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Helpful Articles from Professional Pensacola DJs
How to hire a professional DJ Wedding How To / Instructional
Congratulations on your upcoming wedding! There is no greater feeling in the world than finding that special someone with whom you want to spend the rest of your life. Once you’ve gotten engaged, it’s time to start thinking about your wedding and reception. You want that day to be absolutely perfect, and it should be. One of the most important decisions you will have to make is hiring quality entertainment, and in this article I’m going to show you how to make sure the entertainment you hire is professional and will give you the reception you have always dreamed of. Did you know your DJ is the one, single, most important aspect of your wedding reception and it is the one part of your reception your guests will remember the most? Sure, they will enjoy the food and the decorations, but it’s the DJ they will remember 6 months later and they will rate the success of your reception on how well the DJ performed, which is why it is important to make sure you hire a quality DJ. Too many times we have seen brides and grooms base their decision on “price” rather than “quality”, and almost always they end up regretting their decisions in the end.
Imagine this. You’re planning your wedding and you start shopping around for DJ’s. You call a few and you decide their prices are too high, so you call the one who has the cheapest price. You talk to him and decide to send him a deposit. Even though you talked to him, he didn’t really give you any information on his services or experience, but you decide to go with him anyway. You think to yourself “Wow I have really saved some money by going with this guy”. You don’t meet with him because you have entrusted that he will automatically know how to perform your reception. He doesn’t send you a contract, no paperwork to fill out, and you think “This will be ok. With him being a DJ I’m sure he will have all the songs I want and he will know how to emcee the reception.” After all you assume he is professional and he is experienced. A few weeks later you pay him your remaining balance.
Your wedding day arrives. Your wedding party looks great, you look beautiful in your dress, your fiancé looks great in his tuxedo….everything seems to be perfect. Your ceremony works like clock work, it’s everything you’ve imagined. Your guests leave the ceremony site and head to the reception while you get your pictures made, and as soon as you arrive at the reception site, you notice things aren’t exactly how you wanted or imagined.
You walk in the room and are horrified to see your DJ dressed in a white t-shirt and jeans. He’s also made a few trips to the bar. He is playing ungodly loud music that you have never heard of. He doesn’t announce the wedding party because he never bothered to ask you for a list nor did he have anything planned. You ask for your father-bride dance, your mother-groom dance, and your first dance. He doesn’t have your songs because he never bothered to ask you what your musical preferences are and you quickly realize this guy doesn’t know the first thing about hosting a wedding reception. Your guests request songs, but all he has is heavy metal and rock. Your guests begin to leave because they can’t stand the music, and pretty soon nobody is left. Sadly, the whole day is now ruined because you didn’t hire a professional DJ for your reception. You saved money, but because you hired the cheapest DJ, that put a very disappointing end to an otherwise perfect day. I have personally heard this type of story repeated many times, or almost as bad, I have heard from brides who have hired budget DJ’s who never bothered to show up in the first place and skipped town with their money. Since the brides never signed a contract, they are now out of luck.
Written by SN DJ Entertainment of Pensacola, FL
How to hire a professional wedding DJ Wedding How To / Instructional
As a new bride or groom, you are probably new to hiring a DJ and I want to help you avoid situations like I just mentioned .One thing to consider is just because someone has professional
sound equipment doesn’t mean they are a professional DJ, any more than someone who owns a
scrub suit and stethoscope means they are a doctor. Your first question you are probably asking is “What exactly is a professional DJ?”. I think that question can best be answered by telling you what a professional DJ isn’t. A professional DJ is not a DJ that comes to your wedding reception, sets up, plays music for about 3 or 4 hours, breaks down, then leaves. It’s not a jukebox and it’s not an I pod. A professional DJ is a DJ who will sit down with you, plan out the sequence of events, professionally emcee your reception, and make sure your every need is met. Unfortunately, there are “budget” DJ’s who claim to be professionals, but most of the time (at best) they will give you almost the same service as if you hooked up your I pod to two speakers and let it run.
Budget for DJ’s
When planning a wedding and budgeting for your DJ, remember cheaper is not better. In our area (Pensacola, Ft. Walton, Panama City, Mobile), you can expect to pay a at least $500 for a professional wedding reception DJ. There are other DJ’s out there who will charge much cheaper, but they aren’t going to give you the professional service you want or deserve. Hiring the cheapest DJ because he quoted you a cheaper price would be like hiring McDonald’s to cater your formal event because they are cheaper than a professional catering company, or hiring a photographer who takes your wedding pictures on a cell phone camera rather than professional photography equipment. Sure, to go pick up Big Macs and fries for you meal or to hire “Mr. Cell Phone Man” to take your pictures is going to be cheaper, but is it going to be better? Would you really be happy eating hamburgers and fries at a formal reception, or having all your pictures taken with a cell phone? The same applies with hiring your DJ. Here are some tips to make sure the DJ you hire is a professional (These tips are taken from SN DJ Entertainment’s wedding information packet):
1. Always make sure you sign a contract! – This is probably the single most important tip I can give you, and this applies to all your vendors. A written contract protects all parties involved and it’s a great way to know your DJ is legitimate. By not signing a contract, you could be setting yourself up for a no show DJ or a DJ who will attach hidden fees on top of the rate he quoted you. Remember, unless you have it in writing you have nothing.
