With more and more couples opting for additional audio support for their wedding ceremonies, it has become apparent that they be given the option to include DJs in the rehearsal. This would go a long way in anticipating any glitches that may occur on the wedding day.
But a question that has surfaced is this: If clients choose to have DJs participate in the rehearsal, should there be an additional cost time and effort? And what would be a fair rate?
Mobile DJs from around the country chimed in:
Rob Freedline, Good Vibrations Special Events DJs, Medina, Ohio
“This is where salesmanship comes into play. Most rehearsals are on Fridays or Thursdays – my area seems to favor Thursdays. I’ve built my business as a single-event-per-week production so, it’s usually not a conflict for me to attend rehearsals. Rather than charge for attending the rehearsal, I’ve assumed my attendance into my price. However, I don’t guarantee my attendance at the rehearsal, in case I have another event that day. This allows me to attend the rehearsal, if I’m available, which I like to do if possible.”
Ron Michaels, Ron Michaels Weddings, Fort Collins, Col.
“Been attending rehearsals for over a decade and haven’t been to one that I thought was a waste of time. For that reason alone, I include it in my ceremony package – a two-day package – and build it into the price. Don’t charge extra for the rehearsal, as most won’t pay it. The referrals you’ll get, and the reviews that say ‘he even came to the rehearsal to coordinate and meet everyone’ are worth it. Just raise your rates to accommodate it.”
Randy Bartlett, Premier Entertainment (Retired), Sacramento, Calif.
“I charged $300 for a rehearsal, no sound, with the caveat that I would only be available if not booked for another event.
“I don’t disagree with the concept that we can do a better job and learn more about them by doing the rehearsal, but I absolutely disagree with the concept that this should be at our cost, rather than theirs.
“The benefit of us knowing more and having more control is theirs, and they should pay for that benefit. No other vendor would do this for free, but I know so many DJs who do. Would the photographer or caterer or videographer or florist do the rehearsal for free, because it ‘helps them learn more about the family?’ I mean, why not do the bridal shower for free? Just think how much you could learn there and it would be even sooner!”
Brian Harris, Brian Harris DJ Entertainment, Dayton, Ohio
“I charge $750 for ceremony – separate area/separate system – or $600 in same room as reception, using reception system, and no moving it. I always attend rehearsal when I can, but no guarantee that I will be able to come rehearsal day. If I book something – business or personal – on rehearsal day, then I won’t be there. I even say this in the terms and conditions of my contract, so that there’s no ‘but-you-said’ misunderstanding.
“I attend more for me, not them. But they do appreciate my presence, especially with so many inexperienced officiants these days. So, I’ll step in and run the rehearsal. But I’m also not worried if I can’t be there. I’ve done hundreds of ceremonies, so I just need to know who to look for, for my music cues.
“When I attend, I do not bring music. I want the emotions of the music to happen only on the day of. Otherwise, they could be diluted. It’s a ‘we-just-heard-this-music-yesterday’ type of thing.
“I feel my fee for a ceremony covers my rehearsal attendance. Therefore, I don’t charge more for an hour of my time.”
Bob Kreider, Sight & Sound Services, Kennewick, Wash.
“Attending a rehearsal is included in my rates. Brides love this extra attention and it makes selling your services much easier when you’re not having to tell the client, ‘Oh, that will be cost you more money.’ Just raise your rates enough to pay you what you consider you need to attend the rehearsal. Simple as that.
“I go to as many rehearsals as I can. Occasionally, it’s not possible. But I don’t go to these to avoid any glitches. After thousands of ceremony-sound support events, I don’t anticipate any concerns. I attend the rehearsal for the bride. She doesn’t realize my experience and how unnecessary my being there is. But she does notice the additional attention to the details of her special day I give her. And this turns into referrals, 5-Star reviews and tips.
“Plus, I take advantage of the night before, usually Friday, to get all my gear set up for the following Saturday gig. For these reasons, I include the rehearsal. And I would suggest raising your rates another couple hundred or so.”
Casey Brown, CMB Music Productions, Tyler, Tex.
“Years ago, we did a rehearsal and charged the client $200 to be there. It was the worst two hours for my DJ. Listening to the people argue about what should be done, playing the same three songs over and over again, my DJ gained nothing. Since then, we have declined all rehearsals.
“If a ceremony is detailed enough to warrant a rehearsal, I have no problem going, if the client pays for it… which today would be no less than $300.”
John “Abrasax” Archambault, Technically Yours, South Bend, Ind.
“I go as a consultant — no music. If they feel they need the song to practice timing, just use whatever device is handy. They are not here to be entertained, and you can’t learn or help if you’re at the controller. If there is someone who doesn’t know what to do, I help them make the decisions.”
To check out more business tips, click here.