It doesn’t seem that long ago when I was asking myself, “What does a wedding DJ do?” or “How hard is it to DJ a wedding?” and in this post I will answer these complicated questions in great detail to shed some light on the subject. Thankfully, I’ve had the luxury of being friends with some really good professional wedding DJs that have answered these questions for me and let me shadow them through the entire wedding process.
So, what does a wedding DJ do?
A wedding DJ must ask the couple to be married specific questions ahead of time in order to host the wedding in a scheduled fashion. A wedding DJ will provide a sound system, play requested music at the right time, announce formalities, & provide well-mixed musical entertainment to encourage dancing on the day/night of the wedding.
In this post, I’ve put together everything a wedding DJ will do for a traditional wedding. Remember, some formalities may be left out depending on what the couple decide they want.
So, now you must wonder what a wedding DJ does during each formality and how they coordinate it? Next, I will discuss what a wedding DJ will do during each formality. Later, I will show you a list of all the questions a wedding DJ must ask the couple being married before they’re big wedding day, and I’ll even show you a well-organized example of a wedding DJ schedule sheet a wedding DJ will use to help themselves stay on schedule and coordinate any wedding!
What Does The Wedding DJ Do During Each Formality?
A professional wedding DJ will contact the couples to be married in advance to go over specific details of the wedding such as:
|Ceremony-||The wedding DJ is responsible for providing a sound system for the ceremony as well as any requested music to play before the ceremony starts. Usually, the DJ will provide a microphone and a stand for the officiant so that everyone can hear what’s being said during the ceremony. The wedding DJ will play the processional song and the recessional song.|
|Processional Song-||The DJ must coordinate with someone ahead of time to let them know when one of the couples, usually the bride, is about to be escorted down the aisle to, usually the groom (unless it’s a gay or lesbian wedding). The wedding DJ should ask for this song on their questionairre.|
|Recessional Song-||The recessional song is the song that plays after the couple have said their vows to each other and they’re making their way down the aisle as a married couple so this song is very important for the DJ to play at the right time. Usually, the wedding DJ will ask for this song well in advance on their questionnaire.|
|Receiving Line-||Receiving lines are common but not always mandatory in a wedding. A wedding DJ will ask if the couple plan on having one so the wedding DJ can stay on schedule and possibly open with some upbeat, well-picked, songs during this moment.|
|Reception-||The reception is where everyone gathers to enjoy the rest of the night with either cocktails, dinner, or dancing. Often, the guests will enjoy themselves while the married couple take pictures outside and it’s the wedding DJs job to find out when the married couples are ready to be introduced for the first time as a married couple.|
|Introductions-||The DJ will ask in advanced who will be introduced at the reception. Traditionally, the entire wedding party, including the parents, the groomsmen, bridesmaids, the ring bearer, the flower girl, and the newly weds will all be introduced into the reception but this is completely optional. Depending on what the married couples want, the DJ will introduce them and play music.|
|First Dance-||Either after the introductions or after dinner, the married couple will share their first dance together to a song of their choice. The DJ will call them up to the dance floor and have their song ready to play.|
|Toasts-||Toasts are announced by the wedding DJ as he/she calls up one person at a time to take the microphone and say something nice about the couple being married. Usually, toasts are announced right before dinner or during, but it varies from wedding to wedding. The DJs job is to ask when and who is preparing toasts.|
|Blessing Of The Food-||It’s very common for a wedding to have a blessing of the food ceremony so it’s always the wedding DJs job to ask ahead of time and be prepared to announce when it’s time. Typically, the officiant whom married the couple legally will bless the food with a prayer and the wedding DJ will have a mic ready and be prepared to lower the music volume for his/her prayer speech.|
|Dinner-||Weddings may have a buffet style wedding or it may be a catered wedding so it’s the DJs job to announce when it’s time so the staff can do their jobs and serve everyone. The wedding DJ will play any requested music the married couple agreed upon and refrain from playing any dance music. A good wedding DJ will work with the staff in a professional manner and use the microphone to kindly ask everyone to have their seats.|
|Cake Cutting-||The wedding DJ must ask ahead of time when they want to celebrate the cake cutting ceremony, but it’s usually right after dinner. Sometimes, the couple decide to cut the cake later in the night, but it’s up to the DJ to announce this formality and play any requested music. A good wedding DJ will keep the photographers and videographers in the loop for this ceremony!|
|Father & Daughter Dance-||Again, the wedding DJ will find out ahead of time when and if this formality will take place at the wedding. The DJ will call up the father and the bride and ask the father to take his daughters hand in a special dance in front of everyone to a very special requested song. The wedding DJ will go into the next formality right after the dance is over.|
|Mother & Son Dance-||The mother and son dance is either first or next after the father and daughter dance, but it’s basically the same thing except the groom dances with the mother. The wedding DJ will call them up to share a dance and play a special song the groom will choose ahead of time.|
|Bouquet/Garter Toss-||The wedding DJ will play specifically requested songs the married couple agreed to ahead of time and the DJ will announce instructions to the groom to remove the garter from the inner thigh of the bride and throw it to crowd of single guys. Then, the DJ instructs the bride to throw her bouquet to a crowd of single women.|
|Games-||Some weddings require the wedding DJ to be a little more interactive then other weddings depending on the preferences of the couples to be married and so the wedding DJ will play games. The wedding DJ can play games like the shoe game, kissing game, or challenge games.|
|Party Time-||If the DJ doesn’t nail this part, then they won’t make it very far in this field of work. A good wedding DJ must know when it’s time to be energetic and get on the mic to get the party started. Weddings are like roller coasters so emotions are high and a good wedding DJ always has a can-do attitude!|
What Does a Wedding DJ Need To Know?
