• Ken Prentice, C.Tech

The Last Thing Any Wedding Vendor Should Do


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Avoiding An Epic Failure At Your Wedding

There’s a lot of planning that goes into a wedding and every couple has an ideal wedding. There’s a lot of factors to consider that will help shape your special day. Brides have to make a lot decisions based what they’re told by friends, family, the internet, social media, articles, vendors, and in many cases the information is conflicting. Do this to save here, make sure you do this, and never do this it could spoil your day. Often this results in many brides to using price as major means of comparison for vendor services. The price of a service is never the most effective method of comparison unless if factors in what that service entails. The most overlooked factor is; what type of experience is each service going to deliver to the bride and groom vs. what they expected or wanted at their wedding? We’re going to give some tips on what you should ask DJs because the biggest risk most couples face is dealing with an unprofessional vendor they’ve hired. In my opinion the last thing any wedding vendor should do and in particular a DJ is put stress on the couple. Hiring a DJ that is reputable with a history of providing quality, reliability and ultimately a safe service should have a higher priority than just price alone.

This year with DJs in our market of Kitchener, Waterloo, Stratford and surrounding areas many brides have experienced exactly why reliability matters more. We’ve been contacted 47 times since June about DJs canceling a few weeks or days before a wedding, DJs no showing at the wedding, even companies closing which left brides with nothing, other than the loss of their deposits or in some cases the full fee. Unfortunately this has become more prevalent than ever before. No this isn’t just a problem with just DJs, it’s happening throughout the industry with all sorts of vendors. However, because we’re very well versed in subject of DJs we’ll address that aspect. I can tell you this with a level of certainty that a price from a DJ without a comprehensive understanding of what is and isn’t provided with their service is often where the problems lie. The reason for this is the level of service and the degree of service differs from DJ-to DJ.

When someone is promising or marketing the best DJs, with the best service at the absolute best price it’s an unrealistic combination that you’re better off avoiding altogether from the start. There are ways to achieve the lowest price, but you might not like how it’s done. Anything from not having a legal business to avoid paying taxes to buying low grade or dated equipment, hidden additional fees or hiring DJs with little or no experience are the most common. Sometimes it’s a combination of these to really get the price down low and if that’s the case then the price should be lower. Last year at a North American DJ conference I spoke with a large DJ service that focused on low cost wedding DJs. They could provide a DJ at half price compared to the local competition and their formula was simple. They used Nano or micro controllers, basic low cost speakers, wired mics, and continuously hired new inexperienced DJs. I asked if they ever communicated that to couples and the answer was, no never. Instead they said brides should know that if they’re half the price there’s a reason.

I’m an advocate for couples getting and receiving upfront service with fully disclosure from their wedding vendors. How is it fair that a bride and/or groom is expected to have this expertise when they have no prior experience or training? I also work with the largest provider of last-minute wedding services in North America, as well as, belong to a national DJ association. So far in 2018 roughly 20% of our bookings have come as result of DJs canceling. Last year that number was only 10% and the two years prior it was between 4-6%. The problem isn’t going away, in fact it is festering and getting worse year-after-year. I would love to say this problem is being addressed and soon it will go away, however, there’s no reason or measures currently in place that will eliminate this from continuing to occur. What I can do for couples is provide information that will aid in avoiding these types of occurrences from happening to them. Now some DJs will disagree on certain aspects and admittedly we’ve structured our company differently than a traditional business. Beyond some of the differences I still believe these few points will help curve the problem brides are experiencing today.

  1. Ask to meet with the actual DJ whenever possible – It’s a person providing the service so don’t be afraid to ask about their experience and training, then have their name written into the contract. This will be the most highly contested point because most DJs are hired or contracted so they can change year-to-year, or even throughout the year. My feelings on this subject are simple; if you’re basing your decision on an experience, review or referral, chances are you know who you want and it’s probably not a newly hired DJ.

  2. Backups – The majority of the time DJs are making reference to equipment and only a select few will actually have it with them. Still most of the problems aren’t caused by equipment failures generally the source of the problem is the reliability of the DJ, a person. It’s the DJ canceling, no showing, the equipment is typically not the problem, so have them name a backup in your written contract. This insures a much higher level of security on your day and addresses this possible risk.

  3. Legitimacy of the business – If the business is legal in Ontario it will be registered and they can show you this registration. This will name the business, its address and owner(s) there’s no exceptions to this, either it is or is not. A DJ should have some liability insurance and licensing for the music. Many reputable DJs will also belong to a DJ association which is typically a good sign. These are all things that should be documented and that they can easily provide and can also be independently verified.

  4. Contracts – The first part is simple, if you don’t have a written contract don’t provide any deposit or payment. Not having a contract is never a good sign and doesn’t not favour the couple. Second, read the contract and watch for extra fees that will drive the price up. I’ve seen some that include a clause for a mandatory gratuity which really means the price is higher than you were quoted. Ethical DJs do not have this type of thing written into their contracts.

These tips are not intended to be the sole factors in the decision process of booking the DJ for your wedding. Feeling comfortable with your choice is just as important as any of the above mentioned tips. Most of what is noted above is clinical and helps to mitigate the most common risks with each having some important merits. Following these guidelines will eliminate the lowest price since they cannot provide this higher level of service. However, it should lead to peace-of-mind knowing you’ve taken steps to protect your wedding day from added stress. Keep in mind if you have specialized requirements, such as, a specific style of DJing, extensive lighting, or custom monograms are not something every DJ offers so make a point of asking. Congratulations and hopefully you can use this information to make the best choice on your wedding day.

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