All posts by Skip Kelly

The Difference Between “Value” and “Price” When Selecting Your DJ

The BIG Difference Between Buying on PRICE and Investing in VALUE

When calling a DJ service, the first question many people ask is, “How much do you charge?”  There is no single answer to this question because of the variety of factors involved, such as:

  • Event Type, Date, Location, Duration, and Number of Guests Attending
  • Talent, Skill and Experience of DJ in Your Type of Event (e.g., wedding specialist)
  • Quality of Sound/Lighting Equipment
  • Size and Legality of Music Library
  • Entertainment Package and Additional Options Selected by Client
  • Time Spent Planning Event with Client in Advance
  • Company’s Liability Insurance and Professional Memberships

It’s Sad but True

The DJ is often one of the last elements budgeted for, which later proves to be a tragic mistake.   After all, does a veggie platter or an ice sculpture really add greater value than the most crucial ingredient of the party — your entertainment?Veggie Platter

It’s the DJ who most likely has the greatest effect on the overall enjoyment of your event.  Those who set out to find the cheapest rate possible are setting themselves up for disappointment.

You are making a significant financial investment in your special occasion.  Ask yourself: Are you willing to gamble with an inexperienced, uninsured DJ who may use consumer equipment, have a small music collection and little skill on the microphone?Pretty Venue Room

What a Great DJ Adds to Your Event

Like most things in life, you get what you pay for.  Good entertainment is not cheap and cheap entertainment is rarely good!  Your DJ, if you have chosen a really good one, will contribute greatly to your guests enjoyment, which encourages them to stay longer.  A Professional Mobile Disc Jockey Entertainer will display many of the following skills and attributes before and during your event:

  • Master of Ceremonies
  • Music Mixer/Programmer with the ability to select songs based on your guest demographics
  • Extensive music library covering multiple genres
  • High quality professional equipment
  • Interactive audience motivator
  • Itinerary Planner/Coordinator
  • Sound/Lighting technician
  • Flexibility to adapt to sudden changes and requestsWedding food

When was the last time you heard someone say, “Boy, the chicken at that wedding was phenomenal.  I can’t wait to attend another for some more chicken!”  Seriously, people don’t say those types of things.  What they do talk about is the music that was played and whether or not they had fun at the event.

WARNING: Have you ever seen an inexperienced or incompetent DJ with second-rate equipment and music ruin a special celebration?  If you have, then we know that we are “preaching to the choir” but if you haven’t . . . Don’t let this happen to you!



This article was written by Stacy Zemon, a DJ industry leader and an expert on the business.  For more information visit:

9 Reasons Why Hiring an Amateur Wedding DJ Is a Huge Mistake




What most couples who are planning a wedding don’t know is that saving money by hiring an amateur DJ for your wedding comes with a high price tag.  Before you make a decision you regret, here are some things you need to know.

  1. There’s a high probability that a cheap (or free) DJ won’t be in business by the time your wedding arrives.

Many low-priced DJs aren’t charging enough to support their own businesses for the long term; you’re just financing their hobby.  Meanwhile, your wedding is 6-12 months away or more.

We’ve received those calls from desperate couples who had a “friend of a friend” DJ cancel on them last minute.  It’s not pretty.

Do you want to risk the possibility that the cheapie DJ is bankrupt and out of business before your big day?

 2.  Amateurs are less invested in their performance than a wedding professional.

The amateur DJ is doing it “for fun,” and if something goes wrong, it’s not a big deal.  A wedding professional, on the other hand, risks his entire reputation and livelihood with every performance.  One bad review can destroy his business and he knows it.

At one wedding, the DJ brought along his wife and newborn.  Their table was littered with MacDonald’s bags and his wife decided to breastfeed the baby during dinner.

Would you rather have an entertainer who is 100% invested in his business and performance on your wedding day or someone who does it as a hobby?

 3.  A wedding is a unique event that require the skills and experience of a wedding specialist for a smooth, flawless ceremony and reception.

It’s about more than just playing music.  Your wedding DJ is responsible for coordinating the timeline, orchestrating the introduction and flow of events, working with your other vendors, managing the guests, reading the crowd and making sure the right song is played at just the right time.

Even a DJ who is quite experienced in the club setting will be at a loss because she simply isn’t familiar with the flow of events and how to prevent disasters when something goes awry.

One inexperienced DJ mistakenly announced a special dance with the bride and her grandfather because he forgot to update his notes.  The entire family started crying because Grandpa had passed away two weeks earlier.

