How to Hire Vendors for Your Unique Hudson Valley Wedding

While all couples should have a firm budget in mind for their wedding that they are comfortable with and that they can work within effectively, it’s also important to consider this question when planning your wedding: Who are my wedding vendors?

Hudson Valley Wedding First Dance at Villa Borghese with DJ Bri Swatek Courtesy of Owl's Eye Studios

Hudson Valley Wedding First Dance at Villa Borghese with DJ Bri Swatek Courtesy of Owl’s Eye Studios

It sounds like a simple question, but the truth–as always–can be a bit more complicated. In fact, this question actually answers a second question which all couples do consider at some point: Why are all of these wedding vendors’ prices so different?

Here’s the truth: full-time, professional wedding vendors set prices that are a reflection of the time, effort, quality, and service that they will provide for your once-in-a-lifetime event.

First, are your wedding vendors full-time wedding professionals? If they are, chances are you’re going to have a vendor who is responsive to your emails and calls, and treats your wedding as the most important event on their calendar that day. If your vendor is not a full-time wedding professional, it’s good to find out if a) they’re a wedding vendor first with a related sideline second to bring in a little extra income outside of the wedding season, or b) it’s the opposite: being a wedding vendor is really a part-time job for them and they have another career that takes up the majority of their time and energy. Imagine doing your own job as a part-time, weekend sideline–would you be able to do it effectively?

Second, who is actually coming to work at your wedding? If you signed a contract with a company that has several staff members, who is the actual person who will be working at your wedding? Make certain you know *who* your vendor is going to be on your big day.

Hudson Valley Wedding Cake Cutting at Patriot Hills Set to Music and Uplighting by DJ Bri Swatek Courtesy of Custom by Nicole

Hudson Valley Wedding Cake Cutting at Patriot Hills Set to Music and Uplighting by DJ Bri Swatek Courtesy of Custom by Nicole

There are many great companies in the Hudson Valley that offer multiple DJs, photographers, etc. for you to choose from for your event. They offer the opportunity for you to see samples of their work and meet with your personal vendor before the big day. However, there are also a number of services in the tri-state area that offer “too good to be true” prices for “someone” to come work at your wedding.

I’ve said this many times in my career as a DJ, MC, and event host: the words “surprise” and “wedding” rarely go together well. You should know exactly who your wedding vendors are and you should have the opportunity to be totally comfortable with them well in advance of the big day. Anything less than that feeling of complete confidence is not worth it.

Hudson Valley Wedding First Dance at the Villa Borghese Set to Music by DJ Bri Swatek Courtesy of Majestic Studios

Hudson Valley Wedding First Dance at the Villa Borghese Set to Music by DJ Bri Swatek Courtesy of Majestic Studios

Here’s an example from a bride named Lauren who confesses that she “made a mistake” and “took the cheap photographer route,” only to regret it after her wedding:

Lauren’s Wedding Story: “I Took the Cheap Photographer Route”
You can hear it in Lauren’s voice as she tells her story: she regrets her decision to not hire a wedding professional.

In addition, consider what professional Hudson Valley wedding photographer Autumn Thomes has to say on why

“Hiring Professional Hudson Valley and CT Wedding Vendors Matters!”
Clearly, Autumn has had the privilege of working with some great Hudson Valley wedding vendors, but she has also seen some vendor horror stories that could really ruin your big day.

Madison, Wisconsin photographers Primavera Studios further highlight the importance of paying for the time and effort that goes into quality wedding photography when they answer the question,

Why Does Good Wedding Photography Cost What It Does?
Most of this article could really apply to any of the Hudson Valley wedding vendors you are considering for your big day.

At I Found The Place, Stacie Tamaki asks the question

How Much Should Your Wedding DJ Cost?
and encourages couples to raise their expectations when it comes to a wedding DJ’s level of professional service at your once-in-a-lifetime event.

Taking her own personal “horror stories and success stories” as a bride “into account,” Jill Tooley at Best Hudson Valley Wedding Ever offers “seven red flags to watch for when you’re interviewing/researching wedding vendors”:

7 Signs It May Be Time to Find a New Wedding Vendor

Moral of the story: “It’s your wedding, not anyone else’s.”

