I have participated in so many weddings that I can’t possibly count them off of the top of my head. Indoor receptions, outdoor receptions, local, out-of-town, etc. etc.
Nowadays, with technology the way it is, EVERYBODY thinks they can be a DJ. Anybody can push a button and let a playlist roll but not everybody can be an ENTERTAINER. When I DJ, I use turntables and actually mix. Now they click a mouse and fist pump. Gee thats talent.
I am going to help you find out:
A: What type of entertainment you want for your reception.
B: What to expect from your entertainment.
Here are some FACTS to consider:
Do you want a band or DJ? I can honestly offer this because I am a musician AND a DJ. Lets look at the pros and cons.
Band Cons: More members = more people to pay
Bands can have a “star mentality” and make demands on the wedding party (i.e. we need 3 cases of beer, we will ONLY play 2 sets, etc)
More members = more equipment = more setup/teardown time, more things that can malfunciton
Limited playlist (they can only play what they know HOW to play)
Band Pros: Live music creates a fun party atmosphere
DJ Cons: Some DJ’s can have a “star mentality” and make demands on the wedding party (Nobody should be making ANY demands on you other than power/space to play. This is your day)
DJ Pros: DJs have unlimited playing capabilities
Youre paying 1 or 2 people. Not a group.
Less equipment = less space = less of a chance to malfunction
I will let you wiegh out what you want but there are some guidelines to consider:
A lot is said for expereince. Ask for references and actually CALL them. Ask about their performance. Ask if they would reccomend them? Ask them if they were glad they hired them?
Ask if a video is available of thier performace and actually WATCH it. Ask for many.
You shouldnt need to ask a DJ what he plays. A good DJ will cater to your needs and play whatever you ask him to as long as you let him know what music you want BEFORE the wedding. Make them a playlist if you want. Tell him what to play exactly when to play it if you want. Or let him read the crowd.
When thinking about music for your reception, think about what your GUESTS would want. Not JUST you. DO you want to see your guests sitting around not having fun because the DJ is playing what YOU want and not what THEY like? I know, its your day but think about your guests too.
Your entertainment can make or break your reception. People dont remember the flowers or the decorations, they remember the PARTY afterwards and whether it was fun or lame.
A good hire will go beyond the call of duty. If they see a problem, they will fix it or alert you even if it falls outside of thier responsibilities. This is where calling references helps. “Johnny saw a potentially dangerous scenerio with a lamp and he went and fixed the situation and I didnt even tell him to. He just did it.”
Dont let any entertainment that you hire make demands. Bands like to pretend they are rock stars and make a list of things they want for thier “dressing room”. (i.e. We want 5 cases of beer, 2 bags of green M&M’s…”. They aren’t Aerosmith, the DJ isn’t Q-Bert. All they should want is money, power outlets and a space to setup. They should want to setup when convenient for YOU. YOU are PAYING them for a SERVICE. If you want to provide them with food and beverages, that’s up to you.
Meet with your entertainment and communicate with them. (more than once if needed)
Make sure you are getting the entertainment you are hiring. Some places send thier kids or some one else when you assumed it would be the person you met with.
Is your entertainment interactive? Or are they just going to sit down and text people while your guests need to be directed and motivated.
Have everything in WRITING. Please dont skimp on this. Be as descriptive as you can so there is no confusion and we dont see you on the Peoples Court.
Whats the going rate? Again, cliche but you get what you pay for. Dont skimp. A great band or DJ costs money. When I DJ’d weddings, I charged thousands but I am the best (and humble).