Should I go with the Venue’s “In-House” Dj or band?

To give real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity.” – Douglas Adams

You’ve booked the venue and they encourage you to hire their in-house DJ or Band.

Wow, one more thing off your list and it will save you lots of time right?

Maybe… Maybe not….

Here’s a dirty little secret the wedding industry doesn’t want you to know: When a venue is “strongly recommending (aka forcing)” you to use the entertainment selection they are probably charging you way more than they are paying the DJ.

This means you’re paying $1000 or $1500 or $3000++ and getting a $500 or $700 or $1500 band or Dj (and the venue is pocketing that difference).
Venues that do this are only concerned about 1 thing: making sure someone shows up.

They have a list of multiple DJs and bands so if someone bails on them at the last minute they can send another part-time replacement. Good, right?

Maybe… Maybe not…

The type of Bands and DJs that work with these venues are usually ones who wouldn’t otherwise be in demand and are usually not able to make a professional wage, so they’re working day-jobs and are not capable of providing the professional touch that you deserve and paid the venue for.

Here’s a real-life example from my own business: This past summer I was contacted by a couple to perform their wedding at a venue that shall remain nameless. They saw us perform at another wedding and I was one of the first vendors they booked (smart cookies because our band gets booked up quite far in advance).

THEN, things got weird…

They started getting harassment from the venue that they had to use the resident DJ. This was of course after the deposit was taken. There was no mention of this “policy” beforehand.
This type of bullying I feel is unethical and unprofessional. When I received a call from my very distraught bride, we ended up having a short conversation reminding the bride and groom that they were the VIPs and what they decide is what’s going to happen.

After a well-worded e-mail, “magically” the venue changed their policy and “allowed” the couple to have a band and it was a smash success.

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Thank-you again for a spectacular night. Everyone raved about you guys! We
were beyond pleased” was the couple’s reaction. Tragedy averted, WHEW!

The wedding venues mean well, but a lot of times their recommendations and “policies” are meant to make their lives easier and more profitable, not necessarily create the wedding you want. If a wedding venue ever tries to tell you you have to hire their in-house vendors, RUN!

If they say “The DJ is included in the wedding packages” I’d recommend you say something like “I’m the client and I will take my business elsewhere if you don’t respect my decisions on my wedding day, please remove the DJ or band from the package and refund me the full difference”

The question to ask is: “Do you take any money off of the top of the entertainment’s price?”

A more ethical and professional approach is for the wedding venue to provide you with a list of “preferred vendors” where they will list multiple bands and DJs they like to work with and you can choose from that list or hire your own.

That’s helpful, ethical and good business!

About the Author:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADavid Fraser is the founder and band leader of DCF Wedding Music based out of Erin, Ontario, Canada and serving Toronto & GTA.  He specializes in live music that’s exciting, entertaining and engaging and has been involved in the wedding industry professionally for over 8 years.

To meet David and learn more about his services visit https://meet.dcfweddingmusic.com