Please give a warm welcome to our guest blogger Chris Bouchard from Bouchard Entertainment! He’s going to tell you all about finding the right DJ for your wedding ceremony and wedding reception. He’ll walk you through all the things you need to consider when hiring a wedding DJ. Definitely read this post before reaching out to potential DJ’s, you’ll be so much more informed on how to find the best one!
Take it away Chris…
Hiring a DJ that you connect with can be similar to the moment you realized your love for your fiancé/fiancée. It’s like “VOILA!” It’s not just the personality similarities but the complete understanding of your vision, your wants, needs, and then their ability to connect with you on a personal and professional level. A DJ can make everything about your wedding memorable… including the planning right through the last song of your reception.
As a wedding professional I can assure you that your guests are going to remember, and talk about, two things: first, your ceremony. Personalizing your ceremony, with an officiant that feels like a friend, is certainly the best way to make your ceremony more intimate and memorable. Second, your music for the reception… more explicitly, the DJ for your reception.
It is well known that a DJ can make or break your wedding reception. Your satisfaction with your DJ has a lot of variables, but talking about this is putting the cart before the horse. Let’s break down 5 things to consider when choosing the DJ for your wedding.
#1 First, What is Your Budget?
Your budget isn’t the only thing that dictates what DJ you can and cannot have; however, it is a starting point for all couples and this will begin to point you in a direction. You can find numbers all over the web telling you about 10% – 15% of your venue costs being the appropriate budget for your entertainment…But, this is putting super strict parameters on your options. If you spend $6,000 on your barn venue you’re limiting yourself to $600 – $900 DJs. There may be some DJs in that range that is the perfect fit but we’ll get to that later.
You can always start with your friends and ask them what they spent…You can ask your cousin, who’s wedding you attended, how much their DJ was. No matter what, budget is a very small part of the overall experience you are going for.
Your DJ should be spending time with you in a few consultations and be readily available for when you have questions about anything wedding-related. You’re purchasing an experience, a resource, a planner, and most importantly a professional to help relieve the stresses of planning your big day. Knowing what you want, what you need, and what is most important to you, is critical in your decision making.
#2 Understanding What You Want and What You Need
Understanding your venue and what is needed to make music/sound happen, in multiple locations, is huge! Couples are often unaware of what equipment is actually needed for their venue to have a seamless stream of music/sound throughout the course of their wedding. Having your ceremony 300’ away from your reception area, that is also a football field away for your cocktail hour, makes for interesting logistics. Understanding what you need is important because you know that equipment and time are not free.
Finally, what do you want for your wedding day?
- Uplighting like your friend’s wedding?
- You and your fiancé/fiancée’s initials sprawled on the dance floor?
- Dancing on a cloud and an after party down the street?
- A photo booth and a light show for dancing?
Having these details sorted out will prepare you for the initial consultation with your prospective wedding DJ.
#3 Do They Have The Right Equipment… and backup, too?
You know what you want and you know what you need. You need music for your wedding ceremony, your cocktail hour is about 200’ from the ceremony with power provided, and you need a DJ with a sound system at your reception venue up over the hill. Perfect – Now, you want uplighting and a photo booth, too. Got it. Check.
Questions to Ask Your Prospective DJ About Equipment:
- Do they have all of the equipment needed to support multiple setups?
- Will they be shuffling equipment from one spot to another or will there be a seamless stream of music/sound without any interruption?’
- Will they be hiring out services (sub contracting) like the photo booth?
- MOST IMPORTANTLY: Do they have backup equipment? If so…..
- Have they had to use their backup equipment and how did it go?
It’s great to have backup equipment, but if something goes wrong and they need to run to their van that’s parked down the street, or in the parking lot, will you have to go without music/sound while they unplug and plug in all of the stuff they need.
Having everything you want and need is key… what is the solution if anything you want or need breaks and what is their experience in that scenario?
#4 When Personalities Connect
If you are not comfortable with your DJ, or your officiant, you’re going to find yourself in an uncomfortable position during the planning process. Talking with your DJ via text, email, or phone, should feel natural and friendly. When you meet with your prospective DJ in person the rules are the same… natural, inviting, and encouraging. If there is even the slightest hint that you are not seeing eye to eye with your prospective entertainer, you need to walk away and find someone else.
Not every DJ is your DJ and any good DJ will know that not every client is for them. Once you feel like you have met the criteria: budget, wants/needs, the equipment, and their personality is jiving with yours, It’s time for…
#5 The Reviews: A Buyers Foundation of Trust
Have you ever bought something on Amazon without reading the reviews and then kick yourself because something is broken or doesn’t work the way you anticipated it? You start looking at the reviews online before searching for the return policy, only to find that a majority of the people are complaining about the same issue you are having.
Hiring any wedding professional needs to be done with care. So, don’t skip this important step!
Read reviews – you can always start with your friends and family. Just like budgeting, there is an abundance of knowledge amongst the people you know. What about the people you don’t know? They do not have a vested interest in your wedding and will give you their honest feedback based on their experiences.
You should be able to find reviews easily all over the web but most commonly on The Knot, Wedding Wire, and Google. These are the best places to start!
You feel good about your DJ – your DJ feels good about you – reinforce that good feeling knowing that you can trust the individual because they have a public track record of success.
The Right Wedding DJ For You
The right wedding DJ for you is the individual that makes you feel the most comfortable. There is a lot that goes into planning a wedding and hiring professional vendors allows some of that planning to be removed from your plate. So, the right wedding DJ for your is the one that takes on as much, or as little, as you need them to. Their track record of success is public and easily accessible. Finally, they are able to provide the services and have the necessary equipment (backup, too!), to provide a seamless soundtrack to your wedding day.