You’re engaged?! CONGRATULATIONS!
The excitement of the moment is overwhelming, and soon (or even immediately), you’re surrounded by friends and family who want to celebrate the moment with you both! Champagne, warm hugs, smiles, and bright eyes everywhere!
Planning this once-in-a-lifetime celebration is both exciting and overwhelming all at once. With so many choices in Wedding Professionals, how do you figure out which one is right for you?
You’ll find yourself faced with a seemingly endless array of choices for your DJ entertainment, with different variables to consider for every aspect of your desired entertainment — from pricing to experience, deposit requirements to payment schedules, packages to a la carte options… right down to how much say you have in the music to be played.
There is a LOT to consider when making your entertainment choice for the big day. Because of this, "How to Find the Right DJ Entertainment" will be split up into 3 parts. In doing so, I hope to give you a little guidance on what to look for in our particular area of expertise: wedding entertainment. I’ll keep it pretty simple and welcome your questions and feedback, which can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
So... Let's get started.
Part 1: Vet Your Entertainment
With so many choices, how do you know who’s who, and more importantly, who’s worth your time?
Part 2: Let's Get to Know Each Other
So you've vetted your choices and narrowed down the candidates. What now? You want to get to know them a little bit. Once you schedule that important first consultation into your calendar, what can you expect?
Expectations of first conversations with wedding entertainment can vary wildly. I’ve spoken with couples who think we’ll be talking about music for an hour. Most will also ask, “What are your packages?” You might even ask what I wear to the event! These are valid assumptions for topics of first meetings. But you should expect a little more out of your “first date.”
At Panico Entertainment, we think that talking about your wedding celebration should be more than presenting packages, collecting a deposit, and eventually showing up to play music.
After some small talk and establishing common ground, I usually pose a simple question: “So, what do you see for this celebration? Do you have a vision, or are you a blank canvas?”
And I wait.
Often times, couples will be a little stumped, as they’re not prepared for such an open-ended question without any direction. But shouldn’t you expect your entertainment to skew their approach to your vision, to make the event truly “yours?!"
If you’re not given the opportunity to share your thoughts, how would we know?
That gets back to how important it is to have an actual conversation with your entertainer. Whether in person, via Skype, or by hopping on a phonecall, it is important to go beyond simply exploring their website and deciding you like what you see. You need to ensure that you and your DJ will be a good match. Hopefully, you’ve found someone you really like, and you want to convey that you’d prefer a more subtle approach. Or even the opposite, where you want it completely over the top… and they need to know that!
This process really is as important as a first date, as we get to know you, and you get to know what we'll bring to your event. In the end, you should have a pretty good idea of whether or not your (potential) entertainer “gets it” and gets YOU.
By the way, if you’re a “blank canvas,” that’s perfectly fine! We understand that once you get hitched, you essentially become an instant “party planner” overnight, and we’re psyched to help with that. I personally love sharing thoughts, perspective, giving suggestions, and helping you decide on options. Because ultimately, it’s not about just playing music for a few hours. It’s about creating a great experience as you plan, and eventually executing an amazing celebration for all.
Part 3: Don't Try to Program 4 Hours of Music
By now you’ve chosen a few candidates to host your wedding celebration. And in the end, it really is about the music bringing everyone together for an amazing time! You love music? SO DO WE! It’s actually at the core of our lives, considering we pack dance floors weekend after weekend for a living.
So when it’s finally time to wrap up planning, definitely review every detail.
But... Don’t Try to Program 4 Hours of Music.
There are two extremes when it comes to choosing music for your reception, and neither is necessarily a good approach to programming the event. At one end, you feel that you personally need to plan every song, maybe even certain ones in a particular order! And at the opposite end, your DJ won’t allow any input from you and is certain that last week’s playlist will hit a home run… just like the week before.
In both of these cases, neither party is allowing for any organic flow during the reception. If the couple has given an exhaustive list to the DJ that programs exactly 4 or 5 hours, they’ve eliminated the very reason for getting a trusted entertainer behind the music… or any human, for that matter.
When this is the case, there’s no room for moments to evolve, and your DJ’s creativity is completely restricted. Not to mention, you’ve created a lot of work for yourself in the process. This often comes from misunderstanding the role of your wedding entertainment, and what they can actually bring to the table to make your reception a success, besides “just playing any song.” And if it comes from the perspective that you don’t trust what they will play, then you should go back to the first part of this blog post and start your search over.
Conversely, your DJ should ask for input on your taste and style of music. If not, then I’m sure he does this every weekend, the exact same way, and he’s the “rockstar.”
But you probably didn’t want a “cookie cutter” for a DJ, right?
I’ll always ask for a list of the couple's top 10 or 15 “Must Play! I have to hear these songs at my wedding!” tracks. These are the songs that make your reception, yours! Yes, I believe I bring plenty of experience to the table, but it’s important that I weave who you are into what I do! The event is yours, and it should reflect that.
I’ll even ask for a “Do not play these because they’re nails on a chalkboard” list. Because, well, I don’t want to be murdered at the reception.
You should look for an exchange of ideas — and your choice in entertainment should also welcome that. By sharing your very special songs that trigger a memory, you’re giving us what we need so that we can use our experience to work them into what we do. And THAT is how you get amazing moments that create unforgettable celebrations!
Hiring a professional wedding entertainer (as well as other wedding professionals in their respective industries) allows for the ultimate goal to be achieved: have an amazing, stress-free wedding day! You work ridiculously hard to plan this once-in-a-lifetime celebration, and you should reap the rewards of an incredible day. By taking the time to ask the right questions and connect with the right professionals, you’ll be able to relax and enjoy your day!
Drew Panico is a professional disc jockey and event specialist with a decade of experience in the wedding entertainment industry. Drew is the owner and founder of Panico Entertainment Boston, a boutique DJ entertainment and event company in Boston, MA. He can be reached by phone at 617.652.9195 or via email at email@example.com. You can also keep up with Panico Entertainment on Facebook & IG.
Panico Entertainment Boston
Panico Entertainment Boston is a mobile entertainment company providing DJ, emcee, lighting and event planning solutions for weddings, corporate, school dances, private parties and any other event requiring professional entertainment services.