As an active Washington DC & Northern VA DC Service we felt like we have seen and heard it all. Read and blog or social media sight regarding weddings long enough and you will read all kinds of horror stories. Many involve acts of God that negatively impacted outdoor events. Others involve vendors who cancelled at the last minute, stopped returning calls, or were unprofessional. But this story was far different from all of the others I have read.
What made this story so different?
Think about it. How many times have you read a horror story about the Hair and Make Up person booked for a wedding day? Personally I have never read one ever! That is what makes this one so unique. It not only something that almost never happens, it never happened! I just made it up.
But think about that for a moment. Your BS meter was going off from the moment you saw the title of this blog. You had to click it because it was something different but inside you were skeptical. What made you think that this was a made up story?
Because you knew that no one would spend $15 on hair and make up and expect anything good to come out of it!
You knew that because you know damn well that the average cost of those services is about $150 per person. You may not have know that it was $150 unless you looked it up like I did but, you knew the value of it was a lot more than $15 per person.
But this blog isn’t about Hair & Make Up artists, what they do, or what they are worth. This blog is about DJ Services. You see, most couples seem to know when the price of a Hair & Make Up Artist or Tux Rental is too good to be true. Sadly, the same can not be said when it comes to DJ Services.
The person who posted this on Facebook is the DJ at a wedding in 25 days. I hope its not yours!
Those are his words and his lack of punctuation, not mine! If we are to take him at his word, and I doubt he’d post for help if he really didn’t need it, he will be the DJ for some unfortunate couple in a few weeks.
As I read that post I got upset with a couple of things. One is, doesn’t he/she know that a wedding is a once in a lifetime celebration? This isn’t one of nearly 100 birthdays a person will have, this is a major event! Two, if you clearly knew you had no idea what to do for such an event, why do you think it is a good idea to use someone else’s day to experiment and figure it out?
I also thought to myself about the couple. Do they know that this DJ has absolutely no experience with weddings and perhaps no experience at all outside of his/her bedroom? Did they reach out to other DJs for quotes and found that due to their budget this DJ was the only music source they could possibly afford or, it a case of not recognizing when a deal it too good to be true?
We have no way of knowing for sure but I think we can assume a few things:
I will bet that this DJ Service who has so little confidence in his ability to select music, has even less confidence in his pricing structure.
I will bet that this DJ Service has few if any former client reviews.
I will bet that this DJ has no liability insurance coverage.
Should you select a DJ Service simply on the basis of having checks in those three boxes? Of course not! But if the DJ Service you are considering for your Washington DC or Northern VA wedding or corporate event doesn’t have them then it should be a red flag.
Client reviews are self explanatory but Insurance is not. Insurance is required by many venues. Any DJ Service who is unable to provide a certificate of Insurance is not working very often. I don’t know about you, but if I decide to stop at a restaurant that I have never eaten at before and it is dinner hour, if the parking lot is empty, I am not stopping there! If a DJ isn’t busy enough to need insurance, I might hire them for a pool party, but not my wedding.
Pricing is likely the deciding factor for the couple who hired this DJ. His price was “so much better” than the other DJ Services and besides “don’t all DJs do the same thing?”
To answer the last question first no, all DJs do not do the same thing. The last time you went to karaoke the guy you heard singing “Hotel California” was doing the “same thing” as Don Henley of “The Eagles”. He was singing a song. Why does Don Henley fill and arena and this guy not fill every stool in a dive bar? He and Don are not at the same level. The same is true of DJs.
This DJ is asking what songs to play during the Prelude as guests are arriving. Not only does he not know enough about weddings to call it the Prelude, he doesn’t know what songs to play. How confident would you be in this DJ packing the dance floor and keeping your guests entertained after dinner?
I am not going to get into DJ equipment brand names it really doesn’t matter that much. There are many makers of quality gear but like owners of Mercedes and BMW’s, some DJs can pontificate for days over why brand X is “better” than brand Y. The bottom line in quality is cost. Excluding lighting, a quality DJ is going to bring $8,000 - $10,000 worth of sound equipment to the average wedding of 75 - 150 guests. To rent that same equipment would cost $800 - $1,000 for the day. That includes no lights, no music, no pc, and no accessories.
If the DJ is not charging to cover the rental fee of their equipment you can be certain of a couple of things.:
They are not bringing the BMW quality sound to your event. You are getting a new Kia at best and a used Yugo at worst.
They likely have no back up plan if something fails the night or your event or the day before your event.
The discount quote they gave you they can easily replace. If you gave them a $400 deposit and they find a closer, easier $800 event on your day; $800 + $400 = $1,200 and in their mind, doing your wedding is going to cost them $400. They know you are not going to court over $400.
The good news is that this doesn’t have to happen to you.
Get your DJ quotes and do your due diligence on the DJ by checking reviews. Compare prices, services and event duration. Quotes that are much lower than others should be flagged. It doesn’t mean they are all bad and there is no such thing as a good deal but, when it is all said and done, this wedding is going to cost about $30,000 according to the National Average.
The DJ Service you choose will impact the entire event and every guest in attendance. A bad DJ Service will be as obvious to your guests as the bad Make Up Artist. The difference between good and bad on your wedding celebration will far exceed the few hundred saved.