Post # 1
DJ’s in our area go for about $800 for a 4 hour reception. We’re getting married the Saturday before Christmas and so far I have recieved quotes ranging from $800-$3,000. That is $750 AN HOUR?!?! Do you know anyone who makes that kind of money? And seriously…for pushing buttons on a computer and making announcements? I feel like sometimes when it comes to weddings, vendors really play up the “this is your one big day…you should spare no expense” mentality and charge you something ridiculous that in your non wedding crazed mind you would never agree to.
I don’t feel that I can justify putting such a large amount of money towards this. Soooo my question is….What do YOU think the value of a dj is? A lot of the big companies have tried to scare us away from the smaller guys, going so far as to call them “bottom feeders who don’t know what the hell their doing” (Direct quote BTW)
We have a friend of a friend who DJ’s and is getting into weddings. We have met him, we like him, AND he has offered to DJ our wedding for a DEEP DISCOUNT. We’re talking a quarter a cost of some of these other guys. I guess my question is, do you think its safer to go with the well known big DJ company (who charges an arm and a leg) or go with the friend?
Post # 3
Honestly, I think the vast majority of wedding DJs are not good. If I had a bit more money, I would rather hire a DJ who spins at clubs, and tell him or her to go more mainstream, than hire a wedding DJ and meticulously instruct him how not to stink. Basically I hired my DJ only because he was entirely welcoming of my micro-management.
I would go with the friend. Even spending $3000 (ridiculous!), it strikes me as unlikely that the DJ is super awesome. If someone is worth $3000 spinning records, why the heck are they working in the wedding industry?
Sorry to be harsh on the industry there, but c’mon. The only time I’ve seen a great DJ at a wedding, he wasn’t a wedding DJ.
Post # 4
I second going with the friend. I haven’t started looking for DJs so I don’t know what prices I’m going to run into, but honestly, wedding DJs aren’t that awesome as a general rule.
Post # 5
THANK YOU! You guys are making me feel much better! I agree with you about most DJs not being that good, and all the “big” one’s we have met with are goofy middle aged white men in a tux…I’m not the trendiest person in the world…but i mean come on.
The DJ friend mostly does clubs, and flys around the county most weekends for gigs…so I guess I know that he’s legit in the DJ world, but not necessarily the wedding world. We are not wanting anything particularly “urban” (we’re kinda the ultimate caucasians) we just don’t want a lame guy who is over the top
Post # 6
Take him up on his offer! Just ask him to keep things relatively mainstream, and go a little old-school for the first hour.
The guy I saw who was actually good mixed standard wedding songs over more modern beats, transitioned songs skillfully, didn’t once have to say a thing in the mic, etc. He was great.
Post # 7
That’s awesome that you’ve got a friendor DJ! Take him up on it, for sure, especially since the prices in your area are so ridiculous. A vendor that tries to scare you into paying more for their services has a poor attitude (and an inflated ego).
Post # 8
Out DJ is $800 but we could have got one for probably around $500.
He will play all night including dinner music. We are going with this guy because:
#1 He is an aquaitence
#2 He is a radio DJ
#3 We had him at my sister’s wedding and everyone thought he was great
Post # 9
As someone who’s stuck with a big corporate DJ — do yourself a favor & go smaller. Do you have any friends/family who have been married recently that you can ask for a reference? How about your venue or photographer? A lot of the time one vendor has recommendations for others & sometimes you can even get a discount since you were a referral. Good luck! 🙂
Post # 10
Those prices are ridiculous. They aren’t playing any musical instrument which in my opinion warrants a higher price. Keep looking or go with the friend. As long as they can make announcements nice and clear why spend all that money?
Post # 11
The high costs are due to overhead. The ‘bigger’ guys probably have better equipment and therefore better sound quality, which is a HUGE deal in the music world. Music geeks are constantly commenting on the sound quality of things while a normal person like me doesn’t notice good from bad unless it’s REALLY BAD.
So you’re paying for better, more updated equipment and possibly a more experienced DJ. If you hire one of the little guys who is cheaper, there’s a good chance everything will be just fine, but I would assume you’d have more peace of mind with a larger more established DJ.
Post # 12
we are having a friend DJ our wedding! he’s up on the latest technologies and Fiance has the best sound equipment and tables around (he used to dj back in college)… so we lucked out!
but i totally agree with the bees, unless you hire a prof club-circuit dj, i think wedding dj’s are overrated and not worth the extra cost!
Post # 13
Thank you everyone for your responses! I truly appreciate the feedback. It’s great to here what other bees are doing for their DJ and what influenced their decisions. I am in a similar situaiton to missjyc, Fiance worked gigs as a DJ when he was in college and still enjoys messing around with it from time to time.
He grilled the guy we are considering on his equipment and the programs he uses to mix music and seemed actually more satisfied than when he had talked to some of the other Big Company DJ’s. So I am confident that the quality will be on par.
