In today’s world, holding a successful event that lives up to everyone’s expectations including your own can be one of the most challenging and stressful things. Not only the stress of planning but staying within a reasonable budget makes you feel like the task is impossible. First you want the event to be fun for the guests. Next, you need a good Photographer to capture the right moments; the decorations need to be perfect; the Photo Booth to be fun and you want your DJ to just play the music you want and get everyone on the dance floor! With prices being all across the board, it’s hard to know who’s the right fit and who’s a professional. It’s stressful, I get it. I have a hard time trusting someone to do a simple oil change on my car. I struggle to think that 15 min of their time could cost me up to $60 once they get me to pay for the filters, flush, etc. So ’Why spend hundreds of dollars to hire a professional DJ when a friend or a Thumbtack DJ (classifieds DJ) can do it for less? Why spend money at all? You could do it yourself with a playlist, right?’
I disagree for a number of reasons. What happens when you get to the event and the venue’s PA is not working? What if your friend gets sick or hey, the iPad got left behind while you were stressing about everything else.. whats the backup plan? Got extra Gear? Lets face it, you’ve got enough on your plate. Hiring a professional DJ gives you the chance to enjoy yourself at the event. After all, there’s a reason you’re hosting an event! You want it to be fun and on top of that you’re trying to impress the new in-laws, boss, or the guests!
With the help of a few professional DJs I network with, along with educational instruction received from attending DJ Conferences in Vegas hosted by associations like the American Disc Jockey Association (ADJA) I came up with a few key points I feel hiring a professional DJ can do for you!
It’s more than an event, It’s memories.
I wanna start by sharing a personal experience that happened at my wedding that taught me the importance of planning. I didn’t have a DJ at my wedding or a wedding planner. Nor had I personally ever DJ’d a wedding before I got married. Me and my wife got everything planned so we thought. At my wedding ceremony, the wedding party was going to come through a door on the main floor. My soon-to-be wife was going to come through an upper level entrance and down some stairs. We had a pianist playing prelude music and when the ceremony started, we were going to play Canon in D from an iPod. It was going to be perfect! Well, the wedding party entered while the pianist was still playing. My soon-to-be wife couldn’t see from where she was that they had all gotten seated. When the Canon in D started, she thought the wedding party still needed to come in, so she waited a few minutes—a few minutes that seemed like a lifetime to me! Everyone in the room was looking around, freaking out, thinking she's having second thoughts or something. Well, her brother ran to the other side of the door and found her just waiting! Wow, could you imagine being me? Thankfully she did come down, but for a moment, I thought I had a runaway bride! Now I’m not blaming anyone, especially my wife. We thought we had everything figured out, but it was the one detail we didn’t think through, and it created a very embarrassing situation for both of us. Who would think something so small could have such a huge impact. But that is a memory we will always have! When I was writing about this, I was asking my wife about the details of it and she told me she doesn’t want to remember it! Many people say you can just brush it off, but it was one of those big moments you don’t want to go wrong at your wedding. If you find the right DJ, they are gonna take care of those little details! They can help direct you and your party at your ceremony. Whether it’s a daddy daughter dance, a wedding, or a corporate event, let’s face it, we are making memories!
An article on todaysbride.com shares the point Peace of Mind and Good Memories: What do you want to remember most about your reception? Worrying whether your caterer knows it’s time to pour the champagne or if your photographer knows it’s time to cut the cake? Coordinating your reception instead of dancing? Cheesy announcements? Cueing and re-cueing the MP3 player? Listening to songs you don’t particularly like or maybe have never heard? Hiring a professional DJ company allows you to relax and actually enjoy the party you’ve spent so much time planning.Most people don’t remember everything but they remember when things don’t go right. You don’t want that to be your event because uncle joe or your self let some bad song or forgot a key moment due to the stress involved or what ever it might be.
Planning: Let’s face it? How many events do you host in your life? What about life-changing ones? What about ones that involve huge investments for your family or company? That’s a ton on your shoulders so let me help keep you from getting overwhelmed. The professional DJ/Emcee plans. On average, I put about 8 hours of planning in before I even touch my equipment for most weddings! Wait what? What do I do you ask? I take time to get to know you so i can represent you or your company! I want your vision to become a reality! Plus my reputation is on the line just like yours. I broke down a few of the things in the planning process for a wedding.
- Your expectations- take it and build upon it!
- Making a schedule with your help.
- Identifying key moments - do announcements need to be made?
- Practicing the Announcements
- Planning the Introductions
- Practicing the Introductions
- Pre-recordings and cueing music to be ready for all the special moments, or key moments
- Venue pre-Inspections
- Coordinate with vendors & venue
- Come up with Backup plans for you.
- Making my own back up plan- like checking all equipment and back up equipment is ready for the event.
- Taking all music that is planned for the key moments and putting it on multiple devices so we can have the music just in case one goes down so your event goes on!
Experience: Rob Ferre an associate and fellow DJ puts it best when he says, “Our years of experience will take the stress out of your wedding!” Experience can really change how a person handles them selves at an event. Over the years I’ve gained a ton of knowledge from practicing and performing. Everything I suggest or do is because of experiences I’ve had at previous events. One thing I’ve personally learned from experience and practice is how to use proper microphone etiquette at non-formal events vs formal. People with experience provide a whole new outlook and perform better than those that don’t.
Presentation and Performance: My personal favorite part about hiring a professional is right here. You want a professional who complements and adds to your event. We’ve all been to those events when someone or something sticks out like a sore thumb. As discussed above a professional plans, takes notes, builds his presentation & performance around the needs of the event. Than they practice before they get there! Below I’ve listed of few key presentation and performance parts Professional DJs bring to the table.
- DJ Setup is a Clean Setup (Hide Wires)
- Performer has clean look (Dressed appropriately)
- Has backup plans, music and equipment (When something goes wrong.)
- Microphone etiquette
- Is able to handle last minute changes to schedule
- Builds special moments (when applicable)
- Reads the crowd
- Takes requests and filters those that are inappropriate for the event
Honesty & Business Ethics (ADJA Code of Conduct)
- Be honest and realistic in conveying my talent, abilities, and level of services to my clients.
- Operate my business in an ethically sound manner while maintaining the highest standards of professional conduct.
- Abide by all laws and regulations governing my professional activities.
- Use legal forms of music and performance materials in the conduct of my entertainment services.
- Deliver products and services to my clients, as promised, to the best of my abilities.Use a written contract clearly stating all charges, services, products, performance expectations and other essential information.
- Provide a safe work environment with adequate protection for my clients and their guests.
- Maintain adequate and appropriate insurance coverage for all business activities.
In closing, I want to say that no one is perfect! We all know that. When hiring anyone make sure you share your vision. Make it clear and simple and concise if you need it a certain way. If it’s not communicated to them and you assume they know what your talking about, that is when you will find trouble or disappointment. I once had a performance where the event coordinator did not give me all the details. She left out major key moments and details. The person hiring me never answered my calls and texted me to tell me to just talk to the event coordinator. Ultimately because of this, their event did not go as they envisioned. Things got overlooked because of carelessness or miscommunication. I don’t know who was to blame. But the point is hire someone who can understand, organize, and execute your expectations. Don’t hesitate to assume they don’t know. Write things down, be honest, build trust and let them help make good memories!
Written by Cameron Reeve with Reeverb Entertainment DJ.