Choosing a great dj


  • Choosing a DJ for Lesbian / Gay Weddings or Civil Partnerships is not as straightforward as you might think. It’s very much a case of “Horses for Courses!”

    However, by following Gay Wedding DJ Tony Adams’ eleven fantastic, impartial tips, success is pretty much guaranteed …

    Click Tip 1 below now to make a start !
  • horsesforcourses
google calendar logo 31Good, specialist DJs get snapped up quickly – So the longer you leave it, the more limited your choice becomes.
If you have left things until the last minute and you are finding that everybody is either booked up or too expensive, consider moving your party to an off-peak date or time. Have a wedding on a Sunday morning or celebrate your civil partnership on your birthday, even if it is a Thursday ! – You will suddenly find that not only are all the LGBT-friendly venues and services you require available, you will be in a great position to bargain for the best price !

Tip No 1 is “It’s never too soon to begin compiling your shortlists.”

These days, most people hire a DJ via Google. They enter some keywords such as “civil partnership dj ” or “same-sex wedding dj ” and are presented with a list of sites.

Choosing a gay wedding dj or civil partnership disco in London Kent Essex Brighton, SussexThe first thing to be somewhat wary about is that the sites at the very top of the search results page, marked “Ad” are only there because they have paid Google a huge amount of money. Guess who will be picking up the tab for that ?  I have never paid a penny to Google to advertise !


Most DJ’s websites have a telephone number or an enquiry form. As you will see in the next tip, I strongly recommend that you call, not just me, but a selection of DJs.
However, if you fill in an on-line enquiry form, be very, very wary if you get an instant computer-generated quote within seconds.
Professional DJ’s will contact you in person, discuss your event.

Tip No 2 is “Research your DJ thoroughly. Don’t simply book the person who has paid to be at the top of the search results, or the one who is using a program to be the first to email you with a quote. You are only getting hitched once. Speak to your DJ – The price alone tells you very little about his or her suitability for the job!”

phone phobiaTaking the trouble to make a series of telephone enquiries to disco companies may be considered ‘old hat’ these days but it is still the most reliable way of finding the right DJ for you. It is very easy to pay somebody to design a flashy disco website, so don’t believe everything you read on the net. By speaking to the DJ in person and asking a few intelligent questions, you will soon be able to tell if everything is not exactly as it seems.

Tip No 3 – “Pick up your phone and ask to speak to DJ himself – Not his wife, girlfriend, one of the children or the DJ’s smooth talking agent.”

horsesforcourses

Speak to as many DJs as possible, give each of them exactly the same information i.e. the date, times, nature and location of your event. Make sure that you ask appropriate questions to check that the DJ that you plan to hire is suitably experienced for your type of party. Not all DJ’s can cater for every type of function, or venue. For example, if you are celebrating your 50th birthday, would you want someone who has nothing but chart songs ? Similarly if you were holding an 18th and need mostly up to date music, shouldn’t the DJ be very familiar with current trends ? You know your music – Don’t be afraid to ask some specific questions about what tracks normally go down well at your type of event. – It will very soon become apparent if the person to whom you are speaking is clueless or bluffing. It is also important to ensure that the DJ has equipment suitable for the size of the venue. Most amateur DJs have just one set of gear. They will use it regardless of whether the event is in a small flat, or an enormous hotel banqueting suite.

Tip No 4 – “(i) Ask some specific questions about your style of music. (ii) Check your DJ has equipment suitable for your size of venue.”

Have a pen and a piece of paper handy before you start ringing around and make good notes. Ask not just about the price but specifically what it includes. Many DJs offer “gold”, “silver” and “bronze” services. They make their money by offering optional extras, which others include as standard. Once you know what everyone is offering, you will be in a perfect position to bargain – Don’t get caught out ! Larger companies charge 20% VAT and expect you to pay their travelling cost. Others will even bill you for set-up time and charge an extra fee if it is upstairs. Be very wary ! Ask good questions and make careful notes about what they have told you. Always ask for the name of the person you are talking to and find out if they offer a written contract stating their terms and conditions. (It’s essential really – See Tip 10.)

“Tip No 5 – Ask good questions and make 100% sure that you know what you are getting for the price offered”

A good, experienced DJ will listen carefully to your function requirements and ask you a few intelligent questions about the type of venue … Is it a house, a hall, a pub, a hotel, a marquee, a club etc. ? He will ask you about access to the venue and what floor it is on. Is there a lift and what is the proposed number of guests. He should discuss the timings and of course, most importantly, the music. He should ask about the dress code for your party, in order that he can wear something appropriate. If it’s a very formal affair and everyone will be in “black tie”, then your DJ should be dressed accordingly. If it’s smart casual, the same applies. A professional DJ will probably have some sort of music request and dedication form for you, indicating not only what you like but also what you do not want to hear. (See Tip 5 Above.) This essential information will enable him not only to look the part but also to plan and smoothly guide your event from start to finish, enabling you to relax and enjoy the party with your guests.”

