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How Much Do You Charge…?

How Much Do You Charge

How Much Do You Charge

How Much Do You Charge?
By Dude Walker

How Much Do You Charge? Perhaps the 5 most dangerous words you can ask any vendor as your initial question, especially entertainment. Date availability, areas of expertise and event length can play a significant role in determining the investment. 

How Much Do You Charge has become the question that traps many of those planning a wedding, and setting them up for buyer’s remorse after the hysteria around the wedding subsides. Planning your wedding today is fraught with seemingly endless options. You may find yourself long on want, but short on means. Finding qualified and experienced wedding vendors is very important and needs to be a priority when starting your wedding planning process. There are few areas of your reception that are as important as entertainment, being as music is absolutely vital to the overall success of your reception.

There are some very simple steps that you can take to help turn the wedding bell whoa and woes into WOW’s.

Step 1: Put yourself into the right frame of mind. When it comes to quality, it can’t be the best if it’s cheaper than the rest. No matter how long you polish a penny you can’t turn it into gold.

 

Step 2: Set two budgets.

Budget #1: The Ballpark Budget: Generally speaking around 30% of the bride and groom’s total annual income or around $100 per guest.

Budget #2: The Commitment Budget: Generally speaking your comfort zone. Pick an amount within reason, in reference to your ballpark budget, that you and your fiance can feel good about as you plan your special day. Don’t be scared, but be cautious about exceeding your commitment budget.

 
SAMPLE WEDDING BUDGET CHECKLIST HERE

Step 3: Get your priorities straight. Prioritize your wedding plans by importance. If a wedding dance is not a number one priority to you, go without and consider using that portion of your wedding budget elsewhere. However, if you recognize that entertainment is the lifeblood of your reception, consider prioritizing your budget to reflect your needs. Keep in mind that a hasty decision to hire an under-qualified low priced mobile DJ, in reality, ends up costing you more when they fail to connect with your guests and your guests end up wandering off or leaving early.

 

Step 4: Set up a separate account for your wedding. It will help you keep an eye on costs and assure you that you only use those funds for your wedding purchases.

 

Step 5: Choose your wedding date and reserve your church or reception site immediately. Wedding costs can vary greatly depending on the time of year they occur.

 

Step 6: Get control of your guest list. Build a guest list of family and friends that are closest to you and work your way out to your outer circle friends and co-workers who might not make the guest list cut if cutbacks need to be made. Keep a close eye on your commitment budget. Difficult as it may be, you may find it necessary to trim the guest list or go without to stay on budget. Sacrificing quality for quantity is one of the quickest ways to experience wedding buyer’s remorse.

 

Step 7: Choose wedding entertainment wisely. Make your entertainment selection based on experience and talent first, price second. Be wary of false testimonials and credentials. The wedding industry is filled with impostors that are long on promise and short on delivery. Don’t hire entertainment that is not fully insured and registered with the secretary of state. Insist on meeting in person to interview potential entertainment and require that you get everything in writing.

 

Step 8: Know what you want and why. Wedding vendors want your business, however, there are real costs involved in making your dreams come true. There’s nothing wrong with asking to scale back the services offered by the wedding vendor you want if those services don’t fit you or your wedding day. However, not asking guarantees you’ll make the wrong choice by focusing on price associated with things you don’t want or need.

 

Step 9: Avoid the iPod! There has been a recent trend among today’s couples to load an iPod with songs and let that be their wedding entertainment. One thing most of them forget until they are in the midst of a failing iPod reception (look on YouTube for examples of iPod wedding nightmares), is that the entertainer, not the equipment, can make or break your wedding reception. Qualified mobile DJs know that there is little margin for error when reading a room, crowd and dance floor. An iPod completely ignores the essence of drawing upon experience of knowing what to play and when to play it to keep your dance floor alive. If your reception is a back yard barbecue without any desires for dancing, then maybe an iPod would be for you. But, very few have looked back on the iPod route as a good decision for their reception.

 

Step 10: Avoid the friend, friend of a friend, college buddy, roommate, co-worker or relative that thinks they can DJ! Music is subjective, people are judgmental. Trying to save money this way can lead to hard feelings and resentments that can last years, if not a lifetime.

 

Investing a little bit of time and asking your potential vendors the right questions and basing your decisions on the things that truly matter will go a long way in assuring you that WOW wedding most couples dream of!

Dude Walker can be reached at :   dudewalker@dudewalker.org

4 Responses to “ How Much Do You Charge…? ”

  1. Hello Dude:

    I am a New at all of this. I usually charge the percentage of the wedding 10-15%. Your article makes a lot of sense though. But I find this to be much easier and the client responds better to me when I say that.

  2. Carla,

    Thank you for your kind words,

    There are many ways to approach weddings and vendor pricing.

    Clients that understand and associate value to your 10-15% fee deserve to have you provide services for them. It really all comes down to the costs of running a legit business and the salary necessary to make your talent possible.

    Over the past 2 decades I’ve witnessed an unwavering problem that seems to plague nearly all vendors within the Wedding Industry in some way. Too many non-business entities establishing their pricing by gathering the prices of their competitors and setting a lower price to entice business without regard to their actual costs.

    Tragically, many entities that have potential, never rise above being a hobbyist because of this.

    This short changes the client by creating an inferior end product or service.

    “What we obtain too cheaply, we esteem too lightly” – Thomas Paine

  3. Great article Dude. I could not have said it better. If wedding couples read and understand this, it will save them from a lot of grief.

    Joe Shane
    “All Digital” Mobile Music DJ’s

  4. Dude – I can completely relate to this article. I am a wedding planner. As a rule, “how much do you charge?” is too many times the first thing they ask. Some don’t even say “hello” or identify themselves. I steer the conversation towards their needs for their wedding. I need to know what they need in a wedding planner before I talk about pricing.

    As for the non-business entities entering the market, how right you are. While I can’t speak for the DJ or entertainment business, I can say that there are many people who help friends with their weddings, aspire to be a wedding planner and open for business. Very little if any research and/or education is done on their part.

    iPods are great devices, but NOT for a wedding. I have only had one couple decide to use an iPod in the five years I’ve been in business. The entertainer is most definitely the one who can make the party….A PARTY! Good article! May I use your bullet points with my bridal couples?

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