Dear DJ AJ9: How Can I Get the MOST Out of My Wedding Pros?

Your goal: a beautiful album full of happy, carefree photos.  How to get it?  Read on!  Photo of Melyssa and Matt by Kayla Westfall of Full Bloom Photography.

Your ultimate wedding-day planning victory prize: a lifetime of happiness with your new spouse celebrated through a beautiful professional photo album full of happy, carefree photos of you and your sweetheart looking gorgeous. How to get it? Read on! Photo of Melyssa and Matt by Kayla Schneider of Full Bloom Photography.


It’s easy to feel, as your day draws near (and then, poof!, is here!) that a mountain of moments are at stake.

Given how much time the team at Something New Entertainment — especially your Master of Ceremonies and DJ — spend to ensure we get to know our couples (and not just their musical preferences, but the very pieces and parts of their hearts that make them tick as we shape a day custom-tailored to fit their style), we KNOW exactly how much pressure you’re feeling.  That’s why we offer this helpful list of easy-peasy ways to protect your investment to ensure that you get the BEST and MOST out of your wedding pros.

The good news is, wedding vendors aren’t complicated or particularly demanding creatures! However, we are human and there are certainly circumstances under which we work best.

Here are some of the simple provisions you can take to ensure your wedding pro team is best able to do their best work:


Photo by Brightside Photography.

Handmade-styled decor by the Budding Tree.  Shabby-Chic cake by Reeves Bakery.  Photo by Brightside Photography.


First and foremost, before you can get the most out of the professionals, you’ve got to hire them. There are plenty of pitfalls to “hiring” friends and family, and sometimes the money you save “hiring” them doesn’t afford you the very best in service… or continuing happy relationships. Why risk straining those ties with friends and family?  Put your mind (and their minds) at ease, and be shrewd about which projects you can realistically DIY and which you and they simply shouldn’t burden yourselves.

Know a good value, when you see one.  That doesn’t often mean that the lowest bidder is the best option for services for your wedding day. I’ve said it a thousand times, and I’ll reiterate it a thousand times more: Hiring an entertainer is a lot different than buying a toaster. Style differences make a huge difference in your planning, wedding day experience and even in the resulting photographs from the event — all of your wedding professionals’ work is very interdependent, and vendors from florists to bakers and disc jockeys to videographers differ greatly from one to another. Don’t take a thing for granted in your initial inquiries. Never assume that every photographer with whom you speak will take the same attention to detail or that every DJ you find in a Google search would MC your event in a way that keeps your dance floor alive.




The best value will always be a talented, organized professional who is passionate about the aspects of your event that are most important to you — whether that’s sugar flowers, specialty photography techniques, or creating a soundtrack of music that echoes your personal flair.

Indeed, that precisely was the point our friend, Angela Wish at A Wedding Wish in Medina, stressed: The importance of finding vendors whose personalities click with yours cannot be overstated, and it begins early:


“Your vendors are spending hours upon hours with you on your wedding day.  If they rub you the wrong way or you just don’t work well with them, pass on them. Move on to another one,” said Angela Wish of A Wedding Wish Event Coordination.


Respect the boundaries of labor specialization. We’ve seen a trend lately of some (non-photography) companies taking photographs throughout the wedding reception and then selling those photographs to clients and to guests for a profit, after the event. The problem here is twofold: brides and grooms pay professional photographers for a reason, and this kind of encroachment causes those professionals to feel unappreciated — sometimes disrespected — as well as to lose a small bit of revenue. Remember, your event, and others like it, are these artists’ livelihood. They know what they’re doing and will do it well, given the right conditions. Sometimes, unfortunately, these “fauxtographers” get in the hired photographers’ way — literally — making it impossible for them to do their jobs as well as they would without the hired “competition.”


Cassie and Hadley with their hardworking steed.

Cassie and Hadley with their hardworking steed.  Photo by Ken Love of Ken Love Photography.


Next — keep them fed and watered!  These are the same simple accommodations you can guarantee the horse drawing your carriage is getting; your wedding production team should get them, too.  Pros in highly visible, time-intensive roles work long hours on your big day (effectively anyone who’s around for more than a simple delivery is there for most of the day — band musicians, photographers, videographers, and wedding planners, and — yes — entertainers, just to name a few), and plain and simply they don’t have the free time during your day to make alternate arrangements for a meal. Bottom line: they aren’t eating unless you’re seeing them eating.  If you’re doubting for a moment the investment in vendor meals, ask yourself: despite your very best intentions and talent, how well do YOU work after 8+ hours without food or water?


Special thanks for Danny and Kara for this delicious meal!

Special thanks for Danny and Kara for this delicious meal!  Terrible cell phone photo by DJ AJ9 — to ensure photos that are much, much better than this one be taken of YOUR wedding feast, hire a real photographer.  😉


Most aren’t expecting lobster, but some wedding vendors have gone as far as to add riders to their contracts to avoid the absence of a meal for their people, or strange, last-minute concoctions from a well-intentioned but unexpecting kitchen (à la raisin-bread-and-cheese sandwiches, for example — true story).  While I’m sure the same meal your guests are eating would be appreciated by all, another planned meal is also very commonly acceptable. Bonus points if it’s warm!  Regardless, it’s in your best interest to inquire as to what your venue can offer; the money spent on a vendor meal often makes the difference between a pro with low blood sugar and a pro who’s working with a full belly and gratitude for your hospitality.


Aaron and Emily planned to have Making the Moment's Vince McKay stick around for the sparkler send-off so they could have wonderful photos like this one!

Aaron and Emily planned to have Making the Moment’s Vince McKay stick around for the sparkler send-off!


Oh, and Angela makes another point that’s a very valid one: scheduling.  Ensure you understand what you’re paying and what it buys you. It’s never fun for the bride and groom, or the photographer, if it was assumed that the photographer was staying for the sparkler exit, but the contract didn’t provide for that.

In closing: though we wedding vendors are not mind-readers, nor are we superhuman, we are experts, and given the tools and planning we need, we take a lot of pride in making your day a day to remember.

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