Category Archives: chicago il wedding dj

newlyweds dancing at reception after sorting through chicago wedding dj prices

Sifting through Chicago Wedding DJ Prices? 4 BIG Factors to Consider

Navigating through Chicago wedding DJ prices can be tricky, especially with hidden costs and “extras.” Here’s 6 factors you should consider as you choose the “one” for your big day.

Service Time Included

A wedding reception typically lasts 7 hours. Approximately 5-6 hours of the reception is the wedding dance. The way wedding DJs charge for their time varies by company. Some Chicago wedding DJ prices include the full length of the reception, regardless of how long it goes (great for couples who want to dance the night away!) Other wedding DJs in Chicago charge per hour. Overtime fees are added to the bill if the wedding reception goes over the set time.

Takeaway: Decide whether you want to a wedding DJ who charges by the hour or reception. Remember, if you choose by hour, you may have to pay extra for dinner music and if your reception goes late. Always ask your wedding DJ up front how they charge (plus these other wedding DJ questions), what is included in the cost, and if there are any travel fees so you can compare Chicago wedding DJ prices. Plus, you’ll know the full cost up front and won’t feel tricked if you are charged overtime fees.

Experience

The best Chicago wedding DJs keep the dance floor packed and have a ton of experience. But how do you know if your wedding DJ checks off both boxes? The best way is via a little research and a short interview.

You can find out if your wedding DJ is good at what they do by talking to other couples who’ve hired the DJ. It’s easy to do online on wedding review sites like The Knot and the Wedding Wire. These sites are full of reviews—good and bad—from couples who’ve hired the wedding DJ or wedding DJ service. You’d be surprised at how helpful these reviews can be—and the insight they can give you about working with the DJ.

Takeaway: Once you’re convinced a DJ is worth your time, schedule a meeting or give them a call. Ask them some key questions about their availability and past experience.

Individual vs. Service

Typically, Chicago wedding DJs work alone or as part of a service. There are advantages to both, but it’s important to know up front whether you’re dealing with an individual or service. While an individual DJ may have their own company, they are usually the only DJ available. Unfortunately, that means that you may have to deal with a DJ who doesn’t respond promptly and doesn’t have a back-up available in case of an emergency. (Don’t forget to ask the wedding DJ if they have back-ups when you ask your initial interview questions.) On the other hand, individual Chicago wedding DJ prices are typically lower than services.

A wedding DJ service comes with own set of pros and cons. Hiring a Chicago wedding DJ is incredibly convenient because their staff is typically very responsive during the planning process and have experienced back-up DJs ready in case of an emergency. Wedding DJ services also typically update their equipment and play lists more often, and have back-up equipment in case of a breakdown. Plus, their DJs usually deejay weddings regularly, so they have a ton of experience.

Takeaway: Don’t choose a wedding DJ for your Chicago wedding based on cost alone. In many cases, it’s worth the funds to have an experienced DJ that keeps the dance floor crowded, plus the convenience of a responsive staff and back-ups if needed.

“Extras”

As you’re thinking about wedding entertainment, don’t forget to think about other ways to entertain your guests. Couples can use table games, lighting, photo booths, yard games, and a million other wedding entertainment ideas to make sure their guests enjoy their wedding reception.

Takeaway: When researching wedding entertainment ideas, ask your wedding DJ for ideas or other rentals they available. Often, you can get these items as part of a package, saving you time and money.

beautiful wedding reception with items from chicago wedding vendors

The First Chicago Wedding Vendors You Need to Book

Hiring the right Chicago wedding vendors for your big day is incredibly important! Having the right team in your corner makes planning easier, and gets you one step closer to the day of your dreams.

But who do you hire first? How do you find the right Chicago wedding vendors for your big day? Where do you start? This list of wedding vendors and tips can get you started planning your special Chicago day.

First Chicago Wedding Vendors to Book

Wedding Venue

The site of your wedding day is one of the most important details. Fortunately, there is a long list of Chicago wedding venues to choose from, including your own backyard!

When considering the best location for your wedding, have an open conversation with your fiancé and ask these questions:

  • What is our wedding date? (Use these tips for choosing the perfect wedding date if you haven’t narrowed down your options yet.)
  • What is our style (i.e. modern, historic, rustic, etc.)?
  • How big is our guest list? (You don’t need an exact count, but an estimate is helpful.)
  • What is our budget?

