What goes into the wedding from the perspective of a DJ

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By Alex Nepa of Mint DJ Events: Mint Website

This could have easily been written about our team at JLK Events, since Alex already did it I see no reason to reinvent the wheel.  

As I’m finishing our day of wedding planners for my DJ team this coming weekend I answered a call from someone looking for a DJ in three weeks for their wedding. The caller was shocked that A. We’re not available. And B. We were so expensive.

It got me to thinking. There are a fair amount of couples that don’t understand what goes into making a wedding successful from a DJ point of view, and it goes way beyond just playing some music. I don’t blame the couples at all. There are so many hacks in this line of work that the bar is set so insanely low.

So allow me this one time to be “that guy” that posts a giant blog post.

Here’s what an average wedding looks like for the Mint team.

1. Pre-booking interview, 1-2 hours. During this interview, we chat, get to know each other, get to know your likes and dislikes, things you’ve seen at weddings and loved and or hated. We also talk about whether the client would like any enhancements such as lighting design or sound and mics for their ceremony.

2. Follow up & contract prep. 30 mins to 1 hour.

3. Checking in and following up. We routinely check in with our clients leading up to the wedding. We check out their online planning tools to see if they have questions. 2 hours.

4. Final planning meeting. About 3 weeks before a wedding we meet with our clients and go over all the details including music and timelines. In some cases this is a final brainstorm session in putting these pieces together in a way that will flow perfectly. 1-2 hours.

5. Music editing & prep. 2 hours or more. We organize, obtain and edit the key music for our events. We never walk in with a pre-set playlist, but we do make sure to have all of the “must play” music ready to go.

6. Scheduling systems & loading gear. 30 mins to 1 hour. This is the brutal, grueling part of the event. Double checking the systems that are going out, prepping backup and lugging very heavy equipment in and out of vehicles.

7. Travel to venue. Sometimes it’s 10 minutes, sometimes it’s 3 hours (or even more)

8. Setup. 1 – 3 hours. Depending on the packages and extras clients request setup can take a while. We have equipment managers and assistants that are paid to assist with setup and logistics which is an added cost to us.

9. Performance. This is what the client and guests see. The flawless show. The packed dance floors. The fun. The magic. 4 – 7 hours.

10. Tear down, re-load vehicles, unload vehicles, put gear back in storage. 2 hours.

EDIT: I didn’t even mention actual non-time related business costs such as payroll, equipment, insurance (if you hire a DJ that doesn’t have insurance you’re insane), advertising, vehicles, taxes and a music library that’s probably worth $15,000 alone.

So you’re looking at 17 – 30+ hours per wedding. Hopefully this post is seen as educational and not preachy. Like I said, I don’t blame couples for not understanding because they’re not seeing the behind the scenes work OR in other cases they’re aligned with hacks.

Where should we put the photobooth at our event?

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So, you have decided to have a photobooth at your wedding or event?  Photobooths are great fun and also provide favors for all of your guests so you can actually kill two birds with one financial stone.  However, the question often comes up about where the photobooth should be located and often gets placed in a different room from the rest of the event.  Why?  Well I guess the reason could be to save space in the main room, otherwise there doesn’t seem to be a benefit to putting the photobooth in another location.  There are however many drawbacks to putting the photobooth in another room.  First, it just doesn’t get used as much.  Photobooths are fun for everyone and the more people that use the booth at your event, the more value the host will get from their rental and the more fun the guests will have.  The second reason to keep the booth in the main room is that people have more fun when they are together. Taking the booth out of the room means that some of the guests will be out of the room at some time during the event.  Dividing guests into different locations is almost never a good idea when it comes to having a great event with lots of fun and dancing.  Lastly, if the booth is out of the room and the guests of honor go out of the room to use the booth they will be sorely missed in the main room of the event.  Take a bride and groom for example, when they leave the room the party often goes with them. Keeping the booth in the room with the rest of event makes sense on many levels, it creates more fun and excitement, it creates more value from the photobooth rental and the photos that the bride and groom or host get from the booth will be much better.  Talk with your planner and see what they have to say on the subject, not every situation can be covered in a blog post and your situation may be different.

Joy Ross

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Guest blog by: Joy Ross of Style It Salon Hair And Makeup

