One of the hardest things about planning a wedding is that the engaged couple and the people they want to hire often live in very different worlds. Good wedding vendors live and breathe weddings. They may work at 100 weddings or more every year! A typical bride and groom plan a wedding once (maybe twice) in a life time.
There are things that seem mysterious and complex to an engaged couple but seem totally obvious to the wedding pro and vice versa. Even an experienced wedding pro may assume the bride and groom have information that they don't have, and things get lost in translation. Eight out of ten times, when you read an article about a couple that is unhappy with their wedding vendor, you can trace the problem back to communication.
That's why there are so many articles with titles like "Ten Questions to Ask Your DJ." But, that's only half the story. About a month ago Bitchless Bride ran a "rant" from a photographer. The photographer was upset about a communication problem that could have been solved with one simple question to the bride and groom.
It made me think we should have articles from the other side. What are questions that wedding pros should make sure to ask their clients? We asked our members, and here are some of the answers that we got. Whether you're a bride, groom, or wedding pro, you can learn a lot from these questions.
Melissa Hyman (Accoustic Duo, North Carolina): Who will my point person (the person who lets me know about set up and any last minute changes) be? What are your plans for food and drink for the performers?
Susan Landers Kolb (Band Leader): Are all the events (ceremony, cocktail hour, reception) being held in one location? (Editor's Note: This is a perfect example of a question that you think would be obvious, but this performer had a bride neglect to tell her that the events she was hiring her for were in two different locations).
Joseph S. Testa, (Videographer, Ohio): We have a questionnaire we ask people to fill out. It includes questions like location, church rules about cameras, and important people to include in the video.
Cliff Pryor (Band, Mississippi)
1. What are the names of the guest(s) of honor?
2. Anything you want us to mention while we are on stage?
3. Here is our song list. Anything you do not want us to play and anything not here that you would like for us to perform?
4. Any special order you want these songs performed?
5. Here are photos of what we wear when performing. Is this OK or would you prefer something else?
6. Our drummer has full sleeve tattoos. Is this OK or does he/she need to cover up?
Dave Barton, Attraction Band (Virginia) : I send a questionnaire, some of the things you need to know include bridal party names for intros, contact names and info for the location and set up for electrical and stage as well as load in and load out. Do it ALL on one form to avoid multiple questions later, oh and do it early.
Kevin McHugh, All American DJ Service (Las Vegas & Wisconsin): We have learned to ask when the guests actually arrive, not just when they want us to start music. Many times clients try to save money by having the DJ play later. That doesn't work well, it's not a good idea to set up while guests are in the room. Some facilities will not even allow it. Oddly, this is an issue only in our Wisconsin office where receptions run all day, not our Las Vegas business where the events are much shorter.
Jim Gepperth, My Life Media DJ (Ohio): For us a good amount of time commitment and workload is about setting up equipment, the part few people see. So we always ask about the venue. Is the room on the ground floor? Will you need us to assist with the ceremony as well as the reception? If so, where will the ceremony take place (usually a different area). Can we pull our vehicle right up to the building or is there a lengthy walkway leading up to the facility? We don't typically offer a price quote without knowing the logistics of the set-up. We keep a database of all of the venues we've worked at in the past with such notes, so that when we get inquiries for those places we pretty much know how difficult (or easy) the set-up will be.
Tony Easterling, DJ
1. Do you have a planner or coordinator
2. Is the coordinator or planner a family member or friend?
3. If so, does he/she have experience?
4. Who will be in charge of the itinerary the bride, planner or dj?
James Boyte, Karoke DJ (Houston): Always find out if the event is ground level. If not, is elevator access available?
Are you planning a wedding? What general questions do you have for event pros? Let us know in the comments and we'll get them answered!
Are you a wedding professional? What questions are we missing? Let us know in the comments!