Hudson Valley Wedding DJ Bri Swatek at Christo's Courtesy of Cheryl Bolton-Reuter Photography

Hudson Valley Wedding DJ Bri Swatek at Christo’s Courtesy of Cheryl Bolton-Reuter Photography

Don’t ever be afraid to ask your wedding vendors any of the following questions:

– Are you a full-time wedding professional?
– How many years of experience do you have in the wedding business?
– Why did you decide to become a wedding vendor?
– What do you enjoy most about being a wedding professional?
– How many weddings do you work per year?
– How many weddings do you (or does your company) work in one day?
– Do you ever “subcontract” your work out to other wedding vendors?
– If we hire your company, who will be working at our wedding?
– Are you registered as a legitimate business? (DBA, Inc., or LLC)
– Are you a member of a professional association?
– Are you insured for liability?
– Do you use professional equipment?
– Do you provide backup equipment at my wedding?
– What’s *your* backup plan?
– What happens if I cancel the wedding or need to change the date of the wedding?
– When will you arrive on my wedding day?
– Will you be suitably dressed for our wedding?
– Will you be willing listen to me, and follow my plans for my wedding?
– What are your pricing packages, options, and services offered?
– How much is your deposit, how do payments work, and what methods of payment do you accept?
– Do you provide a written contract?
– Can I have references and contact information from previous customers?
– Can I have references and contact information from other wedding professionals?

The American Disc Jockey Association provides questions like these, as well as things to look for in your vendors’ potential answers, online. While the ADJA article is mainly focused on hiring a DJ, these questions could easily be applied to most of the wedding vendors you are looking to hire for your big day.

Hudson Valley Wedding Dance Party at Le Chambord Set to Music by DJ Bri Swatek Courtesy of Elissa I Davidson Photography

Hudson Valley Wedding Dance Party at Le Chambord Set to Music by DJ Bri Swatek Courtesy of Elissa I Davidson Photography

Once you begin looking at true professionals as vendors for your wedding, you will find that while there are always differences in packages, options, and approaches to your big day, the price range for quality service is actually fairly consistent in the Hudson Valley. As always, you get what you pay for!

Need help looking for professional wedding vendors to make your big day the best it can be? Start with the list of true wedding professionals located on this blog: Your Unique Hudson Valley Wedding, including recommended

– Venues and Locations,
– Caterers,
– Photographers,
– Videographers,
– Florists,
– Photo Booth vendors,
– and much, much more!

Congratulations on your upcoming wedding!

Bri

__________

DJ Bri Swatek, Spinning with Style
Your DJ for Your Unique Style
in the Hudson Valley of New York

Email: briswatek@gmail.com
Phone: 845.235.0080
Online: www.djbriswatek.com

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How to Hire a DJ for Your Unique Hudson Valley Wedding

For most couples, hiring a wedding DJ is a new — and sometimes challenging — experience.

Hudson Valley Wedding First Dance at Locust Grove Set to Music by DJ Bri Swatek Courtesy of Allan E Levine Photography

Hudson Valley Wedding First Dance at Locust Grove Set to Music by DJ Bri Swatek Courtesy of Allan E Levine Photography

Although some couples may have previously hired DJs for other personal or workplace events — and many couples have seen DJs perform at weddings for family and friends — most brides and grooms find themselves searching for a truly professional wedding DJ for the very first time.

What should you look for when searching for the best of the best in professional Hudson Valley wedding DJs? Where should you look for reviews of Hudson Valley DJs?  What questions, beyond the price or cost of DJ services, should you ask Hudson Valley DJs?

The number one question you should always ask up front of any Hudson Valley DJ is one that many couples often overlook:  “who is coming to my wedding?”

Hudson Valley Wedding at Locust Grove Set to Music by DJ Bri Swatek Courtesy of Allan E Levine Photography

Hudson Valley Wedding at Locust Grove Set to Music by DJ Bri Swatek Courtesy of Allan E Levine Photography

“If we hire your company, who will be working at our wedding?” and “Do you ever subcontract your work out to other wedding vendors?” are two excellent opening questions when interviewing a prospective DJ for your once-in-a-lifetime event.

There are many great companies in the Hudson Valley that offer multiple DJs for you to choose from for your wedding celebration. They offer the opportunity for you to see samples of their work and meet with your personal vendor before the big day. However, there are also a number of services in the tri-state area that offer “too good to be true” prices for “someone” to come work at your wedding.

I’ve said this many times in my career as a DJ, MC, and event host: the words “surprise” and “wedding” rarely go together well. You should know exactly who all your wedding vendors are — especially your DJ — and you should have the opportunity to be totally comfortable with them well in advance of the big day. Anything less than that feeling of complete confidence is not worth it.

