As you may have read in our FAQ section, it has been said that a good rule of thumb is to book your entertainment 6 months ahead of time, when possible.
HOW MUCH TIME DO I REALLY NEED TO BOOK MY DJ OR VENUE? IS SIX MONTHS GOOD ENOUGH?
A Few “Rule Of Thumbs” About Booking Times For A Big Event
With three new venues all on State Street in Albany, there are certainly a lot of options in our area to look at, as far as where to have your wedding. However, that doesn;t mean they will all be available for the date you are hoping for.
Booking your DJ & wedding hall six months ahead of time is a good rule of thumb, but it is not always going to guarantee you will get the exact venue location(s) or the specific DJ that you want. Timing and availability are everything.
Q: IS IT EVER TOO LATE TO CALL? – A: Never! If you have a gig tomorrow and want a DJ last minute, or if your DJ service cancelled on you (those bastards!) …CALL US ASAP! We have covered a number of weddings for slacker DJ’s who canceled with their bride within one day. We actually work well pinch-hitting. We have always pulled off these last-minute bookings with high accolades!
Q: HOW EARLY SHOULD I PLAN TO BOOK A PARTY/EVENT PROFESSIONAL? – A: The bigger the event, the more advance notice you should give. Sometimes, however, even six months ahead won’t guarantee the specific hall, caterer, or DJ that you really want, so do not delay. Always call ASAP, and work out the details later!
Q: WHAT IS CONSIDERED PRIME TIME FOR A PARTY/WEDDING? – A: The most popular dates are Saturday nights, falling on April thru to November. When you select a Saturday for the day of your event, typical 9-to-5 weekday working guests have all of Saturday morning to arrive, and all of Sunday to get home.
Q: SHOULD I BOOK MY PARTY ON A HOLIDAY? – A: We always suggest staying away from booking on holidays. While you may think that choosing a day that many may have off of work may be the way to go, it also can actually reduce guest availability. A Halloween-themed wedding can be very fun, but if it actually falls on the 31st, some parents will take children out to trick-or-treat. Also, keep in mind that people plan for their day offs far in advance.
Q: WHEN SHOULD I BOOK MY VENUE? – A: The smaller the town, the more time you actually need!!! Only about 24 people can book a Saturday night for one particular venue during “Prime Time.” If you really want a good selection, start a full year ahead, or even 18 months.
Q: WHEN SHOULD I BE BOOKING DJs, PHOTOGRAPHERS, WEDDING PROFESSIONALS? – A: While six months ahead is a good rule of thumb for reserving good entertainment, it’s still always crap shoot, when you really want a particular name DJ, band, or photographer. I have found that at the six month ahead point, sometimes we are already booked, sometimes not.
Many Things to Think about On Selecting Your Actual Wedding Calander Date
1) DATE SELECTION – Before booking your DJ, you really should figure out the right calendar date. The safest dates usually fall between spring and fall and are usually Saturday nights so that your guests have Sunday to get back to work, or recover. However, wedding dates in the North East drop off dramatically after Fall. Think about it. Most brides do not want to drop $10,000 on a party where guests could potentially get snowed in. Booking in this time frame of Spring to Fall on a Saturday night means you usually have to pay full price. This is prime time for halls, catering companies, Disc Jockeys and Bands.
Anytime before May 1st and after November 1st is an easy date to get and could save you money in hall/catering due to discounts.
2) STAY AWAY FROM HOLIDAY/SPECIAL DATE COMPETITION – Make sure your date doesn’t conflict with Thanksgiving plans, as you do not want to compete with other plans that your guests may have. Dates that sound good like Halloween, Christmas and New Years or even the Saturday before Veteran’s Day (so people can turn it into a long weekend) may seem like a good plan, but remember, that means your guests may have these dates for something else and will ultimately not make it to your special day. Always check with family members, parents or other significant people so you know that that there are no conflicts.
For example, a Halloween-themed wedding can be fun, but if it actually falls later in the day to eveneing on the 31st, think about how many parents will not come because they want to take their children out to trick-or-treat.
3) CHURCH & HALL AVAILABILITY – In medium and bigger cities like Albany, NY, with six months advance notice, you generally can find something good, but not always the exact hall you are looking for. In smaller towns, you definitely book the church and/or hall first and much earlier than six months. If there is a popular place that you have in mind, it could be difficult to get the prime time which often is 5:30 pm and after on Saturday, during May thru October. Only about 24 people will grab up a Saturday night for any particular spot during this time frame. And if your town is very small with only one or two places that could hold a decent wedding, reports show that some people may start booking it up even a full year ahead of time, or even 18 months.
