Is Your DJ Really A DJ?

Bride Shopping for DJNaturally everyone loves the prospect of getting the goods and services that they need at the very lowest price… Who wouldn’t? And couples planning a wedding are certainly no exception. However, it is not uncommon for a bride to buy the most beautiful dress she can afford, book the perfect venue, and serve their guests fillet mignon for dinner.

But, when it comes to choosing a DJ they will often cut every corner in order to save a few dollars. And why shouldn’t they, after all, don’t all DJs really basically do the same thing… play music? The short and simple answer is… Absolutely not! The long answer is… it’s really difficult to compare when most DJs are not really DJs at all.

Buyer Beware!! Unlike other occupations, like a doctor for example, where in order to call yourself a doctor you must go to school and become certified, there is no such regulations for becoming a DJ. So although there are DJs who have studied and practiced long and hard and spend their days full-time practicing their craft in order to ensure that your wedding is truly an awesome experience, there is no consumer protection from those who think that buying a laptop computer and a pair of speakers qualifies them to guide, direct and entertain you and your guests at your wedding. So unfortunately, when it comes to your wedding it is truly “Buyer Beware”.

Amateur DJImagine for just a moment that you are a guest at a wedding and that you have just flown from across the country in order to participate in the celebration. As the reception is about to begin a young college aged DJ walks over to the microphone and begins to speak. It only takes a few words before you recognize that speaking and entertaining is not what he does for a living. As he introduces the wedding party and mispronounces about half of the names you are already beginning to feel embarrassed for the couple. As the music begins to play you are wondering if the DJ has any clue whatsoever as to the typical age and genre of the guests, and the quality of the sound is not much better than the boombox you left at home.

If you have ever been a guest at a wedding yourself then you know from experience that guests will notice everything, after all, they are a captive audience and have nothing elso to do but follow along with what you are presenting to them, and your presention will speak volumes. In order to participate in your celebration many of your guests will have a great deal invested in both time and money, and as your very first party together as husband and wife, this is your opportunity to shine in the eyes of your guests.

It has often been said that the “entertainment will likely make or break an event”. Yet it is not at all uncommon for a couple to book “that guy” who works at Walmart for a living to play the role of DJ at their wedding because he was able to give them the cheapest price.

The real truth is that in this economically challenging and competive market all DJ’s really charge the same. What? But you’ve called numerous DJs and they all gave you vastly different prices. How is that the same?

Different levels of professionalism, knowledge, skills and experience will dictate what an entertainer feels that you really need for your wedding and will take that into account when giving you a price. A part-time amateur DJ with little wedding experience for example, may feel that low quality illegally downloaded music on laptop computer plugged into a pair of budget speakers is all your wedding needs, while an experienced professional entertainer may feel that practice, rehearsal, and training along with high quality music and a concert quality sound system is what your once-in-a-lifetime wedding deserves.

Buyer BewareSo as a “Buyer Beware” conscious bride and groom you will need to ask the question: “If one DJs price is higher or lower than another… is the cheaper service shorting you on services you need, or is the more expensive DJ charging you for services you don’t need?

You have likely spent months planning the perfect wedding, accrued hundreds if not thousands of dollars in wedding expenses, and you have invited guests who are traveling from near and far in order to participate in your celebration… so perhaps the most important question of all is… Who will you trust to ensure that your celebration will be remembered fondly for a lifetime?

It’s important to note, if your wedding is not everything you hoped it would be it is doubtful that you will look upon the few hundred dollars you seemingly may have saved by booking an amateur DJ as a real savings.

Months of careful planning, a lot of expense, and many precious memories are at stake. Would’t you agree that choosing the one you will trust with your once-in-a-lifetime special event is worth very careful consideration?

By: Michael McCune

Tucson Wedding Network Meeting at Club Congress

 

Michael & MarcClub Congress Tucson ArizonaClub Congress in downtown Tucson on Monday, March 10, 2014 was the setting for the Tucson Wedding Network’s “Club Style” networking event. Director’s Michael McCune (Weddings of Distinction – Tucson DJ Service) and Marc Summesett (CE Entertainment) are always looking for opportunities to mix things up …”Networking should never be boring”… and tonights meeting at Club Congress was no exception.

There was a great turnout of membership and even a little dancing. I am sure it comes as no surprise that I kicked my heals up on the dance floor more than a few times and of course Marc can’t resist an open dance floor. Thanks DJs Ryan and Fernando for keeping the music spinning. I think everyone who attended had a great time.

