Weddings Blog (12)
So the date is set, all vendors are selected and you’re ready to start working on a play list/planner! One thing on every brides mind is how can we keep the dance floor packed all night long! Disc Jockey Services is here to help you every step of the way with DJ Intelligence online wedding planner & even a music request list online. We’re often asked about how many songs should we put in the “must play” section? We offer this advice to keep ALL of your guest’s best interest in mind when deciding on a play list. We help on what genre’s to play or not play. Our music database is easy to use. Hit this link and see what it does: http://www.discjockeyserv.djintelligence.com/music/
Find the song or artist and click on it and it is put on a sheet and when you’re ready to send just push the bottom. Even your guest can send songs to us the same way. Got a problem thinking of songs no problem, just push the most requested song button and you have the Top 200, Top songs of the 1950’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s,etc. You even have a list of Best first dances, Mother/Son Dances, Father /Daughter, Bouquet/Garter. Most of our couples have complied a list of about 10-12 songs that they’d really like to hear at some point in the evening. Keep in mind that the average song is roughly 3 minutes long so when you multiple that by 60 minutes you have about 20 songs an hour played. Line dances are a great way to “break the ice” of any event and even more so if the event is held during the day light hours as most people associate “dance time” with it being dark outside.
Keeping your guests interests in mind, it is always a good idea to allow requests from the guests on your wedding day but within reason. In other words make clear to your DJ in advance if you want to stay away from certain songs or genres. For example we will always come to the bride if there is any questionable song before just playing it. If your personal request list for the dancing portion of the evening is more then a dozen or so songs, do make sure that the songs are ones that people can dance too. This is key to keeping the floor packed all evening. Also keep in mind to include songs that are well known to everyone. This is sure to keep things flowing on the floor too!
I was watching 20/20 the other night on selling and how companies advertise their products. I took the title from what we see on TV. The products that are sold at low prices and you get the second one for free with only a small processing fee and shipping and handling charge. We get bombarded by the biggest rip-off companies in the country, cable TV. We are lured into a low price only to be hit with processing fees, rebroadcast fees, recovery fees ad nauseam . Our doctors and hospitals hit us with ‘reasonable and customary “fees. Have you noticed the “Sales” in store touting 70, 80 and 90 per cent off and then you read the exclusions and wonder what is really on sale. There are stores that seem to have the perpetual sale. Remember if the sale is every day, than it’s no sale, people. The other day I had a home improvement company come around our neighborhood and offer 75% off their services. How do they stay in business? Seventy-Five percent is off of WHAT? What is SUGGESTED RETAIL price mean? What company is charging that price? Now I’m not going to give a course in economics in this article but let your common sense tell you something is not right.
What does all this have to do with the price of DJs, well it does, because we are in the selling business. Selling our services, this is made up of time, talent and experience and our cost to run our business. Disc Jockeys are not a commodity like a pair of Levi jeans, where price comparison is easy from store to store. DJs sell a service, you can’t see it or touch it but you have to evaluate it. No two DJs price themselves the same way. Some try to make a living at of DJing others do it for beer money. To evaluate what makes a good DJ takes a little more than starting with the question. How much do you charge? It can’t be done by e-mail or text messaging, although it is the start of that journey. It has to be done by talking and seeing (the old fashion way).
I’m a conservative guy, I don’t go crazy spending on extravagant things and I have come to see from the many years of DJ-ing, just how special the wedding day is to so many people. It is one of a few times in one’s life that you can splurge (a little more than usual), not go crazy, mind you, or into outrageous debt without feeling guilty.
I’m going to propose a radical concept. Don’t hire your DJ last or next to last. Move them up to the second or third vendor you hire. The reason for this is being on the bottom as most wedding couples do with hiring a DJ, they are at the end of their budget so they are cutting corners and looking for the cheapest DJs. Change it up. You want to get the most responsible and experienced DJ you can afford. Remember weddings are a once in a lifetime event for you unless your Elizabeth Taylor then everything I said goes right out the window.
Check another blog I did "After The Wedding" on statistical information on how brides feel about hiring their DJ after their wedding. Very interesting information.
Well here are with Planning Tips Part 2 for you to read through and see which ones might fit your needs. If you have some suggestions to add to this list, drop us a line. We 'd love to hear from you.
ITEMS THAT ARE FORGOTTEN THE MOST
Pen for the guest book
Cake Knife & Server
Throw away bouquet (Not all florists will provide this automatically, you must ask.)
