DJ dos and don’ts

Your wedding should be special, so give your guests some good tunes to remember it by
May 18, 2011 | By: Ashley Newport

When planning a wedding, it’s easy to get bogged down with the details. But while you may be the only one who remembers the wilted daisy in your bouquet, everyone will remember the music and dancing, so follow these simple guidelines when selecting a DJ.

Know your DJ’s style

“Hire someone you trust,” says DJ and owner of Toronto-based Hello, DJ! Lisa Ng. “And do your research.”

When selecting a DJ, it’s important to find out what individual or company can best play to your overall theme (if you have one). If you want a Bollywood-themed or traditional ethnic ceremony, look for a DJ who’s familiar with such material and avoid those whose niche is pop music.

“Some DJs specialize in certain types of music, and we’ll often refer customers to them if we need to, “says Ng.

And while it’s good to be familiar with your DJ’s style, it’s important to carefully consider hiring a friend or acquaintance instead of a professional.

“We always get last minute calls from frantic couples because a friend decided not to DJ because of nervousness or another reason,” says Ng. “It’s good to hire a professional for peace of mind.”

Let the DJ play to the audience

While you’ve probably been told ad nauseum that it’s “your special day,” keep in mind that you shouldn’t be the only one dancing.

“A DJ should play to all the guests while keeping the couple in mind,” says Ng. “It comes down to the age of the guests. If 70 per cent of the guests are over 40, a DJ won’t play hardcore hip-hop all night.” 

And while it might seem sensible to provide the DJ with a 200 song playlist, most don’t appreciate the gesture. “It’s helpful to set expectations at the beginning, and you can give a list of 15 or so must-plays, but couples shouldn’t try to program the night,” says Ng. “The DJ is a professional.”

Outline your dos and don’ts

When it comes to wedding music, most DJs know which way the wind blows. If you’re looking for feel good, Top 40 hits (think Black Eyed Peas and Rhianna), the DJ will likely play them automatically. However, if you want a little cheese with your matrimonial wine, let your music wizard know that you’re okay with a little late night “YMCA.”

“I usually recommend avoiding songs with actions,” begins Ng, “as well as avoiding anything too cheesy. However, some couples are okay with a little cheese.”

Also, while your tastes might fall into the obscure or unique category, be careful to avoid over-requesting potentially alienating tunes — like death metal or unheard of indie songs.

Know your etiquette

“Definitely feed the DJ,” says Ng. “They’re usually the first person to arrive and the last to leave, so they get hungry. A happy DJ means a packed dance floor.”

Oh — and don’t forget to lock down your DJ well before the wedding!

“You should book a DJ a year and a half in advance,” recommends Ng.

Lisa Ng is a Toronto-based wedding DJ and lifestyle blogger. Her company, hello DJ!, takes a hip, fun and young approach to music and reception entertainment. You can learn more about her non-cheesy, Macaraena-free style at or follow the life of a female DJ on her blog, The Hip & Urban Girl's Guide at