When You Should Make a choices on Booking Entertainment
When Should You Book Your Wedding DJ in Albany NY?
1) BOOKING DJs & BANDs – Unless in the rare occasion you have planned the DJ first having one favorite absolutely in mind, usually the hall is booked first. Once you have reception and ceremony locations booked solid, you should go ahead book the entertainment.
From my experience, allowing for six months advance notice isn’t bad when booking a DJ service that has multiple DJs available, but it is a a roll of the dice when you are specifically trying to book one particular DJ name from one particular entertainment company for your wedding.
I find that at the six month point mark, 50 percent of the time I am already booked when a bride is requesting me by name.
2) BOOKING PHOTOGRAPHERS – Using the same rules as above with booking the DJ, from my experience, six months advance notice isn’t horrible when booking a photography, but it is a crap shoot when you are specifically trying to book one particular photographer by name for your special day.
3) BOOKING PRIME TIME SLOTS – For entertainment booking like Disc Jockeys and bands during the prime time season of spring to fall on a Saturday night, the early birds start planning in the fall for next early spring or summer and they usually get who they want. People who wait until after the new year sometimes grab who they want, but it doesn’t always work out that way.
If you are looking at a Friday or a Sunday party and/or in the ealry spring or later in fall, less booking advance time maybe needed. (You also can often save some good money as well. Make sure and ask for a discount as halls and entertainment companies often will give you something for filling empty spots or time slots that don’t fall into the prime time category!)
There are many ways to cut corners at your wedding so that you don’t have to break the budget to meet your vision of your very special day. However, sometimes people cut in the wrong places and, in the end, the guests can tell.
Here is a list I created using tips from clients who were married around the area and found ways to make some real good savings without sacrificing from the desired vision of the special day. This is a totally doable top 10 list of ways to save money on your wedding; a list that actually works:
1. PRIORITIZE EVERYTHING– A few years ago, I picked up a neat little tip I like to pass along to my clients from the Williams, who got married at The State Room in Albany, NY…“Before you even begin planning your wedding and reception, you really need to sit down with your partner and make a list of your top five priorities. This way you know what absolutely stays and where cuts can really happen.”
With it spelled out on paper, you both know what is important. This allows for everyone to be on the same page.
2. LIMIT THE GUEST LIST, BOTTOM LINE – Forget about corner-cutting on the DJ, the decorations, or the dinner, those are only savings that amount to pennies on the dollar… The best way to really save is to be ruthless with your head count. Keeping the guest list down as best as possible will drastically reduce your wedding cost, overall.
The Sefik’s, a fun couple from Clifton Park, NY got married at Mallozzi’s Wedding Hall in Schenectady. They pointed out that, “most caterers, venues, restaurants and banquet halls charge per-person.” They noted that if you have a 150 guests and can cut it down to 125, there alone you will save about $1,300.
So how do you do this? One tip if you see your guest list is getting out of hand, omit children and coworkers. Making category cuts across the board is the best way to make people not feel that they were being singled out.
3. FOOD & DRINK – Research all of your options and do not be afraid to ask questions. The Bovairs of West Sand Lake, NY who got married at Lakeview on Crystal Lake in Averill park, NY, recommended that you, “consider a buffet instead of a sit-down meal, or break tradition all the way. Why not go with a dessert reception, or a brunch or luncheon instead of a multicourse meal?”
Some people actually go with an all appetizer / finger food reception now.
Alcohol – Eliminating or limiting a traditional full bar to one or two hours will really cut costs. The Bevans got married at Herbert’s at Birch Hill in Kinderhook. Alternatives include serving beer and wine only, but not serving alcoholic mixed drinks. at all or only pouring a champagne toast.
Depending on the local laws and the rules at your reception hall, if you are able to buy the liquor yourself and then hire someone to pour it — the savings potential is enormous. If you can, in fact, bring your own booze, you can even return any full bottles that your guests don’t drink in the end.
4. Location, location, location. There are boat-loads of options for low-cost or no-cost locations, including local and national parks, forest preserves, your own back yard or that of a friend or relative.
