Before every wedding we’re part of, we like to do a site visit and ask questions of the owner or manager.  We find this interaction ahead of time allows for a much smoother day-of interaction between everyone because there is a familiarity and everyone can move where they need to, when they need to.

Wedding Wire recently posted “8 Questions Every Couple Forgets to Ask Wedding Venues”.  What was interesting in this story was how much of this applies to DJs as well as the couples who are booking the venue.

Wedding Wire: 8 Questions Every Couple Forgets to Ask Wedding Venues

We ask some of these same questions of couples when planning, such as:

  • Can I see a list of your rules and regulations?  This is the first question I ask of a venue when talking to them.  I’m a guest in their venue, don’t want to break any rules, and want to respect the owner or manager’s wishes when it comes to caring for the venue.
  • What’s your Plan B in case of inclement weather?  This last year, we had one wedding moved inside when it rained during the ceremony, and two others that were still in limbo up to the moment the bride walked down the aisle.  Knowing this ahead of time made transitions easier for everyone involved.  The guests knew where to go, the band, and the DJ also knew where to go and how to plan ahead to get inside before the guests.
  • How big will the dance floor be?  Yes, we like to know if there’s going to be a big dance floor or small.  At some facilities, the dance floor is wherever people want to dance and tables are placed outside of a designated dancing area.  Guests enjoy dancing if there is room, but will find space if needed.  They’d rather not do that.
  • Are you climate controlled?  Oh, this is a big one.  Nothing like sweating in the summer, but at a recent wedding in a barn, this was important.  It was about 40 degrees outside with a slight breeze.  I could put my hand between the slats in the wall and it was outside.  A beautiful setting for a wedding and I’d go back there in a heartbeat, and they had the proper climate control system to take care of the situation without being intrusive to the guests.
  • Where’s the parking?  For vendors this is important.  There have been times we could park within a few feet of where we are playing, and others that we have to walk across a large parking lot, up a hill, around a corner and into the basement before being able to get up to our location.  It’s also important to make sure your guests aren’t going to have a long way to walk after the ceremony, and if so, is it lighted.
  • How much time will my vendor team and I have to set up and clean up from my wedding?  So important to ask because we’ve been to some facilities that gave us 45 minutes to set up everything.  DJ booth, uplights, gobo, cake lights, and dance lights.  Just 45 minutes.  It wasn’t easy and we had to call someone to come in and assist.  This is extremely important for all to know because some like to arrive earlier to have an easier set-up in case something happens.

The questions they bring up that are good to see:

  • Can I see the restrooms?  Yes, make sure they’re in good shape and they have plenty of facilities to handle the group you’re inviting.
  • How accessible are you to guests with special needs?  You may not have a grandmother in a wheelchair coming, but that best friend who twisted his ankle playing football last week that turned into a knee ailment has left him on crutches.

The questions we ask couples to bring up:

  • Are there stairs, and if so, an elevator to move equipment to and from the room?  You’d be surprised how many think two or three stairs is not a problem.  It can be when you roll everything in and the stairs are nowhere near where you unload the vehicle.  It also helps to coordinate with other vendors so they don’t monopolize the elevator.
  • Are there any noise ordinances in effect?  While this can fall under rules and regulations, it’s important to ask this straight forward.  Some hotels don’t tell you they decided to book the rooms above the ballroom to guests needing to get up at 5 a.m. instead of guests of the wedding party, or the bride and groom’s room!
  • Will security be present and accessible?  A lot of larger hotels require DJs, vendors and even the couples bringing items into their facility to pass through security.  I once spent 45 minutes trying to locate a security officer to take me through the security doors so I could set-up.  In the rules & regulations that were sent, it said arrival was no earlier than 5 p.m., however the hotel let their security detail leave at 4 p.m.
  • Will the venue allow you to go over your set time?  Sometimes the party is going strong and you don’t want to stop.  Most venues will work with you and have an overtime rate set for you because they have to pay their staff.  For DJs, it helps to know when to wrap up the party.  I don’t want to play the big song and have the grand exit ready to go if the couple are planning another hour.  If OT is possible, we usually check on it about an hour out and again 30 minutes before the scheduled end of the reception.
  • Are you double-booking my room with another event earlier in the day?  This is very important.  Some venues will double and triple book rooms which makes changeover difficult for those who are not accustomed.  And you also never know what you’ll find at the end of the day, like the broken glass pieces under your foot that gets stuck in your shoe and then you slip on the dance floor.  It’s happened more than once.  Plus, if you have the room longer, this gives you or your planner the time to set-up and break down.

Wedding DJ, Sports DJ, P. A. Announcing, Mitzvah DJ, Emcee, Host, Corporate DJ. I get to help people have a great time!