Set the Mood for Your Wedding –Choosing Wedding DJ Services

Choosing the best music for your wedding may not be too difficult. However, when it comes to setting the tone for your party, hiring a wedding DJ can really come in handy. Whether you want a specific style for the entire day or different varieties of music that everyone can enjoy, a well-versed DJ will always be on top of things, as he has thousands of songs at his fingertips.
TDB Entertainment Inc. is one of the companies that can pride themselves with being able to offer full entertainment packages. Their primary focus is on DJ services; however, they also provide live musicians, various lighting options, including room and floor lighting and even plasma screens or video montage.
Here is an interview with Anthony R. Cannone, President/Owner of TDB Entertainment Inc. He sets the record straight concerning all issues regarding the selection of a proper wedding DJ service, establishing when to book a DJ, discussing payments and breakdown fees and making the most of your music experience by ensuring that the services are in line with all your requirements.
How far in advance should a couple book their DJ?

 It depends on when your function is scheduled. Saturday evenings from May through September should be booked at least a year in advance. However, off season or mid-week parties can sometimes be booked only a few weeks prior to the date. Sometimes you will get very good deals booking either very far in advance where the DJ can have the attitude that a bird in hand or booking very close to the date where the DJ can use the logic that they would be off any way so why not do the job for a great price and salvage the weekend.

Are all DJs required to have insurance? What type of insurance should couples check to make sure their DJs have?
Most catering halls require DJs to produce proof of liability insurance in the amount of up to $2,000,000.00. This insurance would be used in the event that the DJ causes damage or destruction to the catering facility. I.e. A DJ may accidently roll a speaker into a mirrored column or knock a door from its track, etc.

How far in advance of the event should the DJ arrive at the event?

 That depends on the DJ company and the gear they are using. The client must define the exact times of the affair and the DJ must be able to perform during that time period. Obviously the earlier the better. Typically the DJ should be fully set, sound tested and dressed thirty minutes prior to the start. That way there would time to go over any minor details with the caterer pertaining to the party. However, it should be noted that some caterers double book their facility with an afternoon and evening party in the same room and may not give the DJ adequate time to set-up!

Are there any setup or pack up fees that the couple is required to pay?

 Any and all fees should be discussed at the time of contract. The set-up/pack up is implied and no additional charges should be added to the agreed price.

Can couples typically request specific songs they'd like the DJ to play? If the answer to this is yes, how and when should these requests be made by the couple?

 The bride/groom should be able to request certain songs to be played. This question requires two answers. First off there are some songs that absolutely have to be requested: the first dance, parent dances, intro music, cake cutting, etc. Secondly, yes, a few specific songs can be requested. However, it would be best to request certain eras or genres of music rather than specific titles. Remember you are hiring the DJ not only for the sound system but also for their skills and experience. Clients that try to mastermind their own event usually regret doing so. Let the experts be experts. ALL IMPORTANT SONG REQUESTS SHOULD BE MADE AT LEAST TWO FULL WEEKS PRIOR TO THE DATE. NO EXCEPTIONS.

Do Disc Jockeys usually play requests made by the guests?  If yes, how is this typically done?

The DJ should consult with their client, prior to the wedding, on this subject. If the host allows requests, the DJ should have full control on whether or not the request is played. Some requests are absolutely accurate and appropriate and some are totally ridiculous or not in keeping with the DJ’s master plan.

 Can couples request specific songs that they don't want played at their wedding?  If yes, how is this handled?

The couple should inform the DJ of any songs not to be played, preferably in advance. However, it would be fine to simply walk over at any time during the party and request that a specific song or artist not be played.

What are some extra services that a couple can add on to their wedding packages?
Most DJ’s should offer special effect lighting as standard. Room up-lighting is very popular (similar to instantly painting the walls and ceiling of the room any/all colors imaginable); having the bride /groom’s names displayed on the center of the dance floor is a nice touch. Entertainment companies are considered full service which means they can also provide photo/video, zap-shots, video montage, picture printing/framing on the spot, give-a-ways (hats, sunglasses, and neon), motivators, dancers, possibilities are endless.

How can a couple see a DJ "in action" at an event, prior to deciding whether or not to hire them? 

The best way would be to hire a DJ that you personally saw at a prior event or go with referrals. Be wary of flashy website showcases or YouTube videos. You do not have to actually physically “see” a DJ in action to feel comfortable booking them. Sitting down one on one and actually interviewing is a very good way to get a feel for their skills and attitude.

What if the DJ's equipment breaks during the wedding?

All DJs should carry back-up equipment to adequately perform their job. NO EXCEPTIONS.

How does it work with deposits? Specifically, how much should a couple pay as a deposit and when is the balance due? 

10-20% should be paid when you sign the contract and the balance should be due at end of the party. As a courtesy, consideration should be made to pay balance before the evening begins. Once the party ends, the DJ will most likely want to pack up and leave and the bride/groom typically get side tracked saying goodnight to their guests.

If the event needs to be cancelled or re-scheduled, when is the latest that the couple should notify the DJ?

 That is on a case by case DJ by DJ situation. The closer the cancellation is to the date, the less of a chance the DJ would be able to re-book the date. At the very least, the deposit would be lost. Possibly part of the balance, if not all, may also be forfeited.

What should a couple pay attention to when interviewing DJs for their big day?

 Referrals and prior comments should be considered. However, be aware that some DJs doctor up their past positive reviews. Incorporated companies have more to lose and therefore tend to be a better choice. Experience and expertise is important. DJs that openly post their prices will probably be more reliable than those that will not simply give you a quote over the phone. Be wary of 19 year old DJs that have been in the business for 15 years as it’s an obvious lie.

Is it extra for the DJ to also act as the MC/Master of Ceremonies? 

It is not a wise choice to hire a DJ to also be the M/C, especially for a wedding. It is impossible for one person to do both jobs. Retirement parties and 50th wedding anniversaries possibly, but a wedding needs at least two people to be successful.

How does a couple let the "Master of Ceremonies" know what needs to be said at their wedding? 

Either trust the M/C to do their job or simply provide them with a protocol sheet to be assured everything will go smoothly.

As seen in  Smart Wedding Planning