I‘m sorry. You can’t just call three D.J.s and ask them what they charge. All you will get is numbers and you need WAY more than that to plan your celebration. It will take gruntwork, just like hiring your photographer…so many choices your head will spin–go see ‘ems…apples, oranges, kiwis, guavas… Unless you have someone on your team who can narrow your list to a few tried, true, experienced party pros (that would be your cousin who’s been married seven times or a professional wedding coordinator), this is going to eat up some time.
As is with almost all other wedding vendors, the product they offer and the service by which they deliver it are also VERY important if you care at all about having a successful party. How are you supposed to know what to ask? Some will offer you a list of questions, which is very helpful. But, you have to get more…a second, third, 17th opinion. Ask ALL your friends about their weddings. Ask your other vendors.
I am NOT, by any means, an expert on D.J.s, much less hiring one. Never done it myself, nor have I seen that many in action. By the time a D.J. starts the party, the doves and I are ususally home, fed, and on our perches for the night. But, I ask lots of questions whenever I can, because I’m the curious type, and having rubbed shoulders with many of them for the last 18 years, I do know that there is a Sacramento D.J. for every style, personality, and budget. So what you want for your party is where you can start narrowing down your choices.
So you’ve made some calls? You never needed a D.J. before, so, of course, you’re mortified at their prices. Sorry, again. A great D.J. is an invaluable…no, they’re THEE tool for a successful party. It’s true, MAYbe anyone can spin CDs. But, not everyone knows the ins/outs/whys/wherefores and anatomy of a wedding reception. Many have lots of other gadgets they can bring to the party, including lighting. Ask them. Talent and personality is a must, experience is really important, but everyone has to start somewhere. But, be forwarned if hiring a newbie…I’ve seen them come and go…really fast.
There are MANY people out there calling themselves D.J.s and it’s just impossible to look into their souls and know what kind of party they’ll craft for you. If budget is an issue, do this exercise–this is how I buy shoes. I pretend to walk away and then try to imagine how I’ll feel the next day. Will I regret not making that purchase? It’s sorta the same with your D.J.–will you wish you’d spent the money on a professional the day after your wedding? Here’s some homework. Write this 100 times, long hand, preferably. You CAN’T type it on your ‘puter and copy and paste. That would be cheating. Here it is: If they can’t compete with their product, they compete with their price. Keep this in mind when hiring all your wedding vendors.
Again, I am not an expert on D.J.s, so I can only share stories about things I’ve witnessed. I only mention a few, because these bloopers, and variations thereof, have been duplicated countless times over the years. And besides, I don’t want to scare you.
1. I called a groom the day before his wedding last December and asked how everything was going. Sounding ever so slightly frantic, he said we was "driving all over town to find a CD!" I asked him who his D.J. was. His answer? "A friend." A professional D.J. will HAVE that music, saving you TONS of time, not to mention brain room, taking care of those details for you.
2. Was at a wedding–everyone but the bride had taken their place at the "altar", and all eyes were at the back waiting for her entrance. Oh, she was there, alright, but she was waiting for her music. Turned out, the CD she gave her D.J. wouldn’t play on his equipment. Guess who the D.J. was? A co-worker. A professional D.J. will help you choose your music AND you can be assured he has checked the format (especially for home burned CDs) and that his equipment will handle it.
3. Hire a professional.
I started writing about each of the following D.J. companies individually, and found that I was saying the same things over and over. I’ve known most of them (and love ALL of them!) since I started Whitebird, or shortly thereafter, which was 18 years ago. They’re fun! They’re professional! Very energetic! Highly experienced! Go beYOND the call of duty! Remember–you are entrusting this person with your celebration. Here are my faves, in alphabetical order. Calling all of them will not only be an education, but you will see/hear for yourself their differences. You will find at least ONE of them is a perfect match for your style and your budget!
A&A Music Events, 916 714-9099, www.aamusicevents.com
Creative Memories DJ, 916 714-9099, www.creativememoriesdj.com
DJ Crooner & Assoc., 916 722-5971, www.djcrooner.com
Entertainment Team, 816 933-5882, www.entertainmentteam.com
Exquisite Entertainment, 916 925-7873, www.exquisitedjs.com
Extreme Productions, 916 773-4329, www.extremeprodjs.com
Imagine Events, (916) 616-3828, www.imagineeventsinc.com
J.D. Productions, 916 786-6935, www.JDProDJ.com
Music In Motion, 916 923-DJ4U (3548), www.formotion.com
Music On The Move, 916 991-3738, www.musiconthemovedjs.com
Premier Entertainment, (916) 565-3700, www.premierentertainment.biz
Supernatural SoundZ, (915) 685-6935, www.supernaturalsoundz.com
Be sure to read this other "Notes…" entry I wrote regarding music for your wedding and reception: "All The Way Live Musicians". It includes another unfortunate scenario from when one of my brides hired a non-professional dj.
Even though the Dove Lady has no plans, yet, for the soiree to showcase her wedding cake, she is already planning her Lotto party. And her D.J. will be instructed to limit the playlist to all Beatles, all night, 1960 through December 8, 1980, in chron order, then repeat.