Once you have confidence that you are talking to the actual person who will be there with you from the initial planning stages to the last dance of the night, it’s time to get to know your wedding DJ.  Don’t ever be afraid to ask your any of your wedding vendors — including your DJ — any of the following questions:

– Are you a full-time wedding professional?
– How many years of experience do you have in the wedding business?
– How many weddings do you work per year?
– How many weddings do you (or does your company) work in one day?
– Are you registered as a legitimate business? (DBA, Inc., or LLC)
– Are you a member of a professional association?
– Are you insured for liability?
– Do you use professional equipment?
– Do you provide backup equipment at my wedding?
– What’s *your* backup plan?
– What happens if I cancel the wedding or need to change the date of the wedding?
– When will you arrive on my wedding day?
– Will you be suitably dressed for our wedding?
– Will you be willing listen to me, and follow my plans for my wedding?
– What are your pricing packages, options, and services offered?
– What specifically is in included in your pricing, and what is “extra,” an “add-on,” or a “fee?”
– How much is your deposit, how do payments work, and what methods of payment do you accept?
– Do you provide a written contract?
– Can I have references and contact information from previous customers?
– Can I have references and contact information from other wedding professionals?
– Why did you decide to become a wedding vendor?
– What do you enjoy most about being a wedding professional?

Hudson Valley Wedding Dance Party at Locust Grove Set to Music by DJ Bri Swatek Courtesy of Allan E Levine Photography

Hudson Valley Wedding Dance Party at Locust Grove Set to Music by DJ Bri Swatek Courtesy of Allan E Levine Photography

The American Disc Jockey Association provides questions like these, as well as things to look for in your vendors’ potential answers, online. While the ADJA’s guidelines are mainly focused on hiring a DJ, these questions could easily be applied to most of the wedding vendors you are looking to hire for your big day.

In addition, as the owner of DJ Bri Swatek, Spinning with Style, I would recommend these additional resources to use when you begin to look for Hudson Valley DJs to provide music, entertainment, Disc Jockey, and MC services for your upcoming wedding:

American DJ Association
10 Questions to Ask a DJ before You Hire Them

Bridal Guide
10 Questions to Ask Before Booking Your DJ

Huffpost Weddings
10 Questions To Ask A Potential Band Or DJ

The Knot
22 Questions to Ask Your Band or DJ

Brides.com
Every Single Question You Need to Ask Your Wedding DJ or Bandleader

Martha Stewart Weddings
Hiring a Disc Jockey

Here Comes the Guide
Questions to Ask a DJ or Live Entertainment

Wedding Vendor Reviews:  The Knot

Wedding Vendor Reviews:  WeddingWire

Here are a few articles from fellow industry pros as well:

“Do Your Research – Finding the Perfect Wedding DJ”

Alan Robb, owner of Accent Events in Wisconsin suggests you “Do Your Research” when “Finding the Perfect Wedding DJ.”

“Say YES to the DJ!”

Elite Wedding and Event Planning’s Angela Christoforo — located in the Hudson Valley of NY — offers a list of great advice on hiring the perfect DJ for your wedding day.

“How Much Should Your Wedding DJ Cost?”

Stacie Tamaki of I Found the Place interviews a number of the best professional wedding DJs across the country to demonstrate that “there is a big difference between how “professional” and “stereotypical” DJ’s view weddings” in her article “How Much Should Your Wedding DJ Cost?”

“How to Choose a DJ . . . a Decision Worth the Effort”

Judy Lewis at HudsonValleyWeddings.Com offers great advice on hiring Hudson Valley DJs in her article “How to Choose a DJ . . . a Decision Worth the Effort.”

“How to Select a DJ”

Shandria Strickland, Chief Entertainment Officer of A Woman’s Touch Entertainment in Atlanta offers advice on “How to Select a DJ” that could be applied in any area of the country, including the Hudson Valley.  Hear her unique perspective on the value of hiring a professional to DJ your once-in-a-lifetime event.

“6 Things Brides Really Look For In A Wedding DJ”

At Digital DJ Tips, Barney Grossman offers a list of qualities that every good wedding DJ should strive for in terms of performance and professionalism.  It’s also a great list of questions to ask your potential wedding DJ.

Hudson Valley Wedding Dance Party at Locust Grove Set to Music by DJ Bri Swatek Courtesy of Allan E Levine Photography

Hudson Valley Wedding Dance Party at Locust Grove Set to Music by DJ Bri Swatek Courtesy of Allan E Levine Photography

Finally, while these articles are mainly focused on brides and grooms hiring Hudson Valley DJs, many of these questions could easily be applied to almost all of the Hudson Valley wedding vendors you are looking to hire for your big day.

Congratulations,

Bri

__________

DJ Bri Swatek, Spinning with Style
Your DJ for Your Unique Style
in the Hudson Valley of New York

Email:   briswatek@gmail.com
Phone:   845.235.0080
Online:   www.djbriswatek.com

Wedding DJ Prices

“How much?”

When planning your upcoming wedding, “How much?” seems like a simple question.  You need a DJ for your wedding, to play your most important songs and MC your most important events.  You want the best DJ for your wedding, to keep your dance floor packed all night long, with your friends and family celebrating to all your favorite songs.