If there is anything you really wanted in a venue, now is the time to speak up! Do you want a big wedding venue with a big dance floor? Or a Chicago wedding venue with plenty of room for family seating?

Caterer

The Windy City is full of wonderful wedding caterers. Finding the right caterer comes down to a number of factors, such as your budget, what kind of dinner service (i.e. sit-down, family style, buffet, etc.) you prefer, and your menu. When contacting wedding caterers, ask each caterer if they are available on your wedding date, carry insurance, can prepare your menu preferences, and, if appropriate, when you can schedule a wedding tasting. (Always ask if there is a cost for the tasting. Every caterer has a different tasting policy.)

Wedding Entertainment

Your wedding entertainment boils down to the question: band, DJ, or DIY? Typically, wedding DJs are less expensive than bands, and don’t require you to purchase the equipment or man the music equipment station. Both wedding bands and DJs come with professionals that keep guests on the dance floor. Wedding bands often have limited playlists, while top-quality wedding DJs come with extensive play lists with all your “must play” songs. Talk through your options with your fiancé, plus whether you want live entertainment, need an emcee, and what your budget is for wedding entertainment. (Beyond a band or DJ, consider adding a little extra for wedding entertainment “extras” like lighting, trivia games, and photo booths.) If you choose a DJ, contact Chicago wedding DJs with this list of DJ questions.

Wedding Planner

If you need full- or part-time help planning your big day, seek out a Chicago wedding planning service or ask your wedding venue if they offer planning services. Ask every wedding planner if they have experience, for examples of their past work, and a few other important questions.

How to Find a Quality Wedding Vendor

Ask friends and family for recommendations.

Your friends and family members can be an invaluable source for wedding vendor recommendations. Be careful when their suggestions are for other friends or family members that offer the service “on the side.” Unfortunately, amateur services often come with unreliable communications and dated equipment that can lead to less-than-satisfactory performance.

Do online research.

There are many wedding review sites that give couples not only a list of Chicago wedding vendors, but also reviews. When researching wedding vendors, you should look for information about their service, testimonials, and a high review rating (from a large amount of reviews).

Meet with the vendor.

Never hire a wedding vendor without meeting with them. Never book a wedding venue without touring it. Never choose a wedding caterer without tasting their food. Even if your meeting is virtual, make sure you meet with the vendor so you can interview them and see if they are the “one.”

Review the contract carefully.

When hiring a wedding vendor, always review the fine print before signing on the dotted line. Once you’ve returned the contract, don’t forget to add deadlines to your wedding planning calendar or in your wedding planning app. (These other tips for organizing your wedding planning ensures that your experience is smooth—and yields an awesome wedding day.)

shot of people dancing at epic wedding reception

Wedding Planning in Chicago? How to Manage Your Wedding Budget

A wedding budget is an important part of planning a wedding in Chicago, and one detail that it pays (literally) to stay on top of. That’s why we’ve put together a list of wedding budget tips for couples looking to throw an awesome wedding reception on a set budget.

Talk with your fiancé.

The first step in managing your wedding budget is to set a budget. You can do this by sitting down and discussing finances with your fiancé. This is your chance to have an honest conversation about how much you both have available for the wedding and how you plan on paying for it (i.e. savings, credit card, loan, etc.) If anyone else has expressed interest in contributing to your wedding budget, discuss who it is and how you are going to approach them about their gift.

Use a wedding planning app or budget checklist.

When it comes to wedding planning, organization and budgeting go hand in hand. For some couples, this means setting up a binder with a wedding budget checklist, planning checklist, calendar, and pockets for receipts and various items. If you’d rather use your smartphone or tablet, check out one of these wedding planning apps with a built-in wedding budget checklist.

Allocate funds to the most important wedding details.

As you set a wedding budget, remember to allocate the majority of your funds to items that make the biggest impression on your guests. Plan on spending half of your budget on the biggest items that guests appreciate: venue, food, and entertainment. Be realistic with each budget line item; quality Chicago venues and wedding vendors come with a cost that is typically reflected in their service. Simply, the saying, “you get what you pay for” definitely applies to wedding planning.

