"What is a DJ, IT'S JUST MUSIC, RIGHT?" SAID EVERY REGRETFUL BRIDE
- What exactly does a Disc Jockey do?
- Why to DJs Cost So Much?
- It's Just Music... Right?
Today's post is important! It's in praise of the humble and often overlooked wedding DJs. Most brides don't understand the importance of an excellent Diec Jockey in comparison to the Wedding Photography, Cake, Dress, and Decor, after all...it's just music, right?
Wrong. Music, or rather, your complete source of entertainment, is KEY to a successful event – it's your Reception PARTY! Who has a party without music?!
Now you may be thinking, "I can just get some speakers and run my iPod"… Please allow me to assure you; this could be the biggest mistake you'd make on your wedding. I speak from personal experience here.
When I was a bride, I had a minimal budget. And while I DID want to have a DJ, we had a choice to either feed people, or have music. Yes, the budget, was that tight. But love prevailed, and we threw caution to the wind, and we were married just the same. But not without some regrets. (With the music – not the marriage.)
I always suggest that couples I work with consider putting their financial investment toward their memories – for themselves (through photo/video), and their guests, in the form of great entertainment.
Guests may not remember what the bridesmaid's bouquets looked like, but they WILL remember how they felt, and if they had a good time.
What Does a Wedding Disc Jockey Do?
Here are some of the key reasons for hiring a PROFESSIONAL DJ will give you the time of your life (and your guest's too!) for your wedding celebration:
MUSIC SELECTION AND CONTROL
The most obvious – An excellent selection of music to suit all tastes.
While this may seem silly if you don't think it's important, nor care about your guest's musical taste, but this is a biggie. You WANT ALL your guests to enjoy at least some part of the dancing portion. Besides, who doesn't want to see Grandma shaking her thang to some Beatles?!
The ability to keep the crowd dancing by fading out music that clears the dance floor, and revving them back up with another kicking song is key to keeping the party going. Having someone manage the music selection LIVE is the only way to do this. Can you imagine what would happen if you made a playlist on your iPod and it cleared the dance floor?! Who's going to manage that? It's pretty hard to recover from – trust me.
Not all CDs are created equal, and neither are the sound levels. DJs mix and fine tune each song to ensure that no guest gets blasted, and so that the energy is kept at the same level in the room. Ever noticed that issue on your iPod? You're not dreaming; it happens. Imagine THAT full scale at your wedding!
I have encountered couples that insisted on iPod music. One client, in particular, had a friend who was supposed to manage the music. However, he ended up being seated too far from the soundboard, so every time the volume was too loud or too soft, he'd come running from his table during the middle of dinner to managing it. After a while, he didn't bother! And every time the volume went up or down, every guest's head would turn, toward the sound mixer!
While you may think it's somewhat a standard process to set up some speakers, you may be surprised to know there is much more involved.
You should have a discussion with your DJ in advance about where the VIP tables will be situated so that these guests can hear best (but again, not too close to the speakers either. Think about Grandma who will be complaining about the sound levels – she won't be able to hear the toasts, but then will be annoyed the all that 'noise' when the dancing starts!). Strategic advanced planning matters here! You'll also want to know your amperage per device so that you don't blow the breakers – which may be linked to the kitchen, which is in the process of cooking your wedding meal! Oops. Yeah, that.
Then there's the SAFETY issue. Wires need to be taped down too. DJs know how to do this discretely and have ample cord to go around the perimeter of the room, instead of across it! Additionally, some cables and wires may need to go above the door frames for safety reasons and would need to be taped to the wall. However, if you hold your reception at a Heritage location, be rest assured, they have strict rules about what kind of tape can be used. Professional DJs know this and come prepared. A professional DJ also has back up equipment should there be any failure. They can quickly grab the spares, and get the party hopping again fast – and perhaps even without anyone ever noticing!
Not all DJs are great MCs, but some are, and they do know how to manage a microphone with ease. (*Hint: if they hold the mic like a rapper – all choked up at the top, they're probably not going to be a great MC choice – on the next MTV awards maybe, but not your ideal MC). Professional speakers know how to hold a mic properly; they speak into it clearly and have good diction. Your wedding is not an opportunity to 'dis the establishment, so form matters on this occasion! Also, content is the main entree here, so if they're worth their salt, they'll want to know your 'love story.' They'll do their homework on you so they can host your day with more than enough information to make them look as if they've known you for years.
Aside from MC'ing your reception, you'll want to keep the crowd entertained. Not to worry – a professional DJ will also provide creative input on how to keep the energy alive, and knows where to incorporate the 'entertainment' too. They also know the reception is about the couple (not them!) and will work hard to heighten the day's emotions too (yes, you really will want to laugh and cry with great joy.) These will be the most powerful memories of your celebration. The most prominent belly laughs at our reception are some of my favorite moments. Don't discount your DJ/MC's role in this vital element! Look for someone with a balanced personality when interviewing them. If they're super shy, or over-the-top overt (where you can't seem to participate in the conversation), they may not have what it takes. Get references – they'll provide the most honest feedback. Your professional DJ will also not be crude, or rude, or drink on the job. They're working after all. And they will dress appropriately, in a suit. And they'll leave their 8 Ft. promotional banner at the office. Seriously.
Your DJ should demonstrate their professionalism by participating in associations that help keep them fresh and current in the world of wedding entertainment. Associations that support DJs, as well as educate you – the consumer. Check one of them out; ADJA: American Disc Jockey Association (http://adja.org/). So you see, there is MUCH more to a DJ than just his/her music collection. And you certainly get what you pay for. If your DJ is a professional, this will likely be his/her primary source of income, and they take their job seriously and charge accordingly.
Don't regret YOUR wedding by having your guests leave early because they're having a miserable time. A few hundred dollars difference to hire a professional DJ can make or break the kind of memories you'll have of your wedding.
Choose wisely, and happy planning!
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