Bridal Bag or Apron for Dollar Dance(if your doing a dollar dance)
Helpers for afterwards. You will be surprised at how much stuff that you will have to try to pack into vehicles while still leaving a place for passengers.
IDEAS TO KEEP KIDS AND ADULTS ENTERTAINED
An Activity Bag as a favor for your child guests. (Crayons, Coloring Books, Cards, etc...)
Candy Bouquet Toss for the children before the Garter - Bouquet Toss
It is generally customary for a couple to greet their guests at the tables after dinner. The best time to start this is as soon as you have finished eating(Remember eating and drinking water is important.I've seen a number of brides feel ill at their reception because of the stress of the wedding and they just forget to eat and drink something and it catches up with them. However, do not take too long. Once again, think from your guest’s perspective. They have been sitting for a very long time and they want to dance. Most couples will go to the most important tables, get the first dance started and then mingle around to greet other guests throughout the evening.
In the Rest Room put together a basket of items that may be needed. Your guests will appreciate your thoughtfulness. And you will be amazed at how many of these items get used.
Band aids Shout Wipes
Feminine Products Tylenol
Tums Safety Pins
Imodium AD Sewing Kit
Dental Floss Mints
Comb Clear Nail Polish
Hand Lotion Gum
Tissues Hair Spray
Nail File Garter & Bouquet
One of the hardest things about planning your Wedding Reception is the fact that even though it is your day, you cannot forget about the guests that you have invited to help you celebrate the special day.
With this in mind, you do not want to give your DJ a large list of requests. You want your guests to be able to make requests as well. And of course there are many songs that you may not be fond of, but many of your guests will most likely enjoy them. It is okay to give your DJ a list of your favorites and of course all of the songs for your Special Dances. You also want to try limiting the number of songs that you ask not to be played as well. Your DJ will try to get as many requests played that time allows. But do not expect your DJ to play every single request. The reality is that after dinner and your Traditional Events there will generally only be time at the most for about 55-65 other songs to be played throughout the course of dancing. In addition, the biggest surprise to most couples is that you will be so busy that you will not even be aware that a song had been played. It is common for a couple to come up and ask when a particular song will be played and then shocked to hear it was played 5 minutes before.
Not all receptions are adult only. If you are planning on having children at your reception, a few years ago a family had us make an announcement at their reception and we have had quite a few since then who have had us do the same. Kids will be kids and that is a fact. Kids like to run around and play on the dance floor, which can deter your adult guests from dancing. In addition, can get dangerous, we have seen many kids get injured during a reception. The announcement that was given to us was this, "For the safety of those here this evening, the families have requested that all children under the age of 12 be accompanied by an adult at all times. We thank you in advance for your cooperation." All of your guests will appreciate your concern over their safety.
The most important tip of all is to enjoy your day! Your Wedding Day will be here and over before you know it, so enjoy the moment but hopefully you will enjoy the trip getting there and rely on your professionals to make it a Stress Free Day for you.
Disc Jockey Services
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.
According to The Knot, which surveyed 16,000 brides and grooms who got married in 2014, couples spent an average of $31,213 on their nuptials last year –up from $29,858 in 2013 and an all-time high.
Couples tended to spend more on their reception and less on the ceremony itself. The largest chunk of the budget – an average of $14,006 – was spent on the venue, which includes the cost of catering, musicians and cake. Per-person catering costs rose from $66 in 2013 to $68 last year.
The Knot found that 45% of couples went over their budget in 2014 and 23% of couples didn’t even have one. Almost half of the couples that we spoke with, who had budgets, spent more than they initially wanted to.
At least according to those surveyed by The Knot, only 12% of couples really have to worry about paying for the wedding entirely themselves. The bride’s parents contributed 43% and the groom’s parents contributed 12% toward the overall cost of a wedding.
Not all that surprising, Manhattan is the most expensive place to get hitched. On average couples there spent $76,328 in 2014. “That’s the college tuition for our future child, or at-least part of it”, Barbara Ching said when she heard the number. Runner-up on the list was Long Island, New York, with an average wedding cost of $55,327.
On the other side of the spectrum Utah is the least expensive place to get married, averaging $15,257.
Now before you decide to go out and buy a ladder to elope remember these are averages you always have to question where these 16,000 people were from in the survey. In the Richmond surrounding area I would think that average number would be considerablely lower. Don't go nuts but remember it is one of the most special days in your life.
