Great sources for Wedding DJ recommendations and what each one means to you:

Finding a Wedding DJ solely based off of online information can be a daunting task. The best Wedding DJ companies can be hard to track down, not all DJs are events DJs and knowing who’s actually an events professional as opposed to a good website builder is hit or miss. By taking advantage of your vendor/venue network- as well as family and friends who’ve had some wedding experience or are event professionals themselves- you can save a lot of hassle by weeding through mis-information:

Venues:  If you’ve already chosen the venue for your wedding, ask your coordinator for a few names of people they’ve worked with or recommend. All venue coordinators carry at least an informal list of preferred vendors and are happy to give them to you. The venue coordinator will remember someone who made things easy for them and knew how to run a schedule, this also tells you that the DJ is familiar with your venue and knows how to set it up for sound etc. Remember the DJ will also be your MC throughout the night, so knowing how effectively they can conduct a wedding is important. Asking a venue coordinator about the DJs music can be useful as well, but keep in mind that any good DJ will create a custom set for every client based on what they want, so depending on the coordinators taste this could be a bit misleading. Lastly don’t be afraid to ask other venues what their recommendations are even if you aren’t using them!

Vendors: Different vendors will have varying degrees of insider knowledge on DJs depending on the length of time they stay through the event. They also will potentially have a wider range of DJs who they’ve worked with before and thus a good feel on who does a nice job. Similar to venues, vendors also keep networks of people they prefer to work with.

Ask your photographer about DJs and they’ll likely recommend someone who kept them informed on all the important moments (i.e grande introductions, first dance, cake cutting etc..), so they didn’t have to rush to set up their shots. Photographers also interact with the bride and groom a ton on the day of the event, so if either had good or bad feelings about the DJ they’d likely know it.

Like the photographer, your caterer will care about organization- primarily how the DJ directs the meal line and release tables for buffets. Food has to be out when it’s hot and not before or after, so the DJ who can maneuver this will always go over well. The DJ also has to facilitate the cake cutting skillfully so it comes out in time for people to eat it and they are properly informed.

In general all vendors will have some input to give even if they don’t directly work the events. Being asked to recommend is very common, and no one wants to look foolish by recommending a poor choice so they’ll try to do what’s right by you.  

Family/Friends: Sometimes the best resource can be simply asking your network of family and friends. If you’ve been to a wedding recently or know someone who just got married, ask them what their experiences were and who worked out well for them(or didn’t work out). Brides and grooms always love to talk about their wedding experience, and you can be sure they’ll never recommend anyone your way that they weren’t personally thrilled with.

Even friends and family who’ve simply been to other weddings should have something to say, and reaching out can be a nice way to catch up in the process. People feel strongly about DJs they’ve seen, so even if it’s just sending out a post over social media you might be happily surprised with the amount of response.

Whatever you do don’t stress out about finding the right DJ for you, There are a ton of great resources out there to help you make the right choice. By asking around within your personal and vendor networks you should at the very least be well informed in whatever decision you ultimately make, and in most cases you’ll find an awesome DJ who’s just right for you.

 

 

10 Questions your wedding DJ should be asking you

A good wedding DJ/MC will cover their bases during pre-event planning and make sure they’re ready to rock your event! To help you ensure you’re getting the DJ service you expected here are some good examples of questions your DJ should be asking you if they’re really an events professional:

How did you meet?

Before any wedding specifics have been discussed your DJ should make an effort to get to know you! Actually knowing and liking your DJ goes a long way to a successful event, and if your DJ isn’t offering to meet you you should be a little worried. Find someone you like and whom you’d feel comfortable having run your event and talk with your family and friends, you’ll be happy to you did.

What kind of music to you like?

Your DJ is in charge of setting the tone for your whole event, and choosing the right music is a big part of that. No two people have the same taste in music and a good DJ will know how to choose music that fits with what YOU want. You should have the option to add as many of your favorite songs to the event playlist at no extra charge, and the DJ should ask for good examples of your favorite artists and genres as well. If you’re not a music expert and want the DJ to take the lead that’s fine too, but they should always have a good understanding of what you’re looking for.

What kind of music do you not like?

