So... Is your goal to book a great DJ... Or is it really to have an outrageously FUN wedding?
What's the difference?
Statistics show that the majority of brides and grooms are unhappy with their choice of entertainment following their wedding. This is so common in fact that the details of a survey conducted by New England’s Brides & Grooms magazine showed that nearly 80% of all couples reported that they were unhappy with the entertainment they had chosen for their wedding (As shown in Peter Merry’s critically acclaimed book “The Best Wedding Reception Ever”).
So why are disappointed brides and grooms such a common occurrence? Are 8 out of 10 brides and grooms really poor DJ shoppers? Well… not exactly… the truth is that the expectations of most brides and grooms are different after their wedding then they were before their wedding.
Let’s take a look at a typical shopping scenario:
Many typical DJ shoppers will begin their call or email similiar to this... "Hello, we're getting married and and working within a budget and we just need a DJ to play some music for a few hours at the reception, what do you charge?"
So… your DJ… eager to please and make the sale will give you exactly what he thinks you've just asked for... someone who will play some music... cheap!
But… is what you asked for really what you want? Let’s see…
Wedding Day Picture
Well… here it is… your wedding day has finally arrived…
You’re reception is about to begin, however, you’re feeling a little nervous because you’re DJ hasn’t shown up yet. So you call the company and they tell you not to worry because it will only take the DJ 20 minutes to setup.
Sure enough the DJ sets up just in time to introduce you to your awaiting guests. Your introductions, however, sound a bit muffled and unclear and somewhat like a generic reproduction of Barnum & Bailey, and to top it off... your Ringmaster just incorrectly pronounced the last name of your Maid of Honor who had just traveled from across the country to be part of your wedding.
As you make your grand entrance and look towards your guests who are all staring at you in anticipation of a fun filled evening, you begin to feel a little stress because you now realize that you’re not quite sure what you should be doing next. When you look towards your DJ you also realize that he is in the dark as much as you are.
So you muddle through and finally get seated for dinner. For the next hour and a half you and your guests are treated to the greatest hits of Yanni & Kenny G while the DJ sits back and watches a movie on his iPhone. After about 30 minutes some of your guests are already staring at their watches thinking “if we leave now we can still make that movie…”.
Yay… the timeline shows that it is time for the champagne toast. So the DJ makes the announcement that there is going to be a toast… but wait… the caterer says that it will take 20 minutes to pour the champagne. So now there is an awkward 20 minute pause while preparations are made… and more guests leave.
Next up… your very first dance as husband as wife and once again the DJ makes the announcement. As you dance and look around the room you realize that your mother isn’t watching. Where is she? Wow… she is going to be so disappointed that nobody informed her that your first dance was about to take place.
And the story continues...
...Surveys show that 8 out of 10 couples won't learn how common this scenario really is until after their wedding! How many stressful and awkward moments will be acceptable on your wedding day? How many guests is an acceptable number to lose because they were bored? How do you rate the value of your wedding? Your answer to the these questions will determine how you will shop for a DJ.
How Will You Create Magic At Our Wedding?
Of course, working within your budget is important, however, your primary concern is to make certain that your entertainment can meet your needs and perhaps help you to create a truly memorable wedding experience for both you and your guests. If they can’t do that, even if they were free... Would you really want them at your wedding?
With that said… the very first question that you should be asking your potential entertainment is: “How would you create magic at our wedding?”
This question will initially set the “price question” aside and will give your potential entertainment the opportunity and freedom to share their experience, entertainment philosophies and ideas. Even if you’re on a tight budget, this question will help you to gain some insight as to the experience and type of person that you may be dealing with.
If they seem uncomfortable with the question… move on! If you like what they have to say, then you can share what is important to you and negotiate the price.
How much should we expect to pay for good wedding entertainment?
It isn’t necessary to spend a fortune on your entertainment, however, you’ll want to make certain that you're absolutely clear as to your wedding day goals and expectations. Don’t hold back about communicating your needs because you think it will make the price go up. The truth is… it probably will! The more expectations you have the more effort and preparation your entertainment will have in order to meet those expectations. But it will give you the best opportunity to compare apples to apples while balancing budget with service.
The environment of our challenging economy is working in your favor as prices have dropped substantially over what they were only a few years ago. Today, you should be able expect to book a really good pro DJ from $700.00 to $900.00. And if you need a good DJ/Director who can help you create a great wedding experience you should likely expect to pay between $1200.00 and $1800.00.
What about All-In-One packages from venues where the DJ is included?
Venue All-In-One packages are really a huge rip-off and take unfair advantage of what they think you don't know. I’m sure that many of those aforementioned 8 out of 10 unhappy brides and grooms were those who bought into this scam. High-end venues such as Westward Look & Westin La Paloma wouldn’t touch this type of plan with a ten foot pole because their reputation is of top concern.
However, many “middle-of-the-road” venues will offer an all-inclusive package because it typically makes for an easier sell while increasing their profits at the same time. I have yet to see a venue who has a full-time pro DJ on their staff. They quite literally look for the very cheapest DJ that they can find who will work with them, mark up the price, and then profit the difference. The result is that you will end up paying top dollar for bottom dollar entertainment.
Instead… if they will give it to you, ask for the price of their DJ to be discounted on your package and then choose you own DJ. You will do MUCH better on your own!
Will I get a better deal with a part-time DJ versus a full-time professional?
Your best value will usually be with a full-time pro DJ. This is a challenging economic environment and even pro DJ’s will still have to work within what people can typically afford. The big difference is that for the pro DJ your wedding is TOP PRIORITY.
However, most part-time hobby DJs will likely view your wedding simply as a little extra spending money while they focus their main attention on their real job.
Should I book with a big company who employs many DJ’s or should I go with an individual DJ?
The individual DJ, if a full-time professional, will almost always offer a better service for weddings. The DJ’s that work for a large company are rarely full-time professionals, but rather part-time hobbyists who get paid a very small portion of your fee to perform at your wedding. So their skillsets as well as their motivation to your wedding is limited.
Additionally, the sound equipment used by these companies is usually very low-end because they know that their part-time DJs will abuse, and sometimes even steel their equipment. Would you send out $100,000 of high-end professional gear with a barely out of high school part-time employee? Probably not!
The big advantage that these companies typically offer is a lower price because they may have 10 or more weddings booked on a weekend. But very much like the All-In-One packages offered by the venues, you end up paying top dollar for bottom dollar entertainment because the company gets the largest portion of your fee for selling you.
If you’re reading this…
If you’ve taken the time to read this information then there is a good chance that I am a perfect fit for your wedding. Take a moment and check your date below and lets chat!
Copyright 2010 Robert D. Riley ™ | Arkansas Pro Djs ™ your source for Central Arkansas Entertainment, Arkansas DJ Service • DJs •
"Perfect Moments from start to finish™" - "Exceptional Entertainment for Remarkable Receptions ™" -"Those Fun Wedding People ™"• MC • Wedding Disc Jockey -