Paul Diamond who got married at a nice little restaurant called, Cella Bistro in Schenectady, NY said, “Unthought-of restaurants are usually a under-rated option. Many establishments would love to have your business and, at the same time have gorgeous tables and chairs, and décor. You could save a bundle, all around.”
Also, by choosing a location that allows outside catering or you to bring your own booze, you are also opening up the potential for great savings! Saratoga’s Museum of Dance and Pryne Hall of Latham both allow for these potential savings, for example.
5. Wedding Attire – Here’s where you have many options for stretching your bridal dollars. You don’t have to buy at a traditional bridal salon. You could purchase a gown at an outlet or from a department store in the special occasion’s off-the-rack area.
6. FLOWERS – If you choose to wed in a location that is already naturally decorated, you will see big savings. To set a stylish mood without much work, plan the wedding to take place in a garden, art museum or even at a beautifully-gardened home.
Saving on flowers – Choosing flowers that have bigger buds means you’ll need fewer stems, thereby helping your bottom line.
Self-proclaimed “hippies,” The Losaws of Hudson Falls, NY got married at The Glen Sanders Mansion in Scotia, New York. They planted 200 bulbs months before their wedding, and then married right in the middle of the fully-blooming cheerful yellow tulips.
7. INVITATIONS – You don’t need to print invitations up on thick paper and chalk up another $500 bill. Invitations are definitely an area where do-it-yourselfers can show off their skills and can create great savings by pocketing the difference in costs.
Orvin Bennitt and his wife-to-be will be getting married at The Edison Club in Rexford, NY this summer. They showed me their announcements. They printed their wedding invitations on their computer, and I would have never have guessed!
8. GET BY WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM YOUR FRIENDS – Think of it as cost-free outsourcing. Posse up your friends and play to their strengths. Some people may have a creative inner-circle of peers who will want to donate services to you! This could be in the area of music for the ceremony, or even for photography!
Also, befriend teachers! Try calling a few schools if you want a decent student ensemble to play your wedding ceremony music! Or call your votec (like Capital Region Career & Technical School of Albany, NY) and get the floral class behind your wedding as a school project!
Initiate an Officiant – Are you looking for an intimate ceremony that has meaning AND affordability at the same time? Consider having your vows administered by a relative or friend, like the Carbones did at The Inn in Saratoga. Web sites like Universal Life Church (ulchq.com) and Esoteric Interfaith Church are two organizations that “ordain” laypeople so they can officiate weddings, legally.
9. Embrace The Off-Season – Wedding receptions that don’t fall during peak months will help you save big bucks. The Bucklands got married at a popular location called Gideon Putnam in Saratoga Springs, NY early in April. By doing so, they estimate that they were able to negotiate a savings of nearly $3,000!
10. Lose The Limo – “Transportation can be a huge cost,” says Mike Brooks, who got married at Crystal Cove in Averill Park, NY. “Since my bride wasn’t obsessed with having a vintage car drive us one mile to the reception, we just borrowed my friends’ SUVs to shuttle the bridal party and family. Nobody noticed the difference.”
HAVE GUESTS SIGN DIFFERENT BOTTLES TO BE OPENED ON CERTAIN YEAR ANNIVERSARIES
At The Altamont Manor in Altamont, NY this past Saturday (a nice little place that I was the DJ for about 15 minutes out of Albany,) I saw a great new idea to try at your wedding. Instead of signing a book that will barely never get read, how about having your wedding guests sign wine bottles?
Here is an interesting and a more creative do-it-yourself idea that throws a twist on the traditional wedding guest book.
HOW TO MAKE YOUR ONE WINE BOTTLE GUEST BOOK –
1) First, purchase four different colored wine bottles. 2) Next, remove the manufacturer’s labels by soaking the bottles in hot water. 3) Clean and scrape off any remaining label remnants with lighter fluid, or a good adhesive remover like Goof Off. (You can also use WD-40 as a cleaning agent.) 4) Create custom wine labels made up with the bride & groom’s names printed on them, and the numbers 1,5,10 and 20. 5) Make a nice display on a small table . Place the table with the bottles and metallic ink pens at the entrance door to the wedding reception. 6) Add an instructional photo frame, explaining that the bottles will be used in place of the traditional wedding guestbook and consumed on certain year anniversaries.
7) Encourage guests to sign the bottles with silver metallic ink pens, throughout the evening.
