Posts in the 'wedding vendor' Category

Real Bride Peach: So You Decided on a DJ … Here’s How to Pick One.

Lethal Rhythms, Atlanta DJ

Lethal Rhythms, Atlanta DJ

Hey everyone! I may be a Mrs. now, but that doesn’t mean I can’t look back and help guide y’all on your bride-to-be journeys. And one major component of any wedding is … the music!

When Jersey and I began looking for an Atlanta DJ, we were a bit befuddled at first: A) there are SO MANY; B) each one comes with a price tag that may or may not have you quivering in your garter. Because, whoa, the price tags can be steep. So what I’d like to do is break down what we did and the end result.

Bottom line: Our chosen DJ was the amazing Atlanta-based Lethal Rhythms. 

LR2

How did we find them? Brides and Grooms out there, do your research. Go to trusted wedding websites that offer reviews and rankings for your area. Read the testimonials and take them to heart. If you find one that has both a great ranking AND glowing reviews, chances are you’ve got a winner. We reached out to Lethal Rhythms and were nothing but pleased with their interactions with us and willingness to be flexible with our needs.

What do you do once you’ve picked them? MEET with them, in person if at all possible. You need to know that your DJ is a good fit, personality-wise and that they are willing to listen to your desires and stick with them! Our DJ hailed from Jersey, so hello! we knew it would be a great fit for our musical style – Fun-Pop-Dance-meets-Latin-hip-hop. Why be normal?  But we were also impressed that their CEO, Joel Rabe, attended the first meeting as well. It showed true investment in us and it went a long way to making us feel good about our choice.

Why are DJs so expensive? As we planned our wedding, it became very clear that DJs have their work cut out for them! Think about it. All the equipment: speakers, sound boards, lighting, cables, microphones. That’s a lot. Not to mention talent – DJing is an art form and a DJ worth their weight will know exactly how to play to the crowd and keep the party rocking. Not only with the music, but the emcee duties! They must know how to guide the crowd every step of the way and make sure there are no awkward pauses or confusion about what’s going on. Our DJ, Robb Batts, did an amazing job across the board in keeping the party flowing smoothly.  Lastly, if you want music in your ceremony and it’s at the same location, the DJ has to do double-duty! Extra speakers, wireless mics for the officiant, logistics if the ceremony is in a different location than the reception and more songs to handle. I give them mad respect and it makes sense that DJs/music are often one of the biggest costs in a wedding.

Can you negotiate price? Hi. We wouldn’t be Broke-Ass Brides if we didn’t at least try! If Jersey and I learned anything while planning a wedding, it’s that YES, everything is negotiable. Even if you don’t score a big markdown, you may wind up getting extra bells and whistles added to the existing price for free. Or, another option is to ask for a percentage discount for paying in full, up front. The bottom line is that any great business person will know that the happier you are, the better for them. And these guys were no exception. We were able to get additional uplighting and a very respectable overall price, just by asking the questions. As a result, we were very, very happy with the outcome. It’s a win-win!

How do you pick your songs? Sit down with your soon-to-be-spouse and make a list of must-haves and must-NOT-haves. Think about all the pieces of the day: pre-ceremony, ceremony, cocktail hour, dinner, reception, exit music … it’s a lot, but just tackle it one at a time. We also included on our RSVP cards a line that said, “I’m most likely to dance if you play ________.” That resulted in some hilarious entries (like “Baby Got Back”), but also songs we’d missed!  As for relaying your choices to the DJ? Most likely your DJ has their own database or listing of the songs they can provide. Lethal Rhythms has a HUGE database of songs to choose from and it provided about 98% of the songs we wanted. And for those we couldn’t find in their database, all we had to do was upload them to Dropbox and share the folder with them. Easy-peasy.

So how did our big day go? Couldn’t be happier. They arrived exactly on time and everything went off without a hitch! We received tons of compliments from our guests about the music execution. Everything flowed, the songs that we chose for the ceremony and reception were great and fit our style. And at the reception, if there were requests, DJ Robb accommodated them. Don’t tell anyone, but I did The Wobble at my own wedding. Hey, if the crowd wants it, a bride’s gotta do what a bride’s gotta do!  Our DJ Robb and Lethal Rhythms knocked it out of the wedding park. If you’re in the Atlanta area and are looking for a rockin’ DJ, my highest recommendation goes to Lethal Rhythms.

LR1

 

Lethal Rhythms, Atlanta DJ

What tips would YOU offer in picking a DJ? Do tell.

Till next time,

 

 

{Real Bride: Carrie} All The Pretty Pictures…(Or, Why I Opted To Hire A Pro Wedding Photographer)

Editor’s Note: Today, Carrie is dishing about the wedding photographer that made her change her mind about hiring a pro. I just wanted to take this opportunity to shout this from the rooftops – a professional wedding photographer is ALWAYS worth the splurge. (You’ll notice I said a “professional” wedding photographer. While hiring a newbie or handing the task over your cousin Buzz might save you a buttload of money, we can’t pretend there aren’t risks involved.)

At first we weren’t going to have a photographer.  We were convinced we couldn’t afford one and didn’t need one.  Some of our friends have dSLRs and we were hoping they would help us out. DIY photography all the way!

