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Lancaster Brides 10 Most Common Wedding Planning Questions

Our mission at Perfect Harmony Entertainment is to help couples and clients create amazing events. As a DJ Service that serves the Lancaster | York | Hershey area, we have a love of music. While that is our forte, our passion is for helping people. We feel that sharing our experience is how we can make a difference so we continue to blog about all aspects of event planning , money saving tips, and any topic that we can think of that might prove helpful.

If you found this blog useful I hope that you will share it with others who may find it helpful as well. If you have any suggestions or comments for future blog posts please let us know!

Q: How much does a wedding cost?

A: While it this is likely not the answer you are looking for it is the truth. No two weddings are alike, and no two couples are alike. While this is not the precise answer you were likely hoping for, I am happy that there is such variety in wedding and in the couples, we celebrate with.

We provide DJ Services to two markets. The Northern VA | Washington DC area is one market. Looking at statistical data for 2018, the average wedding cost was just under $37,000. We also provide DJ Services to the Central PA market and to the Frederick MD area as well. The average wedding cost in those areas for 2018 was just under $31,000.

Our suggestion is that the couples come up with an amount that they feel is reasonable for their market. Use that number to design the wedding that is perfect for you and includes the items that are most important to the two of you.   

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Q: Where should I focus my budget?

A: The answer to this question depends upon what is most important to you as a couple. Do you want amazing décor? If you do, then make finding the designer that can create the look that you have imagined a priority. Do you want a raging dance party your guests won’t want to see end? Put your money towards a spectacular DJ and bar list!

Before putting together your budget, sit down with your fiancé, and parents and discuss how you envision the day going and think about the elements that are most important to bringing your vision to life.

Q: Do we have to ____________?

A: The answer is usually no. You call the shots and can make the wedding exactly as you want it to be! You do not need anyone’s permission to go off-script. This is your moment. Of course, you want to create a great experience for the guests, but you need to make sure that it is meaningful and enjoyable for you.

Q: How do I sort through all the information that's out there?

A: The moment you get engaged, you may find herself surrounded by well-meaning friends and family who are suddenly experts in wedding traditions and etiquette. You may feel overwhelmed by all the (sometimes, contradictory) advice and find that some of it may conflict with their own ideas of how you have envisioned your wedding day.

Stay true to yourself. Wedding guests know you, either as individuals or as a couple, and if the wedding reflects who you are, it will brim with love and charm.

Q: How do we find the best venue?

A: Start your search online. There are plenty of websites such as “The Knot” and “Wedding Wire” that will provide much of the basic information such as maximum number of guests and often general pricing or and average cost.

In addition to these national websites, there are many venues that you will not find listed on these sites. Searching Facebook is a great way to find venues that may not have a website yet. This is particularly true for Farm | Barn Venues that have gone from being active farms to part-time or full-time wedding venues. 

There are tons of options that can reduce the venue cost and provide a beautiful photographic backdrop for your wedding. These are places that may not be top of mind. Here are just a few examples that I have personally visited: The Washington County Museum of Fine Arts, Shippensburg University, The Barn at Norlo Park.

The Washington County Museum of Fine Arts

The Washington County Museum of Fine Arts

The Barn at Norlo Park

The Barn at Norlo Park

The Barn at Norlo Park

The Barn at Norlo Park

Q: Should we have an open bar?

A: You know your crowd best, and if they are not much of a drinking group, then it is understandable that you may be hesitant to invest in an open bar. However, even people who don't drink on a normal basis are apt to want to enjoy a glass of wine or champagne at a wedding, and it's a generous gesture. If budget is an issue, consider an open bar for the cocktail reception only, or assign a dollar amount that you are comfortable with on a hosted bar. Once that number is reached, guests can start picking up their tabs.

Q: We want to stock the bar ourselves to save money. Will it?

A: By the time you buy all the mixers, liquors, beers, fruits, ice, and tools, you'll spend more money than an average per person bar cost. Not only will you typically not save money, it creates yet another item on your to do list.

I am all for saving money and we have several blog posts that offer money saving tips. In this case however not only do you not save money, you create more work for either yourself or whomever you task with doing it.

If you really want to do it yourself and save money, I have seen one way it can be done. In this case the uncle of the bride was a beer and liquor distributor. The price was wholesale saving them about 25% - 30% of the cost. If you “know a guy” you could pull this off.

Q: What elements will make the biggest impact on ambiance?

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A: Lighting is an important factor in setting the mood for your event. When in doubt, opt for 'soft amber' bulbs; they're classic and flattering. Candles are a part of the lighting design and even just a few motifs on a dining table can make all the difference.

Uplighting is an easy and inexpensive way to transform the look of the venue and create a wow factor. The versatility and the safety of this type of lighting are two more compelling reasons to consider.

For more on lighting options check out our blog post: Event Lighting Options To Wow Your Guests!

Q: How do I form a guest list?

