According to Doug Daley of Daley Entertainment in Discovery Bay, more and more couples these days are opting for the modern sounds of a DJ versus a live band. The reasons are obvious, including a wider selection of original artists, an expanded play list, and the bonus of continuous music – no need to give the band a 15-minute breather every hour.
But, said Daley, while couples might be tempted to trim corners when it comes to choosing a DJ, buyers beware: not all companies are created equal.
“Organization matters,” said Daley. “The biggest thing I tell prospective clients is that they need to think of their DJ as a wedding organizer. Plan ahead, ask them how they organize the day to include the first dance, toasts and introductions. If your (DJ) is announcing the first dance and your photographer is in the bathroom, or it’s almost time for the toast and you don’t know where the best man is, you’re going to be bummed. There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes that needs to be considered, and not all DJs can handle that.”
One thing they must be able to handle, however, is song selection. When choosing the music, Daley works closely with the couple to create a play list that not only reflects their tastes, but their guests’ tastes as well.
“A good DJ needs to be diversified and know how to read the crowd,” he said. “You need to be able to work with the couple to get their preferences, but they also need to consider the fact that they’re throwing a party. Sure, the couple may love disco, but does everyone? Oftentimes the bride and groom are the youngest people at the event – it’s important to consider the musical preferences of the guests as well and be able to adjust for that.”
Daley has been adjusting and perfecting his craft at weddings and corporate functions throughout the Bay Area for more than 15 years. He enjoys the upbeat environment (“people are always happy to see you”) and the challenge of individualizing each event – and he’d better, because weddings and celebrations have changed considerably over the years.
“When it comes to a wedding, I don’t think there is any right or wrong way to do things,” he said. “But what I’m starting to see is that weddings are becoming more of an event. People are turning their weddings into spectacles. It used to be that couples would take a ballroom dance class before their wedding so they could get through the first dance. Now I’m seeing couples hire professional dancers to choreograph their first dance; sometimes they even have professional dancers at the event who break into dance. You see a lot of different things.”
But the one thing that remains constant, he says, is quality. The price tag for a DJ can run the gamut, from $100 per hour up to a few thousand per hour. That might seem high, but when you consider the total wedding budget, dollars spent on music are surprisingly low.
“I look at it this way,” said Daley. “A typical wedding today with 200 guests runs about $20,000, and couples spend approximately 2 to 5 percent of that budget on the music. The reception is about 90 percent of the function, and if you plan on spending only 5 percent on what controls most of your function, then you could be making a mistake. If you get the wrong guy, that 90 percent is ruined.”
In the end, said Daley, a couple’s most important day should be a reflection of their tastes, needs and desires, and that includes the music.
“Couples should remember that anyone can play music, but a DJ should also serve as the emcee of the event,” he said. “Take your time, interview more than one company and make a list of what you want. Sometimes the little behind-the-scenes details don’t seem like a big deal, but when it comes to the overall picture, it all counts.”
For more information, contact Daley Entertainment at 925-766-8677.