You would be surprised at how many brides and grooms, before they hire their DJ & MC for their wedding, think that the DJ just shows up and plays music.
Some even wonder why the DJ charges what they charge because again they think that the DJ just shows up and plays music.
Just like the caterer has to prep the food, or the photographer organizes their shots and timing in advance, or the planners coordinate with all the vendors months prior to the wedding, the DJ has many hours of prep time invested well before he or she just shows up and plays music.
This is just a short summary of what "most" wedding DJs do prior to your big day. Of course every DJ has their own routine and may vary a little, but we all know the prep work that's involved.
I post this only because when your DJ quotes you their price, please remember everything that's involved and the hours they put in to make your day so special.
When you first book your wedding DJ whether it's here in the Florida Keys for your beach or destination wedding, or anywhere else you may be having your big event, your DJ will either give you some planning forms or an online planning page where you are asked to list some very important information such as who's in the wedding party, who's going to be announced in the Grand Introduction, what your first dance is, father/daughter dance, mother/son dance wedding party dance, and all of the other spotlight dances.
Who's giving the toast are how they are related to you. Are you doing a cake cutting, bouquet and garter toss, sparkler exit, and any other special events on your very special day.
We also need to know what songs you will be walking down the isle to. How many people will be speaking during the ceremony so we can decide what kind and how many mics are needed for the ceremony, and then of course we need to know what kind of music you will be looking for to keep your guests up on the dance floor. This is also the time for any of those special requests or must play songs to be listed.
So again, we give these forms or access to the on line planning forms and ask you to return the fully completed forms 30 days prior to your wedding date. Some DJs require them back in either a little more or a little less time before the wedding date but for me it's 30 days.
During this planning time, between the time you book me and the 30 day mark, i'm available for any and all questions that may come up while you are filling out the forms and making plans. About 45 days prior to your wedding date, I will reach out to you to remind you to please finish up the forms and to please get them back to me in 15 days.
So assuming I didn't have to chase you down, (LOL) and you've returned your completed forms on time, now I really get to work.
I take the planners you returned and immediately contact your wedding planner and get your official timeline. If you're not using a wedding planner ( which by the way, I always suggest you use one) I then contact your caterer and photographer to go over timing and see what their thoughts are. There are 4 very important things to take into consideration when we plan your event. Your start time for ceremony, sunset time for that day, ( for pictures ) your dinner time so the caterer knows when to have the food at perfection, and your end time. Once we have put all that together, we can organize the rest of your evening and plan around those 4 times.
Once we have that down, I run through your music selections to see what I already have and what I need to purchase and download. I'll also create your ceremony file so I have easy access to those songs on the day or your event.
Now that I have that all together, I will reach out to you to schedule our planning call where we will go over everything from the time the first guest arrives, right through your very last dance. That call normally take about an hour give or take a few. After I complete that call, I prepare my timeline with notes and music and send it off to the planner and or caterer and photographer for their final approval. As I have stated in previous blogs, it's a team effort. All of the vendors work together to make it a seamless event. Some may ask why I list list notes and music and send it to the planner. God forbid your DJ dies before your wedding ( it could happen LOL) your planner can just give your notes and music to a replacement DJ and they can carry out your wedding without missing a beat.
If I have never been to the venue where you're getting married it's now time for a site survey. I like to go to the venue so I can see the set up area, know where the power is located, see where the dance floor will be, and check out the ceremony site. I never like to be surprised if I can avoid it.
Lastly it's event day. I go to my warehouse, load up the equipment needed for your event, and then pack in a duplicate set of equipment. You never know when something is going to fail or malfunction, so you always have to be prepared.
I get to the venue about 3 hours prior to ceremony time, if not sooner, and start the set up process. The event itself is the easy part because we are so well prepared by that time. The event goes off without a hitch and it's time to pack everything up which sometimes takes a bit longer than set up because first of all we are all a little tired after your great event, but if you were outside, on the beach, or anywhere else that isn't enclosed, I need to wipe down the equipment to get all the dust, dirt, or sand that got over everything during the evening. Then it's back to the warehouse, unload, and get a good nights sleep. When we wake up, it's time to do it all again.
So when your DJ tells you it will cost this much, it's not because he just shows up and plays music. It's the time and dedication that goes into each event to make your day one that you will remember for a lifetime.
PS. If you think your DJ takes a lot of time and preparation, just talk to your photographer. After the wedding is done and everyone else is home sleeping, they begin weeks of editing to make sure your pictures are perfect.
I hope this gives you a little insight into your DJs life and what goes into the planning so it can seem like they just show up and play music.