- Ken & Michelle Prentice, Jaclyn Kamenar
So Your DJ Canceled, Now You’re Stressed
If you find yourself in this situation we would suggest visiting the two major DJ associations in Canada; Canadian Professional Disc Jockey Association and/or Canadian Disc Jockey Association. Make them aware of what has happened; give the name of the DJ and ask them for help in finding a new DJ. In Kitchener, Waterloo and surrounding areas feel free to contact us firstname.lastname@example.org . In 2018 so far we've seen 32 cases of DJs canceling, disappearing or closing. We do have dates available in August, September and October, hopefully we can help or direct you to someone who can.
These days, there are thousands of pages with tips on what to look for when booking a DJ, but many of these are written to encourage you to book with that particular DJ service. As DJs, why would we be any different, right? We’re going to try and persuade you to book with us, because you want the best DJs. That would be nice, however, we operate as a single operator. What this means is that we’re not a big multi-operator, with a catalogue of DJs. At Loops N Jamzz DJ Productions, we have three DJs, but only book a single event on any day. We work in pairs, with our third member available in case of emergency. Therefore, we have never canceled or missed an event. However, our schedule for the wedding season is pretty much full with the odd exception; mainly long weekends. So, the direct benefit to us is rather minimal, since we tend to book rather quickly during that time period. Ideally, we would prefer that a DJ cancelling, simply did not happen to brides. Knowing that we can’t stop it, but are in a position to help brides, by sharing firsthand knowledge, is our motivation. The goal is to let brides make informed decisions that best fit with how they envisioned their wedding day.
Unfortunately, the story is pretty much the same when this situation arises. The DJ you have booked months ago, cancels or at worst; disappears. Some brides have paid in full or given deposits which are now lost and honestly, rarely ever recovered. That aspect is secondary to the sheer amount of stress that this last minute problem causes. This seems to be happening more frequently in our experience, so we have decided to start making an effort towards educating brides. We are located in Southwestern Ontario, more specifically Stratford and KW area, but it’s not just limited to where we are. There are countless reasons why this happens and sometimes it’s legitimate, but there are also some warning signs that brides and grooms should be aware of.
Price is not the best indicator of anything; it should define what you’re getting or not getting, with any service. With wedding budgets, price often becomes a focal point, but the price should be reasonable. In most of the cases involving a DJ cancelation, the bride has been quoted a low price. This often misleads brides into believing this should be the price for a DJ service. The hard part about this would be the fact that the budget has already been set based on what was previously quoted. So there can definitely be a bit of sticker shock when they are, in turn, quoted a professional price which can be double or more. So why is there difference in price? Without addressing the quality of the DJ, which would be fairly extensive when comparing a professional vs a nonprofessional; for the sake of simplicity, we’ll focus on few of the tangibles such as; equipment, licensing, insurance, music and business costs. These are all likely much higher than most people realize. Even our smaller systems exceed thousands of dollars, and with lighting, they are all above ten thousand. If a price seems to be good to be true; then it likely is, in case of wedding DJs.
Giving a bride a checklist might seem like a great idea, but sometimes they fail to address what really matters. We can certainly provide insight, but it’s important that you personalize these and either rank or prioritize them according to your needs and tastes. Search online for more questions to ask, as these are only mainly, our personal insights on this subject. The more you define your expectations, the better the chance you’ll find the right fit with a DJ service.
Every bride should know exactly what they’re getting from start-to-finish. Examples would be: DJ, sound system, any lighting, what the DJs do and don’t (i.e. MC, mixing, take requests, proper attire), extra fees, when they will be there to set-up, etc. When you agree upon the services provided and the cost of these services; their needs to be something in writing beginning with the quote. The final step would be a signed contract, with a defined price for the service.
Next, try to meet with the actual DJ that will be doing your event and ask about their level of experience. If you like them, you can have their name written into the contract. Again, this goes back to the first point of knowing exactly what you’re getting. You should feel comfortable with your DJ selection and they should know your style and tastes. The day is about the bride and groom. Respectfully, the DJ should take some time to get to know you, personally. Remember that they are interacting with you and your guest more than any other vendor.
Conduct your own research search online. You can ask for references. Here’s a tip, find out if they do wedding shows or not. Most of the time, these shows will have a website and list the participating vendors, so you can go back and check into this. Now, some companies don’t do shows. We can comment that a fly-by-night company generally prefer to not incur added costs such as, a wedding show. It’s just too high and risky for them. We only do a select few shows every year, because we really enjoy meeting face-to-face with brides and seeing other vendors/friends at shows.
Online research is great, but don’t be fooled either. If the website is slapped together and seems dated, it can mean various things. For example; some DJs are “old school” and don’t do much with their site. In other cases, this could be someone looking to take your money with no intention of being your DJ. We recommend taking a deeper look. Here’s a couple of things you might want to check out: Are the photos stock pictures or not? The website may look good, but what if these aren’t photos from their events? They could be taken from google images, any stock photo program, or even another DJ’s website. Another tip, would be finding a picture of the actual DJ(s), on their website. There are some large DJ companies, however, that don’t have this simply because their employed DJs can change. At the very least, you should always be able to find the owner’s contact information and picture on the site.
If you are still not sure, ask another DJ. The reality is that locally, we’ve met or know of most of the DJs in our area and we are, truth be told, friends with many of them. DJs differ in terms of experience, training, quality and style. At the professional level, the vast majority of them will own equipment and will be willing to answer your questions. Be careful in the case of DJ trying to convince you to book with their service versus answering the question being asked. The wedding is about you, so the focus should be on how the DJ will meet your needs for the reception. The legitimate licensed and insured DJs, are generally, good and honest people that want to help create your vision. The problem lies with the fact that the majority of DJs do not meet these minimum requirements.
The best way to find a DJ is to trust your gut instinct. At the end of the day, go with a DJ you like and trust with your special day. Take everything you value into consideration, which should then help you understand the price. Everyone always wants a number, but the truth is that pricing varies by city and service. We can comment that 5%-10% of your budget is commonly recommended for entertainment in bridal magazines, but this is a personal decision, so some brides will spend more, while others will spend less. If it matters to you that a DJ that mixes, ask them to demonstrate. If you want a DJ that takes requests, then ask. If you want to see lighting options, then get the DJ to show you. DJs should have and own any equipment they advertise, as part of their service. It’s fairly common that brides will want to see lighting or hear us mix live, because we promote and differentiate our business based on those aspects. For us, meeting and discussing what matters to the bride and groom, helps us to determine their priorities, and tells us what the expectation is. As DJs, we want to listen to our customers and then provide some direction on how to get to this expectation, and what is needed. If you don’t feel that you are being heard, or if you have any concerns; then visit with another DJ service, so that you have something to compare to. Good luck to all the future brides and we hope your day is just how you imagined!
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