You’ve spent countless hours flipping through magazines and searching the Internet for the perfect venue, and you finally found it! It’s your dream vineyard wedding at Ponte Winery. Like nearly every bride to be, you have a relatively clear vision of your wedding. You’ve spent the money on the venue, not to mention the gorgeous flowers, and the dress….Oh the Dress!!! That stunning dress cost way more than what you imagined but you simply couldn’t part ways. You’ve even selected the perfect wedding favors and menu cards to achieve that overall look. Not only did you hire a fabulous photographer and videographer, but you even spent extra money on a photo booth (that’s a whole other blog….no worries; we’ll talk about that in a future blog). This leads me to my question…..with all the time and money spent on planning your dream wedding, why would you ever dream of pinching pennies when it comes to hiring your DJ? Think about it…this person is going to be the emcee for your entire evening! In many ways, he is a direct representation of you on that day.
In the midst of planning, hiring your neighbor’s son to be your DJ may sound like a great way to save some money, but I strongly encourage you to think twice!! And, I beg of you, “Please Do Not Search for your DJ on CraigsList!” Do you remember that old saying…’You Get What You Pay For’? Well…..it’s true! Hiring an amateur DJ to play your ceremony music and emcee your reception is the horror story I have heard about time and time again! I’ve also witnessed it firsthand! Therefore, all of my clients are informed at the first consult that they must hire a professional wedding DJ. And just so you know, club DJ’s do not count in fulfilling this requirement. They are called ‘Club DJ’s’ because their area of expertise lies in spinning the coolest tunes in the club, not in working with your coordinator to get you down the aisle. And definitely not in timing your grand entrance and playing music that will appeal to a wide range of guests at your reception.
So, I probably sound pretty picky…..well, I am but that’s because this is your wedding we are talking about. You should be picky too! It’s a very important day in your life and you should only hire quality vendors that appreciate the time and money you have spent. So…..who do I recommend? Well, I do have a few favorites. For the moment, I would like to focus on one company in particular that impressed me beyond words.
While working at Ponte Winery, I had the pleasure of watching the very romantic first dance for Jill and Rick Taloa. The couple was married on October 5, 2008……it was the most moving first dance I’ve ever witnessed. After making their grand entrance into the tent pavilion, they loving looked at each other and glided across the floor. During the instrumental parts of the song, their DJ played edited portions of sweet things each of them had recorded privately about each other. By the reaction of their guests, I was not the only one moved! Check out the photos of them as they shared their first dance. Are they not the cutest couple ever? Check out Jill’s smile as she gazes into Rick’s eyes! Kuddos to Jim Kennedy Photographers for providing these beautiful photos! Okay….let’s get back on track. Upon conclusion of the first dance, Jill took to the dance floor with her father. At first I thought it would be your basic father/daughter dance, but during the instrumental portion, the DJ once again played edited recordings. It was incredibly moving to hear Jill reflect upon how thankful she was for her amazing father and how his support contributed to making her into the woman she was at that very moment. Yes, I admit it…..I had a tear….or two! So who was the mastermind behind this unique and moving moment? That would be founder/owner Pete Carroll of Generations Entertainment, an Orange County based DJ company.
I decided to sit down with Pete Carroll and his business partner, Justin Lopez to find out more about the company. Generations Entertainment has been in business since 2001 and they have worked in more venues than you could imagine. I initially met with Pete and Justin to learn about the process behind the first dance and father/daughter dance CD. In doing so, I found a company committed to serving the needs of their clients while displaying a higher level of professionalism. First off, when you meet with Pete or Justin, you are never going to feel like you are being subjected to some sort of high pressure sales pitch….that’s just not their style. You want to feel comfortable and at ease with the person you are going to be entrusting as the emcee for your event. Let’s face it; you are planning the details of your wedding, not trying to buy a car! Pete and Justin are both down to earth, easy to talk to and likeable…..it makes perfect sense that they are great at what they do. As professional wedding DJ’s they understand the importance of the day you have been planning. To make it easier to read, I took the liberty of highlighting some key information about Generations Entertainment that I feel sets them apart from the average DJ:
The DJ you Meet is the DJ you Get – With many large DJ companies, you will meet with one main DJ that handles the sales. On the day of your event, another DJ that you have never met before will emcee your event; that is scary! What if you do not like that DJ’s personality? What if he says something inappropriate? With Generations Entertainment, the DJ you meet is the DJ you get! If you meet with Justin and he is the person you feel comfortable with, then he is your DJ. If you happen to meet with Pete and you build a connection, then great. Bottom line, you will either see Pete or Justin’s name on that contract. What a relief, no surprises at all! As an added bonus, Pete or Justin will remain as the lead DJ on your event, while they usually have another trained DJ that will assist them throughout the day.
