7 Steps You Can Take to Avoid a DJ DISASTER


Let’s face it: we’ve all been to a wedding with a terrible DJ. It’s the worst.

Cheesy announcements. A bad voice. Squealing microphones. Speakers with cobwebs. Strobe lights. Maybe that works for a Halloween DJ, but this is your wedding.

We’ll teach you how to avoid a DJ disaster at your dream wedding.


1. Establish a Relationship with Your DJ

You need to establish a relationship with your actual DJ, not just the face of the company you hire. Your DJ is the one that is running your wedding reception, so you need to find out who they are and take full advantage of their time. You do that by getting to know them. Grab some drinks or a coffee and chat about life, your music preferences, and your goals for the wedding.

2. Make Your Music Taste Known

Help your DJ build ideas or even full playlists for your prelude, ceremony, cocktails, and dinner. Give them a list of great songs you’d love to hear and don’t want to hear during dancing, and let them put their skills to work to keep your dance floor alive—because the only thing worse than cold feet is a cold dance floor.

If you demand that they play music that doesn’t light up the dance floor, that’s your fault, not theirs. If you give your DJ great music and they don’t play it, they suck, and you hired the wrong company. If your DJ fails to return emails, texts, or phone calls, fire him. If he’s not the owner or in management of the company then call the owner and get it fixed. If the problem persists, find your next best option and move on.

This day is about you, not them. If you want to have a successful dance floor, play music for ALL of your guests, open your mind a bit, and think about what gets everyone involved. The perfect concoction of dance floor music is a constant mix throughout the entire night, both new and old and everything in between, aiming to please as many people as possible. Your guests are spending their time to celebrate you, so keep them in mind.

3. Help Your DJ Prepare

Great results are borne of great preparation. Sitting face-to-face with your DJ before the wedding helps them truly understand who you are. It also shows that you’re serious about your big day. The more content, music, and information that you give your DJ, the better they can perform for you.

Your wedding DJ won’t be a psychic. They need to hear what you want so they can prepare and deliver your music with their personalized touch to create the perfect flow for your evening.

Your DJ does far more than just play music; they’re the face of your entertainment. They make announcements, they introduce your toasts, speeches, and serve as your emcee. A great DJ should build an itinerary for your day including a timeline and music specifics along with names, introductions, toast orders, and announcements.

Furthermore, your DJ should keep photographers and videographers on the same page to make sure they capture all the important elements of your day. Your DJ should be friendly, outgoing, and truly care about making your wedding day a huge success. Preparing your DJ in advance is the best way to ensure that they do their job well.

4. Understand Your DJ’s Equipment

Different styles of weddings require different equipment. Some weddings need more equipment than others. Multiple sets of equipment and surround sound are essential for almost all weddings, especially private residence weddings, barn weddings, tented-outdoor weddings, and hotel/conference weddings. Do you really think that two speakers and one mixing board will be enough for your entire wedding?

Your wedding has numerous moving parts. For example, if you’re having a barn wedding, weather-permitting, you may have your ceremony outdoors, away from the barn itself. That’s probably pretty far away from where your dance floor is going to be, even if it’s still on-site and on the property.

You don’t want to see your DJ carrying your dance floor speakers from your ceremony to your cocktails location and then carrying them over to the dance floor following the cocktails. That just yields a hot, sweaty-mess-DJ and creates music downtime.

So ask your DJ company what equipment you truly need to have a successful wedding. Test their knowledge. Strike a deal, get your equipment and specifics requests in a written contract, and make sure it’s there at your wedding.

If you hire a DJ with stop-and-go lights and a table with cords hanging out, that’s on you. That’s the image for the entertainment you chose for your wedding. Find out what their equipment setup looks like in advance and make sure it’s professional and doesn’t clash with your decor.

5. Have Back-up Equipment

Most DJ companies make you feel warm and fluffy inside by telling you they’re fully insured and have back-up equipment. To make sure that’s true, ask them what back-up equipment they’ll have on-site.

What if a guest spills a beer on their laptop, iPad, or mixing board? What if someone drops the microphone and breaks it before your toasts are given? These are real things that happen, and you need to make sure that you’re covered and that your DJ actually brings and includes that back-up equipment.

6. Expand Your Budget for the Best

Remember the phrase, “You get what you pay for?” If you cheap out on your DJ, in almost all cases, you’ll get what you paid for.

Some people may find the diamond in the rough, but if your entertainment is important to you, expand your budget here. Pay the extra money to ensure successful entertainment at your wedding. You’ll be glad you did.

If the company you hired is paying your DJ peanuts, most likely, they won’t be very happy to be there. Do you want a DJ that just plays music, or do you want a DJ, emcee, and entertainment coordinator all in one? Plan (and pay) accordingly.

7. Listen to Recommendations

Shop around, find out who your venue and the other vendors you’re using recommend. There’s a reason why people come recommended. Don’t try to recreate the wheel. Look for experience and people who truly care about you.

This is your wedding day, and you should be treated like gold and not just another number. Find a company that you believe in, quiz them, but make a decision that won’t give you anxiety.

If you spent the extra $300-800.00 on your DJ entertainment, would it completely change the outcome of your entire wedding? YES, in so many cases it would. Fully understand what you’re getting from the company that you hire and look for them to over-deliver.


Finding the right DJ match is achievable.

Use this article as a template for questions that you can ask your DJ to ensure that he or she will bring the party to new heights and will do everything possible to make your special day perfect.

David Hackbarth