Hello everyone, my name Is Charlie Walkrich and in this video I'll share a few tips on how to choose a DJ for your wedding in San Diego, Los Angeles, Orange County or pretty much anywhere in the United States. If you’re new on my channel, I’d like to invite you to subscribe and hit that notification bell so you don’t miss out on more helpful tips
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And now let's jump right in! But wait a minute, WHO AM I to tell you how to choose the best wedding DJ? What makes me think I know what I am talking about? These days we have so many so-called experts on YouTube, right? Well, yes, I am an actual wedding DJ with over a decade of experience, but forget about that, it’s not important at this moment. What really matters is I also get to see many other wedding DJs literally all the time when I provide other wedding services.
So let’s say a couple is getting married and they’ve already hired another wedding DJ but they still need a videographer or other services. This is when I might come in either personally or while supervising my workers since my company specializes in many different wedding services including planning, coordination, photography, wedding videography, DJ services, live music, audio visual equipment rentals, event lighting design and so on. This gives me a chance to work with all kinds of wedding djs - the best and the worst, expensive and cheap, amateur family friends and experienced professionals. I get to meet them and see what they do from the moment they show up and start setting up for the ceremony until the moment the entire reception is over. I get to see their equipment, hear their announcements, watch how they interact with the couple, their guests and other vendors and, most importantly, analyze their unique skills and learn from their mistakes.
Does that mean I am the best wedding DJ? No, definitely not. I simply don’t have some of the talents I’ve seen among many different DJs. All it means is that hopefully I’m competent enough to talk about this topic and my tips are helpful to you. After all, it’s impossible to combine all the talents and stuff it into one person. For example, I sing, play piano, keyboards, drums and produce music, some of which you can find on this channel. But! I can’t play guitar, violin, cello or any other instrument! I know it might be a strange comparison but it’s going to be the exact same thing when you hire a DJ. He is going to have some strengths and some weaknesses. And your job is to know what’s important to you so you can choose the best match tailored to your specific needs.
One of the most common misunderstandings among couples who are planning their wedding is that a wedding DJ is just some dude who plays music. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Playing dance music during group dancing is only one of the many responsibilities a wedding DJ has. How about assisting with timeline and agenda preparation, consulting and helping you decide when and how it’s best to do your ceremony processionals, reception grand entrance, first dance, mother-son dance, father-daughter dance, toasts, bouquet toss, garter removal, cake cutting, etc.
Making sure it flows smoothly and your guests know what’s going on by providing clear and professional MC announcements and introductions, coordinating with your wedding photographer and videographer to make sure they're ready before announcing the most important events I just mentioned above, coordinating with your family and friends to make sure each person is ready for their speech before introducing them for toasts and other activities, taking the time to get to know you before the wedding in order to prepare a song list that is full of music that is meaningful to you and your guests, not to mention being responsible, preparing in advance, testing the DJ equipment and having a backup plan just in case anything goes wrong.
You don’t want your DJ to bring a mic that will be cutting in and out in the middle of your ceremony, right? You probably don’t want to have a DJ who will do your wedding party introduction and your first dance while your photographer is in the restroom and misses the whole thing, right? Or how about a wedding DJ who won’t announce anything at all so no one in the room knows what’s going on or what’s about to happen and therefore has no clue when it’s okay to step outside or use the restroom without missing anything? It doesn’t stop here, you don’t want a DJ who brings cheap terrible sounding speakers that are literally destroying people’s ears. Or a DJ who has no idea how to properly use EQ to improve the sound based on room acoustics. Or a DJ who brings amazing speakers but puts them on the floor while he sits on a chair playing with his new phone. And his power strips, wires and equipment bags are lying around all over the place and will probably end up in some of your wedding photos. Not to mention a DJ who choses songs based on his own music preferences while completely disregarding you and your guests. Or a DJ who has a personality / attitude problem and simply doesn’t know how to work with people?
