The Gift of Paying Attention

Dance to Honor Dad in Williamsburg Virginia

By Elisabeth Scott Daley, WED®, ABC™Liz Daley Events
“A Passion for Performance”

The Difference Between a “Cheap” DJ and an “Expensive” DJ

How Much?

One thought will very quickly enter the mind of every bride beginning to plan a wedding. How Much? Usually followed by an expletive of some sort, when she begins calculating the numbers in her head. Today’s article is about the subtle differences that make ALL the difference in the world, when choosing where to allocate your precious hard earned money.

Often, when I get that initial phone call, or when having a casual conversation with a bride-to-be, I am told, “I don’t want anything fancy, I just need music”. Which is code for “I don’t want to spend a lot of money”. Then there is the underlying perception beneath the code that “ALL DJs SUCK, so why should I pay more than I have to”? “Better yet, why don’t I just plug in my iPod?” While it is true that an iPod is a cheap alternative, and it won’t make cheesy announcements…it is also true that an iPod can’t think for itself or make split-second decisions. This is where those subtle differences come into play.

Cheap Ain’t Good, and Good Ain’t Cheap

There is an old saying, “cheap ain’t good, and good ain’t cheap” and it is especially true in the age of “Ipod Weddings” and “Mom-ographers” and the inevitable, “I just planned my own wedding, and now I’m a wedding planner” newbie. Buyer Beware! Just because you get a great price, doesn’t mean you will get a great deal. For example, in spite of my higher than average “cost”, time and again, my clients tell me that the value they received for their investment in me was far more than the actual dollars spent. And I’m not alone; there are many, many DJs out there who care and who go the extra mile. Of course, these are the ones who cost more. Why? Because being a DJ is their passion. Why does this matter to future brides? It matters in the subtle differences that are really hard to quantify until you feel it, or see it in action. I’ll give you an example.

A Simple Wedding

This past Saturday night I was the Master of Ceremonies and DJ for one of those “simple” weddings. The ceremony was all of 5 minutes, and the “Grand Entrance” included only the bride and groom’s names as they began their first dance. They did not do any parent dances. There was one toast and they cut the cake. Nothing else was planned. They wanted simple and stress-free. They also wanted it guaranteed. They decided to hire me. Which is something to take note of…many DJs will do the exact same thing at every wedding for the exact same price, regardless of the wishes of the guests of honor. Imagine the horror if my couple had been forced into a garter and bouquet toss against their wishes. My price was worth it to them for what I wouldn’t do, as much as for what I would do. Think about it.

A Loving and Sweet Surprise

It was a fun crowd of less than 100 guests and yes there was an open bar, which always makes my music choices even better. However, an unexpected moment occurred that I humbly believe I helped make a little more special by a split-second choice I made. Here’s the story. The groom’s father passed away a few years ago. The groom was very close to his father. During the course of the evening, a friend of the groom reached into his jacket pocket and surprised himself that he found the program for the groom’s father’s funeral inside the jacket pocket. (The friend doesn’t have occasion to wear a jacket very often) But when this friend shared his “find” with the groom, he said: “Your dad is here with us tonight, and here is why”.

Groom Honors His Father

Immediately following that conversation, the groom came up to me and asked for the microphone. I didn’t think much of it, as he had been speaking directly to his friends and family “on mic” multiple times throughout the night. He asked me to stop the music. I did. He shared the story, and then elaborated about how he felt his father’s love and how he wished his father could have met the beautiful woman he waited 38 years to meet and marry. As he continued sharing from the heart about how he missed his father, my mind was racing trying to determine what song could I play to follow this amazing moment that was happening? A few things jumped into my head, and were quickly dismissed for being too cheesy. Then the perfect song jumped into my head, and I began smiling knowing that pure gold was about to happen. As the groom finished telling his story, and after the natural applause that followed, I said, “Eric, why don’t you go share a dance with your mother in honor of your father?” And then I played “Dance with My Father” by Luther Vandross. It was an amazing moment! I know that I will always remember it, and I’ll bet everyone that was there will too.

Choose Your Wedding Team as diligently as you choose your Spouse

Memories are created one moment at a time and they are all connected. A wedding celebration is many, many moments. It may not always be obvious, but every decision matters. And, isn’t it worth the investment to have someone on your side who will really be listening and really paying attention? Isn’t it worth it to have someone on your team who is really invested in you, and consequently will make decisions based on your best interests? It’s the little things that make all the difference in the world. Make sure you surround yourself with a wedding team that cares about making your day amazing. I promise, it will be worth it!


  • Liz Daley, WED®, AWP™ - A Passion for Performance

    Liz Daley is a seasoned veteran of stage and screen and is the owner of Liz Daley Events, a boutique entertainment company in Virginia opened in 2004 that delivers dramatically different results. She got her first radio job at 16, but her passion for live entertainment moved her across the country performing from New York to Nashville as well as the entertainment capital of the world, Las Vegas! She works with brides and grooms to create Classic, Fun and Memorable wedding receptions. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from The Boston Conservatory of Music, she is a certified Wedding Entertainment Director® and the National President of the Wedding Entertainment Directors Guild® and an Accredited Wedding Planner™ with the Association of Bridal Consultants. She is currently co-hosting educational performance workshops for Wedding DJs and Masters of Ceremonies with Peter Merry, “The Fun Wedding Experts”.

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