Tips to Making sure you get the very best Disco & DJ for the BIGGEST party of your life and that everything runs smoothly & perfectly
A lot of thought goes into planning your big day & you want everything to be a certain way, a representation of your dream, your vision. You want a day that you will remember forever & you want to get every little detail right so you & your guests have a magical day.
You've chosen your venue, picked out the perfect dress, found your stationery, created the cake of your dreams & have found someone experienced enough to make it a reality, you have selected the menu for the wedding breakfast, sought out your photographer after days of trawling reviews & galleries, designed & made table decorations & personalized name settings, bought gifts for bridesmaids & thought of flip flops for tired feet, the list goes on but we all know, it's those details, those personal touches that come together to make the day 'Your day'.
When the ceremony is complete & the photos have been taken, the wedding breakfast has been consumed & the speeches & toasts are completed, you can rightfully give yourself a pat on the back. You've pulled off the best day of your life & it's now time to let your hair down, celebrate with a few drinks & party the night away with all your friends & family as newly wedded Mr & Mrs & this is where many couples slip up.....
The evening reception is often overlooked in the planning but can actually be the longest part of your day. It's the last impression your guests will leave with & from experience a banging party at the end of a magical day leaves a lasting memory that you & your guests will talk about for years to come. This is all left in the hands of one person, the DJ you have booked. So how do you know if you have booked the right one? Obviously it is too late on the night and it is a known fact that a DJ can make or break your wedding evening.
Sadly, we get a lot of calls from couples who have been let down last minute & they are desperately seeking a Disco & DJ but by then everyone is booked. They perhaps booked a friend of a friend’s cousins brother for £150 & he's had a better offer or a guy up the road who DJs part time & bought his whole set up for £400 down at the car boot sale who has since quit because he keeps missing the football & would rather be out with his mates.
We have heard & seen stories & photos of DJs who haven't turned up, Disco's that can't provide quality sound for the size of the room, Disco's whose lights resemble those from the School Disco back in the 1970's that photographers hate, DJs who have illegally ripped their music from YouTube or Spotify & can't play because there is no WIFI signal (yes really) or who have neglected to check they even have the 1st dance. Red & green dots flashing at 200 beats a minute & cables that scream where there's a blame there's a claim!
You've been planning every aspect of your big day, you've spent a fortune & then overlooked your evening entertainment. You may have tried to save a few pounds, you may go off a tag on Facebook & neglected to check reviews or Websites, it's not your fault if you don't know what makes a good Disco and what to look for, but as with everything, there is a scale. You've got your ''value'' baked beans all the way up to the Luxury, finest, hand-picked, organic, baked beans. The same with Discos & DJ's.
Below are some Tips & hints to help you make an informed choice when booking your Disco & DJ.
Top 10 Tips for Booking a Disco and DJ:
Speak with the DJ
Using email is a good way to get a quotation or letting the DJ know what you require and to get information about the specifications and pricing, but email isn't quite as good if you want to get a feel for someone, whether it be a good feeling or a bad one. Do they seem helpful, are they knowledgable, do they come across as confident? Be sure to get your point across, tell them exactly what you want and what you expect, don't be afraid to ask for some advice, after all they're supposed to be the professionals.
Do they confirm the booking in writing and offer a legal contract?
Make sure that any booking you make is confirmed in writing or preferably in a written contract. It is imperative that all details agreed are clearly set out, such as 'Is early setup required?', that appropriate attire should be worn, the start and end times, the music that you want played. In our experience, almost everyone who has contacted us because they have been let down by some other Disco have had "no contract or written confirmation", just a mobile telephone number.
Ask if they have experience with weddings
Find out what experience they have. Different events require very different types of skill and experience, it's essential that you get a DJ that's right for your wedding. Obviously most DJ's have to be very flexible but some can be much more experienced than others. We are one of, if not the busiest wedding DJs in Cornwall, so we have a lot of experience.
Is a deposit required?
This is common practice for most good DJ's. Your venue will normally always request a deposit or booking fee. This shows your commitment and once a deposit has been paid, the DJ should only be interested in your wedding for that date. Between 25% to 30% should be considered as a reasonable figure for a deposit. A receipt or email confirmation of the deposit having been paid should be expected. By sending a cheque you are also confirming their legitimate address.
Are playlists Accepted?
Some DJ's won't accept requests or playlists, others will say they do and take your request but will not be able to play the music because they don't have it. We will accept any playlists you may have in advance of the day to ensure we have that music with us, we will play them at the appropriate place or time during the event. We can also play almost any requests you make on the day. However please bear in mind that the reason you will be booking with us is because you are wanting a professional and experienced DJ for your special day. If we are tied to playing from a playlist you have chosen for the whole night our hands are then tied if it is not working. Whilst your song choices may be fantastic they may not work on a dance floor or all of your guests may not share the same choice as you and not dance. With our experience we know what will work and what wont, that is why you are booking a professional. So we much prefer song suggestions and music genres you prefer.
Will the DJ meet you, if you want to see them?
If not, why not? Some won't meet with you for fear they will lose the booking. If you need to meet us you can, it's a good way to get to know the DJ before the event and it can also make for a better atmosphere at the event. If the DJ is not from your local area, a meeting could be a bit more difficult, so meeting at a halfway point could be better for both parties. Going from past experience, meetings that work best are when they are not so formal. We get to find out exactly what you want and expect and can discuss any playlists you may have, your first dance, the type of music you require, sound, lighting and any technical aspects, as well as the planning of the event, for example buffet, speeches, presentations, slide shows, etc and we will answer any questions or concerns you may have.
