Tips for Bride’s…
Shopping for a Disc Jockey
Shopping wedding entertainment can be one of the most intimidating aspects of planning a wedding. Just as with your facility, wedding coordinator, photographer, and other vendors, you must select a company or individual with whom you feel comfortable and who is able to provide the level of service you seek.
After all, this person will hold center stage during most of your reception. At the completion of the evening, and the years to follow, one of the main things you and your guests will remember is whether or not everyone had fun. This person’s ability to host and entertain will influence the entire evening. And you have the daunting task of selecting that person! Isn’t that a happy thought!
The goal of this guide is not to sell you on a particular disc jockey service. It is designed to educate you about the disc jockey industry and help match you with the best disc jockey for your needs. This guide should arm you with information and the questions to ask to make that match. It will also provide you with helpful tips for working with DJ’s to help create a successful function.
Step 1. Figure our what you want
Band Vs. Disc Jockey, Part 1
- Since this guide is primarily for customers seeking DJ’s, we will provide the benefits of having a DJ. This is not to belittle bands; these are just some things that DJ’s can offer that most bands cannot.
- Hosting Ability: Few bands will make your announcements and assist in the coordination of your event. Most DJ’s are glad to make your announcements and many will coordinate them with you and other vendors.
- Variety: No band will have the flexibility a DJ has in music selection. A DJ should have a wide variety of music styles and selections to fit most tastes. You also have the benefit of songs performed by the original artists, rather than another band’s interpretations.
- No Band Breaks: DJs can typically perform without any breaks in music. Because of the nature of the performance, bands must usually take breaks every 60 to 90 minutes, which leaves you without music, or perhaps with generic house music for 15 to 30 minutes.
- Emergency Back Up: If a band has an emergency on the day of the function, you may have a problem. If they were not booked through an agency, you may not have anyone to contact to find a replacement band. However, a good DJ service should have an effective emergency plan in place. And generally, it is easier to replace one person and a DJ system than to replace an entire band.
Band Vs. Disc Jockey, Part 2
- Your personality and the type of function you desire will determine what entertainment you need.
- Some receptions require only modest, background entertainment. If your function is small and casual and you want only background music with no announcements, then obviously an elaborate DJ set up may not be necessary. You may want to look into a solo live music performer like a pianist, or ask your facility about what they can provide in the way of background music.
- However, if you are planning a larger reception and are inviting a diverse group of family and friends, you’ll likely need something more specialized for a crowd that size. You’ll need a DJ who can provide music for this wide spread of ages and tastes, as well as one who can announce special events such as the toast, the cake cutting, and the first dance. On top of that, you’ll probably want someone who can do all that while entertaining your guests! In this case, you need and experienced and established DJ service. If this describes you reception, read on.
Single VS. Multi-Operational DJ Systems
- There are two types of DJ companies. Single operators, which are basically one-man operations, or multi-systems operators, which obviously have two or more DJs working with or for them. This distinction typically shouldn’t be the deciding factor in your search for a DJ-both types of operations have reputable and successful companies. There are just a few differences between the two that you should know, depending on which type of company you are investigating.
- If you are looking at a single-system operator, it is advisable to learn what back up system they have in emergencies. Since it’s only one person, an emergency with no back up plan could leave you stranded without a DJ. However, most single-system operators have developed relationships with fellow DJs who they may call in emergencies-just to be sure to ask about it.
- Now, multi-system operators have various benefits and drawbacks. They are more likely to have a stronger back-up system in case of emergencies, simply because they have more employees from which to draw DJs without having to go to other companies.
- However, unlike the single-system operators, a multi-system operator may not allow you the convenience of meeting with your particular DJ beforehand. Typically, they will have you fill out and mail a questionnaire covering your song preferences and announcements and just pass this on to the scheduled staff. When shopping for a DJ, it is advisable that you ask about your wishes are carried out and minimizes communication problems. It also helps ensure that you are comfortable with your particular DJ-very preferable to finding out the night of your reception that you dislike your DJ. As mentioned, not all DJ companies offer this prior meeting, so if it is important to you, you should ask about it before signing any contracts.
Step 2. Cost
Because of the wide array of available DJ’s, the costs for one are all over the map. Currently, the average nationwide price for a DJ is between $400.00-$600.00. But that figure can be misleading. It takes into account the highest and lowest figures, and so your areas DJ’s may be much higher or lower than this average.
For our purposes here though, you can expect to spend at least $400.00-$600.00 on an established, experienced DJ (and could go as high as $1200.00 or more).
If this figure sounds high, please remember: to book a talented DJ, this is a good deal for the customer. If you have decided on a DJ over a band, not only are you saving a great deal of money, you also receive the benefits mentioned above (wider variety of music, DJ can also make announcements and help coordinate, etc.).
Since deejaying is still a relatively young industry, the prices are still quite low, especially considering the prices customers pay for other important facets such as the photographer, caterer, Videographer etc. Deejaying is also a very competitive field, with newcomers arriving constantly. Older DJ companies find themselves competing on price with newer ones who charge lower rates to attract greater business. This competition may seem at first like a good bargain for the customer, and sometimes it is, but in the long run, the customer is eventually the loser. Here’s why: DJs tend to work at a low profit margin.