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  • Jeremiah Wilson

What your DJ wants you to know

You’re getting married—and that calls for celebration that has everyone on their feet from cocktail hour until last call! The best way to do that? Craft a catchy playlist so people can’t help but spring out of their seats! From your first dance to the final steps, music sets the tone for the reception and has a heavy hand in determining your guests' experience.


If you and your fiancé opt for a DJ instead of or in addition to a band, you’re putting the responsibility in their hands to ensure your wedding reception hits the right notes—literally! Along with finding an entertainment company that falls within your budget and has your wedding date available, you want them to be able to fluent in your favorite ‘90s boy band hits, understand what’s going to go down on the dance floor when your family does the Hora, or know that you’ll be expecting a heavy rotation of Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra to keep great aunt Jane happy.


No matter what you’re looking for, a DJ and their team should be able to work with you and your partner to make your wedding night special.


Know how to spot a fraud

We all know a guy who considers himself a DJ because he played top 40 hits at his frat’s parties in college. And the one who thinks being a DJ means only playing EDM and house music. "Technology now has enabled everybody to call themselves a DJ. Don’t just find somebody on Craigslist or a social media site and go by pricing. If it’s too good a price, you have to hope the person’s going to show up. Typically if it's too good to be true, well, you know how that saying goes.

Have a conversation with your DJ. Learn more about their business and if they’ll be able to offer services that meet your specific needs (e.g. you’re a country crowd, but this company excels at hip-hop and R&B). There are many guys who are like car salesman and they’re very forceful. They have these pre-programmed parties, they go in there, they’re not going to take requests, they’re not going to abide by the bride and groom’s wishes because they [think they] know better.

Along with experience, ask to see pictures and videos of events any prospective DJ has worked. References and reviews are a great starting point. Finally, make sure they’re bringing legit equipment—not the same MacBook they went into freshman year with 15 years ago! Older equipment runs the risk of more technical problems. If you have a party with 500 guests, (2) 1,000 watt (cheap) speakers are not going to accommodate that event. There are technical aspects to events that qualified DJ's will know.


Don’t rely on WiFi

We caution against letting your party playlist live on the internet. Nowadays a lot of DJs are starting to say, ‘I’ve got 50,000 songs and they’re on the cloud.’ How many times have you gone to make a phone call somewhere and you can’t get a signal? There’s a chance you’re not going to be able to get a signal at that barn, the vineyard, or a catering hall, Or if you go to a catering hall and the venue says, ‘I can’t give you our password.’” Instead, go with a DJ who not only has all of their songs downloaded, but also has a backup drive in case of emergency. A DJ HAS TO OWN THE RIGHTS TO THE MUSIC THEY PERFORM! Spotify, YouTube, Apple Music, and subscription services ARE NOT LEGAL SOURCES FOR PERFORMING DJ's!


Be flexible with “do not play” songs

Be open to accommodating your guests' requests, even if it’s not what you want to hear. “It’s very common for brides and grooms to say, ‘Please don’t play any line dances like the “Cupid Shuffle” and “Macarena.” “What do you want us to tell somebody if somebody comes up—your aunt or uncle—and they want to hear the ‘Cotton Eye Joe’? Maybe say, ‘No line dances but if somebody asks then you can play it.’ Because the reality is, most of the songs are three minutes. We’re not going to go and play 20 of them. We’re not going in planning on playing them, but if somebody does ask, there are more times when somebody may be more amenable to doing something.” Our number 1 goals are to keep everyone engaged and entertain you and your guests.


Feed the DJ and their team

You can’t perform if you're hungry. You get grouchy. It’s not a good thing.” If you can’t budget meals for the entertainment company and other vendors, offer to let them eat during cocktail hour. If the DJ is doing the ceremony, the cocktail hour, the four-hour event, and the after-party, it could be six, seven, eight hours plus setup and takedown before they’re eating. It is courteous to feed or at least to offer to feed the entertainment.


Don’t feel obligated to tip

At the end of the night, though, couples shouldn’t feel pressured to provide an additional tip. But they should check if their contract signed requires one. It’s at the sole discretion of each of our clients. For excellent service, somewhere between 10 and 20 percent, but we leave it up to their discretion. It’s not required. We are a service provider. There's a lot of people and word out that owners of companies make a lot of money. That's not always true, let me break it down for you:

Expenses:

15-30% of what you pay a company goes to Uncle Sam. If you pay $1000.00 that would mean $150-$300 would go directly to Uncle Sam.

Equipment & Upkeep - We average $5,000-$10,000+ of equipment out per show. Electronic equipment is not cheap to attain, or maintain.

Music - We average $30-$65 per month up keeping our music.

Employees - We still have to pay our employees for events and their work.

That $1000.00 dwindles very quickly with expenses. Most owners make little if anything at all to be realistic. Especially start up companies.


Tipping (including owners) is not required, but it is GREATLY APPRECIATED! Tips should reflect quality and happiness with services provided.

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