What Should I Expect From a Wedding DJ?
I am committed to giving you no-nonsense answers about Wedding DJs in Florida.
Whether you hire me, or another Orlando Wedding DJ, the information below is critical when hiring a DJ for your Wedding Reception… I hope this helps in your search.
(Sorry, but this is a long read. I didn’t want to skip anything!)
ABOUT ORLANDO WEDDING DJ CHUCK JOHNSON
Let’s face it, you only hire a DJ once or twice. This page strives to give you the complete lowdown, the TRUTH about hiring a Wedding DJ in Orlando. Whether you choose me or someone else, I want to provide you with as much information as I can.
My name is Chuck, and I own Classic Disc Jockeys. I’m pretty much a sole proprietorship. I run everything myself. I do know a few other DJs in town, and if I’m booked, I will usually refer them, and vice-versa.
I’ve been in this business for over 15 years, and my past clients are my greatest assets. What do I mean by that? Well, anyone can throw up a website and claim whatever they want, right?
So… how do I measure up (or how does any other Orlando Wedding DJ, for that matter?)
This is how: by what my past clients say about me. Don’t rely on a “re-typed” quote on my website.
You can see Orlando DJ reviews from my past Couples.
I have performed every type of wedding reception you can imagine. From tiny VFW Halls in the country to spectacular Weddings at Disney and Universal. I also do a few parties at Christmas.
I’ve never hosted a Bar Mitzvah… not because I don’t want to, but usually because no one wants their party to be my first. That’s okay, I’m happy being a Wedding Specialist. It makes me sharp at what I do.
ORLANDO WEDDING DJs and ADVERTISING
Usually the first thing people want to know: Orlando DJ prices. I get it. You’ve called all over and gotten quotes all over the place. From $300 to $3000… for a four-hour reception.
Unfortunately, DJs sometimes have the reputation of used-car salesmen. Hey, you only get married one time, right? I gotta “sell” you once, right?
80% of my business is from referrals and word-of-mouth. I have never played the same person’s wedding twice.. haha. But, someone at the reception is getting married soon. Or, somebody knows somebody who knows somebody.
You know how it goes. My past clients keep me working. It’s as simple as that.
WHY DO SO MANY WEDDING DJs USE SCARE TACTICS?
Many couples ask about this.
The reason some Orlando DJs use negative advertising? They feel scare tactics work. Out of desperation, they think the only way to distinguish themselves is to cut someone else down. They have nothing unique to offer. These DJs feel they must “educate” couples about all the bad services and protect you.
A true story… there are Wedding DJs in Orlando who do this: Meeting with them, they will show you pictures of other DJ’s equipment. And trash that DJ by name. They’ll say, “Do you want THIS at your Wedding? Look how terrible this looks!”
Now, it could be completely true. But why are they scaring you? Why are they playing on your emotions? I can’t understand why some DJs need to tear other businesses down… as a sales tool.
People are pretty smart to begin with. It is not my place to tell ANY couple who they should hire. Now, that is not to say there aren’t “bad” DJs out there, because there are.
But in life, there are “good” and “bad” services EVERYWHERE. Some DJs seem to forget that and think that the general public can’t make a decision on their own.
The best example I can use is the iPod. Are you old enough to remember when that first came out? People bought the iPod because it was the best product out there. Apple did NOT bad-mouth the competition. Remember the Zune? It failed all by itself.
Apple sold you on how awesome they were, and people gravitated to it. Trust your instincts.
WEDDING and BRIDAL MAGAZINES
If you have a local wedding magazine or catalog, you’ll see lots of BIG ads. Those advertisers may be new, or huge Wedding DJ companies with a LOTS of DJs. They rely on volume.
To advertise in these magazines, it can cost thousands of dollars per year. It ain’t cheap to produce a beautiful magazine. Who pays for that ad? You do!
In fact, some of the best Orlando Wedding DJs do not use print advertising. They have moved on to…
INTERNET and SOCIAL MEDIA
Wedding Vendors, including DJs, have embraced social media. It’s a cost-effective way to showcase their work.
Do they have a Wedding DJ Blog that showcases their latest Weddings? Is it UP TO DATE?
How many weddings are on their blog? Is it about weddings they work or is it wedding advice to fill webpage space? Orlando DJs who are serious about their work will be active in all aspects of Social Media.
YOUTUBE and WEDDING DJS
When you search Google, also click “videos” to see what Wedding DJ videos come up on YouTube. Many times this can help you find different results than the general search. You’ll see videos that highlight your specific wedding vendor.
ORLANDO DJ REVIEWS
A good Orlando DJs Review site is Wedding Wire. You can see third-party reviews that are NOT on the DJ’s website. Whether positive or negative, the DJ cannot remove or erase reviews. This is true for all your wedding vendors.
Other great spots to find DJ reviews are Facebook, and Google itself.
