As the bride or groom, you will try on your outfits for the big day, you will visit your venue and you might even try your food before sitting down at the all important wedding breakfast but will you talk to the person who has the responsibility for providing you with a memorable evening reception? If not then you should!
Wedding DJs – those companies who specialise in providing music for weddings specifically - will always be happy to chat through your day. It is important to us to know what you day will have been like before we arrive to provide your evening entertainment. Have you had an early start? Lots of guests travelling from quite a distance? Long gap between wedding breakfast and evening reception? All these questions are key to the direction a wedding DJ will take with your own event.
Talking to a DJ, either in person, or over the phone, will allow you to gauge what they are like as a person. Do you feel like they are on the same wavelength as you? Do they sound like someone who will provide the night you want? Ultimately, do they sound like someone you actually like?
If a DJ is easy to talk to in person or on the phone this often transmits to their style when at an event.
Chatting through your music choices and how you envisage your night also means you can start to put some trust in the DJ you are about to employ!
Experience and Pricing
Experience in various aspects of entertainment is a must here – A DJ must be comfortable with talking on a microphone. This doesn't mean they should do it before and after every song, or that they should take over and 'host' your wedding (unless that is what you have requested!) but they should be able to encourage guests to join in the party and confidently deliver any messages to your guests.
How many weddings does your DJ play at?
Do they provide entertainment at other events?
Do they have experience of planning/organising events outside of the music?
If they are able to help you with the timings for your evening reception, offer advice about the order of events etc. then this is a sign of experience – a good thing!
As for pricing, DJ's can charge anywhere from £100 upwards to provide services at your reception.
In 2017 the average cost of a DJ was over £600.
Ultimately, the cost of the DJ will depend on experience and equipment.
In 2019, Primo Parties charge £400 for their evening package and adapt this price as required, depending on your venue, duration and access arrangements.
Does your DJ offer anything in addition to their DJ Services?
Businesses which offer a number of services might not 'specialise' in their wedding DJ services and this means you may not get the focus on the music that it deserves.
Some businesses will advertise DJs but will outsource this to another company. Do you know the name of your DJ? Will you get to speak to them?
You can sometimes save considerable money using a 'multi-service' company but most DJs will be able to offer some kind of 'deal' with suppliers they know – Our own business for example, have links with a photobooth company who we can offer a discount for.
Some of the most valuable recommendations will come from friends and family but also from other wedding suppliers. Ask around, has anyone been to a reception recently when the DJ impressed them? Does anyone know a bride who raved about their entertainment choice? Most couples will have chosen some suppliers before their DJ – who do they recommend? Suppliers are a faithful bunch and will recommend those people who they get on with and who do a job similar to their own. If you have chosen your photographer already, ask them particularly. They see everything!
Using a recommended supplier of a venue is a personal choice. A venue cannot force you to use a supplier they have chosen but they are often a good place to start – Remember, a recommended supplier might have paid to be on the list for a venue so remember to do your research – A DJ who hasn't played at a venue isn't a bad thing, they might just come up with something a little different to the 'norm'.
With social media and the forefront of a DJs advertising. Reviews are a must. If a DJ shouts about 5 star reviews, take a look. When was the last review, what was it for? Do the reviews happen regularly or were there a large number at the same time? (sometimes this means they have actively searched out reviews!)
A 5* review with very little detail is hard to use – what common positives are mentioned in reviews?. Recommendations on a DJ's own website may be selective, use Trustpilot, Facebook and Instagram to do a bit of research!
There are a number of award ceremonies out there, some localised, some national. Again, have a look at the awards. What are the criteria? Were they voted for by couples or suppliers? Awards are often the difference between two businesses and by choosing an award-winning DJ you have a degree of confirmation that your DJ has the skills and experience you need to make your night a success!
As a popular business, we often have to pass business to other DJ providers locally. We use the criteria above to make sure they are perfect for a couple! However, as a business we believe we are the perfect choice for any wedding in Dorset and the surrounding counties!
Favourite music to listen to:
As a resident of London during the 90s – I can only describe myself as a UK garage man. Many nights spent reciting the lyrics to 21 seconds ( I can still happily remember the lyrics even now!)
In my later years, a couple of trips to Ibiza mean I moved into the dance scene so anything with a bassline really!
My childhood can only be described as a combination of Chas and Dave and Status Quo – something which I hated at the time (every car journey!) but have learned to love as time has gone on!
Favourite ever gig:
I have a very eclectic list of gigs i've been to!
Spice Girls, All Saints and S Club 7 during their peak years – I know, don't ask!
