What Does A Wedding DJ Actually Do?
That is a question we get asked all the time and a lot of people don't really know exactly what a wedding DJ does. Well, we definitely do more than just show up, play music, and then leave. There is a lot more to it than that. This is something that I like to talk about, especially when quoting rates. It's great to understand all of the variables and all of the work that actually goes into it. So here is is.
Meet with the Bride and Groom
First things first, we have the first initial meeting with the bride and groom. We will sit down and go over the general information about the wedding. We will talk about music, the ceremony, the reception, games that will be played during the reception, things that should be said to the attendees, attire, location of the wedding, and if they work with a wedding planner. I also talk about certain requested songs for the cutting of the cake, walking down the isle, music during dinner, etc. Once I have that initial questionnaire finished, we will go into talking about the DJ contract. I will gather a deposit and have a signed copy of the contract for both the bride and groom and the DJ to have(keeps everyone honest). I also try and gather a timeline of their wedding, most of the time they don't have it, but sometimes they do.
Gather The Timeline
I usually get a timeline from the bride, groom, or someone coordinating a wedding. I also make sure that they have requested coordinating songs for each part of the wedding. This allows me to get started on getting music for the wedding. I always make a playlist folder for the bride and groom and label the songs with whatever part of the wedding it's for. This is also where I can make suggestion on changes to the timeline(dancing should be at the end and not the middle, suggestions for questions on the shoe game, etc.). This is also where I get all the names of the wedding party(with pronunciations)for when I announce the wedding party along with how I should introduce the couple. If they are working with a planner, I usually verify this timeline with the planner.
Make Contact With The Venue
There are some occasions where the venue has their own equipment to use(such as the Holiday Courtyard in Prescott, AZ), so we try and call the venues(if we haven't done a gig there yet)and find out what we need to bring, size of the room, indoor or outdoor, insurance requirements, contact person, etc. Sometimes, if it's an outdoor venue, we may go visit on our own to see where we could potentially set up in case of bad weather.
If it was a wedding that was booked more than 6 months in advance, I like to check in after 90 days to see how the planning is going, changes to the timeline, changes to the venue, and changes to the wedding party. I will also follow up with their wedding planner to and check to make sure they don't have any changes. I do a 30 day follow up with the same thing, then two weeks, then the day before.
Building a Playlist
We pay for a service to have access to all of the music we can find. So, once we have an idea of what style you'd like(typically it's pop hits for dancing), we make a custom playlist. We usually keep our playlists up to day with current music. So we make sure there is enough music on there for the entire event. Also, we have the ability to accept requests, so we need enough resources to get requested music if we do not have them in the current event playlist.
There is no party if the equipment malfunctions. So, we need to be able to make repairs, replacements, and have backups of all of our equipment. So as part of the cost of doing business, we also have to factor equipment as well. We take pride in taking care of our equipment, but nothing lasts forever. No matter how well it's taken care of, things eventually need to be replaced. The other important thing is that if any of our equipment fails during your wedding, the fun stops, the event stops, and that turns into a bad experience. We DON'T want that to happen.
Day of Wedding
We've done our follow ups, verified the timeline and playlists, checked our equipment(double checked we've packed it all), got our suit on, ate before(unless we're allowed to eat at your wedding), coordinated with the planner, and showed up an hour early to setup(sometimes two sets of PA's), we then are ready to start. We play the music for the ceremony and time it just right. We time it for after too. Once THAT's done, we take time to make announcements as to what's coming up next and direct the attendees. We are, after all, the master of the ceremony.
Essentially, we are a planner....and an executer. The DJ's job is to make the entire event run smooth. Without a DJ, things can get very tough. Once everything has been done and we are now about to dance, our job is to motivate everyone to get up and dance. Our job is to help the bride and groom have the best day of their lives and if we can get their families dancing with them. It makes it more of a memorable night.
After all is said and done, we still have to take down and load all of the gear and make sure that nothing is broken. We say our goodbye's and the event is finished.
If we've been able to provide a memorable experience, customer feedback is what drives our business and helps us grow. We ask for feedback to help with future customers of ours.
So, this should give you some insight on what a Wedding DJ actually does. With other events, it's similar, but weddings are more complicated and has way more moving parts.