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.
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." and I love playing the greatest hits across the decades. 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 does. 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.
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.
At the wedding of Allison and Robert, Disc Jockey Services was privileged to have played their wedding. I knew this was going to be a great wedding. In our meeting Allison was so expressive and had given a lot of thought to what she wanted. "We are having a bluegrass band play after the ceremony during the cocktail hour because everybody feels happy when listening to bluegrass,"Allison said. All of the festivities took place under and around the big tent Along the sides were a cotton candy and popcorn booth, a lemonade stand making old fashioned lemon and limeades (which by the way I never got one because the lines were so long), corn hole games and croquet. A 1957 Chevy was parked in the field so pictures could be taken with the bride and groom or just with you and your family.
BBQ was served by Dunn’s Drive-In (see the pictures from Dunn’s 75thAnniversary Disc Jockey Services Facebook album) from Mechanicsville. I was surprised when they told me that because I know the owner of Dunn’s. I had taught Stuart in high school and knew his wife Rhonda back in the days when I was a teacher.
Now it time it was my turn to take over, andI introduced the wedding party to the guest to the theme from the “Golden Girls (inside joke among the wedding party). Next came the intrduction of Allison and Rob to the theme of “Top Gun”. Rob dawned his aviator glasses like the beginning of the movie and escorted his new bride to the applause of family and friends.
After dinner the couple was serenaded by their two nieces to “Lollipops and Rainbows” by Lesley Gore. After all the activities were done, then came the the dancing and Allison and Rob picked out such great music. This was one reception where they had great dancers who could swing dance to "In the Mood" by Benny Goodman to the popular line dances. Check the picture.
What a night of magic. A DJ lives for these kinds of parties. Have a great life together Allison and Rob and let’s do this again on your first anniversary so I can play the rest of the great songs you picked that evening.
There are so many things you can do for your wedding, some low cost, others more expensive. This was just one example of what one couple did for their wedding. Your creativity, imagination and budget will dictate what you can do for your wedding reception. A professional DJ can help you in bringing these ideas to reality and help make your event magical and uniquely yours.
Your Humble DJ
This is Disc Jockey Services first video ad on You Tube which runs 2:56. I wanted to capture little snipets of a wedding reception. I know as a disc jockey I should show just the dancing and fun but a wedding reception is that and more.
It is the bringing together family and friends for this wonderful occasion and for catching up on what has been going on between people over dinner and conversation. It is the DJ’s job to play music that does not conflict with that goal but as background to enjoy the meal and company and to converse with others. It is the responsibility of the DJ to play the right blend of music and to transition into each aspect of the wedding reception’s events for the evening.
Enjoy the video. Just click this and it will send you to Youtube: http://youtu.be/jZONoSUfBng
It’s difficult planning a wedding after all we’re only suppose to do it once (unless your Jennifer Lopez or Kim Kardashian)so no one is an expert at planning their own wedding. You talk to friends, read bridal magazines and talk to wedding vendors. It’s all so much. Down the list is your entertainment and music, so let me put in my plug in for disc jockeys and wedding music and entertainment and hopefully spare you the phrase after the wedding “I wished I had spent a little more on my DJ". Look at these statistics:
- 72% of all brides say they would have spent more time choosing their reception entertainment.
- Almost 100% say they would have spent more of their budget on the entertainment.
- During wedding planning, brides say their highest priority is their attire, followed by the reception site and caterer – reception entertainment is among the least of their priorities.
- After their reception, 78% of brides say they would have made the entertainment their highest priority!
- When asked 81% of guests say the thing they remember most about a wedding is the entertainment.
- 65% of all couples that chose a band for their wedding, said, "If they had it to do it again, they would choose a DJ".
*These statistics were published in St. Louis Bride & Groom Magazine in 2003.Sources include: Simmons, 2001; USA Today, 2002; National Bridal Service, 2001;The Knot, 2002; Brides Magazine, 2001
Disc Jockey rates vary based on talent, experience, emcee ability, service, coordination, equipment needed, music knowledge, mixing ability and personality. Rates for the DJ industry vary greatly, ranging from $350.00 to $3,500.00 with an average of $1,200.00 for a 4-hour booking. The cheapest price is not always the best deal. Surveys conclude that nearly 100% of brides would have spent more on their entertainment and made it their #1 priority in hindsight*
* Do you think these figures for professional DJs for weddings have not gone up since 2005?
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.