Trust me, I’ve it all and it made me so sad. It’s once in a lifetime event and you are chosen to be a part of it. As DJ or any other wedding vendor you should do whatever it takes to make it a happy day and a perfect day for the newlyweds and their family members. This includes helping each other out, even if you just met this person. But some DJs don’t feel this way while others simply don’t have the experience and skills required to be a truly great and helpful wedding DJ. For example, your friend who likes music and is willing to DJ your wedding as a gift to you might be an amazing person. But he doesn’t do weddings very often so taking on all of these responsibilities might simply overwhelm him and stress him out to the point that he messes everything up. Or it can actually happen the other way around – let’s say you hire a top-rated party DJ with a hundred years of experience. But he is so overconfident and stubborn that it blocks him from seeing his flaws and doing the prep work that’s required to provide you with an excellent service.
So how do you choose a DJ for your wedding? Now that you understand what being a wedding DJ is about,
I’m going to give you some specific tips that would maximize your chances of finding the best one for your specific wedding. First of all, let’s determine your goals and priorities. For example, maybe music itself is not that important to you and you just want someone who can do great announcements? Or maybe the other way around, you don’t care much about all the formalities and just want someone who will play great music all day? Well, what do you mean by great music in the first place? Is it the list of songs that you choose and give it to your DJ as a must play list before the wedding? Or do you actually want your DJ to read the crowd and play what’s most appropriate to keep your guests on the dance floor? Or maybe a little bit of both with some prep work and a personal touch?
My recommendation is to think about it and write it all down in an email that you can later send to several potential wedding DJs. This way they’ll have a chance to know a little bit more about your vision, your expectations and provide you with solid answers along with a price quote. When you read their responses, you’ll be able to tell how much attention to detail they have and what they are willing to do to make sure your event is a success. If you’re not sure what you want or need, just say that in the email and a great wedding DJ should be able to guide you and provide options to choose from. You should also ask your DJ to send you some samples of their work including videos of their announcements, their DJ mixes and their lighting setup. If this initial communication process becomes helpful to you, then chances are that DJ will be helpful at your actual wedding as well.
Before making your final decision, I also recommend looking up your DJ on Google, Yelp, Facebook, Wedding Wire and The Knot to check out their reviews. Try to carefully read at least a few positive and negative reviews so you can get a good idea of what to expect. Keep in mind that some of those reviews might be fake. For example, almost 10 years ago someone I know got angry at me, pretended to be a bride and posted a 1 star review. Thankfully I was able to get that taken down. There are also some DJs who might buy positive reviews or ask their family and friends to post them.
One more important tip I have for you is this: do not try to find the cheapest DJ. These days almost anyone can download some music and call themselves a DJ. But if you got to this point of the video, you already know that being a wedding DJ is a profession that requires special skills and training. It’s just like being a teacher, a fireman, a doctor or a lawyer. If your main objective is to save money, think about what you’re willing to sacrifice. Unless you’re mentally prepared to see everything go wrong while being okay with it, try to extend your DJ budget just a little bit and it will be well worth it.
It’s also important to point out that most wedding DJs in the United States do not know how to beatmatch, mix or produce music. The only thing they do is press the play button on their laptop, which starts a prerecorded song they downloaded online earlier. As long as they’re good at everything else I mentioned in this video, it’s usually enough for a successful wedding. But if you want to have an actual DJ artist who is truly talented and knows how to manipulate music, you’ll have to expand your search. Mention this to your wedding planner if you have one. Otherwise, try to email as many DJs as possible asking them about this before anything else.
Some wedding DJs can even play live instruments. This can add much more class and elegance to your big day while truly impressing your guests. It also gives your DJ extra knowledge and advantage when picking which songs to play.
A wedding DJ who is also a musician is likely to choose better music, it’s as simple as that. So, if you want the best of the best, that’s what I would aim for, as long as that person is also good at handling everything else I mentioned earlier in the video.
