Nicole was in tears.  The ceremony had been lovely, set in a beautiful 18th-century villa on top of a mountain with the sunset-painted valley below… the wedding of her dreams. The reception, though, was a nightmare. 

sad bride with flower bouquet

Her DJ arrived an hour late, dressed in sweatpants and a t-shirt, and played random songs off his phone through a $17 speaker from Walmart with a bad Bluetooth connection.  She thought he was going to introduce the wedding party, but he said that it “wasn’t his job” and he hadn’t brought a microphone, so they just walked in and joined the crowd (which also meant the photographer didn’t capture any photos of the entrance). When it was time for the father/daughter dance, the DJ said he’d forgotten to download the song Nicole wanted (and with no Wi-Fi or cell signal on the mountain, no one else could either).  He took a break every fifteen minutes, got drunk, and suddenly left thirty minutes before the scheduled end time, so the bride and groom’s sendoff was confused and only half the guests made it outside.  After that, the reception petered out in the awkward silence. 

Fortunately, Nicole is fine now, but mostly because we made her up for this example.  Unfortunately, her story is a compilation of some all-too-real experiences that couples have had with DJs when they didn’t take some essential steps during the planning and preparation stage. 

So what are those steps?

1) Have a screening process.  Interview more than one DJ / DJ company with a list of questions covering anything you might be concerned about.  Read reviews.  Ask married friends about who they recommend (and who they recommend avoiding).

2) Write out a contract covering start and end times, attire, equipment, responsibilities, etc.  If you talked about something in person or over the phone, imagine that that conversation doesn’t exist.  It only counts when you put it down on paper and have both parties sign off.

3) If you have a friend offer to be the DJ as a wedding gift, take the same steps as above.  Friends are awesome (and some amateur DJs are fantastic). Still, the lines of responsibility and professionalism can get blurred when someone is volunteering to do a job out of friendship. You may end up wishing you’d hired someone instead if things aren’t clearly outlined and agreed upon ahead of time.

4) Have a backup plan.  Particularly if your wedding is in a remote location like this example (but even if not), it’s a good idea to have a backup plan.  Even when you’re dealing with a highly professional DJ or DJ service, there will always be the potential for weird things to happen (a pileup on the freeway, a guest spilling a drink on the laptop where their music is stored, etc.)  A good DJ will have their backup plan as well (which you should also ask about during the screening process), but it’s always a wise idea for you to at least have a thumb drive and a phone with downloads of any “must-have” songs saved on them and perhaps a portable speaker you can plug the phone into in a pinch.

5) If possible, secure a wedding coordinator. Not everyone is aware that there are even “day-of” wedding coordinators who execute the wedding day itself rather than planning the whole thing.  When you have a coordinator, it’s their job to communicate between all the vendors, wedding party, etc., keep things on schedule, and solve problems as they arise, which you’ll find is invaluable if a snag occurs and you don’t have to be the one to deal with them.

When it comes to your wedding and reception, taking a strategic look at all the factors and putting plans (and backup plans) into place ahead of time is the best way to ensure an enjoyable, worry-free experience.  When you put in the work on the front end, you can breathe easy on the day itself and focus solely on your new spouse, the people you love, and having fun!

At Spectrum Sounds, you get DJs with three decades of experience who are dedicated to giving you an event that’s smooth, stress-free, and sensational!  Give us a call today at 585-451-1111 or email us through our contact page and we can discuss how to make your wedding unforgettable!