Login Portal for Music Selection – Ah……technology………you’ve got to love it! Upon becoming a client with Generations Entertainment, you are given a password and access to their music database to aid in selecting your likes, dislikes, genre of music, must-plays, and “absolutely do not play even if a guest begs you!” list. You are also given a separate login in case you would like to get requests from some of your close friends that will be attending. They even have a max login limit so the same friend can’t keep logging in from the same computer and monopolizing the selection…very smart!!
No Minimums on Lighting – Many DJ companies will have you pay a minimum amount for event lighting. This minimum is usually somewhere around $700. It’s a shame, but lighting is usually one of the last things a bride will think about. If you have already spent most of your budget, that can be a huge disappointment!. With Generations Entertainment, you are not bound to any minimums once you purchase their DJ services for your event. This means that if your budget will only allow you to pin spot your cake, have a gobo, or use up-lighting to enhance the room, then you can still do it. From the countless images you have seen in wedding magazines, you can plainly see how lighting makes a huge difference!
Always Prepared – A professional wedding DJ is always prepared for anything and everything. By making sure their equipment is never older than two years, Generations Entertainment are able to rule out the possibility of something not functioning because its useful life has expired. When any of their equipment hits that two year marker, it’s’ out with the old and in with the new’. They also travel with multiples of everything. Therefore, if one speaker goes out for some reason, a back-up is already at the event to take its place. Just like your photographer should carry more than one camera, so should your DJ. They also make a back-up of all your must-plays onto a flash drive in case there is some sort of a power issue at your venue. Now that is being prepared!
Compact Audio Equipment – When you have gone to all the trouble of planning every last detail of your gorgeous wedding, the last thing you want to see is an obnoxiously large DJ set-up or gigantic light fixtures with chords running everywhere around your venue! I love that all of Generations Entertainments equipment is extremely compact. I’m sure part of this is due to the fact that they are always purchasing new equipment. Their speakers are very modern and narrow, so you do not even notice they are there in the room. A professional wedding DJ understands you put a lot of time and effort into planning your event and the last thing you want to see in your photos is their audio equipment.
Separate Equipment for Ceremony and Reception – Believe it or not but some DJ companies only travel with one set-up. That means once the ceremony is over, the DJ has to tear down all their equipment and transfer it over to the location of your cocktail hour reception….this can take some time. You never want dead silence…….music puts your guests in a happy mood and ready to have some fun. I love that Generations Entertainment has separate equipment dedicated to the ceremony and reception, so you never have to worry about dead silence.
Grand entrance – Generations Entertainment will go that extra mile to get your guests excited as you make your grand entrance. An inexperienced DJ will simply announce your name as you walk into the venue. In contrast, Generations Entertainment encourages you to express yourself. After all, this day is about you! They love to get your crowd warmed-up by saying a few interesting things about each person in your bridal party as they make their way into the ballroom. Not only do your guests love this but it also makes your bridal party feel a bit more involved in the wedding.
I hope this information will help you in your quest for selecting your wedding DJ. Please remember, when selecting between a few DJ’s for your event, your decision should never be based solely on price. Although price is certainly a factor, your decision should first be based on the key points I’ve listed and then price can be factored into the final decision.
Generations Entertainment offers an innovative process, they are fabulous at what they do and extremely professional in dealing with all of their clients. Furthermore, they do not have to worry about managing large overhead, so they are still able to offer their services for a very reasonable price. To arrange a consultation for your upcoming Temecula winery wedding and to learn more about Generations Entertainment, please go to Generations Entertainment or contact them at (949) 305-4081
~To review samples of the First Dance CD and learn more about this unique process, go to Generations Entertainment and click on the “Services” button and select, “First Dance CD”