Follow this guide before booking your DJ. Get pro tips on the best way to book a wedding venue, hire a planner, setting a date, and more!
1. Hire A Planner
This is our #1 recommendation to any couple. In the very least, book a day-of or month-of coordinator. Believe it or not, you can't be in two places at once!
This was my personal wedding experience. I did all of the work leading up to day-of, but when the day came, I had to put on my dress, and the candles in the reception didn't get lit.
Island Sound works with over 500 couples a year, and I can honestly say that the weddings with a planner have a much smoother, stress-less, fun time leading up to the day and day-of than those that don't. Planners are worth every single penny.
A few of our favorites are Lisa Presnell Productions, Mingle Events,
Pro tip: Hire a professional, but especially not a relative. You need an unbiased person, who knows what they are doing, to answer all of your questions, coordinate with vendors, make the phone calls, set the tables, and get. shit. done.
2. Set A Budget
This may seem simple, but do some research before allotting a certain percentage to any particular category. Until you know how much something costs, you won't be able to prioritize what is actually important to you.
A planner can help with this!
For example, you may have your heart set on a band, and your fiance is leaning towards a DJ. After doing a quick google search, you'll find that the national average cost of a wedding band is $4,500, while the average DJ cost is $1,000.
Reference here: https://www.weddingwire.com/cost/wedding-band
3. Book A Venue and Set a Date
Book A Venue
Stay tuned for our post "Our Favorite Venues by Location" if you are looking for recommendations, or just call and ask!
Your planner may have certain venues that they work especially well with and have insider information about.
Ultimately, booking a venue should have that "yes!" moment, like finding your wedding dress. I find that like most things in life, if you have peace about it, it's probably meant to be.
Set A Date
Weekdays, Sundays, and dates in the off-season are typically less expensive.
This same applies to not only venues, but also most of all other vendors!
"Wedding Season" typically runs March-June and September-November in the South. In the North, April-September.
Before setting a date, keep in mind any holidays, local events, and sporting events (local and televised).
In big cities like Atlanta, traffic is almost impossible when you take these factors into account. Your best bet is to ask your venue, as well as checking a city calendar of events.
You also want to ensure that you enjoy time with your guests, instead of the guys huddled around a phone or television watching "the big game."
We definitely recommend booking a venue a year and a half to two years in advance to ensure you get the date you're looking for and can have time to space out payments for other vendors.
Immediately after booking your venue, secure a photographer. All other vendors can wait until the one-year to six-month-mark, depending on the day of the week and time of year.
4. Layout, Times, And What's Included?
These details can be decided later on, but it's best to figure out ahead of time so that you provide your DJ with full information to get an accurate quote (and to avoid any additional costs later on!)
Will the DJ be needed in multiple locations? Is ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception all on-site? Is there power at each site?
Here's an example: the ceremony is at a church 5 miles away from the venue, cocktail hour on patio, dinner inside, then the reception is free-flow between indoors and the patio.
Pro Tip: Some DJ companies charge extra for multiple set-ups and travel. Island Sound is not one of those companies! We do, however, require power at each site. Additionally, if you have a free-flow reception, we suggest adding Wireless Connectivity, which includes an extra speaker, so that the music and announcements can be heard inside and outside simultaneously. This will prevent guests from missing important moments, like cake cutting.
In the very least, get a "shaky" timeline. So, if you want to take portraits at sunset, check what time the sun sets on that day of the year, then work everything else around it.
Also keep in mind how late guests will be eating! If sun sets later in the day, have some hors d'oeuvres passed out during cocktail hour while you're taking pictures.
Example: On April 25th, 2020, the sun will set at 8:01pm. So, plan to take pictures/cocktail hour from 7-8pm, ceremony 6-7pm, dinner at 8, and end whenever your venue cut-off or local noise ordinance is.
Some venues include ceremony set up or music during cocktail hour. If so, this could save you cost on the hourly DJ. Just make sure to test the equipment ahead of time. There's nothing worse than static-y vows.
Have you checked these off your list? If so, we'd love to send a quote. Email firstname.lastname@example.org today!
Set a date and just want to check "DJ" off your list? Reserve your spot here- no details needed except date, city, and state.