It’s usually the first thing on every clients mind, how much is it and what do I get with that cost. It’s a very fair question; the important thing to remember is what a fair price is. I personally feel that my quotes are on par if not slightly below what most companies will offer you.
I also believe that part of what you are paying for is the experience and the ability of your disc jockey to not only play the songs that you want to hear, but also the flexibility and confidence to take a lead role behind the scenes when those curves balls that can occur at an event pop up.
What is the Master of Ceremonies (MC) & their role?
The master of ceremonies is a job within an event that not many people can always do, but also many have the wrong interruption of what the job entails. It’s great if you have someone who can crack a joke but the real task within this role is to help execute the timeline and be the go between the vendors and the client which are in most cases the newly married couple.
Every DJ is different, some feel that you should not have to ask the Bride or Groom a question or a clarification, while others may require more than the occasional visit to the head table. Personally I find it helpful to have an MC who can assist not only the DJ, but also the photographers in case special moments are needed to be captured or even with the staff to ensure the courses are brought out in proper fashion and time intervals.
The greatest thing an MC can do is keep everything moving. It’s great if they have an energetic personality, but if your event is running an hour late it’s not always the fault of one of the vendors.
Do you take requests & what is a reasonable request?
Of course I accept requests! It’s no secret that these days DJ’s will carry hard drives full of music with them rather than crates of records. I have no problem taking requests from guests before and during the event as I always bring a large library of music to any event I am spinning at; as well I try to be as accommodating to my clients and audience as possible.
With that said there are limitations, and some of the reasons for that have more to do with legalities than personal preference. More often than not every DJ will get a request for a song they have not heard of, or they do not have. Whether it is a piece of independent music not readily available to the public or it’s a piece of traditional music from a European background for example. If the couple or client hosting the event has an ethnic background in which there will be or should be music catering towards to specific grouping of guests, it’s always good to make the DJ aware of this before the event date so they can best prepare to have it in their library on hard disc or compact disc.
Occasionally you get Uncle John or friend of the family Jane who requests something the DJ was not anticipating. They insist that the bride or groom or client will love it. The DJ automatically should question not so much just who is this person, but more so the fact that if it is so important to the event that this selection be played than why did the client not already bring it to my attention. They may be truthful, but if you do not have what they are asking for they often request connecting their mobile mp3 device to your computer or even streaming it from the internet. With the latter there are legalities to this which can get the DJ in trouble as they are not licensed to use these mediums, and yes DJ’s have rules they must play by as well after all they don’t do this just for fun. Additionally with today’s technology even something such as a USB device can carry unknown malware or hidden content which may prove disruptive to the DJ’s computer or mixing equipment.
Is the room my event being held in have a folding wall or with a second event going on above or below it depending on the location?
No matter what you’ve been told, folding dividing walls are NOT soundproof! During the speeches at a recent Chinese wedding, guests came to the DJ in room #1 asking why he was playing Greek Dance music while the Bride and Groom were delivering their speeches. The DJ’s sound system in room #1 was actually turned off. The sound was bleeding through the folding wall from room #2.
Does the room my event being held in have any in house speakers or lighting?
Professional DJs spend a lot of time researching their equipment. They take the time before your event, when they are not under pressure to perform, to become very aware of the intricacies of their own gear and what to do if it stops working. Most Mobile DJ Companies are fully equipped to provide everything you need for a successful party. They should also carry backup gear in case of emergency.
Additionally some halls try to insist that your DJ use the in-house music “mixing system”, even though the DJ may be completely unfamiliar with the venue’s equipment. A DJ’s “Mixing System” IS their musical instrument – Equipment familiarity is VERY important! Would you let a Laser Eye Surgeon operate on you with unfamiliar equipment?
Where is the best place to position a DJ in relation to the dance floor?
In order to effectively control the sound and entertainment aspects of your event, your DJ should be placed at the edge of the Dance Floor where they can be “in the party”. This makes your DJ accessible for requests and gives them the ability to properly monitor sound levels on your dance floor. By placing your DJ away from the dance floor, you are removing them from the action, minimizing their interaction with your guests and creating a situation where your DJ won’t be able to monitor their volume levels. In order to direct the action, your DJ needs to be part of the action.
Fun is contagious. In the right scenario, the party energy flows from your DJ – to your audience – and back to your DJ - where the energy is multiplied. It’s in your own best interests to have your DJ as excited about your party as your guests because of the direct emotional connection between how good your DJ feels about your event - and the final result. If they can’t “feel the energy” of the party, it affects their ability to keep motivated.
When your DJ is at the edge of the dance floor, your guests feel much more comfortable about coming up with song requests. When you open the door for this process to take place, you break the “barrier” between the audience and your Entertainer. If you make it easy for your guests to talk to your DJ, the improved input from the audience can make a major difference on how well your DJ can program what they play to get the most out of your event.
Many DJ’s also set up their speaker systems directly beside the table provided for their equipment. They do this so they can hear what they’re playing. It’s also a safety issue as the shorter distance also means fewer cables in traffic areas, reducing the chance of someone tripping on a speaker cable or power wire. If you place guest tables between the DJ’s speakers and the dance floor, the guests end up “wearing” a sound system big enough to fill an entire dance floor – as headphones! Talk to your DJ in advance and let them show you where they should be placed to get the most out of their abilities – and your audience. They will appreciate your concern, you’ll get the most out of what they can do, and everyone wins.
Who has control of your room’s lighting on-site?
When it comes to in-house lighting systems, the DJ is often left the control system that operates the lights, and they are “expected” to run them for the evening. If your DJ is not providing your light show, it’s not their responsibility to operate them.
The going rate to add a lighting technician is $30.00 - $50.00 per hour – with a 4-hour minimum. If you’re going to rent their light system as well, you should find out who’s going to be responsible for the operating of their equipment during the event.
Who is your on-site point of contact for your DJ?
Your DJ is considered the link between the guests and the music. If the music stops, your guests look at your DJ and wonder why because they are the “front line person” – not the in-house sound company. Additionally, if the music “dies” we become the “Complaint Department” no matter the reason. Only the clients who booked both the DJ and the venue know “who belongs to what”. The guests - who are our potential future clients, don’t know these details. People complain to the DJ – not the banquet hall management. We are also the person who is “expected” to rectify the situation, even if it has nothing to do with the portion of the equipment they are hired to provide.
Most halls keep their sound equipment locked up so only their staff can make adjustments. If we are using our own equipment, the controls that fix these issues are literally at our fingertips. Many people think a discount should be in order because the DJ doesn’t have to carry their full load of equipment. In reality the work-“load” can end up being much larger... In-house events can be more stressful because you are put into a situation where you have very little control of the outcome.
When you are planning your guest seating at your wedding reception, seat your grandparents and any other senior or elderly guests away from the dance floor and the loud music. They will feel more comfortable away from the loud sound that usually surrounds the dancing area.
If you are including one-use cameras on your guest tables, have your DJ announce to the guests to bring the cameras to the DJ when they are used up and not leave them on the tables. This way the DJ will have all the cameras gathered by the end of the evening for the Bride & Groom, and they don't disappear into the trash or home with guests by mistake.
It is common today for guests to give money as a gift. This is usually deposited into a box or container as the guests enters the hall. BE SURE to take that box or container into the hall once all the guests are seated. BE SURE to place that box where you, or someone you trust, can visually see that box throughout the evening. This money has gone missing or stolen right from the reception party in a number of cases over the years.