"Choosing the right DJ may be the most important decision you will make when it comes to making your wedding reception a success!" - The Knot.com
Your wedding DJ will determine whether your reception is a blast or a bust...
At Party 101 Productions we are 100% certain that with our extensive music library and our entertaining DJs, we can make your wedding and reception dreams come true!! We guarantee that our professional wedding DJs will help you create the perfect wedding & reception.
We hope to earn your business by helping you understand what sets Party 101 Productions apart from the other DJ companies out there, and by providing you with plenty of information to help you with your decision. After all, this is one of the most important events of your life! We want to help you get it right.
We realize there is A LOT to read on this page and You do not have to read all of it to book a Party 101 Productions DJ, You can simply click here or on any picture on this page and contact us! However, we do recommend reading this page, because this is your wedding, and you'll only get one chance to get it right! Therefore, we would like to share a few tips, suggestions, and our professional opinions to help you create the wedding of your dreams.
Let's begin! First, we strongly recommend clicking the Amazon.com link below and setting up your bridal registry! It's fast, easy, and you'll get wedding gifts from your family and friends that you actually want and need. People love to shop online, and the Amazon Bridal Registry is a great!!!
Next, choosing your wedding DJ is one of the best parts of your wedding preparations. You get to meet a lot of wedding industry people who are generally nice, outgoing, and personable. Of course, the big debate is frequently DJ or Band. That's always one of the hard decisions a newlywed couple must make. The biggest advantage a wedding DJ has over a band is cost. There are some lousy bands out there, and many awesome bands too, but many bands can cost a lot of money. I saw an excellent band at a function that charged $4000 for the 8 member group.
Band Or DJ? That's the question. But since we are DJs, of course, we'll share this small statistic. * (80% of the people surveyed by the knot.com and onewed.com said that they definitely preferred a DJ over a band, and 65% of the people who had chosen to go with a band at their wedding, indicated that after their wedding, they regretted their choice to go with a band.)
A good wedding DJ is not only more cost effective than a band, they dynamically work your wedding crowd for 4 - 6 hours. However, here is an important tip! You should use contracts. We will give you several things to look for and look out for in a contract. However, before you get to the contract signing, (unless of course you are 100% sure that you want a particular DJ company)
Interviewing Prospective Wedding DJs
Often the best DJ companies grow through referrals. For example, at Party 101 Productions, we get 90% of our business from repeat customers and from referrals. Our clients are often kind enough to tell their friends, family members, and co-workers about having a great time at one of the parties or events we've performed at, and because of them we are thriving.
We suggest that you ask your friends, co-workers, and even wedding reception halls when searching for your wedding DJ. Talk to recent newlyweds, or ask your wedding reception hotel or resort. They may have a list of preferred vendors for you to call (wedding DJs who they trust.)
Often newlyweds and wedding reception coordinators have seen and can share horror stories with you about the really bad DJs out there and can tell you who to avoid. Additionally, many reception halls and wedding planners have exclusive lists, which contain vendors that they have worked with in the past and who they know to be reliable and professional, like Party 101 Productions! Remember, the wedding planner's or the resort's reputation is at stake when referring a DJ, so it's probably a good DJ if they come highly recommended (hint! hint! - check out our testimonials page!)
Beware of secondary hotels or reception sites that might not be as scrupulous. Some caterers may get a kickback, so know who you are dealing with. Interview 3-5 Wedding Disc Jockeys. Don't rush to pick your wedding DJ, they all have different personalities. We also recommend that you use a digital DJ. Remember, when using computer software, a DJ can edit their best material to make themselves and your reception much better. Also, when you can, scrutinize wedding videos from friends to see if you like their DJ. If you happen to see your potential DJ while you are a guest at another wedding before you make your decision, that helps too.
Many people of marrying age attend several weddings in a year, and this is a good time to start considering your vendors. If you have special song requests, ask the DJ if they have it or if they can get it. If your reception is complex, and in a big well-known resort or hotel, you want a true professional who works in the big places, like Party 101 Productions (not DJ what's his name from around the corner or even worse, your iPod.)
At larger events, you will really want someone with the experience of working with the catering departments of a larger venue. This synergy between DJ and catering manager is what keeps your function running smoothly. A DJs talent should reach far beyond just motivating the crowd or making the announcements at the right time. They must have their finger on the pulse of your wedding and know everything that is going on. The only way this can happen is when they have a good working relationship with the venue staff.
Questions To Ask Your Prospective Wedding DJ
Is the DJ familiar with your wedding venue?