Are you willing to place the outcome of your wedding in the hands of someone who doesn’t “do” weddings for a living? 

  1. Your guests won’t dance without an experienced entertainer who can read the crowd and keep the momentum going.

You have to play the right songs at the right time and in the right order to maintain dancing.  Oftentimes, the mood changes and your entertainer needs to change the program to maximize the dancing along the way.

If she can’t mix from one song to another, you’ll have gaps of “dead air” or awkward rhythms that will frustrate your guests and clear the floor.

Many couples think that providing an amateur with a set list of songs they love will be enough to make a fun wedding.  It’s not.  You need someone with experience to work with your requests and what your guests are responding to in order to avoid an empty dance floor.

One bride regrets hiring her DJ because he played “Unforgettable” five times during the wedding because he didn’t know any other slow songs.

Are you willing to sacrifice the fun at your wedding to save money on a cheaper DJ? 

  1. The MC (the guy or girl on the microphone) has a huge impact on the mood and outcome of your party, for better or worse.

An obnoxious DJ with an abrasive voice will irritate your guests and dampen the mood of the entire party.  Professional DJs invest in vocal training and practice to optimize their performance.

I personally witnessed one DJ and embarrass everyone by making suggestive comments to the bride over the microphone.

Do you want just anyone acting as your wedding host or do you want a professional speaker you can trust? 

  1. Your special events may not happen if you don’t hire a specialist who’s experienced in channeling the flow of events.

Who will direct your bridal party and guests at the ceremony?  Who’s going to line them up for introductions?  Who’s in charge of making sure the toasts, special dances and dedications go without a hitch?

Just having the equipment and knowing how to push play doesn’t guarantee the people wrangling skills you need for a fun, smooth reception.  In most cases, your entertainer is the one who makes sure your special events are executed as you’ve requested.

One inexperienced DJ forgot to bring the couple’s First Dance song; they were forced to dance to Barbra Streisand, who they can’t stand.

Will you risk leaving your special events to chance or do you want to ensure that everything is done according to plan? 

  1. An amateur doesn’t have the experience to include your unique requests in a way that truly expresses your personality AND keeps people dancing.

You can’t make your guests dance to the songs you like if they don’t feel the same way.  Your DJ needs to read the crowd and have the experience to build sets of music around your preferences.

An amateur DJ can play the songs you request, but lacks the experience necessary to make it work.

One bride told us her DJ played the unedited version of Sexxy Back during dinner and had five minutes of dead air while he queued up the next song.

Do you want your guests on the dance floor all night or is it acceptable to have large chunks of time with no dancing? 

  1. An amateur DJ has inadequate or non-existent backup equipment, which means that if something fails you have no music at your wedding.

A fully functional backup system on the premises is essential to making sure you have music at your wedding no matter what.  Most amateur DJs won’t have a backup plan if a speaker blows or a laptop crashes.

We were approached at the end of one wedding by a DJ in the next room who asked if he could “borrow our speakers” because his were broken.

Are you willing to takes your chances without a backup on your wedding day? 

  1. DJs who charge less invest less into their equipment, which means you have inferior sound and performance at your wedding.

A stereo system that sounds great in your living room doesn’t sound good in a spacious wedding venue.  Professional speakers and equipment are necessary for clear sound that has impact at low volumes, so your guests can speak at the tables even while the dance floor is thumping.

If you want your guests to actually hear your exchange of vows at the ceremony, you’ll need professional equipment and an onsite tech to make sure that happens.

One DJ showed up at a venue for the first time without ANY speakers or mixer because he’s been told that he could, “use the venue’s sound system” and he didn’t call ahead to verify.

Are sound issues like blasting music or impossible to understand audio acceptable on your wedding day?

If you’re not planning to have any formal events at your wedding, and you’d like a cocktail party more than a dance party, it may make sense to save money by hiring a non-professional.  But if you’re investing thousands of dollars on creating the perfect day, please don’t jeopardize it by hiring someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing.

 Your wedding day only happens once; make sure you hire a DJ who gets it right.