We would like to offer our gratitude to Elizabeth Harrington, Banquet Managmer at the Hotel Congress for hosting this months meeting and for providing snacks for our members.

MolleeA special thanks to Mollee Fitzgerald with Peace of Mind Event Design as she took the reigns on this months party extravaganza and did an exceptional job planning, organizing, and orchestrating most of the event details. Of course, that’s what Mollee does so if you are in need of planning or coordination for your event I highly recommend Mollee. She has been working with event planning and coordination for many years, but recently branched out on her own and created her own business. Good luck on your new venture Mollee I am sure you will do great!

The Tucson DJsThe music and party vibes tonight were provided courtesy of Ryan Johnson with Motion Music Entertainment and Fernando Gonzalez with DJ Raza where they tag teamed the core entertainment and showcased their talents and personalities. Both are truly awesome professionals and we are fortunate to have them among our network and tonight event was exceptionally fun because of their hard work and dedication to our network. Thank you guys!

Ryan and StephanyThe photos from the event were taken courtesy of Stephanie Bloom with In Bloom Images. Stephanie is an active and valued member of our network and we appreciate Stephanie for stepping up and offering to take photos for tonight’s event. Stephanie typically works as a team along with her husband Ryan who typically does the video, and together they offer photography and videography services for weddings and events and I’m sure they will be more than happy to chat with you about your next event.

And finally, thank you Arizona Party Rental for providing our large and cushy ottomans.

The Tucson Wedding Network offers a host of service oriented vendors and dedicated wedding professionals so please visit our website for a complete listing of our members.

Below are some additional photo highlights courtesy of Ryan and Stephanie…

Congress HighlightsCongress Highlights

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By: Michael McCune

Price Wedding at Hacienda Del Sol in Tucson

Hacienda Del Sol in Tucson, ArizonaOn Saturday, March 1, 2014 It was an exciting and fast-paced ceremony and reception for David and Erin Price that lasted a full eight hours and was filled with dancing, fun and many Welsh traditions from beginning to end.

I really enjoyed working with David and Erin because they were so full of energy and excitement and open to a range of ideas and suggestions in regards to creating a truly fun, and exceptional experience for themselves and for their guests.They both worked diligently with me for months creating this unique event that was filled with dragons, bagpipes, dancing, singing, and much more.

Their event included a special surprise from David’s father who brought in a full entourage of bagpipers,drums and traditional music which had everyone clapping and cheering, including myself. The brief video clip below shows some of the Welsh traditional highlights including a unique dancing rendition to the Tom Jones version of Delilah that you won’t want to miss.

The wedding was originally intended to be outdoors in the beautiful garden courtyard of Hacienda Del Sol in Tucson,however, the weather simply was not cooperating and brought wind and rain that forced a last minute redirection indoors. The space was rather tight and the need for ceremony, cocktails, dinner and dancing to fill the same space definitely created some special challenges, but with an great crew and awesome teamwork we mangaged to pull it all together with very few glitches.

Another unique hightlight that showcased David and Erin’s creativity were their custom made and very unique centerpieces, each one different, that were etched in glass with Welsh dragons and a location that had some meaningful significance to David and Erin. David added a final touch with some very nice digital lighting effects.

As a DJ in Tucson it is a great pleasure to work with clients that could so easily become great friends and I hope that their will be opportunities in the future see and visit with them again. They are one of those couples where you feel all of the work and effort was worth while because I am sure they we be together for a lifetime and will cherish their wedding day forever.

By: Michael McCune

Why a Master of Ceremonies is essential at your wedding?

Wedding receptions today are very different from wedding receptions of only a few years ago. Sites like youtube and facebook, etc., have forever changed the the way we view weddings.

The ability to see what others have done and to share ideas globally have made the simple traditional weddings of the past seem far to boring and mundane to be acceptable for modern brides and grooms and their guests.

In order to meet the needs, goals and values of modern couples, DJs have had to evolve accordingly in order to avoid the fate of the dinosaurs. The simplistic role of the DJ spinning records for an enthusiastic dance crowd has spiraled into multiple complex roles including… Entertainment Director and Master of Ceremonies where the DJ now is often responsible for the guidance and direction of the entire ceremony and reception, as well as creating unique and personal events and activities in order to engage guests and audiences who have become increasingly more difficult to entertain.

