Finding the Right Wedding DJ - They're all the same right?Guest Blog by Tony Tee Neto, SCE Event Group
How to Find the Right DJ Entertainment for You
You’re engaged?! That’s amazing!
It finally happened! And before you know it, you’re surrounded by friends and family who want to celebrate the moment with you both! Champagne, hugs and smiles all around!
Oh, and you just became a party planner! 😱
Planning this once-in-a-lifetime celebration is both exciting and overwhelming. With so many choices in wedding professionals, figuring out which one’s right for you isn’t as easy as it might sound. And when it comes to DJ entertainment, the landscape is quite diverse providing a seemingly endless option of choices at wildly varying price points.
With all my experience in entertainment, my goal is to provide just a little help from a high-level perspective— after all, finding someone to “press Play” on some songs isn’t that hard. But finding a professional who can take you through the planning process, help you make decisions that will work for our common goals, work closely with your venue the day of, and ultimately deliver an amazing and unforgettable experience … that’s a whole different story!
That which seems like “the same thing” often isn’t even close. So here are just a few things to consider as you begin your search for the right DJ entertainment for your wedding celebration.
Vet your entertainment
Your friends’ experiences with their entertainment is probably one of the most reliable testimonials you can get. Maybe they had a phenomenal experience and are raving about who they had … perfect! On the other hand, it’s also invaluable advice if they had an experience that was less than stellar.
The Knot and Wedding Wire are wedding-oriented forums that provide word-of-mouth testimonials from past Brides and Grooms (and not just for entertainment)! The number of reviews does matter, but so does consistency— how often are they being reviewed, and what’s everyone saying pretty much every time? Just one great review shouldn’t cut it.
Confirm who you’re meeting
Speaking personally, when a couple decides to meet one of SCE’s talented professionals, they meet with the Event Host of their choice. That’s the very same person helping all through your planning process, and who’ll be there for you on the big day! I think it’s so important to explore chemistry and establish a relationship right from the start.
You might find that another company has set an appointment with a salesperson. If you’re comfortable with that, then treat this as an informational session. Get a feel for how the company does business, their approach to planning your celebration, etc. It’s still a good idea to meet your actual DJ/MC. Everyone’s personality might not click right away, so explore the relationship.
Full-Time or Part-Time?
If you’ve targeted a candidate, asking if they’re a full-time wedding professional is important. Plenty of newcomers and even some experienced DJs have regular employment and play weddings on the weekend. Maybe they do it as a hobby or for extra money.
I’m not knocking this.
However, having a professional who’s completely dedicated to making this celebration personal and unforgettable is a huge advantage, and will likely make your planning much more stress-free!
Your wedding entertainment professionals should take your celebration details as seriously as you do, because our reputation and livelihood depend on it.
The First Date: Getting to Know Each Other
First meetings with wedding entertainment can offer a variety of experiences. Many of my prospective couples think we’ll be talking about music for an hour. Most will also ask about “packages.” These are valid assumptions for topics of first meetings. But you should expect a little more out of your “first date.”
Talking about your wedding celebration should be more than presenting packages, collecting a deposit, and eventually showing up to play music.
Getting to know each other a little and talking about your vision (or your “blank canvas”) can lead to the beginning of a great relationship. If you end up feeling a lack of chemistry between you and the candidate, that’s just as important!
This gets back to meeting with your actual entertainer and establishing common ground from the beginning. Talk about everything and take advantage of our experience and know how— chances are you’ll end up with an unforgettable event.
Don’t Try to Program 4 Hours of Music
Two extremes can occur as you begin to plan music for your reception, and neither is a good approach to programming the event: you personally plan every song; or your DJ won’t allow any input.
In both cases, neither party is allowing for any organic flow during the reception. If you’ve given an exhaustive list to the DJ indicating what to play for exactly 4 or 5 hours, there’s little point in having a trusted entertainer behind the music. You’ve also created a lot of work for yourself in the process. This might be a result of misunderstanding the role of your wedding entertainment and their part in making your reception a success— it’s not simply about “playing songs.” If it comes from a lack of confidence in your entertainer, you probably picked the wrong entertainer.
By the same token, your DJ should get input on your taste and style of music. Sprinkling even a few songs or artist that are personal to you and your guests will go a long way in creating a personalized celebration. Let’s face it, you don’t want a cookie cutter DJ, right?
An exchange of ideas throughout the planning process is critical to the success of this one-time event. Capitalize on our experience, share some thoughts, and you’ve got a recipe for amazing moments happening that create unforgettable celebrations!
Hiring a professional wedding entertainer (and all other wedding professionals, too) allows for the ultimate goal: to have a fun, amazing, stress-free wedding day! You work ridiculously hard to plan this once-in-a-lifetime celebration, and you should reap the rewards of an awesome day! By taking the time to ask the right questions and make the right choice, you’ll be able to relax and enjoy the day!
Breathe, and enjoy the ride. Good luck with your planning!
Tony Tee Neto
Event Host | Audio Specialist