If you’ve attended any weddings as a guest, have you happened to see an evening party that doesn’t take off, a desolately empty runway an evening party with very high expectations left unexpected?

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There are wedding couples who prefer live music and therefore decide to personalize their reception with ensembles such as a duo, trio, quartet or a band; Surely a choice like this demonstrates the great importance the bride and groom place on the musical aspect.
However, if opting for a live lineup that performs live during the aperitif or pre-evening is certainly an optimal choice, for the evening party almost all brides and grooms point to a more malleable figure who can offer different genres of music, satisfying even the most demanding guests i.e. the DJ.
If you are also of the same mind, before confirming his engagement, it would be good for you to ask him a few questions so that you do not run into any nasty surprises during your big day, especially if your intentions, are to entertain your guests by making them rock the dance floor late into the night.
A wrong choice could penalize or worse permanently ruin your evening party, which is why I thought I would write in this article what are, in my opinion and based on my experience, the key questions to ask a DJ before entrusting him with such an important stage as the evening party of your wedding.

1. How long have you been doing this for weddings?

BE CAREFUL not to simply ask the service how long it has been DJing.
The answer may be misleading in that a DJ who has been doing this job for 20 in nightclubs but only started doing weddings 1 year ago probably does not have the knowledge and skills to handle an event as complex as a wedding.
You may be wondering what differences there may be between the 2 figures:

  • Equipment – A DJ specializing in weddings is aware that at least 2 independent sound systems are needed to ensure music coverage for the entire day without gaps due to system moves but there may be locations that require as many as 4 independent sound points one for each musical moment of the day (Aperitif / Lunch / Cake cutting / Evening Party). A specialized DJ has everything he needs and does not have to borrow anything from the caterer or venue on duty.
    An ordinary DJ usually has only one rig that he has to move from one part to another and is without extension cords, power strips, power adapters, tables and tablecloths that he picks up here and there sometimes putting even the other services in a bind who do not have time to accommodate his requests.
  • Aesthetic impact – A DJ specializing in weddings is aware that all arrangements must be thoughtful and have minimal impact on the event. Plumbing must be well placed, cables in passage areas that can increase the possibility of tripping guests, dangling cables, stretched or scattered cables should be avoided. Everything must be structured to be functional but at the same time elegant, attentions that an ordinary DJ, used to working in more spartan settings, is not used to having.
  • Attitude – A wedding specialist DJ is prepared to handle, the various requests made to him by guests or service personnel, in a calm, polite and accepting manner regardless of the tone in which they are put to him. You don’t see him eating at the buffet along with the guests after putting on a preconstituted playlist, you don’t have to look for him for hours since he left the console unattended, and he always pays close attention to the guests’ well-being by offering a selection of music that is appropriate for the moment and at appropriate volumes. An ordinary DJ, on the other hand, often does not have these attentions, does not know how to relate to the guests, when he is needed you do not know where he is, proposes a musical set that is not in line with the mood of the wedding and does not pay attention to the volumes or moments of conviviality of the event.These are just some of the aspects that differentiate a DJ specializing in weddings from those who are not, and if you combine these aspects with the years of work in the industry you can well imagine what a gulf of invaluable experience, and that you cannot buy, there is between the 2 figures.
    Remember that a wedding is a very complex event, it requires great knowledge of the dynamics that revolve around the bride and groom on that day, time management to carefully plan each intervention while avoiding with one’s modus operandi to put other services that are simultaneously working in difficulty, it requires affability in handling the guests and the more or less appropriate requests that are addressed to the professional in the manner and tone used.
    Song mixing skills cannot and should not be the sole discriminator, along with price, that lead you to choose who will handle the music aspect of your wedding

