You go through due diligence to insure your wedding dress arrives on time and fits properly. You do the same for venue reservations, caterers, photographers, and travel arrangements for your honeymoon. What about your DJ? Too many people have had bad experiences because they took a DJ’s word for it. Ask questions first and celebrate later. Here are some things you should find out from your DJ before the big day.

Do you have a contract for me to sign?

Professional DJs are more than willing to have the commitment in writing. A contract verifies the cost, the dates and times, and any other expectations you may have of the DJ. If they are not willing to provide a contract or say “You don’t need one” you’d be well advised to find another DJ.

What experience do you have as a wedding DJ?

It’s one thing to play music at a relative’s birthday party and something quite different to emcee a formal event like a wedding. You will remember your wedding day for years to come. Use a professional so the memories focus on the celebration and not the mishaps.

What equipment do you provide?

You want a DJ who is familiar with the equipment he or she is using. Professionals usually have their own equipment that includes speakers, microphone, and DJ controller. Others may also have lights, a karaoke machine, or other mood setting devices, like a haze machine. Confirm what’s included in your package cost up front.

How much set-up and tear down time will you need?

Your DJ will need access to the venue before the event begins and after the event is over to set-up and tear down equipment. You want to coordinate that extra time with the venue so you don’t face additional charges.

How many events do you schedule on any given day?

Ideally, your DJ will only schedule one event per day. This helps to prevent delays in set-up or a rushed exit before your event is over. You want their complete and undivided attention.

How would you describe your announcement style?

Because the DJ also serves as the emcee of your wedding reception, you want the announcement style to fit the event. A DJ who is accustomed to playing clubs and has rapper ambitions may not be the best fit for your traditional, formal wedding.

What’s the fallback plan if you should have something come up unexpectedly (illness, death in the family, etc.)?

The downside of hiring a freelancing DJ is that you’re stuck if they come down with the flu the day of your wedding. Hiring an entertainment company like Cutting Edge ensures somebody else will step in to see to it your event runs smoothly.

What do you consider to be professional behavior at a wedding?

While it may be completely acceptable for a DJ to take a break to go to the restroom, would you consider it equally acceptable for them to visit the bar or smoke? You may choose to provide a meal from the buffet, but do you consider it professional for them to eat at the DJ booth? Make sure you and the DJ are on the same page when it comes to expectations and professionalism.