We wanted to extend a huge thanks to everyone that voted to help get us to the top spot in AZ Foothills Magazine’s Best of Our Valley awards for being the best Wedding Music Entertainment. See the full article here at azfoothills.com and click on the weddings tab. Congratulations to all of the other winners as well!
Does it matter what DJ I choose for my wedding?
Tucson Wedding DJ Selection
If you are searching for a Tucson wedding DJ you may not know where to start considering all of the options. The truth is that the DJ you choose will absolutely have an impact on your big day. Sure the dance floor is one of the affected areas but there are also others that are just as important.
Consider key moments of the day, what you are looking forward to most, and ask the DJ how they will handle each of those moments. What will the transition onto and out of your first dance look like for example.
Ask your DJ what else they do for a living, or are they a full time professional. Ask for a list of where they work frequently and ask other vendors what they are like to work with.
All of these little things have an impact on the big picture. Make sure you are comfortable and confident that the professional you hire will create the feel you are seeking.
Top 10 things to do if you #justsaidyes
Maybe you just popped the question, maybe you just answered it, or maybe you feel like this situation is right around the corner. What to do next? Not to worry, we are here to help.
- Share the news! This is a huge moment in your life and your closest friends and family members will love to hear it. Don’t forget to post that ring pic on your socials, and getting it insured isn’t a bad idea either.
- Decide on the type of celebration you want, and set a realistic timeframe. The more of a grand celebration you want, the longer it takes to put together. Are you booking the likes of Waldorf Astoria, The Ritz Carlton, or maybe your local reception hall or somewhere in-between? Be realistic but don’t be afraid to splurge if you can.
- Choose a date, wisely! The Saturdays (with Fridays and Sundays in a close second place) during the months with the most bearable weather in your region will be in the highest demand. If you are willing to get married on an off peak day, or time of year, you could possible save money on your venue.
- Do your homework. Research vendors and know what’s important to you. Do you want a photographer that is gong to direct and pose you in various ways, or capture more candid moments, maybe something inbetween? Does your venue allow you access early enough to get ready on time, or will you need to get ready off site. Does your DJ have a good reputation? Ask for a sample mix or audition. Ask how they conduct a grand entrance, first dance, toasts etc. Read reviews!
- Secure your highest priority vendors. Most vendors require a deposit and contract (if they don’t, buyer beware) to secure their services and offer flexible payment options between booking and the day of your event. Don’t be afraid to ask. Is your photographer or DJ a full time pro, or do they do this for supplemental income? If their livelihood is on the line, they will most likely be more dedicated to taking great care of you.
- Figure out who will help support you emotionally and financially on this journey.
- Take some time to enjoy being engaged.
- Choose your wedding party and guest count and make sure that your venue can accommodate this. Tip: on average, about 80 – 85% of your confirmed RSVP’s will actually show.
- Build a wedding website, and create a new email address for this occasion. Email address examples could be “email@example.com” , you get it. On line resources like The Knot and Wedding Wire are great for features like website creation and vendor selection.
- Search Instagram and pintrest for inspiration. Find decor and theme ideas that you love so that you have examples to show your planner, florist etc.
We hope this helps, and don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have. Enjoy!
Why Pay a Premium for DJ Services?
Depending on the type of event you are having, you may find yourself wondering if it’s worth it to spend the extra money on a premium DJ service. What’s the difference? I am here to help clear the air.
Let’s face it, the chances of any DJ actually ruining your wedding day are super duper low. Think about it, you’re most likely going to be spending the day with your favorite person in the world, looking your best, surrounded by your closest friends and family members and having a blast. If a DJ mispronounces a name, plays the wrong song, while unfortunate, will most likely be overshadowed in your memory years down the road by all of the positive highlights from the day.
So, is it the gear? Will high end speakers and lights make that big of a difference? Obviously you want your DJ to have reliable equipment so maybe this could account for a small percentage of the difference.
The truth is that the real difference lies in the how and not the what. Let me explain . . . if you were to write the things down that a low cost and a premium Tucson wedding DJ were to do on your wedding day, the list would be very similar. They are both going to show up (hopefully) early, be ready on time at the very latest, play the songs you’ve chosen, make the necessary announcements and keep the dancefloor alive. There is however, a HUGE DIFFERENCE between a DJ that makes announcements, and a true Master of Ceremonies. An actual professional has training, practices, rehearses etc. while the other guy probably does this in his/her spare time. Just like the difference between a professional and amateur in any other field. This makes all of the difference in the world. Look at it like this, if hired 2 people to precisely throw a football and 1 of those people is your next door neighbor and the other is Patrick Mahomes, you can be certain that the results would certainly be different even though they are “doing the same thing”.
