Why You Should Hire a Professional DJ

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Hey Guys!

I’m coming off of a season where I had some seriously AMAZING DJ’s at the weddings I shot, unfortunately I also had some shitty ones and even some weddings without DJs at all (because like, just make a playlist- right?) I just cringed typing that last sentence.

I understand that weddings are expensive. I’ve been married and I’ve been in the wedding industry enough years to say- I freaking get it, these things add up. BUT PLEASE, hear me out on why you should HIRE a PROFESSIONAL DJ and not just ask a family friend who can hit play on a playlist to help out with your day.

K, thanks.

1- A GOOD DAY IS SO MUCH MORE THAN JUST A DJ

One of the most important roles a good DJ will play in your day is acting as your MC for the evening. This is the BIGGEST thing I notice about weddings without a professional DJ. Your DJ will be the one to announce after ceremony, where guests should go. They will be the ones to invite guests to take their seats for dinner. They can signal to catering to pour champagne before toasts. They will help coordinate toasts and keep them on time (not to mention making sure guests can hear the toasts) They will let ME know when big events are about to happen so I don’t miss a moment. They will keep your dance floor filled and engaged. Some bring in lighting, some bring their own extra flair, fun games, etc. But the very least, they will be the point of contact for WHAT IS GOING ON for YOUR GUESTS so things run smooth.

DJ:  DeeJayDW

2- CONTRACTS AND RELIABILITY

Another thing about hiring a professional DJ over a friend is that they will have a contract in place and be reliable. This is hugely beneficial because it will keep you both accountable and make sure you’re on the same page. Most DJs will have some sort of back up plan written into their contract as well in the case that they are for any reason unable to attend. There is a always a back up plan, reliability, and professionalism.

DJ:  Sounds Unlimited  Seattle, MC Jamar

DJ: Sounds Unlimited Seattle, MC Jamar

3- EQUIPTMENT & EXPERIENCE

Professional DJ’s will bring the equipment (and BACK UP equipment) to make sure your day goes flawless and the dance floor is GOOD. The equipment is equally as important as the right songs. Does your friend have the sound system so all guests can hear? Or the right set up so when the music is loud it doesn’t have static? Or access to a microphone for toasts? Additionally, if there are problems- experience will ensure your DJ knows what to do next and how to fix it.

I’ve stood around completely empty dance floors waiting, and waiting (but mostly counting down the hours until I could leave- I do NOT want that to be your wedding) I’ve seen venue microphones not work at the ceremony location, thankfully the DJ had a wireless. I’ve watched guests awkwardly stand around the ceremony location unsure of what’s next. I once saw a DJ arrive WITHOUT speakers (like, WHAT?) because he had assumed he would have access to the venue’s sound system and didn’t call ahead to confirm. Things like this, shouldn’t happen.

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4- MOOD

Good DJ’s are really what set the tone and mood for your celebration. They are experiences with reading crowds, and know when to change a song or how to get your guests up and involved in the party. This is another huge thing I notice with inexperienced DJ’s. Even a good playlist will eventually have a dead dance floor. A good DJ will have tricks up their sleeve to pull people back onto the dance floor when things start to slow down. Once of my favorite DJ’s invites guests into a circle with the couple in the middle, he plays a very well known song and goes around the circle passing the microphone off for guests to sing to. This always gives me the BEST photos of guests laughing and singing and having fun. Another DJ coordinated an entire group photo for me. Some DJ’s do anniversary dances which are also a great way for me to get photos of even more people at your wedding dancing. There are so many fun things that experience can bring to this party that really help the DJ set the mood for one heck of a party.

DJ:  Integral DJ’s , outdoor ceremony

DJ: Integral DJ’s, outdoor ceremony

5- MULTIPLE LOCATIONS

Another thing that commonly happens at weddings is events take place in different locations of a venue. Because you’re going to want some kind of music at both your ceremony, and your cocktail hour, and your reception- you’re going to need the ability to play music at all of these locations. Good DJ’s can make that happen for you, they have the equipment and experience to be able to make this transition seamless for your guests.

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I do think there are events and parties where playing an iphone playlist or even asking a friend to come a mix some songs is a great option and awesome idea. BUT on a wedding day- a day where you’re probably already investing thousands of dollars on making such a perfect day, why risk it by hiring someone who is not a professional? Let’s make this party (and dancing photos) epic and smooth!