A: We recommend reviewing your guest list several times after you think it's final. You don't need to invite everyone on your high school sports team, and the same goes for work friends: you may find yourself in a different job during the planning process. Make sure that your list is full of relationships that you value now and will value later. Those are the people you'll want to take part in your day.

Keep in mind that each guest you add will impact what you can offer to all guests. Did you know that the average per plate cost per guest is $30? Keep in mind, that is the average. The difference in adding a few additional guests can impact your ability to provide a photo booth for guests to enjoy or the accent lighting that will highlight the cake you spent so much time designing.  

Q: Is there a venue that will let us dance until 2 am?

A: Your wedding day is one of the most important days of your life, and, understandably, you want it to last forever. But all good things, even weddings, must come to an end. Six to seven hours is plenty of time to wine and dine your guests and dance the night away (start your event by 5 pm and have it end by midnight). The affair should end with a bang (and with your guests wanting more), rather than with a fizzle. Plus, you'll spend extra money on overtime staffing fees so that your handful of raging friends can stay out late, and that's just not worth it!

The Goldfish Barn | Taylor + Jamie

Strock’s Catering Barn DJ Service Carlisle PA

One of the best venue values in Central PA can be found just a few miles west of Chambersburg PA. The Goldfish Barn is a great location for weddings or special events. We provide DJ Services there frequently and the staff has never failed to deliver!

Here is a recap of Taylor and Jamie’s wedding celebration:

The Goldfish Barn was the scene of Taylor and Jamie’s wedding ceremony and reception. Located in Fort Loudon PA and just west of Chambersburg on Route 30, this venue is both gorgeous and conveniently located. It provides a country location with nearby amenities such as hotels and restaurants for your out of town guests.

Barn Wedding Chambersburg PA DJ Service

The ceremony took place on the outdoor patio area on the lower level. This was also the location for the cocktail hour. Taylor walked down the aisle to “Can’t Help Falling in Love” covered by Hailey Reinhart. The newlyweds walked out to thunderous applause and “I Had the Time of My Life” from the iconic film “Dirty Dancing”.

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The one vendor we did not personally know for our wedding was our DJ. But by the end we felt like we did! John was so helpful and personable.
Organized and had some of the easiest to use planning tools. I’m taking some pages out of his book for my own business!
At the wedding he was kind and courteous. Hyped up the crowd and kept it all flowing. Part way thru, they noticed people had left the dance floor and the 2nd DJ Derek, personally came and asked what we were thinking we wanted to hear, and they delivered!
Everyone loved them and had a great time! Would recommend to everyone!
Taylor
— The Knot
DJ Service Leesburg VA
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Taylor and Jamie selected a ton of music genres to keep all the guests entertained and on the dance floor. This included some Classic Rock selections. Among the most memorable songs played was the Father | Daughter dance to “Heaven” by Warrant. Music has a way of cementing a memory. Hearing a song can immediately take you to a different time and place. The sights and sounds are very vivid, and it is and makes a lifelong impact. It is something that everyone can relate to.

“Heaven” by Warrant had that impact on Taylor, and she now has this lifelong memory as a result of an ordinary car ride with her father when, at the right moment; they heard and shared the lyrics of this song the way only a father and daughter can.

When I come home late at night and you're in bed asleep
I wrap my arms around you so I can feel you breath
I don't need to be a superman 
As long as you will always be my biggest fan
Heaven isn't too far away
Closer to it every day

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Strock’s Catering Barn DJ Service Carlisle PA
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How That Bargain Washington DC DJ Service Cost More Than Money!

As a Washington DJ Service that has been doing this for awhile, there are some things that are totally unique but there are also things that happen frequently. Conversations are one of those things that are often similar and unfortunately this conversation happens several times a year.

“Do you have a DJ available for our wedding in 3 weeks?”

As a DJ Service that is a great inquiry! We love to do weddings and the more the merrier. As a DJ Service who knows that most brides secure our DJ | Photo Booth Service at least six months in advance, we also know that an inquiry this close is likely a red flag.

Why are they waiting until the last minute to book a DC DJ Service?

The answer to that question is, they didn’t.

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Like every other couple they followed the plethora of wedding planning advise offered by The Knot and elsewhere. They decided a budget, settled on what was most important to them, and then set about booking their venue and vendors.

The DC DJ Service selection process was different.

Like most couples this was the first wedding they had ever planned. Isn’t that how it should be? They had never hired a photographer before but they could look at all of their portfolios. They had never booked a venue before but they could review all of the pictures on line and then visit the most appealing candidates in person before deciding. They had never needed a wedding cake before but they could see the photos of their decorating skills and then schedule a tasting.

When selecting the DC DJ Service however, these were not options. There is nothing tangible and the only way to see anything is to crash a wedding they are doing. That’s not happening. So, they reached out to some DJ companies, told them their date and awaited their quotes.

Getting the best DJ Service deal!

After collecting quotes from several entertainment companies, the couple reviewed what had been sent to them. All of these DJ Service companies were providing the music and microphones they needed but some cost more that the other DJ Service.