FOR GREAT RESULTS, Try this Google trick:
Search this exact phrase on Google:
“DJ (name of your DJ) reviews”
This is why it’s SO important to know who your DJ is. Your Wedding DJ is a person, not a company. Big DJ companies have many DJs working for them. Is the review you are looking at for the company? Or the DJ who will be at your wedding?
You will also find out the DJ’s online reputation. Are there tons of reviews? No reviews?
Has Google even heard of your DJ? You will learn A LOT by doing this.
WEDDING DJ PRICES
Why am I priced the way I am? Why pay my price if you can get another DJ for $300? Or why spend $3000 when you can hire me for less? Believe it or not, I’m not going to give you the hard sell. After all, it’s your money, and you should decide how to spend it.
If you want to spend $3000, $2000, $800, or $400, and you feel like it’s the right thing to do, by all means, do it. It’s your party. Why get sleepless nights over being so worried? It’s not worth it to second-guess yourself.
For rates, the “average” price for an Orlando Wedding DJ is now well above $1000.
And THAT doesn’t even include ceremony music!
FOUR TYPES OF PRICING
I want to lay it out for you, plain and simple. The way I see it, DJ pricing goes four different ways:
Type 1- Craigslist DJs
Many part-time operators are excellent DJs. Some have talent but may have no business savvy. Unfortunately, many also have no business license, business phone, or insurance. Do they have a Facebook Page but no website? This could be a risky proposition. But I guarantee you, this is how all DJs start. (Some stay that way, ha!)
This is where some DJs may use the “scare tactics” we discussed above. They will warn you (in big bold type): NEVER HIRE A $300 DJ. Am I going to say that? No way!
Why? Because I am positive you are smarter than that. There are people who want to make a quick buck. Of course, there are people who genuinely care about your day, as well.
Here’s the problem with DJs in the “Craigslist” category. They don’t have the experience or confidence to justify a higher rate. They try to win a job based on price, rather than quality or value. This is how all DJs start. Yet it is possible to spend $300 and be happy with your DJ.
The only person you have to please is yourself. You, and you alone, should be comfortable with your decision.
Here’s a real eye-opener: If you find a “cheap” DJ, ask them why they charge less than other DJs. The answer will tell you a lot.
Type 2- Cheap/Average DJs
The next group of operators, priced from $500-$1000, are all over the map. Some are weekend DJs, moving up from the previous category, usually working alone. Some have a business license, phone, and insurance, some do not. Many large DJ Companies fall into this category.
They use 10-15 DJs per weekend. This way, they can make a profit on more volume with smaller profits per job. All this supports the giant print ads and office space. I know many good DJs who work for these companies.
You’ll find many DJs priced in this category. If you choose one, make sure they will guarantee which DJ will host your wedding. Don’t settle for speaking to a salesperson or the owner. Make sure you have a face-to-face meeting with your DJ.
You should feel comfortable and secure with the whole process. Remember, they should impress you.
Type 3- Luxury/All-Inclusive DJs
Next, we have the Orlando Wedding DJ category I fall under. Priced from $900-$2000, this category is a pretty small group, there aren’t very many of us. I charge what I do for my years of experience, MC & hosting abilities, and personalized service.
Anyone you hire in this category, at the very least, should offer:
-past clients who rave about the DJ
-offer a face-to-face meeting with your DJ
-years of experience and hundreds of weddings
-a valid business license
-a business phone
-online/social media presence
-a real website
-easy to check availability for your date
-hundreds of third-party reviews
-experience in high profile events
-easy to reach
-professional, state-of-the-art equipment
-backup emergency equipment
-thousands of song selections
This list is not complete, of course, but you get the idea. When you call me, you speak to me (or my 24-hour information line, if I’m out at a reception). I keep my operation small and intimate. That way, I leave nothing to chance. I control every aspect of my business.
Past couples are my greatest assets, I rely on them for a majority of my future work. Any DJ service in Orlando you consider should have delighted clients. You can see my Orlando DJ reviews here.
I carry full liability insurance for your protection and mine. It’s super easy to reach me, especially with forms right here on the website. It is my goal to make you feel 200% comfortable with the choice you make by hiring me.
I am committed to providing you with everything I’ve mentioned above and more. I want you to have fun, and peace of mind.
Once you arrive at the reception, I can assure you that I will handle the details, and you don’t worry about a thing. You can also check my Orlando DJ Prices here.
Type 4/Very Expensive DJs
The next category is also a pretty small one. These are the companies who charge $2500+ for a reception. They are larger companies that perform at large conventions. Bar Mitzvahs and 3-day weddings are the norm, as well.
These companies are great! Their parties come with full professional staging and lighting. They sometimes include fog machines, effects, props, and 2 or 3 DJs. You can even get motivational dancers. If you’ve got the money, and it sounds fun, go for it. You’ll have a blast!
Bonus: WHAT IS A: Regular DJ /Preferred DJ /Elite DJ?
