When you are dealing with a large company, such as Complete or Bandstand, they have a large number of DJs on their staff. You are hiring the company, but you are also hiring a specific person, so I would ask them who the specific DJ would be at your wedding, and ask to see that person at a reception, so that you can get a feel for that person’s style. A good DJ or a bad DJ can make or break your reception. So, just like your photographer and videographer, you would like to meet with your DJ, see them in action, and be sure that you are comfortable with that person.
Now, down to the question of CDs versus music from a computer. I personally prefer CDs. The sound quality is better, and it is a little bit more reliable technology. Music played off of a computer is usually MP3s, like on your iPod, wihc don’t have as good sound quality, but more importantly the technology is more likely to give the DJ problems. I just recently was at a wedding where the DJ was using the mini-jack plug on the side of the computer to output the music to the speakers, and the jack was failing, so the music cut in and out, and it was not really a good situation. There are better ways to get the musing out of the laptop as well, including a USB audio out, so if your DJ is planning to use a computer, I would then ask further questions about how they will get the music off of the computer, and if they have had any problems doing that at receptions in the past.
Another good DJ tip I have, just a little side tip, when you decide on your songs for your first dance sequence, whether it is your first dance, dance with your father, his mother, your bridal party, whatever sequence of dances you decide on, ask your DJ if he could burn those songs onto a single CD in the order you want them played. That may seem like a small detail, but I was at a wedding a few months ago where the DJ couldn’t find the CD for the father-daughter dance, and they stood and stood and stood in the middle of the dance floor, and the father of the bride finally said “just play anything”, and some of the magic and specialness of that moment was lost. Even though he found the CD and put it on, if he had had that one CD at his fingertips, the sequence would have gone much more smoothly. If he has to fumble for a CD at some other point in the reception, no one is really going to notice. Also, is he willing to be flexible? If he plays a couple of country tunes and everyone is dancing and having a great time, and he plays some rock and everyone sits down — you want to be sure he is flexible and he notices what your guests are enjoying and alters what he was planning to play based on your guests interaction.
You’ll also want to talk very specifically about things you do or do not want at your reception. You either love the “Chicken Dance” or you hate the “Chicken Dance”. I find very few people who are neutral on this topic! So, if you don’t want the Chicken Dance, or the Macarena, or the YMCA, or if you really really want the Chicken Dance, the Macarena, and the YMCA, you need to let your DJ know so that he can meet your expectations. Also address whether he is willing to take requests, or more to the point, whether you want him to take requests. If it is important to you that certain things not be played, you need to let him know no matter how many people request Achy Breaky Heart, that he is not to play Achy Breaky Heart, or whatever song it is that you really want to avoid at your reception.
The last option that some brides consider is doing the music at their reception themselves, using an iPod and speakers. Unless you are having a very small reception, that approach usually fails. Few people have good enough quality sound equipment to amplify the music to fill a reception hall. The sound quality from an iPod won’t be as good as it would be from CDs, and someone needs to man the iPod — be sure it is playing, that if it stops, it is restarted, to be sure there is electricity so your battery doesn’t die, and just to be on top of it. So, that would not be my first choice or recommendation as you plan your reception.
Overall, deciding on music and an MC to run your reception are some of the decisions that you need to make early in your reception planning.
For more helpful tips in planning your Omaha Wedding, go to OmahaWedding.TV.