The wedding planning process is stressful not only because of the importance of attention to detail, but because it’s the first time most couples ever had to plan any type of event. So many ideas will come to mind and initially the budget goes through the roof because everything seems so cool. When new brides come into my office they always have this big binder. I love this!! These books are helpful as they provide checklists, and to do lists, questions, everything!! The Knot offers one at Barnes and Noble, here’s the link. http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-knot-ultimate-wedding-planner-carley-roney/1003550341
Now I do think all of these books are helpful but I think times are changing and they should be updated a bit. The internet has transformed the way business is done today and it’s definitely making everyone much more educated. When couples come in I answer these ten questions. Some of them may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many of these get overlooked.
1) Are you insured?
Something as simple as this question would get overlooked probably 9 out of 10 times. It usually gets noticed when it’s almost too late. Most catering halls today require a certificate of insurance and usually give the paperwork to couples about a month before to get filled out. Now what happens if your company isn’t insured? Yup, you guessed it, they aren’t allowed to perform!!
2) Do you have backup equipment?
As you read this question in your head you probably said, duhhhhh why didn’t I think of that!? Now that most DJs perform with laptops, what happens if that thing dies? Could you imagine 10 minutes of silence? How about no more music at all? Ouch!! Not only should DJs bring a backup laptop, but even a backup speaker or two. I’m not saying that the van should have an entire backup setup, but the essentials needed to complete a wedding, should be on backup.
3) What will you and your staff be wearing?
Can you imagine your DJ coming in hmm say a Hawaiian shirt and some khakis? Don’t laugh, I’ve seen this before!! Now unless that’s your theme, I suggest you make sure what they’ll be wearing to avoid any nightmares. Usually entertainers should have a sample demo of themselves on the microphone and you’ll be able to see firsthand if they have the look you’d expect.
4) Do you have a personal demo video?
Picking up where I left off with the last question, you should definitely be able to see live, uncut video footage of your DJ/MC. You’ll be surprised, but many companies have a “highlight reel” with background music that cuts off all the actual footage. Unless, you’ve seen them perform before, make sure to ask for a personal demo.
5) Sales Tax?
$100 says you’ve heard this line before. “If you pay cash, I’ll knock off the sales tax.” Weird, there is no sales tax on dj services!!
6) What makes you different from your competitors.
All professional wedding Djs should take pride in their work. There should be no hesitation in their answer and they should be able to convey what they do easily. Like any other business, some companies will even go as far as belittling their competition. If they mention specific companies, they’re probably intimidated by them!!
7) How will you perform? Do I have any say in this?
Now there are so many entertainers that are stuck in their ways and that’s cool. But you hire a Dj because it offers versatility over bands. You should be able to dictate whether or not you would like a crazy, high-energy mc or someone who’s low key, maybe even something in between.
8) You seem cool and personable, but do you have any references?
This is one of the top questions anyone should ask!! There are so many websites that offer portals for reviewing their vendors. Check back to our May blog post (link below) and see for yourself. The best part about these websites is that you can’t delete reviews you don’t like. So the proof is in the pudding!! Make sure to do your research and read what other brides had to say.
9) Are you a full time Dj?
You will be shocked at the importance of this question. Now that you can pick up a laptop and in some cases, buy a hard drive full of music, everyone is a Dj!! To save costs, sometimes couples will hire a friend who does it on the side and wont be readily available to respond to your calls and emails or devote more time and energy to preparing for your wedding. If you are considering a part-time DJ who has another job, just make sure he is still easy to reach and has the time to respond to your needs. If your first encounter with a DJ was his voice mail, chances are it won’t be your last. Stay away from DJ’s who do not respond promptly to your calls and emails.
10) How do you handle the finer details? (Music requests, Introductions, Music selection for intros, cake cutting, etc.)
We are in the year 2011 and papers should be way out of the question!! There are so many helpful tools that companies should use to ensure that you’re exactly on the same page. A “finals meeting” should be held to go over the correct pronunciations of names, music selections for cake cutting, garter, bouquet, even the last song. Close attention to detail is what you should be looking for, and the right tools, might it be a log in feature or even a google docs account, just make sure there is a foolproof method in place.
Now those are my top ten questions to ask, they weren’t in any specific order, just all equally important in my eyes. Enjoy, I hope they were helpful.
Mystical Entertainment (New Jersey)