Some DJ companies want to have it all. Couples with very little budgets, and couples who have money to burn. This is not “specializing in weddings.” You may see something like this on a Wedding DJ’s website:
Regular DJ- $595
Preferred DJ- $995
Elite DJ- $1695
This is what’s happening: The owner (The DJ with the most experience) is the Elite DJ. They may call it Exclusive DJ, Senior DJ, or Celebrity DJ. They are commanding the correct price. Why? Because of their years of experience and building their company over the years.
A high price point excludes many couples with lower budgets. So this is what they do: The Preferred (mid-price) DJs are most likely very good DJs. Yet they haven’t had the motivation to work on their own. So they are working for the Elite DJ, at his business.
What about the plain-old Regular DJ? That’s anybody who shows up. I’ve seen it early in my career when I started with my first DJ company. In the beginning, I was “in training” for weddings, so I was the Regular DJ. If this is the case, who knows who will show up to DJ your wedding?
Beating a dead horse:
If any company cannot guarantee WHO YOUR DJ WILL BE, move on. Why risk it?
PRICES, (PART TWO)
You may ask, “Why do some DJs charge so little? Are they just streaming music from the internet?”
Always ask any prospective entertainer how they get their music. “What difference does it make?” you may ask. There are two real answers:
1. The quality of streaming music may be fine for an iPhone. In a large hall or ballroom, it suffers. Legal music from iTunes, Amazon, or other legit services download at a higher bitrate. This makes all the difference on professional DJ equipment.
2. If a company is streaming their music- what if the WiFi goes out? What if there is no WiFi at all?
Never, ever pay someone whose success depends on a stable internet connection.
2.5. One more… Spotify, Pandora, etc are designed for personal use only. Professional DJs use other methods when working events.
Real Wedding DJs use CDs (yep!), vinyl, and legally downloaded music.
So, have you decided? If you’re on the fence with two DJs, this is always a good rule of thumb: Go for more experience.
YOUR WEDDING BUDGET
There is more discussion about this subject than anything else. Everybody wants to be an expert with YOUR money!
If it were up to me, everyone would spend $50,000 on their wedding and pay me $6000 (haha). Joking aside, a good rule of thumb is to spend 8% to 14% of your total budget on your entertainment.
For example, for a $12,000 wedding, spending $900-$1600 for a DJ is about right. Of course, you may spend less than $12,000. In that case, you have to decide what priority your entertainment is.
One thing I do not do is “up price”. I may know that your wedding at the most exclusive place in town. Even if you spend loads of money on your special day, my price does not “creep up” with your higher budget.
My price is the same for everyone. This is the same if you are not spending a lot of money, either.
I can identify with tight budgets, but you won’t usually see my price drop. I have to be confident that you are confident. Sometimes it does pay to have peace of mind. I stand by that, always.
DANCING, THE REAL STORY
Can I guarantee that your guests will dance? No. Sorry, no one can. What I can guarantee: I will use my experience, expertise, and enthusiasm to get your guests moving.
I could play the best music and use interactive dances. We could pull out all the stops, but if someone refuses to dance, I can’t change that. But, this rarely happens! My experience “reading” crowds is almost always right on the mark. Most guests come to a wedding reception in the right frame of mind to have fun. I use my skills to push them along to make your party memorable.
I’ve developed my Wedding Reception Formula Blueprint® over the past 15 years. When we sit down to meet, I’ll go over this blueprint, step-by-step, so you can apply it to your reception.
Many couples use the Wedding Reception Formula Blueprint®. It always has the same effect. Think about the end of your reception, when it’s time to leave. Your guests will come up to you and say, “That was the best wedding ever! So much fun!”
WEDDING DJ MUSIC SELECTIONS
What music do YOU want to hear? How about your guests? How can we guarantee everybody will have a good time?
As far as your reception goes, you will have a wide age range of family and friends attending. It is my goal to play a wide variety of proven “good time” music that appeals to everyone.
I definitely try to tailor a lot of the music to what the couple prefers to hear, also. So what does all this mean?
I’ve had couples that have submitted over 200 “must play” songs (no joke!) for a reception. Much of the night will be cocktails, introductions, dinner, and other events. That leaves about 2-3 hours of “dance” time. A DJ can only play 14-16 songs per hour. You see what I’m getting at…
What usually works is to pick about ten dance songs you love. Then I have an excellent idea of what you songs prefer. It also gives me the latitude of reading the crowd. Your guests will be able to request songs they’d like to hear, as well!
On one other note, I play only songs with lyrics that are “family-friendly.” Sometimes if a questionable song is a very big hit, I will play the edited version, heard on the radio.
ONE LAST WORD ABOUT ORLANDO WEDDING DJS
I hope this bit of information gives you a much clearer picture of Wedding DJs if you’ve never hired one before. Whether you hire me or another DJ… an informed consumer benefits everyone. Let’s set up a meeting and see if we are a good fit for each other!
You can also see my FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) about Orlando DJs here.
What Should You Do Now?
-Chuck Johnson, Your Orlando Wedding DJ