Just as important as the music you love is the music you’d rather not hear. Make sure your DJ knows the songs or general areas of music that are not for you so they can avoid making any major pitfalls. Any good DJ knows that one person's favorite song can be another person's most hated, so it really makes sense to ask.

What is the tone of your event?

Each event is unique and a good DJ/MC will want to match the mood you are going for with his announcements and music. Are you having a classy and formal wedding, a laid back barbecue wedding, or something in between? Knowing the style of the event will help the DJ ask you the right questions about what structured events you’d like during the party (i.e grand introductions, meal blessings/toasts, special dances), and gage his level of involvement to your needs. Regardless of tone your MC should know how to keep the guests informed and involved so they can share your special moments with you, and have a great time doing it!

What is your event venue?

Knowing the event venue means a lot more than just being able to get directions. Each venue has specific sound and setup requirements that a DJ should be aware of well in advance. Your DJ should ask about your ceremony and reception locations, have a plan for exactly how many speakers/microphones etc. they’ll need and an idea of how they’ll wire the setup as well. Improper planning can result in un-audible microphones, portions of the evening with no music, and a DJ who is running around trying to play catch up instead of running your event.

What are the names of your family and bridal party?

Just as a DJ should know you, knowing the names AND proper pronunciations of your family and bridal party are important tools to a smooth event. This will allow the DJ to prepare guests if they are giving a toast or being announced, make for easier coordinating of grande introductions and events like the money dance and anniversary dance, and generally allow the DJ to create a nice rapport with you guests. People are more responsive with a familiar DJ and by the end of the night you’ll notice the difference.

What style of dinner service will you be having?

Much a wedding timeline will be centered around the food, and especially for larger crowds the DJ can play a vital role in facilitating the dinner process. A good DJ will ask for table numbers or names, talk about the order you’d like to release guests, and come the day of control the flow of guests through the buffet so there isn’t a long line. For a plated dinner the DJ will need to coordinate toasts around the service, and should know the best time that will avoid any conflicts. Your DJ should be talking with the catering staff to coordinate efforts.

Are there any special announcements that need to be made throughout the evening?

If you have a guest book or photo booth, special gift bags for guests or even a sparkler send off, ask your DJ to inform your guests throughout the evening. This will help increase involvement and decrease any transition/organization time, and makes this feel polished and easy when added in with the other structured event announcements.

What are your special songs?

Whether or not you ultimately decide to pick songs for you first dance, Father/Daughter,Mother/Son, Bouquet/Garter toss etc., you should have the opportunity to personalize your event and show your personality through your music choices. Your DJ should ask you for any songs you might want, and also give you suggestions and examples upon request. In the event you decide to leave it up to their judgement, at least ask them what kind of song they usually pick to make sure it will be appropriate to what you envision.

Who is your photographer and will you be having a videographer?

You DJ should be familiar with you event staff in general, but knowing the photographer is especially important. A good DJ will communicate with the photographer/videographer throughout the event so they can be ready to capture any special moments, lack of preparation can result in missed shots and unnecessary stress.

 

10 additions to help you spruce up your wedding reception

Creative wedding games and activities can be a great way to get people having fun at your wedding reception. Though they aren’t ideal for every event, one or two incorporated at the right times can help increase the energy of your wedding guests and create some great conversation pieces. Here’s a few personal favorites:

Get the parents involved: During the father/daughter dance ( note:this can easily be done with the mother/son dance too), invite the other fathers and daughters in the crowd to come out to the dancefloor. This can be done in the middle of the song, or at a pre-arranged point deemed appropriate. In addition to allowing guests to share in one of your special moments it can really fill up a dance floor!