WHEN TO DRINK – The idea is that the newlyweds should drink the wine on their first, fifth, tenth and twentieth anniversaries. It should also be explained that the reason for consumption years down the line from these bottles is to remember their friends’ best wishes once again, as immortalized on the bottle in silver ink.
What a great idea! It is like morphing together the traditions of the wedding guest book and freezing a piece of wedding cake to eat a year later.
Last year was a rough one. The holidays are finally behind us now. We have opened our presents, made our returns, made our resolutions and probably already broke them. A bunch of celebrities died. A bunch of Hatchimals didn’t hatch. BUt we made it through all of that, somehow regardless.
Now it is time to get back to reality. For some of us, the big wedding is only around the corner and waiting to plan because it could bring some headaches is a bad idea.
I too often hesitate to do something that can be stressful. Hell, sometimes I sit in the parking lot of the gym and fiddle with my phone, because I know the gym is going to hurt a little. However, if we take this approach with planning a wedding, it could impact the success of your wedding in the long run.
IT IS TIME TO PLAN YOUR WEDDING NOW!
In other places throughout this blog, I posted information that encouraged you to plan six months or more ahead of time to book your DJ, and up to a full year ahead of time to secure your hall/catering service. That means if you are planning on getting married in the prime time availability slots; summer on a Saturday might, you really need to start moving now!
Yoda once said, “There is only do, or do not.”
If you wait until the last minute, you may have to settle for something you do not really want for your special day. Last week in the Albany NY area, we already had days with about 3 to 5 wedding inquiries, speaking with anxious, but prepared brides looking to secure particular dates. They could be competing for day with a location that you have in the back of your head, or a vendor that would fit you perfectly.
Even with four DJ’s at TheDJService.com, we have already seen conflicts on dates and may have to turn a few couples away. There are only so many good companies servicing the Albany & Troy, Saratoga Springs & Schenectady NY area. Get a move on it!
If you start planning now and you will be all good! Just pick up the phone and call.
Fill The DJ’s Dance Floor With A Wedding Flip Flop Basket – Another Albany NY wedding DJ idea!
At a very recent wedding in the Albany, NY area, I was the DJ for great number of guests sporting their bare feet by the end of the night on the dance floor. Adding in the lack of comfort factor with an outdoor ceremony where high heels sink into the ground, has lead me to suggest that adding a basket of flip-flops is a courteous “must” for many settings.
Here is an idea some of you may not have seen yet. Rather than have your guests dance in uncomfortable shoes, why not be a stand-up host and provide a basket of cheat-but-nice wedding flip flops?
Have you ever got all dressed up to go to a wedding and know fully well that your feet are going to kill you with the first ten minutes on the dance floor? You are not alone.
Many women struggle with their feet and have a terrible time finding the right balance between wearing comfortable shoes that also go with their dresses. Most high heel shoes cannot hold any woman up comfortably for a full four hours or more.
You really cannot expect the majority of your guests to make the best decisions in their footwear choices. After all, they are really putting one foot forward to look their very best for you. And getting together the perfect ensemble almost never translates into comfortable footwear.
WEAR TO BUY CHEAP WEDDING FLIP FLOPS?
It is even easier than you think! When in doubt, I am sure you can find a discount somewhere online. However, there may be savings waiting for you in your own neck of the woods allowing you to save a bundle in shipping costs.
Old Navy currently has a variety of colors for only $1.65 a piece, which is pretty reasonable. Some dollar stores even stock them. However, your favorite Walmart probably stocks what I just saw; an ultra-sweet-for-your-feet “98 cent flip flop box.”
THINGS TO THINK ABOUT WHEN ADDING THE FLIP FLOP BASKET TO YOUR WEDDING RECEPTION:
So, did we sell the idea to you? If you are reading this far down the page then it is possible you are thinking about using this tip! If this is the case, great. Here are a few points to think about:
– Try and make them available to your guests in your wedding colors.
– You can make them look pretty with vibrant ribbons holding pairs together.
A few years ago, the digital world took over the photography industry. In the meantime and in-between time, Polaroid was faced with low sales and finally decided to call it quits in 2008. The world was saddened in an instant.
However, after popular demand, they are back now back in a flash. In 2010 Polaroid came back with their new product, the 300, and that means Weddings have potential for some new fun. As a DJ, I see a lot of things and this activity was fun had by all.
Here is a novel idea of how to create your own Polaroid Photo Booth for your wedding and let your guests have a good time doing so.