Category Archives: chicago wedding djs

fun wedding reception dances with newlyweds

Fun Wedding Reception Dances & Tips

There are so many fun wedding reception dances and so many ways to take those dances to the next level. Best yet, there are so many ways to customize those dances and make the reception reflect your style as a couple. (Don’t forget to bring your wedding DJ into the mix when you plan out your fun wedding reception dances. They can give you ideas, help you capture those moments on camera, and make it extraordinary.)

Choreograph your wedding reception dance.

Your first dance is an opportunity to show your true personalities and your style as the couple. If you are planning a wedding with a retro theme, consider choosing a song and dance that reflects the decade. A wedding planned around a movie is the perfect chance to dance to one of the movie songs. If you don’t have a theme, the sky’s the limit for first dances and fun wedding reception dances routines. If your fiancé isn’t into choreographed dances, ask your parent to get in on the fun.

Practice, practice, practice.

If a choreographed dance isn’t your thing, or you want something more traditional, consider a more classic dance and head to a local dance studio. You can choose whatever dance fits you, and wow everyone as you glide across the dance floor with a classic dance favorite. Or, for an unexpected twist on wedding reception dances, come up with a new take on a traditional dance.

Get your wedding party in on the fun.

Want to make a big statement? Ask your wedding party if they want to have fun with a choreographed (or semi-choreographed) routine. While this may take a bit more scheduling and coordinating, the result is sure to make a big impression on guests. Plus, if you get your wedding DJ in on the fun, they can make a dance feel like the event of the year.

Throw a surprise into the mix.

The unexpected can make guests howl with laughter or sit in awe (or both). It’s fun to imagine the look on your guests’ faces when an unexpected guest shows up (such as a favorite relative or celebrity) or confetti falls from the rafters. There are so many ideas for wedding reception surprises, and so many ways to customize the surprise to fit with your wedding reception theme and/or atmosphere.

Add table games for non-dancers.

A great wedding reception goes beyond fun wedding reception dances and includes everyone. Table games are a great way to include non-dancers and give guests some down-time fun when they need a break. Plus, table games can become a group activity when your wedding DJ doubles as a game show host. (Ask your wedding DJ if they have experience with table games, plus these other wedding DJ questions, when hiring them.)

Personalized trivia about the couple can leave guests in stitches, or become a conversation starter as guests compare what they know about the couple. You can also take trivia onto the dance floor with fun games like the shoe game. (Make sure you hire a DJ with the experience to lead your dance floor games.)

End your wedding reception with a bang. (Not a literal one.)

If your venue allows it, make a big bang with an awesome firework show at the end of the night. Make sure you tell your DJ so they can discreetly direct guests to the windows or outside to view the show. (Don’t forget to put out late night snacks, like flavored popcorn, cotton candy, or another themed refreshment, for guests to enjoy during the fireworks.) It’s a great send off idea, or a way to hang out with your guests after the fun wedding reception dances are over.

couple posting for photos before enjoying music for outdoor wedding

Music for Outdoor Wedding: 9 Wedding Planning Questions to Ask

Need music for your outdoor wedding? These tips can help you plan the music for your outdoor wedding, and put you on the path to the wedding of your dreams.

What kind of music would we like for our ceremony? Cocktail hour? Reception?

The first step in choosing music for your outdoor wedding is to think about what kind of music you want during each step of your wedding. There are several options: do-it-yourself, musicians, band, and DJ. Sometimes, the solution is one of the wedding music options, but it can also be a combination. For example, a couple might choose to have musicians for the ceremony and a DJ for cocktail hour and reception. (If you choose the latter, use this list of wedding DJ questions to find the best DJ for your special day.)

For couples who need music for the cocktail hour and reception, make sure you ask a band or DJ for the total cost; some music professionals may charge charges for additional hours. (You can also contact a wedding DJ that offers a package with the cocktail hour and reception services included without any overages.)

Are there adequate hook-ups for lighting and music?

If you want to host an outdoor wedding with lighting and/or DJs, you are going to have to determine if there are hook-ups for lighting and music. You can typically ask your venue staff at a wedding venue, but the matter may be more complicated for a backyard wedding. In these cases, ask your wedding DJ or band for information on required hook-ups for your wedding. (A rental company can also give you information on the electricity requirements needed for event lighting.)

