- Ken & Michelle Prentice, Jac Kamenar
Evening Entertainment Will Impact Your Wedding - 11 Tips For Hiring A DJ
There is a lot that goes into a wedding and it can be overwhelming with a number of choices and decisions that have to be made. Entertainment at your wedding isn't just a small detail that you want to overlook. A good portion of your special day; will be the evening spent with your choice of entertainment. If your reception is 8 hours; a fair estimate of entertainment would be 4 hours or …50% of that time will involve your guests dancing or not. Perhaps these tips will help with the entertainment aspect by providing some personal insight on hiring a DJ.
1. The first point we would stress is making sure you're comfortable with the people you're dealing with, not everyone will be a good fit. If you feel pressured, then you might want to look into other options.
2. A second point would be… deal with a professional service. A DJ should belong to a professional association. For DJs in Canada, they should belong to either CPDJA or CDJA. This also means that they carry the proper music Licensing, that legally, a DJ needs to have, to play for any crowd.
3. Third, this is a big one; don't be afraid to ask questions. If you hear a response like, “we've done this a million times,” then you're not being heard, and most likely, you are not going to get a unique experience that represents your ideals.
4. There’s a good chance your venue will require that the DJ you choose is insured. This is becoming more common with upscale wedding venues and a professional service should already have this coverage. Without this your DJ will not be allowed to play the venue.
5. You want to know the experience of the DJ. This differs from the point that some companies push on you, such as, 20 years of experience. If you’re getting a DJ that just started with the company, they don’t have that experience. It does tell you that the company has a solid business model, which is positive. But, you should be clear that you want to know about the DJ doing your wedding, specifically, and you can ask to meet with them.
6. Back-ups! What are they and how would you handle the scenario of the DJ being ill? It is common for almost every DJ service to state that they have back up equipment and that is definitely a good thing. What is not stated is how they would handle an employee calling in sick. This unfortunately is more probable, than modern high quality equipment breaking down. Think of this as your insurance for peace of mind, therefore, you need and want to have this coverage.
7. Ask about equipment that they use and if they own it. Owning verses renting gives you a clear indication of just how serious they are about their business. Another point would be, without owning the equipment, the DJ may be unfamiliar with it which may or may not become a problem. It is very likely you’ll need or want to use a microphone do they have one? is it wireless?
8. Mixing, blending or beat matching is something you should definitely inquire about. This is the difference between an iPod and a DJ. Everyone who calls themselves a Professional DJ, should be able to do this with practice. If a DJ only touches a controller, mixer, turntable, etc. at weddings or events, this will be a challenge
9. Other expenses. These might range from upgraded lighting, sound systems; to set-up, tear-down, and travel charges. These can vary, but you should be aware of these details, and budget for them or look to more inclusive packages that most DJ companies feature. Paying for numerous extra fees can add up quickly.
10. A written contract. This really defines what you’re getting and greatly protects you, the client, as it is the duty of both parties to meet the obligations as defined by this agreement. Not having a contract is a red flag and screams that your DJ is not a professional. This has nothing to do with how talented they are as a DJ, but this is opening the door for miscommunication and a bad experience.
11. Requests. Does or will the DJ take requests from your guests or do they have a system in place to handle requests? Do you want to have requests? This should be determined prior to the day of your wedding. Also, consider having a ‘do not playlist’ and make the DJ aware of this requirement.
A DJ should play the right music at the right time for your night and enhance the experience at your reception. Your DJ should complement your tastes and your wedding day. A DJ will help coordinate many of the activities taking place during your reception, bouquet toss, cake cutting, and some of the other announcements throughout the night. This is not the same as the MC, although they can typically offer this service too, which generally involves an additional fee. For your night to run seamlessly, the DJ really should discuss with you, a wedding agenda which outlines these details and more. Please note that this list is not inclusive of every aspect, but does hopefully provide some guidance. It’s important to spend some time meeting face-to-face with DJs, as many questions are more effectively answered in person. This will also give you a better feel for the DJ… more than a website could. Remember, you’re hiring a person or a team to DJ… not a website, so hopefully, your personalities will work well together. Good luck finding the right fit for your wedding and congratulations!
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