In more recent times, Dizzee Rascal, Jay Z, Labyrinth and Tine Tempah, Faithless (5 times!) as well as the mighty Foo Fighters a couple of times.
My favourite? Seeing Chas and Dave supporting Status Quo with my dad was amazing!
Current radio station listened to:
Radio X in the mornings followed by Kisstory if I am near a digital radio!
Best Song EVER?!?!
Almost impossible question!
Songs that get me dancing, I would say...
Stardust – Music Sounds Better With You
Daniel Bedingfield – Gotta Get Through This
Faithless – We come One
Most memorable event played at?
I have been fortune enough to play at some amazing weddings since 2014 – the most memorable? Probably the night I was asked 'if I knew any UK Garage' and then had a packed dancefloor for the next 3 hours!
Or the night I was asked for a 'bit of 90s dance' and managed to play dance music from 8pm until the night was extended until 2am (at the request of the bride and groom – because they were having such an amazing time!)
Other memorable moments? A first dance which was a song by German rock band Rammstein, A choreographed dance routine from the bride and groom and a theatrical performance from an amateur dramatics group for the bride at a Weymouth wedding!
Best piece of advice for a Bride and Groom?
Don't worry about making sure all your guests are having a good time – if you are, then they absolutely will. A bride on the dance floor encourages everyone else to join them and really gets the party started. Your night will go so quickly, enjoy it and take it all in!
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Primo Parties use the detail above to advise their couples on the perfect reception - for more details on our packages visit our home page here.
To DJ or self-DJ?
For us this is not an issue (and not just because we run a DJ business!)
We would never want someone to employ us if they aren't sure they need us – we often talk to brides who are quite adamant that they want so much control over their music but they almost feel obligated to employ a DJ – now we believe employing Primo Parties is the perfect mid-ground but let us explain the options.
Ipoding your wedding (Self- DJ!)
We have attending a couple of weddings where this has happened and sometimes it can work if done properly. This is the more common option for those weddings which are held on a budget.
We have, since 2014, provided the perfect soundtrack to weddings by listening to our clients. We have always requested a playlist and discussed this with the happy couple, making sure we know their likes and dislikes. We welcome requests (amazing that we hear that some DJs don't do this!) and we never really know what our next 5 songs are going to be because we don't think that far in advance – we play to the crowd we have and make sure that people are enjoying themselves whether they are dancing or just listening – and NO cheesy announcements, they make us cringe!!!
We believe that sometimes, the DIY DJ has a place but for your once in a lifetime wedding reception? We are not so sure...
Could you choose a song to get this on your dancefloor?
Then of course there was Primo Parties and Primo Prints, With our newest item, the 4ft rustic LOVE letters. We have such a good time with many of the brides who came to see us - we are looking forward to lots of weddings at the Yenton and throughout Dorset in the next few months and years!
Finally, Primo Parties' very own Donna, entertained the visitors with her vocal entertainment - available to hire individually (www.sammiemusic.co.uk) and as part of a yet unnamed acoustic duo, Donna was one of the stars of the day!
With over 25 brides coming through the doors and bookings for many of our exhibitors - we don't think this will be the last Yenton wedding fair - and watch this space, as we might have another fair to announce in the coming weeks!
All photographs courtesy of Donna Samways - available to book for event style photography from Primo Parties
With almost a whole month gone of 2017, it is probably a little late to say Happy New Year but we are going to do it anyway!
January has been quite a month so far, the first outing for out Magic Photo Mirror, 3 events, 2 wedding fairs, masses of enquiries and bookings and the opportunity to chat to other wedding suppliers at a local get-together. We thought January was supposed to be quiet!
So I was driving along today and a song came on the radio, a song which I really shouldn’t know all the words too, I certainly shouldn’t be able to sing along to and I DEFINITELY shouldn’t be disappointed when it had finished. I realised it was clearly my ‘guilty pleasure’ song, the song which you love but never really want to admit to loving.
Now, what is worse about my situation is that hearing that song meant I had to go home, search through my CD collection (it isn’t an album which we have digital versions of!) and listen to the whole album, an album which is full of songs I seemingly knew the words to. So my guilty pleasure song has now become my guilty pleasure band….a whole new level!
Now before you ask, It’s not the worst guilty pleasure song in the world – in fact, a quick google search brings up a variety of playlists which are described as guilty pleasure. Bands such as One Direction, Spice Girls, Backstreet Boys feature regularly in these lists but my song and band doesn’t…not sure if this is a good thing or a bad one?!
Ok, so here goes, my guilty pleasure band is…..
Scouting for Girls
And the song which I found myself singing at the top of my voice is…..