2. Do you do more than one wedding a day?

We sometimes smile at married couples when we address this issue during our specialized counseling, and they almost always say,” But what’s the point of asking this question! It is obvious that he only makes one.” If there is one thing we have learned during our years of working in the industry, it is to never take anything for granted because it is really not that unusual that, especially during summer periods, the DJ you have hired for your wedding has also agreed to attend a few events on the same night. Many of them are well aware that, by impositions of the venue, or by choice of the bride and groom, and some times by his own choice, the end of the evening party coincides with midnight, maximum 1 a.m.; Consequently, if he is offered another engagement for 2 a.m. he would have a chance to kill 2 birds with one stone. Unfortunately, however, not everything always goes as planned at a wedding, in fact, to tell the truth, almost never…our work is a continuous adaptation to the situations that arise during the day so if the closing of the evening party assumed for midnight is extended by an hour or more, it may happen to hear the DJ announce the last pieces anyway only to see him hastily disassemble and leave. So make sure that the service you choose that day works exclusively for your wedding by ensuring its full availability should you want to hire it for the entire day. Do not take anything for granted; make it clear to him how long you will need his presence.

3. What is your differentiator?

Based on his response you will understand whether he is a professional, who knows his craft and especially his skills well, or an improviser who will just talk about technical details of his equipment or the breadth of his repertoire. When I meet with a married couple, the first thing I think about is not how to sell them my product/service; Instead, I listen to their needs, try to understand what expectations they place on a service like mine, but above all, I analyze whether I can be the right solution for them. The same coat does not fit all people!

4. How many sound systems do you have? Lighting system?

The question to be asked is purposely in the plural when talking about systems as mentioned in point 1, because a DJ who claims to be a specialist in the wedding industry knows very well that it is not possible to use only 1 system to best handle the music aspect during a wedding you need at least 2.
The main one set up usually near the venue for the evening party and another in the aperitif area. There are inexpensive DJs who manage the whole day with only 1 system, for charity nothing to say, but if you opt for this choice also put in Quote all the downtime that will be forcibly generated between system shifts by the DJ. Happy You!!!
It would also be good for you to inquire whether he has his own system, whether it is of quality, its power, what lighting system he provides.
It has happened to us numerous times already to see low-grade Chinese trinkets useful for a birthday party at a child’s home, certainly not for a wedding

5. Can we come and see you?

Seeing him at work at another event (preferably a wedding) will give you a better understanding of how he works and whether he fully reflects your needs and expectations. Of course, I can also go see it at a street party or a disco but be aware that the service you are witnessing may be completely different from what you expect or what your guests expect! As his performance unfolds, you will understand whether this is the service for you: from his ability to interact with the audience, to his ability to create celebration through the right pieces for the type of people on the dance floor.

6. Do you know the location we chose? Have you worked on it yet?

Contacting a DJ who knows your location and perhaps has already worked there would be making a wise and optimal choice; He can point out some critical issues of the location, advise you on the performance of his service both in case of favorable and adverse weather, he knows the modus operandi of the caterer during the different stages of the day…In short, he will know in advance how to best advise you to make sure that there are no surprises on the wedding day and that all your expectations, planned in detail, can be carried out in the agreed timing and dynamics without interfering with the other vendors involved. Conversely, if the DJ is unfamiliar with the location or has not mail worked there, it becomes REQUIRED to arrange an inspection together in order to understand on the spot what arrangements to follow to achieve the coveted result, since the bride and groom, do not have the ability to notice any criticality of the structure. Let the professional advise you for the best based on his or her experience.

7. Can we agree which genres of music to put on and which not to put on?

This is a very important point and should not be underestimated since especially between the aperitif to the first dance, the wedding soundtrack should tell about the bride and groom, their love story, and their musical tastes, and consequently the choice of songs or musical genres should be FORCEDLY agreed upon with the DJ.
Be wary of the classic improvisers who are inflexible in this regard.
They have the folder on the PC already prepared “Aperitif Music,” “Lunch Music” etc. that they propose to all weddings regardless of the type of guests, the tastes of the bride and groom; A copy paste from one wedding to another mistakenly convinced that so much “just put on some music.”
What is different, however, for the evening party where, in this case yes, we advise you to leave it to the professional, who will know through small tricks, owl songs etc. identify which genres the track is most oriented toward by going on to correct the pitch as it goes along in a crescendo of party music and fun.

