Professional Wedding DJ vs. Budget DJ

Professional Wedding DJ vs. Budget DJ

Do you know the qualities of a professional wedding DJ?

POP QUIZ!

  • What should a wedding DJ do when they first arrive at the venue?
  • How does a wedding DJ keep the entire reception on schedule?
  • If a wedding DJs computer crashes at 9:30pm, then what?

You might think you know the answers, but based on those questions you can see that being a great wedding DJ goes way beyond playing great music! Mike Staff Productions has spent years tirelessly recruiting Detroit’s best Wedding DJ’s that will keep your party going and give you a reception people will talk about for years. We hand pick the best and only the best! 

PRO TIP: The very first thing a wedding DJ should do when arriving at the venue is check in with a representative or the couple’s wedding planner!

The Highest Standard for Wedding DJs

We only want the very best DJs because you only want the very best wedding DJ. Doesn’t that sound better than some random person with a laptop and a Spotify playlist? We thought so!

DID YOU KNOW: Mike Staff Productions’ has 84 point DJ Certification Process and only .1% (that’s 1/10th of a 1%) that we interview are invited onto our team.

Let’s break down the difference…

Budget DJ Horror Story: “My amp blew! I’m sorry but I don’t have a way to continue to play tonight.  How about 50% off your next party?!”

budget DJ

  • Watch for old and ragged gear. In fact watch out for new but cheap gear! Just because it looks good doesn’t mean it sounds good.
  • May use novelty items: bubble and smoke machines (can you say “cheesy”?)
  • Beware of over production: too many lights, lasers and other toys are simply a distraction and often “dress down” an otherwise beautifully decorated room.
  • Unlikely to have to backup equipment to bring to your reception in the event of a malfunction. Nothing stops a party faster than a burned out amplifier or blown speakers!
  • Budget/Friend DJs are much more likely to say something regrettable on the mic because of being so familiar with the couple. They may think a certain song, story or inside joke is funny but it may not be to you or your guests

Pro Wedding DJ: “My amp blew but this is no problem, guys, I’ll just hook up the backup and we will be dancing again in 3 minutes”

professional wedding DJ

Invests in professional sound equipment.

  • Superb-quality sound
  • Crystal-clear announcements that everyone can understand
  • Allows comfortable music volumes
  • Displays a classy appearance
  • Backup equipment (read more below)

Onsite leadership:

  • Coordinates with venue staff / wedding planner before & during the wedding
  • Communicates with other vendors; Photographer, Videography, Photo Booth
  • Responsible for Lost & Found
  • Keeps evening; dances, speeches, toasts on track
  • Will teach guests how to use microphone for speeches, toasts which saves time and avoids embarrassment.

Provides Personalized Playlists:

  • Do Not Play
  • Play This (No Matter What)
  • Songs We Like

Our Wedding DJ Equipment Checklist   

Look, this checklist isn’t always something we share publicly, but experience, trust, reliability is the name of our game. Which means you can trust and expect that every single wedding DJ with Mike Staff Productions uses high-quality, state of the art, professional DJ equipment and we want to put our money where our mouth is (although, really, when you think about that literally, it’s kind of gross)!

We want to provide you with the most authentic look into our world, so we’ve shared the equipment inventory that all Mike Staff Productions DJs should have in their arsenal.

professional wedding DJ equipment

Laptops / Tablets

Mixer: Professional DJ mixing board with at least 3 channels plus a mic input.

Speakers & Speaker Stands: At least 15 inch speakers are required. Cabinets should be neat and clean. Speakers must be on stands and set up right next to your DJ table.

Cordless Microphone:  Quality cordless mic is required. (Few things are more unprofessional than a wedding DJ on a microphone that you can’t understand.)

Headphones:  Used to cue up every song throughout the night.

Lights: Less is more, minimal lights are used to keep a romantic setting. You’ll never catch a Mike Staff Productions wedding DJ with a fog or bubble machine, either!

Cords/ Adaptors: Professional grade, balanced, cables. At least 250 feet of extension cords will be available

Duct Tape: We can’t work without it for safety measures and aesthetics. All cables must be taped neatly to the floor.

