Requests and "DO NOT PLAY" lists

One question that couples usually ask me is regarding taking requests from
their guest as well as a “do not play" list. One thing that absolutely floors me
is when I hear couples tell me stories of weddings that they have been a
part of where the DJ played songs that were specifically on the “do not play”
list. When asked why he did that, his answer was, “Well, somebody
requested it.”

IT DOESN’T MATTER!!!! When you are hired to do a job, you do
that job the way your employer expects you to do it. Our couples that hire
us are essentially our employers. Why would you risk potentially ruining the
bride’s big day over a song that she HATES because some drunk guest
requested it. If the bride does not want it, it should never under any
circumstances be played.

Side note:  Most of the time you will have no idea why a bride may put
specific songs on that do not play list. There may be very deep, personal
reasons that you don’t know the details of. It’s not worth the risk.

On the topic of requests, most of the time the couple is totally fine with me
taking requests as long as I use my good judgement and not play a request
that will kill the dance floor. I have heard DJs say that the hate having to
deal with guests coming up to them during the reception and “bugging”
them with requests. Providing a fun, memorable party for all guests is what
we are hired to do. If you are worried about someone requesting a song that
will be a dance floor killer, that’s where you need to use your best
judgement with what requests you choose to play.

Let’s be honest, most of the time a song that is requested is already in your
playlist. If you make the guests feel special, they may not remember your
name specifically but they will remember the night and the party that you
provided.

The bottom line in this shorter blog this week is that we are to first and
foremost, ALWAYS put the bride and her needs before anything else.
Second, we are here to provide the entertainment for hundreds of people.
We should be willing to do whatever it takes to give them an unforgettable
night!

What NOT to ask your DJ (Part 3)

Can I get a discount if …?

Most couples starting out planning a wedding have a budget and try their best to stick to it. One way to do that is to ask for discounts. We have always been told that it doesn’t hurt to ask. While that’s true, you always have to be prepared for a “no.” Now, there are some circumstances where a discount may be granted and I will touch on those later. For now I want to focus on some of the most common reasons couples ask for a discount.

What if I only need a DJ for 4 hours instead of 5, 6 or 7 hours? 

I understand this question, however, when you book your DJ, he or she is blocking out the entire day for you and taking themselves off the books for your date. When you hire a DJ you are getting a professional DJ/Emcee for your event! Even if it is just a 4 hour event, your DJ is still committing their entire day to you. Keep in mind, regardless of how long your DJ is contracted for, they will often need to be there at least two hours prior to the start time and then they are often the last ones to leave at the end of the night.

Ceremony and cocktail hour is in the same location but we don’t need a DJ for those events. Is the rate less?

Another understandable question. However, when ceremony and cocktail hour are in the same location as the reception, your DJ will still need to be there set up and ready to go prior to ceremony to avoid loading in and sound checking while guests are trying to enjoy cocktail hour or dinner. 

What if we don’t want any special lighting or formal events like the garter and bouquet toss? 

You may be seeing a common thread in these answers. The main one is that your DJ is already there and has taken themselves off the calendar for your entire day. You are paying for a DJ, Emcee and event Host to provide an unforgettable experience! In most cases you are not (or at least should not be) paying for add-ons like a wireless mic, dance floor lights, announcements, etc. 

When a discount may be given…….

Military discount:

Many DJs will offer a discount if the bride or groom is active military or a veteran. Your service is something that most of us are very grateful for and giving you a discount is a small way to say THANK YOU!

Off-peak date:

Some DJ’s may offer you a discount if your wedding is on an off-peak date. An example would be if your wedding is on a Friday or Sunday in January, your DJ may give you a better rate than if your wedding is on a Saturday in June.

OK, so this officially wraps up the “what not to ask your DJ” series. I hope it was educational and informative. I will be doing a new blog post every Sunday with some new topics. Sometime it will be geared towards brides, while other times it will be geared towards DJs and vendors in the wedding industry. If you like what you’ve read, please share this blog! Thank you!

TEAMWORK! (Special Super Bowl Edition)

So here we are. Just hours away from the big game, or the halftime show, or the commercials. Whatever you watch the Super bowl for. Tonight is the night! So I figured I would talk about something in this blog that isn’t talked about very much but is SO IMPORTANT in the wedding industry. 

TEAMWORK! We all know the importance of it in sports. Love them or hate them, why have the Patriots dominated the NFL over the last decade? They know how to work as a team. That’s what makes them successful. That’s what makes them WIN!

The same is true in the wedding industry. As vendors, all of us have our own jobs to do. However, just like a football team, the quarterback knows that he can’t just do his job and be successful. He has to work with the other players in the game. Regardless of his talent, he KNOWS that he must work with the offensive line, running backs, wide receivers and coaches to make everything work. 

Let’s move this in to a wedding scenario. I’m a DJ…… Can I make the night a success for the bride and groom all by myself? The answer, of course is NO!

