New This Month

Red Flags to Look for When Hiring Your Wedding DJ or Band

If your prospective entertainer is exhibiting any of these signs, you may want to think twice before signing the contract.

Contributing Writer
lisa louis wedding accordion
Photography by: Michael Radford

When you're busy planning a wedding, the last thing you want to deal with is a vendor who's hard to communicate with. While many wedding entertainers are fantastic, accommodating, and easy to work with, DJs and bands tend to get a bad reputation for being among the most difficult pros to work with. Rather than worry about the entertainment you've booked being there for you when you need them, pass on anyone who raises one (or more) of these red flags.

 

How to Pick a Band or DJ for Your Wedding

 

Lack of Organization

It's impossible to stress the importance of organization when it comes to wedding vendors in general, and musicians aren't exempt from this rule. If you're considering hiring a band or DJ that doesn't reply to emails and phone calls and doesn't have a written contract, think again. A musician or DJ who operates on a delay with communication is pretty common; it's okay to be flexible and patient, but know your limits on what you consider appropriate response time.

 

A Huge Rider

Unless you're hiring an A-list celebrity to sing at or DJ your wedding, there's no reason your musician's rider should be a multi-page ordeal. You're hiring them to play a wedding, not a festival.

 

A Song List You Dislike

If you're not into the majority of the music your DJ or band has suggested, it could be a sign that this isn't the right pick for you. Have a candid conversation about the type of music you love and see if this musician is really the "right" fit for your celebration.

 

A Refusal to Let You See Them Play

You can't hire a wedding band based on gut instinct alone; you have to see them play in order to know they're the right vendor for you and your spouse. Sometimes a YouTube video will suffice, but most bands will invite couples to check them out at other gigs they're playing nearby.

 

A Huge Sound System Requirement

This isn't necessarily a red flag in terms of the band or DJ being incapable, but it can be a big red flag for your budget. It's important to price this out before signing the dotted line.

 

Refusal to Play Song Requests

A lot of DJs refuse to take song requests at a wedding, as it can often mess with the vibe they're going for. Bands on the other hand, may offer to learn a special song for your wedding if you give them enough notice. If it's important to you to have certain music at your ceremony and reception, you should ask early on.

 

Many Additional Expenses

Mileage, meals, sound systems, and lighting are all fair game for the entertainment to tack onto their billing, but you should be made aware of all these costs upfront. There shouldn't be any surprise costs at the last minute for your wedding, so be sure you get every additional expense in writing from the time of signing a contract.