Back-Up Gear:  Every DJ will have backup gear to trouble shoot any type of equipment failure that may occur : Required to have following back-up equipment on site at every event:

  • Mixer
  • computer/Ipad
  • Microphone
  • Speakers / Cables
  • Power cords & Power strip
  • Batteries, lights

REALITY CHECK: Yes, it’s awesome that our DJs invest in their craft with professional grade equipment but emergencies happenWhat happens if the microphone cracks?  What happens if a speaker blows? What happens if a light goes out?

These are questions, you as the bride or couple, may not think to ask while meeting with a budget DJ. With Mike Staff Productions you don’t have to panic about ‘what if’s’ because we’ve asked ourselves all these questions and prepared ourselves for just about every scenario — bottom line — we believe in backup plans! Breath a sigh of relief….

Wedding Day Setups: Magical or Just Prepared?

Now that you’re familiar with the standard of equipment we work with, it’s important to know that we are prepared for whatever set up your wedding requires. Venues are becoming more unique; barns, mansions, wineries etc. (we love the creativity).

The options to spread wedding festivities out is a new trend, too; outdoor ceremony and cocktail hour with an indoor reception. Music is required for all of those locations. How can a DJ be at three places at once? Well, here’s a secret: Mike Staff Productions wedding DJs are magical. Just kidding! BUT we are prepared!

Our conscientious approach, experience and professionalism allows us to provide multiple, separate music setups seamlessly throughout a venue without being distracting or burdensome.

You won’t be distracted if a Mike Staff Productions wedding DJ needs to make adjustments to equipment setups during your wedding venue while guests are mingling, snacking on appetizers and enjoying cocktails. Can’t say the same about a budget DJ, though!

Real Wedding #1:

Wedding DJ Kurt Colone needed 3 different music setups at this wedding at The Rattlesnake Club.

Setup 1: Ceremony 

DJ Kurt's ceremony setup

Setup 2: Additional speaker for Cocktail hour

additional reception setup

Setup 3: Reception 

DJ Kurt's reception setup

PRO TIP: Do you know the #1 guest complaint about Wedding DJs?  “The music’s TOO LOUD.”  When music is engineered by a skilled professional, it’s loud enough to keep the party going, yet comfortable for guests to talk. Easier said than done. It really take a pro to get it right.

Whether your wedding day requires five music setups or simply one our wedding DJs will always arrive at least an hour and a half early to ensure all equipment is in place and working properly before the beginning of the event. When the night comes to an end (it’s bittersweet) you’ll never spot your Mike Staff Productions wedding DJ tearing any equipment down until the house lights are on and the evening is officially over.

Real Wedding #2:

Wedding DJ Kyle Zagata had speaker set ups at two locations at this wedding at The Reserve. Because of this he able to easily transport his laptop from location to location without being a distraction

Setup 1: Ceremony

DJ Kyle ceremony setup professional DJ equipment

Setup 2: Reception

DJ Kyle's reception setup

Do not risk having a DJ that does not have backup equipment on site and a back-up DJ ready for your event. Can you imagine spending all of that money just to have the night end at 9:30 pm because your budget DJ was not prepared? It’s just not worth the risk.

What to Expect from the Pros…

Coordinators, MC’s, trusted advisors. We want to introduce you to the DJs of Mike Staff Productions where they encompass all of those qualities and more. Great wedding DJs wear many hats. Providing the right music at the right time is just the beginning. Your DJ’s highly visible position makes him, by default, the evening’s “go to” guy. That’s why it’s important to choose an experienced DJ who is poised and professional, one who can think on his feet and is trained to handle each issue promptly, as it arises.

Wedding DJ as Your Master of Ceremonies

A well-trained Master of Ceremonies means being confident on the microphone and able to make important announcements and introductions in a classy, charismatic manner.

DJ as Master of Ceremony

Professionals will spend time preparing their announcements and have pride in their ability to pronounce everyone’s name correctly. Nothing makes a crowd more uncomfortable than to sit in front of someone who is nervous and stuttering on the microphone. WATCH an example of how the pro DJs do it: 

Budget DJs can be guilty of:

  • Unprofessional announcements (or no announcements at all!)
  • Mispronounced names and titles
  • Inappropriate remarks
  • Misuse of equipment: microphone feedback, poor volume control

Often times, a DJ may try to hide this nervousness by turning into a cheesy “party motivator”, annoying guests and embarrassing the bride and groom. A professional clearly understands their boundaries and will never try to upstage the bride and groom by putting undue attention on themselves.