“Why would they pay more for the same thing?”

The answer of course is they wouldn’t. Like all people in today’s era of instant information, they were very used to seeing what every item cost and where to find the best deal. All you need is a few minutes and a cell phone.

Wedding DJ Services in Washington D.C.

The problem was they were not buying a thing. They were not comparing two identical Honda Civics from two different dealers with both cars having the same options. Instead they were buying the equivalent of a paint job on their car. They were comparing the DJ equivalent of the Maaco, “We’ll paint any car for $295!” company to a legitimate body shop that does top quality work and is approved by the major insurance companies to perform repairs.

Thinking that this DJ Company was the same as all of the rest just cheaper, they did exactly what they should do. They sent a 50% deposit 8 months ago, marked that task as done, and went about planning the rest of their wedding.

“He is probably busy. After all, it is wedding season.”

That is what they told themselves as winter turned to spring and they hadn’t heard from their DJ. “He does weddings all the time, we are probably worrying too much!” is what they thought as the warm weather had them thinking more about their dream wedding in August but they hadn’t heard anything about music planning yet.

As the event drew ever closer the realization began to set in. “We may have a problem!”

Why would anyone do this?

I cannot say for certain. That is not how we do business. I have a few theories. Sometimes the deal the couple thought they got was not all that great to begin with. Sure, they may have thought that they were saving $300 - $500 bucks on that DJ. But think about that for just a moment. What is the value of the entire event?

The National Average for Wedding cost is $30,000. Who are we kidding? We all know that the “average cost” means absolutely nothing in Washington DC. In 2019 the average cost of DC area wedding is $39,465.

Sadly, there was another example of a DJ ruining the best day of couples life that went viral this week. You can read that story here.

Would you risk the success of your $39,500 event to possibly save $300 - $500?

Most people would not only answer no, they would answer “Hell no!” If they have spent anytime planning they would know that there are many less riskier ways to save a few hundred dollars that have little to no impact on their guest or the outcome. Skip the chair covers and you’ll save $125 - $200 and when you thought about your dream wedding, how many times did chair covers enter your mind?

Unfortunately, this couple went with the cheaper DJ option and the lack of social proof (reviews) was not important. They thought that this risk would pay off by saving them money but instead it has cost them more money and stress. That DJ knows that the couple likely is not going to court.

Another crappy thought is that this DJ may very well be working at a wedding on their wedding day. Not at their wedding, somebody else’s But, when he takes the 50% deposit he cheated that couple out of and adds it the 100% he gets for the wedding he actually performs at, he makes as much as the reputable DJ Service company. Life is not fair!

The happy ending…

Life is not only not fair it is often not a fairy tale. As I said at the start of this story, we are a very active Washington DC DJ Service provider. As much as we love helping couples we were 100% booked for their Saturday. Since everything else had been scheduled and the date secured, they were unable to change to meet our availability. We could only suggest a few DJ Services to check with and wish them luck.

How do you select a DC DJ Service?

I encourage you to do a couple of things. The first is to follow our blog and to read the various insider blogs we have posted to help you.

The next is to shop as you see fit and compile all of the information as I am sure that you will with all wedding vendors you are considering.

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Look for social proof. You should not only read the reviews but note the dates of the reviews. Are the reviews from 10 years ago? If they are it doesn’t necessarily mean that you should eliminate them but it should lead you to do more research. Technology has changed everything in the last decade. Think about your cell phone from 8 years ago. Has that DJ kept up with the times in terms of equipment and systems or are they doing events with CD’s and the sound system equivalent of a flip phone?

Trust your instincts. Your gut feel is often right. Do not let price overrule your gut instinct!

The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.
— Benjamin Franklin

Keep the big picture in mind. Remember what you are building here. You are creating a once in a lifetime event for all of those who are closest to you. There will be many vendors and objects that will make up this event. There are those that are far more important than the rest. Aunt Jenny may take a great snap shot out of the 50 pictures she took when you last saw her but you don’t want her creating your wedding album!

We all like a bargain and to feel as if we have gotten a deal on anything we purchase. Speaking for myself however, when I take my wife out to celebrate a milestone in our relationship like an anniversary, I am not looking for a deal, I simply want my monies worth.

Our team at Perfect Harmony Entertainment does far more for our couples than provide great music and fun activities such as our photo booth. Our focus is to help our couples and corporate clients create the events they have envisioned. We do that in part through offering tips and advice and sharing our event experience.

Music serves as the driving force behind an unforgettable wedding experience! Perfect Harmony Entertainment provides our couples and clients with exemplary service to help them create fantastic events!

If you are planning a wedding or corporate event in the Washington DC area we would love the opportunity to learn more about your plans. Our DJ’s routinely travel to all areas within a 90-minute drive of the District of Columbia including Leesburg, Rockville, and Frederick.

Our demand is as large as our service area! If you would like to check our availability for your date or chat about your event, click the link below or simply send us a text.