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Planning Tips

What Do You Want From Your DJ?
Think about some of the best weddings you've been to. What was the music like? Were people dancing the whole time or just once in a while? Some couples want to dance the night away, while others prefer to mingle and have the music be more of a “backdrop”. Maybe you love Motown or Big Bands, or you're eager to showcase your ethnic roots. What are your favorite genres and artists? Define your musical tastes before you interview your DJ.

Volume Control
Venues or houses in residential areas (especially when the reception is outdoors) are subject to volume limits or curfews. Some historic buildings don't allow amplified music at all, or they may have specific technical limitations. Weddings on public beaches, parks or campgrounds are sometimes subject to a permit. Make sure you inquire about all the legalities before you select an outdoor site.

Don't Wait to Book!
Popular DJs are often booked over a year in advance. Start looking for your DJ as soon as you've selected a reception venue.

Define the DJ’s Level of Interaction
Some couples want their DJ to be very interactive; narrating the party, inviting guests to watch you cut the cake, initiating line dances and coaxing them onto the dance floor. Other couples prefer that their DJ’s stick to playing the music; most fall somewhere in between.

Check References
Too many couples ask for a list of previous brides and grooms to call and then never get around to doing it. Sure, the DJ is not likely to provide the name of someone who was unhappy with the way things went, but even chatting with happy customers can be very informative.

Song List
Write down the songs you would like to hear at your wedding. Include your first-dance song, any other “spotlight” songs, and your (and your guest’s) favorites. Just be sure you are not providing a list of every single song you expect to hear! Your DJ should be given flexibility in order to keep the party moving. And don't forget to include your do-not-play list—just don't be too limiting.

Mix It Up!
The music that most DJs play at wedding receptions is a mixture of danceable music from every era and slow dances. This tried-and-true formula is a favorite because it works. The best wedding celebrations are those that get several generations out on the dance floor.

Experience counts
Weddings have a flow that is unique from other kinds of parties. A good DJ knows how to move smoothly from announcements to dinner music to cake-cutting to parents’ dances to a set that will pack the dance floor.

You will be working very closely with your DJ, so it's important that you get along well. Look for someone who asks lots of questions about the wedding, you and your families. Can you see this person having fun interacting with your guests?

Attend a Live Performance?
Don't be surprised if your DJ says he doesn't allow prospective clients to drop in at his wedding performances—many consider the practice too invasive. Would you like strangers dropping in at your wedding? But many good DJ’s CAN offer a date when they are performing in public so you can see and hear them in action.

Floor Plan
Try not to place older guests near the DJ station or speakers because they are more affected by the sound and will be uncomfortable. Avoid placing any guests’ tables between the DJ and the dance floor. The DJ should always be placed as close to the dance floor as possible so he can monitor sound levels and interact with you and your guests appropriately.

Consider Optional Features
Many good DJ’s will offer dance floor lighting, custom gobos, architectural up-lighting, video slide shows, giveaways, fog, etc. to enhance the uniqueness of your party. Consider these as you plan the overall look and feel for your reception.

Final Review with Your DJ
About 30 days before the wedding, and after you have done all your planning, expect to spend about an hour or so going over all the final details of your reception (and/or ceremony) with your DJ. This will ensure that you will be on the same page and there will be no surprises on your special day.

Dave Salonia Productions has the experience to answer any of your event planning questions. Feel free to call us for more information!