- 7 years ago
- Wedding: January 1990
1. Do you DJ full-time?
2. Will you personally be the DJ for our reception?
3. Do you also Emcee the reception?
4. Do you provide a wedding reception planner?
5. Do you come to my home or business to go over the entertainment planner?
6. Do you carry liability insurance?
7. If in Canada, is your business registered with the Audio Video Licensing Agency Inc. (AVLA) to legally play re-recorded music?
8. Are you a member of your local Chamber of Commerce or BBB?
9. Have you received any formal classroom training as a DJ?
10. What time do you arrive to setup your equipment?
11. Do you wear a suit and tie?
12. How many songs do you have in your library?
13. What is the format of your music in? (e.g. records, cassettes, CD)
14. Do you provide cocktail/ dinner music?
15. Do you provide a microphone specifically for speeches?
16. Do you bring backup equipment with you?
17. Are basic effects lighting included?
18. Do you offer lighting and sound upgrades?
19. Are there any additional charges, for instance for travel?
20. Do you have a website and/ or toll-free telephone number?
21. Do you provide a written contract and guarantee?
We believe your DJ should meet all of the above criteria and more. A career DJ has much more at stake when it comes to providing professional service, full-time. A DJ company with a solid reputation will not want to send another DJ company to represent them.
Once a DJ has gained experience and confidence, being an emcee will come naturally to them. Before getting in front of your guests however, a meeting will be necessary to go over all the details in the wedding reception planner. It is common for the DJ to meet with you a few months before the wedding to go over the planner, and to call you at least a week prior to the wedding. A good reception planner will have all the details of the reception including names of the bridal party; times of events happening throughout the evening; type of music to play; and all other details that will ensure the evening’s perfection.
“Does your DJ have liability insurance?” is a common question asked by the venue. Liability insurance protects you, your guests, the venue and the DJ. Also of equal importance in Canada, is the DJ AVLA licensed to play re-recorded music? If not, you could find your entertainment cut short as it is illegal to play re-recorded music without an AVLA license.
A good DJ will be known in their own town, so ask the DJ if they are members of a Chamber of Commerce or the Better Business Bureau (BBB). If so, contact the Chamber of Commerce of BBB and inquire about their standing.
To be considered a profession, it takes some degree of training and experience. Inquire as to where they received their training; was it in a classroom or on the road?
To be sure your DJ will not be unloading and setting up after your guests start to arrive, ensure they will be there at least two to three hours before the event is scheduled to begin. This gives time to setup and test all equipment, and to replace any defective cables or components. It is normal for a DJ to setup the equipment in street clothes, then to change to appropriate attire shortly before the reception gets underway.
Music is very important at your wedding reception – you have considered the music you would like for the evening, and expect your DJ to play it. However, many DJs are wedding specialists and therefore may not have a sufficient music library. You may find your guests aren’t going to be on the dance floor as much as you would have like them to be. As a minimum, wedding DJs should have 5,000 songs in their music library. If their music library is 10,000 songs or more, you can expect the DJ to have not only your song titles but also the specific version you would like played.
To give you an example of having the right version, suppose you request “Crazy”. We carry this song title by the following artists: Aerosmith, Patsy Cline, Daisy Dee, Georgia Satellites, Julio Iglesias, Kenny Rogers, and Seal.
Records scratch, cassette tapes are recorded in a specific order and the tape stretches over time. The best format is of course Compact Disc (CD). Songs on CDs are digitally recorded, so they are perfect virtually every time they are played. A new emerging format is called MP3. MP3 music is digitally recorded then ‘compressed’ to sound similar to a CD recording with slight degradation. Consider a piece of paper – if you scrunch it in your hand, then spread it back out again, it is still a full piece of paper but not exactly the same as before you compressed it.
As the guests begin to arrive, and as they enjoy their meals it is nice to have dinner music playing. DJ packages generally include at least one hour of dinner (or cocktail) music. At this time, it is customary for persons seated at the head table to make speeches or to offer advice or good wishes to the new couple. For this, a microphone is a necessity. A microphone should be available for the head table and any guest that may have something to say.
One of the most common horror stories I hear is of equipment failure, and the DJ doesn’t have backup equipment with them. Professional series DJ equipment is very expensive – and very, very mandatory. Therefore the most common advice we say to DJs starting out is, “if you can’t afford to bring a backup amplifier, speakers, CD player and cables with you, THEN DON’T DO WEDDING RECEPTIONS!”
After you have determined that a DJ has the right music, to ensure your guests are going to be up on the dance floor you may want to have some effects lighting. Basic lighting is generally included in any entertainment package. This may include a mirror ball with a couple spotlights, or a similar effect.
If the dance floor is large enough, adding effects lighting will generate a good deal of excitement on the dance floor. When operated correctly it also sets the mood for the song. For instance a mirror ball effect is great for the slow dances. Lighting upgrades are usually packaged together with sound upgrades.
The most common sound upgrade is bi-amping. By separating the lows (bass) from the music and amplifying it separately then playing it through bass bins, there are two benefits. First, the sound will be very crisp and clear, and second, the music is louder. For large venues accommodating over 300 guests, a bi-amped sound system is optimal.
Professional DJs charge accordingly. It is very, very seldom that a DJ will charge more than the market warrants (in fact I have never heard of it). If you find that a DJ charges more than their competitors, ask them why. And of course if you encounter a DJ charging significantly more or less than their competitors, I anticipate you will know why. One or more of the aforementioned 21 questions will tell you why there are price differences.
During the time that you book a DJ, you will need to reach them. Knowing they are available full-time without additional costs to you is comforting. A toll-free telephone number could save you quite a bit of money. And a good website will enable you to send them questions or information anytime – day or night. A well-designed website may provide extra benefits such as on-line planners, pricing or upgrade information. It is a good place to begin looking for the right wedding DJ. SoundsXtreme.ca