Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Cheap DJs aren't good and good DJs aren't cheap...

There are plenty of amateurs DJs out there. If you're paying under $100/hr, you might have one. Here's an article on the costs involved and this doesn't even begin to detail everything. I chose not to use any of the ones from actual DJ sites (there are plenty of them) because part of our job is to educate clients so they don't end up without a DJ at their reception or one that does a poor job. I don't want to sound like I'm selling something, it just bothers me when I hear about some amateur giving our profession a bad reputation. This is why I chose an article from an unrelated source. Take a look at that list and the final amount and just tell me how you would pay bills and cover costs charging $50 an hour. It cannot be done without cutting a LOT of corners and possibly resorting to illegal activity.

Here's a few examples of some minor issues with amateur DJs. This is the least of your concerns, but it may affect the image your had in mind for your reception.
Problem: lights on the table instead of being mounted, wires exposed and sloppy This DJ wouldn't even have a properly skirted table if the venue hadn't provided one for him!

Problem: no table skirt, wires running everywhere, everything exposed and sloppy Is this your home office or a wedding? No one wants to see all your junk piled up on the table, hide it!

Here's how things SHOULD look. Clean, no exposed wires and appealing to the guests.

The saying you get what you pay for is true. I get calls all the time from frantic brides and moms because their cheap DJ (or photo booth) cancelled or didn't show up.

PRIME EXAMPLE: Last week I got a call and the photo booth company they hired, cancelled on them the week before their wedding. Fortunately, I had the date open and was easily able to exceed their expectations (they actually got a much better package from me).

While the article below talks about startup costs, it doesn't mention annual costs and one very important cost - investing in your business. When we don't stay up to date with the latest trends and looks, we become irrelevant. Take a look at Kmart. When was the last time you were in one? The store hasn't been updated since the early 80's. They didn't invest in their business and soon they will be gone and out of business.

Here's the article...

Sunday, June 5, 2016

What is the Purpose of a Wedding Planner?

There's are a lot of people "claiming" to be wedding planners, but what exactly IS a wedding planner? I can tell you what a wedding planner isn't. A wedding planner is NOT a venue coordinator. It is NOT a wedding decorator. It is NOT the photographer or the DJ (nor my 4 page PDF, which I call a wedding planner). It's NOT someone who just planned their whole wedding and now they think they can do yours.

This article covers what a wedding planner is, their purpose and what to look out for. I can offer one excellent suggestion if you need a REAL wedding planner. She is the only person I've every worked with that constantly amazed me at how intuitive she was and how hard she worked. If you decide you need a wedding planner after reading this article, call Ashley Lynch from Festoons & Flourishes (734)546-1487.

Stop Calling Yourself a Wedding Planner by Danielle Rothweiler
"A wedding planner seems to be the easiest job in the world. I mean, it must be for so many people to just throw it on their signature lines. Girl gets married? Instant wedding planner. Recommended peonies to your sister for her wedding? You’re a wedding planner too! To go all Oprah in this article, “You’re a wedding planner, and you’re a wedding planner, everyone’s wedding planner!!” Just add water, and boom: wedding planner.

This stuff is ridiculous now and the industry is saturated enough without these people running around claiming to be a wedding planner. It’s not fair to actual wedding planners, and guess what? It’s really unfair to those couples that are looking to hire a real wedding planner. Why? Because sometimes it’s hard to tell a Prada from a Canal Street Knock-Off. So, I’m going to make it a little easier for everyone right here, right now."

Continue reading at...

Monday, January 4, 2016

Five Questions You Should Ask Before Booking Your DJ

It's that time of the year again.  The holidays are over, and maybe you got engaged sometime between Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve.  Now the task of planning the big day begins.  You have to choose a venue, photographer, cake and of course the entertainment!

Here's a few things I'm commonly asked by clients and a few things you SHOULD be asking as well.

1. What happens if you can't make it to our wedding?

Good question.  I have NEVER missed a wedding.  Unless I'm dead, there's no excuse.  Your wedding is the most important day of your lives!  I know that and I wouldn't be where I am today without the great reviews and referrals of my past clients.  This is what I do for a living and I take it very seriously.  I've had some crazy situations come up in the past (a rollover accident with a deer the night before) and still managed to get to a rental facility and make it to my wedding on time.  It's that important to ME.  If something should happen to me, I have other DJs that would fill in.

2. Are you insured?

Absolutely!  Both DJ and Photo Booth are insured up to 1 mil for liability.  This separates the amateurs from the pros.  Always ask your entertainers if they are insured.  If they say no, it's time to call someone else.

3. Do you have backups in case something fails?

Yes.  While we can't carry a backup of every single item as it would be both expensive and require an enormous box truck, we do carry backups of all the essential items such as laptop, cables and so on.  Most DJs use sound systems with active speakers these days, meaning the amplifier is built in to the speaker.  This means that at no time should the sound ever go completely out.  In most venues, our sound system is rarely turned up past the halfway point, which gives us plenty of extra volume if needed.

