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Wedding Planning… Do’s and Dont’s to help your DJ

Help A DJ Out…

So, you’re planning your wedding reception (or thinking about it) and you are probably mostly concerned about it looking good, making sure things flow smoothly, and that everyone has a great time, right? These are probably the most important thoughts when you start thinking about your big day and in reality you probably hope that you can pay people to take care of this part for you. Cue your DJ! We’ve all heard about how DJ’s can make or break your day, DJ’s are more than just music, yada yada yada. But what about the ins and outs that your DJ needs in order for your day to be a success? Yes you, the bride actually play a huge role in making sure your day goes according to plan. We’re going to review some do’s and do-not’s during planning and day-of, to make sure your DJ can create that magical day you’ve always dreamed of…

The Do’s…

Make sure your DJ has access to power– Sounds obvious, but I can’t count how many times I’ve walked into a room, to find we are up against a soft wall and have to run 100ft of cord to reach power. Or, there is not enough power for the size setup they wanted. This is something you and your DJ should discuss during the planning process.

Provide protection from the elements– If you are having an outdoor reception, it’s always a good idea to provide your DJ with a tent, or cover from the outdoor conditions. Plain and simple, our gear does not work well with water (we pull the plug when drop #1 hits the ground) and the sun/heat is also no good for speakers since the amplifiers can overheat.

Place your DJ as close to the dance floor as possible– I cringe when I walk into the room and see that the dance floor is 20 feet away from the DJ area. There are many issues with this scenario. Trying to throw sound over the top of tables between us and the dance floor is always a challenge. The people in between think the music is too loud, when others around the room think it’s not loud enough. And 9 times out of 10 Grandma sits at the table right in front of the DJ booth and speakers. And during the open dancing, we like to be able to get a good look at the crowd and base our song selection on the crowd feel and reaction, which is tough to do if you stick us in the corner far away from the action.

Book a package that fits your event– Don’t expect your DJ to give you concert-like effects with only one or two police lights and a boombox. Make sure you budget for the proper amount of sound and lighting to give your event that look and feel that you truly want. Almost anything… and I mean ANYTHING can be done or faked 😉 You want a Vegas ultra-lounge feel? Then your DJ (well, this DJ at least) should be able to provide it or get you in touch with someone that can. Save and book the package that fits your needs.

Plan ahead– If your DJ gives you a planner, actually try to fill it out prior to your final meeting. This saves time for both parties. At the final meeting, we like to go over all the details and make sure any issues are discussed. There’s nothing more frustrating than having given the bride a planner 8 months prior to the date, for her to show up with nothing filled out and nothing thought about. In the end, I almost feel like I’m planning your reception day. Don’t get me wrong, I have many ideas and thoughts to guide you and help whenever needed, but I really feel that the reception and flow should display your personality and tastes, not mine. Having the planner filled out ahead of time could save you hours at our final meeting.

The Do-Not’s…

Do not let the hiring process frustrate you– I wrote another blog post about interviewing DJ’s. Take control of your wedding day and don’t be intimidated by the many DJ types out there. By nature, many DJ’s are doing whatever they can to land any gig they can get. If it sounds too good to be true, you guessed it… it probably is! If a DJ has to tell you how good he/she is compared to everyone else in the market, then that should put up a caution flag. You have so many resources available to you including online reviews, referrals, social sites, etc. Take advantage of these and make sure you get the DJ that is right for YOU!

Do not wait until the last minute to book your DJ– In the last week I’ve had about 5 calls asking for our availability for dates within the next two months (one wanted us this weekend). Good luck trying to book a reliable, trustworthy, experienced DJ the week of your event. There is a reason that the “good” DJ’s are booked months (in our case about a year) in advance. Most DJ’s are limited in resources and can only do a few events a weekend. And good DJ’s are hot commodities and are hard to find a lot of times. So, if someone has been recommended to you and you want to make sure they are your DJ’s, then book them asap! Unfortunately, most people book the DJ last and sometimes miss out on the one they want.

Do not let your DJ go hungry– You might find this funny, but a hungry DJ is not a happy DJ. Does this mean you need to feed your DJ, absolutely not. Just let your DJ know whether or not they should eat before they setup for your event. Remember, they have been there hours before anyone has arrived. Nobody should be expected to go 8-12 (sometimes longer) hours without getting a little grub. Trust me when I tell you that DJ’s appreciate any time you allow them to eat during the dinner, and it will definitely pickup the DJ mojo as your night gets rockin’!

Do not expect your DJ to ‘wing it’– Make sure you have gone through a planner of some sort with your DJ, so that he/she knows exactly what is supposed to happen that day. We provide all of our brides with a planner for them to work through and then have a final meeting to go over the final plan in detail. If there’s anything that can throw off your DJ, it’s unexpected surprises the day of the event. That being said, your DJ should be able to adjust and make changes on the fly if need be. Little adjustments for time or other minor needs tend to be just fine. But big program changes on the fly can cause the DJ’s blood pressure to rise a little (but he should still be willing and able to proceed regardless!).

Some of these points might seem picky or maybe have never been given a thought, but are very easy to follow or remedy. Having reasonable expectations for your DJ is a must and DJ’s must have reasonable expectations of their clients. At the end of the day, communication is probably the key factor in any event running smoothly. Failure to communicate usually leads to Grandpa having a front row seat in front of the DJ booth or a last minute setup glitch because the DJ, bride and coordinators were not on the same page. Taking the above into account can save time and hassel, averting the need for bride-zilla or even worse, dj-zilla to make an unwanted appearance.

Article written by Chris Romero of Cutmaster Music

Check out Chris’s Google+ profile.