Backyard weddings with potluck dinners have been replaced with beautiful and often expensive venues with more extravagant dinners and a full line up of both traditional and non-traditional events and activities that need to flow perfectly while sticking to a schedule, and this is what your Master of Ceremonies is all about.

The word MC (short for Master of Ceremonies) is a buzz word that you’ll often see floating around on many DJ websites, however, its meaning in regards to modern weddings is truly lost on most DJs, which is why the term “Buyer Beware” is so applicable today more than ever.

The term MC is often used on many DJ websites merely as a reference that the DJ will simply make whatever announcements the bride and groom may need at their wedding. Whereas many DJs use the term MC to indicate a passive role at your wedding because they will still likely depend upon guidance and leadership throughout the event.

Pioneers within the wedding entertainment industry such as Scott Faver and Randy Bartlett have been intrumental not only in expanding my own skills but in pushing the limits of creativity for brides and grooms worldwide.

A true Master of Ceremonies incorporates a very special set of skills and will assume an active role in both the planning stage as well as throughout the wedding as a leader, guide and director to ensure that all events and activities flow smoothly and stress-free start to finish while engaging guests throughout the wedding, including the dance floor. A Director is something that every weddding needs in order to keep it all together, and of course, FUN!

But what about if you already have a wedding coordinator to create your timeline, do you still need a Master of Ceremonies? Well, unless your wedding coordinator is also a professional wedding entertainer they will likely do just fine for creating a very basic timeline, but they will likely have no real plan as for how to implement the timeline in a fun and entertaining fashion. Their timeline will likely consist of… Dinner is at 7:00 PM… Toast at 8:00 PM… Etc. However, their plan will probably not include direction for how to transition smoothly from one event to another while engaging your guests. For that, you will still very likely need a Master of Ceremonies/Entertainment Director.

Imagine for just a moment what a Broadway show might be like without the added vision of and polish of a great director… Potential disaster! This is why for many producers their choice for director is often more important to them than their choice of actors and actresses. If you think about it, how often have you thought that a movie you had not yet seen will likely be good just because it was directed by Steven Spielberg?

So… Who is going to direct your Blockbuster wedding?

By: Michael McCune

Hey DJ… Just Tell Me What You Charge?

hey-dj-just-tell-me-what-you-charge

(Please note: Although I have written this post to help DJs to better communicate with brides and grooms, if you are planning a wedding you will likely find this post very beneficial.)

Okay Tucson DJs… The phone rings… as you answer, an excited voice on the other side says “I’m getting married, how much would you charge do DJ my wedding?”

As a director for the Tucson Wedding Network and as a professional wedding DJ in the Tucson area for many years I have had an opportunity to participate in, as well as lead discussions about how best to give a simple answer to this non-simple question… “Okay DJ… Just tell me what you charge!”

To begin, it is important to understand that most brides and grooms lead off with this question simply because they are not sure of what other questions they should be asking. In order for you to be of the greatest service to your clients it is important that you learn to read beyond the simple question and identify their ultimate goals and expectations… you are the professional and that is why they are calling you.

For some, that question is their way of opening communication and they will rely upon you to share some insights and strategy for creating a truly remarkable wedding reception, while saving them the most money. So it is your responsibility as a wedding professional to take the lead by asking them the questions that will help you both to understand their ultimate goals and expectations, so that you can provide the right type of service to fit their needs.

For others however,  that question has an entirely different meaning. Unfortunately, there are those whose wedding has simply become more of a stressful affair and has lost its magic. Sad but true, and even though you may be able to save them hundreds if not thousands of wasted dollars through some very simple communication and by asking the right questions, some couples are simply not open to communication and are merely looking for a quick answer, which you, as an ethical wedding professional simply can’t give them.

Statistics show that “the largest percentage of brides and grooms following their wedding are unhappy with the entertainment they chose”. It is important to understand that as a pro DJ you may be responsible for as much as 80% or more for the success of your clients wedding day. Ask LOTs of questions!!! Those who are open to communication will reap the benefits, and those who are not… you simply can’t help.

I don’t book every client I meet with, but I am pleased to say that in more than 25 years of business I have never received a single negative feedback from any client that I have booked. The secret of my success is attached to a very simple policy; In order to truly understand my client’s needs, goals, values and wedding day expectations, I meet or chat in great detail first, and then create a plan and pricing structure that meets their needs.

Good communication is the foundation for building a relationship with your clients that will help you to guide them towards their ultimate goal… A truly exceptional and memorable wedding day!

