Think back to the last wedding you attended. What do you remember most? Was it the ice sculptures, the decorations, the cake? More often than not, it is either the meal or the entertainment (good or bad). Even though the entertainment is often one of the first things remembered about a special event, it is often one of the last services booked or worse yet some brides view it as an afterthought. We don’t believe that we are more important than the reception hall, catering, photography, etc., but we do believe we are a very important part of your special day. Please take the time to read though this guide to make sure you ask the important questions, so that you may pick the best entertainment service for your event.
Who is going to show up to handle my event?
This is a big concern in the DJ industry today. The person you interview may not be the person that will actually perform at your event. You should always ask who will be the actual person performing, and if you can meet him or her. There are plenty of DJ companies in our area who will be 100% upfront with you regarding this aspect of their service and they will be glad to arrange for you to meet your prospective entertainer. If you don’t get a good answer when you ask this question, you should look for a different DJ service.
Can you expect prompt return of your phone calls & Emails?
You should expect to get a call back or an Email back within 24-48 hours. Although it would be nice to have every call answered by a live person, please remember that the DJ you are calling may be meeting with a client, or performing at an event. If you get an answering service, try to leave as detailed a message as possible, including your name, number, event date, time frame, location, and any other details that are important to you. This will help the DJ to more accurately provide you with a description of the service they can provide as well what they will charge to handle your event.
Will they meet with you?
This is going to be one of the most important days of your life. Yet we find many prospective brides will choose a service without actually seeing who they have selected, or understanding what they are getting for their money. We feel that you should feel 100% comfortable about meeting the various companies that want your hard earned money, and most full service companies will want to meet with you and anyone you wish to be present to talk about your special day. They want to make sure that you are 100% comfortable with your choice, and will not try to use fear or pressure as a mechanism to book you.
Will the DJ meet with you to plan your event?
Your DJ should be willing to discuss your event at any time, and should display the flexibility to accommodate changes and help you solve problems. Meeting your DJ to plan well in advance of your event is crucial to ensure a smooth and successful event.
Will you have to plan this by yourself?
A new trend these days is the use of “online planners”, where the client gets to “plan their own party” on the Internet. While many think this is “cutting edge” and “cool”, the reality is that many companies do employ this tool to minimize the time they spend with you, maximize their profit, and place the responsibility for the success of your reception squarely on your shoulders. An experienced DJ will know what questions to ask you to endure the success of your event. Nothing takes the place of time invested to plan the event. If the company you interview is not willing to invest that time with you in advance, you may be disappointed when the time comes for your event to start.
Do you like the person that you interview at your meeting?
There is nothing worse than doing business with someone you do not like. Choosing the person who “feels” right is the most important factor in picking the right entertainer for your party or reception. The DJ you choose should be very open about what they can do for you and should demonstrate to you that they are comfortable with the type of event you are planning.
Is the person knowledgeable about your type of event?
Not every DJ is qualified to handle every type of event. Rather than ask “how much do you charge” as your first question, you should ask your DJ, “How much experience do you have doing weddings”? Ask the DJ how many events of your type that he/she has done. As you interview your DJ, if you do not get the impression that the DJ is comfortable with your event and specific needs, you should interview more companies before you make a selection. The DJ should spend time listening to you describe what you want to happen, and get excited about your event.
Does the DJ have a music list?
You need to be assured that the DJ you hire not only has a sizeable collection, but has a variety of music. Ask to see a music list. Find out if the DJ is willing to acquire the music you need to ensure your event’s success. Having a large library is not nearly as important as having a large selection of music that you, the client, want to have played at your event. Find out if your DJ will be flexible with requests for special music, and will follow your direction (if you give direction) about “do not plays” and “must plays”.
Does the DJ use professional grade equipment?
If the DJ does not have pictures of his or her gear, you should ask to set up a time to see the equipment or see pictures of the DJ’s set up. The DJ should be able to tell you what he/she uses and characterize the equipment as professional grade. You should not recognize your favorite consumer brand stereo components from Best Buy or Walmart in use at your reception.
What value are you placing on your entertainment?
On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is the entertainment? Select your DJ service on the overall value that they bring. You most likely are not planning to simply show up and “wing it” through your event, and the entertainment service you hire shouldn’t either. Understand what specific services your DJ Company will bring to bear when you interview them.
Your DJ entertainer is an insurance policy you buy that ensures that all of the other money you spend will not result in bad memories or a less than enjoyable occasion. Good entertainment is not cheap, and cheap entertainment is may not be good.
If you answered 9 or 10 to the value question above, that means you place 90 to 100% of the success of your event on your entertainer. Now consider the percentage of money you are spending with respect to the amount you have budgeted for the event. In many cases, clients budget less than 5% of their money on entertainment, but expect the entertainment to be the main factor in making the event a success.
Does that make sense?
Your DJ, if you have chosen a good one, will display many of the following skills and attributes before and at your event:
- Emcee and Time management skills
- Event planning and event coordination
- Comprehensive library of music
- Professional grade equipment
- Follow the plan that you and he/she have worked out using the planner
- Flexibility to adapt to sudden changes
- Problem solving skills and innovative out of the box thinking
- Seamless continuous music at all times unless otherwise specified
- Sound technician/Light technician
- Ability to read a crowd and pick the right music
- Audience motivator
- Referral service for other event professionals