To summarize my main tips on choosing a DJ, I’d outline these five steps:
If this video was helpful, please be sure to give it a like, subscribe and leave a comment below, which would help me grow this YouTube channel. If you need a wedding planner, coordinator, photographer, videographer, San Diego weeding DJ, live music, audio visual equipment rental or event lighting design services in Southern California or anywhere in the United States, feel free to email me at CharlieWalkrich/at/gmail.com and I’d be happy to help. Last but not least, if you’d like to learn a little bit more about who I am and my story, I’d like to recommend my “American Dream” video, the link should be popping up on the screen right now and it’s also included in the description below. Thank you for watching and I wish you great success with everything you do.
Thank you Megan and Timur for choosing us to provide DJ/MC services, live music, lighting, photography and videography services for your wedding day! It was such a beautiful and exciting international celebration full of love, joy and inspiration! It's amazing how people and families from different countries can unite, fall in love and take care of one another. Also, huge thank you to the staff at the Ocean View Room for always being so kind and helpful. We hope this video trailer and the photos below can bring you back to that day and help you experience it over and over again! ;)
Thank you so much to Kaitlin & David for choosing us as your wedding videographers. We always enjoy working at the beautiful Bali Hai restaurant and it was nice to do finally do some video work at that location since we were providing wedding DJ services during the last few visits. The story about how you two met and fell in love is very inspiring. Your special dancers definitely made everyone excited and watching their performance was an amazing experience. We hope this video trailer will help you remember and relive your wedding day for many years to come. Wishing you a lifetime of happiness together!
Thank you so much to Elizabeth and Elias for choosing us to be your wedding videography and photography provider. It was one of the most fun and enjoyable weddings we've even been a part of. It was so exciting to learn about different cultural traditions and experience it all live! Nothing can be more beautiful and inspiring than seeing two great families bonding together as one. Special thank you to Palms Banquet Hall and Mater Dei Catholic Church for making things easy for all parties involved. We hope this trailer will help you relive your big day for many years to come, and we sincerely wish you all the best!
Congratulations to Patricia on her 90th birthday! It was such a great pleasure being a part of this special celebration. Patricia definitely looks and behaves as if she were in her fifties. Seeing her being so strong, active and happy is an absolutely beautiful and inspiring experience! And she raised so many smart, talented, humble and grateful children - it's almost unbelievable! Thank you so much for choosing us and we are looking forward to being a part of your future family celebrations.
Congratulations to Corrin and Tim! Thank you so much for choosing us to provide photography and videography for your beautiful wedding at Low Willows in Fallbrook, CA. I (Charlie), Suzanne and Millie really enjoyed working with you guys and we hope that these photos will help you remember and relive your big day for many years to come! :) If you would like to order prints, please email us. 4x6 - $1.00/each; 5x7 - $3.00/each; 8x10 - $7.00/each; standard shipping - $5.00 per order.
5 Tips on How to Save Money When Hiring Wedding Vendors: Photographers, Videographers, DJs, Lighting Providers, Photobooths Rentals, Officiants, Florists, Planners, Coordinators, Designers, Caterers, Transportation, etc.
Putting together a schedule and a budget for your event, and finding that the costs are just too high right now? Wondering if there might be a way to shave a few bucks off the final cost, so you can throw a successful event for less, without skimping on quality? Try these tips, and see if they work for you.
1) Ask if there are discounts for leaving Yelp! reviews.
The world of event vending is fiercely competitive, and every vendor is always looking to boost their image and public standing so they can continue to attract clients. For most, the best way to appeal to consumers is through reviews. Small business owners, individuals running small one-person operations, and new businesses just starting out are often in strong need of positive reviews to bolster their image. If they don't already offer a discount for leaving a review, ask if they might be willing to cut you a deal in exchange for a prompt (and positive) Yelp! review.
2) Book during the off season months.
