all times. If so, then it may be a good idea to book a DJ & MC which will more than likely be an extra charge. The benefit is that you will have each person dedicated to one task and this can work very well if you need this type of energy.

How does a couple let the “Master of Ceremonies” know what needs to be said at their wedding?

You can let the Master of Ceremonies know what needs to be said by writing down or emailing him/her the details. He will not know except if you tell him unless he’s already familiar with your guests. This info should be listed on the questionnaire provided to you by the DJ/MC. Any additional announcements or shout-outs needed can also be given to your MC during the event, but once again, the earlier…the better.


In order to select the best DJ for your Wedding, the key is presentation and professionalism. Overly expensive DJ’s aren’t always the best DJ’s and hiring a super cheap DJ to save money could ruin your day. The honest truth is that some of the newer DJ’s can be better than some who’ve DJ’d for years. Exactly what type of DJ are you looking for? One who can mix well? One who can make you laugh? One who gets out on the dance floor? One who just plays music? One who can give your reception that club feel? The best advice I can give is to see or hear what other people have to say about him/her. Ask for references and read their reviews. If they have video footage or pictures, look at them closely. Go to an event where they will be playing if possible. After doing the proper research, you’ll have to trust your instinct from there.

Washington DC, Maryland, and Virginia Wedding DJ and LED Uplighting with Ideal Media DJHD

For a free consultation, contact us today at (202)704-1963.

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