She Has The Ring… Let The Planning Begin!
Let me start with an introspective question, “Why does a newly married couple have a reception?” While the answer is always unique to each couple, most would probably agree that the reception is a chance the have an enjoyable time with friends and family allowing everyone to celebrate the marriage that took place.
Over the years I have seen numerous articles and columns regarding “Mistakes” made by brides. Of all those articles, none I’ve read have addressed what could be one of, if not “The,” biggest mistakes made. That big mistake would be a bride spending her reception budget on the wrong things.
In 2009, Modern Bride polled wedding guests to find what it was they remembered from a recent wedding they attended. While most brides spend the majority of their reception’s budget on the Venue, Food, Flowers, and Décor, those are NOT the things that guests remember once the wedding is a memory. Some items, while “attractive”, will not affect the overall experience of your guests. Many expenses such as Chair Coverings or Bows on Chairs will have no impact on your guests’ enjoyment.
The thing that guests remembered most, according to the Modern Bride survey, (38% of those polled) was the Reception Entertainment. This was followed by the Wedding Dress (18%), the Flowers (16%), and the catering (8%).
If the purpose of having a reception is to create a memorable experience for guests of the Bride and Groom then it would only make sense to spend a portion of the budget, consistent with that memorable desire, on the entertainment for the event. Unfortunately, most brides wait until the last minute to see what funds might be “left-over” to procure the entertainment for their wedding.
As a wedding entertainment professional for over 25 years I have seen an increase in the amount of money spent on the average wedding yet almost no increase in the amount that brides are budgeting to spend on a professional DJ. In 1990 the average amount I was told a bride had for a DJ was between $300 and $500. In 2015, the amounts I’m hearing a bride has available is still the same $300 to $500. According to “The Knot 2014 Real Weddings Survey” Utah brides spent an average of $15,257 on their wedding, which means they are only offering 2% to 3.33% of their overall budget on the one item that will have the largest impact on their guests’ experience. They are not planning for the service that will create that wonderful memory that the bride was hoping for her friends and family.
In a series of Brides.com wedding budget articles it was suggested that brides should typically set aside 7.5% to 9% of their wedding budget for entertainment. The following image illustrates the breakdown of a typical wedding budget according to Brides.com.
Using the same Utah expense average would mean investing $1150 – $1375 for a professional entertainment service to ensure that your guests have that memorable experience at the wedding.
Many don’t understand the services that a good Wedding DJ will provide. A good Wedding Entertainment Professional will use music to create an atmosphere that is ideal for the state of events. Prior to the reception starting and during any dinner, cocktail, or receiving line times the DJ will play more “background” music to allow the guests to carry on conversations with the Bride and Groom as well as each other without the “noise” of some music or the “noise” of silence. There’s a time and place for every type of music at a wedding, but almost never a time and place for silence.
Playing Music is only a part of what a DJ will do to ensure the success of a Wedding Ceremony and/or Reception, which in reality transforms them from a “DJ” to more of A Wedding Entertainment Professional. A Wedding Entertainment Professional will coordinate all aspects of a wedding. Planning and Preparation is done with the bride and/or groom in advance of the wedding to ensure that all the needs of the couple are able to met on the day of the event.
Just as no two weddings are alike, no two Wedding Entertainment Professionals are the same. Each professional brings a unique set of skills, however most are able to perform similar functions to ensure the success of the wedding day. These Professionals will offer services such as providing separate sound systems for a Ceremony, acting as Master of Ceremonies (MC) for all aspects of the event, executing the desired activities (Cake Cutting, Toasts, Bridal Bouquet / Garter Toss, First Dance, Parents’ Dance, etc.), coordinating the Photographer, Videographer, Caterer and other vendors to ensure that all are where they need to be when they need to be there.
A Wedding Entertainment Professional will work with the guests to involve them in the reception by performing such actions as taking requests, leading and instructing interactive dances (Y.M.C.A., Cupid Shuffle, Macarena, Cha Cha Slide, etc.) creating more than just “music” but creating and directing the flow of a “Party” that will keep the guests wanting to stay.
Ultimately, the Bride and Groom have to decide what is important to them on their wedding day and plan accordingly. If their goal is to create an experience for their guests that will be looked upon in the future with fond memories then it is in the best interest of the couple to plan accordingly and obtain a Wedding Entertainment Professional to help create this experience.
Remember: Quality isn’t expensive, it’s Priceless.