Ask your DJ if they have done weddings at your reception site before? It helps that they know the wedding venue, how to get there, and they have a familiarity with the staff. Your wedding disc jockey may also be better prepared to deal with known issues or caveats with the wedding reception hall. Every little positive wedding DJ bullet item you find makes it less likely that you will have problems with your DJ. It does not mean you should reject the DJ if they have not worked there before, but it's a nod in their favor if they can make things run smoothly for you.
Who will actually be the DJ performing at your wedding?
This one is important. You would hate to spend an hour interviewing your wedding DJ, like their personality, only to be blindsided at your wedding by having another DJ show up, when you expected the DJ that you interviewed to perform. Make absolutely certain your contract spells out exactly who will be your DJ. If you want the owner and not an employee, it should be in the contract. The contract should also mention what time and place they are to perform. Call a month ahead of the wedding to verify. Verbal promises made by your wedding DJ should be in writing in the contract. They won't remember several months from your initial conversation what they verbally promised you.
What about wedding DJ overtime and other unexpected or hidden fees?
Your contract should clearly specify all costs, including any assistant disc jockeys they will have with them, as well as special equipment lighting packages, or other fees that they pass on to you as the client. Be wary of vendors who give you low ball quotes, but only give you 3 hours of time. Three hours may work for a house party or a school prom, but a standard wedding is 4 hours or more. If your reception runs longer, you don't want to deal with an unprofessional and money hungry DJ who threatens that "it's going to cost you another $200 per hour or we walk out right now."
You must also plan for overtime in case the reception runs longer than the contract specifies. The contract should clearly spell out how much extra it will cost you to have your wedding DJ for an extra hour or two. It can cost $150 per hour or more. Do not believe verbal promises stating they will work extra hours for free. Put it in writing in the contract, or they will not do it. Don't be blindsided like many brides and grooms are when their event runs over. We have heard enough horror stories about brides whose wedding ran over, and the DJ threatened to leave if not paid in cash right then. You don't want surprises. Your wedding DJ contract should be a game plan that covers all bases so you know exactly how much your DJ will cost you.
What attire will your wedding disc jockey wear at your wedding?
Sounds like a no brainer, but you usually want your DJ to wear a tuxedo. You don't want your beautiful wedding to feature a DJ wearing black jeans and a college t-shirt hanging out while your guests are all in formal or semi-formal attire.
How many years experience does this wedding DJ have?
and Will they play CDs you provide?
Some wedding disc jockeys have a list of songs they play, and except for the bride and groom's first dance, they do not give you much choice. (At Party 101 Productions we allow our clients to choose up to 100% of what will be played, if the client would like), which is not the norm. We do recommend that you let your DJ be your guide as to what songs should be played. But at Party 101 we respect that this is YOUR wedding and we play only what you like.
A good disc jockey reads the crowd and knows what to play. Be sure they know what NOT to play, as well as special songs you want to hear. Ask if they will accept requests from wedding guests. Your wedding disc jockey should be flexible with a wide selection, so requests from your wedding guests can be fulfilled. This is VERY crucial, because your wedding DJ plays about 60 songs during your reception, and you want nothing but the best tunes to keep your dance floor crowded. If the DJ needs to intervene and suggest a song, heed them as they generally know what they are doing, and keep up with the current trends. You want a wedding DJ who can adapt to any crowd. At Party 101 Productions, we suggest that the right DJ for any wedding will be someone who is very well versed in all areas of music. Don't try to give the DJ a tape or a CD of the songs to play for the night. You hired a DJ not a juke box operator. If they stick to your playlist, we can guarantee you that you'll have an empty dance floor. Your musical taste is not the same as 120 people at your wedding. Let your DJ do his job and keep your wedding guests happy.
Does your wedding DJ have a request form for you to fill out?
Ask for a list of wedding requests and suggestions in all categories. Some wedding DJs have a request form for you to fill out, so they can have everything ready for the wedding. Some obscure songs can take a while for them to obtain.
Where will your wedding DJ setup? Is there a dance floor?
This is a rare need, but some wedding reception sites require your wedding DJ to bring a dance floor if the room does not have one. Some hotel banquet halls are all carpeted, without a hard floor for dancing. Also, you may NOT want a DJ who comes in and elevates themselves on the stage. At Party 101 Productions, our wedding DJs' philosophy is that the DJ should NEVER overshadow the bride and groom. Therefore, at weddings we never set up on the stage. Rather, we setup off to the right, closer to the crowd.