First of all, asking the couple to be married a series of specific questions can better help the DJ understand exactly how the wedding is going to play out from start to finish. Aside from asking the clients for their basic information such as full names, contact information, email addresses, the venue location, the date of the wedding, asking them to sign a contract, etc, there are other important questions a wedding DJ must ask well in advance before the wedding. Last minute weddings are hard to DJ perfectly without knowing all of these details!
In the following list, it shows you what specific questions the wedding DJ must ask ahead of time before the couples big wedding day.
- What attire should the DJ wear?
- Will there be a photographer/videographer the DJ must coordinate with?
- Will the DJ be providing special lighting effects?
- Will the DJ be providing uplighting?
- What color should the DJ set the uplighting to?
- Will the ceremony and reception will be held in the same location?
- What time will the ceremony begin?
- Will the DJ be providing music before the ceremony?
- What kind of music will the DJ play before the ceremony?
- Will the DJ be providing a microphone and a stand for the officiant during the ceremony?
- What song will the DJ play for the processional song?
- What song will the DJ play for the recessional song?
- Will the DJ be providing music for the reception?
- What time will the reception begin?
- Will there be a receiving line?
- Will there be cocktail hour before the reception?
- Where is the cocktail area located?
- What time will cocktail hour begin?
- Will the DJ be providing music for cocktail hour?
- What kind of music will the DJ play for cocktail hour?
- Will the DJ be introducing the entire wedding party for the reception?
- What are the names of everyone in your wedding party?
- In what order does the DJ introduce everyone in the wedding party?
- What song/songs will the DJ play during the wedding party entrances?
- What are the names of the couple to be married?
- What are the correct name pronunciations of everyone to be announced?
- When will the first dance as a married couple be?
- What song will the DJ play for the first dance?
- Should the DJ encourage other people to join in on the first dance?
- Will anyone be preparing a toast?
- What are the names of the people preparing toasts?
- Will there be a blessing of the food?
- What is the name of the person blessing the food?
- Around what time will dinner be served?
- What kind of music will the DJ play during dinner?
- What time does the father & daughter dance start?
- What time does the mother & son dance start?
- Will there be a bouquet toss?
- What song will the DJ play during the bouquet toss formality?
- What time will the DJ do the garter removal formality?
- What song will the DJ play for the garter removal?
- Will there be a garter toss formality?
- What song will the DJ play during the garter toss?
- What song will the winners of the bouquet toss and garter toss dance to?
- What games, if any, will the DJ be playing with the married couple?
- What are some songs the couples to be married love to dance to?
- What time will the cake cutting take place?
- What song should the DJ play during the cake cutting?
- Is the DJ allowed to take song requests when it’s time to dance?
- Are guests allowed to take home the centerpieces?
- What songs must the DJ not play?
- What should be the last song of the night?
“Last minute weddings are hard to DJ perfectly without knowing all of these details”!
Wedding DJ Schedule Sheet Example
Below is an example of a wedding schedule a wedding DJ will put together in order to keep all the details of the wedding organized and ready to be coordinated. The following table shows the schedule of a traditional wedding. So, the DJ will ask all the important questions as I’ve listed above and generate a detailed list. Below, I’ve neatly come up with a schedule sheet which can be used to stay on track throughout the wedding.
|Ceremony||5:30pm||Acoustic Guitar Solo songs||Top 40 Covers|
|Processional||5:45pm||I’m Yours – Jason Mraz||Play Chorus|
|Recessional||6:00pm||All You Need Is Love – Beatles||Whole song|
|Receiving Line||6:15pm||Upbeat Fun Top 40||No Rap Music!|
|Cocktail Hour||6:30pm||Jazz Music||Upbeat Jazz!|
|Reception||7:00pm||Upbeat Fun Top 40||No Rap Music!|
|Introduction||7:15pm||I’m Coming Out – Diana Ross||Mr & Mrs Smith|
|First Dance||7:20pm||All Of Me – John Legend||Ask Others to Join|
|Toasts||7:30pm||Slow Instrumental||Best Man – Jake|
|Blessing Food||7:45pm||Turn Down Music||Pastor Mike|
|Dinner||8:00pm||Top 40 Reggae Music||DJ gets a plate!|
|Cake Cutting||8:30pm||Cake By The Ocean -DNCE||Make announcement|
|Father/Daughter Dance||8:45pm||My Wish – Rascal Flatts||Give father microphone|
|Mother/Son Dance||8:50pm||Mother Like Mine – The Band Perry||Give groom microphone|
|Garter Removal||9:30pm||Hot In Here – Nelly||Give 15 minute heads up|
|Garter Toss||9:30pm||Sexy Thing – Hot Chocolate||Call up all single men!|
|Bouquet Toss||9:30pm||Single Ladies – Beyonce||Call up all single women!|
|Games||9:45pm||Play Jeopardy song||Make big circle for shoe game!|
|Party Time!||10:00pm||TOP 40 HITS ALL TIME||Dance us!!! DJs CHOICE!|
As you can see from the very organized schedule sheet I’ve put together as an example above, a wedding has a lot of responsibility. It can be a lot to take in and try to write down, but remember it’s not impossible and the more organized you are, the easier the job of being a wedding DJ will become for you.