Research every vendor.

Planning a wedding is about more than just filling in the blanks. As you plan, research every wedding vendor so you get exactly what you expect (both quality and cost). When hiring vendors, research local vendors by asking friends and family for recommendations or browse reviews online (on these wedding vendor review sites). Once you have a short list of vendors, interview each vendor to determine if they are the “one.” (For your DJ, use this list of wedding DJ questions.)

Read the fine print.

Your vendor interviews serve two purposes: 1) to determine if the vendor is a good fit that offers quality services, and 2) to get a full list of costs. Many wedding vendors have hidden fees, such as travel charges, overtime fees, etc. As you interview them, ask them for a full list of costs or look for wedding vendors that offer a package.

Don’t stop budgeting.

The key to managing a wedding budget is to develop a system and stick to it. As you plan, add your receipts into your app or on to your checklist. Take advantage of all the wedding budget tricks you can, and plan on adjusting costs if one line item is more than you planned for. If you stick to it, you’ll have a well-managed budget and a beautiful wedding day to show for your efforts.

disco balls from a wedding dance

Absolute BEST Places to Find Chicago DJ Reviews

Chicago DJ reviews are an important part of choosing the right wedding DJ. After all, who doesn’t want to know what other couples have thought about their wedding DJ? Chicago DJ reviews give you an idea of what to expect before and during your big day, though they are not the only step in finding the right wedding DJ.

How to Find a Wedding DJ

Finding a wedding DJ isn’t tricky (or too lengthy), but it is an important to find the right one. Your wedding DJ is one of the biggest wedding details that guests remember (along with food and the venue). You can find the best wedding DJ for your big day by following these steps:

Research local DJs.

The first step is to make a list of local wedding DJs in Chicago. You can make this list by asking friends and family for recommendations or by going online. The next step is to research each wedding DJ and narrow down the list. You can look on wedding review sites and social media for testimonials from other couples that have used their services.

As you research wedding DJs, remember the old adage about getting what you pay for. The best wedding DJs have high-quality equipment and the experience to keep your guests on the dance floor. In addition, they also have back-up equipment and DJs for those “just in case” situations. They also huge wedding song playlists that allow them to create a customized list that fits the couple and the occasion.

Contact potential DJs.

It’s important to contact your DJ and schedule a meeting, either in-person or virtually. This is your chance to vet your wedding DJ and find out if all those positive Chicago DJ reviews are true. At the meeting, ask if they have experience, insurance, an extensive list of wedding songs, back-up equipment and DJs, how they are going to communicate with you, plus these other wedding DJ questions.

Wedding DJ Review Sites

Wedding Wire

Wedding Wire is an online tool for couples looking for their team of wedding professionals. Wedding Wire contains a long list of local wedding DJs, including information and Chicago DJ reviews.

The Knot

The Knot has a ton of wedding planning tips and information on wedding vendors of every kind, including wedding DJs. In addition to information, The Knot also has Chicago DJ reviews, a wedding website builder, and a wedding registry tool.

Expertise

Expertise is all about connecting couples with experts, including Chicago DJs. Expertise ranks businesses on their reputation, credibility, experience, professionalism, and engagement and puts the best into a list of the best Chicago wedding DJs.

Facebook

Facebook is a great place to find helpful wedding planning tips and Chicago DJ reviews. Luckily, the reviews can be viewed without having an account.

scene of bride and groom just married after a smooth wedding day

10 Outdoor Wedding Entertainment Ideas for Your Chicago Wedding

Chicago summers are made for outdoor weddings, and Chicago outdoor weddings are synonymous with fun—or they can be with these outdoor wedding entertainment ideas!

Table Games

Table games are a great way to get everyone in on the fun, especially when waiting for dinner or drinks. This outdoor wedding idea is a great way to entertain guests with fun trivia facts about Chicago and the newlyweds. (Professional tip: get your Chicago wedding DJ in on the fun! As the emcee, he or she can have a lot of fun when making announcements.)

Dance Floor

Dancing is a favorite wedding reception idea, though planning a wedding dance is a bit more complicated for an outdoor wedding. You should consider permits, curfews, and any limits of volume when planning an outdoor wedding. (Contact your local municipality for more information.) No one wants their wedding reception to be broken up early! If your outdoor wedding is held at one of our wonderful Chicago venues, you may also need to rent an outdoor dance floor to protect their lawn (and your guests’ shoes).