2. Book your entertainment early. As professional DJ’s, we often get booked up relatively fast (especially during the “peak” wedding season which is usually late spring through early fall). Too many times we have seen brides who will book their venue, caterer, photographer, and all their other vendors very early on, but wait until the last minute to book the one vendor their guests will remember most…..their entertainment. Always make sure you book as early as you can.
3. Always ask questions about the DJ’s experience, find out how long he has been in business, and ask for references. This is really important because it is another way to give you assurance the DJ is legitimate and that he is a professional. The DJ should be able to show you examples of his past work. If a DJ beats around the bush on this or he can’t provide you with examples of his work, then he probably isn’t professional.
4. Always make sure you are getting what you pay for, and make sure there aren’t any “hidden” costs that the DJ isn’t telling you about. This goes back to the contract. Before you sign anything, make sure the rate you were quoted is all you have to pay. There is no room for being in the “grey” area on this issue. If there are traveling fees associated with your reception
the DJ should make sure you know that and it will be included in the price quote on the contract. All professional DJ services will make sure you know the entire cost up front. Also, make sure he tells you everything that is included in the price, such as lights, set up fees, etc.
5. Always ask how your DJ will be dressed. Don’t just assume he will be dressed in a tuxedo or other professional attire. A professional DJ will always make sure he is dressed to fit your preferences. Unless you state otherwise, a professional DJ should be dressed in a black tuxedo with all the trimmings. Remember, aside from the music your DJ plays, your guests will also remember how he looked.
6. Always ask to see his music library. A professional DJ should always be able to supply you a list of music in his library. A DJ who doesn’t have one or who carries around a thousand CD’s from Wal-Mart is not a DJ who is professional and can do the job right. Make sure he has the songs you want, and if not, make sure he can get them for you. A professional DJ should always be able to pull up a song in a matter of seconds at the reception.
7. Always ask them to provide you with written information (or an information packet) which explains their services. All professional DJ services should be able to provide you with information about their services, whether they e-mail it to you or snail mail it to you. They should always have information to provide you which details their services’
8. Make sure the DJ is in the business for the right reasons. Make sure that his first priority is making sure all your needs are met. That means make sure he is willing to work with you and make sure he is organized. Many budget DJ’s are only in it for the money, and if he doesn’t seem sincerely interested in making sure your every need is met then he probably isn’t.
9. Remember to trust your instincts. If it doesn’t feel right, or if something feels suspicious, it usually is. Always make sure you are comfortable with the DJ you hire. After all, this is your wedding reception which you (and your guests) will remember for the rest of your life.
10. Remember cheaper is not better! This is something I can’t stress enough. Once again, in our area you can expect to pay (on average) $500 for a good, professional, DJ. I can’t tell you how many times I have hosted a wedding reception and have had guests come up to me and say “I wish I had hired your DJ service for my wedding reception” or had brides who inquired with us (but chose a budget DJ because of the price) call me up or email me after their wedding and say “I really wish I had spent a little more money and hired a professional like you.”
11. Make sure to ask the DJ company if they charge for setting up / breakdown time. This is something a lot of DJ services won’t clarify on. You might sign a contract for four hours, but the DJ takes an hour to set up and an hour to tear down, meaning he only gives you 2 hours of playing time. Make sure you ask about setup and breakdown time and whether or not it is included in your price.
12. Make sure to ask if you have to pay extra for certain things, such as lights or fog. Some DJ companies charge extra for their light show and other amenities such as using a wireless microphone. Make sure you ask about lights, fog, microphones, or any other amenities you would like to have. Don’t just automatically assume they are included.
13. If at all possible, meet your DJ before you decide to hire him. A professional DJ will always be willing to meet with you and answer any questions you have. Often times brides and grooms live out of town so it isn’t always possible to meet the DJ ahead of time, but if you can meet with him it would be best. If the DJ can’t make time for you or if he says he doesn’t meet with potential clients before contracting with them, he is not a professional DJ and you should move on. I always make sure I meet with every prospective bride and groom, and we work it out to a time and place which is convenient for them.
14. Never be afraid to ask your DJ anything that is on your mind. With every wedding reception I host, I always make a new friend in the client. In the months and weeks leading up to the wedding, I tell my clients to feel free to call me anytime if they have any questions, concerns, or ideas. My goal is to make sure they get the reception they have always wanted, and if they want to meet with me to discuss everything I am always open to doing tha, or if they have new ideas and want to make changes, I encourage them to call me anytimet. The number one goal for any professional DJ is to make sure the bride, groom, and their guests are happy in the end, and good communication is where it all starts in achieving that goal.
In conclusion, make sure you shop around and don’t just hire the cheapest DJ you can find. Base your decision on “quality” rather than “price”. You will find the extra money you spent on a professional DJ will be well worth it in the end, and if you hire a professional you will walk away from your reception with a huge smile on your face and the satisfaction of knowing your wedding day was absolutely perfect. Remember, if you hire a professional, your DJ will be the added cherry on top of your perfect day. If you hire a budget DJ, he will be the one sour grape that ruins the entire orchard. The choice is up to you. Good luck!
Written by SN DJ Entertainment of Pensacola, FL
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