Will your wedding disc jockey need to be fed at your wedding?
Be sure to feed your DJ. With travel, setup, performance, tear-down and return travel, they often go 10 or 12 hours without eating. Ask if they want to be fed. Some disc jockeys do not want to eat while they work. They deserve it though, because they might be there 4 hours with nothing to eat or drink. The caterer needs to know so they can bill you accordingly. They usually make sandwiches for DJs, musicians, photographers, etc., or you can invite your vendors to eat from the buffet. Verify pricing with the caterer. You would not want them to charge you extra if you were not planning for it.
Typically, at Party 101 Productions, we believe it is somewhat unprofessional for the DJ to eat when they should be working, and many of our clients have told us that they admired our philosophy on this topic, but often they insist on feeding us anyway. Of course we graciously accept.
Does your wedding DJ do corporate functions also?
Ask the DJ if they do corporate functions. If you can find a talented wedding DJ who has experience in corporate functions, then you really have someone worth their weight in gold. These are true professionals with mastery of dealing with large scale projects and all the SNAFUs that go along with them. If the wedding DJ you are considering also does corporate events (like Party 101 Productions), this is a good selling point. Not a deal maker, but impressive, and it's ok to use a DJ that does not do corporate work also.
What problems has the DJ encountered at weddings and how did they solve them?
You want a wedding DJ who is resilient, able to respond quickly to unforeseen mishaps that can mar your wedding. You can bet that many weddings look smooth, but had issues that were quickly seamlessly patched behind the scenes by DJs, caterers, and other vendors.
Is the DJ insured or belong to any professional organizations like A.D.J.A?
Your contract only states what your DJ will do, but it does not say if they will do it well. Membership in organizations like A.D.J.A. gives them growth, education, and ethics.
When it comes to cost, DO NOT GET A CHEAP DJ!!! We strongly recommend hiring professional wedding DJs like those who work for Party 101 Productions. There are moonlighting DJ's that might only charge $300 - $500, but if you hire them you'll be sorry! Here is an example of what you get when you book an "inexpensive" DJ for your wedding.
Truly professional wedding DJs charge $1,000 up to $3,000 depending on the state you're in. Your area may be less or more. In North & South Florida for example, you might expect to pay up to $2,500 for a professional wedding DJ.
When several different wedding vendors point to the same person as the best, they are usually right. Our wedding DJ's at Party 101 Productions always try to give you the feeling that you should have had to pay more than you did for the entertainment you received. Our objective is always to ensure that your clients leave their weddings saying that our DJ more than proved he was worth his weight in gold, as the evening went flawlessly.
You want a DJ company that takes an interest in what YOU want.
Meet with the DJ periodically as you plan your wedding, and then meet again with your DJ one last time a few days before the wedding so he or she can phonetically pronounce each person's name he or she is going to introduce at the wedding. This is a great added touch because no one likes to have their name mispronounced at a wedding. You may want to hire the owner of the DJ company, even though they usually charge more than the employees. The owner usually is the smartest one and has the most experience.
No Business Cards On Display!
You are the customer!! If you do not want a DJ to put cards out, the DJ should honor your request and not do it. At Party 101 Productions we recommend that you tell the DJ to keep the in your pocket. Of course if you don't mind, then you should designate a place where your DJ can put his or her cards out. A DJ should not have several different vendors' cards sprawled out on top of a speaker, and it make your wedding look like a flea market. If anyone wants the DJ's card, they can ask for one. All DJs carry cards in their pocket. Your reception is not a community bulletin board. In our opinion, sprawling business cards at a wedding is one of the tackiest things DJs do.
No Revolving Police Lights!
Trust us on this one, you don't want red revolving police lights at your wedding. Or maybe you do, if you want that police raid look at your wedding, it's your decision. This is just OUR opinion, but this is on the Tacky Top Ten, a cheap way for the DJ to give off a lot of light on a budget.
A BAD WEDDING DJ CAN RUIN THE BEST OF WEDDINGS!
If the DJ is not constantly motivating the crowd, the floor will be empty, and your reception will be a bust. It's like a strange quiet party. You need constant motivation from an experienced crowd pleaser. After your wedding, you want to be the bride that has great joy and fond memories of a well run wedding. Not the bride expressing her anguish, shaking her head, saying this guy came highly recommended, I don't understand what happened.
We thought we would include a few horror stories below to emphasize our point here, and for a few laughs. (By the way, none of these stories are experiences that have come from any party 101 productions event or clients.)
