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

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Wedding DJ Reviews

With the amount of time and money you’re putting into planning your upcoming wedding, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to hire professional wedding vendors that come highly recommended by other brides and grooms.  This is especially true for your wedding DJ.  From the First Dance to the Last Dance, you want to make sure that your DJ handles all your most important moments correctly and has your dance floor packed all night long, with your friends and family celebrating to all your favorite songs.

Hudson Valley Wedding First Dance at Bethel Woods Set to Music by DJ Bri Swatek Courtesy of Kevin Ferguson

Hudson Valley Wedding First Dance at Bethel Woods Set to Music by DJ Bri Swatek Courtesy of Kevin Ferguson

If you’ve attended a lot of weddings over the past few years, you have a number of first-hand experiences to draw upon when searching for a wedding DJ – you’ve seen different DJs and different couples’ ideas of fun at a wedding.  You have a lot of friends and family to ask “who was your wedding DJ?” and “were they good?”

However, if you haven’t attended a lot of weddings recently (or if you have, and still haven’t found the type of DJ you’re looking for!) there are a number of outstanding review sites online for brides and grooms searching for vendor recommendations.

WeddingWire and The Knot are two excellent resources for brides and grooms looking for reviews posted by other couples after their big day.  While vendors can advertise on these sites as well, the reviews are written and posted by previous customers, not the businesses themselves.  This ensures that you get honest opinions and the information you need to make the best decision you can when hiring your wedding DJ.

Hudson Valley wedding DJ’s business pages on Facebook and Google+ are also excellent places to read reviews and hear from previous customers.

(For reviews of my DJ business, please visit http://www.DJBriSwatek.com, where you will find direct links to my company’s page on each of these online review sites.)

Hudson Valley Wedding Dance Party at Bethel Woods Set to Music by DJ Bri Swatek Courtesy of Kevin Ferguson

Hudson Valley Wedding Dance Party at Bethel Woods Set to Music by DJ Bri Swatek Courtesy of Kevin Ferguson

For most couples, hiring wedding vendors—especially their wedding DJ—is a new, once-in-a-lifetime experience.  In addition to first-hand experiences, personal recommendations, and referrals by other wedding vendors, don’t hesitate to search out reviews of the DJ you’re looking to invite to MC and entertain your closest friends and family on your big day.

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

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

Your Style: What Does “Fun” Mean to You?

When hiring a DJ for your wedding it is extremely important to find an MC or Host that will help you to customize your event to fit your own personal style, sharing your definition of “fun” with your friends, family, and invited guests.

Hudson Valley Wedding DJ Bri Swatek Dance Party Orange County Arboretum Lori OToole Images

DJ Bri Swatek at an Orange County Arboretum Wedding Courtesy of Lori O’Toole Images

Throughout the planning process, your DJ should work with you and listen to you as you choose a level of interactivity from “low” (a DJ who is “heard but not seen,” providing only key introductions and announcements, and steering clear of participation dances and props or give-aways) to “high” (featuring only the participation dances and / or party props you choose–and none that you don’t!)

Regardless of your definition of fun–be it low-key, high-energy, elegant, interactive, or classy–a professional DJ will make sure that your event is about you and your guests, and nothing else.

Using your input and direction, DJ Bri Swatek will provide opportunities for you and your friends, family, and invited guests to join in your celebration when and how they choose, dancing to all the music that you know and love–and none that you don’t!

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