Wedding DJ as Your Wedding Planner

A great DJ will be in contact with you to help you plan your day. In fact, your Mike Staff Productions DJ is always scheduled to call you on the Monday before your wedding to have a thorough conversation about every detail of your wedding day!

Also, our wedding DJs are available 24/7 – seriously! We like our couples to know there’s an open line of communication leading up to your wedding day! Having a 4am freakout moment about changing your first dance song? Don’t sweat it, you can text or email our team anytime! (They’ll respond as soon as we wake up)

Here is a sample of the wedding reception planner each couple gets when they book with Mike Staff Productions:

  Mike Staff Productions Wedding Reception Planner

This worksheet is for your use in planning your wedding reception.  Please DO NOT return this to Mike Staff Productions.  Your DJ is scheduled to call you on the Monday before your wedding to have a thorough conversation about every detail of your wedding reception.

Please consider Mike Staff Productions as your partner in the success of your wedding reception.  If you have ANY questions, or if you need suggestions, ideas or advice, please call us at 248-689-0777.  We find great joy in participating in your wedding plans. You may also want to visit our website at www.mikestaff.com for ideas and suggestions.

Your wedding day is YOUR wedding day! We are experts at customizing wedding receptions for each of our couples.  Simply use this worksheet as a guide, and remember, we’ll do whatever it takes to make your night perfect.

PART I  General Details of Your Wedding Reception

Date of Wedding_____________________________________________

Location of Hall (address, cross streets and phone number)______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Emergency Numbers we can reach you on your wedding day____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

FYI:  It would be a very rare instance that we would need to contact you on your wedding day.  However, it is a good idea for us to have as many emergency contacts numbers as possible.  

Name of photographer_____________________________________________________

Name of videographer_____________________________________________________

How many guests are you expecting?______________________

What time does the reception begin? _________________________________________________________________

FYI:  Your DJ will arrive at the hall about 1 ½ hours prior to the start of the party.  Before your first guest arrives, your DJ will have all equipment neatly set up, cocktail music playing

What time will the event end? _________________________

NOTE:  Some banquet facilities will require the music to stop half an hour before the end of the evening.  Please ask your hall coordinator what time the music should stop.

What time will the Newlyweds arrive at the venue?  ____________________________

NOTE:  When you arrive at the venue, please send in a groomsman to inform the DJ that you are there. At this point, your DJ will coordinate the introductions into the room with you and your bridal party.

What time is dinner scheduled to be served?  __________________________________________

Will dinner be served:   Buffet style? Family style? Individual plates?

Pro Music Advice

One mistake budget DJs make is they get a “set” of music in their head that they want to play and they will play the set regardless of whether or not the crowd is responding.

Our wedding DJs make it a point not to get caught in this trap.  If something isn’t working, we change it up! Need some musical inspiration? Look no further!  (A budget DJ wouldn’t have these playlists ready, just sayin’!)

Cocktail Hour Music 2017

Wedding Ceremony Music: When You Need It

Top 20 Requested Dance Songs 2017

reception music

Budget DJ with an Office? No Way!

Forget meeting at a coffee house. Mike Staff Productions has offices in metro Detroit and Chicago that allows you to get to know our awesome Wedding DJs by watching their video profiles until you find your perfect fit. That’s right, YOU choose! (Now that’s professional!)

How it Works:

  • Visit our office, grab a coffee and lounge on our comfy couches (that’s easy!)
  • Watch video profiles of our award winning wedding DJs in action
  • Get familiar with their personality and style
  • See how our DJs handle announcements, introductions, toasts and the first dance before you book. (How cool is that?)
  • You’re not alone! We’re here to help answer all of your questions

There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all wedding DJ – we get that, that’s why we invite you to be a part of the process. We hope to see you soon!

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www.mikestaff.com

Mike Staff Relaxing

Mike Staff is the founder and CEO of Mike Staff Productions, one of the most highly acclaimed wedding services companies in the country, providing award-winning Wedding DJs, Wedding Photographers and Wedding Videography for over 20 years. Mike serves as a Nationwide Ambassador for The Knot.com, advising the wedding industry on best practices and insight into the challenges and opportunities.

Posted in Chicago Wedding DJ & Music, Michigan Wedding DJ & Music, Wedding DJ

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