5 Key factors for a great evening
Getting married to the person you love is both amazing and exhilarating. It’s one of the fondest memories of your life. Having said that, planning a wedding takes A LOT of time, preparation, and a great game plan.
For someone who is not well versed in event planing, this can seem like an insurmountable task. Adding pandemic restrictions into the mix makes planning even trickier – but not impossible.
At the time this article was written, the number of COVID-19 cases continue to rise and vary by region. Vaccinations are being introduced, but physical distancing, masking, and regular hand-washing is required. Many regions also have limitations on social gatherings. This article is not intended to provide advice or guidance on health practices. Here, I provide suggestions on what to look for in a DJ during these times – when and where social gatherings are permitted.
Let’s go through some key factors that will help you hire the right DJ during this pandemic.
Outside Ceremonies will be a huge trend for the foreseeable future.
Having your ceremony outside may allow you to have more guests and will enable physical distancing. This may mean that you could take pictures without wearing masks. Check with your venue and local public health office regarding the latest rules and regulations for your region.
As more ceremonies are being held outside, ensure your DJ is fully capable of delivering an audio set up (including mics and speakers) WITHOUT needing external electrical power.
Established DJs can offer a ceremony setup powered by batteries or another external power supply. The batteries will power the system anywhere from 2 – 8 hrs depending on the size of the system and the size of the battery supply. Make sure your DJ has a clear timeline of how long this system should be up and running.
45 – 60 minutes is plenty of time for most ceremonies I’ve done. This should give you ample time to welcome your guests, walk down the aisle, say your vows, and play your recessional song. Then you should be off to take pictures. Religious ceremonies could take longer. Bear that in mind when determining how long the system will be needed.
If your DJ offers an external power supply, be sure it’s a battery supply of some kind and not a generator. The loud obnoxious racket coming from the engine of a generator is last thing you’ll want to hear while saying your vows.
Let’s talk about streams baby!
Your guest count could be heavily impacted as the pandemic restrictions loom over us. You may find this especially difficult if you have a large family or lots of friends. Web streaming your ceremony and speeches is a great alternative to having the important people in your life physically there. Streaming enables your online guests to see and hear your ceremony as if they were there in person. Facebook and/or YouTube are generally where most streams take place. Streams can be public for all to see, or private for only the guests you’ve invited.
Some pro DJs are able to provide streaming services. Your sound requirements will already be taken care of by your DJ, so ask if they’re able to stream the events for you. If you’re looking for a single camera set up, with a digital audio interface, a professional DJ may be able to do this for you fairly easily. As an alternative, your videographer may be able to provide this service.
Alternatively, you could get one of your more tech savvy guests to hold up a phone and stream it that way… However, this is a big moment in your life and your online guests will be looking forward to seeing you clearly. With this in mind, I HIGHLY suggest that you strive for the best audio and video quality you can attain. Not to mention, having to hold up a phone for 45+ minutes will get very tiresome for even your most tech savvy guest!
“One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.”
– Bob Marley
A reception with your guests singing out loud to all the lyrics of your favourite songs on a packed dance floor with their fists pumping is unfortunately not a reality during these times. Your DJ needs to be well aware that singing and dancing is entirely prohibited in some regions and under very tight restrictions in others.
It’s better to have your DJ create a relaxed atmosphere without encouraging your guests to dance. The best way to do this is to play medium-paced songs to take older guests down memory lane, mixed with some downtempo house and radio hits to please your younger guests. Simply playing instrumentals is another great way to set the mood for your guests without having them singing or dancing.
It’s more important to have your DJ play a great list of music rather than to have them showcase their amazing beatmatching and music-mixing ability. Remember, no one is there to dance – but they should still feel relaxed and entertained.
Should we break out the Clorox and a steam cleaner??
Your safety and the safety of your guests should be at the top of your list. Health and safety practices include physical distancing and sanitizing common surfaces. In your planning, consider microphones and equipment in and around the DJ booth.
Having multiple wireless mics is a great way to make sure that no germs are being passed from one person to another. Have your guest speak into a mic that’s already been sanitized and have a second mic ready and sanitized for the next person to speak into. It’s also best to have your DJ periodically wipe down any surfaces in the DJ booth.
Make sure your DJ is prepared to physically distance from you and your guests, and to develop a plan with you to ensure healthy and safe use of their equipment.
During this pandemic, I’ve had to change almost all of my clients dates. I understand that plans have needed to change as a result of these unforeseen pandemic circumstances. I also understand that it is difficult to know where things will be at in the months to come.
Some DJs you’ll find to be very flexible as changes happen. I’ve agreed to move clients’ dates free of charge and have provided partial refunds to some clients who’ve unfortunately had to cancel their big day altogether.
If there’s a date change, make sure your DJ has the resources to reschedule or provide you with another DJ of the same calibre without an additional charge. Some DJs will try to up charge you for this. I believe that if you’ve signed with a company, they should do everything possible to make sure you’re a happy client.
You’ll find other DJs who are very rigid with dates and keep your full deposit even if they can’t meet your needs for flexibility.
I highly recommend you ask your DJ how they deal with date changes and changes of plans. It’s also a good plan to get everything in writing.