To all of my fellow professional wedding  DJs… I hope this helps and I wish you the best!

 

Marcus & Mari Stokes wedding at The Highlands at Dove Mountain

As a professional Wedding DJ in Tucson I always do my best to create a special experience for my clients with some unique, fun and yet… unexpected moments. Usually it is quite obvious when the plan I have worked so diligently upon  is having the effect I was hoping to create for my brides and grooms, however, this time I was not quite so sure…

Marcus and Mari’s wedding was relatively small with family and friends, most of whom had to travel in order to take part in the celebration. Marcus and Mari are an awesome couple who are obviously as much in “friends” as they are in “love”.

Although they like having fun and sharing the experience with those whom they love the most I couldn’t always tell if Mari was having a good time. I knew she was tired from a long drive from Oklahoma, and from working out all the the last minute details that a destination wedding brings with it, but somehow I had the distinct impression that she wasn’t enjoying herself.

When I would visit with her throughout the evening and asked how she was doing she would have a little smile and say that she was having a great time. However, I wasn’t really convinced. I thought for a time that somehow I had missed the mark and had not created the experience that I had hoped, planned and anticipated for her and her husband.

Then last night she sent me this note which made me realize that people find and express joy in their own ways:

“Thank you so much for everything. You were amazing. You have no idea how many people commented on the dinner service you coordinated, the slide show, the newlywed game….and so many of your other special touches. So many of our most memorable moments from that day will forever be wrapped up in you and your special touches. It says a lot if my dad says you were worth every penny . I was able to enjoy the night because you and Elizabeth had everything under control. You kept everything running smoothly and made sure Marcus and I were happy the entire night.
It is so obvious when someone loves what they do and it is obvious you love what you do. We cannot say thank you enough.”

Even though it was not apparent to me at the moment, it was a sharp reminder to me of the impact and difference that we can make as part of  the wedding team, and this is such a powerful incentive to continually strive go beyond typical boundaries and make each and every wedding the best ever!

Thank you Marcus and Mari for the privilege… and the lesson!

Afolabi & Nkechi’s Nigerian Wedding at the Tucson Hilton East

On Saturday, September 21, 2013 I had both the pleasure and honor of being the Tucson Wedding DJ for Afolabi & Nkechi’s Nigerian wedding held at the Tucson Hilton East. It was a small intimate ceremony and reception with their closest family and friends, many of whom traveled from Nigeria to take part in the celebration. The traditional clothing worn by their families were truly stunning and added a very special flavor to their very unique and special event. And the toasts offered by their mothers were truly exceptional and heartwarming.

It was the first time in 25 years that I shared my role as Master of Ceremonies. Tofume, a very close and special friend/family, introduced several of their traditional events and activities. This was Tofume’s very first time in a Master of Ceremonies role and I would like to complement her on a great debut. Tofume is also planning a wedding, date yet to be announced, where Afolabi will be returning the favor by playing the role of Master of Ceremonies at her upcoming Phoenix/Mesa area wedding.

I have included a brief clip of just a few of the highlights from the wedding where Afolabi demonstrates his special charm and Nkechi’s both inner and outer beauty truly shines. NO bridezilla here! Working with Akechi was an absolute joy and I certainly hope that I will have an opportunity to see both of them again. From the reception they are off to a honeymoon in Hawaii where I know they will have the time of their lives.

As a director for the Tucson Wedding Network, it was also a pleasure to work with two other Tucson Wedding Network Members…  Lisa Scoblink, the Social Sales Manager at the Tucson Hilton East, and Glen & Annyce Meiners with BeyondVideo. Please note… The video I have posted in this blog was taken from my very simple GoPro camera and you can rest assured that the video created by BeyondVideo will be nothing short of exceptional when released.

Thank you Afolabi & Nkechi for choosing me as your Tucson Wedding DJ.

Tucson DJs… “A Dime a Dozen”

  Tucson DJ Shoppers Beware

As a Tucson Wedding DJ, and a Director for the Tucson Wedding Network, I have had the opportunity to hear many stories; some good, others… not so much. With the plethora of people looking to make a few extra bucks on the weekend as DJs in Tucson, it’s no wonder that local brides and grooms are a bit skeptical when it comes to booking a DJ for their wedding.

Let’s face it, even a bad DJ can be a good talker, and a good DJ isn’t necessarily a good wedding DJ. But the honest truth is you’ll need much more than talk on your wedding day in order to keep your guests engaged and your celebration stress-free, smooth flowing and fun.

