8 Tips for choosing a Wedding DJ in Lagos, Nigeria

8 Tips for choosing a Wedding DJ in Lagos, Nigeria

When it comes to planning a wedding, there are two main events; the wedding ceremony itself, and the after wedding reception party. In Nigeria, you are very likely to have a few more events on that list, the native law weddings, and possibly an engagement party at the very beginning. As can be expected at each of these events, adequate music and entertainment are vital to the success of your wedding event. You need to give it enough thought so you get it right which can make or break your wedding!

Thankfully these days in Nigeria, the choice is either between a Live Band, a reputable DJ or both. It can still be a tricky decision to make with so many different vendors out there, it’s a fact that most couples tend to spend LESS TIME and money on choosing their wedding DJ, than any other aspect of their wedding reception.  A good Event Organiser can help eliminate the trouble couples have in deciding  whether to have Live Music or a DJ for their wedding reception and advise on the associated costs with either choice. As a DJ however, I am well aware of why choosing the right wedding DJ vendor is crucial to the success of your wedding reception.


Here are some of my tips to assist you make that choice:

1. Meet the DJ




Remember its your wedding and your wedding reception, as such you should be in touch with every aspect of the arrangements even if you employ the services of an Event Organiser. It is good practice to meet with all your vendors as humanly possible, especially in the company of your Event Organiser if you have one. For my first tip I would suggest you meet your chosen DJ, even if the vendor was chosen by your Events Organiser. It’s a great opportunity for you to judge for yourself a DJ’s personality which will be very important on the day. Hopefully you and your family, are paying good hard earned money on your wedding so its important everyone is on board, and playing a role meet your requirements. In Nigeria we have many “Oga” types who may feel too small to attend a meeting with and send a subordinate, this normally would be fine but if your paying good money insist on meeting the actual person who will be the DJ on the day its important.


In meeting with your DJ in person you  can get an idea of how professional they are, how they present themselves, whether they are punctual and keep to time etc.  This is the time to find out  if they are unreliable, here at the planning stages rather than on your Wedding Day itself. Use this meeting to see if/ whether they are paying attention to your requirements for your wedding reception and music requests.  A professional wedding DJ will come prepared as they recognise the importance of a wedding reception and their role in its success, they will always have a pad and pen with them to jot down notes about what  music is going to suit your wedding, and any other unique request you, or your Event Organiser may ask for.


2. Talk about your Wedding Reception play list

It’s your Wedding, so you should really hear what you, your family and your guests like. This might sound strange but believe it or not, your in a better position to know what songs you like than the DJ. For some bizarre reason in Nigeria there is a misconception that the DJ actually knows what to play, and many DJs make it worse by claiming they actually know it all, and can “rock” and “move” the crowd. In truth what you get is guests complaining and wondering what it was the DJ is playing, and in the very worst cases you hear people saying the DJ was not good and overall the reception party wasn’t fun.


We have to remember that a Wedding party is not a night club event (the DJ style will be different), your family and guest have different age ranges, and musical tastes, and they are all out to celebrate you and have a good time. So it is important for the DJ to appreciate this and play family friendly music with hopefully no profanity or offensive lyrics, and with the help of the MC get the dance floor filled as quickly as possible. It’s a lot easier than you think as you your family, and guests actually  came to celebrate and dance anyway. What is key is ensuring you have a say in the compiling of the playlist for the song and music you want to hear and dance to on your special day, there can be no excuses by the DJ like “sorry I don’t have that song!”


Its best to ensure you arrange a consultation with your DJ several weeks before the reception to go over your song  selection preferences in detail. Find out from the DJ if you can get to see his wedding reception playlist, and get to see if he can play a few songs that might be played on the day. A professional DJ will take extra care to ensure a note is made of songs you would like to hear, but more importantly note the ones that you don’t want played on the day. Its also a great idea and time to talk about your thoughts on special dances if any, such as your first dance, the father and bride dance etc.


It’s also a good idea to find out your DJs policy on taking requests, in Nigeria today, many DJs take pride in being able to mix seamlessly from one song to another while keeping the tempo; as such any unplanned song requests can actually force the DJ to either go up or down in tempo and mess things up.  Having a flexible DJ means these type of requests can be accommodated, which gives your guests the added joy of being able to request songs that they like too-within reason of course.


Let’s say your DJ will be playing for approximately 4 hours with each song on average about 4 minutes long, giving a total of 60 songs that can be played. You will want your special songs played at some stage, but will rely on the DJ to determine overall the best music to get people on the dance floor. The DJ will or should know songs that have worked at weddings in the past. The family and friends you invite to your wedding will probably vary in age from 5 to 85 years old. It is quite a task for anyone to successfully cater to all tastes of music at a wedding reception but hey, that’s exactly why  and what you are expecting of your wedding DJ.  Experienced DJs will know when to play what kind of music. They take note of when your guests arrive and what type of music suits the crowd.


Remember that it is very important that you discuss the types of artists and styles of music you enjoy – remember your DJ is no mind reader! Your aim is to be able to form a good relationship with your wedding DJ.


 3. DJ Dress Code and Conduct

Wedding DJ How Not to Dress

Wedding DJ How Not to Dress. This might sound strange but to be safe I suggest that you always find out how your DJ intends to dress on the day of your wedding reception. Your DJ should aim to dress in a manner that is appropriate for the occasion. This may not mean that a tuxedo is worn, but  you do not want the other extreme of him turning up in shorts and sandals! Your DJ is a service provider on your wedding day so should always be neatly dressed in a presentable manner. This is also a great way to know if your DJ will match the theme you and your events organiser have designed for the day.


