FAQs and expert advice about djs

Here is a selection of Q&As from Your South Wales Wedding magazine whether it be about flowers, hair and makeup, fashion, wedding themes, health & beauty, cakes, stationery, legal advice. If you would like your question answered by our experts, please email it to editor@yoursouthwales.wedding


Dancefloor fillers

Dancefloor fillers

Q. We're putting together a list of songs to give our DJ, but we're feeling overwhelmed by the amount of choice. What songs will get everyone up on the dancefloor?

A. June Gould says: If you have booked an experienced DJ, they will be able to read the room and find songs that best suit the people who show they enjoy dancing. If your supplier has been playing background music before the dancefloor fills, they will be able to see what gets people jigging in their seats.

At a wedding party, it's rare to have 100 per cent of guests on the dancefloor at the same time, but it's highly possible to have 20-80 per cent of them on their feet. We have an online tool called DJ Event Planner and in it is a song request option. The great thing about this is that the data can be shared. DJs who use this worldwide have clients who enter their requests and DJ Event Planners create a table of the most requested songs. The top 10 worldwide choices are:

- Whitney Houston – I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)
- Earth, Wind and Fire – September
- Neil Diamond – Sweet Caroline
- Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars – Uptown Funk
- Usher – Yeah!
- Walk The Moon – Shut Up and Dance
- Journey – Don't Stop Believin'
- Killers – Mr. Brightside
- ABBA – Dancing Queen
- Cupid – Cupid Shuffle

Now you may ask what is the Cupid Shuffle? As this software is from the USA, there are songs requested that we don't play in the UK too often.

I like to know what songs have special meaning to you as a couple and any banned music. Think along this line as you present your DJ with any requests. You shouldn't need to worry about providing the general floor fillers. Some people say 'We don't want a cheesy wedding, but we want good music people will dance to'. If this is your sentiment, let your DJ know what you don't want to hear.

A good DJ won't need (or want) a whole playlist for the night. They will be able to use their experience to judge what is working and what is not and respond accordingly. If your DJ has just said 'send me some songs you like', literally do that or rather, what you like to dance to. Remember, it's your party, and people have come to celebrate with you. In most instances, if you're on the dancefloor, likely, more people will be too!

June Gould, SGDJ Weddings


Boogie to the music

Boogie to the music

Q. What questions should we ask our DJ before booking?

A. June Gould says: Can we choose the music you play?
If you've been to a wedding where the music played was awful, this might be because the DJ was not reading the room or had a limited collection. Alternatively, it might mean they were tailoring the music to that specific couple, and they had different tastes to you. Most experienced DJs will be happy to take some requests before the wedding, it's your day after all. The age of Spotify playlists can mean that clients can have very set ideas of what they want to hear. Keep in mind that what sounds good in the car might not be a great hit on the dancefloor. Part of making a good party is ensuring that as many people as possible feel included.

Can we see pictures of the setup?
Your DJ should be able to do this, however, there are many different styles available. Some suppliers will give you a choice, and others may only have one option. Some companies will send a sub-contracted DJ along so it may not be possible to see what will be provided. If you're booking your wedding two years in advance, then they may upgrade or change their style in that time. Keep in touch to confirm what the situation is and ask for an update.

Can we see reviews from past clients?
It's important to see what other people's experiences have been. If the DJ hasn't done a wedding before, then you would be wise to find out what they intend to do to prepare. Is there a mentor they can work with? If there are no online reviews, can they give you the phone number of a past client to talk to? The safest choice is to choose someone with experience and good reviews.

Do you have Public Liability Insurance, and is your equipment PAT tested?
Many venues will insist that these documents are presented by the entertainment to be permitted on the premises. Some will also request a risk assessment.

What other services do you offer?
Most mobile DJs will offer an all-day service which will save you separate costs of live musicians, PA hire, master of ceremonies and more. Some will also provide light-up letters, monogram lights, selfie wizards, photo booths and dancefloors. It can be much easier to deal with one person or company than five different ones.