Now the ball is in your court. Does your day matter enough to you to make sure you hire a true professional, or will average be good enough? Only you can decide but just remember there are no do-overs. Contact us to help you make the right decision for your Tucson wedding DJ service needs.
How Much Should I Pay My Wedding DJ?
One of the first things newly engaged couples consider is how to allocate their wedding budget. We can’t tell you what your budget is but we can help clear the air about what your wedding “DJ” could and should be doing for you. Once you decide what you want out of the DJ, you’ll have an idea as to what a fair rate is.
Your DJ will probably wear many hats, and the one that impacts your wedding day experience more than any other is that of the Master of Ceremonies, or MC (if your DJ claims to be an “emcee”, run). Your Master of Ceremonies is responsible for planning and executing each transition from one part of your reception to the next. If you fail to plan, you might as well plan to fail. It isn’t just making announcements that is so important. Timing, inflection, cadence, staging, all play a role in the outcome of each structured part of the day and these transitions should be thought out with a clear goal in mind. This sort of planning takes time. In fact, did you know that we spend an average of 50 – 80 hours planning each of our events?
So here is the breakdown; although there are many different styles of DJ out there, for a Wedding (or Mitzvah, Sweet 16 etc.) you can break it up into 2 categories:
The first is just the music guy. and is most likely a hobbiest, or someone that has another source of income as their main source You expect him to show upon time, be set up and ready to go no later than the event start time, play the songs you requested, and don’t mess it up. This DJ has a bit of behind the scenes work to do like loading up their gear according to what you have hired them to bring, travel etc. but for the most part, aside from a few messages back and forth about the music, the work they do for you is all done on the day of and mostly revolves around playing music with an occasional announcement here or there. He or she will also probably be bringing several thousands of dollars worth of equipment with them and is most likely the first person to show up at the venue and the last to leave. If looking to hire this sort of DJ, the ever popular “what do you charge per hour” question is close to fair, as long as you keep in mind that they have at least a few hours of work to do before and after your event. This fee should account for the skilled service they provide and wear and tear on their vehicle and gear. $500 – $800 is usually a fair middle ground for this sort of DJ as long as they are professional and punctual. It is honestly hard to find equipment rentals for much less than that.
The second type is the one who will function as a true Master of Ceremonies. This is the guy that asks you for tons of information so they can craft your celebration around you. They spend time exchanging ideas with you, learning your preferences and priorities and helping you with the things you didn’t even think of because it isn’t your job to know what you don’t know. This is probably their only, or main source of income and it will show in how responsive and knowledgeable they are. They also have most likely attended training specific to the various hats they will wear for you that include structuring your event, lighting design, public speaking, and many others. They have tens and thousands of dollars invested in equipment, backup equipment, and knowledge. This person will invest a ton of time and energy both physically and mentally into the success of your event. This persons fee should be in the neighborhood of a week or two’s pay at a fair rate for a professionally trained and skilled position, a fair rate for the full day they are devoting to your event, plus wear and tear on the tens of thousands of dollars in gear they bring along equal to roughly 5% – 10% of the value of their equipment. This adds up fast but can be a very rewarding investment for the client. Expect to see a starting fee in the neighborhood of $1,500 – $2,000 for this scope of services,
Secret things you had no idea your wedding DJ should be doing
Is your wedding DJ just a DJ?.
Many years ago the wedding DJ was nothing more than a source for music when people couldn’t afford a live band. Oh how times have changed.
Keeps your reception flowing seamlessly
While your wedding planner or venue event manager may help you nail down initial details and a general day-of timeline, it is your Master of Ceremonies that coordinates all of the finer details such as what events will happen, in what order, and how each piece will be set up and transitions between such. Think of a wedding planner as a producer of a film . . . they help choose the location, the talent, the caterer and so on. Your Master of Ceremonies is like the Director. They are the ones in charge once it’s time for lights, camera, action.
Not all wedding DJ’s are created equally
Chances are you know who Kobe Bryant is. While most people can toss a basketball at a hoop, not many can do it like him. So just because two people can do “the same thing” doesn’t mean that they get the same results. Agreed? How things are done matter just as much as what is being done. Is your wedding DJ a true professional Master of Ceremonies?
Puts wear and tear on thousands and thousands of dollars worth of their own equipment for your special day
I will leave out my opinions on this brand .vs that brand but regardless of the equipment your DJ brings, if it’s professional grade then chances are that they are bringing over $10k worth of hardware to your event.
Your DJ is usually the first one to show up and the last one to leave
All that gear we just talked about needs to be carefully transported, loaded in, set up and tested before your event gets under way which usually takes hours. Then after the last song is played and your guests are on their way home thinking about what a great time they just had, your DJ is taking everything down, gently packing it all away, and transporting it back home, By the time your DJ leaves the venue chances are that your wedding planner, photographer, cake maker, florist etc. have all been sound asleep for some time.
