Let’s Get This Party Started: Picking the Right DJ For Your Day

Good morning friends!

A wedding is about celebrating two people joining their lives together and telling the story of their love (I know, sounds cheesy, but it’s true). It is a time to celebrate, which often includes plenty of dancing (I mean who doesn’t love good music and letting loose on the dance floor). Although we love a good band, many couples opt to hire a DJ for their dance party for one of two reasons: they prefer for the music they choose for their day to be heard in the specific format in which they first fell in love with the song and/or it is a better financial fit for their budget (as a DJ is usually about a quarter of the price of a live band). With that being said, the style of the DJ you select will set the tone of your entire party, so it is important that you choose the right one. To that end, today we’re sharing a few guidelines on what to discuss during your entertainment consultations to help you find the perfect DJ for your celebration.  Your first step is to compile a list of potential DJ’s to consider for your day. We usually send these out to our couples, but if you don’t have a planner, then do some research, get some referrals, and then choose two to three DJ companies to meet with for consultations. During those meetings, be sure to cover the following items! Without further ado…

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Photo Credit: Iris & Light

Music Selection

Be sure to talk music with each of your potential DJ’s! Let them know the kind of music you are interested in playing at your wedding and get a sense of what they are drawn to. Try to determine what kind of musical chemistry you have. The vibes for any party is determined by the music that will be played throughout the night. The idea is not to hire your musical soul mate, but that you choose someone that gets what you are going for, is happy to take your music taste into consideration and is excited to execute the kind of style you are looking for.

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Photo Credit: Iris & Light

Communication & Process

Communication is important in every relationship, even one with your DJ. Understanding how they would like to be reached and what their expectations are prior to the event can help alleviate a ton of stress in the final stretch of your wedding planning process as you are communicating your song selections and musical desires for your day. Don’t forget to inquire regarding how much freedom they tend to like in terms of the actual music being played. Some DJ’s are happy for you to choose just about every song that is played, while others see what they do as an art and (other than the songs for specific moments like your ceremony and first dance) want you to allow him or her choose the music throughout the party based on the general genres that you like. Take some time to consider your own personality and how intense you are going to get when it comes to choosing the specifics of your dance party music and be sure to choose a DJ whose process will work well with yours.

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Photo Credit: Dennis Kwan Photography

Equipment

Prior to your DJ consultations, be sure to think through in which areas of your venue sound is needed and then share this info with each prospective DJ. Most DJ’s will offer different packages that come with different items and speaker set-ups. When choosing a DJ package, make sure to gain an idea of what equipment comes with each option (such as the different kinds of mics they have, how many speakers, lighting, etc.). Some DJs also offer extra rentals such as up-lights, draping or dance floor lighting. Be sure to identify the equipment and rental options you are super interested in (and the ones you can do without), along with the number of speaker systems needed so you can get a strong price point at the end of your meeting (see far below for more on this).

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Photo Credit: Booth Photographics

Master of Ceremony Services

Don’t forget that your DJ company will serve as the voice of your wedding. He or she will be the one to communicate any and all important information to your wedding guests! Some couples want a DJ who is more communicative, making jokes and hosting the night throughout. While others want a DJ who will talk only when absolutely necessary. Most couples want something in between the two extremes. Take some time to think through the kind of personality and style you would like your DJ to have. Be intentional about getting a feel for the personality of the DJ you are considering. You need to have a good “gut” feeling about their style so that you can make sure they would be a good fit for what you want in an MC as well as a DJ. Side note – we at Marisa Nicole Events like to avoid the overly talkative DJ and go for the one who communicates with party goers in a clear, strong, concise yet friendly manner. We think it is important that your DJ be remembered for the good times he or she provided throughout the party and not for their charisma or wit.

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Photo Credit: Lukas & Suzy VanDyke Photography

Packaging, Pricing, Logistics

When looking at the packaging options, look for how many DJ’s come with each package and how much equipment is offered with the package. To help figure out what you will need, talk through the layout of your venue and what you will need from them. This way, you will know what package is suitable for you by determining if everything you need is included in that package. Keep in mind that every DJ’s hours of operations can be different. Some will charge by the hour, while others will charge for the day. So check and see how this will fit into your DJ package.

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Photo Credit: Iris & Light

When picking your DJ, the most important thing is to make sure you feel confident that he or she will be able to keep the party going the way you want it to. With these tips in mind, you will find the right DJ to help set the tone of your party and keep the celebrations going all night long! Once you find the right company, book him or her right away or the DJ you have come to love could end up getting scooped up by someone else!

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Photo Credit: Kim Fox Photography

Budget Beginnings – Tips On Determining How To Appropriately Allot Your Funds

Hi Lovelies!

When planning a wedding, Pinterest and all those lovely wedding blogs inspire big dreams and make everything look possible. But before you start delving into your next DIY project or hand over half your wedding budget to book that vendor you simply must have, it is important to get all your financial ducks in a row so that you know how much you should plan to spend in each area. Throughout the planning process, money can prove to be your best friend or your worst enemy. If you spend too much in one area early on, your budget can be in some serious trouble later when you still have five more vendors to book and very little funds left to do so. To help you figure all this money stuff out, this week we want to give you a few tips and tricks to tackle the daunting task of appropriately budgeting funds for your celebration.

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Step 1: Determine Your Total Wedding Budget

You’re engaged, congrats! After the champagne has been poured and the well wishes have been bestowed, before you make a single plan for your day, you need to connect with the people who will be helping you throw this shin-dig to find out how much money you have to work with. It is super important that you have a firm idea of what your total budget is for this celebration prior to creating your guest list, determining your venue, or booking any vendors.

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Step 2: Utilize the Marisa Nicole Events Percentage System

You have a number (or a range) of how much you and/or your families are able to contribute to your wedding. Huzzah! Once again, we beg you to hold off on booking anything! Take your overall budget and apply the guide below to your finances to determine how much you should plan to spend in each area. You will notice that we are giving you percentage ranges, not hard numbers. In this system, our base numbers equal 100%, however, we know that every couple is distinct and will choose to value certain sections of their wedding more than another. It is for this reason that we have kept our breakdown fluid, so that you can choose to spend more or less in an area depending on where that section lands in your hierarchy of wedding priorities.

  • Hair & Makeup: 2-3%
  • Transportation: 2-3%
  • Cake/Dessert: 2-3%
  • Lighting & Sound: 4-5%
  • Dress & Accessories: 5-7%
  • Tipping: 5-7%
  • Venue Rental: 5-10%
  • Entertainment: 5-10%
  • Video & Photo: 8-12%
  • Flowers, Linens, Decor: 10-15%
  • Planning, Design, Coordination: 10-15%
  • Food, Beverage, & Functional Rentals: 40-50%
  • Extra Cushion: 2-3%

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Step 3: Pick a Venue That Fits Your Budget

To pick a venue that fits within your budget, we encourage you to evaluate the total costs of the venue location fee, food, beverages, and rentals. If these items combined equal less than or equal to 50% of your budget, then having a wedding at the location are you considering is a viable option for your budget. All venues set up their packages differently. Some will come with the caterer and all rentals, while others will come with nothing. Before you book, it is important to glean an estimate of what these costs will be so that you can determine if this venue is in or out of your budget. Once you have selected a venue and evaluated these costs, you will be ready to create a more detailed, line-item budget for your wedding.

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We’ve only scratched the surface on the inner workings of budgeting for a wedding, however, with these steps we know you will be well on your way to a fantastic day that actually fits within your budget!