Reprinted with permission from Stephanie and Jeff Padovanie

Finding YOUR Perfect Wedding DJ – Part 2


NOW that you have figured out what kind of DJ you want, where    are you going  to find them ??  This is probably your first attempt    at throwing a party of this  magnitude and I’m sure you’re    overwhelmed at all you have to do.  So, let’s  make it easier for    you:

A great place to start your search for an experienced DJ is word-  of-mouth  recommendations.  Recently married friends may have  used somebody they  can steer you to.  Also, be sure to ask other  wedding vendors you’ve already  booked, such as your caterer, florist  or photographer.

Next, try wedding-specific websites like and  They can be a great resource, as can Consumer bridal message boards like those at and

Now that you have a shortlist of DJ candidates,  it’s time to start comparing your options.  Here are 3 things to look for as you make your inquiries.

FIRST IMPRESSION –    A good-looking and modern website, a well-designed bridal show booth, and the tone of their initial communication with you (phone, email or in person) will help you decide whether this particular DJ is worth a more in depth look.

REVIEWS ON-LINE –   Many Wedding websites feature reviews from recently married couples. Vendors do not have control over these reviews (however, they may be able to dispute fraudulent reviews or  post a rebuttal), so they’re a great way to learn about a company’s quality of service.

 INDUSTRY AWARDS –   Some prestigious awards include those issued by  WeddingWire’s “Bride’s Choice Award” and The Knot’s “Best of Weddings Pick.”  Recipients of these awards are selected, usually based on feedback from actual brides and grooms or local wedding professionals, and cannot be bought with advertising dollars.

Feel free to leave comments or questions below.


Finding YOUR Perfect Wedding DJ – Part 1

B&G - Deb Weisheit






So, you’re getting married and have decided that a band isn’t your style;  you just want   to find and hire a DJ for a rocking reception.  GREAT !  Now, what?  What are the steps     you’re going to need to take to find the perfect DJ fit for YOU and your idea of the       Perfect Wedding?

Let’s explore that issue.  I am going to be writing a series of blogs on how to find and       hire the best DJ you can find for your money.  I’ll also explore some of the pitfalls, roadblocks and frustrations you’ll find along the way.  LET’S GET STARTED….

How important is the DJ?

Your DJ will be in charge of  the “soundtrack” for every memory created on your wedding day.  He will be your narrator.  He will be your “representative” for 4-6 hours.  His music programming skills and ability to read a crowd will determine if your guests dance all night or make an excuse to leave early.  In other words, your DJ will play a huge roll in the success of the biggest party you will probably ever throw for your friends and family.  What kind of impression will he leave on their minds?

Considering all that, it’s critical that you find a Wedding DJ (not a Club DJ or a Bowling Alley DJ) who will be the best fit for your personality and style.  Speaking of personalities, what type of personality do you want your DJ to have (dancing on the speakers type of high-energy crazy party DJ?  Or subdued and laid-back?  Maybe middle of those 2 roads?)

Do you care how old or young the DJ is?  There’s a LOT to be said about Experience, especially at a wedding.

Think about the music you want to hear and will the DJ be willing to play it?  Or, does he have his own agenda for music and is not very flexible with it?

Do you have traditions the DJ needs to know about, and can he/will he be able to accommodate?

Consider all these things first and you’ll be able to create a short list of DJ’s very quickly when the ones you eventually meet with don’t stack up.

Next time, we’ll talk about where to find these DJs who are truly “diamonds in the rough.”

(Photo credit:  Debra Weisheit Photography)

10 Things Couples Need to Know About the Wedding Industry That the Media Will Never Tell You


This is a letter written to brides and grooms in response to repeated negatively biased news programs and “expose’s” about wedding industry scams and ripoffs.

  1. We spend WAY more than 4 hours on your wedding.

Couples are often shocked at the price tag attached to their wedding services.  “But I’m only hiring you for four hours!” is a common reaction.

What you don’t know is that we spend many hours outside your wedding day timeline on planning, communication, rehearsals, meetings, travel and all the logistics necessary to make that “four hours” look easy.  This doesn’t even take into account the necessary time investment in training and education to keep our skills sharp.

Let’s take photographers as an example.  According to this recent survey, the average photographer spends 65 hours invested in each wedding; when all the hours invested in a wedding are factored in, a typical wedding photographer makes an hourly wage only $37 per hour before expenses!  DJs, florists, officiants, planners and other pros are in a similar situation.

Most wedding professionals are not living large on “wedding ripoffs,” a charge often lodged by the media.  While the average wedding in the US costs around $25,000, a recent survey of our wedding professional audience revealed that 48% of wedding businesses make less than $25,000 in an entire YEAR.

