Educating brides is one of the biggest priorities at All My Heart Bridal, not just in fashion, but in all areas of wedding planning. Interview With A Pro puts our brides in touch with the best wedding vendors Kansas City has to offer where they teach you the tips, tricks, and must-know items to think about when booking their services. First up, the lovely Levity Events!
My name is Derek with Levity Weddings & Events where our philosophy is that a successful event is one that is not only unforgettable, but enjoyable to plan. Wedding and event planning can be a stressful and serious undertaking. Our goal is to inject a little levity into the process.
Levity is predominantly a DJ service, however we have expanded offer lighting, photography, videography, photo booths, coordinating and officiating. Almost a 1-stop shop for clients so they can consolidate multiple services into 1 point of contact. Our clients who book multiple services receive the added benefit of an experienced and cohesive team for a unified approach.
My background is heavily in DJ service and I fell into this career almost by accident. I come from a very musically inclined family and because everyone in my hometown knew our home stored enough sound equipment to produce our own personal Woodstock, you can imagine who got the phone calls when our broke friends needed wedding music.
It got way out of hand and now here I am with one of the best DJ companies in Kansas City and 6 awards under our belt.
Important Questions to ask before booking a DJ
It’s not uncommon for us to start a conversation where we feel like a hooker.
“What do I get?”
“Can I have you for the whole night?”
All very common and sensible questions to ask. What we hear horror stories about is when couples fail to ask the following:
1. What isn’t included?
2. Do you have insurance?
3. Where do you get your music?
4. If they’re newer to the industry, ask for referrals or to see a demo video. (Don’t expect to be able to crash a wedding to see them in action.)
5. What is your backup plan for equipment failure or extreme circumstances that would prevent you from performing.
6. What is your typical wedding attire?
7. Do you accept song requests?
8. Will you act as our MC? (Master of Ceremonies - IE: Make Announcements and engage the guests)
Amount couples should allot for the DJ
I don’t believe giving a set amount would do couples justice. Everyone’s budgets are different and Kansas City is blessed to have a diverse pool of DJs to pick from. Instead of a definitive number, I recommend reserving a percentage of your total budget towards entertainment.
According to The Knot, most couples allocate 3.5% of their entire budget to reception entertainment. 5.6% When factoring in ceremony music too. So if your overall budget is $10k, budget $560. If your budget is the $26,173 average the Knot reports Kansas Citians spend, then it would be wise to budget $1,465 towards ceremony and reception music.
Ray Tuimauga from Icon Event Group puts it into great perspective: The DJ typically presides over 50% of your day. We are responsible for protecting half of your whole wedding investment. Partitioning at least 5-6% of your whole budget to protect something so significant is a wise investment by anyone’s standards.
Best place to search for reputable wedding professionals
Of the 4 major public resources I’m familiar with, The Knot, Wedding Wire, Google and Facebook, The Zuckerbeast is the only one who required me to prove I was a legit business to verify my listing. So while no resource will be 100% reliable, I would advise couples to check the DJs reputation across all possible platforms. If that DJ has tons of reviews on The Knot, but almost nothing on WeddingWire, Facebook or Google… that’s kind of a red flag for review manipulation. Instead, ask the professionals you’ve already hired for referrals. Anyone your photographer, venue or bridal shop refers is a DJ they feel confident enough to put their own name behind. It will be names of people they’ve worked with before, so your vendors will feel like a “team” instead of a bunch of “randos.”
I also have to giggle a bit when I see DJs who advertise themselves as a “Certified Wedding DJ.” The process to become DJAA certified is literally just filling out a form and paying your dues. ADJA has a bit more in-depth process, but still doesn’t require any kind of governed test that is commonly associated with “certifications” so it would be easy for some dastardly DJ to twirl his pencil-thin mustache and cheat his way through certification.
Tips and tricks to ensure a positive experience
Most of our couples are celebrating their first (and hopefully only) marriage. They’ve never planned a wedding before so it’s all new territory to them. We find a large part of our job is helping couples understand how the cogs operate of this “wedding machine.”
Lovebirds will plop down on the couch in our showroom and start off by saying, “Absolutely, No Cupid Shuffle.”
I get it… the Cupid Shuffle is cliché. No one has endured the Cupid Shuffle more than wedding DJs.
Here’s the thing though… people dance to it. Not just a few people, the majority of people dance to it. The majority of your guests probably do not attend many weddings, so to them, the Cupid Shuffle is a rare treat.
We encourage limiting the must-NOT play list to songs that have special connotations which may trigger traumatic memories on this important day. Besides, your DJ is going to gather much more useful information off your “must-play” list.
Don’t spend a tremendous amount of time on the “must-play” list though… Provide your DJ with a handful of favorites and let them read the crowd and play to everyone’s tastes for the remainder of the night. Now, of course what I’m encouraging here isn’t what you have to do. It’s simply what we recommend to have the most positive experience.
Another thing we do to ensure a great collaboration is we ask our couples to meet with their DJ the *week-of* their wedding to finalize their song lists and timeline. We’re open to working together throughout the whole process, but we encourage the couple and DJ meet the *week-of* their wedding for 2 main reasons.
1. It’s much less likely for changes to occur between the meeting and their wedding if they meet the “week of” and
2. That allows the DJ to focus on only one event from there forward. [Spoiler Alert: It’s your wedding.] We’re able to give your wedding the attention it deserves without the risk of another client’s details intermingling with yours.
The last way we try to ensure the couple has a positive experience is to leverage the expertise of your hired professionals. During the planning process I like to joke with our clients about how they probably haven’t received any opinions or any unsolicited advice. The typical response is a hardcore stank-eye beamed right into their loved-one’s face.
Unless that advice comes from someone who works regularly in the wedding industry, take it with a grain of salt… and a wedge of lime and a shot of tequila.
Being in the service industry can oftentimes be a thankless job. We’re #blesse and #humbled and #humbleblesse to work with such amazing clients who always let us know we’re appreciated. We recently rebranded from “KC Mobile D” to “Levity Weddings & Event” and threw a party to celebrate the occasion. It was an an overwhelming but welcomed sea of clients showing an insane amount of support. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t shed a single tear like Dumbledore towards the end of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
Who am I kidding, I was more like Snape holding Lily from Deathly Hallows.
Folder of pictures from our rebranding party - feel free to grab what you like out of there :-)
Levity Weddings & Events has won The Knot’s Best of Weddings award twice, WeddingWire’s Couple’s Choice award twice and has been named by Expertise as one of the Top 12 DJ Companies in Kansas City twice. One of the most prestigious accolades we’ve received is being featured in All My Heart Bridal’s blog!