DJs these days are truly “a dime a dozen”, with every household claiming at least one or two somewhere in the family tree. Why are they so common? Well… Unlike a doctor or a lawyer where there are laws requiring that verify their knowledge and education in their field before opening their own business or practice, there is simply no such law for DJs.

 Bad-DJ For a DJ, starting a business is about as easy as ordering 500 business cards online for about 12 bucks. And they can often stay in business because most brides and grooms won’t learn what questions they should have asked their DJ before hiring them, until after their wedding when it is too late.

This scenario is a common occurrence not only in Tucson, but world wide, probably in part because of the challenging economy as well as the lack of decent paying jobs available. The lack of regulations for becoming a DJ combined with the ease of online access to music, makes for an enticing proposition for someone who is having a difficult time making their car payment.

Although it is easy to understand why someone might want to go into the Tucson DJ business for themselves, however, the desire by itself to start a business of their own does not magically invoke the skills, talent or experience necessary for keeping a formal wedding celebration and a ballroom filled with guests on the path to an exciting and unforgettable evening.

It is not uncommon to hear that a DJ got started because they went to a great wedding themselves and thought it looked so easy and fun that they could do it too, without realizing that what made that wedding so fun and look so easy was because it was being run and directed by a really good professional Wedding DJ and Master of Ceremonies who spent years learning and practicing their craft in order to create a celebration that would come off flawlessly.

The honest truth is, it is simply “Buyer Beware” when it comes to choosing your Tucson wedding DJ. This is the case not necessarily because your potential DJ is shifty or dishonest, they simply don’t know what they don’t know. It is very likely that they have no clue whatsoever as to what is really involved in creating an exceptional wedding celebration.

This is also why there can be such a huge discrepancy in pricing among Tucson DJs. For the weekend warrior DJ, it’s simply about showing up, playing music for several hours, and collecting a check. They don’t have much involved so they can easily give a dirt cheap price.

For the full-time professional DJ who understands that a flawless celebration requires many hours of planning, preparation and even rehearsal, they simply can’t compete with the weekend warrior DJ in price, any more that the weekend warrior DJ can complete with a pro Wedding DJ and Master of Ceremonies in creating a truly remarkable and memorable celebration.

The key to a successful celebration is in first knowing what type of wedding experience you are hoping to create, and then learning what types of questions you should be asking your potential Tucson DJ so that you can ensure to the best of your ability that your wedding DJ will have the skills, talent and dedication necessary to help you create that experience.

If you would you would like to learn more about what to look for in a Wedding DJ, and what questions you should be asking, please feel free to visit my webpage entitled “How to Shop for a DJ”.

Best wishes and may you have the best wedding celebration ever.

Tucson DJ Service Reviews Favorite Wedding Venues

Today on Facebook one of our Tucson Wedding Network members posed the question… “What is your favorite wedding venue… And why?” I felt that it was such a good and relevant question for Tucson brides and grooms that I would dedicate a blog post to the topic while introducing a new section on my blog where I review my favorite venues.

The truth is, without a good event manager/director a venue is nothing more than a big empty space with eager potential. There are quite literally hundreds of venues in the Tucson area that cater to brides and grooms, and as a wedding DJ in Tucson for more than 25 years I still have not had the opportunity to perform weddings at all of them, however, the aesthetics and visual aspects of any venue is really a matter of personal taste and logistical needs so I would be hard-pressed to choose a favorite wedding venue based upon its visual appeal alone.

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The After Reception Party

The After Reception Party
Here is the scenario… You’ve invited 150 guests to your reception; however, you know that many of your guests will not go the distance due to their age, the high cost of babysitters or perhaps a long drive ahead of them.

So how do you include your guests in all of the evening’s traditional and festive activities without cutting your event short? The answer is… The After Reception Party!

No… It is not two separate parties but rather one party set up much like a stage performance with Act I and Act II which can be clearly notated on your wedding invitations. Dinner, cake cutting, bouquet and garter toss as well as the traditional dances are all part of Act I. Your music for Act I can be broad and catered to a wide range of guests and ages, while Act II can be perhaps a bit louder and will cater to the few, the proud… The party animals!

This can be an excellent format for including all those who are important to you while still giving your wedding party and close friends and opportunity kick off their shoes and unwind. If you would like to know more about how this type of format can benefit your reception feel free to contact me for additional details.

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