4. Can we come hear you at an event?

NO.  I'm not sure who had this great idea, but imagine if I invited clients to your wedding to come "hear me".  Doesn't sound like a good idea anymore, does it?  Most of the events I do are weddings.  When I'm working your wedding, I'm focused on that and not trying to sell to the next client.  I do a few charity events from time to time, but they don't include the same type of announcements (if any) that I would make at your wedding.  A better idea for this is in the next question.

5. Can we sit down and meet with you?

Absolutely!  In fact, I highly recommend it.  This is the best way to get an idea of my personality and hear who will be making those announcements for you.  It also allows me to show you some of the things I can do for you and what some of the services I offer, look like.  Many clients meet with the understanding that if they like who they are meeting, they will book the date at the meeting.  I can easily accommodate this.

Written by Ed Altounian
January 4th, 2016

Ready to book your date?  Visit our website:
Call us today 517-404-0418 or email us at

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Five Wedding Gimmicks That Have Got to Go

Haters gonna hate, sure. But there are some wedding decisions that are so "Why?!" that even the least-judgmental guest can't shake 'em off. Here are five of the worst staid traditions.

Releasing Doves
A photo opp that even Instagram can't make look cool, releasing two doves is considered a symbol of unity. For the sake of not diving too deep into PETA territory, let's assume you hire a company that respects the animals' safety. Even after taking proper precautions, there are still only two thoughts your guests will have: 1.) "Those poor birds. How long were they stuffed in that basket?" and 2.) "Am I going to get pooped on?" In a matter of seconds, people are now thinking about animal rights and poop. Not very bridal.

Wedding Favors with Your Name on the Front
We'll get right to it: Put your name on the back or the bottom of whatever it is you're giving out. It's as simple as that. Your guests love you, but no one wants your names front and center in the middle of their home. This is included but not limited to: coasters, candles, ornaments, mini photo frames, luggage tags, and itty bitty boxes. Exceptions to this rule are shot or drinking glasses and photo booth strips.

Dollar Dance
If you've never heard of this, it's a dance during the reception in which guests can pay $1 for a few seconds to dance with the bride or groom. Even if you think this is a sweet tradition, consider the guests who have already spent money on travel and gifts — and how awkward it is that you're asking for an extra buck.

You're the princess for the day. We get it. But must you have a literal crown atop your coiffed hair? Instead opt for something more modest (and stylish) like a headband or flower crown.

Prison Sentences for the Groom
The cake toppers with the bride dragging the groom. The groom's shoes marked "Help" and "Me." A ring bearer carrying a sign that says, "Uncle [Groom], Last chance to run!" It might be funny to a guest in a miserable marriage or your single friend who has never had a serious relationship, but it's otherwise a lame way to demonstrate the bride's authority in the relationship. A confident bride happily in love and having a good time is the very best way to say, "Yep, I'm getting what I want!"

Original Story from Brides Magazine:

Thursday, December 3, 2015

5 Reasons It's Still Cool to Have a Photo Booth at Your Wedding

It seems like every time a fun new trend hits weddings, someone is already declaring it "over." The photo booth is one of those trends; it's gone from a fun novelty to a common occurrence at every wedding. Now many couples are worried it's played-out. But before you put away the funny props and fake mustaches, here are five reasons it's still worth it to have a photo booth. 

1. It's a good source of entertainment. Having a few activities besides dancing at your reception is a good way to make sure all your guests have fun. Sometimes people just want a break from busting a move, and the photo booth provides a nice escape. It's also a good place for people to gather and socialize.

2. It creates a wedding keepsake -- for you and your guests. A lot of guests will appreciate having a photo of themselves with their friends, their kids, or their date. But even if they don't care about that, you will love having fun pictures of your wedding guests. If you think of it like a modern guest book, it seems silly to skip it just because it's been done before. 

3. Your guests don't spend hours looking at online inspiration. While your also-engaged maid of honor might think photo booths have become a wedding cliche, that's probably because she's got wedding planning (and attending!) fatigue. But your older relatives and guests who don't attend many weddings will likely still find the photo booth totally delightful and fun. 

4. Just because a wedding trend is popular doesn't mean it has to be abandoned. If think your photo booth is going to be the coolest thing ever that none of your guests have ever seen before, you may need a reality check. But if it's just a new wedding tradition that you happen to like, who cares if it's been done before? Some elements of your wedding will be personalized and unique, but many others will be part of bigger traditions that started out as hip trends before becoming ubiquitous. 

5. Every photo booth is different.  The vibe at every wedding is so different, thanks to everything from the time of day and the venue to how strong the bartender is mixing drinks. That means every photo booth will be different too. Even if people are over taking pictures with their dates, they might love a chance to take silly pics with old friends or relatives whom they haven't seen in a while. Also, it's 2015...we're pretty sure no one is over taking pictures of themselves.