Also you would make it clear to your DJ that you don’t want any self-promoting signs for his services displayed at your wedding! This is your wedding reception, your special day not a local disco! At the end of the day this is totally up to you as some DJs might ask if they can display there business cards on tables etc. I however wonder if people actually want their events used as a place to market the DJs services, or any other service for that matter.


4. Disaster and Recovery

Yes you read that right! Its a good idea to understand how your DJ can deal with a disaster, and how he recovers. Most DJs today will use either MP3s /Laptops or CDs to play music at your event, in truth as we all know, laptops  can fail, data can be lost,  systems can crash, it’s a DJs nightmare, but it happens. As such it is really important that you ask your DJ beforehand if he has any backup equipment available for use in case there is a problem during your wedding reception. I must stress that this doesn’t happen too often, but equipment can fail, and if it happens on your reception day then you will not be very pleased.


It is also a good idea to discuss what alternative arrangements will be made in the event that your DJ you hire falls sick or is unavailable for your wedding reception. Will there be a back-up DJ that will be suitable for the occasion? It is vitally important that you get the reassurance that you are covered in the event of a problem, if possible get this written into your contract.


 5. DJ and PA Equipment

PA System



In my opinion there is no such thing as a humble DJ, its all about the style and presentation and a professional wedding DJ even in Nigeria will generally have had to have spend well over $10,000 on their equipment alone and will only be too proud to discuss the technical sides if asked. Most DJs in Nigeria use industry standard and world leading turntables and mixes by Pioneer, Denon, Numark, and Traktor. Software used will be Serato, Traktor, Ableton, or Virtual DJ all very good in their own right. PAs can be Mackie, JBL, Peavey, or Alto to name a few.


By finding out the brand names of the DJs equipment being used, you will quickly be able to gauge the quality of DJ and equipment and this should help you to decide whether or not you want to use their services for your wedding reception.  Remember proper equipment will give good sound quality that will not be disturbing and noisy for your wedding guests. There is nothing worse than being seated next to a speaker at a wedding that is producing poor/bad quality sound. Like anything though, the use of top quality equipment does not guarantee that the DJ is a huge success, but at least you will know that you will be listening to professional quality sounds for starters.


Always ask your DJ how many speakers they intend on using, you need the music and sound to be the best it can be on the day. As a bare minimum there should be a subwoofer or a pair of speakers positioned on the ground and a pair on stands. Anything less will cause problems – having two speakers solely on the ground will produce a muffled sound and lack of clarity when announcements are being made. Equally a pair of speakers on stands is great for microphone clarity but won’t be ideal for the music as this will sound hollow. What you do not want is the music and sound being played at extremely loud volume to compensate for the lack in number and positioning of speakers.


A word of caution as I interview and talk with alot of DJs in Nigeria and in Lagos to be specific, being a DJ can be an expensive job, equipment is not cheap. So dont be surprised to learn that many DJs in Lagos have limited or no equipment of their own. Many do not know how to setup a PA system and are in no position to advise either. DJs in Lagos can hire the Laptops they use right through to the turntables, mics, and speakers. They have no control over the quality or standard of the equipment which can all lead to a bad knock on effect on your wedding day. Always ask what equipment your DJ personally has, its an important fact many couples ignore.


 6. DJ Lighting System




Before you even get into a conversation about lighting systems you must be very confident that your DJ can deliver on the music front first. Why? – because it is the music and the DJ’s skills that are most important! Once you have chosen your ideal DJ then you can discuss the lighting with them.


Most DJs will be able to offer an intelligent lighting system which is choreographed with the music. This is much more sophisticated than the old days where a few flashing lights and a mirror ball constituted a lights show! Typically most DJs offer a basic lighting system within their fee but if it is within your wedding budget you could pay extra and upgrade.


 7. DJ Cost



Every couple with one eye on their wedding budget wants to cut their costs down its normal, but make sure that you are not selling yourself short by employing the services of a  cheap DJ – you might find you are paying for little or nothing.  Also don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you are paying over the odds for your DJ because all that they are being paid for is to play music. Professional DJs will have invested a lot of time in your wedding prior to your actual wedding reception. Typically they will be spending between hours consulting with you, purchasing the music, editing, preparing, setting up the equipment, packing up the equipment and other administrative tasks.


In Lagos for example DJ prices can vary enormously and it is important to realize that a lot of couples say in hindsight that they wished they had spent more of their wedding budget on the entertainment. Research shows that you can spend as little as  N75K , or as much as N500K on a wedding DJ, but in general N250K is the accepted average for a professional Wedding DJ.


 8. Have a Contract

Finally, after choosing your wedding DJ, do remember to get everything in writing. Many DJs in Nigeria are not keen on providing formal contracts, but if they are a professional setup it shouldn’t be a problem as they are providing a service with certain set of requirements. It’s the requirements and expectations documented that makes up the contract so you and the DJ are in agreement on what is required.


Try and make sure that any requests or changes are reflected in the contract and ensure that it is signed before you proceed any further. The contract should include a clause regarding what happens if the reception overruns – will there be extra charges and what will they cost? The contract must specifically state the name of the DJ who you have requested for your wedding day – you don’t want someone else from the same company but who you have never met before. Remember to confirm the arrangements with the DJ in a phone call during the week preceding your wedding. These are all best practices ensuring you are on top of everything.



I would say that the sooner you book your DJ the better. You should aim to having a DJ booked no later than 2 months in advance of your wedding day, if you want to guarantee a professional wedding DJ. Do be aware that if your wedding is held in a major city like Lagos, it will be wise to book even earlier than this as, not surprisingly, the best DJs might be booked up. Likewise with weddings falling on major holidays, such as Christmas – the earlier you book the better.


Lastly If you follow these steps I am sure you will have a memorable wedding reception that everyone will enjoy! Good luck.



February 10th, 2015

One comment