Spring, summer, and early fall are the most popular months for weddings. Vendors know this, and will charge accordingly (which is to say, top dollar). If you want to get married, but aren't heir to an oil fortune, then you may benefit from asking your vendors if they offer lower pricing from late September through early March, which is generally considered "off season." November, December, and January are (in most parts of the US) the coldest and wettest months of the year, so vendors see very little business then, and may be willing to cut you a break in exchange for some much needed patronage.
3) Inquire about military/ nonprofit discounts.
Are you an active or recently retired member of the Armed Forces? Some vendors may be interested in offering discounts to our people in uniform. When discussing booking fees, inquire if they have any military discounts or special packages available. Also, do you work for a certified nonprofit organization? Are you on a tight budget, and can't find anything in your price range? When contacting vendors about packages and services, ask if they offer any discounts or offer any free services to nonprofit organizations. Some may do this as it may be counted as a charitable donation, which confers tax benefits on their company. Be prepared to fill out and possibly notarize documents certifying their donation of goods or services.
4) Find out if they offer partner discounts.
While perusing the websites of various vendors, do you see any common names crop up? Do any of them have names of vendors they like to work with? Venues definitely like to keep a list of preferred vendors available, which can sometimes mean a discount when you book a venue and some of their preferred vendors. However, you might be able to find videographers who have certain photographers they like to work with, or DJs who like to work with photo booth people. Some of these vendors may offer a referral discount, if you book their friend as well, and their friend in turn, since both essentially got each other the booking. While discussing bookings, ask if they have any close associations with other vendors, and if they might be able to cut you a deal (and then ask the other vendor if they can do the same). Or ask if they can be booked as one entity, and providing a sort of group discount.
5) Special Discounts.
For an added bonus, inquire if you can get a special discount from a DJ by not requesting any face-to-face meetings. If the DJ can save on gas money before the event by only corresponding via e-mail or skype, they may be willing to pass on that saving to you. If the DJ is not too keen on making announcements, or if you'd rather have a family member make the major announcements, ask the DJ if they would be willing to shave a few dollars off for not having to make any announcements. If you provide the DJ with a total and comprehensive list of every song you want played at your wedding, right down the top 40 hits you want played at the reception dance, you'd be taking some pressure off the DJ to have to guess what should be played, and narrows down the field of music they need to have handy for the dance. That kind of time and effort conservation they may be grateful for, and you may be able to ask that they knock a couple bucks off as such. And a videographer or photographer may be happy to shave $100 or more off their normal price if you make the effort to coordinate with them via only skype or e-mail, and if you have someone on hand to help them find the optimal spots to place their gear for the best shots. Coordinating with the videographer with the location of the grand entrance well in advance so they know where to place their cameras to get maximum quality video will definitely be in your best interest.
Written by Dave Andersson
The big day is here. You've picked a beautiful cake, this resort's ceremony garden has a stunning view of lush, green vineyards, and the caterers from Marseilles are cooking up the most amazing meals your guests will ever eat. The DJ is setting up in the reception room, the photographer and videographer have all called to report they're on their way, and florist is arranging flowers at the entrance. Everything is perfect. But have you forgotten anything?
Now the question you must ask yourself is: how closely have I communicated with my vendors? It seems an odd question, but how in-depth you've communicated with your vendors can have a tremendous impact on the smoothness and success of your wedding.
For example: did you ask your photographer and videographer if they are bringing assistants? And if yes, did you allocate meals for them and their assistants, so they are fed? Your vendors will be running around taking every piece of footage and imagery possible to ensure that they've captured your wedding's every nuance. All that legwork is exhausting. During the mealtime in the middle of the reception, it would be a very kind gesture to make sure that your staff are fed. It not only fosters goodwill, but also guarantees that your vendors will have the energy they need to keep running around and capture every aspect of your wedding with the highest attention to detail possible.
