Category Archives: chicago wedding djs

shot of people dancing at epic wedding reception

Wedding Playlist: 5 Ways to Choose the Perfect Wedding Reception Songs

The perfect wedding playlist should more about quality instead of quantity. Instead of asking, “how many songs do DJs play at weddings?” (the answer is typically 15 per hour), think more about the wedding reception songs you want included in your playlist.

Make a list of “special” wedding songs.

The most logical place to start crafting a wedding playlist is by choosing the wedding reception songs that are played during those special moments. After all, these are the memorable moments that you can look back on for years:

  • Wedding party entrance
  • Father and daughter dance
  • Mother and son dance
  • First dance
  • Bouquet toss
  • Garter toss

As you select these songs and the right wedding DJ to play them, be careful about hiring a DJ that doesn’t give you the option to customize your wedding playlist. You don’t want to get stuck with a wedding DJ who uses the same list over and over and doesn’t give you the chance to hear your favorite tunes.

Start listening to songs.

Some couples have a million songs they want played. Others have no clue! It’s okay to fall into either category. If you fall into the latter, the best way to decide on first dance songs and choose a few favorites is to start listening to songs. (If you’re planning a throwback wedding, make sure your ‘must play’ songs are from the right time period.)

Make a short list of favorite and not-so-favorite songs.

The best wedding DJs customize the wedding reception playlist to your special night. (If they don’t, be worried!) You should always choose your wedding DJ carefully (with this list of wedding DJ questions); the best DJs are the source of many memories and are well worth the funds.

Mix it up.

As you make a list of favorites, don’t forget that the wrong song at the wrong moment can really kill the mood—and clear the dance floor! A good wedding DJ can help with selecting the right song at the right time, but you can help them by not overloading your playlist with slow songs.

Don’t nix all your guests’ favorites.

Everyone has a few songs that sound like nails on a chalkboard. However, you should make sure your list of “most hated” songs doesn’t coincide with your guests’ favorites.

Lean on your DJ’s experience and expertise.

Remember that you hired your DJ for a reason. An experienced wedding DJ comes with a whole list of perks. At the top of that list is expertise! A good wedding DJ knows what songs to play at the right time. It’s okay to leave the wedding reception playlist up to them and enjoy an awesome night of wedding songs.

wedding dance floor with deejay

Wedding DJ Services: Quick (and Complete) Guide

The right wedding DJs should be your go-to for the services that put your wedding reception over-the-top. The best DJs can provide all of that with customized service and the back-ups that ensure your dream wedding reception occurs without a hitch.

Finding the best wedding DJ for your big day does come with a few, “yes, but…” As tempting as it might be to choose the cheapest DJ for your wedding reception, the best Chicagoland wedding DJs come with guarantees that make it worth the time to find the right service.

What to Look for in a Wedding DJ Service

  • State-of-the-art equipment (be concerned if the DJ won’t show it)
  • Back-up staffing (in case of an emergency)
  • Experience at wedding venues and providing service to wedding DJs throughout Chicago
  • Excellent reviews on social media and review sites (i.e the Knot, Wedding Wire, etc.)
  • Contract fine print about the amount of time the DJ plays
  • “Extras” for easy wedding planning (i.e. lighting, photo booth, etc.)

Wedding DJ Red flags

  • No business address
  • Wedding DJ services that don’t communicate or return calls
  • Overtime fees that can add to the wedding DJ cost
  • Lack of back-up equipment or another experienced professional (in case of an emergency)

Questions to Ask a Wedding DJ Service

  • “Is there a DJ available on our wedding date?”
  • “Do your DJs have experience working at other weddings?”
  • “What is the total wedding DJ cost? What is included in the cost? Are there any overtime fees?”
  • “Is there a travel fee charged for coming to the venue?”
  • “Have you ever been to my venue?”
  • “Does your wedding DJ service have insurance? Can you provide proof of insurance?”
  • “What do your DJs do if they have an emergency or equipment breaks down?”
  • “Do you offer any other services?”
  • “Does the cost include dinner music? Can your DJ emcee the dinner (if needed) and reception?”
  • “Can we meet? What is the best way to contact you as we plan our wedding reception?”

