Hello, friends! We’re so excited to be starting a brand new blog series this month that we’re calling Vendor Spotlight, where we highlight some of our favorite Virginia wedding vendors, while also answering questions that you want to know as you plan your wedding day. The vendors we’ve chosen are some of those that we’ve built relationships with over the years of working with them that we feel have a great amount of knowledge to share based on their experience. They are also vendors that we trust and would refer to any of our clients who were looking for these Virginia wedding vendors.
First up, we have Devail & Nikki Echols of 196 Events, husband & wife DJ team based in Hampton Roads, Virginia. 196 Events specializes in professional DJ services, lighting and photo booth for weddings all across Virginia. They have been our favorite Virginia wedding DJ team to work with for a long time – our first wedding with them was in 2016! Four years and multiple weddings later and we’re excited to be sharing a behind the scenes look into their business as a husband & wife team, as well as sharing 3 things brides should know when booking their wedding DJ.
When did you start 196 Events and what led you into the DJ/Entertainment business?
“196 Events was birthed in 2016 when we rebranded our original company, Echols Entertainment. Devail started Echols Entertainment in 2007. At that time, his bookings were comprised mainly of club gigs and other parties. His first wedding was for a close friend and after that, he was hooked. He soon began working for an experienced local DJ company that specialized in weddings. There he learned invaluable skills required for a professional wedding DJ. He eventually branched back out on his own with a focus on weddings. The word of mouth business was growing rapidly so I (Nikki) jumped on board to assist. I began to manage the daily leads and communication with brides and provided support at the weddings as well. We love working together, and couples have loved having a husband and wife team that could meet all their needs from different perspectives. The rest is history.”
What are the pros and cons to being a husband & wife team?
“Pro #1: Every wedding is a free date night!! Great food, music, dancing & cake! What more can a girl ask for?
Pro #2: We spend A LOT of quality time together. We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and we know when to yield to the other person’s expertise. This has been instrumental to our growth as husband and wife and as a company.
Pro #3: We have complete control over our work-life balance. We can decide together when to pull back or push forward. Being that we share the same vision for our family it’s easy to agree on how much business and what type of business we take on.
Con: It’s difficult to set boundaries. Devail is an early riser and I’m a night owl. When I am wide awake at 1am and ready to revamp our entire website, he is nowhere to be found. With that said, when he is bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at 5:30am sipping his coffee and planning our day, I’m still sound asleep. So finding the right time to “work” together while respecting each others time (and sleep patterns) can be challenging.”
What is your favorite part about providing DJ services for weddings?
“Other than the free date nights, weddings really do hold a special place in our hearts. Our company name 196 (one-nine-six) Events is derived from Matthew 19:6 which reads “So they are no longer two, but one flesh, therefore what God has joined together let no one separate.”
Fun fact: we never had a wedding! Maybe that’s why we get so much joy witnessing our couples embark on this amazing journey. There is no bond greater than that of husband and wife. It is a spiritual, physical and emotional union. You are gaining a lifetime partner, a teammate & a Netflix buddy. So, while we love to party with everyone at the reception, our favorite part is the ceremony. As the bride and groom recite their vows, its’s always a sentimental reminder of the vows we took in 2006.”
What are 3 things you wish brides knew before they booked their DJ?
“1) There is a common misconception that the DJ’s only job is to play music. The truth is that cuing your music at the right time is only a fraction of your wedding DJ’s responsibilities. He will serve as your MC for the evening, interacting with your guests and making all of your announcements and introductions. With clear and concise instruction from your DJ, no one is left wondering where to go or what to do. He will also be responsible for managing your timeline. That may require making split second decisions in a moments notice, all while avoiding any awkward silence or dead air. Devail & I work closely with your other vendors throughout the night to ensure everything you have planned for your big day goes perfectly. Last but definitely not least, it is our job to ROCK THE PARTY! Across generations, different cultures and traditions, Devail will ensure that all your guests have a great time celebrating your wedding day.
2) The cost of hiring a professional DJ accounts for way more than the 4 hour reception. From your initial contact until your last dance, we spend approximately 20 hours on your wedding. Shocking right? This includes multiple emails, phone calls, planning meetings, creating timelines, preparing and downloading music, loading equipment, travel, setting up equipment in multiple locations, performing your wedding services (which accounts for about 6-8 hours with ceremony and cocktail service), breaking down, loading back up and storing our equipment. Whew! I’m tired just writing about it, but it is worth every second and bead of sweat to give our couples the wedding they’ve been dreaming of.
3) Book early. Experienced wedding DJ’s are usually booked 10-12 months out. As soon as you have your venue and photographer, you should book your DJ. Your DJ will have a HUGE impact on your day. You don’t want to be stuck with your 3rd or 4th option because your 1st and 2nd choices are already booked.”
What makes you stand out among the competition in Hampton Roads?
“I believe what sets us apart is our “why”. Everything we do in our business is centered around how we can best service our couples. It doesn’t matter how many weddings we’ve had in the past or how many we have lined up in the future, you should feel like you are our only couple. That means we go the extra mile and don’t overlook the little stuff. As a husband and wife team, you get double the expertise and double the perspective on how we can make your day better.”
Big thanks to Devail & Nikki for taking the time to answer these questions for us and our readers! 196 Events has been our favorite Hampton Roads Virginia wedding DJ team for several years now and we’re thankful to feature them on the blog and to learn a thing or two about the services they provide.
We hope you enjoyed this vendor spotlight blog, highlighting the 3 things to know when booking your wedding DJ! We hope that, if you’re a bride or have an upcoming event, you’ll reach out to 196 Events for your DJ/entertainment/photobooth needs. We love Devail & Nikki and we know you will too!
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