  1. If you hire an amateur for your wedding, expect an amateur result.

Wedding professionals are not a commodity item.  You’re hiring a unique personality, talent and experience set.  We charge more because we are worth it.

Those amateurs you can hire for a dime a dozen?  They’re worth the price you pay, too.

Sure, you might luck out and find the next undiscovered Preston Bailey for your wedding, but you’re much more likely to get sub-par performance along with that bargain price.

3.  You pay more for wedding services because you get more.

Much has been made of the so-called “wedding markup,” a phenomenon that occurs when secret shoppers get quoted a higher price for identical services when they are booked for a wedding as opposed to another type of event.  While this certainly can occur, journalists neglect to address the very real reasons WHY this happens.

Providing any service for a wedding is far more involved than a similar, non-wedding event.  Wedding pros make themselves available for planning meetings, calls and consultations, and may well send hundreds of emails back and forth with a single client in the year or more of planning up to the wedding.

This type of time and attention isn’t expected or required for most non-wedding events; the time investment alone is enough to justify a higher price.  The quality of wedding services often requires a greater degree of skill and specialization, not to mention the stress and risk involved should something go wrong.

  1. We stay up at night worrying about your wedding, too.

We may participate in dozens or even hundreds of weddings per year, but yours really IS important to us.

Each and every wedding can make or break our reputation.  We worry about what can go wrong and we sweat the details because it’s our responsibility.  If we mess something up, we know that in the age of viral sharing on the internet, it may very well destroy our business.

  1. Listening to our advice will save you time, money and stress.

We love your ideas and your enthusiasm.  Please know that when we suggest changes to your dream wedding scenario it’s not because we want to take over your wedding; it’s because we have your best interests at heart.

We probably made a lot of mistakes when planning our own wedding, and it’s inspired us to ensure that pain NEVER happens to you.

We’re wedding experts.  If you take advantage of our knowledge and experience, we will save you time, help you avoid mistakes and make your wedding even better.  But only if you let us.

  1. If you only have $10,000 to spend on your wedding, we can’t make it look like you spent $100,000 no matter what we do.

Weddings can be expensive, and you certainly don’t have to spend a lot of money.  But if you’re going to trim your budget, please don’t expect it to be a carbon copy of the Royal wedding.

It’s not because we don’t want to do it for you…it’s just impossible.

  1. We love what we do, but that doesn’t mean we want to do it 24 hours a day.

Working in the wedding industry is HARD.  It’s stressful.  There are deadlines, timelines and lots of pressure to make sure everything goes perfectly.

You know that anxiety that’s giving you nightmares?  We get them, too, and sometimes we need to take a break.

Yes, your wedding is important, but we can’t be available for you 24 hours a day 7 days a week without losing our sanity.  Remember that the next time you’re tempted to call your planner at 2am or before freaking out when s/he doesn’t answer your text immediately.

  1. It takes WAY more time and money to imitate those DIY projects and wedding inspiration shoots than you think.

We love that wedding porn as much as you do, but it sets up unrealistic expectations.  Wedding blogs and wedding reality TV misrepresent the details of what’s actually possible for a typical wedding with an average budget…one that doesn’t have a team of expert designers and planners working magic behind the scenes.

The media accuses the wedding industry of encouraging these unrealistic expectations so that you spend more more money.  The truth is that we hate it as much as you do!

It makes our job more difficult, and it puts us in the uncomfortable position of telling you, “No,” when it can’t be done on your budget.

  1. DIY projects are NOT a bargain.

Think you’re going to save money by having the wedding in your backyard?  When you add up the cost of the tent, rentals, food, booze and silverware, you end up spending MORE than you would hosting it in a traditional wedding hall.

The same thing goes for your favors, centerpieces and flowers.  It’s going to take you 10x longer and cost twice as much in reworks and mistakes than you think—especially if you’re a perfectionist.

Please don’t choose to DIY your wedding for the savings; make sure you actually like being crafty, and that you can adjust your expectations to accommodate less than perfection.

  1. Your wedding day will not be perfect, but we’ll be there to make sure it’s as close as possible.

I haven’t seen a single wedding where at least one thing didn’t go wrong.  Your bridal party will be late, the weather won’t cooperate, or the guests will forget to take home those favors you agonized over.  There are simply too many details and too tight of a timeline for everything to be completely perfect.

But when something goes wrong, we’ll be there to help you make it right.

Printed by permission from Stephanie Padovanie