Business Name:  Style It Salon Hair And Makeup

Website:  http://styleitsalon.com/

Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/styleitsalon/

I am not sure where to start. For as long as I can remember I wanted to do something with fashion and hair. My parents strongly encouraged me to go to college. I received a BS degree in fashion design and business. I loved the field and designed a successful wholesale clothing line for several years after moving to Hilton Head. Right before the recession in the late 80’s I met a hair colorist and began traveling to hair classes and events with him. After having cocktails at the Waldorf in NYC with Vidal Sassoon and other icons in the hair industry I decided to go to beauty school.
My passion was satisfied. I love this business!!!
After apprenticeship for over a year I was able to begin taking clients. One of my clients was a wedding planner on the island. Remember it was a much more exclusive destination 28 years ago. She asked me to do hair and makeup for a very exclusive wedding and my motto then was ” fake it till I make it” so I said ” sure”. Shaking in my shoes I arrived to make a girl named Winnifred ( yes not lying) beautiful for her four day gala marriage to a man named Worthington. It was an experience like no other. After accomplishing that amazing task I was officially the hair and makeup go-to girl. My business name was originally ” joyous occasions”. I did many TV commercials, print ads, and even Chris Everett’a hair and makeup for her tennis video.
Today I have style it salon and continue to fuel my passion doing hair services at my salon in old town Bluffton.  A large portion of my business is wedding hair and makeup. I’ve probably done 1500 weddings estimating low.
It is such an important service for brides to be polished, pretty , finished for the pictures that will live forever of their amazing day. I personally think it is one of the top three services for a wedding. The money spent on dress and other special magical items without a professional hair style and makeup is not a complete event. It should be at the top of the list. It’s too late to change once the day is over.  Throughout the years I have been doing weddings on location I have seen more and more people jumping on the wedding train saying they do bridal hair and makeup. There is that old adage you get what you pay for. Hopefully it’s the right decision. Corners should not be cut in this category. Have a practice appointment. Bring pictures. See if you feel comfortable with that person. Look at reviews. Make the correct choice.

Randy Bartlett

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Randy’s pet peeve #9,450…
I really hate when people ask for a recommendation for anything, and use the term “reasonable.” On our Nextdoor group, “Looking for a reasonable electrician.”
I see it all the time. They mean, “cheap.” They mean they’ve asked some professionals, gotten professional prices, and now they want to find someone to do it at what is probably an unreasonably low price. Later, they’ll complain about this guy. Or maybe not. Maybe they’ll get lucky – it happens.
But I’d just like to see them be honest. “I don’t want to pay a professional properly for their time, advice, experience, skills and talents. Unlike my employer, who does that for me, I’d like to pay them an unreasonable rate, so that I can have more money for Starbucks, a car payment I can’t afford because I overbought and dinner out (again) because I’d rather spend my money on that than paying someone a reasonable wage.”
No one, NO ONE exists in business charging unreasonably high prices. The market won’t allow it. When someone is being unreasonable, it’s the person who knows nothing about the service deciding the professional is charging too much.

Hannah Bozard Wedding Wire Review

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I had a wonderful experience working with Jamie and Liz at JLK. Jamie personally provided my DJ services that evening and they also provided some great event lighting that added that extra special touch. Both Jamie and Liz went above and beyond in making sure that every detail was accounted for, every name was pronounced correctly, and they truly understood what was important to us on our special day. We live locally so were fortunate to be able to have multiple face-to-face meetings with both Jamie and Liz to ensure every detail was reviewed. Your DJ is such an important role as this is the person who will emcee and control the pace and flow of the evening and Jamie is effortless in this process and has years of experience. Worth every penny!!!

Maggie’s Wedding Wire Review

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I cannot say enough about this company. From the moment I first emailed them about price quotes Liz was so quick to respond! She was so friendly and helpful. I had done my homework on every DJ within a 100 mile radius of my wedding. I decided to book them for not just DJ services for the reception, but also for the lighting, custom monogram on the dance floor, and the ceremony music. DJ Gary reached out to me very early on and set up a meeting with me and my husband to go over everything. He was so thorough! He went over the entire timeline of events for the wedding day. We continued to email back and forth until a few days before the wedding. He wanted to meet one last time to go over everything. I had just gotten to the venue on Thursday (we all stayed on site) and he so graciously came to the venue to meet with me and my wedding planner. The two of them had it all planned and I didn’t have to worry about a thing! DJ Gary was absolutely amazing throughout the ceremony and the reception. The cafe lighting was amazing and made my reception look like a dream. The custom monogram lighting on the dance floor really made a statement. It was so beautiful. My biggest fear was that the dance floor wouldn’t be full. He really read the crowd and I couldn’t believe how many people filled the dance floor throughout the entire reception! People still tell me that it was the best party they’ve ever been to. And I know that it is in big part to DJ Gary! Also, LOVED the surprise at the end. My husband and I were so shocked. My photographer got some great photos of us during the last song. BEST NIGHT EVER!

Comments from Grace and John Hearn

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Atlantic Room at Sea Pines Hilton Head SC


Gary was fantastic! He was so professional and worked closely with myself and my family to make sure everyone’s requests were played and everyone was happy. Everyone had an amazing time and has since kept talking about what an amazing party the wedding was! Gary was able to keep everyone out on the dance floor having a great time and was even able to play some of my Dad’s polkas and swing music without losing the crowd. He made the evening easy and fun for everyone and I cannot thank him enough!

Please rate your MCs performance on a scale of 1 -10, with 10 being the best.

What did you like most about your MC?
I really liked how Gary took the time to get to know John and I and our families. I also really loved the little surprises and messages from guests who couldn’t make it.

How would you compare your JLK MC/DJ to other MC/DJs that you have seen or hired?
Gary seemed much more engaged with the crowd and responded to them. I may be biased but he also knew the bride and groom much better and worked with us to get exactly the type of party we were looking for!