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Wedding Day Music Mistakes And How To Avoid Them
by Scott Susor, Your DJ, Houston, TX
Planning for Musical Entertainment at the Reception?
These days, almost everybody has been to a wedding reception where a mobile DJ was performing. National magazine surveys show that today, over 70% of wedding receptions that include entertainment feature a mobile DJ in the role of providing that musical entertainment. As recently as 10 years ago, bands commanded the lion's share of the wedding reception entertainment industry. But, for several reasons, the mobile DJ has replaced the band as the favorite form of musical entertainment at wedding receptions.
The first reason is the decline in both the number and quality of bands that are able to perform for the typical wide range of age groups attending the average wedding. The second reason is that many bands simply priced themselves out of the wedding reception market. The third, and possibly most significant reason is the rise in stature and quality of the mobile DJ. In the past 10 to 20 years, the perception of the mobile DJ has undergone a transformation. No longer thought of as only appropriate for high school sock hops, the mobile DJ has become, not only appropriate, but preferred for wedding receptions.
So why do we often hear of consumer complaints concerning mobile DJs? Why do we hear so many tales of woe from brides and grooms concerning the mobile DJ that they had for their wedding? Why do we hear so many negative comments concerning the music from guests at weddings where a mobile DJ performed? Are all mobile DJs unethical, incompetent, and/or lousy?
Of course they aren't. As in any relatively young industry, there are those who know what they're doing and there are those who don't. The fact is, there are quite a few fantastic mobile DJs. However, because the best of them operate almost entirely on referrals, and are booked so far in advance, they are frequently unavailable to accept an event booking from a new client who perhaps has waited too long to find that high quality mobile DJ they want and need. In an effort to help you avoid ending up with an unethical, incompetent, and/or lousy mobile DJ, presented below are the top eight mistakes that brides make in choosing a mobile disc jockey service and how to avoid them:
1) Plan ahead, way ahead. Most brides begin planning their wedding nine months to a year in advance. Frequently however, the reception entertainment issue gets shuffled to the bottom of the deck in terms of planning. Of all eight mistakes, this is the biggest one. Why? The best mobile DJs book their dates six months to a year in advance. If you don't book a great mobile DJ early, and lock in one of the best, what does that leave you with to choose from later on?
2) Shop for quality. Sometimes that's easier said than done, especially when the typical bride might not fully understand what quality in a mobile DJ service truly represents. Some of the other top eight mistakes deal with detail issues of quality and how to identify it. Here, the idea is to generally see and evaluate mobile DJs in exactly the same light as you see and evaluate things like hotels, automobiles, home re-modelers, and doctors. Do not assume that all mobile DJ companies are alike. Do assume that high quality will cost more than low quality.
3) Realize the importance of the DJ to your wedding reception's success. National magazine surveys report that happy brides consistently say that the DJ was most responsible for their wedding reception's success. The average percentage of importance they've assigned to the DJ is 70%. Some people will remember your gorgeous wedding dress. Some people will remember the great food. Some people will remember the beautiful cake. Everybody will remember whether they had a good time or not.
4) Get to know your DJ personally before the wedding. Always request a personal meeting with the mobile DJ company owner AND with the specific DJ who'll be performing at your wedding reception. In many cases, the owner is the DJ himself/herself; this is known as a "single-op" mobile DJ service. Mobile DJ services where the owner has employees and/or subcontractors who do the actual gigs are called "multi-ops". Beware of mobile DJ company owners who resist or discourage in-person meetings with you. Beware of multi-op owners who will not guarantee in writing the specific DJ who will perform at your wedding reception. In any case, get to know your DJ to ensure a good working relationship.
5) Insist on use of a pre-planned, written agenda. Most mobile DJs simply want to show up and play music. That may be fine for high school sock hops but not for wedding receptions. A truly professional mobile DJ company understands this, and will require advance planning with the bride, resulting in an approved written agenda for the event. Nobody is in a better position to assist in planning the agenda, and to coordinate everything at the wedding reception, than the mobile DJ service. Make sure they do not refuse to accept this important responsibility.
6) Get and check references. Talking to those who have worked with a company before is the best way to verify that the company does what it promises and does it well. If you're dealing with a "multi-op" make sure the references are for the specific DJ who will be performing at your event, and not for other DJs working for that company nor "generic" references. You decide how many references to check, but the minimum should be five, and all should be from weddings within the past year.
7) Verify the "basics" of mobile DJ quality. The "basics" include a variety of items and issues that you might not immediately think of, but which are very important. First, does the company provide backup equipment on site? Second, is the company insured for property loss and liability? Third, does the company have an adequate and appropriate music library? Fourth, will the DJ(s) be attired appropriately? Fifth, will the DJ(s) be interactive, semi-interactive, or non-interactive according to your wishes? Sixth, will the DJ(s) manage the music effectively, reading the crowd, taking requests, and avoiding songs with potentially offensive lyrics? Seventh, does the company offer additional options/services such as secondary sound systems, wedding music and coordination, and nightclub-style lighting?
8) Ensure that your vision of your wedding day becomes reality. If those happy brides are even close to right that the entertainment was 70% responsible for their wedding reception's success, then it appears that the DJ's responsibility goes quite a bit further than 'just playing music'. And without question, it does. The best ones understand this, and they have taken mobile DJ entertainment from a job to an art. That's why they're constantly referred, and are booked six months to a year in advance. Don't try to use only your leftover time, and try to spend only your leftover money, or you'll probably end up with a leftover DJ.
Scott Susor is the co-owner of "Your DJ" Professional Entertainment Services in Houston, Texas. Scott and his wife Doreen are a husband and wife DJ entertainment team, specializing in wedding receptions. For a free information packet, phone 713-467-7392 or find them on the web at www.yourdjhouston.com
Copyright, Susor Enterprises, Inc.
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