I think that we have decided to go with the friendor for the following reasons:
1) Finances (you just can’t beat his price…especially compared to some of the outrageous quotes we got) we’re talking $200 vs $800-3,000
2) His equipment is on par with, if not better than, many of the other DJs we spoke with.
3) He comes highly recommended by several friends.
So we haven’t made the move yet to sign a contract with him, but I’m feeling pretty confident that for the above mentioned reasons we’ll take care of that shortly.
Post # 14
I would also go with the friend. The only thing I would add is that you might want to give him a really detailed list of Do’s and Don’ts, since he doesn’t have as much experience right now. I would be really specific about what music you want played and what music you don’t.
You may also ask him how he chooses what order to play the songs in… I was at one wedding where a bunch of people were on the dance floor really enjoying a fast song, and suddenly the next song was slow instead of another fast one– and as you’d expect, the dance floor cleared really fast. At that same wedding, too, the DJ suddenly got it into his head that he should do a pretend “Auction Off the Bride’s Shoe” and send a hat around for everyone to put money in. The bride looked surprised, worried and a little upset… She was afraid she was really losing her shoe half-way through the reception!
A DJ at another reception did a similar thing where he “stole” the bride for awhile and made people put money into a hat to “get her back.” In that case, it seemed expected, but I thought it was in really poor taste, since they’d already done a “dollar” dance–My thought was, “Why did I bother bringing a present if you were just going to try to get as much cash out of me as you could when I got here?”
Another thing you might make sure to have him write down is what announcements you want him to make, etc. A DJ at another wedding I’ve gone to somehow got it into his head to give a speech when everyone else was giving speeches. (I guess he thought that because he had a microphone, he had a right to do this…?) And he gave some weird, incoherent speech about the bride doing some embarrassing thing in his presence… Odd.
Anyway, I didn’t mean to make this negative about DJ’s! I just wanted to add in my two cents about going through the Do’s and Don’ts. Your friend of a friend might actually be more likely to be considerate about what you want than some professional, generic DJ company would be. Best of luck to you! I’m sure your reception will rock! 😉
Post # 15
I dont know if its too late to give you this advice, but we had difficulty (it took us three months to find the perfect DJ) finding one, and along the advice our planner gave us great advice:
(1) Look for great MC skills in a DJ. I had the opportunity to compare the private DJ to the big company DJ to high end wedding DJs in our metro area. The thing that stood out the most to us – MCing skills. (I attened a wedding workshop (not bridal fair) and was able to see our now DJ in action – great MCing skills.) So, look for that 😉
You are right, anyone can play music. But, not everyone should be trusted with a microphone and your MC responsibilities at your wedding 😉
(2) the MC/DJ is a big deal based upon the reason above, it could make or break a wedding reception. (I trust my planner, she gave no recommendations to the DJ we ended up hiring, but her advice was priceless bc we saw the different in quality).
Tough decision. Good Luck 🙂
Post # 16
I’ve been a wedding dj for 28 years. I have to say that in my humble opinion all dj’s are not created equal. The advice about emceeing skills is excellent. Yes, anyone can push buttons and play songs but your dj/emcee should be able to play the requests you’ve given them as well as the requests from your guests in a way that flows and keeps everyone from thinking about where to go next after the wedding.
They should also be able to manage the light show in a way that complements the music and doesn’t send anyone running for sunglasses or a welder’s helmet. A good dj can get the party going – a great dj can fill the dance floor right away and keep it full all night. There has to be a natural intuition for which song to play “next” all night long.
As far as which way to go – small or big dj service – it really doesn’t matter as long as you have confidence in your dj’s ability to entertain at your party in a way that is appropriate to you. A great dj can adapt their skills to the requirements of each event. I have never played two events that were the same. I don’t tend to play the same songs at each event nor do I want to. I don’t over do it on the microphone, but when I do speak, it’s clearly and professionally – never ever cheesy.
Be sure to see the person who will be your dj at an event or in person for an interview. Your “Big Day” is in their hands and you better be comfortable with what they bring to the party.
Everybody shops price first and everything else second. My advice is don’t shop by price alone. Of course it’s important – now more than ever – but don’t put yourself in a position where you might just get what you pay for. Meet 25 dj’s if that’s what it takes to get that good vibe about them. Talk to others who have used their service (a great dj has all kinds of references).
In short – your party is in your dj’s hands – don’t assume that they’re not just giving you salesmanship in order to fill their calendar. Also don’t assume that the guy you see now is the guy who will show up at your wedding. Get a written guarantee on the person you want and don’t be afraid to pay a couple hundred more to get the right person. The turnover at the big companies can be huge (they tend to hire alot of friends of their staffers – young people who will bail if their buddy does and so on) – not so with the little guys. The little guys should have a proven track record and be able to show it to you. I just ran info a bride of mine from about ten years ago yesterday. She still recommends me because I made sure I knew what they wanted and delivered it.
Refuse to leave your reception to chance. I know all the planning gets old and sometimes you just want to make a decision and move on. Resist the temptation when it comes to your entertainment. Go the extra mile and you will never regret it.