Wedding Tips & Advice for wedding planning and DJ hire 2023
THE KNAVE'S WEDDING ADVICE
Handy Tips for couples planning and booking suppliers for their Wedding What to look for, what to ask & what you need to know!
So you've said YES and the planning for the big day is underway! With so many things to consider, it's easy to get overwhelmed - the wedding cake, guest list, wedding photographer and the list goes on... Luckily, having a few of these pointers at hand can save you time and enable you to find the Wedding DJ & MC that's right for you! These are helpful tips and experienced observations from The Knave - one of Melbourne's top event & wedding DJ's a radio host, experienced MC and Event Consultant. He's played many Corporate and Private events across NZ & Australia, has toured and opened for international acts such as Sting & Crowded House, is the resident DJ at The Altar Electric and is happy to help you with advice and recommendations so feel free to get in touch!
First things to consider when booking a Wedding DJ and getting organised.
Music is an important element in setting the mood at any social occasion and generally a major part of wedding celebrations. Ironically, it's also often left until the last minute. Don't let this be you! Getting your Wedding entertainment organised and booked in advance can give you a better chance of securing a booking with an experienced and in demand Wedding DJ who plays to your groove and allow you plenty of time to think over special songs and music requests. From the moment guests arrive to the time they leave, the music plays it's part, so some thought into the types of music you like and demographic of your guests is well worth considering before you start looking. A good Wedding DJ should ask you questions relating to these, but you'll save time in the enquiry process by having a rough idea of this before you start and mentioning these in your first enquiry. I recommend spending some time with your partner discussing your wedding music and few particular artists, songs or styles that you really like. Making a short playlist of around 10-20 songs that you can give to your DJ as an example of what you have in mind can be really helpful. As DJ's vary vastly in their style, using what you've worked out here should guide you on what kind of DJ you want and can help speed up the enquiry process. (More on musical styles below). Not sure? That's ok! Read on for recommendations
Wedding DJ prices & DJ packages in Melbourne What they factor and a word of advice ....
Rates for Wedding DJ hire in Melbourne vary - It will depend on a few factors including their experience & demand, booking time, travel costs and the extras they might offer such as Wedding MC services, PA system hire, and DJ Lighting. The majority of wedding venues in Melbourne do not have PA systems suitable for a DJ so having someone who is able to supply this without you doing the work is a big plus! The trick is finding what kind of DJ is musically best for you and work from there. Many offer DJ packages for weddings, but a word of advice here is - never compromise the on the music , professionalism or integrity! ie: Be wary of hiring a wedding DJ simply because they are cheap and come with some flashy lights or offer lots of extras - especially if you are a couple who are particular about your music tastes! The focus of the discussion should be around the music and what you like and envision for your big day first and foremost. It's certainly better to ensure the person you book is in step with your tastes, will provide quality across what they offer and most importantly - Someone who gives you the sense they are genuinely looking forward to adding something special to your wedding entertainment.
Don't feel that you have to have Top 40 music if you don't enjoy it - there is so much more music out there to make your day unique, why settle for music that's makes you feel like your in an uber or heard over and over at your work? For Wedding reception music and during cocktail hour consider groovy soul and classic funk, indie & trip hop, rat pack jazz, vintage calypso and fantastically good vibe inducing afro latin and laid back tropical disco flavours for a refreshing point of difference that always has wedding guests coming up saying - "wow, that music was really good!" Later for the Dance floor - a good DJ will turn the energy up a few notches and get everyone jumping with classics and bangers, but keeping in step with your particular music brief ... more on this below!
BEWARE of big companies with dozens of DJ's - they will generally just send you someone with a laptop who'll simply hit play on a premixed set or just a list of dreary done to death and token wedding songs and I guarantee they won't really know much about music in general. If you are passionate about a particular artist or style of music - be sure to strike up conversation around this. Ask them a few questions and find out what they know! If they can't relate or have no idea who or what your talking about - that's a red flag that this particular might not be the one for you. Again - don't get sucked in on price and packages, get a professional who's in step with your tastes and the vibe you want create. I would strongly advise against using Spotify or plugging in a "jukebox" ipad for your wedding for several reasons - and I'm not just saying this because I'm a DJ. Playlists don't adjust to the moment, read or manage a crowd or ensure ceremony music is cued at the right time. How important these elements are to an event, should not be underestimated. From first hand accounts from wedding couples and my experience in events - people going this route have often ended up having to look after the music half the night instead of kicking back and enjoying themselves. People get drunk, want to hear certain songs and if you aren't the one having to deal with selecting songs all night and they have access - it gets really messy ie: the same songs being repeated, people changing songs halfway through, completely inappropriate or vibe killing tracks etc. Similar to the classic - "I've gotta mate who's keen" - like a cheap tattoo, you get what you pay for. When you've spent good money on a professional level service for everything else, be careful in skimping on the music, as it plays a huge part in a wedding and factors into the atmosphere from the moment guests arrive to the moment they leave. Having said that - It's your big day and you should of course do what you feel is right for you and what is going to work for your budget. When considering quotes from a Wedding and Event DJ - packages may include prep time, travel costs, equipment hire and various other factors in addition to the playing time itself. It basically depends on the specifics or your Wedding and because the day can be so long for DJ's travelling to more remote areas and accommodation costs need to be added in some instances. Due to so many variables in location for Melbourne wedding venues, playing time and Mobile DJ equipment & services - naming a standard price alone isn't applicable. A professional level Wedding DJ in Melbourne should quote you on the specifics of your event and ensure it's what you want and what you actually need. Taking the above factors into consideration however should guide you on what pricing is reasonable for a quality Wedding DJ.
