When it comes to being the DJ/Entertainer for someone’s wedding, it helps to know a few things in advance to deliver the service that the engaged couple has envisioned for their big day. There are many different styles and scenarios that your DJ wants to know in advance when preparing to perform for a wedding. Scott King Entertainment shares more about his process and the questions he asks to make sure they are on the same page when it comes to delivering and executing DJ services. Learn more from Scott below.
We are in a service-based industry, and that means as professional entertainers, we execute the services based on what the couple has asked us to do. The more experienced the entertainer is, the more questions they ask, the better they will be able to execute your vision you have asked for. Everyone has their own opinion on how the day should unfold, and our job as DJs is to make sure that we handle the entertainment services to the best of our abilities with a clear guided direction in mind. When it comes to communication with your wedding DJ, there are some essential points to have in mind in order to have a successful event.
Here are the top 5 things your DJ wants to know in advance to be able to execute a solid performance for your big day.
Location, Location, Location. This is usually my first question when I sit down with an engaged couple. This helps the DJ formulate a timeline of events and map out how many people would be on staff for the contracted services. If the ceremony is located on a separate property this could require an extra person as well to keep track of the different DJ setups. If someone wants dancing on a cloud this automatically requires an extra person to help with the mechanics of operating the Nimbus (Cloud Machine).
In most cases, a couple chooses to have their wedding ceremony at the same place as their wedding reception. This option typically works out best for the DJ when the couple chooses a wedding venue, because these places are familiar with DJs and can take a lot of the guesswork out of what needs to happen for the DJ to perform their services. Oftentimes, it makes it even easier if it’s a venue where the DJ is familiar with the event space. Having access to wall outlets and blueprinted floor plans makes the job more efficient when preparing entertainment services.
When a couple chooses a house or a venue that’s not familiar with what a DJ needs it to be equipped with to handle a wedding reception, a DJ wants to know this information right off the bat to prepare for different types of challenges that could occur throughout the evening. I would ask a series of questions to have a clear vision of what to expect at an unfamiliar site. In most cases, I would do a site visit to clear up any questions I had.
Some couples want to get married on the beach. Beach ceremonies can be challenging scenarios. The first thing to consider is how much power you need for the equipment. Some entertainers have a generator, and others don’t. It’s good to go over this in advance. Sometimes, it can be windy on the beach. Most times, microphone windscreens aren’t sufficient enough to block out the sounds from higher wind speeds.
Let’s talk about the music for the wedding. There’s music for the wedding ceremony, cocktail hour, first dance, father-daughter dance, and of course dancing time. There are many different scenes and moods throughout the evening, and it falls on the DJ to create an atmosphere that’s appropriate for that client’s friends and family. From doing Rock Themed weddings at the Hard Rock Hotel to doing Star Wars Themed events, the DJ wants to know what the Bride and Groom’s vision is.
When I think about providing music for the wedding, I break it down into three categories: signature songs, background music, and dancing time.
It seems to make it easier for the couple to break it down like this!
First, signature songs. These are the most important songs to have prepped and ready to go. These are songs like the first dance, father-daughter dance, and the songs that the wedding party walks down the aisle to during the wedding ceremony. We ask for these songs first, and if there are unique recordings that you can only find on youtube or a streaming service, we ask for a link to download the exact version and have it on our hard drive and not streaming from the internet when the bride is walking down the aisle. Relying on streaming and internet data is not a way to live life as a performer.
Second, background music. These are songs that are subtly played while people mingle and have conversations, usually before the ceremony, during the cocktail hour and throughout dinner. To make things easy, I go ahead and create options for couples to choose from to eliminate the stress of making a playlist of music that most people won’t be fully involved with. Sometimes, I do have clients that want to create playlists for these times, and for this, I ask them to create a Spotify playlist and share it with my account. I can make that playlist local on my hard drive, and then I have exactly what my client wants.
The third is the time to dance music! Your DJ wants to know what direction the couple would like to go in as far as music is concerned. I’ll send a questionnaire to ask how intense they want the dancing time to be. From a 1-10 scale with 1 being elegant and romantic and 10 being “all the way turnt up!” Most couples get a kick out of the terminology I use, and it helps us all to get on the same page. Some clients aren’t looking to have an active dance floor and want to treat the entire evening like it’s cocktail hour, and that’s key information that the DJ wants to know.
