Several months ago a friend shared a story about a wedding she had gone to. As I sat and listened I was filled with sadness because so many of the mishaps she shared were almost 100% avoidable. A bride should have the best reception ever! This article will help you avoid the same mistakes and possibly make your reception beyond unforgettable...for all the right reasons!
Your wedding is delicious celebrations of life and love between two people. Family and friends come from near and far to share in what is expected to be a joyous occasion. There is tremendous consideration given to details such as invitations, locations, cake, food, and of course the white dress. Many times all these details are handled by the bride herself and sometimes help from her Maid of Honor.
For now let's assume you have it all figured out. You are well into your planning and things are coming along smoothly...or as smoothly as possible. You have started to shop for DJs. You Google, Facebook, and even twitter looking for DJs in your price range. At first you think it can't be that hard to find a DJ. Frankly it's not. If you Google wedding DJs in your area you will find hundreds if not thousands of DJs. So the good news is that they are plenty to chose from.
The challenge is selected the RiGHT entertainment company for your event. Here are the top five ways to select the right DJ company:
Tip Number 1: Hire a Wedding Entertainer not just a DJ
When most brides start shopping for DJs they decide based on price. There is a bit of a myth about how much it cost to hire a DJ. Depending on your area DJ pricing can range from as little as $300 to as high as $1200. So how do you know what you should pay?
Consider this; when you creating your budget for your wedding, the entertainment should be 10-20% of your budget. For example if you are investing about $20,000 in your wedding entertainment should be about $2000.
You might say "Wait, $2000 for a DJ to stand there and just play music?" Here is where the distinction between a run of the mill DJ and a wedding entertainer. A wedding entertainer is not just the DJ. They are a full entertainment service. This means that your reception is managed from planning to delivery of your dream. The company should work with you to plan every detail of the reception from Grand Entrance to Grand Exit. Every item of detailed planned for; first dance, cake cutting, special moments. The professional wedding entertainer also works with all the vendors at the event to ensure things like special moment pictures, makes sure parents of VIPs are in the room to witness the first dance.
Tip Number 2: Hire Based on Personality Match
Will your DJ match you and your guests in personality? How do you know what is your reception's personality style? Think about your overall theme and rhythm. Will your event be formal and elegant? Or is it easy going and summer like such as on a beach? What type of music selection will you be considering to give your event life such as Sinatra or Bruno Mars or Lady Gaga?
Your DJ will very likely be able to play any type of music but can they "play with all type of music?" What I mean here is that the DJ understands how to mix the music in a way the will be in keeping with the overall receptions style you are after; formal, elegant, or relaxed and party atmosphere.
Tip Number 3: Hire an Experienced Professional
Hire a wedding DJ specifically. Often times in order to save money brides will hire a family member or friend to be their DJ. Even worse I've heard and seen stories of people using their iPods for their wedding reception. If there is any direct plea to you is DO NOT use iPod for wedding reception. You will be deeply sorry you chose this option. Check out the video to the left for an example of what happens at ipod weddings.
An experienced professional will be watching the dance floor and making sure that people are having fun. They understand basic mixing principles in order to play what you and your guests want as well as how to mix in requests at the right time.
A wedding Dj is different from say a club DJ. Club DJs play what they want and often time find it difficult to deal with lot of requests for songs they don't listen to. However, there are some club DJs who also have played at weddings. Talk to your DJ to determine their comfort level with weddings if you are considering someone who mostly plays at clubs.
Tip Number 4: Ask Lots of Questions
Conduct pre-screening interviews on the phone, in person, or by email. This will help to clarify your needs, get a sense for the DJ's competence. Be prepared to ask lots of questions such as; What is your overall performance style? How comfortable are you with taking requests? What is your guarantee?
How they handle their conversations with you is key to determine how they will handle your overall relationship.
Tip Number 5: Hire a Dj Who Writes Up a Contract
Contracts or agreements are a good idea for everyone all the way around. It will protect both parties and hold everyone accountable for delivering on their end. Professional wedding DJs work hard. They will do everything in their power to make sure your event is flawless. You have also been working diligently to ensure your event goes off without a hitch or as close to it as humanly possible. To that end hire a DJ who uses some form of contract or agreement. The contract should have all the details of the reception such as date, time, location, set up time and break down, when they must be out of venue, special requests, overtime clause, and anything else that you and the DJ service feels it is important to include. Wedding DJs who are good are booked early and in advance. Therefore expect to pay up 20% deposit to secure the date with your DJ.
There are many other things to consider when hiring a DJ. However, in my experience these are the key top five things to consider. Wedding entertainers are few an far in between. When you hire a professional it will make all the difference in the world for this once in a life time event. Make it grand. Make it the best wedding reception ever!
Here are a few subpoints to consider as well:
Prompt return of your phone calls or Emails: You should expect to get a call back or an Email back within 24 hours. Many DJ’s are out working and may not be able to return your call within an hour or two.
Is the price too good to be true? It seems that the DJ is often the last service chosen, after much of the budget is expended on a venue, food and clothing. This often leads brides and party planners to shop for the cheapest price possible because of a lack of resources. This often backfires when holding out for the lowest price. However, if you have adhered to the guiding principals noted here, you will know to avoid services that have a rock bottom price because they will not be able to display the level of quality and attention to detail that EVERY client deserves!
Is the person knowledgeable about your type of event? There are all kinds of DJ’s. Club DJ’s, wedding DJ’s, Rave DJ’s…the list is endless!! Can the DJ you interview handle your type of event? Ask the DJ how many events of your type that they have done.
Does the DJ use professional grade equipment? If the DJ does not have pictures of his or her gear, you should ask to set up a time to see the equipment or see pictures of the DJ’s set up. Although there are many fine home stereo equipment components made, they are not suitable for commercial or repeated use and varying room conditions. The DJ should be able to tell you what they use and characterize the equipment as professional grade.
Consider this when pricing your DJ service: You should consider your DJ service an insurance policy that ensures that all of the other money you spend will not result in bad memories or a less than enjoyable occasion. You do get what you pay for. Good entertainment is NOT cheap, and cheap entertainment often is NOT good!! And yet many people will pay far more for a cake, flowers, or food than they will for the most crucial ingredient at a party – the music. When was the last time you saw a cake reading a crowd and spinning a CD, motivating a dance floor crowd, or making announcements in a dignified elegant way? Further, when was the last time you heard a guest tell you “Boy, that prime rib was great, I can’t wait until I go to another party to have that again”? No, that DOES NOT HAPPEN. Instead, they talk about the music that was played, and whether they had a good time or not. The music is always what they will talk about and whether the DJ was any good or not.