Wednesday, December 22, 2010

An education in DJs

After having a total spaz attack regarding the cost of the sole DJ I contacted, I made it my mission to find the best DJ bargain I could.  I scoured the internet, trying my absolute best to find someone who seemed reliable, professional, and reasonably priced.  I even made a spreadsheet in order to keep track of all the details - prices, availability, location, hours included in package, extras, etc.  Here are the three most important things I learned when hunting for a DJ online:

1) Virtually no DJs (at least the ones I looked at) post any sort of pricing information online.  They all want to lure you into the trap of talking face-to-face or over the phone before pricing even comes up.  Superbly aggravating.  I sat through a 90-minute phone presentation with a very nice DJ only to discover that her prices were almost 3 times as expensive as the previous quote I had received... and that quote had made my eyes pop out of my skull, let alone 3 times that!

2) Looking up DJs online is kind of a crapshoot.  At least with photographers, you can see their work, allowing you to decide if they are a fit or not.  With DJs, you have no real way of seeing their wedding services in action, so it can be kind of nerve-wracking.  Fortunately, I also learned that there's a pretty active DJ network, so you can get some pretty honest recommendations from people who know what it takes to be considered a good DJ.


3) Last, but not least, DJs cost a great deal more than what I expected.  I found a few super bargains, but those kind of made me wary -- why would these individuals charge so much less than their competition?  Are they cheap because they are desperate for business?  Are they desperate because they are below-average DJs?  Excluding those cheap-os, the vast majority of the quotes I received fell within a narrow range of the original quote I received.  So, after much research, it became clear that the real problem with the DJ budget wasn't the price... it was my perception of what the price realistically should be.  Once I wrapped my head around that, the entire booking process became much more palatable.

In the end, we decided to book Top Dog DJs, a Johnstown-based DJ who provided us with that fateful first quote.  I didn't have the same "OMG YES WE NEED YOU" reaction to the DJ as I did to the photographer, but that's OK.  As long as he plays some sweet jams that get people on their feet, I give him two thumbs up.

(Sidenote: this cake was featured in an episode of Glee... it was presented to the shop teacher who had successfully returned to work after an wood-working accident.  That's right... he cut off both his thumbs.)

Did any of your vendor searches end right where they began? 


  1. I'm currently experiencing sticker shock with the florist. Sometimes you do have to adjust your price expectations which truly sucks.

  2. We went with several of the first vendors we met with, but the biggest "done deal" was our photographer. He was the one and only one we ever even talked to. I saw his work online and was SOLD. Then we talked on the phone, met in person, and we knew about him like we knew about each other. It was an easy decision and I never once thought twice about.