What you expect when you hire a professional Disc Jockey for your wedding reception.
- A professional will have a contract, not just to protect himself but for your protection. When it’s written down there’s no doubt what was said and that leads into the next important part….
- The wedding questionnaire. It is so important. It is the script of the flow of the reception.
- Keeping in touch with the bride both by personal meetings, phone and e-mail. Since wedding plans change over time, contact is important as changes to the wedding questionnaire happen all the time. A wedding is fluid and a professional knows that.
- A professional will arrive in plenty of time to set-up, talk to other vendors, make sure everything is working properly and ready to go when the guests start to arrive. They are dressed appropriately as requested and have the songs requested by the bride for their special dances.
- Has your DJ attended any conferences or meet with other DJs to polish his skills and keep abreast of the new trends being done at events that they can suggest making your event more memorable? Does the DJ give you his resume that gives you a picture of what he has done? Does he have references for you?
- Professional equipment. You don’t need to know brands and audio specs unless your into to that, but it should not be some home unit put together.
- Does the DJ carry a wide variety of music that spans the decades so your grandparents have songs that they can enjoy and dance too.
- Have you ever thought of a voice-over for your special dances. Has your DJ heard about it and does he know how to do them.There are a number ofthings that goes into any wedding and that is why you will find prices all over the spectrum and each disc jockey company offers different services for the prices they charge. Some have packages others deal ala Carte for their services.
- Does the price you pay for your DJ include face-to-face meeting with you or only e-mail correspondance.
- Does the DJ have enough experience to help you with the flow of your reception and have the knowledge to suggest things that will make your reception a reception to remember.
- Does the DJ play at the appropiate music level at the event. The level during dinner should not be the level at dance time.
I have scoured the internet for advice on how to hire a wedding DJ. The one constant that I find is “hire a professional”. What I can’t seem to find is how to determine if a DJ is indeed a pro. It seems that every disc jockey has “professional” on their website (guilty), but what are the requirements? What makes a professional DJ?
Is it membership in an organization? Is it a “real” office? Is it their equipment? Is it their vehicle? Is it the massive music collection?
A professional DJ might drive their dedicated DJ van, complete with DJ gear and hard drives full of music, from their DJ office to the local chapter meeting of a national DJ organization. The truth is, a non-professional could easily do the same thing. I would argue that none of the above positively identifies a professional DJ.
What makes a DJ professional?
In this instance, and in the case of many trades and service providers, “professional” is not a provable, tangible thing. There is no college degree, no regulatory testing, no standards set by the industry. Yet, we are encouraged to find and hire a professional.
Professional is as professional does. Sounds like something Forrest Gump would say.
Could it be that the things that make a professional are more about what they do, how they do it, why they do it, and the results they produce? In a word, professionalism.
Simply put, a professional DJ could be identified by their professionalism… their conduct, aims, and qualities.
While this is still not absolutely definitive, I think it’s safe to say that professionals operate and behave in a manner that makes them professionals. They produce professional results. Their intent and motivation are client centered. Professionalism comes from within. You’ll know it when you see it.
Anyone can call themselves a professional, but actions speak louder than words… and all that other stuff.
I would like to give credit to Alvin Sowers from Alvin Entertainment down in the Virginia Beach area for sending this on to me.
The other day I was watching "Biography" on A&E about the Bee Gees and you know the parts of any show about a rock group, they play various parts of their songs. Now, I must tell you I have always liked the Bee Gees. This is a group that consistently put out great music and when I heard songs that I was not familiar with, it got me thinking about music and it’s expiration date, much like on a carton of milk. Music is not throw away. In fact, it is the opposite. It is the photographs that you keep as you grow older. That Frank Sinatra song to your grandparents is as meaningful as The Beatles are to your parents as Bruno Mars might be to you. What were you doing when you heard one of your favorite songs from your past? What was that song on the first dance you went to with your first boy or girlfriend? Was there a song playing when you had your first kiss? This is what music is about and why I love it so much.
As a DJ playing events from anniversaries to weddings and everything in between, I could get away with a music inventory of 100 songs being played at every event. There are those who want only the newest and cutting edge, I guess to show their friends how “with it “ they are and then there are those that want the same songs they hear over and over again. Now don’t get me wrong, as a DJ, I have no problem playing the "Electric Slide" or "Cupid Shuffle." I’m probably one of the few disc jockeys that have no problem playing these songs. My job is to get people up on the floor dancing and having a good time and to me that is what a DJ is suppose to do. It is a natural high to see people having a good time and I am responsible for that with the music and entertainment that I provide. When I meet with the brides and grooms and work on their reception and start to do work on their music, I'm always excited when I get songs from them I have never heard before. It's like going up in your attic and finding a real gem buried beneath the boxes. Now most of these songs I would never get to hear played and might never know about at all, if it were not from all the input from my clients.
