I remember being a guest at a lower budget wedding back in 2011. It was a small family gathering located upstairs at a well-known restaurant downtown. When I say “small”, there were probably less than 50 in attendance. Even though it was a relatively small area, which may not have required a large professional sound system, there were issues. Big ones. Awkward ones. Read on.
The bride and groom decided to employ an Ipad hooked into small computer desktop speakers for their music with a very basic “corded” microphone as the source of their PA for the evening. Everything was fine until the first dances. First, the bride and groom needed to employ one of their guests to “watch” or “man” the Ipad to make sure the music continued to play. All of a sudden it was time to introduce the bride and groom and let them do their first dance. What happened next did not surprise me. The bridal party was introduced to an upbeat song, and when it was time to put on the bride and groom’s first dance song, there was no real way to fade down the intro music and turn up their first dance song. So, as a result, there was an abrupt halt of the intro music, a pause, then the beginning of the first dance song. However, it was NOT the first dance song that began to play, it was actually the song the bride was going to dance to with her father. What an awkward moment it was. The bride's face turned a few shades of red. Ugh, I said. They should have hired a professional wedding DJ to supply the music / PA and announcements for their wedding reception.
Music and entertainment are one of the most important aspects of your wedding day. While I can appreciate the need to trim wedding budgets to save a few dollars, the entertainment portion of your special day is NOT an area to do that. NO. Because the statistic hasn’t changed since last I blogged about this. 81% of ALL brides wish they had spent a little more resources on the entertainment for their wedding day. Do yourself a favor, don’t become part of this 81%.
And I must say, this debate is not something that is going away and it’s actually too bad that I have to continue bringing it up but it was a meeting with a planner the other day that infuriated me a tad, so here we go again. At Mike Bills Entertainment, I’ve worked too hard to forge a rock solid reputation in providing an exceptional DJ experience for Charleston area brides only to have it ripped a part by companies who promote the lack of wedding entertainment. The companies who promote the “cheapening” of wedding entertainment. For wedding DJs in Charleston, you do get what you pay for. But why again should we NOT be using an Ipad at wedding receptions? Here are some reasons below.
Venue Size: How is an Ipad and your desktop computer speakers or even speakers from a home stereo system going to provide sound for a large venue like Alhambra Hall or the Pavilion At Pepper Plantation or even Upstairs At Midtown for that matter? A true professional wedding DJ like my company has invested in top notch professional sound equipment (wood cabinet speakers for the best sound). You’ll need a powerful sound system for most of Charleston’s most wedding venues.
Pauses Between Songs: Even apps you can buy for $4.99 can’t take the place of a professional wedding DJ who is polished and can blend songs perfectly. It takes years of experience to make it sound right. Plus unless you have “normalized” each song, every single song will have different sound “levels” and would require the ear of a DJ and the controls of a professional mixer to adjust. Simply put, some songs will have more volume than others, especially some of the older tracks due to recording techniques of many many years ago.
Song Requests:Taking song requests is a topic for another blog but if you have an Ipad as the sole source for your music, who is gonna be the one to field requests? If you take requests, are you going to be able to search through the Ipad to find songs WITHOUT stopping songs? Having the music stop at a wedding reception is the equivalent of leaving your house and going to work without your skirt on. Regardless of the reason the music has stopped, it’s a helpless and embarrassing feeling.
The Ipad saves money?: Well, for a 4 hour reception, you’ll need to grab about 80 songs, so unless you own all the songs you select, you’ll be hitting up ITunes for more so at $1.29 a pop, things add up to close to $104.00. Plus, whatever money you think you might be saving will end up costing you more time in the long run because of the worry and frustration you are going to encounter in making sure you go the entire night without an interruption in music. If you wanted to rent professional sound equipment, there would be that extra stress of picking it up, taking it to the venue, and then figuring out how it interfaces with your Ipad. What if you spent all that money and the day of the wedding got there and you couldn't get your Ipad to hook into your rented sound system? It happens all the time, but not when you hire a true professional wedding DJ.
