by Sara J. Samples
Fantasia Mobile Sound & Lighting
It’s hard enough planning a wedding ceremony, but then you also have to plan a reception! That means choosing food, drinks, decorations, locations, entertainment… While it may seem terribly important to pick exactly the right flowers, what’s really important is that you pick the right people.
Rule 1: Meet your DJ.
No matter how well-respected a DJ company is, reputation does not guarantee success. Be sure to meet your DJ! Large DJ companies are constantly hiring new employees, and each of those new employees has a first show. Do you want for it to be yours? If you use a large company, be certain to meet with the real DJ who will be entertaining your guests, not just the boss. No matter who you hire, be certain that the personality of the DJ is compatible with your own, and that you are comfortable with putting the biggest party of your life in his or her hands.
Rule 2: Get it in writing.
Your DJ needs to have a contract! The contract should include: the name of your real DJ, the date, time and place of your event, the cost, and any stipulations under which the contract can be broken. In addition, your DJ ought to allow for you to make additional requirements (within reason) that are placed in the contract itself. If you feel strongly enough about something that the addition or lack of it would ruin your night, be sure to get it in writing!
Rule 3: Consultations
Be sure that your DJ provides consultations. Get involved in the planning of the reception to whatever degree you feel comfortable. Don’t allow a DJ to bully you simply because he/she is a “professional.” On the other hand, be wary of DJ’s who want for you to plan the entire night song by song—you simply don’t need that kind of stress now! Consultations should be free of charge. If a company will need a fee for consultations, you may end up spending much more than you originally planned.
Rule 4: Check out their music
A common mistake people make is to assume that because a DJ is affiliated with a radio station, the music they bring to a show includes all/only the music played on that station. If you love country music, be certain that your DJ owns country music, and if you have a passion for the newest top 40 hits, make sure that your DJ updates his/her library often. A DJ also should be willing to accommodate all special song requests if given advance notice.
Rule 5: What if?
If you are an optimist and never get cold feet, then you can skip this section. But if you are like most of us, you’re probably nervous that everything won’t be perfect. Spend a few moments dreaming up worst case scenarios, and then present them to your DJ. An experienced entertainer has probably already smoothed over most of your biggest fears. Also be sure that they have backup equipment in case of spontaneous combustion. You never know…