Average Wedding DJ
Adapted from an Article by Peter Merry
Average Wedding DJ (a.k.a. Disc Jockey, Dee-Jay, D.J., M.C., Emcee, Master of Ceremonies, Etc.) "A DJ who plays music and makes announcements at wedding receptions in a manner that is deemed to be average."
Do you want an Average Wedding DJ at your wedding reception? Or would you like to find the best wedding entertainment money can buy? An Average Wedding DJ will most likely show up on time, play the songs you've requested and maybe even make some announcements for you. But will that be enough? Will an Average Wedding DJ help you plan your reception in advance (not just on the phone 2 days before your wedding) so that your agenda will flow smoothly and all of your guests will have an enjoyable time? Will an Average Wedding DJ help you create unforgettable moments so that your reception will be remembered fondly by your friends and family for years to come? Will an Average Wedding DJ make sure there are no unexpected surprises that could bring your celebration to a halt? Will an Average Wedding DJ remember how to properly pronounce the names of your parents and wedding party members during the Grand Entrance? Can something that is just average create something that is truly remarkable? Think back on the Average Wedding DJs you have seen at wedding receptions in the past. Were any of those receptions...Remarkable? Unforgettable? Amazing? Or would those receptions be better described as...Average? Mediocre? Run-of-the-Mill? Forrest Gump's Momma said it best when she said (paraphrased) "Average Is As Average Does" .
If you want yours to be "The Best Wedding Reception...Ever", then you may be looking for something more than just an Average Wedding DJ. Might we suggest looking for a Wedding Entertainment Director™ instead? What is a Wedding Entertainment Director™ you might be asking? Obviously the word Wedding implies one who is confidently familiar with the detailed traditions of wedding receptions and the high expectations of wedding clients. The word Entertainment focuses on the primary service that is provided when one is hoping to create a reception that is more than just well-decorated, well-photographed and well-fed. And the word Director clarifies the role and responsibility of the Master of Ceremonies, whose primary function is to make sure that the reception is directed in such a way as to be and stay consistently entertaining.
The truth is, you will need More Than Just Good Music, more polish than the Average Wedding DJ, and more creativity than the Typical Wedding Band if you want yours to be "The Best Wedding Reception...Ever!". You need someone who specializes in creating Entertaining Weddings, and delivering Unforgettable Reception Entertainment. Don't settle for an Average Wedding DJ, search for the best Wedding Entertainment Director™ you can find.
"Average Is As Average Does"
If you are considering hiring an Average Wedding DJ, will you be content with an average overall reception entertainment experience? Can something that is just average create something that is truly remarkable? Would you expect an average caterer to deliver the best quality food and service? Would you expect an average florist to create decorations that are breathtakingly creative and original, or would you expect them to look...average? Why would you expect anything more than average from an Average Wedding DJ?
Average means ordinary, commonplace, humdrum, fair, intermediate, moderate, undistinguished, run-of-the-mill, mediocre, unexceptional, or typical.
These words accurately describe what you can expect your guests to experience if you select an Average Wedding DJ. If you would prefer for your guests to experience a reception that is exceptional, first-class, marvelous, outstanding, phenomenal, remarkable, extraordinary, sophisticated and wonderful, then you might just be looking for Unforgettable Reception Entertainment. It is possible that you could find an Average Wedding DJ who also happens to be able to deliver a high quality service and level of performance, but chances are they won't be just an Average Wedding DJ for long. Average Wedding DJs tend to deliver average service along with average performances due to an average level of skill and talent which then garners them only an average amount of demand forcing them into the range of Average Pricing.
This average level of service and performance also creates a reception experience that can best be described as McWeddings . When more and more of your guests have been exposed to more and more Average Wedding DJs, their expectations for having an enjoyable time at your wedding reception become lower and lower. But when you seek out the best Wedding Entertainment Director™ you can find by asking the right Questions, not only will your guests enjoy themselves, they will be raving afterwards for months and even years to come that yours was "The Best Wedding Reception...Ever!"
When considering hiring entertainment for a wedding reception, the ability to make an informed decision can often be influenced by Average Pricing. Due to the large majority of Wedding DJs being only part-time hobbyists instead of full-time professionals, it's pretty safe to say that the Average Pricing you will encounter will be indicative of Wedding DJs who don't take their business seriously enough to make it their full-time career. In fact, in a DJ Times survey, 81% of the DJs surveyed make less than $46,000 per year. When you then speak with a full-time professional, their price may seem high in comparison to the Average Pricing you have already encountered. At that point, you will have an important decision to make. Will a Wedding DJ who offers Average Pricing deliver anything more than average results? Will spending more on a full-time professional Wedding DJ be a better value?
If you ask an Average Wedding DJ what they do that makes their service worth so much more than cheap Wedding DJs, they will most likely give you a short list of things they do and services they offer that set them apart from the bottom end of the pricing scale. But if you then ask them what a high priced Wedding DJ will do that is so much better than what they currently offer, they will typically try to tell you that there is no difference. They will claim to offer the same level of service and performance as the high priced Wedding DJ, only at their discounted, average rate. The really interesting part is this answer will be entirely similar when it is asked of the cheap Wedding DJ in comparison to the average priced Wedding DJ. "We do the same thing...we're just cheaper".
All Wedding DJs do many of the same things, but how those things are done determines whether you are dealing with a professional Wedding Entertainment Director™ or an Average Wedding DJ, because "Average Is As Average Does". Pricing for Wedding DJs is tied directly to their skill and talent levels, because the top performers will always see increased demand thus allowing them to charge increasingly higher fees. But an Average Wedding DJ will not see as much increased demand and will thus be stuck in the range of Average Pricing.