(article by Rachel W. Miller)

Friday, September 11, 2015

It's been a while and it's been a busy summer!

Some of you may be wondering... what happened to the blog posts and the venue reviews?

Well, to be honest... I've been focused on my clients and improving my offerings.  This summer has been quite busy.  Many of the venues I've done this past summer are either repeat locations that I've already reviewed or private backyard events that wouldn't really help you too much in your planning.

Not everything is old though.  I've worked with a few outstanding vendors this summer and I always want to give credit where credit is due.

I did an amazing wedding at a private campground in Dexter on 8/22/15.  While the scenery was beautiful, there were some issues with zoning and I can't comfortably recommend this location for any event.

The one thing I can say is that the caterer was AMAZING!  If you like grilled food, KING-Q BAR-B-QUE is your guy!  There were so many choices and so many items that could have been done just average, but everything in this arsenal of BBQ barnyard friends was kicked up to an amazing level.

The variety of food isn't reflected in the picture above as I would have needed THREE plates to show everything off.  Pulled pork and chicken, BBQ chicken, ribs, beef brisket, custom sausages, homemade cornbread, homemade coleslaw, mac n' cheese, southwestern veggies, mashed potatoes, grilled veggies, grilled salmon, grilled duck and I'm probably missing a dozen things.  Every bit of it was excellent.

I also had the opportunity to try something new with the lighting.  Tree lighting!

The outdoor bar was themed out very nicely.  An old antique rowboat created the bar shelf to hold bottles.  The background for photos was picture perfect as you can see from this photo (taken with my phone, believe it or not).

I'll try to get a new post up, each coming week over the next month.  While I don't have a lot of new venues to review, there's a few unique ideas and new vendors.

As always, thanks for reading and be sure to visit The DJ Guy on our website and Facebook page.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Nine Tips to Save On Your Wedding

There are a lot of relevant stories in the news from time to time and this is one of them.

I read this article and there are a few points that I disagree with, but most of it is accurate.  I take issue with tip number two, advising brides to negotiate prices with vendors.

Most vendors, including myself, have set prices that are NOT negotiable.  We have to make a living, just like you.  We have bills to pay, in fact, we have more bills to pay.  Insurance, equipment, employees and so on.  Unless you're hiring someone who is NOT a professional, don't expect any negotiation.  You should also expect to get what you pay for.  We have several packages with various prices so that our clients can pick what best suits their needs.  Our DJ services are prices well below the national average of $1150.  In fact, for another $50 ($1200), we're including our photo booth (current special at the time of this article's publication - 4/25/15)

I do appreciate that the article suggests a DJ over a band.  I've worked with bands several times in the past and more often than not, they tend to empty out a full dance floor.

With that being said, here are the tips by , INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY:

Work the budget. Start by making a list of what you want to include, and then get a price — or a range of prices — for each line item. It's best to ask several vendors what they charge for each product or service. You may want to ask the ones that differ the most why their charges vary.

Negotiate. Once you have a list of products, services and charges, you can dicker. "Negotiating is a two-way process," said Heather Bandur, of Heather Bandur Events & Designs in the Big Apple. Be prepared to take less of something or downgrade to get a lower price.

Watch the calendar. Venues and vendors typically cost more during the high season. Consider another time of year.
Ditto for the day of the week. Saturday night is prime time. Switching to a day and time other than Saturday night can save 15% to 20%, Bandur says. That can cut thousands of dollars from your bill. Monday tends to be the least expensive day of the week.

Use a disc jockey. A DJ can save you up to 90% in music cost vs. a live band. And many guests would rather listen to the original versions of songs than to ersatz covers, Bandur says.

Cut your guest list. The average number of guests fell to 136 last year from 141 in 2010. If you trim your guest list enough, you can spend more per person and still cut your bottom line, Miles says. Stick with close friends and family.

Think a la carte. Compare your venue's prices for items like flowers with an outside vendor's. And rather than order floral table centerpieces for the reception, consider having your event planner reuse the bride and bridesmaids' bouquets from the ceremony as table settings, especially if the reception is at a separate location. Also, do you need a videographer, who averaged fees of $1,794 last year, in addition to a photographer?

Say yes to another dress. Plan ahead so that you can take advantage of floor sample sales, which can save you up to 80% off prices that averaged $1,357 last year. Also, if you're aiming for separate dresses for the ceremony, reception and after-party, consider a convertible dress for the ceremony whose train, for example, detaches by zipper so the bride can dance in it.

Avoid frills. Send save-the-date notices by email. With the subsequent actual invitations, forgo embellishments like raised lettering and die or laser cutting.

Don't outsmart yourself. Think you can save money by selecting an unconventional venue rather than a full-service hotel or function hall? If that funky venue can't provide everything from tables to chairs, cutlery and kitchen equipment, you may have to pay extra to rent them separately.