Do we need a tent? A dance floor?

While you may want the weather to be perfect for your big day, it’s (sadly) not always the case. Decide whether you need a tent for your ceremony or reception. Fortunately, there are clear tents and tent styles that still allow you to bring the outdoors in.

If you want to host the ultimate dance part, consider whether you want a dance floor. A dance floor can be a beautiful focal point, and an easy way for your guests to dance without wrenching an ankle (and doing damage to the lawn!) If you are holding the wedding at a venue, always ask before renting a dance floor. Some venues have guidelines specifically about dance floors.

Is there a curfew? Do we need a permit?

Some municipalities require that couples secure a permit for their event. If you are planning a backyard wedding, contact your local municipality for information on permits and curfews. At a wedding venue, staff should be able to give you information during your initial meeting or venue tour. (Don’t forget to pass curfew information on your wedding DJ or band.) Either way, it’s important to do your research; you don’t want the cops to shut down your wedding celebrations and end the fun.

What other entertainment do we need?

As you plan your outdoor wedding, don’t be afraid to consider other forms of wedding entertainment—especially for those who don’t want to hit the dance floor. Fortunately, there are tons of other outdoor wedding entertainment ideas (in addition to music for your outdoor wedding) that guests’ll love. You can choose from any number of ideas, such as yard games, photo booths, table games (with personalized questions about the happy couple!), and tasting stations. (Some wedding DJs even offer photo booths as part of their wedding entertainment package.) You can also talk to your wedding DJ or band about adding dance floor games to your wedding reception line-up. Whatever you choose, be creative and have fun with it!

newlyweds dancing at wedding with chicago wedding DJ playing music

How to Book a Chicago Wedding DJ (Fast)

Need to book a Chicago wedding DJ quickly? These step-by-step instructions and tips can get you an awesome wedding DJ and reception in a hurry.

How to Book a Chicago Wedding DJ

Find an experienced wedding DJ (or DJs).

The first step to booking a Chicago wedding DJ fast is to find a good fit for your big day. This doesn’t mean you should hire the first wedding DJ you find or book the cheapest. Instead, look for an experienced wedding DJ or wedding DJ service. The latter may be a good fit for couples who need a DJ quickly because a service is more likely to have a DJ available.

Research, research, research.

You can find a local wedding DJ by asking friends or family, contacting wedding venue staff for recommendations, or doing a search online. Whatever method you choose, it’s important to research your options before you book a Chicago wedding DJ. Look for wedding DJs with experience, “extras” (like lighting and photo booths-great for couples trying to check off a lot of boxes in a short time!), back-up equipment and DJs (in case of a breakdown or emergency). Don’t forget to check Chicago wedding DJ reviews because they give you insight into other couple’s experiences.

Ask key wedding DJ questions.

Now it’s time to narrow down the list of potential wedding DJs in Chicagoland. You can do this by contacting each wedding DJ on the list and asking them questions about availability, costs (including overtime and travel fees), and whether they have back-up DJs and equipment if needed. (Find a full list of wedding DJ questions here.) Be very careful about hiring DJs who don’t have back-ups, a business address, or solid Chicago wedding DJ reviews that prove they provide quality service.

Schedule a meeting.

Now down to the final steps of how to book a Chicago wedding DJ. It’s time to schedule a meeting with the potential wedding DJ, either in-person or virtually. This is your chance to get answers to your other wedding DJ questions and to (hopefully) get asked a few key questions that shows the wedding DJ creates a custom playlist.

Review the contract.

The last step is to review the wedding DJ contract and make a deposit. When you return the contract, be sure to ask about deadlines for information and payments. You are going to need to provide the names of your wedding party, your “must play” and “do not play” list, and other key details. Don’t forget to bring your wedding DJ in on big surprises. In addition, you are also going to also need to give them the names of other wedding vendors they need to coordinate with (i.e. videographer, photographer, venue, etc.)