But then I got sucked into the world of wedding blogs and Pinterest.  I started feeling jealous of these couples I didn’t even know for their gorgeous photos!  My BFF strongly advised me that I would definitely regret not having a photographer.  I started feeling bad about the idea of asking our friends to don cameras on our big day.  Thus I secretly started looking around the web, “just to see what’s out there.”  “You don’t need a photographer!” the logical, thrifty side of my brain told me.  “But maybe, just maybe, if you could find one that’s not too expensive…” the other side whispered.

And that’s when I stumbled upon Bright Fizz Photo, based in Phoenix, Arizona.  “Wow,” I thought, as I perused the website, “These photos are so fun and quirky!”

copyright Bright Fizz Photo

Although I am normally annoyed when websites start blasting music at me, I actually really liked the songs playing in the background on Bright Fizz’s site.  More points for good taste in music!

copyright Bright Fizz Photo

Plus, Zach and I totally agree with their philosophy!  “Our style of photography is not traditional. We like the candid, silly moments that every couple has to offer. We do not like the standard poses with two people smiling at the camera. We create images that really show the style and connection of two people in love. Our style is happy with a little bit of funk.”

copyright Bright Fizz Photo

“So who is behind these awesome photos,” I wondered, “…and how can we possibly afford them?”  I sent an email to Rachel, the wonder-woman behind Bright Fizz.  It turns out that she and her husband Nick run the business and they both seem super awesome-sauce.  And, amazingly enough, they are AFFORDABLE!  (Basic wedding packages start at only $1500!)

copyright Bright Fizz Photo

I pretty much knew I NEEDED Rachel to photograph our wedding as soon as we talked.  So I turned to my parents and asked them if they’d be willing to gift us our wedding photography and they said yes!  I guess it’s kind of breaking the rule of paying for everything ourselves, but since Zach’s parents are providing our venue, my parents also really wanted to contribute something tangible.  This will make everyone happy!

copyright Bright Fizz Photo

We haven’t met Rachel in person yet, but we will definitely be doing that before the wedding.  For now though, her awesome photos and the personality that shines through her emails are enough to convince me she’s going to do a great job!  Wedding photo win!

Did anyone else decide they had to have a photographer after initially not wanting one?

When NOT to Hire Friendors

As excited as I am to continue the Broke Ass Guide to Wedding Friendors, I’m hesitant about writing this post. The Broke-Ass Bride isn’t that kind of wedding website, the kind that yucks your yum and seeks to instill fear in the hearts of engaged people so they try to spend the anxiety away. But we DO want you to be as happy as possible with your wedding, and the fact is, using friendors isn’t right for every bride or every situation. Here are some times you might want to think twice about hiring friendors.

When you’re only “Facebook friends.” This is inspired by a comment on the first part in this series: if you wouldn’t invite this person to your wedding if they were not working it, and you feel obligated to invite them if they do work at it, think twice. The cost of inviting the Only-on-Facebook Friendor and a plus one might obliterate any friendor savings you’d have. But remember what I said in part one, you’ve got to formally negotiate, and you can explain to the potential Only-on-Facebook Friendor that you don’t have the space or budget to invite them, but you’d still love to give them the work. If that sounds too awkward to handle, hire a stranger professional.

Caveat: Hiring friends-of-friends who are wedding pros can be a great strategy, you’ll have insider info if the person can be trusted and you might score a discount. In that case there is enough distance that the role of the person is clear: they’re hired to work your wedding, not invited.

Don’t hire Rayanne to work your wedding.
[Source]

You don’t trust them. Some friends are rocks: solidly reliable and trustworthy. Some friends are… not, but we love ‘em anyway. [Or maybe all your friends are totally dependable saints? Good for you!] But if you wouldn’t trust your friend to feed your cat when you go away for the weekend, don’t hire them to work your wedding.

You have exacting needs. We don’t like to use the B-word around here (you know, the one that starts with “bride” and sounds like “chinchilla”), but if there is something in your wedding that you absolutely must have in a particular way, don’t hire a friend to take care of it. If your heart will break if your cake doesn’t taste exactly like a strawberry shortcake ice cream bar, don’t hire your friend as your baker. Even if she’s the best baker in town. Because if something goes wrong and you don’t get the wedding cake of your dreams, you don’t want to ALSO lose a friend over it.

Your gut tells you no. I had FOUR different friends offer to DJ my wedding. (Sorry to brag about my embarrassment of friendor riches. If you’re feeling bummed about not having friends with wedding-friendly skill sets, stay tuned for next week’s post). And I ended up turning them all down and hiring a stranger. Why? Hiring a pro just felt right for my situation. I have exacting needs (I really want a crazy dance party at my wedding) but don’t know enough about music to give a friend exacting guidelines. The risk for me being disappointed with the music at my wedding is too high, so I’m putting that risk on a stranger, even though it costs a little more. I’m all about buying peace of mind, which is why I made room in my budget for it.

How to say no: I love honesty (mostly because I’m terrible at lying), so I recommend just explaining why you’re not hiring a friend who has offered wedding services as straightforwardly as possible. But if you feel like you can’t use the direct approach, just shift the blame: you can’t hire them because of the demands of your parents, your in-laws, your fiance, your wedding planner, your venue contract. Pick the fib that works for you.

Sometimes after thinking twice you’ll still choose to hire a friendor. That’s ok! Do what works for your life, your wedding, your budget, and your values.

Have any of you decided to turn down a friend who offered to do a job at your wedding? How’d you handle the tricky decision to hire a stranger professional despite your budget constraints?

-Robin