Quality Entertainment: How can you tell?

Inquisitive womanWhen purchasing anything, whether it is a new car or a new purse, there are two main concerns: value and quality. One can easily tell the difference in quality between a Mercedes, with plush leather interior and satellite linked navigation system and a Toyota Corolla. Sometimes it is difficult to tell the difference between a real Fendi clutch and a knockoff.

The entertainment business is no different. In this article, I will give you valuable tips on how to recognize good quality entertainment for your wedding day so that you can have the most enjoyable experience imaginable.

Your first interaction with any entertainment vendor will most likely be through their website. Does their website blast music at you as soon as you hit the homepage? Is the website dated and unattractive? Do the photos look fuzzy, distorted or need color correction? If a company’s website is not clean, easy to navigate and highly informational, the chances are that the vendor is not as good of quality as you deserve.

Listen to some sound clips on line. Are they clean and distortion free or do they sound like they were recorded under water? Most bands and DJ’s have demo reels of their best material. Make sure that they can perform current songs as well as the classics. Many entertainers haven’t learned a new song since 1986 and you should thoroughly research their play list before considering them.

Look at their video on line. Can you tell if they are playing live or lip-syncing? Many bands record their sound in a studio, fix all the bad notes and intonation problems, and fake it when they shoot their video. The high quality bands will not do that. They play live and record the audio live as they are performing the video. Watch for subtle inconstancies in the vocalists. Do their lips match the sound perfectly? Does the guy playing the guitar solo seem like his fingers do not match the sound of the guitar riff? Chances are that it’s lip-synched. I am often amazed at some of the videos that I see on line. Some companies have 3 or 4 singers with one or two musicians and it sounds like there’s a 10-piece band with a full horn section playing! If you have any doubt about whether the video is live or not, simply ask the vendor.
How does the video look? Is it grainy? Does it sound and look great? Does it download easily? Do the performers look like they are having fun or just going through the motions?

In the final analysis trust your heart. If the band or DJ’s online presentation is professional, the chances are that they will be professional when they perform for the most important day in your life.

Live sound quality is another important consideration. Ask about the sound reinforcement systems. For a band, make sure that they have a dedicated sound engineer to mix and monitor the sound system and are not having one of the band members operate the soundboard while trying to perform. There is nothing worse than having music at a wedding that is too loud or distorted. A good sound engineer will know how to adjust the level so that it’s punchy enough to dance to but does not blow your guests ears out. For a DJ, Make sure that he carries enough equipment to fill the room with out overdriving the speakers. High quality DJ’s carry sub woofers so that they don’t have to push their high frequency speakers too hard in order to get enough bass. Pushing the high frequency speakers too hard will usually cause nasty distortion and unpleasant sound quality.

Aside from musicality, a company’s service is something to consider. A high quality entertainment company will return your phone call or email almost immediately. If the vendor does not respond to your inquiry within a day, consider that a red flag.
Upon speaking to the bandleader, DJ or customer rep, you should be able to tell a lot about the quality of the service. Are they rigid in their concept of how an event of such importance should be run or are they willing to listen to your ideas and try to comprehend your vision? Will they adjust their play list to your taste or try to tell you what you should be doing? High quality entertainment companies will do their best to accommodate your wishes and customize the event to your preferences.

It’s a good idea to get references from independent online wedding websites and past customers. Have your rep email you a few sites that review their company and ask him or her for the contact information on a few recent clients. There is nothing like hearing a testimonial from a recent client to give you a good indication about how good (or bad) the service was.

Trying to determine the value of entertainment is a very subjective thing. Prices vary greatly in the entertainment business. Here is something to consider. Would you rather pay $3000 for a sub par band who didn’t learn your first dance and only knew how to play 80’s music or pay $5000 for a great band who shared your vision and had the dance floor packed all night? Would you rather pay $500 for a DJ who had lousy distorted equipment and couldn’t pronounce your bridal party correctly or pay $1500 for a top pro who ran your event smoothly and played all your favorite selections? The answers are obvious but many brides only consider cost when choosing their entertainment. The thing to remember is that cost and value are two completely different things.

Let’s be realistic. Your guests will probably not remember your wedding favors or your flowers. They will remember how much fun they had dancing and having such a good time at your celebration. When it comes to wedding entertainment, good quality will always give you the greatest value. Happy wedding planning!