On the subject of wedding videographers, have you coordinated with them (and their assistants) about important moments such as the entryway you will use for Grand Entrance, and the Parent-Child dances? The Grand Entrance is a crucial event, and often, the videographer works alone, and in a large space with multiple entrances. They will supplement their equipment with a tripod to capture much of the Grand Entrance while getting in close with a handheld camera. It is essential that they know where to plant their tripod, so they can capture as much footage of the event as possible, from every angle. Deciding on the entrance well in advance, and communicating which entrance point you will come through helps your videographer establish the best shots, and not risk panicked moments where they chose the wrong door to set up their cameras, and be forced to bolt across the room at the last second (thereby missing some of the first groomsmen and bridesmaids that enter).
And when your parent-child dances come up, have you clearly established the order in which dances will occur? Is each dance separate, or will it be a group dance? Knowing these key elements of the event will also help you videographer set up their equipment properly, and know who to follow (and when) during the dances, so they capture the best footage possible of all parties.
And last but not least, when all is said and done, and the DJ has packed up and gone, and the venue staff are pulling away, did you make a note to leave an online review for your vendors? The caterers, the DJ, the MC, the photographer, the videographer, the venue itself, all of them depend on positive press to stay in business, and attract customers (or, if they didn't do so well, an appropriate review reflecting that can help them improve their service). Something as simple as a "Fantastic job! Our photographer took the most amazing shots we ever could have wanted!" and a four or five star rating on Yelp! can make all the difference in helping your vendors continue to stay in business, and provide happiness for brides and grooms for many years to come.
Written by Dave Andersson
How to Save Money on a Wedding DJ? Ways of Saving Money on a DJ. Ipod vs. DJ. Wedding Blog San Diego
We understand how difficult, overwhelming and expensive it can be to plan your wedding day. Everything seems very important, things add up very quickly and it’s very easy to spend more money than you can afford. This little article will provide some tips and ideas on what you can do to reduce the cost of your wedding entertainment.
First of all, you should contact at least 10 different companies and ask if they have any current specials. It might be less time consuming to email them, which would also allow you to ask more questions and get more detailed answers. Before asking the price question, make sure to tell them a little bit about your wedding, its date and location, the number of guests, the services you need, etc. Be polite, friendly and try to send a personal message to every DJ you’re interested in. Don’t forget to find out what’s actually included in their packages and what extras you may need.
If you’re looking for an experienced, professional, personal and talented wedding DJ/MC, use Google, Youtube and Yelp. Depending on your wedding details and the area where you live, the price range is going to be between $500 and $3000. However, if you’re looking for the cheapest wedding DJ in your area and the outcome of your wedding is not as important as the price of the DJ, then look on Craigslist and you will find many people willing to DJ your wedding for $300 or less. Please note that this can be compared to hiring someone from Craigslist to fix your teeth instead of using a professional dentist. Keeping in mind that this is one of the most important days of your life, there are too many risks involved: DJ not showing up, broken equipment, improper attire, poor announcements, wrong songs, bad timing, unprofessional customer service, lack of experience, etc.
If you still seriously consider hiring the cheapest wedding DJ you can find, it might be better to rent a good sound system instead and prepare the music yourself. This would allow you to save some money and still be on top of planning your big day. You can find a lot of information on wedding music and best wedding songs online. Most AV companies charge between $200 and $400 for a decent PA system. For instance, our $200 sound system rental package includes two 15’’ 550-watt speakers on stands, one wired microphone with a stand, one small sound mixer with a 3.5mm audio cable for your laptop or iPod, delivery, setup, tear down, labor and tax. If you’re not sure how to find a PA system rental company in your town, simply go to Google.com and type in “sound system rental” followed by the name of the city/area where you’re getting married.
Our final piece of advice is to understand the importance of your wedding reception entertainment and prioritize accordingly. Many current studies have shown that most people spend only about 8% of their wedding budget on a DJ, while music accounts for at least 70% of their wedding’s success. Most brides and grooms regret not spending more time and money on their DJ, while most guests consider entertainment to be one of the most memorable parts of a wedding. The good news is that DJ business is actually extremely competitive and, as long as you spend some time on research, it’s almost impossible not to find one within your budget. If you’d like to check out our DJ packages, please click here.