What to Expect from a Quality Wedding DJ Service

  • Prompt communication
  • Long play list of music
  • Business address (be wary of amateur wedding DJs who don’t have a set business)
  • State-of-the-art equipment
  • Back-up wedding DJs (in case the DJ is sick, hurt, or has a family emergency)
  • Set fees (with no surprise additional fees)
  • Package deals with additional services
  • Packed dance floor

How long do DJs play at weddings?

shot of people dancing at epic wedding receptionSetting a timeline for your wedding reception may not be the most glamorous part of wedding planning, but it’s necessary—and incredibly common. The internet is full of engaged couples grappling with the common question, “How long do I need to hire my wedding DJ?”

How long do wedding DJs play?

The primary reason behind the question pertains to budget. Many wedding DJs charge by the hour, leaving budget-conscious couples looking for ways to cut costs. That cut often means cutting the hours of the wedding DJ; usually, DJs play for 5-6 hours at a typical wedding reception.

Unfortunately, there is a downside to hiring a DJ for a set amount of time. Some DJs charge overtime fees if the reception runs long or if they have to stay longer than the contracted amount of time. This leaves couples asking, “What if my wedding reception runs long? How do I avoid a big bill or surprise charges?” Obviously, no one wants to kick their guests out and shut down an epic wedding dance.

There is another solution: find a wedding DJ who offers an all-inclusive package with no limit on time and no overtime fees.

Where can I find a wedding DJ?

Chicago is full of wedding DJs. The path to the right DJ is different for every couple. Here’s where to start:

  • Chicago Wedding Shows. Visit a wedding show near you in Chicagoland. Make sure you come equipped with a list of questions to ask your wedding DJ.
  • Social Media. Let the search engines find wedding DJs for you. Browse through the websites and social media sites for reviews and testimonials. E-mail and message every wedding DJ with a list of questions. This approach comes with a caveat: never hire a DJ without a face-to-face meeting.
  • Wedding Sites. Wedding websites like the Knot and Wedding Wire provide lists of Chicago-area DJs. These websites come with reviews from newlyweds and an easy contact button for contacting local DJs.
  • Recommendations. Finding a wedding DJ may be as easy as asking friends and family, but use some caution to this approach. Be careful about recommendations that come with “my friend has a DJ service,” “my brother is awesome,” or any endorsement that was given without any personal experience.
  • Review Sites. Similar to wedding websites, review sites are useful for couples looking for neutral reviews. These sites are helpful for finding and researching wedding DJs; the next step is to set up a meeting with the wedding DJs and decide which service is right for your big night.

Ways to Find (and Hire) a GOOD Wedding DJ

wedding dance floor with deejayA fantastic night of dancing at your wedding reception is about more than music. Planning an epic wedding reception is not difficult, but it does require hiring a few quality vendors. An excellent photographer, a great videographer, an awesome wedding venue for pictures, an over-the-top wedding bar—they all play a part in creating the perfect setting and capturing memories from an unforgettable night of dancing and fun.

The main factor in a really awesome wedding dance is undeniably the main entertainer: the band or wedding DJ (weigh options for wedding reception entertainment here). If the latter is the “one,” use these ways to find and hire a local wedding DJ that fits the occasion (and those high expectations!)

Chicago Wedding Shows

The easiest way to find a DJ is to head out to one of the many wedding shows held throughout Chicagoland; this is also a time-saving way to compile a list of potential wedding vendors because they are all together in one location. Bring your wedding checklist (or binder) so you can kickstart your wedding planning off on an organized foot.

Social Media

Social media can serve a dual purpose when finding and choosing a wedding DJ. Depending on the social media channel, the site can be a useful source of testimonials (are other clients satisfied with their service?) and examples of service. If the potential wedding DJ is a serious prospect, don’t hesitate to contact the DJ through social media (a good DJ promptly responds).