Can we meet you?
It's important to have a good connection and communication with your DJ. If you would like to meet at the venue, many suppliers will oblige. If this is not practical, then an online meeting would be a good idea. If your DJ doesn't want to do this, then it might be worth asking why

June Gould, SGDJ Weddings


Dance the night away

Dance the night away

Q. We're thinking of booking a DJ for our wedding, but there are so many to choose from. How can we find the perfect supplier?

A. Alan Matthews says: As an experienced DJ of 30 years, I recommend you look for a dedicated supplier who can cater for the whole family with a wide range of music that's suitable for all ages. When I look back, I realise how shockingly inexperienced I was at the beginning of my career and always thought music had to be blasting with all the latest club hits – how wrong was I? Now it's all about subtle tunes and lighting and creating a warm, inviting atmosphere that people will want to stay in and enjoy together.

- Before booking, remember experience is essential!
- Check their reviews are dated and up-to-date.
- Book a dedicated wedding DJ.
- Look for someone who can work from a playlist if required.

Alan Matthews, Alan Matthews Discos


Intimate romance

Intimate romance

Q. Do you have any tips for planning a small wedding?

A. June Gould says: Sit back, close your eyes and walk through what you would like to happen on your day from start to finish and ask yourself what will impact the joy of the day? What will help take the stress out? What highlights do you imagine? Who do you want to share it with the most, and how will you be able to make memories that will last?

We recently had a family wedding with only 15 guests. For us, the most important parts of the day were that the people who matter to us were participating in the ceremony, we had a Zoom broadcast to all those who couldn't attend, plenty of photos, memorable music and a very tasty cake!

As restrictions ease, it's important to plan ahead so that you're not struggling to book suppliers. It's worth doing the following research:
- See evidence of their work and past reviews.
- If possible, meet in person or have a video conference.
- Check what is included in quoted prices.
- Determine what booking fee or deposit your suppliers require.

If you're having an intimate gathering, don't think about abandoning the entertainment. If you have a DJ/MC or singer, they can be the glue that holds the day together. People may have travelled a long way and music can entertain and untie people and also keep them at the venue longer. Remember, music doesn't need to be loud, but it needs to be relevant. I know I could spend hours preparing music for a forthcoming wedding, and it's so important that the couple connects with what they hear.

It's worth having a plan of action to go forward. Make a table with two columns. One should be 'what we do if only small numbers are possible', and the other should be 'if things get back to normal.' Consider the impact of each on your guests and the flexibility of your suppliers and venue. Ensure your vendors are in this with you. See what they can do to fit with the new situation. I hope you enjoy your preparations and ensure you savour the moment!

June Gould, SGDJ Weddings


Boogie the night away

Boogie the night away

Q. We're looking for a DJ for our upcoming wedding but are feeling overwhelmed by the amount of choice available. What should we do to help narrow down our decision?

A. June Gould says: When it comes to choosing a DJ, there are two options. The first is to contact someone whose work you have seen and liked, and the second is to do your research. If you're starting from scratch, take the below into consideration before booking.

- Check for good reviews from past clients in a variety of sources or listings.

- They should have PAT and PLI (tested kit and insurance) and be willing to do a risk assessment if one is required by your venue.

- A clear and professional website will tell you a lot about them.

- Decide if you want your DJ to be with you the whole day or just the evening. An all-day service can potentially wrap the day in a well-planned music feast. Look for suppliers who offer music for your ceremony, signing the register, reception, a master of ceremonies, microphones for the speeches and recordings of speeches.

- Make sure they're willing to meet you and discuss your requirements. A face-to-face or online meeting will help you connect and allow you to discuss customisation.

- If the quote seems too good to be true, then it probably is. DJs who have invested in good equipment and deliver quality service will charge a fee that reflects this.

- Find out what's included with the service and if there are different options available.

- A poll suggested that 72 per cent of brides wished they spent more time choosing their wedding entertainment and a higher percentage wished they'd spent more on it. Invest to make special memories for you and your guests.

June Gould, SGDJ Weddings

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