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How Much Do You Charge?

How Much Do You Charge? Perhaps the 5 most dangerous words you can ask any vendor as your initial question, especially entertainment. Date availability, areas of expertise and event length can play a significant role in determining the investment.

How Much Do You Charge? Has become the question that traps many of those planning a wedding and setting them up for buyer's remorse after the hysteria around the wedding subsides.

Planning your wedding today is fraught with seemingly endless options. You may find yourself long on want but short on means. Finding qualified and experienced wedding vendors is very important and needs to be a priority when starting your wedding planning process.

There are few areas of your reception that are as important as entertainment being absolutely vital to the overall success of your reception. There are some very simple steps that you can take to help turn the wedding bell whoa and woes into WOW's during these times of economic uncertainty.

Step 1: Put yourself into the right frame of mind. When it comes to quality, it can't be the best if it's cheaper than the rest. No matter how Step 2: Set two budgets. Budget No.1 - The Ballpark Budget: Generally speaking around 30% of the bride and groom's total annual income or around $100 per guest.

Budget No. 2 - The Commitment Budget: Generally speaking your comfort zone. Pick an amount within reason, in reference to your ballpark budget, that you and your fiancé can feel good about as you plan your special day. Don't be scared, but be cautious about exceeding your commitment budget.

Down load a sample budget at

Step 3: Get your priorities straight. Prioritize your wedding plans by importance. If a wedding dance is not a number one priority to you, go without and consider using that portion of your wedding budget elsewhere. However, if you recognize that entertainment is the lifeblood of your reception, consider prioritizing your budget to reflect your needs. Keep in mind that a hasty decision to hire an under-qualified, low-priced mobile DJ, in reality, ends up costing you more when they fail to connect with your guests and your guests end up wandering off or leaving early.

Step 4: Set up a separate account for your wedding. It will help you keep an eye on costs and be sure to only use these funds for your wedding purchases.

Step 5: Choose your wedding date and reserve your church or reception site immediately. Wedding costs can vary greatly depending on the time of year they occur.

Step 6: Get control of your guest list. Build a guest list of family and friends that are closest to you and work your way out to your outer circle of friends and co-workers who might not make the guest list cut if cutbacks need to be made. Keep a close eye on your commitment budget. Difficult as it may be, you may find it necessary to trim the guest list or go without to stay on budget. Sacrificing quality for quantity is one of the quickest ways to experience wedding buyer's remorse.

Step 7: Choose wedding entertainment wisely. Make your entertainment selection based on experience and talent first, price second. Be wary of false testimonials and credentials. The wedding industry is filled with impostors that are long on promise and short on delivery. Don't hire entertainment that is not fully insured and registered with the secretary of state. Insist on meeting in person to interview potential entertainment and require that you get everything in writing.

Step 8: Know what you want and why. Wedding vendors want your business, however, there are real costs involved in making your dreams come true. There's nothing wrong with asking to scale back the services offered by the wedding vendor if those services don't fit you or your wedding day. Not asking guarantees you'll make the wrong choice by focusing on price associated with things you don't want or need.

Step 9: Avoid the iPod! Loading an iPod with songs may seem simple at first; however most people are unaware until they are in the midst of a failing iPod reception, that it's the entertainer, not the equipment that will make or break your wedding reception. Qualified Mobile DJs know that there is little margin for error when reading a room, crowd and dance floor. An iPod completely ignores "that essence" of drawing upon experience of knowing what to play and when to play it to keep your dance floor alive. In reality, most bridal couples and guests look back on the iPod route as a tacky mistake.

In a tightening economy, investing a little bit of time and asking all your potential vendors the right questions and basing your decisions on quality and things that truly matter will go a long way in ensuring you plan an event that keeps your quests "feeling invited" rather than being a bride in tears wondering where it all went wrong!