What should I expect from a wedding DJ?

A professional wedding DJ will do a lot more for your wedding celebration than simply play dance music. A wedding DJ can make or break a wedding. Music is one of the most important aspects of a wedding celebration. So what to expect from a wedding DJ is very important before you hire a service for your reception. Carefully consider all the factors listed on this blog and be 100% sure that the DJ can deliver what is expected. Here’s what you can reasonably expect from an experienced pro.

Professional DJs are familiar with the details that make a wedding reception lively, such as typical wedding songs, dances and games. An experienced wedding DJ can make a reception memorable. He’ll know how to get the guests on the dance floor and keep the party interesting.

A Wedding DJ Listens to You

A great wedding DJ will listen to your wants and needs. He understands this is one of the most important days of your life and that you trust him to help make it great. If there’s something you want that the DJ doesn’t quite understand, he should ask questions until he knows exactly what your wishes are and how to make them come true.

This is your once-in-a-lifetime day. We want you to look back at this as the best event you’ve ever attended. You put a lot of yourselves into your wedding and it is our job to keep your priorities front and center. Staying in communication with you, at your pace, is paramount to our service. If you can’t get a hold of anyone holding the keys to the success of your biggest day, well that is simply unacceptable. We strive to be as in-communication with you in the months leading up to your big day as you want. If you live a hectic life or you have dedicated the next two years to your wedding day, we want you to feel our commitment to the two of you. Your day is far too important to be treated casually. (Unless that is the approach you want.) Hiring a DJ who respects you, your decisions, and your wedding day desires should be at the top of your list. Not just a flashy smile and a few sales one-liners.

A great DJ will spend the time with you and your partner to find out more about you. Taste in music can vary significantly from person to person, and you and your partner could be polar opposites with one a country and western fanatic and the other into RnB. A great DJ will take all of this in and find the happy medium, while also considering your wedding theme and your personalities.

A wedding DJ is Planning an Agenda

Wedding DJs arrange a playlist according to the schedule for the reception. A DJ should be able to select appropriate songs for each part of the event and transition easily from one style of music to another. For instance, he can follow the couple’s walk-in song with uplifting music to excite the crowd and get people dancing but change to slower-paced songs when dinner is served. Experienced DJs also know how to read the guests and adjust the tone and tempo of the music to match.

We are taking our practices as an example. In the month leading up to your wedding day, We always meet/speak with you to finalise the agenda. We plan how you would like the day to happen, interjecting our experienced opinions when asked, and we keep meticulous notes for the wedding day. When the big day arrives, we want nothing more than for you, your bridal party, and your family to have an incredible time without a worry in the world. It’s our job to keep the day flowing as you dreamt it. It is also our job to keep the other vendors aware of what is happening all the time. Trusting your DJ to suggest and execute changes as the day unravels is a crucial act of faith, one you need to feel completely comfortable doing.

If you don’t have a wedding planner on the day of your wedding, the DJ usually will take the lead. Therefore, it is important for the DJ to have studied the Timeline and Program well ahead of the wedding day. A wedding program can be very detailed and comprise of a lot of moving parts. So it is the DJ’s job to execute this to plan and make sure the other vendors are aware of this. For example, If a DJ is to announce that dinner will be served he/she should first check to see if the caterer is ready or if the DJ invites the couple for their first dance it is the DJ’s job to make sure the photographer and videographer are ready to capture the moment. Even though it is the Photographers and Videographers job to know when to be ready one of these vendors might be using the restroom for example, and something like the first dance cannot be recreated if this important moment isn’t captured the first time.

A DJ should arrive on time

It is very important that your DJ arrives at a minimum of at least 2 hours prior to the start of the program. This will give the DJ enough time to figure out how much of time is needed to unload all their equipment. Remember that depending on the location vendors might be lined up trying to access the loading dock. So it is key that you make sure that the DJ is there ahead of time.

The setup depends on the hired DJ 

The setup time can vary depending on which package the DJ has sold you. A basic system can take as low as 30 minutes while a large, complicated set up can take several hours. Make sure they have enough time to complete the set up according to the provided floor plan and all equipment is tested, and sound checked before the first set of guests arrive. Doing sound checks and moving equipment is unprofessional when your guests have already arrived at the space.