Dance Floor Games

Dance floor games are a great way to take a wedding reception to the next level, either with a game or one of these cool wedding reception surprise ideas. A good Chicago wedding DJ can use these games to mix up the evening and even incorporate a few special details about their couple into the night’s fun.

Yard Games

Yard games are a great way to entertain guests after the ceremony or at the reception. The list of yard game ideas is endless, such as cornhole, ring toss, and yard bowling. If your wedding reception is at night, you can mix up the games with glow-in-the-dark games and cool lighting.

Photo Booth

This is an outdoor wedding entertainment idea that entertains and produces memorable mementos. A photo booth—with custom photo booth props—makes for great fun and awesome photos to enjoy for years to come!

Ale or Wine Tasting Station

A tasting station can be as sophisticated or casual as you want it to be. Your guests won’t care as they sip local (or homemade) ales or wines! If you fancy yourself a foodie, you can also customize this idea into a dessert or favorite dish tasting station.

Food Truck

This outdoor wedding entertainment idea adds a unique flavor to a wedding. Food trucks are a great way to serve the main course, dessert, or a late-night wedding course. (Don’t forget to tell your wedding DJ about this idea so they can direct people to the food truck.)

Painter/Caricature Artist

A painter adds a formal flare to a wedding, while a caricature artist can leave guests in stitches. Whatever your taste, guests’ll love to watch as the artist turns the setting or person into a piece of art.

Bubbles

Bubbles are a wonderful addition to a couple’s entrance or exit. It’s also a wonderful way to entertain children that attend your big day. Even older guests love to play with bubbles, and parents are going to love that their kids are having fun.

Craft & Coloring Table

Children love craft and coloring tables because it gives them something to do during down time. Best yet, this Chicago wedding entertainment idea comes with an endless list of children activities that kids and parents love.

wedding reception with background dinner music

5 Things to Consider When Hiring a Chicago DJ for Your Outdoor Wedding

Hiring a Chicago wedding DJ for an outdoor wedding involves a few more steps, but it doesn’t mean you can’t find the DJ of your dreams. It does mean you should add these simple steps to your wedding planning checklist.

Permits and Curfews

Permits and curfews can play an important part in an outdoor wedding in Chicagoland. (After all, no one wants to get their festivities shut down because they didn’t follow local requirements!) Fortunately, you can get specific information from your local municipality about permits and curfews (i.e. event permits, volume limitations, curfews, etc.) that could affect your special day.

Electrical Requirements

Wedding DJ systems require an outlet—and not always a standard home outlet. When hiring a Chicago DJ, ask about any requirements when interviewing the DJ (along with these wedding DJ interview questions). Some outdoor wedding venues have already taken this into account and have set areas for an outdoor dance floor (with outlets perfect for a DJ). If your wedding is in a backyard or another area not normally used for events, make sure you choose an area with easy access to electrical.  (Plus, think about how to cover extension cords so they are not a tripping hazard!)

Reputation

While it’s very tempting to hire a “friend of a friend” for less, a high-quality Chicago DJ can be the difference between a memorable dance and a ho-hum reception. Researching a wedding DJ is a great way to select an experienced professional. Fortunately, the internet makes this step a bit easier; you can find information from couples who have used Chicago wedding DJs on social media and wedding review sites (i.e. Wedding Wire, The Knot, etc.)

“Extras”

If you are looking for any extras, such as lighting or a photo booth, it makes cents (pun intended) to choose a wedding DJ that offers package deals. Many wedding DJs offer “extras” as part of a package that make it easier for couples as they plan. It may also be cheaper to take advantage of a package deal as opposed to individually pricing the services out.