Is the Disco or DJ sub-contracting for an agency or another DJ?
A lot of DJ's do this, but as long as you are fully aware of this arrangement and it's what you have agreed to then that's fine. Problems can arise when an agency or contractor are unable to provide adequate details for a DJ they supply. This leaves you in limbo either not knowing who or even what they may turn up to your event with! SoundONE Wedding DJ do not use sub-contracted DJ's, the DJ's we use are our own DJ's and we only use our own Equipment.
Are they able to supply you with suitable references?
All professional DJ's should have some sort of references from previous clients, whether it's just a thank you email, or written letter or a post on a facebook page or blog. Should the need arise we can give you details so you can contact some of our previous clients, who have given us permission to pass on their details.
What happens if the DJ's equipment fails. Will they have any backup or will the wedding be ruined?
We carry a full back-up system so should the unthinkable happen we will be able to get the system up and running with very little, if any, noticeable effect
Presentation and Equipment
Disco equipment and being a DJ could not be more accessible right now, for approximately £400 somebody could get a complete Disco set up and become a Wedding DJ overnight either by buying cheap Chinese kit or buying kit that is 30 years old. Just to put that into perspective a true professional Wedding DJs set up will run into the £1000s. The big difference will be sound quality, non professional equipment, kit that has been battered over the years, illegally ripped music in poor quality, cheap plug and play gear that does the same thing all night with no control.
There is more competition now than ever before and a true professional and experienced DJ will be pushing themselves to be better than the next, investing in new equipment and servicing their gear. We work very hard to ensure that we are at the top of our game and one of the biggest tell tale signs is presentation. Have a look at pictures of their set ups, if it looks old and dated with cables on show everywhere, using a venue table to DJ then be warned.
As they say, you only get one chance to make a first impression. You will have spent a lot of time in making sure that the venue looks amazing and will have put a lot of work into making your special day perfect then you will be handing your evening over to the DJ who can make or break your night.
Presentation is key. Take a good look at their marketing. What pictures are they showing you? Are they giving you reviews?
You can instantly tell a professional DJ & Disco from a hobbyist & it is in the presentation of their product that they are trying to sell you.
Does the DJ have an official Facebook Business Page? We have seen hundreds of brides asking for 'Disco recommendations' and then people leave lots of DJ names (But be careful as a lot of these are girlfriends or mums of DJ's so of course they will say they are good). When you go to their Facebook page you find it is a personal page and there is nothing on the page to suggest they are a DJ. This is a big telltale sign. It is usually a friend, partner or relative that suggests them & not an actual recommendation from a legitimate source. They may own a basic setup & DJ from time to time but this does not mean they have the equipment, skills or experience to cater to your Wedding needs.
Any good business will have a business Facebook page which they will keep regularly updated to show off what they do. With a business page, people can leave reviews. Take time to read them. Check out galleries, how many likes do they have? When did they last post?
Any professional Wedding DJ will have a website. If they don't then, this should ring an alarm bell. However simply having a Website does not automatically make them a professional DJ, as now there are many online templates & anyone can make their own website these days. The fact they have made an effort is a good thing but take time to check out the following.
Is the website of a professional standard? Does it scream amateur to you? Look for wrongly sized images & poor layout, Do links work? Is there contact information? Do the images tie in with images on their Facebook? We see many DJ's using stock photos on their websites, stolen or borrowed from other DJ's or Google images. Remember their website is there to show off what they do and get your custom so their website should be of a high standard and look professional. If they cant even get the most fundamental part of their business right what else are they doing wrong?
If they do not have a website and not ranking high on Google (or other search engines) then we advise to stay clear. We do wonder sometimes how people find these poor quality discos who have no website and do not appear in searches. Having a Facebook page is not enough, what if they took your money then blocked you?
You will see everyone saying they have years of experience but there is a huge difference between some with 15 years experience who are only out once a month to somebody with 15 year experience but who is out 2 times every weekend. How can you tell? Simply check out their facebook page or website for regular updates and photos of parties they are out at. If this irregular and not very often is usually a tell tale sign they are not out as much.
Now to most this is quite important as we all know planning a wedding can be expensive and everyone loves a bargain however just remember you can get Tesco Value Baked Beans and Heinz Baked Beans... they are both Baked Beans but we all know the difference. Now not so long ago we used to say if the price is too cheap then stay clear as alarm bells should be ringing however, more recently we have noticed the cheaper DJ market has now begun to increase their prices to hide the fact they maybe a cheap disco, a wolf in sheeps clothing so be careful. But if a DJ is offering to do your wedding Disco for £150 - £250 we would say do your home work.
Now when booking your wedding venue for your reception a lot of venue will offer you their in house DJ as part of their wedding packages. We recommend that couples do not do this. We know it will seem a bargain but most of the time couples have no idea who or what they will be getting. You wouldn't pick the wedding dress without seeing it would you? You will also find that most times the venue will be paying a lot less for the DJ than what they are charging you. We find that most hotels and venues will not pay more than £150 for a Disco, the problem with that is when that DJ is no longer doing it the venue is then stuck trying to find a replacement.
One final thing to remember is: There are no recognised qualifications to be a DJ, so be very wary of anyone claiming to be "Approved by" or "Certified By" etc as they are simply trying it on.
By following these tips, we hope to have made it a little less confusing when booking a Disco and DJ, obviously we hope you book us, but should you decide to choose another Disco and DJ for your wedding, please bear in mind as many of the above points as possible and we really do hope it all works out for you and you have a fantastic wedding.