A lot of times, people will only hire a DJ once in their lifetime….and that is usually for the single, most, important day of their life (other than when their children are born), their wedding. The truth is, most people don’t hire DJ’s on a regular basis so often they really don’t know how to tell if a DJ is “professional” or not and they really don’t know if they are getting a “good deal” with the DJ they are hiring. In this blog, I’m going to help you determine if a DJ is professional or not, and help you determine if you really are getting the “best deal”.
Before we even start talking about getting the “best deal”, here is something to keep in mind. Your DJ will be the one vendor your guests will remember the most, and it’s your DJ who can “make” or “break” your reception (and basically the whole day because if your reception is ruined, that puts a damper on everything that happened before the reception began). That’s why it is so important to make sure you hire a “professional” DJ when it comes to your wedding, someone who will leave you with long lasting, POSITIVE, memories. So, how do you get the “best deal” when it comes to hiring a DJ for your wedding?
When you do hire a DJ for your wedding, getting the “best deal” is probably your number one concern. However, a lot of people tend to think getting the “best deal” means hiring the DJ who quotes you the “cheapest” price. The one thing you do NOT want to do is talk to a bunch of DJ’s, then hire the one who quoted you the cheapest price. Let’s do a comparison. (The prices I am about to quote are just “generic” for this example and do not necessarily reflect SN DJ Entertainment’s prices.)
Let’s say you are getting married and you start contacting DJ’s. The first DJ you contact, DJ Tom, quotes you a price of $200 to DJ your 4 hour wedding reception. You ask him how long he has been in business, he says about a year. You ask him what all he has to offer, and all he says is “DJ services for your wedding”, but he doesn’t offer any photos, videos, or references of his past work. You ask him if he is a DJ full time, and he says no he only does this “on the side” for some extra money while he works through college. Basically he’s telling you that he is going to come, set up, play music for a few hours, break down, then leave. He doesn’t mention anything about planning a wedding reception, how he will serve as your MC, or what all goes into making a wedding reception successful.
But it’s for $200.
Later you look up DJ Tom on Google, and you find a couple pictures of his setup that a couple guests took from some weddings he recently did, and you also read where a couple of past clients said he didn’t even show up at their wedding. When you looked at the picture, there is no skirting or anything on the table…you see wires hanging all over the place. His setup looks a lot like these:
(Remember, DJ Tom is only $200!)
Now, let’s say you talk to DJ Bob of XYZ Entertainment. He quotes you a price of $850 which includes a performance time of 4 hours. DJ Bob is very friendly, you spend time talking to him, and you decide to schedule a consultation. When you meet with DJ Bob, he shows you videos of his work, you see beautiful pictures of his up lighting packages he has to offer, and he goes over step-by-step how he performs a wedding reception. He detailed each part of a wedding reception, talked about the order and flow of everything, and really answered a lot of your questions. He tells you he will provide you with a planning guide, he will serve as your reception planner, he will prepare everything on a nice, written, planner complete with a sequence of events for your other vendors, and he will also make all necessary announcements for your guests. He also mentions his rate includes some basic up lighting. You find out DJ Bob has been a professional wedding DJ for close to 15 years and he has a good reputation in your community, so he doesn’t just DJ “on the side” as a way to make extra money….he has experience in running a successful business.. He shows you pictures of his DJ setup, and they look a lot like these:
His setup pictures are very clean, you don’t see wires hanging all over the place, you can tell DJ Bob really takes pride in his work, and he is very organized. You look at his pictures and you think “Wow, look at that! That is beautiful!” So now you have a decision to make.
Let’s compare the two DJ’s and see who really has the best deal. Is it DJ Tom for $200 or DJ Bob for $850? Let’s see what each one has to offer and then compare the two.
First, let’s look at DJ Tom. He is “cheaper”, but what are you actually getting for $200? You’re going to get a DJ who doesn’t have much experience in emceeing or planning a wedding reception, he only does this “on the side” for extra money so that tells you he probably wouldn’t take your wedding day seriously, he has a reputation of not showing up to at least 2 weddings (that we know of), and his setup looks very unprofessional (and all those dangling wires that look like an engineer’s workshop will be in the background of all your pictures. Imagine seeing that type of setup in the background when you look back at your pictures of your first dance or Father-Bride Dance). When we factor in those details, (assuming DJ Tom shows up for your wedding), you will get about the same service you would get if you just hooked an Ipod up to two speakers and put it on auto…that’s the BEST service you can receive from DJ Tom.