On the contrary, if I think that all I need to worry about is the “entertainment” portion of the evening, (music, lights, emceeing, etc.) I am going to end up causing more stress for everyone involved if I don’t know how to work as a team. 

What does that mean? It means that as a DJ, I don’t jump into an event without confirming that the other vendors are ready. 

Bridal party intros: Are the photographers & videographers ready?

Welcome & Blessing: Is catering ready? 

Speeches: Is the champagne poured? 

Bar: Do they have a “last call” and do you need to make it?

Video: Do they need a clean line out from your board?  

If I am not communicating with ALL vendors involved, there is a greater chance of something going wrong and the bride & groom being disappointed by a missed or delayed moment. I hear all too often a photographer complaining about a DJ, a DJ complaining about a photographer or videographer, a caterer complaining about all of the above. Why?

Because they don’t know how to play nice with each other. 

 Vendors, while it’s true that we are all hired for our individual skills and talents, we also need to work as a TEAM! When we do that, everything will run smoothly, everyone gets along well and the bride and groom are ecstatic! That is what we are all working for! 

To all the brides & grooms planning their wedding. Ask your vendors who they recommend. They will always be honest with you and recommend fellow vendors that they work well with. That will help every aspect of you your wedding day run smoothly.

What NOT To Ask Your DJ (Part 2)

If you visited the blog last week you saw the first in a series of What NOT To Ask Your DJ. Definitely a strange topic but one that I feel is important. There are many things that you need to know when hiring a wedding DJ but some things don’t need to be asked. I am going over those things and why NOT to ask them.

Can we come see you in action? (a two-part question)

Part One:

Here’s the thing: I understand that you are paying a lot of money for your DJ and want to see him in action and that you want to hopefully use this experience to make sure you like his style. I get that. However, essentially what you are asking to do is crash a wedding. The dictionary describes wedding crashing as, “The act of attending a wedding celebration without an invitation.”

As a DJ, I do not have the right to permit anyone to come to a wedding that was not invited by the Bride & Groom.

Part Two:

What about a non-wedding event?

That’s a completely different story. However, it still will not get you the result you are looking for. I have done many non-wedding events. Charity fundraisers, 5K entertainment, fair & festival entertainment, etc. Although are welcome to come to any of these events to see me in action, here’s what you will see:  I will most likely be in shorts, there will be no dance floor lighting or uplighting around the room, if it’s outdoors the sound won’t be anything like what it will be at your wedding venue, and most likely I will be playing a lot of music that you will not hear at your wedding.  

The bottom line is that coming to see your DJ at a non-wedding event will NOT give you any glimpse into what your wedding could be like.

The Solution:

Look up reviews for your DJ! I’m not talking about reviews on the DJ’s website. Those are going to be cherry-picked to make them look good, (I know because I do it too.) Make sure you go to reputable sites such as, The Knot, WeddingWire, Yelp and even the DJ’s social media pages. There are reviews to be found everywhere!

Also, if you already have other vendors that you trust, (photographers, florists, caterer, etc.): Ask them! Believe me when I tell you that they will be honest with you about their opinion of a DJ. After all, they work with us every weekend. They want to make sure you have the best experience all around. We all do!   

So that brings What NOT to Ask Your DJ (Part 2) to a close. More to come next week.

What NOT To Ask Your DJ

This is a quick rundown of some questions NOT to ask your DJ……. Wait, WHAT? That’s right, NOT to ask……. There are many sites that tell you what questions you need to ask your DJ, however many of these sites are just looking for content filler and not giving the bride what she really needs.

In my years in the industry, I have learned (from Brides and Grooms) exactly what it is that they want to know and what things they really don’t care about.

Over the next several weeks, I will be going through one at a time, a few of the questions that in most cases are just not necessary to ask your potential DJ.

“What kind of equipment do you use?”

First of all (and with no disrespect meant), brides, do you REALLY care if your DJ uses JBL Eons, QSC K10’s, EV Evolve 50, LD Systems Maui 28’s or the RFC Evox 8? (confused yet?) The answer that I have heard over and over again from brides is……. wait for it….. NO! Now, let me clarify. Provided you have hired a DJ who is established and reputable in the industry, (ie. they are full time, have been in the business for a while, they aren’t dirt cheap) the question of “what kind of equipment” does not need to come in to play.

 HOWEVER, if your DJ is 19 years old, starting college, working a full time job and doing this “DJ thing” on the side, you may want to at least check out his website to see some pics of his set up. While you can’t tell quality by a picture, you can tell professionalism. Is the set up neat and clean or are there wires and chords everywhere?

Like I said, most professionals take what they do very seriously and that starts with a solid base and quality equipment.

 When you go to the doctor you don’t ask what brand his EKG or his X-ray machine is. Why? Mainly because you really don’t care about those details and probably wouldn’t understand anyway. You trust that he is a professional and will do his job to the best of his ability for YOU.

So there you go. There are many great questions to ask a potential DJ. Unfortunately, there are many unnecessary questions as well. Hopefully this helps you weed some of those out. More to come next week!