What should you tell your Wedding DJ

Are you wondering what you should talk to your DJ about before your wedding day? While we all want to let the professionals do their jobs without having someone looking over their shoulder, there are certain things that you need to communicate to your DJ about beforehand. Here are ten things that you really need to consider telling your DJ to make sure that your wedding is a successful event. DJ Cutt Entertainment is based in Portland, Oregon, and we have over twenty years of experience communicating with couples and brides. You can bet that this list is based on plenty of hands on experience dealing with weddings of all sizes and scope. I feel these are the most important issues to discuss with your entertainment company prior to your event. Here is our list of 10 things you should tell your wedding DJ.

1. How to Pronounce the Names

When it comes to the grand entrance one of the most important things is how to properly pronounce the couple’s first and last names. Sometimes this can be challenging. That’s why you might want to give the DJ the spelling of your name phonetically.

Don’t forget to communicate with your MC to let him or her know exactly how and when you want to do the grand entrance. This will be the first time that the new couple is introduced together, and getting the names right is not an issue you want to overlook. This will also be an opportunity for memorable photos and video. Check out these past events on our wedding videography page for examples.

2. Style of the MC

It’s really important that you communicate with your DJ how you want them to handle announcements and such. Do you want someone who is funny and telling jokes or do you want someone who is more of a fly on the wall and just there to help make sure everything runs smoothly?

As the master of ceremony, it is the DJ’s job to communicate information between the day-of coordinator and planner to the rest of your guests. Here in Portland I find most of our couples would like a person who has a strong MC style and interjects as needed, but not an entertainer who is trying to be the star of the show.

We like all the guests to be informed of everything that is happening so they can be ready for upcoming events and they know when things are about to happen before they actually happen. I feel having a confident MC is a lot more important to the flow of the wedding than actually playing the music. I think this is one part of our job that is overlooked but is very important to a successful event.

3. Style of Music and Mixing

When it comes to the style of music, some DJs are radio mix DJs, also known as nightclub DJs, and they can mix songs back to back very quickly. This doesn’t always work at weddings and you probably want a DJ who will play an entire song. Communicate this with your DJ before hand.

Another thing to look out for is DJ mix songs. Typically, at a wedding or similar event, guests want to hear the original versions of classic songs they are familiar with, not some new version of the song.

Also, most DJs will have a play if possible, an I must play, and a do not play list. Make sure you communicate what type of music you would like your DJ to play and what type of music you would like him to stay away from. When it comes to different genres and styles of music the more communication that you have with your DJ the better off your overall experience will be.

You probably don’t want to pick out all the music that the DJ is going to play. You want to give them some flexibility and freedom. They are the professionals after all. But make sure to give enough input so they know what kind of direction you want during different parts of the evening. You’ll be picking out most of songs for the reception and the ceremony and a portion of the dance party. But trust your DJ to fill in the rest of the songs and take requests from guests to make sure that your event is successful.

4. Length of Special Dances

When it comes to the bride walking down the aisle, the father-daughter dance, the mother-son dance, and the first dance, these are all songs that can be played at a specific time and cut off at a specific time. Often, the bride and groom will pick out a song that is 5-6 minutes long for the special dance. If this is too long for a one-on-one dance, the DJ can always cut down the song at a specific time.

It’s important to communicate which songs you want cut down and where you would like them to cut down so that you guys are on the same page on the wedding day and you’re not standing in the middle of the dance floor waiting for the song to end. A typical slow dance at a wedding should be anywhere between 1 to 3 minutes long so don’t let the length of a song determine which one you choose for the special dances.

Use the DJ’s expertise and he’ll be able to smoothly transition out of the songs at whatever length you feel is appropriate.

5. Ask For Reviews and Testimonials

It’s always good to do your research to find out if your DJ is a professional or just getting started. You want to know if they are a fraud before it’s too late. You get one shot at this on your big day. Doing a little bit of research can go a long way.

One of the best places to find DJs is through your venue. Your venue should have a preferred or recommended list that they like to use. Other places to find good DJs are through The Knot and Wedding Wire. These are great resources for finding vetted vendors who are known to be reliable.

Once you’ve narrowed your DJ search down to a couple of companies, it is then time to set up a consultation meeting to get a feel for their personality. Before making that first phone call you will want to go online and read some of their past reviews so you can get a better idea of the company that you’re about to hire. You can also ask for testimonials from past weddings so you can get a good idea of their reputation in the wedding industry.

6. Does your DJ Need Wifi?

Ask your DJ if he needs access to the internet to play music. This is a good indication that your DJ is a rookie and he hasn’t done many wedding because Wi-Fi is not reliable when it comes to events. YouTube, Spotify, and other online streaming services have made it very easy for people to get vast amounts of music for next to nothing.

For me this is a big red flag and a sign of somebody that has not been in the industry for very long. As a professional company, I would never rely on internet or Wi-Fi when playing music at someone’s event. Imagine a scenario where the bride and groom are getting ready to do their first dance and right in the middle a commercial comes on or the song cuts because the wife goes down.

As a professional that is not something that I want to rely on when it comes to offering a professional service. As a customer I’d be very disappointed and embarrassed. Streaming services may make it easy for anyone to act like a DJ, but it’s not something you should trust for an event that is supposed to be once in a lifetime.

7. What is the DJ’s Communication Style

Find out the perfect form of communication so everything can be related clearly. Sometimes that’s phone calls, or in-person meetings, or video chats. Here’s a video that shows our process.

Communication is key for a successful event. You want to have some input on the playlist but make sure that you don’t put in too many requests. Give the DJ the freedom to play some of the music that he knows really works. You hire a DJ because you don’t want to be doing all the music planning yourself. Your time is better spent focusing on other things that are going to have a bigger impact on your overall day.

8. Drinking and Eating Policy

When it comes to eating and drinking, at DJ Cutt Entertainment we don’t require that a meal is served to us but it is a very nice of a gesture. We also don’t drink on the job so that is not an issue that you have to worry about with us. You can rest assured that while your event is going on, our DJs will all be on their best behavior and will act in a professional manner at all times.

9. Guest Requests and Do Not Play List

When filling out your forms for the dance party, we have a play if possible list where you can enter up to 25 songs. You can also link a Spotify list that we will use to download all the songs you request for your dance party. We will usually fill in any missing gaps with high-energy sing along songs.

During the wedding, your guests are more than welcome to come up to the DJ booth and request songs. If we feel that it is appropriate and it fits the room then we will go ahead and play these requests. Our policy with these songs is that they need to be clean edits and appropriate for the room.

10. What are the Steps for Booking your Services

When it comes to the total price of your package, there are many different factors. Before finalizing any agreement, make sure you have a clear list on the contract of what everything is going to cost and what will cost extra.

With our company once we have our first phone call we will create a proposal that will have a contract along with a retainer amount. Once we have the signed contract and retainer, your event is locked down for that particular date. Many things can change leading up to your wedding and you are more than welcome to add additional services or additional time as needed.

Feel free to reach out to us is you have any questions we haven’t answered here. We’ll be happy to discuss the specific requirements of your upcoming event.

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