"Thank you for calling xxxx Wedding Service, how may I help you?"
"Hi, how much do you charge for a wedding?"
This is how most phone calls to wedding professionals start. No one taught you how to shop for your wedding so you go with the first thing that many brides think to ask and that is, “what’s your price?” Hopefully, by the end of this article you will have a better understanding of what questions to ask and as a result get the wedding you really want. Since I am a wedding DJ, most of the information discussed here will revolve around the entertainment, but the information can be used with many wedding vendors."
Many brides start off with asking about price. Truth be told, there are a lot of factors that go into determining the price of a product or service so it is not a question that is quickly answered. Many wedding DJs offer a range of different services for weddings depending on what the couple wants from that service. At the beginning stages of the relationship between a couple and the wedding professional, it is an impossible question to answer accurately for your wedding, simply because we don’t know anything about what you want…yet.
When shopping for your wedding services, it is best to first find out if the company you are interested in is even available for your date. Keep in mind as you shop also, some services book earlier than others. For instance, wedding DJs typically get booked anywhere from six months to a year or more in advance. If the entertainment is one of the most important elements of your wedding, consider shopping for your DJ earlier so you have the best availability.
In today’s society, a lot of professional grade gear is available to anyone with a credit card. If you wanted, you could go to the store or go online and buy the necessary gear and call yourself a professional wedding DJ, photographer, videographer, etc. So we know the first question to ask is, “Are you available on my wedding date?” Let’s look at some other key things to ask:
How were you trained in your profession?
In the DJ world a lot of disc jockeys did just what I mentioned above. They bought some gear, illegally downloaded a bunch of music and now think they are a DJ. So now they book a bunch of weddings and “wing it” while they learn as they go. Sure, they’re going to make a mistake now and then (who doesn’t after all) but they say they have been in business for years so they have experience. What they have done is just gotten better at making the same mistakes.
Another popular way to learn is to go to work for a larger company that provides in-house training, usually done by the owner of the company. Some of these wedding DJ companies have done a fairly decent job at turning out some good entertainers but one should wonder who trained the owner.
The third way to learn is to go to school. There are a few professional wedding DJ schools that teach all the nuances that go into running a successful wedding reception as well as how to solve some of the challenges that could come up at any time.
Is the business licensed?
Most counties and some cities require businesses to have an occupational license (it may go by a different name depending on where you live) to operate legally. While not a guarantee of any quality, working with a licensed business at least shows some level of seriousness on the vendors’ behalf.
Does the wedding professional belong to a local or national industry association?
There are two major national associations a wedding DJ can belong to, the largest being the National Association of Mobile Entertainers (NAME) and at least one active local association. Being a member of an association shows that the company meets the requirements necessary for membership.
Continue to Part II of the wedding planning article, Getting the Wedding Reception You Really Want