Cost

Cost is often a top factor for couples, but there is a note of caution that goes along with looking for the cheapest wedding DJ. Often, the cheapest wedding DJ is often an amateur that delivers sub-par services or has outdated equipment. Amateur DJs often use a standard play list for every wedding and don’t customize to suit the couple’s tastes. (Read more about making a list of songs you want played and don’t want played in this post about wedding DJ playlists.) Once you’ve determined that the DJ is experienced and has high-quality equipment, ask the wedding DJ whether they have additional staff and DJs in case of an emergency (i.e. equipment break down or illness). Honestly, finding the right Chicago wedding DJ is a bit like finding the “one,” but it’s worth the effort when everyone is enjoying themselves at your beautiful outdoor wedding.

guests dancing to chicago wedding dj

6 BIG Mistakes Couples Make When Choosing a Chicago Wedding DJ

Choosing a wedding DJ in Chicago may seem like just another overwhelming task on your wedding planning checklist, but it’s definitely not one that you should try to shortcut. A wedding DJ can keep guests on the dance floor or send them heading for the exits.

So how do you choose the best Chicago wedding DJ? We’ve outlined the process for hiring the best wedding DJ in the past. Now we wanted to delve into common mistakes couples make when choosing the right wedding DJ, so you don’t make the same mistake.

Automatically choosing the cheapest Chicago wedding DJ

Managing a wedding budget can be incredibly tricky, especially when there are so many line items and when funds are tight. That’s why it’s important for couples to embrace one of the most important wedding planning lessons: prioritize and allocate funds for the vendors that make the biggest impact on your big day. While wedding favors may be really fun to shop for, your guests are going to care a lot more about a wedding venue with quality amenities, food, and fun.  

Once you’ve allocated most of your funds (approximately 40-50%) for these items, it’s time to choose the wedding vendors (including wedding DJs) that can deliver a quality service. While that quality service does come with a price, it’s typically worth it when you get everything you wanted plus a bit of peace of mind. Basically, a wedding DJ service may cost more than a one-person service, but professionals typically come with quality equipment, quality back-up equipment, an experienced wedding DJ, and an experienced back-up DJ. The result is well worth it, especially when your dance floor is packed and you and your guests are having an awesome time.

“My friend does this on the side…”

It can be incredibly tempting to hire a friend or family member (or a friend or family member of a friend) because it’s so terribly easy, but beware of amateur Chicago wedding DJs. Many amateur services have dated equipment that delivers a terrible sound or don’t let you customize your playlist.

In addition, a one-person wedding DJ service often doesn’t have the back-up equipment or staffing when equipment breaks down or there is a health or family emergency. Sometimes, it might be challenging to contact them because you aren’t their primary focus. You can quickly find out if a DJ is professional or amateur by asking them these wedding DJ questions before you hire them.

No research

When you are looking for a Chicago wedding DJ online, inevitably sites like The Knot or the Wedding Wire is in the top results. Don’t scroll past these results. It is incredibly important to research any wedding vendor before hiring them—including your wedding DJ.

Fortunately, there are more sites than ever before that can make the process incredibly easy. Even social media sites can be filled with a ton of reviews about how the wedding DJ acted, whether they kept guests on the dance floor, if they were prompt, and how interactions with the staff went. While this step in hiring a Chicago wedding DJ doesn’t take long, it’s incredibly worth it!

Waiting, waiting, waiting…gone!

While you should always do your due diligence when choosing a wedding DJ, don’t let the process get so lengthy that you miss out on the chance to hire the best Chicago wedding DJs. These best DJs in the Windy City are in demand, and their calendars fill up quickly.

While hiring a wedding DJ may not be the first item on your wedding planning checklist, it shouldn’t be the last either. Typically, you should start contacting wedding DJs any time between nine months and a year before your big day. When contacting DJs, you should have key details set, such as your wedding venue, date, and even an estimate wedding reception timeline.

Not meeting with your wedding DJ (in-person or virtually!)

While this may sound contradictory, reviews shouldn’t be the only interaction you have with your wedding DJ before your big day. When choosing a Chicago wedding DJ, always try to meet the professional who is going to be in charge of your wedding reception before signing on the dotted line.

Your meeting is your chance to determine if the wedding DJ fits your wedding style, and to see their equipment (be wary if they won’t show it to you). It’s also an opportunity to find out key deadlines that ensure that you get a customized wedding experience that fits who you are as a couple.

Not giving input

Your wedding day should be all about you, including the wedding play list. When choosing a wedding DJ, be wary about hiring a wedding DJ that doesn’t ask about your preferences for music (including what you want played and don’t want played). Unfortunately, many amateur wedding DJs offer a one-size-fits-all play list that usually keeps guests on the dance floor (but may include songs you hate!)