"The DJ at my brother's wedding really screwed things up. He was so highly recommended by everyone and my brother was at a loss for words trying to figure out how everything went south on him. The DJ did not play the songs he was supposed to play. He missed the song for the Bride & Dad dance! What a big mistake. During the Groom & Mom dance, the groom and mom were kept waiting alone on the empty dance floor for 5 minutes because the wedding disc jockey could not get his player to work. Let's see I think you just push the one that says "play"...."
DJ's Should Know The Itinerary at your wedding reception!
It is the DJ's responsibility to know when all the events are supposed to occur during a reception, like cake cutting, bouquet tosses, birthday surprises, etc. The DJ's job is to work with catering, and know when meals are being served and when the milestone events are to take place. The DJ and the caterer should have this under control before your reception begins! The DJ, caterer, and Photographer should all be in contact and playing off the same sheet of music.
Cordless Mics Are a Plus!
I'm sure some DJ's will disagree with us on this, but the microphone chord is a safety hazard, and it is restricting, although at some venues you cannot get out of using cords, due to interference issues. A wireless microphone system, if properly setup and sound checked, and stocked with a redundant backup and batteries, should work out just fine. Sure there are headaches associated with wireless systems, such as interference on the same frequency, and some reception halls, cordless just won't work no matter how hard they try. But testing and redundancy is the key. As you look for your DJ we recommend that you not make a wireless microphone a requirement, just a preference. (At Party 101 Productions - Yep you guessed it, our DJs us wireless mics whenever possible!)
What about Chicken Dance, or Hokey Pokey?
Some people love it, some people hate it. The consensus among our clients is that more people hate it than love it. Most guests feel Uncomfortable doing these cheesy dances. Many even feel uncomfortable doing the Macarena. But it's your wedding, and you might want to hear them, that's fine too. But the point is let the wedding disc jockey know your preference. If you hate these songs, you would hate to be surprised by your DJ playing them at the reception. Group effort songs (i.e. the "Electric Slide") always fills the floor. The Cupid Shuffle and the Electric Slide are popular because people who can't dance will usually get up and dance to a group activity song. A good conga line will always fill the floor too. Each group of people are different.
Technical Issues to consider.
Everyone overlooks this, but it is an important factor when choosing your DJ. You are paying money for a professional and they better know their equipment. Ask them what speakers and amps they use. The better speaker brand names are Mackie, JBL and Electrovoice (with the "EV" on the speaker). Some DJs use Rane for their mixer. But this is not an exhaustive list, there are other good names as well. This is another reason why you asked the DJ if they do corporate affairs, because they may use the same high end audio equipment at your wedding. You don't want them using home stereo amplifiers and speakers because they will fail under the volume of use.
You don't want to be at the reception and not hear the DJ announcing the bridal party because the volume was too low and muffled, all base and hardly any treble. Your DJ must have good equipment, and know how to set it up.
A DJ with a wireless headset is a plus. With the headset mic, the element is always right in front of the DJ's mouth, and the gain need not be set as high as a handheld microphone. Thus the headset is less likely to cause feedback, and if they place the antenna properly, there won't be any noise or interference. Also the DJ can easily roam around hands free, or even blend in with the crowd during group effort dances. If a DJ tells you wireless mics don't work, or give excuses why they don't work, it's because they either used cheap equipment, did not want to spend the money, or simply did not know how to properly setup tricky setup wireless mics. They can be difficult to setup. Used properly, these units are great tools of the trade.
Lighting is another thing to consider. Can your DJ get additional lighting? Some people want it, some could care less if they want to save money. If you want state of the art lighting, some of the bigger DJ companies can master this for you very easily. Again, this is where DJs with corporate event experience really excel. They usually have the top notch lighting, not old cheesy disco balls with 2 glorified lawn lights. Light shows may not be for everyone, but if you have the means, go for it. Corporations are the typical light show customer. But more and more "consumer" affairs are going this way. At Party 101 Productions we can make your reception light show look like a rock concert! Or not.
The contract should clearly state WHO will be your wedding DJ. If it is the owner, make sure you are clear you expect no one else!
Remember, you get what you pay for. If you choose a Party 101 Productions DJ We guarantee, you will leave your wedding feeling like you got more than what you paid for. Our company goal is have several guests comment to you after leaving your wedding, that you had the best DJ they've ever seen?
We hope we've helped you narrow your search for the perfect wedding DJ! And of course we hope that you will choose to trust your special day to PARTY 101 PRODUCTIONS!
For More Information or to reserve a date to interview one of our Wedding DJs