Think for a moment about your wedding reception. What aspects of it are most important to you? Will it be having the world's most memorable wedding cake? Will it be a photo album filled with artistic images that make you look like a celebrity? Will it be creating an enjoyable celebration that your guests will remember for years to come? Your priorities will determine the kind of reception you will experience. If decorations are your highest priority, you will have a well-decorated reception. If great catering is your highest priority, your reception will be well-fed. But if having Unforgettable Reception Entertainment is your highest priority, then finding the best Wedding Entertainment Director™ money can buy will be your goal.
Part-Time Hobby or Full-Time Career?
According to a DJ Times survey, 64% of Wedding DJs work on a part-time basis while holding down regular weekday jobs. Will your photographer be a part-timer who isn't qualified enough to do wedding photography as their chosen profession? Will your catering be done by somebody who just enjoys making food for large groups of people on the weekends, but their real career is as an accountant? Based on the ratio of part-timers who DJ weddings, it's a pretty safe bet that an Average Wedding DJ is also a part-timer whose loyalties, priorities and time are divided between your reception and their regular, 9 to 5 job. It's been said that there are no waiters in L.A. and New York, only actors who are between acting jobs. But have you ever seen an exceptional movie actor who is still working full-time as a waiter? The best rise to the top and turn their passion into their career. But based on the stats, the Average Wedding DJ may not have the time or the skills to give your reception the full-time attention and service your day deserves.
One of the reasons given by part-time hobbyist Wedding DJs for not being full-time, professionals, is their belief that they won't be able to replace their income and medical benefits which are currently provided by their full-time, weekday job. So how do full-time wedding photographers do it? How do full-time wedding florists do it? They charge a professional fee that will provide them with the income and medical benefits they need, in addition to covering their annual business expenses and self-employment taxes. Because such a large percentage of Wedding DJs are part-time hobbyists, it's probably not too surprising to note that their Average Pricing is typically set too low to provide the necessary income needed to make this their full-time career.
Another excuse for being part-time is the idea that they just really enjoy being a Wedding DJ. It's fun and therefore, they don't care about making it their career or earning a professional income. But most who approach being a Wedding DJ as their full-time profession also enjoy what they do, in fact they are usually downright passionate about it. And because it is their full-time career, they have more time to invest in improving their service and their performance. They can afford to take time off to attend industry trade shows and workshops. They are available to meet or return your calls during the weekdays. And because being a Wedding DJ is their career, they have more pressure to deliver the best performance and service possible. In comparison, a part-time hobbyist Wedding DJ can get by delivering an average level of service and performance, some would best describe as McWeddings, because they still have the income from their full-time, weekday job to fall back on. This may not always be the case, but "Average Is As Average Does". Now you may find a rare part-time DJ who truly delivers exceptional service, but chances are if they are that good, they won't remain part-time for very long. It should also be pointed out that not every full-time DJ will be better than average either. But by asking the right questions, you should be able to determine whether or not you are dealing with an Average Wedding DJ.
When you're hungry and don't have much time, you might go to McDonald's® for a hamburger. But when you're going out on a first date you'll probably want to have an enjoyable meal (maybe even a hamburger) at a nice sit-down restaurant. On your wedding day, you'll probably get your hair done by a professional that you know and trust. Supercuts® will most likely never even be a consideration. Your guests will probably enjoy a 2 to 5 course sit-down meal or a well-stocked buffet. McDonald's® hamburgers most likely won't be on the menu. But when it comes to wedding entertainment, how many receptions have you attended that felt just like McWeddings? Just like every other reception...boring, run-of-the-mill, or average?
Some Average Wedding DJs may deliver slightly better-than-average service. But most Average Wedding DJs may likely be comfortable with delivering a McWeddings style of service and performance for several reasons. If this is their part-time hobby instead of their full-time career, then they might not have as much time to invest into improving their overall service and performance. If they are stuck in the range of Average Pricing, they may not be able to afford investing in their success by attending industry trade shows or workshops. If they have mistakenly focused on Gear Vs. Talent then they might be choosing to buy newer and better equipment instead of investing in techniques and opportunities for improving their talents. If they are not involved in a professional trade association, then they may only be exposed to the performance techniques and services provided by other Average Wedding DJs which will then further compound the fact that "Average Is As Average Does".
Here are some things to look for when trying to avoid getting stuck with McWeddings service and performance. Will your DJ meet with you in person to help plan your reception, or do they want you to fill out a basic form and just mail it in? Can they show you footage from their weddings, and not just footage of the guests dancing, but footage of the DJ making announcements in a polished, professional and personalized manner? Watch and listen closely. Do they call the Bride and Groom "The Bride and Groom" all night long or do they refer to them by their names? Do they announce the special dances in a uniquely personalized manner, or does it sounds like just about every other wedding announcement you've ever heard? Ask the DJ to share some creative ideas they have developed for other couples in the past. A professional Wedding Entertainment Director™ will have great answers to all of these Questions and then you can be confident that your reception won't feel like McWeddings, but instead you will have "The Best Wedding Reception...Ever!" (Peter Merry is the Author of The Best Wedding Reception...Ever! and founder of the Wedding Entertainment Director's Guild) Click on the following links for more information for Wedding DJ, Wedding DJ/MC, and Entertainment Direction. We'd be honored to be of service within the context of any of these approaches.
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