One of the most common requests from any mobile MC & DJ’s prospective clients is the question asking for a quote for a price for a 4 or 5 hour wedding entertainment package. In my early years as a mobile DJ, this wasn’t a problem, because I really didn’t do much more than turn up on the day and play music for that time frame. I may have found out a few basic details, such as the timing of the finish of dinner and the first dance song, but that was about it.
The service that many top end DJs provide these days is a quantum leap from what I used to do for my clients. In fact I cringe when I think of all of the missed opportunities and chances I had to make some of my earlier client’s weddings just so much more wonderful and uniquely memorable.
I missed out on replacing shy, reluctant, inappropriate, drunk or disorganised MCs. I missed out on some really fun, tasteful wedding party and bridal introductions. I referred to the couple as ‘the bride and groom’ instead of taking the time to actually learn their names and use them. I failed to acknowledge the parents, grandparents and other VIP guests because I hadn’t taken the time or effort to find out in advance who they were.
I was worth every cent of the $350 to $550 I used to charge back in those days, and not one cent more. These days my fee usually starts at $2500 for a wedding locally and up to $5000 for well out of town. My clients now get substantially more value for their investment at my current rates. I know this because they not only tell me so, they tell the venue and all of their friends. They refer and recommend me to others who they respect.
What does this have to do with the 4 hour quote?
Typically these days I am on-site from about two hours before the ceremony starts (playing music and providing sound for the ceremony), followed by cocktail and canapé hours, then on to the reception where I am usually both the Master of Ceremonies and the DJ. A 14 hour day (plus travel and prep time) is commonplace.
Before that even happens though, I’m putting in between 12 and 20 hours of preparation time, including up to two meetings with the couple (and their parents where possible and appropriate). Only by being properly prepared can I offer the sort of service that my clients truly deserve.
Of course if all you really want is a DJ for 4 hours, you can find plenty of the old-style DJs in the Yellow Pages. They still need to advertise to get their clients because they don’t get referred as much. There might be a reason for that.