Speakers? Check. Microphone? Check. Lighting? Check. Sounds like all Wedding DJ's are created equal, doesn't it? There's actually a lot more to being a great Wedding DJ than just music. Here are a few questions you should be asking when comparing DJ's:
1. How do you keep my event organized? There are a lot of details that need to take place for your reception to run smoothly. A DJ should serve as a Master of Ceremonies and needs to be familiar with everything you have planned prior to the event. We offer online planning forms to guide you through providing us with all the information we need to create the agenda for your reception. As well, we will work as a communicator between you, your venue, and your other vendors as each event unfolds.
2. How will introductions be made? Is there a wireless microphone for toasts? In addition to announcing in the wedding party (aka "The Grand Entry"), a professional DJ should be prepared to introduce anyone else that will be speaking or giving toasts at your reception. They should provide a well working microphone with which to make speeches so that everyone in the room can hear what is being said. We not only provide a wireless microphone, our DJ console has it's own separate microphone so that your DJ can remain at the console to make introductions and then operate the volume of the speaker's microphone. Furthermore, our wireless microphone system is kept up to date and in good working order.
3. When will the dancing start? Some DJ companies rely on you to tell them during the event when each portion of the reception will take place. Although this sounds nice, it is a lot to expect from you on the day of your wedding. If you get distracted talking to guests, you may not realize how much time is passing and before you know it, there's only an hour left for an open dance floor! Keeping events moving along is our #1 priority. We know your guests want to be entertained and a wedding is the perfect opportunity for them to dance. Even if it's just one slow dance with their sweetheart, they'll appreciate the effort to avoid long gaps during your reception.
4. What kind of music do you play? The answer here should be simple. ALL KINDS. While a DJ at a club will often have a specific style of music depending on the club, a wedding DJ must be flexible and play a wide variety of music. Weddings inherently have guests of all ages, with all types of taste in music. In addition to playing your requests, we will aim to play music that appeals to your friends and family. No two receptions are alike and no music is pre-planned. Instead, we play each song according to the response of the crowd. We pay special attention to the placement of songs so we can "break the ice" on the dance floor and give everyone a reason to get out of their seat. This means you will have a great party that your guests will remember for years to come!
5. What does your set-up LOOK like? This could be one of the least asked questions, and yet, should be one of the first. You will be spending months planning every detail of your wedding and much of that will be on how everything looks. At the reception you will choose tablecovers, centerpieces, lighting, seating chart, etc. How the DJ looks in the room should also be important. Our console is custom built; everything is black to make it fade into the background, rather than draw attention to itself. Best of all we believe in cord management! You will not see stringing or dangling cords on our system. We do not require a table, but a couple of chairs are appreciated. Our light bar houses multiple lighting effects and makes a big impression on the dance floor.
6. How often do you update your music? A DJ should carry regulary updated music, period. If they can't provide a solid timeline for how often they update, it could mean they aren't on a schedule of keeping their song library fresh. We automatically update our music monthly, and equally as important, all our music is profanity-free.
7. How are your DJ's hired and trained? Some DJ companies are able to book an unlimited number of weddings on any given date. Other companies are "single-operator", meaning whomever you speak to is your DJ. We are a very small company, hiring and training one DJ at a time, and always sending an owner with new DJ's until they have enough experience to handle a wedding with the same confidence and ease as we do. At no time do we outsource our personnel.
8. What is the Backup Plan? When you book with a "boutique" vendor (meaning a small business) it's a good idea to ask what their backup plan is in case of an emergency with personnel or equipment. Our company retains several backup DJ's who are on standby in case of any personnel emergency. We carry backup equipment at every gig. Although no back up plan is fool-proof, we are confident that we've taken steps to prevent unforseen circumstances from interfering with your booking.
Price is price, right? Well, maybe not so much. Videography package details vary widely from vendor to vendor. Here are a few questions you will want to ask to make sure you are making a fair comparison:
1. How will I receive my video? It may sound like a good deal to receive your final product digitally either via the internet or even on a USB drive, but what about those family members who aren't tech savvy? A DVD/Blu-Ray disc for your parents or grandparents is always appreciated. We provide you with 3 copies on DVD and 1 Blu-Ray as well as sharing your highlight clip online.