As an added bonus, making a list of must-play and don’t-play songs can be fun! It’s a great way for you and your fiancé to de-stress before your wedding day—while still getting another item checked off your wedding planning checklist.

newlyweds celebrating and getting the perfect wedding memory

6 Ways to Make Your Chicago Wedding Reception Unforgettable

An awesome Chicago wedding reception is the goal, and these wedding planning hacks can get you there! We’ve been part of some fantastic Windy City wedding receptions, and every one was memorable in its own way; here’s how to use

Select the perfect Chicago wedding venue.

A breath-taking Chicago wedding venue or your own backyard—whatever wedding venue you choose, make sure it is (or can be) the perfect backdrop for a wedding reception that is completely you. Think of it as your chance to make a breath-taking first impression.

If you don’t have a favorite Chicago wedding venue, start the process by setting a budget and thinking about your style as a couple. Are you drawn to an elegant wedding venue? Would you prefer a venue with history and a story? Could you picture yourselves in a more natural outdoor setting? Or is a rustic venue more your style? Would you prefer a more casual setting that your guests can relax and enjoy? Whatever your style, Chicago is full of beautiful wedding venues perfect for your special day.

Plan a surprise—and keep it a secret!

A wedding reception surprise is a fun way to jazz up the reception—and another way to add a custom touch to your special day. This is your chance to add a special moment to all your other special moments. Plus, there are so many options: a surprise visit by a mascot or special family member of friend, an unexpected wedding first dance, a balloon or confetti drop, fireworks…the list of wedding surprise ideas are endless. Don’t forget to bring your wedding DJ, venue staff, or band in on the surprise so you can seamlessly build it into the reception order of events.

Have fun with the details.

There are no small details in a wedding reception (though there are low-priority items that shouldn’t require the majority of your budget.) Have fun with your wedding décor. This is your chance to coordinate all the details into a beautiful wedding atmosphere, with awesome signs and tons of opportunities for entertainment.

In addition to dancing, look for ways to entertain guests of all ages. Kids love bubbles, magicians, face painters and these other children wedding entertainment ideas. Your more experienced guests can enjoy tasting stations, local brews and wine samplers, photo booths, table games, and other ways to have fun off the dance floor.

Customize the wedding reception playlist.

One of the ways to make a wedding reception feel personal is to customize the play list. This can only be done with a band or wedding DJ that personalizes the play list, so make sure that question is on your list of questions to ask prospective Chicago wedding DJs.

In addition to a customized wedding play list, look for a wedding entertainment pro with experience that makes the night enjoyable for everyone. The best Chicago wedding DJs and bands have quality equipment, both primary and back-up, that ensures a smooth performance regardless of breakdowns.

Set a smooth wedding reception schedule (with minimal down time).

While we can’t promise that your wedding day goes off without any issues, the best Chicago DJs and bands make the wedding reception a smooth experience with minimal interruptions. This is especially true for wedding receptions where the ceremony and reception are in the same area. When planning the wedding day, try to make sure the transitions are smooth and seamless—without any interruptions in entertainment.

Find cool ways to capture the memories.

Every newlywed couple can attest to the fact that the wedding day goes by way too fast. As you plan, try to find ways to capture the memories. You can do this with social media hash tags, photo booths, and by hiring the best videographer and photographer (this guide to hiring wedding vendors can help). Be creative with your ideas, and prepare to enjoy the results!

collage of pictures from epic wedding dance

How long should I book a wedding DJ?

Hiring a wedding DJ (or “booking a wedding DJ”) for your Chicago wedding revolves around two big questions. When should I book a wedding DJ? How long should I book the wedding DJ for?

When to Book a Wedding DJ

Typically, the wedding planning checklist put hiring a wedding DJ at about 9-12 months before the wedding date. Hiring a wedding DJ is multi-step process which starts with finding the best wedding DJ. This can be done online on third-party websites or by asking a friend or family for a recommendation.

When getting recommendations, always be careful about contacting “a friend of my friend…” or “my cousin…” Though your friend or family may have good intentions, it’s always best to contact someone that your friend or family has personally experienced (and enjoyed!)