Tips for Hiring a Wedding DJ

  • Don’t automatically choose the cheapest DJ. The best Chicago wedding DJs often cost a bit more, but are worth it when they keep the dance floor packed—and your guests talking about your reception well after it’s over.
  • Get organized as you plan. Luckily, you don’t have to do it alone. Create a wedding planning binder or use one of these wedding planning apps to stay on track.
  • Be wary of hiring friends or friends of friends. Many a couple has felt compelled to hire a friend’s friend or relative and has been disappointed by their service. Instead, do your research and hire an experienced professional.
  • Watch for red flags. Be cautious about hiring wedding DJs that don’t return your calls (or messages), can’t show you their equipment, and don’t have a business address. Unfortunately, many a couple has received sub-par service (or no service) from an amateur wedding DJ.

bride tossing bouquet after choosing best wedding DJ and asking wedding DJ questions

10 Questions You Should Hear from Your Wedding DJ

This list of wedding DJ questions tells you when you’ve found the “one.” Hiring a wedding DJ in Chicago is a bit like dating, with both parties asking key questions that make sure it’s a good fit. Plus, if your wedding DJ asks you these questions, you know they’re a high-quality DJ who actually customizes their playlist to you.

Questions Your DJ Should Ask

This list of wedding DJ questions is not all-inclusive! An experienced wedding DJ wants to know about you—everything!—so they can craft a playlist that fits your tastes and coordinates seamlessly with other wedding details. Be cautious if a wedding DJ doesn’t ask these questions; many sub-par DJs use the take a “one size fits all” approach to their weddings. (In addition to not asking these questions, always be alert for these other signs of a low-quality wedding DJ.)

  • What type of music do you like? Do you have any songs that are special to you as a couple? (Good wedding DJs love to know little details about you as a couple.)
  • What songs do you want played? Do you have any favorite songs do you want played during your dances (i.e. entrance, first dance, mother/son dance, father/daughter dance, etc.)?
  • What songs don’t you want played? (Get the perfect ‘do not play’ list with these wedding songs tips.)
  • What kind of cocktail music would you like played?
  • Where is the wedding? (This is more than a logistical detail. An experienced DJ has probably been there before, and has a relationship with the staff! This will be helpful for coordinating set-up and other details.)
  • Do you have a theme or style you are incorporating into your wedding?
  • Who is your videographer and photographer? (A good wedding DJ coordinates special moments with your videographer and photographer so you get the best shots.)
  • Do you have any special announcements I need to make? (Like a surprise!)

What to Ask Potential Wedding DJs

It’s just as important for you to get to know your wedding DJ, as for them to get to know you! Use these wedding DJ questions to weed out sub-par DJs and find the DJ that offers the best services, plus has other “musts” like a back-up DJ and equipment for emergencies.

  • Are you available on my wedding date?
  • Have you DJ’ed weddings before? Do you have proof of insurance?
  • Can you provide testimonials from couples you have DJ’ed for?
  • Do you have back-up equipment in case of a breakdown? Do you have another wedding DJ that can fill in in case of emergency?
  • What is the cost of your services? What does it include? Is dinner music part of the total cost? Do you charge overtime fees?
  • What is the amount of the deposit? When does it need to be paid? What is the payment arrangement?
  • Do you offer any other services (lighting, photo booth, etc.)?
  • How should we contact you? How will you contact us? When will we hear from you?
  • What information do you need from us? How should we get it to you? When is the deadline for information?
  • When do we need to sign a contract and return it to you?
  • What is your cancellation policy?
  • Have you DJ’ed at my venue before? Is there a travel fee charged?
  • When do you typically arrive at the venue? Do you dress in formal attire?
  • What songs do you typically include in your wedding DJ playlist?

While asking about the cost is an important item on your list of wedding DJ questions, remember that it shouldn’t be the only question. The cheapest DJ isn’t always the right wedding DJ; in some cases, the cheapest DJ is the cheapest because they offer the same playlist with no customization. Unfortunately, these DJs often come with dated equipment and no back-ups in case of emergency.

Don’t be afraid to ask for a meeting with your wedding DJ, either in-person or virtual. A meeting is your chance to see your DJ’s equipment and find out if they are the “one” that can make your wedding reception unforgettable.

wedding dance floor with guests dancing to wedding theme songs

10 Items to Have Ready for Your Chicago Wedding DJ

Hiring a Chicago wedding DJ comes with a long list of interview questions, but did you know that there are items your wedding DJ needs from you? Here’s a list of items your Chicago wedding DJ needs to know from you—and when they need to know it.