Why, then, do you get so many different answers, and which one is the right one?  “How much does a wedding DJ cost?”

Hudson Valley Wedding First Dance at Highlands Country Club Set to Music by DJ Bri Swatek Courtesy of Kimberly Coccagnia

Hudson Valley Wedding First Dance at Highlands Country Club Set to Music by DJ Bri Swatek Courtesy of Kimberly Coccagnia

For most couples, hiring a wedding DJ is a new, once-in-a-lifetime experience.  After recommendations from family, friends and other wedding vendors, online searches, posts in forums, visits to bridal shows, and reading reviews, most couples are left asking, “who are all of these DJs, who’s the right one for us, and why are all of their prices so different?”

The American Disc Jockey Association (which I, DJ Bri Swatek, am proud to be a member of) provides a few things to think about when hiring a DJ for your upcoming wedding.  The Association notes that “Disc Jockey rates vary” across the country, “based on talent, experience, emcee ability, service, coordination, equipment needed, music knowledge, mixing ability and personality” and that “the best price is not always the best deal, especially if you are planning a wedding. As a matter of fact, surveys conclude that nearly 100% of brides would have spent more money on their entertainment and made it their #1 priority in hindsight.”

Wedding planning sites such as WeddingWire, The Knot, or The Wedding Report’s “Cost of a Wedding” note that “How much?” really depends on what you are looking for in your wedding DJ.  According to the wedding industry-respected Costofwedding.com, “You should expect to pay, on average, 50% to 100%+ more when choosing well-experienced professionals, designer labels, popular event locations, unique or custom products and services.”

Simply put, full-time, professional wedding DJs set prices that are a reflection of the time, effort, quality, and service that they will provide for your once-in-a-lifetime wedding celebration.

Hudson Valley Wedding Dance Party at Highlands Country Club Set to Music by DJ Bri Swatek Courtesy of Kimberly Coccagnia

Hudson Valley Wedding Dance Party at Highlands Country Club Set to Music by DJ Bri Swatek Courtesy of Kimberly Coccagnia

Once you’ve established the overall budget for your wedding, the next step to determining “How much?” is to find and then meet with and interview DJs in your area that provide the best possible answers to a few simple, to-the-point questions:

– Are you a full-time wedding professional?
– If we hire your company, who will the DJ at our wedding?  Will it be you, or someone else?
– How many years of experience do you have DJing and MCing weddings?
– How many weddings do you DJ per year?
– How many weddings do you (or does your company) DJ in one day?
– Do you ever “subcontract” your work out to other wedding DJs?
– Are you registered as a legitimate business? (DBA, Inc., or LLC)
– Are you a member of a professional association?
– Are you insured for liability?
– Do you use professional equipment and would you provide backup equipment at my wedding?
– What’s *your* backup plan?
– What happens if I cancel the wedding or need to change the date of the wedding?
– When will you arrive on my wedding day?
– Will you be suitably dressed for our wedding?
– Will you be willing listen to me, and follow my plans for my wedding?

Once you’re satisfied with the DJ’s answers, you might also want to consider getting to know your potential wedding DJ / MC a bit better.  After all, this is the person who will introduce you, your family, and closest friends at your wedding, play your first dance, and keep your party going all night long!

– Why did you decide to become a wedding vendor?
– What do you enjoy most about being a wedding DJ?
– Have you ever DJed a wedding like ours?
– What suggestions do you have for our wedding?

When it finally comes to talking numbers, with your overall wedding budget in mind, never be afraid to ask any of the following questions of a truly professional wedding DJ:

– What are your pricing packages, options, and services offered?
– What specifically is in included in your pricing, and what is “extra,” an “add-on,” or a “fee?”
– How much is your deposit, how do payments work, and what methods of payment do you accept?
– Do you provide a written contract?
– Can I have references and contact information from previous customers?
– Can I have references and contact information from other wedding professionals?

With the amount of time and money you’re putting into your once-in-a-lifetime celebration on your wedding day, you deserve to know exactly who your wedding DJ is and what their answers are to any and all of these questions.  Anything less than a feeling of complete confidence in your wedding DJ is not worth the price, no matter “How much.”

(For a complete price quote of my DJ services for your upcoming Hudson Valley wedding, please contact me at http://www.DJBriSwatek.com.)

Congratulations on your upcoming wedding!

Bri

__________

DJ Bri Swatek, Spinning with Style
Your DJ for Your Unique Style
in the Hudson Valley of New York

Email: briswatek@gmail.com
Phone: 845.235.0080
Online: www.djbriswatek.com