The Shoe Game: Later in the evening the Shoe Game can be an option if you’re looking for an event to break up the dancing. To play the Shoe Game, seat the bride and groom in two back to back chairs out on the dance floor with each holding one of their own shoes and one of their partner’s shoes. In the planning leading up to your ceremony designate someone close to the bride and groom to be your moderator and come up with questions for the bride and groom to answer. The questions should be things like “who is the better cook?” and “who made the first move?”, and depending on the bride/groom’s opinion they can raise either their own shoe or their spouses. The game doesn’t really have a winner, but with 20 or so thoughtful questions by the moderator it can be a fun time and definitely a good laugh for everyone in the room.

note: this can also serve as a great substitute for the bouquet and garter toss if you’re looking for an alternative. For a list of some good sample questions check out this link: http://www.bridalguide.com/blogs/bridal-buzz/the-shoe-game

Themed cocktail hours: Cocktail hour is a great time for unfamiliar guests to get to know each other. Creating a festive mood can really help to break the ice, and upbeat vintage or international music can be a fun and unique way to accomplish that. Whether it’s Classic Cuban Salsa, Early 1920’s-30’s Jazz Hits, or Spanish Flamenco Guitar, an unexpected theme during cocktail hour definitely sets a classy tone. Transitioning into dinner, more traditional music can easily be transitioned back into, or if you prefer you can incorporate several eclectic genres together and keep the mix going for the whole night!

Use trivia to release your guests the the buffet: for larger crowds it’s often necessary to release guests table by table to the buffet. If you’re looking for a more engaging way to do this, a fun route can be having the guests earn their meal ticket by correctly answering trivia questions. Questions can be geared towards naming famous movie theme songs/sound bites, or reflect your interests with a theme customized to you. Once you come up with your theme, ask your DJ to compile a list of clips/songs that he or she can use to run the game. Conducting the game is up to the DJ or host, all you have to do is relax and watch as tables scramble to find the right answer.

First Dance Medley: One of the highlights of any wedding reception is the bride and groom’s first dance. There’s never a problem going with a classic love song or one that you really relate to, however if you’re trying to get creative pick out a few songs that you can dance to and have your DJ put together a dance medley for you. The medley can consist of about a minute each of 3-5 songs of your choice and is easy enough to make. You should be able to receive it in advance so you can practice some great choreographed moves, the guests will love it and you’ll have some priceless footage to look back on too!

Spice up your ceremony with custom confetti: before your ceremony put together a table with several different types of confetti, scoopers, and festive paper bags. Put a sign out that says “Build your own confetti bag”, or something similar, and let guests scoop away. Once the recessional portion of the ceremony comes around and you’re walking down the aisle, you’ll be greeted with a fully customized shower of confetti. Your guests will love having a way to show their affection for you, especially the kids!

Place interactive items around the venue or on the guest tables: The options are limitless for adding creative and fun decor to your event. Place photos or short facts about the bride and groom on tables or on signs leading into the venue to give people a great snapshot of your relationship. To get more candid photos at your event put a disposable camera or two on the guest tables and ask for guests to take pictures throughout the event. You can also place sheets asking for marital advice on the tables and see what wild (or even helpful!) responses people give.

Individual song requests for guests on RSVP invites: When sending the RSVP’s, put a space on the invite where guests can fill out a song request to play during the reception. Playing people’s favorite songs can really help them enjoy the event, and if necessary you can always screen out songs you’d really prefer not to hear. Send the songs to your DJ in advance so they can make sure to have them all, and day of enjoy the compliments for all the great music.

Anniversary Dance: Acknowledge the married couples in the room by having an Anniversary Dance. For the Anniversary Dance all the married couples are invited out to the dance floor. The DJ asks couples to remain on the dance floor only if they’ve been married for a certain period of time, a la 1 year, 2, years, 20 years etc. until only one couple is left on the dance floor. The final couple gets a round of applause,and has the opportunity to give the bride and groom a word of advice for a successful marriage. As an alternative you can start with an empty dance floor and invite couples out starting with the longest married pairing. Counting down the years you end up with a full dance floor, once you invite the remaining crowd out you can transition right back into some dance hits!

Karaoke dedications: Ask your DJ if they can get a karaoke track for one of your favorite songs. Chances are they can, and with the simple addition of an extra computer monitor you can even have live lyrics to help you or one of your guests/family sing for the crowd. It can be as simple as including one one song performance during the event, but adding multiple songs is easy too and depending on your DJ they might even be able to take requests for guests who are really into it. This is a great option for couples who love the spotlight, or if you’re looking for a way to creatively express your affection to your partner.