What Your Wedding DJ Needs to Know When Hiring

Don’t worry you don’t need to have every detail set in stone yet, but there are a few details you should have confirmed when hiring your wedding DJ.

Wedding Date

The best Chicago wedding DJ calendars fill up quickly, which is why you should have a set wedding date when you contact them. (Or, if you really want your favorite DJ, you can call them first and ask them for available dates!) You can choose a wedding date based on special dates in your relationship, other special family dates, your favorite season, or your professional commitments.

Location

Right after when, your wedding DJ is going to want to know where. Is your wedding confirmed at a popular Chicago wedding venue? Or in your backyard? If your choice is the latter, ask your DJ if there are any specific electrical requirements you need to have ready for them on your special day.

Dinner Music

If you need dinner music, let your wedding DJ. Some Chicago wedding DJs may charge extra for the time, while other DJs offer packages so you don’t have to worry about “extras.” (It’s all included!)

What Your Wedding DJ Needs to Know Right Before the Wedding Day

Wedding planning is a continual process—you don’t have to get every detail confirmed right away! This wedding planning checklist can help you break it down, and help you have these details ready for your Chicago wedding DJ before your big day. (Ask your wedding DJ for their specific deadline.)

Wedding Day Schedule

You and your wedding DJ need to synch schedules before your big day. Hopefully, you should have this finalized weeks before your big day. Your wedding DJ needs to know the order of events, and when cocktail hour, dinner, and the reception is planned for.

What to Play

If you have any favorite “must play” songs, this is your chance to speak up! Tell your DJ what you absolutely must hear, and any songs that have a special meaning to you, your fiancé, and your friends. (DJs love to share neat back stories!)

What Not to Play

Have any songs that sound like nails on a chalkboard? Tell your wedding DJ! You can use this DJ song list or just make a list of never-ever-play songs.

Wedding Party List (and Pronunciations)

Let your wedding DJ know who is standing up in your wedding, plus any friends or family you want announced. If anyone on the list has a hard-to-pronounce name, give them some pronunciation aids so the announcements go smoothly.

Special Dance Songs

If you’re having a traditional wedding dance, let your wedding DJ know what songs you would like played for your first dance (here’s how to pick the perfect first dance song), parent-child dance, and any other special moments.

Surprises

Have a special surprise planned? Let your DJ in on the secret so they can have fun with it and set the stage for your BIG surprise. (If you need an idea for a fun wedding day surprise, use this list of surprises for inspiration.)

Volume Limitations/Curfews

Some wedding venues and municipalities have curfews or volume limitations. Let your DJ know now, so your wedding reception doesn’t get shut down.

wedding dance with chicago wedding dj and couple dancing

When should I hire a Chicago wedding DJ for my wedding?

Hiring a Chicago wedding DJ is not a task you should put off! In general, you should hire a Chicago wedding DJ 14-18 months before your wedding day. However, the best wedding DJs’ calendars fill up fast so the sooner the better.

How long to hire a Wedding DJ

Typically, wedding receptions last 7 plus hours. The wedding dance is a solid 5-6 hours. So how long should you hire a wedding DJ for? The answer depends on what you are hiring the wedding DJ for.

Some couples opt to have a wedding DJ for the cocktail hour, dinner, and dance. Others choose to hire a wedding DJ for the dance only. If you choose the latter, you should plan on hiring a Chicago wedding DJ for 6 hours. You can also choose a wedding DJ that offers an unlimited, inclusive service that is not based on an hourly rate. This option ensures that the Chicago wedding DJ is available for the entire wedding reception. It also eliminates any worry that you’ll have to pay overtime fees.

How to Hire a Wedding DJ

Hiring a Chicago wedding DJ isn’t complicated, but it is important to find and hire the “one” that makes your night memorable.

Make a list of Chicago wedding DJs.

The first step of hiring a Chicago wedding DJ is to make a list. You can find DJs by asking friends and family for recommendations, or check out wedding review sites like The Knot or Wedding Wire. If you get recommendations from friends, be careful about hiring DJs that they haven’t personally experienced or amateurs. Amateur wedding DJs often don’t have updated equipment or any back-ups if the equipment breaks down or the DJ can’t attend because of an emergency.

