Planz schmanz – Wedding (the dj)

Posted on January 5, 2009

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Here’s a thought – is there any point in spending several tens of thousands of dollars on your reception and wedding et al, when the key component to your wedding night i.e Mr Music Maker is almost an afterthought and comes in the form of:

a) a laptop with an obligatory mp3 player
b) an inexperienced DJ (whom you’ve never met until 30 minutes before your wedding)
c) an inexperienced DJ who doesn’t know how to work the crowd, what they want or take a cue and play something appropriate
d) b and c
e) *insert your own bad DJ experience here*

Updated Jan 6 2010: A good DJ is invisible throughout the night, but central to the events of the night. Groom singing and Best Man on the guitar not included.

Most of it stem from putting your faith in megalomaniacs who run a big DJ business but have no interest in the consumer’s interest. They send out their cronies to do the dirty work, charging (sometimes reasonable) a fee that supposedly reflects the DJ’s experience and skill. But to your despair, the DJ who turns up at your 30 tables, $60,000 gala fest (with guests from Europe and the Americas thrown in) is a pimpled young punk who sports a baseball cap worn backwards whose idea of a floor filler is the Macarena. Or something.

Anyway my point is, a lot of couples do not put enough effort into the smaller details. When I say smaller, I mean smaller amounts of money. Just because you’re not spending thousands doesn’t mean it isn’t important. A good DJ might not cost you an arm and a leg but they’re essential to your wedding night. Couples fall into different camps; some believe paying more would mean relieving themselves of a stressful night, some believe in doing some legwork prior. We fall into the second category.

Of course, that’s not to say all is rosey. Up until three weeks ago the only DJ we had in mind was the much-maligned (and I still stand by their pretty shabby repute) Mobydisc. They’re like your Maccas of the wedding industry. If you need a DJ, they’re there. Cheap, fast but not always reliable. I’ve read some horror stories from Wedding Central where couples went through points b and c in real time and lived to regret it.

While Michele had already made up her mind (she had other wedding aspects to worry about), I took it upon myself to find a company with better repute. I really didn’t like the feedback I’ve read about Mobydisc. Even other DJ companies (probably not as large scale as Mobydisc, but popular none the less) didn’t like being put in the same bag as Mobydisc as they consider it an insult. Note, this is not my opinion, but an observation I’ve made after spending a copious amount of time on wedding forums. And yes, men do spend time on these forums, it’s not just women as suggested by the threads that starts off with “Girls, my FH is getting pink shoes. What do you think…” (Note: FH = Future Husband)

That said, Mobydisc aren’t all that bad. But they’re pretty much a hit and miss. I’ve also read some couples who had an awesome wedding because they got the good DJs and couldn’t stop raving about them. More power to them. But I wouldn’t risk it because the last thing I want is a crying bride.

A bugbear of mine (many couples will share my sentiments) is not finding a DJ who’s willing to meet with you weeks/months before your wedding. The wedding DJ market is saturated with the frat boys, has-beens and perhaps even a failed dance DJ. Many couples start searching for a DJ pretty much just how most people do these days – a Google search. Trouble is, most people do not look past page three.

Of course I did the same as well, until I stumbled upon Wedding Central. It was there, after spending hours of labourious browsing, I found a DJ who not only encourages couples to meet him, is a relatively active member of the Wedding Central forums, and comes recommended by many couples who’ve gone with him. Best part is, he’s based in Melbourne.

This evening, Michele and I meet him to put a face to his name. I spoke to him yesterday. He sounds knowledgeable and has DJed in our reception several times and even knows the interior well enough (a plus). Great sense of humour (he’s got good retorts and I haven’t laughed so hard reading emails in awhile) and sounds like a top bloke.

Of course, I’ll update this post when I return home.

UPDATE

We met up with Bruce Harrison over hot chocolate and were pleased to discover he’s pretty much how his website, phone conversations and short exchange of emails is – an extension of himself.

We were looking for someone who genuinely cared about his trade and I’ve read nothing but good stuff about Bruce from Wedding Central. Oddly enough, Bruce takes it upon himself to be (relatively) active in the forums. It wasn’t so much because he was there to market himself (he’d be foolish not to), but it was the way he was encouraging couples to shop around and giving out DJ shopping advice. He insists couples meet the DJ beforehand (which I wanted), is extremely professional (he turned up in a smart shirt and jeans and is very well spoken) and came across as a very honest and knowledgeable person (which I liked). On top of that, he has a very good track record, feedback, genuinely funny man to have (he’ll make a good friend), and his rates aren’t over the top.

Bruce also has a no commitment policy and will meet couples as often as they want at no extra cost. I thought that strange, as the big kahunas in the DJ business do not, a) meet people, b) tell couples which DJ they’ll have till a week before and c) go out of their way to facilitate.

If that wasn’t enough, Bruce also has a Public Liability Insurance which some DJs out there do not have or display clearly on their websites. Good thing to have for a peace of mind, both for the couple and Bruce himself.  Lastly *gasps* just so happens Bruce has also DJed in our reception several times, so we were on the right page the entire evening.

I cannot recommend Bruce enough. And I’m saying this even before Bruce has turned up on my wedding day.

Melbourne wedding DJ prices are definitely on the steeper side when you compare it to prices in Adelaide, Perth or Brisbane. With Bruce, Michele and I are extremely rapt to have found someone who loves making people happy, takes pride in what he does and goes the extra mile to make it happen. The wedding is still months away but I’m already looking forward to it. With the wedding DJ sorted out, Michele and I can concentrate on other aspects of the wedding.

PS: Bruce did not point a gun to my head while I wrote this update. If anything, he’d probably throw a PS3 controller at my head. Oh sorry mate did you need that to clear the last stage boss? :O

Image from purepartydjs.com

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Posted in: Observations, Wedding