Some couples tell the DJ to do their thing because they saw them at another wedding, and that’s why they hired them. It’s good to be prepared and know if a couple wants to go into a specific type of genre of music like “Deep New York House”, or if a couple prefers not to have line dances, it is essential for the DJ to deliver the service you hired them to do.
YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY!
Another answer that your DJ wants to know is what are the families like? Introverted or extroverted, and what does the couple anticipate the interactions for the evening will be? The DJ needs to know this for a couple of different reasons. If the couple wanted to have a wedding with no dancing for religious reasons, it would be pointless for the DJ to come out with great dance music if that wasn’t in the couple’s best interest. On the other hand, maybe the couple is looking to challenge the DJ. I once had a bride say, “I’ll totally be impressed if you can get my dad to dance.”
It’s all about knowing your audience and what’s acceptable for each client. Usually, when a couple tells me their family is introverted, the next question I ask is if it’s a dry wedding. Knowing this is important because when the crowd has had a few drinks, they tend to loosen up a little bit. The DJ needs to know their audience to deliver the proper performance suitable for the event at hand. So when you are hiring a DJ, make sure they are professional and can handle any client’s requests and gauge the room to make the proper adjustments throughout the evening.
Your DJ also wants to know if you are looking for a Spanish-speaking or bilingual DJ. This is a common question to ask in Florida because of the higher population of Spanish-speaking people. I myself have done many different cultural weddings like Indian, Haitian, and Latin. If your friends and family are based out of a specific region, it would be great to know that in advance to prepare for that audience properly. New Yorkers have different musical anchors than people out west like California, and it’s good to know these things in advance.
Lastly, the DJ wants to know if there are any family dynamics that they should be aware of. While it can be uncomfortable to talk about a difficult family situation, it is better to discuss ahead of time to make an effort to avoid an incident on your big day.
Is there a Day of Coordinator? This is something that the DJ would want to be mindful of when it comes to orchestrating the events throughout the evening. Coordinators are great when it comes to making sure things run smoothly. DJs look to the coordinator to help cue music for the ceremony and introductions for the reception. When the DJ knows in advance, it helps to know if they were needed to take a more directive role when it comes to the timeline of events. Checking with the caterer to make sure champagne is poured at the proper time and keeping on track with the other vendors would just be added to DJ’s responsibilities. Having that extra person around to help with crowd control and vendor communication really makes a difference in how the evening is handled.
MUSICAL PERFORMANCES! Letting the DJ know ahead of time that there will be a live performance is essential. Sometimes, a live performance for a wedding can be a bit of a challenge. It helps to know, so we are able to assist with unexpected requests. Everything from a musical performer to plug into the DJ’s sound system, to plugs and cords that might be needed, it’s best to have open communication to get the proper arrangements made to have a great performance. I once had a guitarist ask me for a guitar stand and a keyboard player that thought the DJ would have a keyboard stand! Those are not items a DJ would generally have with him.
I can’t stress this enough that musical performances have many intricacies to beware of. Singers would have to provide their own instrumental tracks in advance to make sure those tracks would play properly in the DJ’s system. I urge my clients to hire a professional that comes equipped with all the proper connections, cables, and sound equipment for their show to be self-contained.
CONCLUSION Communication is key. We as DJs understand it’s your day, and our job is to make that happen for you to the best of our abilities! Knowing these things in advance helps us to be prepared for the days’ festivities and to help add to your vision!
Scott King, AKA DVDJ King has been a DJ/Entertainer for over 20 years. Scott has been performing for high-profile weddings within the Central Florida Theme Parks and also travels internationally opening for National Acts like the Backstreet Boys, Weezer, Train, and DJ Jazzy Jeff just to name a few.
King Entertainment Events (Orlando, FL), offers some of the Best DJs, Sound, Lighting, and Video for weddings, corporate and High School Dances. From the most intimate gatherings to the most extensive corporate functions, our professional staff and talented entertainers execute a flawless performance every time. You’ll find our punctual customer service comforting as we ensure your event’s success. We understand that your special occasion is most important, and as entertainment professionals, we take great pride in the planning and handling of your event.