Research your options.

Online review sites can be incredibly helpful for not only making a list, but also researching possible wedding DJs. When researching DJs, look for positive reviews that give you insight into other couple’s experience with the DJ.

Interview possible Chicago wedding DJs.

The next step of hiring a Chicago wedding DJ is to interview possible wedding DJs. When contacting wedding DJs, ask them about their past experience, if they can customize their playlist, wedding DJ costs (and if they charge overtime fees), what their plan is in case of an equipment break-down or family emergency, and if your wedding date is available. Reputable Chicago wedding DJs should carry insurance and should have a clear cancellation policy. (Find a full list of wedding DJ questions in this post.) If you schedule an in-person meeting, some wedding DJs can also show you their equipment.

Review the contract.

A reputable wedding DJ should provide a contract for your review. As you look over the contract, verify that you are familiar with the wedding DJ cost and cancellation policy. This is also an ideal time to ask about deadlines so you are familiar with payment deadlines and when you need to give them information about your big day. The last step is to book your wedding DJ and get ready for your special day.

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.

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!
shot of people dancing at epic wedding reception

10 Questions that Get You the Best Wedding Entertainment

Wedding reception music is a HUGE part of an awesome wedding, which is why narrowing down your choices for wedding entertainment are so important. Do you want a band? DJ? What’s the right wedding entertainment for your wedding day?

The good news is you can answer this big question with a few easy questions.

Do we want live music? Do we need an emcee?

The main difference between a band and wedding DJ is the issue of live music, though this does come with some pros and cons. While bands can deliver an awesome performance, they may be limited to the songs they can play. DJs offer a variety of wedding dance songs, but don’t deliver them live. Both wedding entertainment options should deliver an interactive experience, though you should be leery of wedding entertainers (bands and DJs) that don’t ask questions about songs you want played. This is a sure sign of an amateur that delivers the same playlist to every wedding—-they don’t customize their song list to you!

It’s also important to remember that you need an emcee to announce important events throughout the night as well. Most bands and DJs offer the service, but you should always make sure to ask if they can emcee so you’re not yelling at your guests at the top of your lungs.

What are our favorite songs? What wedding songs do we hate?

A custom playlist is one of the biggest perks of hiring a professional wedding entertainer—and not one that you can get from any wedding entertainer. Some bands come with set playlists. Unfortunately, some DJs have the same limitation.

Before contacting any entertainers, decide what you songs you want played (and not played). The answer steers you to the right kind of entertainer (band or DJ). Better yet, you can make a list with our wedding DJ checklist that you can use when interviewing prospective entertainers.

What is our wedding theme?

If you have your heart set on a wedding theme, like a Great Gatsby or a tropical wedding, look for wedding entertainment that can customize their playlist. For the latter theme, a wedding DJ who can compile a tropical playlist or a steel drum band can complete the theme and transport wedding guests to a warmer climate.

How big is our wedding? Where are we holding the wedding?

These details may not narrow down your options, but they are important logistical details that can help you as hire a wedding DJ or band. A top-notch Chicago wedding DJ or band should have experience at many of the top local wedding venues, which minimizes the amount of calls you need to make. If you have your wedding venue booked, you should also let the entertainers know; some wedding entertainers (bands and DJs) charge a travel fee. 

What is our budget?

Your wedding budget is an important part of choosing a wedding entertainer. It can also narrow down your options considerably because wedding DJs are typically more affordable than wedding bands. This advice does come with an important tip: always allocate enough money to hire a professional wedding DJ. Unfortunately, hiring an amateur DJ comes with the risk of a one-size-fits-all playlist, substandard emceeing and equipment, and no back-up in case of an emergency.

What other wedding entertainment do we want? Should we include a surprise?

Don’t limit your wedding entertainment to only a band or DJ! Instead, have fun giving guests other ways to enjoy themselves at the reception. It can be a lot of fun generating trivia games, coloring tables for young guests, and coming up with fun wedding themed props for a photo booth. Or, if you want to make your reception more spontaneous, twist one of these wedding surprises into a one-of-a-kind event your guests won’t forget.