There's a lot of work that goes into putting songs together for any event so when you come up and say, "Play something we can dance to!" Why don't you give me the song that you want to dance to and then I'll play it along with all the other songs that have been requested that evening.
Now your ready to get your Disc Jockey for your wedding reception's music and entertainment and you are ready to talk to him. Hoping did not make your DJ selection the last thing on your" to do list". Bad mistake.
First you should have some idea as to how you would like your event to go.
1. How are the bridal party and couple going to be announced?
2. Are you going to do any of the traditional wedding dances,Mother/Son, Father/Daughter or maybe dance with the grandparents and of course the bride and groom's first dance.
3. What kind of budget do you have in mind allocated for music and entertainment?
4. Do you want the Disc Jockey to be interactive or low key or somewhere in between?
5. Will you be doing anything special that the DJ needs to know? Dance routines are the craze now.
6. Does the DJ have a contract, questionnaire and time lines that they use?
7. Do you need a DJ for the ceremony for microphones and music?
8. Is the wedding ceremony at the same place as the reception?
9. Do you have an idea about the types of music you want played and the bigger question what music do you not want played? Will the DJ take requests from your guests and honor your no play list?
10. Will you be doing the bouquet toss, garter toss, dollar dance or some other activity or none of these?
These 10 suggestions should get you thinking and you certainly can come up with more of your own. Jot these down on paper so you are ready to begin to talk to your Disc Jockey. Just don't start with, "How much do you charge?" Purchasing a service is not like buying a pair of Levi jeans. You can call stores and check what Levi jeans cost because 501 is the same in every store, so price becomes a factor, not so with DJs. Service and cost can be all over the place. A professional DJ custom tailor's your event to what it is that you want and can afford. Price is important but it is not the only thing to consider. One size doesn't fit all. Good luck with that pair of Levi's.
After many years of being in the wedding business, we have picked up quite a few tips that you may find helpful when planning your wedding. We hope that you will find these tips useful. Even though we're a Disc Jockey business we see the behind the scenes that take place on most of the weddings we do. Hope these pointers help in making the planning a little easier. Part 2 will be posted in a couple of weeks.
Always order 25 extra than what you think that you will need. Just in case you forgot someone. It is very costly to go back and reorder 25 later.
On your Response Card, in addition to having a line for guests to mark that they will be able to attend. Make sure to also give a place for them to put if they are unable to attend.
Number your guest list. Then as you are addressing your invitations, put the number that corresponds on your list on the bottom back corner of the response card. You would be surprised at how many guests forget to put their names on the response cards. If you get one that has no name, all you need to do is flip over the card and look at the number. Then match it up with your guest list and your mystery guest is solved!
TIME BETWEEN CEREMONY & RECEPTION
It is important not to make your guests wait too long from the end of your ceremony to the start of dinner. Even if you put that, your reception is to start later, 90% of your guests will still go directly to the reception. Your guests will start to get impatient if they have to wait too long. Always think from your guest’s perspective. Most planners state that you should not start your reception any longer than 1 hour from the end of your Ceremony. And remember, your guests will be at the reception for about an hour before the Bridal Party arrives. The Bridal Party generally arrives at the Reception about 10 minutes before the start of dinner, right before the end of Cocktails.
Assigned seating is generally the best way to go. It may be a challenge to do this, but very much worth the effort. When you have general seating, it is human nature for guests to leave spaces in between themselves and another guest. If you have a family of 4 that arrives a bit late, chances are they will not be able to sit together.
When planning your seating arrangements it is always important to make sure that your DJ, Photographer and Videographer are all seated at the same table and also in the same room as your guests. Your wedding professionals will be coordinating your events of the evening as they dine. There are a few reasons as to why they all should be in the same room as you and your guests. From the Photographer and Videographer standpoint, quite often during dinner something impromptu can occur, if they are in another room they will not be able to get the footage of what is happening. From the Disc Jockey's standpoint, because we provide music during your dinner hour Put your Place Cards in alphabetical order and not by Table #'s.
Seat your younger guests closest to the dance floor.
Head Table - The easiest and best way to seat your Bridal Party is to put your Bridesmaids on one side and the Groomsman on the other. If you have ever seen a Bridal Party that has been seated by couples two things generally take place. Immediately after dinner, they all move so that they are sitting in the way mentioned above. In addition, during dinner the Bridesmaids are leaning back in their chairs to talk with the other ladies and the Groomsman are leaning forward doing the same. They feel more comfortable in groups.