2. What will my final video actually contain? A lot of companies will offer competitive pricing, but the end product will be a highlight clip only. Although we love highlights, we believe that for the money you are spending, you deserve your entire ceremony as well. And remember, not all "entire ceremonies" are created equal, either. A single camera in the back and just one close up during the vows is all that is sometimes done to film the "entire ceremony". Ask to see samples to verify what you'll be recieving. You can see our samples here: Your Ceremony it It's Entirety. In addition, you will also receive a long version of your Reception so you can view your toasts, cake cutting, specialty dances, etc. as they occurred.
3. What will my video sound like? Music overlay is perfect for highlight clips, but what about hearing your vows, your readings at your ceremony, your toasts, and your songs during the reception? These moments should be recorded separately (not relying on camera audio) to make the best final presentation. We record your vows with a lapel mic on both the Groom and the Officiant, as well as a separate sound recorder at the ceremony and reception.
4. When will the filming begin and end? What is left out and why? Your schedule for the day can be long, especially when you want your video to tell the entire story. Clarify when your videographer(s) will start and end shooting. It's also a good idea to ask them if you've scheduled enough time for them to obtain the footage they need. We typically start filming an hour before the Bride is scheduled to put on her dress, and we stay at the reception until we have captured most your friends and family on the dance floor. Anything we don't shoot is because we are experienced in getting all the footage necessary to tell your story in a creative way. Our streamlined approach keeps our package affordable. As a courtesy to your photographer, we do not shoot over their shoulder at all of your posed photos, but instead capture several scenes at at least one of your photography locations.
5. What is your video style/approach? Some videography companies aim to have you star in your own cinematic masterpiece. Even if you can afford the extra cost of this style of production, keep in mind you will be devoting more of your day to working with your videographer than anything else including photography and time with your guests. Our approach is what we call creative documentary. We work around your schedule (and your photographer's plan) to capture everything in the moment, only asking for a little of your time for custom shots.
6. When Will My Video be Ready? It seems obvious to assume that you will receive your video in a reasonable amount of time. Maybe that's why most people never think to ask it until after the wedding. Don't risk celebrating an anniversary before you get to see your video, ask the timeline for completion. We deliver your video no more than 6 weeks after your wedding, and in most cases within 30 days, with your highlight clip being made available as soon as possible.
7. What's Your Backup Plan? Technical equipment is never fail-safe. Having multiple sources for both video and audio is the only way to guard against loss of precious footage taken on your special day. Our package includes redundant sources of both (meaning multiple cameras and multiple audio recordings).
If you've been pricing wedding videography services in the St. Louis area you may have found a wide range of prices and packages. I want you to know that our package is very comprehensive and one of the things we offer is your full ceremony with the live audio. We shoot with multiple cameras that are recording the entire length and then we edit the footage together (often to remove a passing photographer or a need to move a camera) with the separately recorded audio to produce a final version that shows everything that took place from the best possible angle that we could achieve without being obtrusive. That last sentence is a lot to take in, so let me explain one last detail to help you understand why we think you'll be pleased with our appraoch to wedding videography. We do our very best to capture great footage without being an intrusion into your day. Yes, there will be cameras on tripods, but only one will be at the front and at an appropriate point in the ceremony, that camera will move one time. Occasionally we may need to make one addtional move, but we strive to plan ahead well enough that we are not a distraction to your guests by constantly moving throughout your ceremony. This is pleasing news to both our clients as well as many officiants who want the ceremony itself to remain respected by those participating. Below you'll see a few ceremonies we've captured. EVERY CLIENT RECEIVES THEIR ENTIRE CEREMONY, even though all of them don't get uploaded online. If you'd like to see an entire ceremony from one of the highlight clips you've seen on our blog, or from one of the location categories, just ask!
Services provided by Applause Productions: Videography
Location(s): St. John the Apostle, Meadowbrook Country Club
Services provided by Applause Productions: DJ, Videography, Ceremony Sound
Location: Old Barn Inn, The Inns at St. Albans
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