As you search, be careful about hiring amateurs who only DJ on a part-time basis. Unfortunately, these services often don’t have back-up DJs or equipment that’s essential during an emergency. Plus, many of these operations have outdated equipment and have one playlist (meaning no customized playlist or requests!)

Once you have a list of awesome Chicago wedding DJs, it’s time to narrow down your list of vendors with online research, an interview, and meeting. Fortunately, it’s easy to visit third-party websites (i.e. Wedding Wire, the Knot, etc.) and social media for reviews and feedback from past customers.

You should be wary of any wedding DJ that doesn’t have a place to meet or another way to get (easily) in touch with them. Whatever way you contact them, always ask the wedding DJ these questions, such as about availability, insurance, and prices (and fees for overtime and travel).

How Long to Book a Wedding DJ

A wedding reception usually lasts approximately 4-6 hours and follows this timeline:

  • Cocktail hour
  • Dinner (Requires serving and background music)
  • Wedding Cake and Cutting
  • Reception Dance
    • Bridal party announcement
    • First dance
    • Bouquet and garter toss
    • Mother-son dance
    • Father-daughter dance

As you plan around the timeline (or create your own custom timeline), always ask your wedding DJ if they offer dinner music during your meal. This time is typically included in the wedding DJ time on the contract (though feel free to ask the wedding DJ if you are unclear).

For couples who don’t want to worry about overtime fees, there are Chicago wedding DJs who offer unlimited packages with no time limit. This is a huge benefit for couples who want a never-ending dance party—or just don’t want to push their guests out the door.

wedding dance floor with DJ after planning a Chicago wedding

28 “Must Ask” Questions for Every Wedding DJ

A list of questions for a wedding DJ is more than just another to-do on your wedding planning checklist. It’s a way to ensure that you are hiring the best wedding DJ for your big night—and a reputable entertainer that’ll deliver exactly what you want: a personalized, incredible wedding reception.

When hiring a wedding DJ, it’s important to make sure both items are checked off on the list. Unfortunately, the news is full of couples who have been left high-and-dry by a sub-par wedding vendor. This checklist of questions for a wedding DJ ensures that you get a personalized wedding reception music play list, a high-quality (and high energy) DJ, and the reliable service that guarantees and unforgettable wedding reception.

  • “Are you available on my wedding date?”
  • “How many years of experience do you have? What year did you start your business?”
  • “Do you have any references?”
  • “Do you offer any other services (lighting, photo booth, etc.)?”
  • “Can you do….” (Ask this question if you have a really special request)
  • “How much is the cost?”
  • “What does the cost cover? Is there an overtime fee?”
  • “Do you offer dinner music as part of the total cost?”
  • “What is your final total cost?”
  • “How much of a deposit is required and when will the balance be due?”
  • “My wedding is at…. Do you charge a travel fee?”
  • “What is your cancellation policy?”
  • “Do you carry Insurance?”
  • “Can you provide proof of Insurance?”
  • “When do we meet with you to discuss details of the wedding?”
  • “Do you have back up DJs and equipment available in case of emergency?”
  • “Typically, what time do you arrive at the wedding venue?”
  • “What kind of electrical needs does your equipment require?” (for an outdoor wedding)
  • “What songs are included in your wedding DJ playlist?”
  • “When do you need information from me?”
  • “Do you have a wedding DJ checklist that I can write my favorite songs and songs I do not want played at my reception?”
  • “Will the DJ be in formal attire?”
  • “Will the DJ act as Master of Ceremonies (MC)?”
  • “How many years wedding experience does my DJ have?”
  • “How do we contact you?”
  • “Is it possible to meet over the phone or internet instead of in person?”

As you ask these questions, look for red flags that may indicate you are hiring an unreliable or amateur wedding DJ:

  • No business address
  • Does not return phone calls or communications
  • Is unwilling to show equipment (and back up equipment)
  • Does not have back up equipment (and staffing-in case of illness or breakdown)
  • Few reviews or negative reviews on social media and wedding websites

Instead, look for signs of a quality, reliable wedding DJ:

  • Business location
  • Prompt communications
  • Easy answers to questions
  • Back-up staffing and equipment
  • Positive reviews and industry awards on social media and wedding websites
  • Willingness to customize their play list to your specific wants and needs
  • Lots of experience!