10 in 10: Essential Tips for Hiring your Wedding DJ


The process of hiring quality wedding vendors can be like trying to find "the one" all over again. And when it comes to DJs, scouting out the perfect match is a vital part in ensuring your reception goes smoothly. To ease your planning pains, our friend Lyndon Hasselhuhn of Limelight Entertainment is joining us today with some pointers on how to find the best DJ for your event.

Lyndon founded Limelight Entertainment in 2008, and over the past 9 years he's worked over 300 events around the United States. Lyndon has also DJed at some of the hottest nightclubs in Chicago, and as a graduate of Scratch DJ Academy Chicago, we think it's safe to say he knows the industry well enough to know what it takes to find a DJ you'll love. 

Hey guys, I'm Lyndon. Here are 10 quick tips on finding a top-notch DJ for your wedding.

1. Meet them before the big day

Kill two birds with one stone by meeting up with your potential DJ for a quick coffee. You'll be able to ask any questions you may have, and also see if they are a good fit with your personality. Your DJ will be there for the most important moments of your reception, so make sure you pick someone that you truly like and can get along with. Also, if you're dealing with a larger company, make sure you're meeting with the person who will actually be DJing your event, not a salesman or owner.


2. Keep your style in mind

Something many brides and grooms don't realize is that there are a wide variety of styles when it comes to DJs. For example, most specialize in DJing weddings or night clubs, not both. It takes a certain set of skills to be able to do multiple styles effectively, and very few people can pull it off. Keep in mind that who you hire ultimately comes down to your personal preference. Do you want a high-energy reception, or something low-key and romantic? Different DJs can create these different vibes. Ask your DJ about their skills and style as a performer and master of ceremonies to make sure they match up with the mood you're going for.


3. Remember that cheaper isn't usually better

These days just about anyone can call themselves a DJ. You can even find one on Craigslist for as little as a few hundred dollars, which can be intriguing for couples on a budget. However when it comes to your wedding, quality is key. Hiring on the cheap runs the risk of a DJ showing up to your reception without quality equipment, a professional demeanor, and the experience needed to create a lively event. A true professional might cost a little more, but will give you peace of mind, get to know you, provide a contract to protect you, and maintain a professional and pleasant attitude from start to finish.

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4. Create a “DO NOT PLAY” list

For some couples, hearing the Chicken Dance play midway through the reception will put a damper on that new marital bliss. Make sure to tell your DJ about the music you like, and always have a "do not play" list. This is simply a list of songs that you and your fiance don't like or wouldn't want to hear on your wedding day. (On that same token, make sure to have a do play list for specific moments in your reception like the cake cutting, father-daughter dance, etc.)


5. Request third party reviews

Make sure your DJ can provide unbiased reviews of their services. Ask for a few from websites like WeddingWire.com, The Knot, Onewed and Yelp. These reviews cannot be modified and show that past clients liked the DJ enough to leave a note. It's also not a bad idea to request references. Your DJ should be willing to provide contact information for at least a couple past clients who can vouch for them.


6. Ask to see their resume

Continuing education is essential as a wedding DJ and is a quality that should give you and your fiance peace of mind on your wedding day. So, ask your DJ about their experiences. Have they attended industry-related conferences and trainings? Do they rehearse before your event? Are they practicing and improving their mixing skills? Have they taken public speaking or improv classes? Do they network with DJs in other parts of the country? Are they keeping up on current music trends? While these details might seem trivial to you, added together they can make a huge impact on the quality of your reception.



7. Make sure they have a backup plan

Any professional DJ company should have a solid backup plan in case the unexpected happens on the day of your event. Make sure the company you choose has a DJ or two who can fill in if necessary (for smaller businesses this means keeping good relationships with other industry professionals who can step in if need be), and be sure they have the proper backup equipment on site for your event. This includes a backup speaker, microphone, more than one source of music and at least two ways to play that music. Most professional DJs use professional equipment, but even the best gear can fail or have a problem, and you'll want to make sure they have a plan if the music dies.


8. Get it in writing

Contracts are a must for any wedding vendor. Make sure your DJ's contract clearly explains their payment terms, cancellation policy, backup plans and how they handle different scenarios should problems arise. Have them go over the contract with you before signing and make sure you understand everything. If the DJ doesn’t have a contract, it's probably wise to take your business elsewhere. Also, check to see if the company has liability insurance. If something were to happen (for example, the DJ’s light falls on someone), it's nice to know you're covered.


9. Find out how they handle requests

Requests on your wedding day can be fun for guests, but a headache for you. Ask your DJ how they handle requests at the reception. Will they play anything anyone wants to hear and cut into the songs you want? Will they follow your “do not play” list? Checking on this can help you avoid awkward songs and situations at the reception.


10. Learn about what is offered & included

Many DJ and entertainment companies offer much more than just music. This may include lighting design, photo booths, video services, etc. When meeting with your potential DJ, make sure to specifically ask about what they offer at an extra cost, and what is already included for free. It may turn out that the company is a one-stop shop for everything you need, which can be a great way to save time and money when planning.


Do you have any questions about finding a DJ in Des Moines? Let us know in the comments below!

If you have a question for Lyndon, send him a note at lyndon@limelightiowa.com.