You’ve already spent thousands of dollars on a beautiful venue, flowers and décor, therefore make sure that the DJ has a clean set up. Exposed cables dangling around and an untidy set up will take away from the look you are trying to achieve. Remember for most parts of the night the DJ booth will be the focal point to the guests so it is paramount that the DJ booth is visually pleasing. If the DJ is running cables around the room and across pathways, make sure that the DJ is aware that the cables need to be secured with gaffer’s tape. This will avoid any accidents to your guests or staff members by tripping over the cables.

Works with the Venue

We believe that when you hire a DJ for your wedding, he should work with the venue, not just the bride and groom. By taking on the responsibility of contacting the reception hall before the wedding and making arrangements for setting up and logistics, a great wedding DJ reduces the bridal couple’s stress and takes added worries off their wedding to-do list.


Make sure the songs you have picked for special dances, introductions, processionals, recessionals, etc. are in your DJ’s library or have the ability to get access to them. In today’s day and age, there are so many various renditions of a song and various artists covering these titles. Make sure you tell the DJ exactly which version you prefer and avoid disappointment and embarrassment.

The music at your wedding sets the reception’s tone, and it takes experience and preparation for a wedding DJ to be able to read the crowd. A great DJ knows this and understands how to incorporate the bride and groom’s favourite songs, as well as music that gets your guests up and onto the dance floor. He plays the right combination of fast and slow songs to make sure everyone from your 7-year-old niece to your 90-year-old next-door neighbour has fun.

Finding one genre of music that keeps a good bit of people happy is not as hard as you might think. Finding a selection of songs over a 3 hour period that keeps everyone entertained is a little different. Your DJ should be comfortable mixing genres of music from styles, to decades, mixing in slow songs, and fast songs alike, all the while mixing in requests and always staying true to your personal preferences.

A DJ is the Master of Ceremony

Many DJs also act as the master of ceremonies. In between playing music, they announce the various events at the reception, such as the arrival of the newly married couple, the cutting of the cake and the bridal toss. DJ emcees also make sure the events run smoothly and according to schedule and say a few words at intervals to entertain the guests and keep the mood light.

Chances are you need more than wedding music from your DJ; you also need him to be a fantastic master of ceremonies. This includes engaging the wedding guests with the formal announcements and ensuring he gets everyone in the bridal party’s name right. A great wedding DJ is also in charge of the timeline and flow of events for the reception, keeping things fun and running smoothly.

Keeping you and your fiancé on track is great, but keeping your hundreds of guests aware of the events of the evening is incredibly important as well. I always say that I spend a minimal amount of time on the Microphone because the day is all about you two, but it is a huge element of what I do to keep guests informed and feeling in the loop, without overdoing it.

Cocktail hour 

While you and your bridal party and family step away for some group photos, your guests will enjoy cocktails and appetisers, and get acquainted with one another. Your DJ will provide your choice of cocktail music — whether it’s classical, background piano, light jazz, Rat Pack vocals, or something truly unique to the two of you. This is your opportunity to put some of your own personality into the evening’s music, by having your DJ play songs that may not be especially danceable, but still have a lot of meaning for the two of you.

Wedding party introduction

Your DJ will play one or more songs for your grand entrance. Keep the music upbeat and energetic, because this is a truly festive moment. Some couples are content to have a single song for the entire wedding party. Others choose a separate song for the newlyweds. Still, others ask that each couple be introduced to its own song. A professional DJ can help choreograph a great introduction while ensuring that everyone’s name is pronounced correctly.

Toasts and speeches 

Your DJ will provide a wireless microphone for the Best Man, Maid of Honor, Father of the Bride, minister, or anyone else who plans special remarks. He’ll also introduce each person’s speech.

Cake cutting 

Whether you’re cutting your cake before dinner, after the salad, or after dinner, your DJ will make the announcement so that guests may take their own pictures of you. 

Dinner hour

Your DJ will play nice background music that won’t interfere with your guests’ table conversations. That means no horns and no screaming guitars. Instrumental music is best for the dinner hour, whether it’s smooth jazz, piano, classical or easy listening. 

Special dances

Your DJ will introduce your First Dance, wedding party dance, bride-father and groom-mother dances, each with the accompanying song you choose. Some companies, like Fourth Estate Audio, like to have the First Dance and wedding party dance, then open the floor to the guests and leave the bride-father and groom-mother dances for a little later. That way, people who have just eaten a full meal won’t have time to get drowsy and think of leaving early. 



