How Much Should You Spend?
That's a fair question. As excited couples start planning their wedding, they often work out a budget . It's the smart thing to do. But there are a few extremely important details that need to be in place before that question is asked.
It's like walking into a jewelry store and asking for a price before explaining what it is that you are looking for.
How does the store give you accurate pricing until they know what you want? Would a smart consumer make their decision on pricing only, without even considering what is being offered?
The same thing applies when searching for a DJ. For instance, some people keep a pair of old speakers in their basement and DJ as a hobby in their spare time. While other DJ's devote large amounts of time to plan, direct, and create engaging and amazing events.
How do you compare the two using pricing as the sole factor when you aren't comparing two similar products or services?
It's interesting to note a recent survey conducted that asked brides about their wedding experience. What was their experience after planning their own wedding? In other words, if they got to do it all over again, what would be their priority in planning the best wedding reception possible?
Here are the general results from the study conducted by St Louis Bride magazine:
1. 72% of all brides say they would have spent more time choosing their reception entertainment.
2. Almost 100% say they would have spent more of their budget on the entertainment.
3. Brides say that during wedding planning, their highest priority was their attire, followed by the reception site and caterer – reception entertainment is among the least of their priorities.
4. Within one week after their reception, 78% of Brides say they would have made the entertainment their highest priority!
5. When asked 81% of guests say the thing they remember most about a wedding is the entertainment.
6. 65% of all couples that chose a band to entertain at their wedding, said, if they had it to do over again, they would have chosen a disc jockey.
7. Based on the survey statistics above, assuming a $10,000 food/drink minimum you’ll spend a minimum of $1500 on gratuity at 15%.
These statistics are telling. People are spending on average over $20,000 on their wedding. Yet what people are remembering isn't the food, or the table arrangements, or even the flowers. It's the entertainment! But most couples only invest around 5% of their budget on it, which often leads to serious regrets. Yikes!
Much of this comes from poor advice from bridal magazines telling brides to set aside 5-10 percent of their budget for "music". Unfortunately, many brides think that a "DJ" and "music" are interchangeable terms. But music cannot direct the flow of your reception, or coordinate it. Music is simply one of the tools that a professional DJ uses to create a great event.
Still, that's not to say you should go and spend your hard-earned money on the most expensive DJ and think you're covered. But it does show that you should reevaluate the importance of quality entertainment at your wedding reception, and that selecting the right DJ should be a higher priority than many assume. An experienced DJ will be able to help you to create the perfect atmosphere for your celebration, promoting a good flow from beginning to end, and will help keep your guests both engaged and entertained.
So what are you looking for?
In this day and age, there is a huge range in what DJ services offer. And you'll find pricing can vary widely. When considering your DJ, ask yourself the following:
- Is the DJ concerned about my needs, and willing to adapt to create the event that I want?
- Are they professional in appearance, and do I feel confident that they will provide a reliable, stress-free service?
- Have previous couples used their services with positive results? Hint: Look at review.
- Do they show that they are willing to invest time in advance to make sure my vision is achieved for my wedding day?
- After getting to know the DJ, do I feel confident that they can create an elegant, romantic, seamless, and incredibly fun reception for me and my guests?
If these questions matter to you, then you should seriously look at where you are investing your resources, and what really will make the greatest impact on the success of your reception. Your wedding day should not be an experiment.
- Avoid the DJ's who focus on "4 hour packages". This is an indication as to their level of commitment to your wedding day. If they can't be bothered to spend more than 4 hours on one of the most important days of your life, then they can't guarantee a personalized stress-free event.
- Look for a service that actually wants to get to know you, and will take the time to work with you in person to create an event that is tailored for you and your guests.
- If a DJ doesn't even ask to meet with you or discuss the details of your event before discussing pricing, then they might not be focused on your specific needs. Avoid them. You could become the victim of a cookie-cutter wedding reception.
- Look for a DJ who is staying up to date on current trends, and belongs to associations designed to educate and raise the bar in the industry. You might pay a little more for their experience and dedication, but it will be more than worth it on your wedding day.
To summarize, understand the value, and know what you're getting for the money. When you find the DJ that makes sense for your wedding reception, there is the possibility that the price might be a little higher than you had anticipated.
But consider that in reality their rate might be less than the gratuity you are paying for food. And remember, in the end it's not about paying more for your wedding. It's about where you're investing your money that makes the difference.
Knowing this in advance, you can move your entertainment higher up on your list and budget accordingly, not spending a penny more than you would have originally, but exponentially increasing the satisfaction of you and your guests!