Clean Lyrics: Regardless of tastes, a true professional wedding DJ is going to be respectful of all guests and play only clean edits of new music. It even matters if your grandmother is not going to be in attendance, because there will always be at least one or two people (young or old) who are offended by that rap track that has 26 F bombs throughout the entire song.
Refresh My Memory, How Did We Even Get On This Topic Again?
Ah yes, you were thinking about using and Ipad at your Charleston wedding reception. Brides and grooms actually consider going this route, not to save a few bucks, but because they want to be in complete control of their music. They want to be in complete control of the music because they went to their friend’s wedding and saw the worst DJ ever. They saw “that” DJ who ruins it for the true professional and polished DJs in Charleston like myself. Ah yes, the cheesy DJ. You know that overly enthusiastic DJ who comes in with a bandana or hat turned around backwards, who gets out on the dance floor and injects the cheese into your night by showing your guests how to do “cheesy” line dances. If you want dance lessons, take dance lessons before the wedding. Your DJ should never leave the booth and teach your guests how to dance. A great wedding DJ will play the songs that speak for themselves and should require no dance instruction. They will play the songs YOU want to hear, not their personal stash from the club.
It’s too bad that seeing the worst DJ ever at your friend’s wedding would cause you to abandon a DJ all together at your own wedding. Truth be told, the cheesy DJs still exist in Charleston and while we won’t rattle off a list on this blog, there are probably ONLY 6 or 7 DJs in this town who I would call upon to do my own wedding. Avoiding the hire of a cheesy DJ has never been easier before, especially with my company, Mike Bills Entertainment. Let's talk soon. I'd love to meet you and your fiance.
A seasoned professional wedding DJ will give you 100% control over your playlist, institute a DO NOT PLAY LIST, make as many or few announcements as you desire, set up and maintain the flow of the evening, get people dancing and go home. All of that without the inflatable instruments, the outlandish, unprofessional behavior and unprofessional equipment. The focus is on the bride and groom at all my weddings, as I am not the DJ who comes in with one orange sneaker, and one red sneaker, and who found this cool new low bit rate MP3 (illegal) remix of an unclean Nelly song they are dying to play to give your grandmother a heart attack and RUIN your wedding reception. Even as we begin another year, this type of behavior continues to happen in Charleston.
So there you have it, sorry to be long-winded on this last day of 2016. I get long-winded about things I am passionate about. I see this blog as not only a way to educate my prospective brides and grooms about music and what to look for in their DJ as they plan their Charleston wedding here or from a distance, but it’s also therapeutic for me. Therapeutic, because this is a passion of mine and it’s important for me as well as the other seasoned professional and polished DJs in Charleston to come together as one voice to squash out the cheesy DJs who keep undercutting the REAL DJs and giving all DJs a bad name.
You’ve heard the old saying. “The only thing that is guaranteed are death and taxes”. Well, that might be true, but in the wedding DJ business, there is one constant. “The great DJs and the BAD DJs”. As long as I am operating my business for Charleston weddings, I will continue to drive home the point to prospective brides and grooms and advise the following:
1. Do not ever cut your entertainment budget, cut other areas that folks are not likely to remember months or years after your wedding.
2. Do your research and meet with all DJs before signing a contract or paying a deposit
3. Make sure you have 100% control over your playlist (this means your DJ allowing you to choose your music)
4. Make sure your DJ offers a DO NOT PLAY List
5. Make sure your DJ has excellent reviews
6. Make sure your DJ has liability insurance
7. Make sure your DJ has backup equipment
Well, it’s almost 2017. Have you made your resolutions yet? One of mine is to continue to educate my prospective brides and grooms about the in’s and out’s of the wedding DJ business and what you need in a DJ to make your Charleston wedding the best and most memorable ever. Are you interested in sitting down and discuss the music for your wedding ceremony and reception? I would love to DJ your wedding ceremony and reception. Click HERE to fill out a contact form. Congratulations on your recent engagement and happy New Year! Let's talk soon.