What music works best & Wedding Music requests
Generally, Weddings are suited to having a range of tunes to not only complement the demographic, but also the different stages of your wedding day. The reception music should reflect you and your tastes, so this is where you example playlist will come in handy! All in all the big day is about YOU - so don't feel as if you need to please absolutely everyone. A common thing I hear is "We want modern music, because that's what everyone knows" . The reality here is that the songs that engage the most people and that everyone actually knows are classic hits spanning the decades. Depending on your tastes and the range of people at your wedding - a tasteful mix of music across the rock n roll 50's, the groovy 60's, 70's rock, funk and disco, a wide variety of 80's, 90's and beyond always fill the floor, have something to appeal to everyone and will have everyone singing along - eg: Little Richard's "Tutti Frutti" works well with everyone from grandparents to grandkids and virtually everyone will get down to classic 70's funk n disco and hits from the 80's. These, mixed up with some 90's R&B and 2000's bangers generally has everyone satisfied and enjoying themselves and sometimes later in the night is great for bringing in House, Nu Disco, Hard Rock or deeper club cuts if that's your thing. While it's a great idea to compile a short list of "Must Play" and "Wish List" dance floor songs, be careful not to make these so long that your DJ has no space left to play to the room and do their thing - That's what you've hired them for in the first place! Considering an average dance floor section of a wedding is around 2 - 3 hours, 5 "Must Play"songs or so will be plenty and your DJ should be able to comfortably do their thing and play to the feel of the room in step with your musical brief. If your family has a heritage where traditional songs are usually played ie: Maltese, Indian or Italian Weddings - be sure to include these too and a short set of traditional songs is always a good idea to get the wide cross section of your families up. Also - you may have seen articles on wedding tips or ideas that suggest you get your guests to all pick a song to be played on the day... Although the notion of this sounds like a fun way to bring everyone together - the reality is that it can open a can of worms and really cause problems. I heavily suggest to NOT set this as an expectation. For one, it's just another thing for you to manage, it's unrealistic in respects to time and suitability across the changing sections of the night, most of the choices will be obvious classic hits which most DJ's will have anyway, and some choices may be grossly out of step with what you like and whats suitable. I've seen guests get drunk and cause a scene because the DJ hasn't played the song they "were promised"... that song might be too mellow for the late night dance floor, inappropriate or otherwise just wrong for the moment. As above - you've hired a professional to use their experienced judgment to play what's best for the crowd overall.. let's not muddy the waters with too many cooks in the kitchen! Consider also how appropriate these choices are too - That new R&B banger about "tappin that booty" while great to get down to in the club, is highly likely to be awkward around certain guests if played too early around kids or more conservative guests and that long 8 minute epic might rock your world but will probably clear your dance floor. If you're unsure - Having a discussion with your DJ on their thoughts around these is a good idea as they may have suggestions or be able to make edits of these for you to make them work in context.
Take a dive into some sample mixes and playlists on The Knave's Wedding Mixes and Example playlists here:
Wedding DJ quotes, time, travel and costs
It can be a really long day once you factor in travel time, set up and pack down, playing time and the trip home - especially for some of the beautiful wedding venues in regional Victoria such as the Yarra Valley, Taradale, Macedon and, Pt Leo, Red Hill and the Mornington Peninsula. A twelve hour day is not uncommon for performers travelling to country weddings so ensure your DJ is provided with a meal & light refreshments to keep them going! Most Wedding venues are very attentive with this already but it pays to check. For safety reasons - it is responsible to cover accommodation costs in some instances, rather than have them drive long distances in the early hours after a long day.
Feel free to get in touch with The Knave and he'll be happy to assist with the planning of your wedding or event and offer a few tips! Head to his Wedding DJ Hire page for more info and to hear a few of his mixes! www.theknave.net Congrats on getting hitched!!
The Knave - Wedding DJ for hire Melbourne, Regional Areas and Interstate