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How To Hire A Disc Jockey

When you start thinking about entertainment for your wedding, Remember there is more to it than just hiring someone to play music.   First you need to get some referrals. Some great resources to start with are friends, family, parents, photographers, caterers and hotels.   You can also use major search engines such as Yahoo, Google, Sound Stage Entertainment, Ltd. or others. There are also Bridal Magazines and the Yellow pages.  Next, make a chart out of the names and numbers you get so you can keep notes as you talk to each one that you call.

One of the most puzzling things you will notice is the great disparity of pricing from one DJ service to the next. However, we suggest that you leave the question about price for last. First you need to find out what makes the DJ worth their fee and there are many differences in what they provide. Remember, your entertainment can make or break a reception. While it may be attractive to shop for a DJ by price, just as with every other wedding service vendor, price alone is not the definitive factor in this decision. All DJ services are not equal. Ask these questions in order...(bolded questions are more important)

Are you available for my date?
Do you provide a written contract?
How many playing hours are included?
Is set up time and travel included?
How early do you arrive to set up?
Do you charge by the hour or do you have a package?
Is there an extra charge for additional hours?
Can you explain how you conduct the evening?
Do you provide a wedding reception planner? Is it available on-line?
What do you wear?
Do you do the announcements? Are you the Emcee?
Are you open to requests? From us? From the guests?
How large is your music collection and is it varied.
How do we pick our music for the event?
Is a wireless mic for speeches included?
Is basic dance lighting included in the price?
How long have you been in business?
How many WEDDINGS have you done?
Are you the DJ who will be at the reception?
What type of equipment do you have? (Discuss with them if it's professional equipment)
Do you bring back up equipment?
How much is your deposit/retainer?
What is the total price for the package?
Are there any additional charges?
How is payment arranged?

Remember, there is a lot of prep work that should be done prior to the wedding by the DJ. He/she should be able to explain what they will do for you in advance to ensure the success of the event. This includes providing a planner, sample format of how the evening will go, a tentative timeline, making sure they have the music you want and more. Advance preparation is what a professional DJ does as part of their service.

A true professional will spend a minimum of 10-20 hours preparing for your reception. This includes going over your plans (consultations), music purchasing and editing, setting up and tearing down equipment, working with other vendors, etc. In other words, what you are paying for is more than just a body playing music!

Music however, is a very important element at your wedding reception. You have thought about the music you would like and probably imagined the evening as you would like it to be. If the DJ does not have a sufficient music library, you may find your guests won't be on the dance floor as much as you would like. A budget DJ simply has not invested the amount of money necessary to provide you with a first class selection of music. At a minimum, 5,000 songs is a necessity today for a professional, and 10,000 or more songs is a very good music library. Therefore, it is important for you to select a DJ who has invested in an extensive music library. However, along with having the song titles, your DJ should also have a variety of music genres AND the know how to blend them into a pleasing mix. Also, find out if the DJ encourages requests from the guests or does he/she have a set music program. Decide in advance which you prefer.

As the guests begin to arrive and enjoy cocktails and as they enjoy their meals it is nice to have quiet background music playing. At some point after the arrival of the Bridal Party, it is customary for a toast(s) to be made to the new couple. For this, a wireless microphone is a necessity. A wireless microphone allows each speaker to be more relaxed and comfortable and make their speech where they are and a wireless microphone reaches places a standard microphone cannot. A professional DJ should never charge extra to bring or use a wireless mic. Today, it should be a standard part of his equipment setup.

After you book a DJ, you will need to reach them. Knowing they are available full-time without additional costs to you is comforting. Also, having a toll-free telephone number could save you quite a bit of money. A well designed website may provide extra benefits such as the newest included perk, an on-line planner and even their music library.

Finally, Listen to the DJ as they speak. Does he/she have a pleasing voice and personality? Remember, what you hear on the phone will be twice as good or bad when amplified on a sound system. Make sure the person you are talking to is the one that will do the wedding reception. If they try to pawn you off on one of their employees, ask to speak to the DJ who will be doing the reception. Never, ever accept someone you have never talked to. Remember, having confidence in WHO you hire is of prime importance in all your planning. As with all things in life, quality and professionalism is priceless.

Our Thanks to Dave Garrett of Record-Go-Round Digital DJs for this article.
Record-Go-Round has been serving the Western Pennsylvania area for over 24 years.
Dave was a Radio DJ for over 20 years and is a Wedding DJ specialist.

Article Courtesy of WeddingHowTo.Com.

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