“All discos and DJ’s are the same aren’t they?”
Unfortunately, that’s what too many people think. Only problem is once you have booked one and they setup you are stuck with them for the evening. Before booking a DJ please read on and hopefully you will have a little bit of an understanding in what, why and who is so important when booking a wedding DJ/Disco.
“Why do the prices differ so much from company to company?”
In most cases with wedding disco’s you get what you pay for, if you are looking for the cheapest of the cheap then don’t be expecting a decent quality sound, lighting and DJ to keep you and your guests entertained throughout the evening. Some cheap DJ’s do it for a little bit of extra money, its not a business to them, they do not pay tax, do not operate a business account, their equipment might be old and sound dreadful, they do not have to worry about making money and it’s too late when they turn up. Another problem when using cheap mobile disco’s is that there is more of a chance they will not turn up. This happens and we get calls all the time from upset brides or venue managers calling looking for a last minute disco and the one they booked has not turned up. Chances are if you are paying a low price for a wedding DJ (4 hours sub £150) there is a greater chance they wont turn up and chances are they wont even be around come your wedding day. The most popular option is the mid range wedding DJ that would normally charge between £200 and £300 for a disco, they will be operating a proper business, care about what their setup and sound look like and more than likely are not using illegally downloaded music. Higher end mobile disco’s will more often than not use top of the range sound, lighting and have the experience and reputation to charge a higher price (£500+). What you have to remember in most cases, the evening reception will have the most guests your friends and family and what impression do you want to give? Always ask to see what they offer that makes them different!
A DJ that asks for a fair price has real overheads. Vehicle, insurance and fuel costs, upto date equipment and sound, weekly updating their music library, insurance, tax, business banking costs, staffing costs, maintenance costs, advertising, websites, clothing and so much more. When thinking about price, keep this in mind!
“So what should I be looking for when it comes to booking a good disco and DJ?”
Reputation is the biggest selling point of any mobile disco and DJ. If they have a website, have a good look around and check reviews, images, videos etc. If they have a facebook page see what people are saying about them? The top 5 things I suggest are:
- Are there lots of pictures of what the disco looks like in the daylight and evening on the website, facebook page or other media that show what the setup looks like? If there are loads of pictures from different venues you know they have experience in what they are doing. If they do not have actual images on their website you need to ask why? In most cases it’s because they have a poor setup. Some websites simply copy images from other DJ’s to give the impression they are better than they are. When looking at pictures, don’t be fooled by professional dance floor shots, you want to see pictures from both sides of the booth. When enquiring ensure that you see a picture of the setup in full lighting that they will be supplying (as this is what your guests see when they first arrive, a scruffy looking set could totally destroy the look of your venue) and also what the setup looks like when the lights are off.
- Are they legal? This is so important! Check they have a postal address, they operate a business bank account, they have a landline phone number, they are registered with the HMRC, they have public liability insurance in their name, all equipment is PAT tested and they are using legally owned music. If they are a legal company they will all be happy to show evidence of this. If they cannot or don’t have the above, avoid them at all costs. Your wedding reception could be ruined by benefit or tax inspectors raiding your reception, if an accident happens you could end up liable as the hirer, this could include poor equipment damaging property or persons.
- Should I pay a deposit? I would suggest always pay a deposit and either sign or agree to a booking contract so you and the DJ are covered legally. If they ask for a deposit as a cash payment, ask for a receipt.
- The venue have a resident DJ should I just hire them? This can be the easiest option but not always the best. I always suggest asking to see the DJ in action at a reception, to you can see what his setup looks like, what his sound is like and what the DJ is like personally. I always advise meeting up with or getting in contract with the DJ, there are several questions you should always ask. . Can you play my first dance and any other special dance or song requests I request prior to the wedding? 2.. Can guests request songs on the night? 3.. Will he act as MC and compare all the introductions? 4.. What sort of music does he play? 5.. What does his setup look like? Don’t assume you have to use their DJ, you are well within your rights to request your own. After-all this is your wedding not theirs.
- What about music, should I supply a playlist? A good DJ would always say no to a playlist and yes to several special requests. You are hiring a DJ not a jukebox. Being a good DJ is not just about playing music, it’s a lot more complex than that. For a start your guests are going to be of a mixed age, enjoy different styles of music and might be talkers rather than dancers. A good DJ will read the room from the moment your guests arrive, he will play a varied mix of music to start with to see what people like and don’t, as the evening progresses he will try and fill the dance floor with those who are wanting to dance, mixing genre’s every few songs so everyone can have a chance to dance, reading the mood of the room is one of the hardest and most important parts of being a DJ, if the mood is low, it’s a DJ’s job to pick it up, if its getting out of hand it’s the DJ’s job to calm it down. This is all achieved by the music played. A good DJ should be looking at your guests all evening and not sat behind his laptop or decks just playing music. A good DJ should be happy to play requests received prior to the event and take requests on the evening, after-all there will many songs that have special meanings or memories. Supplying a playlist is always a bad idea as it restricts what the DJ can do and in almost all cases causes problems with guests.
I am really worried that the DJ I have booked won’t turn up?
This is a sad fact of booking any sort of wedding entertainment, keep in touch with your DJ. Most weddings are booked at least a year in advance, so chances are you will book your DJ early. Keep in touch with your DJ. Drop them an email, text or phone call. Keep checking their website or facebook page to ensure they are operating. Loads of low priced discos and DJ’s are out of business within 12 months. If you chose a reputable company then you at least have a peace of mind that they will turn up or if something does happen (Emergency), they will supply someone else at no additional cost to you. To be fair this very rarely happens with reputable companies. If it’s a real business you can at least have a peace of mind.
Booking a wedding disco is not as easy as you might first appear, a wedding reception normally lasts for around 5 hours, and you will have all your close friends and family present. Your wedding could cost many thousands of pounds, (did you know most people spend more on flowers than they do on a wedding DJ?) Yet your wedding DJ is the longest part of your day and help create a great mood or kill the atmosphere with a click of a button. The disco setup should be smart and tidy when the lights are on and off, the DJ should be clean and dressed like he is at a wedding and not at a karaoke night in his local bar. Do your research and remember it’s not all about the price. If you follow our guide you can rest assured, you have covered your bases and its one less thing to worry about.