He’s definitely not going to leave you with that “wow” factor and he definitely isn’t going to be someone who is going to impress your guests. Remember, your guests will rate the success of your reception based on your DJ, how he looked, how his setup looked, and how good of a job he did as serving as your MC and director of the reception. The ONLY positive aspect of DJ Tom is he will be saving you some money, but is he really a “good deal” just because he is saving you money? Would you really want to compromise wonderful memories you would have if you hired a true professional to save a few bucks? After evaluating DJ Tom, the question you have to ask yourself is “Do I really want this type of DJ for the biggest day in my life?” Remember, think about everything we learned about DJ Tom when answering that question.
Now let’s do our final evaluation on DJ Bob. Well, he is more expensive at $850, but let’s consider what you will be getting for that $850. You’re getting a professional mobile DJ / MC who will spend countless hours planning your reception, his setups are breathtaking (you won’t have to worry about all the dangling wires because his setup is beautiful and will provide the perfect backdrop for your pictures), he offers incredible up lighting, and he has experience in knowing what brides want because he has been in the industry for 15 years. He took the time to give you a detailed consultation, he showed you examples of his past work, he is very organized, and he gave you a really good feeling when you met with him. You can also tell he really cares about his clients and will go above and beyond to make sure they are happy.
With DJ Bob, you will have the assurance of knowing you hired a professional and he will relieve you of a lot of stress. He will help guide you and serve as your advisor when planning your reception. Also, you will not have to worry about him being a “no show” for your wedding because that’s not DJ Bob’s style. Now, just like with DJ Tom, the question you need to ask yourself is “Do I really want this type of DJ / MC for the most important day of my life?”
So which is the better deal? DJ Tom for $200, or DJ Bob for $850? Which DJ will have the biggest positive impact on your wedding day? Here’s something else to consider…the DJ you hire will also be a reflection on you, whether positive or negative. If you choose someone who isn’t professional, it will also make you look bad. On the other hand, if you hire a DJ who leaves a very positive impact, that will make you look good and will show you have good taste.
The ONLY positive aspect we can conclude with DJ Tom is he will save you money, that’s it. He will definitely save you money, but will probably leave you with a lifetime of bad memories. DJ Bob has a lot more positive aspects, but he is still more expensive.
Based on those two comparisons, our final conclusion is you will get a better “deal” with DJ Bob even though he is more expensive. After considering everything, he offers the best service, has the best value for the price, and will leave the best positive impact, which is what you want when hiring a DJ for your wedding. He will also leave you with the best memories.
So now that we have decided DJ Bob is the better “deal”, the question now becomes “How do I afford him? I didn’t really plan to spend that much on a DJ?”
Well, two things to keep in mind….is $850 really that expensive when you think about what you are getting for $850? Is $850 really too much to spend for a lifetime of wonderful memories and you walking away from your reception thinking “That was the BEST reception I have ever been to?” Second, if you can’t pay $850 right now, you can probably talk to DJ Bob and he will work out payment arrangements with you so that you can afford it. (Which is another great reason to make sure you book your entertainment early so you can have time to make monthly arrangements. Most professional DJ’s will work with you on the payment arrangements because most of them really want to see you happy.)
If you have to cut corners somehwere else, then by all means, do it. There are two vendors you absolutely don’t want to “cut corners” on….your photographer and your DJ. Your guests will remember your DJ the most because he will be the one providing the entertainment. Your photographer will be the one taking all your photos, so it’s definitely worth hiring a professional photographer as well. So as long as you aren’t cutting corners on your DJ or your photographer, you can still have a wonderful wedding with lifetime memories.
The moral of this story is “cheaper is not better.” The cheaper, inexperienced, DJ’s, will not give you professional service and will most certainly leave you disappointed in the end. When you look at hiring a DJ, remember to choose the DJ who will best meet your needs, who is more professional, and not go with the one who quotes you a cheaper price. By doing that, you will be so much happier in the end!
As a professional DJ, I want better for my clients which is why I put out extra effort to make sure their every need is met. With my clients, we develop lasting friendships and we work well together to make sure their wedding is the best day of their lives. I want them walking away at the end of the night on cloud 9 and I want to give them a reception with service and setup they can be proud of.
If you have any questions at all, please feel free to contact me anytime at my email address, email@example.com.
(Photos courtesy of “No Thanks DJ” and “SN DJ Entertainment.)
Stacey Noles is a professional wedding DJ in Pensacola, Florida. For more information, please visit his company’s website at www.sndjpensacola.com.