Wedding Sites

Wedding websites like the Knot or Wedding Wire can be a useful first step in wedding planning. These sites are full of potential local wedding vendors, along with information and reviews. As an added bonus, these sites can be a valuable asset when vetting wedding venues that require couples to choose from a list of wedding vendors.

Recommendations

Friends and family can be an excellent source of wedding DJ recommendations. Think, “I used this wedding DJ and he was awesome!” or “Don’t use the wedding DJ that was at my cousin’s wedding because…” Be extra careful about recommendations that are not based off of personal experience, such as “My brother…” or “My friend’s friend does it on the side.” These recommendations can lead to amateur DJs who don’t have quality equipment or a back-up in case of emergencies.

Review Sites

Online review sites can be an easy way to compile a list of potential wedding DJs. When sifting through comments, understand that some internet trolls leave false negative reviews. However, if the reviews are overwhelmingly positive, proceed on to the next step: interviewing potential wedding DJs.

Interview

Don’t hire a wedding DJ without a thorough interview. An interview can help cross wedding DJs off the list because their prices exceed the wedding budget, they aren’t available, or for a variety of other reasons. The interview can be done via phone, in-person (schedule an appointment), e-mail, or social media. Ask these questions:

  • “Are you available on my wedding date (or these dates)?”
  • “How long have you been in business?”
  • “Do you have any references?”
  • “Do you offer any other services (lighting, photo booth, etc.)?”
  • “Can you do….[insert a special request]?
  • “What is the final total cost of your services?”
  • “How long is covered by the quoted cost? Are there overtime fees?”
  • “How much of a deposit is required and when will the balance be due?”
  • “Is there a travel fee to come to my venue?”
  • “What is the cancellation policy?”
  • “Can you provide proof of insurance?”
  • “When can we schedule a meeting? How often would we meet to discuss details?”
  • “Does your company have back-up DJ and equipment?”
  • “How soon would you arrive before the wedding?”
  • “What kind of electrical needs does your equipment require?” (for an outdoor wedding)
  • “What services are included in your wedding package?”
  • “Can your DJ offer dinner music? Can I tell you what songs I want and don’t want?”
  • “Will the wedding DJ be in formal attire?”
  • “How many years wedding experience does my DJ have?”
  • “What is the best way to contact you?”
  • For busy couples: “can we meet via the internet or over the phone instead of in person?”

20 (Fun!) Wedding Reception Table Games

Beautiful floral table decorations and table games at wedding receptionWedding entertainment is about more than hiring the best DJ in Chicago. Obviously, that is a BIG part of a memorable wedding reception, but there are the “other” times to plan for, too. Guests need to be entertained before the bride and groom arrive, while they wait for dinner and the dance, and for those moments when they need a break from their dancing shoes. The obvious choice—and the solution that keeps guests at their table and ready for dinner—are wedding reception table games.

Of course, if you want to make those in-between times more fun, bring your DJ into the conversation (and make sure you have a pro that’s up to the task). They can make announcements, coordinate games, and basically make the night more fun for everyone.

For adults…

  1. Trivia (i.e. related to the theme, about the couple, etc.)
  2. Crossword
  3. I Spy
  4. Word Search
  5. Wedding Hash Tag Game (i.e have them post photos with the wedding hash tag to social media)
  6. Mad-libs Wedding Style
  7. Find a guest with…
  8. Bride or Groom Guessing Game (for a funny photo, ask the DJ to play the game as a group give the guests signs they can hold up)
  9. Wedding cootie catchers
  10. Marriage Advice Cards
  11. Bingo
  12. Request Cards
  13. Photo Booth Props (that they can model and take to the photo booth)
  14. Date Idea Cards

For kids…

  1. Tic Tac Toe
  2. Coloring Sheets
  3. Connect-the-dots
  4. Legos/Bricks
  5. White Play Clay (that doesn’t stain)
  6. Simpler versions of adult trivia, crossword, etc.