Category Archives: hiring a wedding dj

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

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.


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.


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?”

Bad Wedding DJ? Watch for these Signs of a Terrible DJ

wedding day planned after meeting with DJWhen you are in the throws of wedding planning, it can be tempting to check off items on your wedding planning checklist without doing your due diligence. You just need to type in “wedding DJs in Chicago” or “wedding DJs near me,” make a few calls, and choose the cheapest wedding DJ, right?

The truth is that choosing a wedding DJ without doing a little research can leave you with some major wedding day regrets (and some crazy unhappy guests). The internet is full of stories of weird and sub-standard DJs. (And we won’t even mention the YouTube videos! Yikes.) Don’t join the ranks of couples unhappy with their wedding DJ; be wary of these signs of a less-than-stellar DJ that is a complete wedding disappointment.

No business address

It’s okay to meet a wedding DJ at a local (and convenient) coffee shop or chat online, but beware of amateur DJs that operate out of their basement. A physical place of business signifies that a wedding DJ is established and reliable; use an address as proof that the DJ has been around for awhile—and is going to show up on your big day.

No reviews or testimonials

If you want to make sure your DJ can do an excellent job at your wedding reception, look back at their past record. An easy way to do this is to check out the wedding DJ’s reviews and testimonials on social media and review sites. Look for positive reviews from other couples; a quality and experienced DJ should have stellar reviews that back up their claims.

No back-up equipment

Don’t be shy about asking if the DJ has back-up equipment for those “just in case” situations. A good wedding DJ is proud to show you that they have state-of-the-art equipment—and back-up equipment—so they can fulfill their promise of excellent service.

No contingency plan

Wedding DJs are really cool people, but people nonetheless. As such, wedding DJs can get sick, or be unavailable due to family emergencies and circumstances beyond their control. As tempting as it might be to hire a friend or a friend of a friend, be wary of a one-man show without back-up DJs available for those emergency situations. Make sure this is one of the questions you ask the DJ before you hire them—and don’t sign on the dotted line unless you are satisfied with the answer.

Lack of Questions

Just as with any other wedding vendor, ask your DJ questions before you hire them (we’ve given you a full list of questions to ask your wedding DJ here). Be cautious about DJs that don’t return the favor; a good DJ customizes their wedding play list specifically to the couple’s favorites and not-so-favorites (use these tips to craft a wedding “do not play” list). If the DJ doesn’t ask for your preferences (such as the fact they hate country music or want tunes specific to the era of your vintage wedding), search for a wedding DJ that does—and can meet and exceed your expectations.