Tip No 6 – If your DJ can barely string two words together and doesn’t ask for the info he obviously needs, it’s a clear warning that you must look elsewhere !”

amateur vs proIt isn’t written in stone that a professional DJ will always perform better than an amateur. We all had to start somewhere and, of course, an amateur DJ will probably be a lot cheaper than a pro. The chances are though that if somebody has been successfully earning his living as a DJ, he is far more likely to do a better job than a “friend of a friend” who does it, once in a blue moon, as a favour. A professional DJ will have a greater KNOWLEDGE of the music and EXPERIENCE dealing with hard to motivate guests. The pro will always have a “Plan B” in case of a problem. He will have some tricks up his sleeve for when the guests are not dancing. He will carry SPARE EQUIPMENT in case of an emergency and will have access to a network of BACKUP DJs, who can cover him if he is ill on the night of a function. Every client assumes that their event will go off without a hitch, you will have a much greater chance of that happening if your DJ has several “Plan B’s” in mind. Please, remember to ask him what they are.

Tip number 7 therefore is “Don’t let an amateur DJ ruin your important event for heaven’s sake, book a professional ”

Once you have pinpointed your chosen DJ, Ask him to confirm everything in writing to you. You need at least a letter and preferably a formal contract detailing the date, timings, terms and conditions, venue address and all necessary names and contact numbers etc. If there’s no deposit and no written agreement, there’s nothing legal to bind the DJ to your event. A professional company will insist on a deposit and contract which will outline both party’s expectations. A booking agreement, after all, is your protection. You also need to know if (and for how long) he will hold the date open for you, while you come to your decision. What payment methods can you use (cash, cheque, credit / debit cards / Paypal). How much deposit do you need to pay and when will the balance be due. Make sure you get formal receipts for all payments you make and bring them and your contract to the function, in case of a dispute. Another point which needs clarification is what happens if you have to cancel at the last minute : Do you just lose your deposit or are you legally obliged to pay the full fee, which could be several hundred pounds, or just a proportion of it. You need to have the DJ’s refund and cancellation policies in writing. You should also be sure to put your choice of music in writing, stating generally what to play and specifically what to avoid (See Tip Number 4). Once you have sent your play list, make sure the DJ has received it and has (and will play) the vast majority of songs on it. Be sure also to ask if the DJ will take requests from your guests, as many DJs like to stick to their tried and tested songs.

So, Tip No 8 – Leave absolutely nothing to chance – Get everything in writing !

Many venues require a DJ to have his own Public Liability Insurance. With premiums rocketing, the last thing a venue wants is a claim against their own insurance for a disco related accident.

A DJ’s P.L.I. indemnifies a venue in the event of a claim; so venues can insist on the degree of P.L.I. required. A typical hotel or banqueting suite usually demands between £2 and £5million. What would happen if one of your guests accidentally knocked over a speaker and it broke something expensive belonging to the venue. Would you not feel more comfortable knowing a DJ could simply claim against his insurance, instead of the venue holding you liable.

Portable Appliance Test certificates are something else which a venue (particularly council halls) now insist upon. At the very outset, when you are looking at venues, ask which certificates your dj needs. Don’t let it be a nasty surprise later on, when a venue finally remembers to tell you.

Ask your dj if he is insured and tested. Make it one of your first questions when you speak to him. An amateur DJ will simply not bother. So if you need a certificate you will only have to decide which pro DJ to book. The rest have ruled themselves out of the equation by default !

Here’s a thought though … Whether your venue needs these certificates or not, if a DJ is insured and tested, he is probably a professional or at the very least is extremely conscientious, As such, he perhaps deserves a chance of going on your shortlist.

So, Tip No 9 – Before you book, ask your venue & every DJ about Public Liability Insurance & Portable Appliance Test Certificates.

If you have not seen the DJ work, it is also an extremely good idea to ask for several checkable references. “Checkable” means exactly what is says, i.e. that you have the name, address, phone number or email address of the person vouching for the DJ and that you can, if you wish, ask for verification.

The majority of DJ websites will simply have short, unattributed extracts from testimonials such as “ABC Discos did a fantastic job at my wedding – Everybody danced all night.” – John A., Maidstone.

Although this possibly may be true, would you not feel more reassured if you had that person’s full details.

So, Tip No 10 – Almost nobody does it – We are all too shy … Before you book anything, ask for the details of some past clients who will vouch for the DJ.

Many top venues use a dj agent, not individual djs. However, you will be told that they have an absolutely fantastic “resident DJ” – He is a bit dear but worth every penny. He costs £400.00 plus VAT.

The venue probably pays the agency from which they get they DJs, £300.00 plus VAT not £400.00 and they keep £100.00 plus VAT as commission. That is the reason they don’t want you to bring in your own DJ.

If you knew about this, you may still think it is worth paying top dollar for the fantastic resident DJ and £100.00 extra to the venue for sorting it out.

But there’s still more to it than that …When an agency gets a job from a venue, They text several amateur djs to see who will do your event for the absolute cheapest rate.

The suggestion isn’t that the DJ at the bottom of the food chain will be sub-standard – He is probably OK – Just be aware that if you decide to pay the hotel £400.00 plus VAT because you want to use their fantastic resident dj, the young dj you actually get will be lucky to receive £175.00 or £150.00 inclusive.

That’s how it works – The rest of your hire fee – at least half is swallowed up in needless commission !
So, Tip No 11 – Use these top tips to research & book your dj yourself – Don’t get ripped off by hotels & greedy agents !

Good, impartial advice on hiring a dj for same-sex weddings or civil partnerships.