Monday, March 28, 2011
Step 31 - Interview and Book your Disc Jockey
If music and dance is to be part or your wedding reception, you should really consider using the services of a wedding disc jockey. There are thousands and thousands of disc jockeys out there and about 75 percent of them are pretty good. The key is to find the right one for you, the one that plays the type of music you like and knows how to work weddings. Many of the wedding disc jockeys are entertainment specialists, they know how to work your guests, they are the life of the party, and they can double as your emcee too.
Top disc jockeys are serious about their business, are knowledgeable and keep on hand, the best sound equipment. They should have a music library of 5,000 to 10,000 music song selections covering a wide assortment of music. The best DJ's play songs using computerized equipment, use high quality speakers, use high quality headphones which can filter out background noise, which can handle a wide frequency of music. In addition, they also use a wireless state of the art microphone.
Before you hire a disc jockey for your wedding, research and identify about a half dozen DJ's that focuses on music that you like, that is part of their repertoire. There are a lot of good DJ's out there, but be sure they are experienced wedding disc jockeys. When you interview them, you want to ask them how many songs are in their music library? What equipment they use? How much experience they have, especially working as a wedding disc jockey? Are they comfortable acting as the emcee?
After the interview, research the equipment they have talked about. You also want to see them in action, either in person or off a video. Try to get your hands on video of their performance, either off their website, a youtube snippet, or from a CD, or MP3 sample. See that all points of being a great disc jockey are visable in their performance.
The nice thing about most DJ's do that live performers don't do, the good ones constantly entertain over a four hour period (except for a quick bathroom break). About at their midway performance, you should allow them to advertise briefly. Let the audience know they can stop by to pick up a business card, or pick up a sample CD or even buy their CD at the next break. You want to allow a brief advertisement, but not allow the announcement to be repeated over and over and disrupt the ambiance of your wedding.
If they have business cards, they are to be kept neatly by their station maybe in an index box. You don't want their space to get messy and cards splayed all over the speakers. Also very important, you absolutely want no signs or banners displayed at your wedding reception. You don't want ads showing up in front of your guests, or your wedding photography or your wedding videography, you want your wedding to be commercial free, even if they offer you a discount for doing so. For other parties it may be fine, but for your wedding, absolutely NOT! But remember, for many disc jockeys their survival is dependent on referrals. Let them advertise a little.
You can find disc jockeys in wedding related websites, in music magazines, also in Gig Master, or from a search engine, put in your city then either "DJ" or "disc jockey", and you can find a number of disc jockeys elsewhere in this blog. As you begin your interview with the disc jockeys, inform them of the date and time and place of your wedding reception. You might want to see if they have or can get their hands on a dance floor, especially if the reception place doesn't have a good dancing spot. Also ask about their lighting capabilities, do they add a light show with their entertainment and can they provide extra lighting if needed. As for the price DJ's charge, most of them can run anywhere from $400 to $1900 for their service.
When you interview all the DJ's make sure you get an understanding of their prices and the services offered. What is included and not included? Do they charge if overtime becomes involved? Do they use an assistant? Make sure they lay out all their fees and be sure everything is accounted for, make sure there are no hidden fees that crop up such as, oh we didn't include travel fees or we forgot the set up fees.
Make sure that a clear concise contract is drawn up with what is expected from the emcee. Do you want the DJ to be your emcee for the event? Do you want games for the event? Do they bring along a dance floor or bring along special lighting? Do they perform the entire time? Do they take breaks? Everything must be included in the contract and if anything discussed is not included in the contract you don't want to book with them! The contract is your means of protection should they not fulfill their obligations!
In your decision, of which disc jockey to choose, you want to make your decision based on does their style of music a style you enjoy, are they within your budget, and do you feel comfortable talking to and feel communicating with them. You want to be sure the DJ seeks out input from you on what music they should be playing. The general rule is the DJ should play 40 percent of music requested by the wedding couple, 30 percent of their music requested should come from the guests and the remaining 30 percent is music from the disc jockeys themselves select. Most great disc jockeys know to change a music selection if the dance floor is empty part way through a music song, this should be discussed at the interview.
They should review the music that they are going to play at the reception with you from the grand entrance, to the introductions of the bridal party, to the wedding toasts, to the cutting of the cake, to the first dance, to the throwing of the bridal bouquet and the garter, to the last dance, and the announcement of the wedding couple is departing from the reception.
Make sure you feed your DJ! What you feed them depends on your budget, if the budget is a non issue, feed them one of the entrees of the wedding. If the budget is tight, see if the caterer can make them a sandwich, or have a family member drop them off a sandwich. Also, allow them one or two beverages, whether it may be a soda or a mixed drink from the bar. All the body heat in the area can cause one to sweat. Make sure the DJ and any other musicians are not situated near each other, microphones tend to screech if they are near one another.
If the budget is really tight, you might be able to get away with having a family member or friend act the part as a DJ. Music systems have made significant strides in recent years and with the use of burned CD's, computers, IPods, and MP3's you can put together a pretty good sound system. You want somebody that is responsible in running the system and can bump up to the next song if the dance floor is empty and you need to check out the sound system beforehand, and be sure equipment is working properly and set to the proper loudness. There is a lot of time needed to select music songs before, so plan on spending time going though and setting up music together long before the wedding day.
The wedding could be a big break for a relative or friend wanting to get into the industry, but you should strive to get the best wedding DJ for the best price you can get.
Remember, 75 percent of the DJ's are pretty good, but the 25 percent of DJ's that are bad can really ruin your wedding. You want a DJ who is into your style of music, puts you in the right mood, creates the right atmosphere for you, fits your budget, and is somebody you can work with. Find yourself a good DJ and make your wedding the best it can be!
See you on the other side!
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