First, if you are even reading this
article, it's probably because you received a referral from a former
client, family, friend, or wedding professional. Or maybe you were a
member of a bridal party or former guest of one of our events. In any
instance, no advertising can beat good word of mouth. Or bad. For us,
it's all about TRUST.
The florist drops off the centerpeices before a guest even enters the
room. The main concern of the reception site is meal preparation and
keeping the bar well stocked. After dinner service most of the waitstaff
is relieved of their shift. The photographer usually leaves about 1/2
way through the evening. The limo driver pickups and drops off. Because
the DJ is there from the very beginning until the very end, we are
literally "first man in, last man out". They have the best view of the
flow, schedule, and vibe of the event. They also end up coordinating
most of the control over these areas on your behalf. There needs to be a
great amount of trust for a single person to have this much control
over the most important day of your life. It is not a responsibility to
be handed out lightly, and one that we at "And the Beat Goes On..." do
not take lightly.
Famous last words from weddings gone bad...............
"Anyone can DJ. It's just pressing buttons."
"Let's just setup an IPOD. nobody will notice."
"I have a friend at work that DJ's some bars here and there."
"He said he would DJ for free if we feed him and give him free drinks."
Keep in mind that you are actually hiring more than a DJ. Here are some of the many responsibilities a professional DJ will have during your wedding planning and ultimately at your reception:
A DJ must know music history and genre, titles, artists, times, how
the song starts and ends, where the break is (what a break is), a
general knowledge of music structure and key, BPM (beats per minute)/
tempo, current music and trends – all types, lyrics to avoid, harsh or
R-rated lyrics), and what works for a variety of people, ages,
backgrounds, and moods.
The idea is to keep an audience comprised of 10 year olds to 70 year
olds all involved and having fun – for the whole event – from cocktails
to the meal to dancing to the end.
Do you know how hard that is?
MASTER OF CEREMONIES
Being a Master of Ceremonies requires public speaking skills –
something that, statistically, ranks higher than death in people’s
fears. Proper use of a microphone, posture, staging, and movement are a
few physical requirements of a Master of Ceremonies. Technical aspects
include proper introductions (there are five steps to a proper
introduction), openings and closes, transitions, and presiding over the
ceremonial aspects of the event.
The idea is to communicate effectively with charm and elegance in an
entertaining and engaging way so that guests feel properly informed,
apprised, directed and guided throughout the event, which will help them
feel included and participating from start to finish.
Do you know how hard that is?
As they say, ‘‘Timing is everything ”
Planning involves understanding entertainment principles and
logistics, including a room set up that is conducive to the activities
planned – so that it not only allows for the activity, but enhances it.
Putting activities in the proper order is paramount and involves telling
the ”story” of the event – so there is a beginning, a middle, and an
end – with peaks and valleys of energy and emotion throughout.
Do you know how hard that is?
Coordinating the event deals with setting up scenarios behind the
scenes so that when the MC makes an announcement or introduction, the
segment ”just happens” and feels effortless and natural to the audience.
Done well, the audience will never notice any of the planning and
coordination. They will just be enchanted and entertained.
Do you know how hard that is?
Knowing her/his equipment, how it functions, troubleshooting, and
understanding all of the technical ramifications and requirements of an
event is also part of the expertise of a professional mobile DJ.
DJ’s understand acoustics and the strengths and weaknesses of the
equipment they use, how to adjust the proper EQ or equalization for the
room and the amount of people it will contain. They know what to do if
the sound goes out, what gauge cables to use, the electrical
requirements, and use of a mixing board, computer programs, music decks,
microphones, speakers, lighting, and other effects.
Dj’s also edit music for timing and content (take out bad lyrics0, create ”mash-ups” and other edited/mixed music appliacations.
One of the most puzzling things you will notice is the great
disparity of pricing from one DJ service to the next. However, we
suggest that you leave the question about price for last. First you need
to find out what makes the DJ worth their fee and there are many
differences in what they provide. Remember, your entertainment can make
or break a reception. While it may be attractive to shop for a DJ by
price, just as with every other wedding service vendor, price alone is
not the definitive factor in this decision. All DJ services are not equal.
