When planning a wedding reception, it can help to think ahead and anticipate possible problems. Most DJs are really into good music and can throw excellent dance parties. But a Wedding Reception is a special event, and it requires careful planning and special skills. This article is designed to help you avoid some common pitfalls and wedding reception problems.
1. The Videographer and Photographer Miss Your First Dance.
At a recent wedding, the DJ put on the music for the First Dance at the appropriate time, but he failed to make any announcement at all! The dance floor was filled with people sipping drinks and talking loudly; consequently the bride and groom couldn’t do the entrance routine they had practiced so hard. The photographers weren’t ready and missed the first part of the dance. So did many of the guests!
What you can do. Go over the announcement that your DJ will make for your First Dance and make it clear you’d like the DJ to get everyone seated before the First Dance. Make sure the DJ understands he is to make a formal announcement. When interviewing the DJs ask them to demonstrate how they would introduce the First Dance. Some couples like to have the DJ start the music first because they are shy about dancing and don’t want to have to dance through the entire song. That’s OK. But be sure to ask your DJ to prepare the guests for this special event — your First Dance as a married couple. You’d think you shouldn’t have to do this if you are hiring a professional DJ. But it never hurts to be proactive and avoid possible SNAFUs!
2. Guests Are Too Shy To Dance.
Everyone sits while the dance music plays. This can happen if the DJ just plays music and doesn’t have a plan for engaging your guests with a dance game or dance lesson. It can also happen if the playlist is too rigid. Although a set prepared playlist helps to keep music flowing from song to song, a good DJ will be able to switch to different tunes if not many people are dancing.
What you can do. When interviewing DJs, ask them, “Suppose few people get up to dance — how do you handle that?” NOTE: when possible ask the DJ opened ended questions. For example, don’t just ask, “Are you good at getting people up and dancing?” A question like that won’t tell you much.
3. Things Get Out of Control.
Music is played that you really don’t like! Your reception feels like a nightclub instead of an elegant wedding reception. At dance parties people are used to going up to the DJ and making requests, and DJs are trained to do their best to please. But this can backfire at a wedding reception where you want a certain mood and theme.
What you can do. Consider asking your DJ not to take requests. This will make it easy for the DJ to handle requests for music that may be inappropriate for your reception. He or she can simply say, “I’m sorry, but the bride has given me a playlist of her favorite music and I don’t really have time for requests now. If you have a particular type of music you want to hear, I can check the bride’s playist and see if we have that.” You may want to suggest this wording to the DJ, so that guests will understand and not feel bad about having their request turned down. In any case, be sure to discuss requests with your DJ and whether or not you want your DJ to take them. Another approach is to give your DJ a “do not play list.” You could then ask your DJ to check that list before fulfilling any requests.
4. Music Suddenly Stops or an Annoying Hum Ruins the Music.
In this scenario, the DJ may have an electrical power issue and his equipment may keep shutting down. Imagine this! You are having fun dancing and then the music just stops. It happens repeatedly and it is very embarrassing. This is usually due to a limitation of the electrical power facilities provided by the location. It could also be due to a cheap surge protector that has a circuit breaker that trips inappropriately.
What you can do.When booking your reception hall and wedding ceremony location, ask whether the power outlets are suitable for DJ service. In one case, a bride found out — after booking her wedding ceremony location — that DJ service for the ceremony was not allowed because the electrical writing in the church was unsuitable. Hum. Florescent lights, certain dimmers, radio transmitters and similar devices can cause electrical pollution resulting in an annoying hum.
Ask your DJ if she or he has an RFI/EMI interference filter. This device can prevent such problems. Some recommended products are: the Furman Line Conditioner and The Tripp Lite LC1800 automatic voltage regulation system.
5. The DJ Can’t Be Heard.
He makes announcements that dinner is served. However, tables in the back and the adjoining outdoor area can’t hear him. Dinner for them is delayed and your reception schedule is thrown off. Vendors are confused. Many guests miss your First Dance because they couldn’t hear the announcements.
What you can do. Ask your DJ to arrive early and do sound checks to ensure that his system will carry the music and announcements into every corner of the reception hall so there are no dead spots. Give your DJ a map of the reception hall and indicate where guests will be located. Discuss whether the DJs sound system is suitable. Discuss whether extra speakers need to be setup. Specifically ask the DJ to do a sound check at all key locations.
Even a sound check won’t help though if the DJ you pick has amateur equipment or equipment not suited to the size of the reception hall and the number of people attending. A system that will work fine for 100 people may not work well for a crowd of 300 guests. Avoid booking a DJ over the Internet without first meeting him or her in person and listening to his or her equipment. Be careful about hiring a “Budget DJ” if you are going to have more than 100 guests.
6. Your DJ Doesn’t Show Up.
Your fiance scrambles on the phone trying to find someone. All he gets is voice mail.. Finally the best man offers to bring in his home stereo. The music for the reception is delayed by 2 hours, but at last now you will have some music. You are relieved. But the home stereo doesn’t cut it in a the reception hall with 100 people. You can barely hear it. Your wedding reception goes well otherwise — the flower are beautiful and the food is great, but you are so disappointed — no announcements, no toasts, and no music.
What you can do. Ask your DJ specifically what he will do if he is sick or for some reason cannot make it to the reception. Hire a DJ that has a good answer to this question and make a list of backups for all your wedding vendors, just in case. NOTE: one of the best DJs (and wedding musicians) in the San Francisco Bay Area got his start many years ago when the regular DJ didn’t show up for a wedding reception! The guy who saved the day was a guitar player and singer who had been hired to sing at the wedding ceremony. When the DJ didn’t show up, the bride was in tears. As a singer and guitar player, he had brought his own amplification equipment. His stereo combined with his fine amplification system saved the day!
7. Equipment Failure.
Your DJ uses a computer system to help him play the music at your reception. While he is setting up his equipment, he notices a clicking sound from his laptop computer when he turns it on. Then the message appears, “fatal error cannot boot from hard drive. “I’m so sorry,” he tells you, “my computer just crashed. There’s nothing I can do.”
What you can do: Ask your DJ what back systems he has in case there is a problem with his equipment. Pick a DJ who gives the best answer to this question. Your Wedding Reception is a big part of your big day. There are many things that could go wrong. It is not fun to be a disappointed and angry bridezilla!
However, with a little proactive planning you can ensure that things go smoothly.
If you have any questions about this article or your wedding reception, don’t hesitate to call me toll free at 800-927-7717.
Extreme DJ Service