Venues, caterers, florists, bakers, photographers, videographers and the like…are all significant contributors to a successful and memorable wedding reception. Rightly so, these various vendors require and should be compensated based on the level of quality of services they provide. Many of the aforementioned merchants are normally booked a year or more prior to the wedding day due to the significant demand for their products and services. However, when it comes to musical entertainment, specifically disc jockeys, most brides and grooms traditionally have not given them the same level of consideration as the other vendors.
In spite of this apparent level of disrespect towards the wedding dj, it is normally the disc jockey who furnishes that service which is the most meaningful contributor to the overall success of the reception. Unfortunately, it is the mobile dj industry itself which has largely made this negative impression on the general public. For example, one can break into the business with a small, capital investment for purchasing inferior equipment, cheaply advertising on the internet, and downloading free music. Furthermore, when the dj can offer a very inexpensive rate for a 4 hour reception, most wedding clients jump at the opportunity to save a few bucks. However, in this instance, the old adage of ‘you get what you pay for’ usually applies.
On the other hand, the disc jockey industry is full of professional and qualified entertainers offering a wide range of pricing. Because of this great spectrum, clients have the ability to choose the gamut of entertainers, without having to pay an arm and leg to obtain a great dj. To obtain a good entertainer, there are certain basic criteria that must be evaluated…is he licensed, liability insured, own brand-name equipment, require a signed contract, advertise extensively, etc? Likewise, the prior is a good indication that the dj has invested a reasonable amount of time and money into his business, and therefore will act as a professional. Therefore, the bride and groom should do some homework prior to meeting their candidate, and then upon meeting him, give the same level of respect as the photographer or florist would receive.
Above all, it is important to realize that a good dj is the one vendor who will be responsible for ensuring the wedding guests are entertained throughout the day…from introduction of bridal party, during dinner, and for dancing. The worst moment for a bride would be to see only a quarter of her guests remaining for the final hour or two of the reception. It is not the photographer or the caterer who will keep the crowd around until the final dance…that responsibility rests squarely on the shoulders of the disc jockey. In addition, the notion of the ipod being able to replace a live person when it comes to providing music shouldn’t even be considered by a rational person.
Consequently, brides and grooms should realize that it’s not a wise decision to only devote what remains of their budget towards the disc jockey after all other vendors have been secured. Meaning, for the client to expect a versatile and professional dj to perform for 4-5 hours for a meager $500, the result could be a risky gamble. After spending $15,000 on food, cake, location, flowers and pictures, what sense does it make to be frugal with the entertainment and run the risk of ruining an otherwise memorable day? Decent djs not only spin music for the reception…they act as emcee and coordinate events between the other vendors, such as making sure a photographer is present for the first dance or that the champagne is poured prior to announcing the toast. In addition, they’ve spent time prior to the reception meeting the client and discussing and recommending options, possibly visiting the location, and acquiring the various musical selections.
In the same way, for a musical entertainer to attract potential business, much time, effort and money are spent on advertising. Professional djs that should garner decent rates publicize their company in a variety of ways, including bridal shows, establishing and maintaining an effective website, being listed on bridal directories, publishing wedding related articles, and engaging in forums. Also, with technology continually advancing, competent disc jockeys must regularly procure new equipment, be it audio, visual or lighting related.
Accordingly, wedding clients should afford disc jockeys the same consideration that is given to their other vendors. Meaning, it isn’t fair to ask a dj to engage in bargaining their services when the same requirement wouldn’t be made of a florist or caterer. There are good and bad merchants in any industry…it is the clients’ responsibility to determine which entertainer is best able to provide the service that will meet their needs. In another words, be willing to pay a rate that is competitive to secure the one wedding services provider that could make a very important day memorable for bride, groom and guests alike.