DJ Jerry B’s Blog Mostly daytime ramblings

August 30, 2010

Matt and Natasha – August 21st

Filed under: Weddings — Tags: , , , , , — DJJerryB @ 2:12 pm

I think there was possibly more collective brain power at this wedding than any I have done before.

Matt and Natasha met as freshmen at Harvard University and have been together ever since. Both have since finished law school, the bride having just taken the bar exam (and the groom is taking it shortly.) Planning a wedding can be stressful on its own — the fact that these two did it while also preparing for the intensive next step in their careers was impressive.

And, just to add a little EXTRA excitement to their plans, the couple learned only 24 hours before the wedding that the ceremony musicians they had hired were not going to be able to perform. The groom’s parents rallied quickly and found that The International String Trio could fill in. Fill in? The late scrambling may have been a blessing in disguise; not only was the ceremony music truly beautiful, but the ensuing cocktail hour was a rich and entertaining blend of classical, jazz and popular standards, performed meticulously. I had only the briefest opportunity to speak with their director (and guitar master) Slava Tolstoy, but he and his ensemble may have been the heroes of the day.

The ceremony and reception both took place at the Endicott Estate in Dedham. I have to admit that there are challenges working in a historic mansion; the architects simply didn’t take into consideration that, 106 years later, people would be chomping at the bit to dance to Lady Gaga.

August 21, 2010

How Much Do You Charge?

Filed under: Advice — Tags: , — DJJerryB @ 1:45 pm

Sometimes this is the ONLY question raised in an e-mail. I’m not kidding. I’ve received e-mails that look something like this:

From: CuriousCustomer@XYZ.com
To: info@djjerryb.com
Subject: DJ
Message:  Hi, how much do you charge? Thank you.

Now I know some might think that this is a legitimate first question for a DJ, but stop and think about it for a moment or two. Imagine walking into Legal Sea Foods and asking, “How much is dinner?”

I purposefully don’t list rates on my website. Why? Because the legitimate answer is, “It depends.”

If it’s a wedding, I’ll typically spend anywhere from 12 to 25 hours for what the customer sees as a five hour reception. If it’s a backyard barbecue or pool party, it’s usually more like show up, set-up, play, tear down and go home. And there is just about everything in between those two extremes. Do I charge different customers different rates? Yup. Because their needs are different.

If someone is getting married on a Saturday in July, needs a second sound system for their ceremony, and the event is being held in Maine, it’s not going to be the same as a simple birthday party on a Sunday afternoon, right down the street, in the middle of February.

When someone contacts me, I never quote a price until I feel I have enough information to do so. And it’s not a question of being secretive or underhanded. It’s intended to be just the opposite. How can I give you a clearly stated, non-negotiable price until I know all the variables? Here are some things that you will never see me do:

  • You won’t see me inflate the price based on how fancy the venue of your reception is, the size of the diamond you are wearing or the car you are driving when we meet.
  • I won’t hesitate to commit to an all-inclusive price once I know all of the details.
  • I won’t try to upsell you on more than you need.
  • I won’t match the price of a competitor or try to lowball them by a few dollars to try to steal their business.
  • And I won’t be anything other than straightforward with you from first contact until we shake hands and say goodbye.

The rate that I charge is going to be more than some DJ’s and less than others. I am reasonably priced but I am not, by any definition, a “budget” disc jockey. In fact, I would go so far as to say that if price is your FIRST consideration, I am probably not your best choice. While my rates will never be the lowest of the choices, the care with which I treat my clients is unusual. I think you will find my prices to be in line with DJs as highly experienced in the workings of a wedding as I am. And many who do what I do charge much more.

August 9, 2010

Jim and Sally – August 7th

Filed under: Weddings — Tags: , , , , , , — DJJerryB @ 12:14 am

A wedding at Fenway Park. What else can you say? While the Red Sox were in the Bronx taking on the Yankees, Jim and Sally were holding down the fort back home, along with nearly 150 of their closest friends and family.

Why Fenway Park? Simple. It’s where they met. The two discovered that they were reading the same book, conversation began, and the rest is pretty much history. And since Fenway is such an important part of their lives, they incorporated it into every aspect of their day, including the ceremony itself which, I might add,  took place in the seating area behind home plate. As reference for the Fenway Faithful, guests were seated in Sections 127 and 128. Sally came down the aisle (the steps leading down from the Grandstands) to a raucous rendition of  “I’m Shipping Up to Boston” with guests clapping their hands and stomping their feet at her arrival. I get chills when I think back to that moment. I mean, come on, I’m cranking out The Dropkick Murphy’s at Fenway Park! And for such a huge day to this very fun couple. If you can’t get excited for something like that, it’s time to put away the laptop.

Oh, and about that ceremony. Their Justice of the Peace was Carol J. Merletti, who opened with, “Ladies and Gentleman. Boys and girls. Welcome to Fenway Park, America’s most beloved ballpark, for this afternoon’s wedding between Jim and Sally…”

Their reception was held upstairs in the EMC Club where the fun continued. Fenway franks were included among the hors d’oeurves, cupcakes decorated to look like baseballs were substituted for wedding cake and the centerpieces consisted of small buckets filled with candy bars, bubble gum, peanuts, Cracker Jack and a Boston Red Sox Pez dispenser. Guests had been invited to dress casually, and to feel free to wear sports attire from their favorite team (as long as it’s the Red Sox!) In actuality, there were not only Red Sox fans in attendance, but also those who cheer for the Yankees, Indians and a few other teams. One of their close friends had even flown in from London just to be there for the wedding.

To Jim and to Sally, thank you. There was a lot of work that went into your day and it’s one that I will truly never forget. I hope you have a blast in Ireland. The only thing that I’m sorry about is that the Red Sox lost to the Evil Empire, 5-2.

Now, any Celtics fans out there who want to get married at The Garden?

August 2, 2010

Lucile and Joe Henry – July 24th

Filed under: Weddings — Tags: , , , , — DJJerryB @ 6:46 am

Lu and Joe H. held their ceremony and reception at Hartman’s Herb Farm in Barre, Massachusetts. Hartman’s is an operating family farm and is one of my favorite venues. Owned and operated by Carissa, Lynn and Peter Hartman, their staff is among the best I’ve worked with and the food is always excellent. For anyone who may be considering a small to medium sized wedding in the Central Massachusetts area, check this place out.

The ceremony was a true family affair. The Bride’s sister Fran performed the ceremony. Sisters Jean and Ruth did readings from Corinthians and the Apache Wedding Blessing. Nephews Colin and Devon (accompanied on flute by their dad Robert) delivered a masterful performance of Johnny Nash’s “I Can See Clearly Now.” You can’t get more personal and unique than that.

The other thing that I noted was that virtually ALL of their family and friends had traveled from around the country to stand witness. I only recall meeting one couple who was from Massachusetts; everyone else had arrived from North Carolina, Maryland, Texas, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Washington (and I’m sure other places as well…) To have so many people travel out of their way to share in the day speaks a great deal about the bride and groom.

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