Elvis Isn’t Dead
(worrying for me is that George, my 3 year old son, now sings, “I wish it was mmmmmeeeee you chose” which is a sign I obviously listened more than once!)
So, I’ve admitted it – I love Scouting for Girls, great pop music that makes me smile.
So, your turn…..what is your guilty pleasure band and song?
One of the best things we've ever done at a wedding was organise 'the shoe game' for the bride and groom. The game involves the bride and groom sitting back to back with one of each shoe on each hand. We read the questions below and they hold up the shoe of the person they think it is. Easy!
(Until they start disagreeing - then we have fun!)
And so today we have requested our tickets for the Dorset Wedding Supplier Awards 2016 and we are attending with a chance of actually winning one...
Last year we provided the entertainment for the event and spent most of the evening applauding the winners and thinking 'if only...' but this time, unbelievably, we will be sitting and hoping our name is called out.
The awards are fantastic, they celebrate those individuals who hand over their lives to their business. Weddings are 24/7, 365 days a year. There is no longer a distinct wedding season and we have bookings for weddings throughout the year. This means weddings take over the lives of the individuals representing their businesses but also their families.
Many of the businesses nominated, not just in the entertainment category, are sole traders or small companies who have to work long hours prior to and after the weddings. Although we are only visible for a few hours on a wedding day that is just the tip of the iceberg!
With most of our events happening at weekends it means that our family time is limited and so our families have to be very accommodating - time with our children is very precious and it is always hard to leave them when they are too young to understand why 'daddy' or 'Mummy' has to go. We have to call on partners, parents, brothers, sisters and friends to provide support when we need it, pre-wedding meetings, set-up evenings and wedding receptions all require co-ordination within our families
I guess what we are saying is these awards are as much for the families and friends of the businesses involved as they are for the individuals or staff involved. Primo Parties have amazing support from our partners, family and friends and we thank them for that.
We hope we can come home with an award to make all your efforts worthwhile!
With many years’ experience in wedding and event planning, we have acquired a substantial list of suppliers of other items which work alongside our own. We believe these suppliers provide a service which is of a quality we would expect. If you do contact them, please mention us as we’d like them to know we sent you (we don’t benefit in any other way!)
Wedding Dresses and Accessories
Isobels Bridal and Groom
www.isobelsbridalandgroom.co.uk 01202 721821
The shop which sold us our own wedding dress and accessories – need we say more? Lovely people, beautiful dresses and fantastic alteration service. Situated on Ashley Road in Parkstone, Poole, with plenty of parking outside too!
Venue Styling / Vintage decorations
Based in Cheltenham (but regularly and happily working throughout the South West), Daisy Says I Do is an event styling company specialising in bespoke vintage events. Not happy with just styling your venue they also sell a variety of handmade original items online to complement your big day (and even your hen party!)
After attending their first ever wedding (which happened to be their own!) we were blown away by the quality of their venue styling service - We love Daisy Says I Do!
We meet lots of photographers at our events but very rarely to we meet someone like Darren, a thoroughly nice bloke who clearly takes pride in not just every event, but every photograph. His website speaks for itself with so many amazing shots from all over Dorset.
We have been asked for first dance suggestions a few times in recent months so we've picked out just a small selection of songs we've played for our couples in the last few months.
Just the way you are - Boyce avenue
The One - Kodaline
Only you can love me this way - Keith Urban
Grow old with you - Tom Odell
Everything - Michael Buble
At last - by Beyonce
I don't want to miss a thing - Aerosmith
You got the love - Candi Staton
Latch - Sam Smith
Rollin - Limp Bizkit's (A very unusual choice!)
A thousand years – Christina Perry
Iris - Goo Goo Dolls
Best Friend - Queen
Amazed - Lonestar
Stand inside your love - Smashing Pumpkins
This Years Love - David Gray
Parachute - Train
Never going to be alone - Nickleback -
Endless Love - Lionel Richie ft Shania twain
Over and over again : Nathan Sykes
All of me - John legend
I wanna grow old with you – Westlife
So close – Enchanted
When a man loves a woman – Percy Sledge
Moonriver – Eddi Reader
Our own first dance was 'Love is Easy' by Mcfly. It's not a typical first dance song, and we've never played it since. However, it was hugely significant to our own relationship (It was the soundtrack to Adam's proposal) and the journey we had taken to that point. It isn't a slow dance song, and we had to do more than just move from side to side but it was OUR song.
Sometimes it is best to choose a song in which the lyrics are significant, sometimes it might just be a song which seems to have accompanied you throughout your relationship, sometimes its a completely random song which you just like!
You'll find a song which is perfect for you - you might just need a helping hand!