In post reception surveys of over 1,000 brides, most said they had
spent around 15% of their overall budget on entertainment. Most paid
more for their veggie platter than their DJ! But in the final analysis,
over 87% reported that the entertainment was responsible for over 90% of the success
of their event! Without professional, reliable, and talented
entertainment, your wedding may end up turning into just a 6 hour
According to TheKnot.com, the nationwide average cost of a wedding in
2011 is $29,000. For an average 6 hour reception that breaks down to
over $4,800 an hour you are paying to make your special day happen. If
you were to cut corners on your entertainment and say, hire a cheaper DJ
for $800 instead of the average of a professional DJ (around
$1,500) but your guests start leaving 2 hours early, you didn't "save"
$700 on your wedding, you just "lost" $9,600 (2 hours @ $4,800) and
potentially have ruined your wedding day!
- Are you available for my date?
- Do you have some actual written letters or Thank You cards from former Brides & Grooms that we can see?
- Do you provide a written contract?
- How much is your deposit?
- How is payment arranged?
- How many times do you meet with us?
- How many weddings do you perform at or responsible for a day?
- How many weddings in a weekend?
- Do you use a computer for your music?
- Do you travel with a back-up computer?
- Do you bring back up equipment?
- What type of equipment do you have?
- How many playing hours are included?
- Is set up time and travel included?
- How early do you arrive to set up?
- Do you charge by the hour or do you have a package?
- Is there an extra charge for additional hours?
- What do you wear?
- Do you do the announcements? Are you the Emcee?
- Are you open to requests? From us? From the guests?
- How large is your music collection and is it varied?
- How do we pick our music for the event?
- How long have you been in business?
- How many WEDDINGS have you done?
- Are you the DJ who will be at the reception? If not how do we choose our DJ or are they assigned?
- What is the total price for the package?
- Are there any additional charges?
Remember, there is a lot of prep work that should be done prior to
the wedding by the DJ. He/she should be able to explain what they will
do for you in advance to ensure the success of the event. Advance
preparation is what a professional DJ does as part of their service. A
true professional will spend a minimum of 10-20 hours preparing for your
reception. This includes going over your plans (consultations), music
purchasing and editing, setting up and tearing down equipment, working
with other vendors, etc. In other words, what you are paying for is more
than just a body playing music!
Music however, is a very important element at your wedding reception.
You have thought about the music you would like and probably imagined
the evening as you would like it to be. If the DJ does not have a
sufficient music library, you may find your guests won’t be on the dance
floor as much as you would like. A budget DJ simply has not invested
the amount of money necessary to provide you with a first class
selection of music. At a minimum, 5,000 songs is a necessity today for a
professional, and 10,000 or more songs are a very good music library.
Therefore, it is important for you to select a DJ who has invested in an
extensive music library, and there is really no excuse for DJ’s
nowadays to have a full digital library of music. However, along with
having the song titles, your DJ should also have a variety of music
genres AND the know how to blend them into a pleasing mix. Also, find
out if the DJ encourages requests from the guests or does he/she have a
set music program. Decide in advance which you prefer.
Full Time, Professional DJ services usually command fees in the area of $300-$400/hr, which works out to average $1,500-$2,000 for a wedding reception.
“Weekend Warrior”-type DJ’s who don’t keep up with music libraries
and industry changes, bring friends/spouses to help, eat/drink/smoke
most of the time they’re working, do not have backup equipment or
reliable references, do not own a tux or suit and often DO NOT EVEN SHOW
UP TO YOUR EVENT usually charge around $400-$800 for a wedding
Finally, listen to the DJ as they speak. Does he/she have a pleasing
voice and personality? Remember, what you hear on the phone will be
twice as good or bad when amplified on a sound system. Make sure the
person you are talking to is the one that will do the wedding reception.
If they try to pawn you off on one of their employees, ask to speak to
the DJ who will be doing the reception. The truth is, if they were truly
that good, they would be on their own, and not working for a DJ company
that is taking in a cut of the pay. Never, ever accept someone you have
never talked to. Remember, having confidence in who you hire is just as
important as the rest of it. As with all things in life, quality and
professionalism has its price.