EXPERT ADVICE

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

Let's Boogie

Let's Boogie

Q We're having a large wedding with guests of all ages. What style of music would you suggest to please everyone?
A June Gould says: Firstly, your music needs to acknowledge your tastes so that you both enjoy it. It's also wise to have some breadth in the music styles so that everyone hears something they can relate to.

The most important thing is to engage a professional DJ who can read the room and play what people respond positively to. If there is something that is very popular and you absolutely hate it, or it was played at someone's funeral, let your DJ know. There is such a vast range of artists out there and great music from a range of eras to choose from; not playing one famous artist or song won't detract from a great evening.

You might find that the DJ fills the floor with a certain style of music. Often, you and your friends and family like similar music, but there is sometimes a guest who likes a style that is very different from the majority. It's quite possible that guests may not get their request played if it would empty the dancefloor. Asking guests for a request can work, but always say that the tune will be played at the discretion of the couple and the DJ.

June Gould, SGDJ Weddings

A Festive Treat

A Festive Treat

Q How can we incorporate our festive theme into our wedding entertainment?
A June Gould says: It goes without saying that if you're having a December wedding, you either want to embrace the Christmas association or hold it at arms' length. If you love Christmas, it will be essential that you let your DJ know this and mention your favourite festive songs on your request list. Tell them about any tunes that you dislike for a banned list. The music performed at your wedding will connect you with memories for years to come, so it might be a good idea to have a few newer Christmas songs that you will associate with your wedding instead of past Christmases.

A good mobile DJ should be able to provide customised lighting to make your theme a feature. This might be stars, snowflakes, or specific colours.

Other ideas to consider are carol singers with lanterns for the drinks reception. You could also hire or arrange for one of the wedding party to dress as Santa to hand out wedding favours and give any gifts to your wedding party.

If you're having a selfie wizard or photo booth, confirm with the supplier that they have Christmas-associated props and/or overlays for printing.

June Gould, SGDJ Weddings

We Love To Boogie

We Love To Boogie

Q My hubby-to-be and I want to hire a DJ for our upcoming wedding, but we're on a tight budget. Do you have any suggestions on how we can save money?
A June Gould says: One of the first things you should ask yourself is, are there any other ways you could save money? I recently had a big birthday and planned a party. We held it in our garden and had bunting from a previous event and banners we were going to use. We were so busy we forgot the bunting and the banner. Did our guests care? I don't think anyone noticed. However, did everyone have a great time? Yes! We had a singer and a DJ and the music made a big difference. Now I know a wedding is far bigger than a birthday, so my recommendation is to pare back on other expenses where possible, as music will help you make special memories.

A DJ can read the room as well as play your favourite tunes. If you have a venue that doesn't provide any sound, a DJ will often help you save on the hire of a sound system – a one stop shop, so to speak. A DJ can often provide a master of ceremonies service and help co-ordinate the day. Others will bundle a couple of services together, like lighting for the dancefloor and up lighting.

Remember, music can make the soundtrack to your day and represent you both as well as entertain your guests.

June Gould, DJ June Cecilia

Boogie all night

Boogie all night

Q We're looking for a DJ for our upcoming wedding but are feeling overwhelmed by the number of choices available. What should we do to help narrow down our decision?
A June Gould says: Before booking a supplier, consider the following:

Reviews – these will illustrate past clients' opinions. Don't stop at one, read a few for each DJ, as each client will have had a different experience.

Website – a website is a virtual shop window and will help you get a feel for how professional the DJ is and what they offer. There may be pictures of past events or the opportunity to see what their equipment will look like, and how it will suit your venue.

PAT and PLI – boring, but essential. PAT is an electrical test that is undertaken on equipment, for most DJs this will be annual. Some venues will insist on PAT-tested equipment, and PLI policies. PLI is Public Liability Insurance. Any DJ who does not have this is either too new to the business to know or doesn't take customer care seriously.

Social media – this is another opportunity to find out more about your potential DJ. Pictures, videos and posts all show the personality of the DJ or the company.

Specialist or generalist? – Some DJs specialise in weddings, but this doesn't mean that they don't provide a wide range of music. If you decide you want a club DJ or a rock specialist, it's worth checking if your DJ can diversify if the club set isn't working for your party.

Meeting and communicating – if you wish to have input on the music, it will be essential to have clear communication. Meeting in person or virtually will enable you to get to know each other and share your ideas.

Services offered – some DJs offer an all-day service in addition to an evening disco. This means you can have one person to work with to organise the soundtrack to your day instead of many. Some DJs have added on services such as room accessories, uplighting, photo booths or a selfie wizard, which again simplifies your working channels rather than having a long list of people to communicate with.

June Gould, SGDJ Weddings

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

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