The most important day of your life is rapidly approaching. You have the best hall reserved, the perfect photographer, a wonderful wedding dress and sharp looking tuxedos picked out. What are you forgetting? Oh…that’s right, you need ENTERTAINMENT for the reception! NOT just a DJ.

With all the planning that goes into a wedding, it seems almost certain to overlook certain things, but GREAT entertainment should be one of the first things to secure when planning a reception. But how do you find outstanding entertainment for your special day? What should you ask? How much should you expect to spend? If you ask these questions, and follow these recommendations, you should have no problem finding a great DJ for your event.

The best way to have a HORRIBLE reception is to call every DJ/MC  in the phone book, ask just their price, and hire the DJ with the lowest price. This happens more than it should, and a newlywed’s special day is ruined because they spent more on their cake than their entertainment.! It has been said that your entertainment is responsible for over 80% of the success of your entire wedding day.

A bride once stated: The ceremonies themselves are usually uneventful, so they have a tendency to blend together in the memory. What people REALLY remember is the reception, and a good reception guarantees people will look back on the occasion and say “THAT was a great wedding.”

There are a number of ways to find quality entertainment. The first, and probably the best way, is to hire someone you have seen at another reception where you were a guest. If the DJ did a great job, ask for their business card and hire them. The second is to ask friends or family members that have had great entertainment for their event. The third way is to call various Entertainment companies, or DJ companies, and find out which will do the best job for YOU! You want to find the right person, not the right price. Remember, there is a reason why QUALITY DJ’s charge more than AMATEUR DJ’s. Again, with these questions to ask, you should have no problems finding the best DJ for your reception.
·  Are you available?

This seems like such an obvious question, however, some brides only know one question to ask: “How much?” Find out if the DJ/MC  even has your date available. If they are not available, then a quality DJ/MC should recommend another DJ/MC  to contact. If they don’t, then they may not be “real professionals”. A “true professional” will help you find another DJ/MC, even if they are already booked.
·  What type of events do you specialize in?

Find out if wedding receptions are the focus of the DJ/MC  who will be performing at YOUR event. Your DJ/MC  should have performed at previous receptions and know the sequence of events. Some multi-system companies may be cheaper, but may not guarantee your DJ/MC in writing. You may plan everything with the owner, and then finally meet YOUR DJ on the day of your event (bait and switch). If this DJ works mainly in a club, or does mostly other events (bowling alleys, birthdays, etc.), then they may not be the best choice for you.
·  How will you coordinate my event, and how will you make it FUN?

The better entertainment service will  coordinate your reception from beginning to end, instead of “just playing music”. They will give you suggestions on how your reception can be perfect and unique, as well as incorporate your ideas. Experienced DJ’s/MC’s can even take the place of a wedding coordinator, since they are experienced in planning receptions as an ENTERTAINMENT function. Your DJ should have the desired energy level to make your party everything you’ve already imagined it to be.
·  Will you meet with us to plan our reception?

ALWAYS meet with your prospective DJ/MC  before signing any agreement! This is VERY IMPORTANT! A DJ who does not offer to meet with you does not care about the success of your event, they are probably more concerned with getting your money! Make sure the DJ you meet is the one who will be performing at your event. Some companies don’t know who will be doing what events until the day they occur. Your wedding day is NOT the day to meet your DJ for the first time!

If you choose a entertaiment company with multiple DJ’s, have them put the name of your DJ/MC on the signed agreement. Not all DJ’s are the same, so you should find a DJ you can trust, and one with which you have a good personality match. If a company doesn’t guarantee your DJ in writing, is your wedding reception a priority to them or are you just a dollar figure?
·  What do you wear during my reception?

A professional DJ/MC will dress appropriately for your reception, and that means wearing a TUXEDO. A DJ/MC  who does not wear appropriate attire does not care about making a good impression about their appearance. Remember, the DJ is representing YOU at the reception!
·  Can I call any references?

A professional DJ will supply you with recent references to contact. This will usually be the best way of giving you the confidence that this DJ will do an outstanding job. Also, if a venue or other wedding professional recommends a specific DJ, find out what they did that made them stand apart.
·  Finally, how much do you charge for my event?

Some DJ’s have a flat rate for their service, while others have packages with lighting, extra microphones, and other extras. The most important item a DJ will offer is SERVICE. A full light show and 18” bass speakers are great, however, they WON’T make your party a success by themselves! You need a GREAT DJ behind the equipment to make your party a success!

To have an OUTSTANDING reception, plan on budgeting at least $600 – $1,500 for a PROFESSIONAL DJ. A DJ with a low price probably has a low price because they do not provide as much SERVICE as one with a higher price. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run, and if you do that you will have enough to pay for something better.
·  Do not ask a DJ to “see them at another reception”. Wedding receptions are private events, and should be kept that way. Would you like someone you don’t know coming to your reception? At another event, your DJ may do something you dislike. However, it may be exactly what that bride & groom requested for their reception. Peeking in on another party does not give you the full spectrum of what your DJ offers. Besides, the only way to truly see how the DJ will handle all aspects of the entire event would be to stay for the duration.
·  Listen to what your DJ says during your meeting. An experienced DJ will listen to your desires, offer suggestions, and help you plan your entire reception they way you’ve already envisioned it. They will know what sequence of events occur and how to work with your other vendors insuring a GREAT party. Your wedding day should be the way YOU desire it, and your DJ will facilitate your reception as you desire.

·  A professional DJ will use LEGAL music. Downloading music from the popular Peer-to-Peer networks (KaZaa, WinMX, etc) is ILLEGAL, and DJ’s have been sued by record companies in the past for doing this! Also, some larger companies, with several DJ’s and units, have been known to use one main source of music, and make ILLEGAL copies for their other units. This is one way they keep their price low, by not operating legally. Ask your prospective DJ where they get their music.
·  A professional DJ will not “bad mouth” another DJ service by specific name. Doing so shows that they lack integrity and professionalism. Speaking “down” about a specific company also shows the DJ service lacks character and class, and you may want to consider using another service.
·  A professional DJ will recommend other quality DJs if they are already booked. If you like what you see on a web-site or in-person, but wait too late to book, a professional DJ will recommend others. DJs network just like other professionals in their respective fields and usually will recommend others when already booked.