8. Do you accept requests from guests?

There are DJs, perhaps even very good ones, who by habit (in clubs or discos) barricade themselves behind the console headphones in their ears and hammer out one song after another without interacting with the audience. Difficult to reach when you do make sure the DJ knows how to politely respond to any guests who make requests of him during the evening. There are ways and ways of asking for things but from experience we know that when alcohol takes over grace and politeness give way to rudeness and sometimes vulgarity. The DJ must have the ability to interface with all guests at all times in a calm manner, especially the more exalted ones, but at the same time be able in a graceful manner to maintain the reins of the situation and not be subdued. A wedding professional has made these skills a strength available to the bride and groom.

9. Quote: What’s included and what’s not!

We advised you a few lines above, don’t take anything for granted; At the contracting stage define every detail with your DJ before confirming it. How much does the service cost, what does it include, do you have to pay for extra hours and how are they calculated, any travel expenses, special songs to be included in the repertoire, additional facilities etc…so you will avoid unexpected expenses!

10. How much advance notice is needed to book the service? Do you need a deposit?

Many DJs are true music mercenaries, selling themselves to the highest bidder so it becomes imperative to understand with the DJ you have chosen how he/she behaves after the first acquaintance meeting. Does he reserve to you the date with right of way over other reports for X days or does he sell to the first couple who pay him the deposit? Also ask about the deposit if he usually requires it and if he will have you sign a contract in which all these points are written in black and white. The Quote must be clear and defined, complete with all additional expenses and services that the DJ offers or can offer; Be wary of the DJ who is willing to tweak the quote downward in order to bring home the gig; it would not be the first time that we have had to work with married couples who have been left stranded a few days before the wedding by a DJ who accepted another, better-paid service.

11. Early arrival at location?

Whether your choice is to have a DJ for the entire event or just for the evening party, punctuality is key. In the first case to be able to be operational when the first guests arrive at the location, in the second case to be operational from the cutting of the cake.
It cannot and should not be the case that guests arrive at your venue smartly decked out and taken care of in every detail and find the DJ, perhaps in a tank top and shorts, still setting up. It would ruin everything beautiful you have created by wasting all the work, time and stress you have spent to make everything perfect on your wedding day.

12. Is the SIAE mandatory?

This question asked at the end of the list will give you, depending on the answer of the other party, the certainty of whether you are dealing with a professional or an improviser.
Of course that SIAE is mandatory, even in the contract you signed with the owner of the chosen location, it should be specifically stated there;
However, we are aware that many improvised DJs advise newlyweds to avoid fulfilling the permit request convinced, perhaps, that by saving the couple 250/350€ they will have a better chance of being hired.
They are probably unaware of the penalties that in the event of an inspection will hit first and foremost the bride and groom as organizers of the event and cascade location and musician for not making sure that a SIAE permit has been applied for.
Be wary of those who tell you that it is not mandatory to apply for SIAE permission!
Do you really want to take the risk of seeing your marriage ruined forever?
How much can it cost you to leave your guests and yourself in case of inspection by the competent bodies (penalty aside) a negative memory of your wedding all for trying to save 250/350€ upstream of an economic investment of 30000€?

That said.

I hope I have instilled in you the awareness of how to recognize, among the hundreds of proposals on the Web, professionals who specialize in weddings by taking care to follow these few simple guidelines.
Visit our website www.weddingsymphony.it and go to the contact page to book a specialized consultation with our Paul to be assured that you are entrusting the musical aspect of your wedding to musicians who specialize in this type of event.
Remember that

“Marriage is a live movie. You can’t go wrong because you can’t buy a memory.”

We always say this to all our wedding couples.
A few simple tips combined with a dash of common sense in choosing a musician not just based on price will make your wedding a memorable event.

I am Paolo Furlan the first Wedding Music Planner in Veneto and founder of the Wedding Symphony music agency specializing in music for civil or religious ceremonies and music and entertainment for wedding receptions.

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