Meticulously plans the finer details of your day
There is no such thing as being over prepared, and a true professional will spend hours and hours experimenting with different ideas, playing out would be scenarios, communicating with you and your other vendors so that your event is tailored just right for you, your new spouse, and all of your closest friends and family. I average between 40 and 60 hours of planning and preparing for each wedding I perform at.
Covers up mistakes
Often without anyone noticing at all. If your caterer or kitchen is running late with the food, your DJ can switch up the music somewhat or even introduce a fun game or activity if your guests are becoming antsy or hangry. Nobody else can cover that up for you. Missing bouquets for the toss, cutlery for cake cutting, father of the bride going MIA right before the father daughter dance? All of those scenarios happen and could cause your event to spiral downward quickly but a good DJ/MC will be able to remedy those situations without skipping a beat.
Oh yeah, dancing
A wedding reception is often full of people spanning multiple generations, cultures and ethnic backgrounds. This is NOT the ideal environment for a DJ. When we go to our favorite night clubs, we know what kind of music we are getting and those in attendance all have an interest in that type of music, so keeping a dance floor packed with 500 people in a night club is pretty easy. Try playing for a group of only about 50 people spanning from their early 20’s to their late 70’s in age. Keeping everyone entertained, engaged and excited takes real talent and skill.
These are just a few of the things that I have picked up along my journey. Thank’s for reading!
While we still take great pride and joy in being a leading Tucson wedding and quinceañera DJ and lighting services provider, schools have quietly become a large part of our client base. Our approach to schools is unique, and this is why we are the number one option for Homecoming, Formal, and Prom DJ music and lighting services. For one, we are still “small”. Not in terms of the level of fun and excitement we can bring, but small in the sense that the person coming to your meetings and communicating with you is the same person that shows up to rock the party for you on the day of your event so you never have to worry about your DJ not being aware of your playlist, or knowing who’s who etc. Another reason is that our DJ has a clean background and can show proof upon request. Combine all of that with a working knowledge of school finance and business procedures and flexibility and eagerness to please both the administration and student body; and you get a company that is ready willing and able to put on a safe fun and friendly show!
We have done school dances with as few as 30 students and others with as many as 1,000 students. We keep up with the latest trends in music, but keep those throwback bangers in our library to drop at just the right time! If you would like to know more about how we can help your school have the most fun and exciting homecoming, formal and prom it’s ever had, contact us at (520) 668-6600 or find us on social media @thomasdeanthedj
A Party We Will Never Forget
Very recently we were contacted by a family that had some unique circumstances going on in their life, and their daughters 15th birthday party was only a few months away. Once we learned the particulars of the situation, we knew exactly what needed to be done; any and everything we could to make this lovely young lady’s Quinceanera a very special one. After all, our love for people is the reason we do what we do.
We provided music mixed live by Thomas Dean the DJ, MC, lighting, custom image projection, special effects and photography for this event and it all took place at the Double Tree in Tucson by Reid Park.
This Quinceanera was very unique and while it didn’t follow every tradition in the book, it was extremely special. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house when mother and daughter shared their special dance together, and the guests were in awe when the birthday girl and her dad danced together on a cloud. This event is definitely one of our favorites. See our facebook and instagram for more pictures. Have a question? Let us know!
Pulling Out all the Stops
Recently we did a Quinceanera at Quail Creek Country Club in Green Valley, AZ and this time around we came through with a full array of services to throw an amazing party for some amazing people. The theme was under the sea and the colors were teal and ivory.
This time around we did teal uplighting around the room perimeter, a custom designed teal name gobo with the Quinceanera’s name below a tiara, and shells around the design to help it suit the under the sea theme. We also provided special effects for one of the “wow” moments of the night during a father/daughter dance on a cloud. Also features id our premium dance floor light setup complete with aluminum trussing, spectacular high end light fixtures controlled in real time via lighting software, lasers, blacklights and a spectacular mirror ball. We didn’t stop there as our photographer created a custom backdrop complete with props and lighting for guests to enjoy throughout the event. To cap it all off, we made sure all of the tunes came through crystal clear and powerful via our high end QSC audio system complete with monitors, tower speakers and subwoofers. The family was kind enough to leave us a review also. See it here, or on our facebook page.
We were pretty busy having a great time but we managed to squeeze in a few photos during the event. Enjoy!
Private event blog
This past weekend the crew and I had the chance to provide music and lighting services for a lovely young lady celebrating her 14th birthday at a beautiful home in Chandler, AZ. This party was full of good music, dancing, singing along, and much more. Destination events are so much fun in general since we get to go places we probably wouldn’t have gone otherwise, and meet some really awesome people. This event was no exception. Our set up was in full effect once it was time to turn up! The QSC sound system sounded amazing, and the lighting was spectacular (if I do say so myself). Take a look!