Choosing the right DJ for your wedding may be confusing considering the many factors that go into a DJ, such as customer service, quality of sound, performance and talent. Wedding DJ's are not created equal as many may think. You could want an interactive DJ who can lead line dances or a turn-tablelist who has the mixing styles of a club DJ or a more traditional DJ who will play the music to all ages, read your crowd and perform introductions, make announcements and coordinate with all the vendors. Asking the right questions about your DJ or DJ company can make your process of evaluation a lot easier.
So you want to know about how much a DJ will cost you? Like any other service, prices will vary based on their experience of entertaining at weddings, the customer service you get from them, 24 hour back-up DJ service in case of emergencies (the Murphy's Law rule), the quality of the sound and dependability of back-up equipment on location, their on-line reviews and years of experience, customer references, two million dollar liability insurance naming you and your venue as additionally insured, all which will contribute to the success of your wedding reception experience.
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So here are a few examples on the questions to ask your DJ;
Back-up: Does your DJ have a back-up DJ in place and can be reached 24/7. We have a back-up DJ on call through our 24 hour answering service that can be activated through your venue or yourself. What if the DJ moves out of the area in next few months or get's sick, has a family emergency, car breaks down, has a car accident on the way to your wedding or may be sick or injured and may require a hospital stay?
Murphy's Law: "everything that can go wrong, may go wrong", so what is your back-up plan?
Insurance: Most, if not all reputable venues require a 2 million dollar liability policy which can name them and you with the protected insurance. If your DJ doesn't have insurance, you probably will be required to provide a "wedding vendor insurance policy" to protect the hall from liability and damages" and that cost will come from you or the vendor. The policies can range from $250-$400 per policy, per vendor. So you may initially save on the DJ, but will have to pay for a policy costing you more than your allotted budget.
"Just like a warranty, better safe than sorry, what is this type of service worth to you?"
Familiarity: Does the DJ know the venue, know the routine of how they do things, the acoustics? All weddings have a tight agenda and must be coordinated and communicated with the caterer in charge. So any delays or miscues can cause missed pictures or video, overcooked food, poor communication with other vendors, acoustics of the room (proper sound system with upper full range and lower subs for a beautiful sound) etc..
"We recommend to ask your venue about who may be the best DJ for your needs, get references or look on-line to see your DJ's reviews from other brides."
Quality: I know most of our customers don't ask about what type of DJ equipment is used or even if the DJ has knowledge of the wedding industry and traditions, but they should and here's why. A DJ is performing around 4 to 6 hours continuous throughout the night with really no breaks, so if he is a bad DJ or has a bad audio system with mics cutting out, speaker distortion, sound not properly set-up for that room "you may have a very long night". "According to "theknot.com" and other wedding review sites, over 75% of brides are unhappy with their entertainment choice and wish they could do it all over again."
Contracts, forms, music choices, ceremony music, etc.:
Make sure you contract a DJ that will put in writing the details such as; price, times, dates, extra equipment needed, overtime rates, extra fees, etc.. Does your DJ have the proper forms, music lists, tools, a website, an office or office staff with knowledge to help you plan your perfect day? We do! We will break your wedding reception into a wedding program with exact times for each event, all to assure you a smooth running affair with no worries.
"Before booking a DJ, ask the DJ to send you their forms, music lists, etc., if he has none, then he is not a DJ who does weddings."
Budgets: I know weddings can be expensive, so why would a bride have an beautiful wedding and spend $10,000 to $50,000 on their big day and hire the $500 entertainer that could be a total embarrassment to you and your guests. Not to take away from all the other things that go into a wedding, but I always, constantly hear, "we had a great time at your reception, we danced all night, the food was great, congratulations:)
" Let's face it, at the end the day, we really only have the memories, so make your choice the right one".
Price: What would it cost to do it yourself? Depending on where your are having your reception and wanting guests to dance for a good time by all, here is the breakdown.
Rental of equipment with a possibility of delivery and set-up, about $300-$500. Hire an MC for announcements, about $300-$500. Hire a music expert with DJ skills of mixing and music knowledge, about $500. Liability Insurance is almost required by all venues today, your cost, about $200-$300. Your total expense can range from $1,250 to $2,000, not including customer service, cost of music, lighting, extra equipment for ceremonies, separate rooms and back-up equipment. A lot to consider when getting cousin Vinnie versus a true professional.
"You know the cliche', "buyer beware, you always get what you pay for", so if they seem to be too good to be true, they probably are:)"
Time Invested: We hear that some vendors do not do this full time and are tough to reach. We have 2 locations, multiple e-mail's and fax, text messaging and a 24 hour answering service for your convenience to always have a way to contact us. Plus we have an office staff fielding calls and appointments 40 hours per week. The time invested with a DJ is about 10+ hours, it is the initial consultation with many calls throughout the year to discuss the agenda of your wedding, our load ins, set-up, breakdowns, load outs, travel time and of course the time entertaining at your wedding, not to mention the investment of equipment and music.
"We all have heard, "time is money" and every professional will charge for that, but your wedding is an event in your life that you will always remember, so make it a memorable one" :)
Now relax and have a good time on your special day, worry free:)
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Written by Bob Palio, 12/01/2014, East Coast DJ's