DJ Jerry B’s Blog Mostly daytime ramblings

December 29, 2010

Picking Songs For Your Wedding

Filed under: Advice — Tags: , , , — DJJerryB @ 10:58 am

This is not going to be about choosing music for your first dance, last dance, the Bride with her dad or Groom with his mom. Perhaps that will be material for another post. This is about picking songs for your DJ to play during the dance portion of your reception. Couples can be all over the map on this one.

I have had a few prospective  customers call me who wanted to choose every song, and, in one instance,  to have them all played in a specific order. No variations and no requests from guests.

Um… okay… why did you call me? If all you need is someone push the play button, you don’t need a DJ.

Don’t get me wrong. I want input from every person who hires me. It’s the only way for me to get to know your likes and dislikes. Make as many suggestions as you like relative to music and song preferences. Choose 10 or choose 100. It’s really completely up to you. And I promise that I will take every suggestion that you offer to help build a play list that will make your reception as fun as it can be.

It has been so overused that I try to avoid using the term “it’s your day.”

Yes, it is your day. If you hire me, you are my boss that day. And it’s my duty to do the best I can to give you and your guests the best entertainment possible. That means being flexible. It means watching your guests and how they respond to the music selections. Choosing the time to change the tempo to try to get everyone on the dance floor. It means choosing different songs or styles because it’s what the crowd is responding to. It’s being able to play a request from a guest because it will add to the energy of the mix. And it sometimes means diplomatically saying no to a request that isn’t right for the moment. These are things that can’t be done by simply pushing the play button.

So you say you don’t want to hear those cheesy songs that every DJ plays? Guess what. DJs don’t want to hear them either.  Believe it or not, when I am getting ready to leave for a performance, the first thought going through my head is not, “Oh boy, I get to hear ‘Y.M.C.A.’ for the 8,000th time!” No talented DJ will ever add those songs to his play list for the evening. A veteran DJ only plays songs like The Macarena, The Electric Slide, Cha-Cha Slide or (ugh….) Chicken Dance because either a client or a guest requests it. Will I play them if the client has said it is okay to accept those requests? Yes I will and I’ll do it with a smile on my face. Why? Because it’s my duty to make everyone feel that there is room at the party for them. That said, you should absolutely provide your DJ with a do not play list for any songs that, under any circumstances, you don’t want to hear. And you should be specific by adding “even if requested by a guest.”

In a typical wedding reception, you will likely end up with around two hours of open dancing. That will translate to between 35 and 40 songs. Keep those numbers in mind If you have any must play songs for this portion of the reception. If you choose 30 songs that you have to hear, you are not leaving much room for your DJ to show the flexibility needed to craft the music that your guests will remember.

December 9, 2010

Questions to Ask Your DJ When You Don’t Know What to Ask

Filed under: Advice — Tags: , , — DJJerryB @ 11:08 am

Although not intended to be all-inclusive, if you’re hiring a disc jockey for the first time and don’t know where to start, here are a few questions to include in your initial inquiry:

Question #1. Are you available?

I know it may sound pretty basic, but you would be surprised how many times I’ll get an e-mail asking about my rates, style, experience, etc. without mention of a date. None of that matters if I’m already booked. Give your prospective disc jockey the date, time and location of your function before asking anything else.

Question #2. Do you offer a written Contract?

If the DJ you are considering only does business with a handshake, or a wink and a smile, run (do not walk) for the door. The Contract should clearly spell out all charges, what is required, and what is included.

Question #3. Do you require a deposit/retainer to hold the date. If so, how much is it?

Most vendors will require a retainer. It can be a flat dollar amount, but is more commonly a percentage of the total charge (in my experience, between 25% and 50% of the total is the norm.)

Question #4. What styles of music do you have?

Again, you would think of this as a no-brainer, but on more than one occasion, someone has hired me, generally at the last minute, failing to mention that the party has a “theme” — and I’m caught unprepared to play four hours of “NASCAR’s Greatest Hits”…

Question #5. Do you maintain a list of references that we can contact?

Don’t just rely on testimonials posted on a website. As unconscionable as it is, there are examples in which those “testimonials” are not from genuine satisfied customers. Some less than scrupulous vendors have been known to have friends, family or hired reviewers write what they think prospective customers would want to read. Some others have offered deeply discounted (or free) services in exchange for a favorable review. It’s not ethical, and I HOPE it’s the exception, but it does happen.

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