OUTDOOR CEREMONIES: Tips and Tricks

I LIVE FOR outdoor ceremonies. Give me all the natural light, fresh air, a gorgeous backdrop- I’m a happy girl. I had my own wedding outdoors! While they are GORGEOUS, there are also some external factors that are good to think about when setting up and planning your ceremony. We’re going to be dealing with the weather, the sun, the wind, the grass, natural elements like trees, the temperature, etc! A lot to consider, and honestly, a lot of it is out of out control but there are some things tips and tricks to help it work in our favor. For outdoor ceremonies, light is the most important thing to think about and there are some things to consider to set us up for success with these locations.

TIME OF DAY

The time of day your ceremony is happening with where it is happening is so important, and will literally be changing hour to hour throughout the day. We want to avoid harsh unflattering light and find the best time of day for that soft beautiful light. The harshest light is going to be at the middle of the day, when the sun is directly overhead (if you can help it, please don’t get married during this time outdoors!) That soft beautiful light I mentioned above is going to happen late afternoon as the sun is on its way down. For time of day, you also want to consider the HEAT in the summer months. If you are having an outdoor ceremony, planning a ceremony a little later in the day will be more enjoyable for both you and your guests sitting outside. If you are getting married later in the year, having an earlier ceremony is best because of where the sun will be located in the sky.

SUN BEHIND + ARBOR: The sun is directly behind them, PLUS their arbor linens + distant trees really helped tone down some of the suns bright rays for a nice evenly lit ceremony.

THE SUN (our friend and our enemy)

I LOVE a good sunny day as much as the next person, but I do NOT love it directly on my couples casting harsh shadows. While we want you to have an amazing and beautiful backdrop for your ceremony, we also want to plan it with the direction of the sun in mind. It doesn’t matter which direction the sun is going as long as we are working with nice even light. There are positives and negatives to every sun angle, so we do our best to make it work regardless:

  • If the sun is coming from the side, either left or right, keep in mind of of you will be looking into the sun and one of you will be in the shade.

  • If the sun is coming directly at you and is behind your guests, then you will be in full light and maybe squinting a little bit, maybe sweating, but the light will at least be even.

  • If the sun is coming behind you, and on the faces of your guests, the light will be even on you guys and will be in the eyes of your guests.

DIRECTIONAL SUN: You can see he is the sun shade, while she is facing the sun

SHADE OPTIONS: This giant structure provided nice even light and shade for their guests

You can see, the sun will always be on someone, but ideally if we can make it as even as possible- that would be ideal. Avoiding side lighting whenever possible. My favorite would be the sun behind you guys, if there is an altar or some trees I can filter the sun through that’s ideal!

TREES

It’s super dreamy to get married under some gorgeous trees, right!? Especially here in the PNW where big green trees are so much of our scenery! Generally, they are awesome for providing shade, but there are a few situations that make them hard to work with. As mentioned above, we want EVEN light. I HIGHLY recommend the week of your wedding, watching the sun AT your ceremony location (super cute wedding week date night!? grab a drink and go watch the sun, maybe jot down your vows, make an event of it!) But what we are looking for is where the shade and sun are going to be. Ideally, we want the bride and the groom and the wedding party to all be in nice even lighting. Even lighting under a tree is full shade, what can happen with trees is we can sometimes get spotty lighting where there are little tiny bits of light which are nearly impossible to adjust later on.

SPOTTY TREE LIGHTING

WEATHER BACK UPS

Knock on wood, but here in the PNW, it’s safe to have some weather back up options in mind for these outdoor ceremonies. If you have always dreamed of an outdoor ceremony, there is usually ways to make this still happen for you despite a little rain as long as we are proactive about this ahead of time. If your day is looking like light rain, why not look into renting some cute umbrellas for your wedding party and guests? Bella’s Umbrellas in Seattle can rent out a bunch of umbrellas to keep everyone dry. Or there are lots of options for clear tents to cover your ceremony spot, but you will want to reach out to the companies at LEAST 2 weeks in advance to make sure this is an option.

RAINY DAY UMBRELLAS

YOUR GUESTS

One thing that always helps an outdoor ceremony is a welcome table for your guests. Below you can see they included some fold out fans, tissues, programs and there was a galvanized tub with beverages in it. Offering guests a little bit of hospitality upon arrival goes a long way! If it’s going to be hot, offering fans and water. Or if it’s going to be cold, some blankets or hot cocoa! Additionally, making sure your guests have plenty of seats is important. Ceremony photos can look funny with guests standing in the back (it can also impede on my camera’s view) simply asking all guests to take their seats prior to beginning the ceremony can help out with this. On the opposite side of the spectrum, having a bunch of empty seats can be noticeable in photos, asking a coordinator to clear the empty rows prior to beginning can be helpful.

CEREMONY CHECK IN- with fans, programs, tissues and refreshments