You’ll provide a list of your favourite dance songs to your DJ, and he’ll mix them in a way that flows well and gets people of all ages onto the dance floor. Typically, the older music gets played first, while the parents and grandparents still feel like dancing. Then the music get newer and more upbeat as the younger dancers take over. Consider all of your guests when choosing your requests. You’re not just picking music for 3 or 4 of your best friends. Everyone should feel welcome and involved in your party to be successful.


Your DJ will oversee the bouquet and garter tosses, each with its own song of your choosing. Again, make the music upbeat, because everyone will have had a few drinks by then, and you want songs that will add to the excitement of the moment.

Final song

Many couples want to pick the last song of the evening in advance, and your DJ will time the last few minutes of the party to hit that special song at just the right time. There will, of course, be calls for “One more, one more!” But if you’ve chosen the last song, it will indeed be the last song.

Just as important at knowing how to fill a dance floor is knowing when to tone it down and give guests some breathing space. This is especially important when guests are eating, and a great DJ will know when to fade the music right down so that people can have a conversation with one another without having to resort to sign language or shouting at one another.


DJs provide their own audio equipment, such as turntables and speakers, and everything else necessary for the machines to work. They might also provide special equipment like fog and ice machines at the couple’s request. However, some establishments don’t allow these machines. The couple is responsible for finding out what is allowed at a particular facility. The DJ also should provide a good quality wireless microphone for speeches.

Back-Up Gear

Murphy’s Law states that “if anything can go wrong it will”. So being prepared and always ready with a contingency plan are characteristics of a Professional DJ Service. It’s hard to double up on every single piece of equipment, but DJ’s should always have back up gear for key gear. An extra microphone, an extra laptop, an extra speaker and extra cables are a must! Make sure your DJ carries back up the gear and has a plan in place.


Some DJ services will have a uniform that they wear. A dress shirt or a Polo with their logo, usually in black and with pressed slacks and formal shoes. Other services will opt to wear a suit or a formal dress to blend in with the occasion. All these are acceptable attire for a Wedding DJ Service. Jeans, street clothes, shorts, t-shirts, and gym shoes are not acceptable clothing to be worn by a Professional DJ Service. Clearly state which type of attire you prefer.


If you chose a specific package with your DJ service, make sure they deliver on what was promised. Some companies charge you for add-ons but don’t provide the services on the day of. You might be too busy and caught up in the celebration but stop for just a moment and check. For example, if you have 10 uplights or 2 wireless microphones take a quick glance and check if you are getting what you paid for. If you don’t see what was on your contract request for it or demand a refund.


Did your DJ disappear after they got paid? Make sure you are in communication with the DJ leading up to your wedding. If you have any questions or concerns, the Wedding DJ Service should be prompt in responding to you. Do not take for granted that just because you have a contract that your DJ will show up and keep to his/her promise. A lot of amateur DJ services might not be in business when your wedding comes around. 

Takes Stress Off the Bride & Groom

While your wedding day should be filled with excitement, it’s also a time of great stress and anxiety. A great wedding DJ knows this too and works to help reduce the bridal couple’s stress by arriving ahead of schedule, taking care of the venue and helping your guests have a good time. With a good DJ, you shouldn’t have to worry about anything after the ceremony except having fun and enjoying your new marriage.


The DJ you hire has a job to do and isn’t a guest. Make sure you make that very clear when you pick the DJ service. They haven’t been hired to consume alcohol at your reception, flirt with your guests, take extended dinner breaks, play a song and dance with your guests, or behave in any way unfit as a vendor. Huge banners advertising their services or TV screens with their logo is unprofessional. If a guest is interested in hiring their services they can request for a business card or ask for their information after the wedding. Your wedding “is not” a wedding expo to promote their business, period!

A great wedding DJ acts like a professional in all manners. At your wedding, your DJ should be well-dressed and well-groomed, as well as relaxed and in control of any situation that may arise. He should not be drinking during your ceremony or engaging in any type of inappropriate behaviour with your guests. If something goes astray, a good wedding DJ knows how to advert wedding disasters and can act accordingly.

From your very first interaction with them, a great DJ will have an awesome attitude, quick enquiry response times, and be able to provide you with all of the information you need. They will also be punctual, organised, and keep to the timelines you have provided to them, or that you have worked out together.

A professional DJ will also offer online planning worksheets that let you fill in your preferred cocktail and dinner music, plus your special songs — plus interactive access to his entire song list so that you can choose your favourite dance music. With the help of a true DJ professional, your entertainment will likely be the least stress-inducing part of planning your big celebration. 

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