For many couples, the evening entertainment is the most crucial part of the wedding day. A drink or five down, it's when guests gather on the dance floor to give you their drunken well wishes (we've all been there, right?).
Hiring a DJ, as opposed to a band, is usually a cheaper option and can often give more variety to your evening's music. But how do you make sure you're making the right DJ choice? We spoke to Jon Beck, owner of London-based wedding DJ company Redline DJs to hear his advice.
Don't think your own Spotify playlist will cut it
Spotify is a great resource for your commute or gym session, but when it comes to your wedding day, creating a playlist and hitting shuffle is asking for trouble. It's easy to think you can be your own wedding DJ - but handing your phone to the best man and expecting the venue's tinny sound system to do the rest is a mistake.
DJing is about more than choosing great songs - it requires technical know-how, high-quality equipment and a person who can read a crowd and sustain the party atmosphere. A good DJ will also have thousands of songs available to them - something that works far better than your drunken mate nicking the phone to play 'I Will Survive' for the fourth time in a row.
Don't be afraid to be specific
Every wedding is different - and what works for one couple will be the opposite of what works for another. Your DJ should have experience in all types of weddings, but it still helps to be specific. At Redline we ask couples to consider various things - what is the age profile of the guests? Are you and your mates big party-goers, or the types that haven't been on a dance floor together since a night out at Reflex in 2008? Does the DJ need to cater to your grandma, and your four-year-old niece? A good DJ will take your ideas onboard and guide you based on their past experience.
Don't get to your wedding day without a phone call or face-to-face chat with your DJ
Being a wedding DJ is about more than just music - they are the people who dictate the tone of your night, and a good attitude is crucial. It's best to suss this out in as far advance as possible to work out if they're the kind of person you want at your wedding.
Asking them if they like to talk on the mic will give you an idea on their style - if they like to use the mic a lot to gee up the crowd and instruct them to have a good time (a personal no-no at Redline) then you may want to look elsewhere. Have a chat and trust your instincts.
Do carefully consider your playlist
A DJ is there to play the tunes that you and your partner love, but fluidity is also important. Work with your DJ to ensure that you hear your favourites but also consider the rest of the crowd - after all, a full dance floor is the key to a successful night. Try picking your top 25 tracks to give your DJ a sense of the kind of music you like, and then allow them to prepare a set that will fulfil your brief.
Do be flexible on budget
It's a cliche but it's true - you get what you pay for. And it is always worth paying for a professional. For example, a reputable DJ company will have an established roster of DJs, meaning that if your DJ is ill, they will have a backup on call. The same can be said for equipment - a professional DJ will come complete with the very best kit, and backups, should a lead/speaker/etc stop working. It's also a misconception that a DJ's job is just a four-hour set - a professional DJ will have spent hours compiling your playlist, as well as setting up, packing down etc. Time of year is also important - like venues, prices will vary depending on day of the week and time of year.
Do ask for help
Your DJ will have been to countless weddings and will have seen what works and what doesn't. So do consider the added value a great DJ can bring - from how to use a mic (sounds simple, but I've been a guest at enough weddings where some mic-handling advice would have helped us all hear the speeches), to other awesome suppliers.
A quality DJ will also have good contacts and be able to make recommendations for other aspects of your night. Music is their thing, so if you're looking for ceremony music suggestions or great first dances (they don't always have to be slow), then hit them up for advice.
For more help or info contact Redline DJs