DJ Jerry B’s Blog Mostly daytime ramblings

January 1, 2015

2015 – Happy New Year

Filed under: Weddings — Tags: , , , , , , , , — DJJerryB @ 12:08 pm

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Being a DJ means that you have down time — especially come winter and “off-season”. There is always something to be done. This is the time for new and upgraded equipment purchasing. I do a good amount of research before adding to the equipment inventory, especially now that I am offering rentals. Of course, it’s also a good time to do early work for tax-filing (always such a joy, but I’d rather do it now, rather than waiting until the deadline, which is also just about the official start of wedding season.)

Traditionally, it is also the time when inquiries roll in for wedding season. Many, MANY couples get engaged between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day. There are also a few winter weddings on the docket, so it’s a fun time to put energy into those. The website will get some minor tweaks. I’m also happy to have connected with a vendor — a truly gifted Celebrant — and I’m glad to have the opportunity to add her to the links page.

So for me, in every sense of the word, it’s a New Year. I hope yours is as good as mine looks to be.

January 26, 2014

A Match NOT made in Heaven

Filed under: Weddings — Tags: , , , , , , , , — DJJerryB @ 5:47 pm

Client inquiries come in a variety of flavors.  Some include little to no information, some provide the basics and some provide so much background that you feel like you’re ready to do the job based on first contact. That first contact, for me, generally sets the tone of the client relationship and, more often than not, gives me a good indication on whether we could have a good working relationship.

I received an e-mail just a day or two ago and was immediately excited at the prospect of meeting a new client. It was straight to the point: date, time, location.  There was a further qualifier that she was certain she would have many more questions but the first was whether or not I was booked.  Someone who was so efficient in getting the basics to me immediately makes me believe that we are going to be a good match.

I was wrong.

She started off by asking some of the boilerplate questions that suggested that she visited a few wedding “help” sites on things to ask your wedding vendors and that was great with me. She acknowledged that she had never hired a DJ before and wasn’t sure what to ask, so I reassured her that she was doing fine. Then came what was to become the deal breaker.

“Music is really important to us and we’d like to choose a lot of the music ourselves. Is that something you’d be okay with?”

It’s not at all unusual for a client to have strong feelings about their music and many want significant input on various aspects of their day. In point of fact, I stress to every one of my couples that I want their input on as much or as little as they choose to take on. First dance, parent or family dances, music styles or genres for the cocktail and dinner hours, the “must play” and “do not play” during the dance portion of the evening — I want to hear it all and work with them to craft an evening that will be fun, both for them and their guests.

As the conversation went on, it became apparent that they didn’t want to provide input. They want to micromanage just about every aspect of the musical portion of the day (in essence, they wanted to specify 90 to 95% of the music that would be played.)

I felt very much like the Grinch in the Dr. Seuss book. I puzzled and puzzled ’till my puzzler was sore. Why would anyone want to pay a professional, at professional rates, when they have already decided that they “know better” how to do what that professional does for a living?

I realize that there could be any number of reasons they are pursuing things the way they are. Maybe they’ve had a bad experience with a DJ at a wedding or party before. Maybe they have listened to other people complain about THEIR experience. Perhaps they are just terribly self-centered and want precisely and exactly what they want, without regard to what might make their guests happy. It could be that they flat out don’t trust anyone but themselves (not the DJ, not the guests…)

See, here’s the thing. I speak often about how important it is to feel a connection with everyone you hire for your wedding. I could have said ‘yes’ to everything she said during that phone conversation, purely for the sake of trying to land a payday. But I can’t do that. This IS a business and, in this economy, I have to tell you, it’s not easy to turn away the prospect of new business. But I also never lose sight of the fact that my job is to help facilitate one of the most important days in a person’s life. If I can’t approach it with 100% commitment and 100% belief that I am THE person to do the job for them, all of that would would just be marketing claptrap. It’s not.

I more-or-less took myself out of consideration for that couple. To her credit, she thanked me, quite sincerely, for my honesty and candor. I truly do hope that she finds THE perfect person to work with for her wedding.

 

 

August 5, 2012

Rocking and rolling

Filed under: Fun — Tags: , , , — DJJerryB @ 3:35 pm

After a very prolonged absence, I’m hoping that this will mark my return to more or less regular blogging. So I’m starting off with something light…

DJ Jerry B is pleased to unveil the latest vehicle in his fleet: the RocknRoller Multi-Cart.

 

 

 

 

It’s available in your choice of colors (as long as your choice is black) and trim (hint: be fond of yellow.)

All joking aside, this thing really does kick butt. It can be configured, by my count, at least eight different ways and folds to less than three feet in length. Weighing in at less than 30 pounds, it carries a ton of weight — okay, technically it’s only rated up to 500 pounds, but you get the picture. As someone who routinely has to move a large amount of equipment a considerable distance, dealing with elevators and long hallways, this is possibly the best piece of equipment I have ever invested in.  Even working alone, it enables me to get everything in one trip.

February 14, 2012

Valentine’s Day Special on DJ Services!

Filed under: Advice,Weddings — Tags: , , , , , — DJJerryB @ 12:48 pm

Yeah, that’s not going to happen here. I’ve seen ads all over the web from every Tom, Dick and Harry offering one so-called “special” after another. I suppose if you are operating a restaurant or retail store, and you are trying to get people to discover the products that you offer, an incentive with a gimmick attached is as good a way as any. It’s the reason that mass-buying outfits like Groupon exist. The idea is that, once you try us, you’ll be back for more.

I have consistently rejected this approach for a variety of reasons. For most people, hiring a DJ is a one time experience. From a marketing perspective,  in my opinion, when you offer “discounts” for arbitrary reasons, you only lessen the value of your services by sending a subliminal message to the customer that your full (non-discounted) rates are inflated and out of line with what you have to offer. I do discount for reasons that are important to me. Military personnel and their immediate families always get the best rate I can justify. The same goes for charitable organizations that I have a personal relationship with. I don’t talk about it too much and I won’t go into those details here — the reasons are purely personal and there is no need discuss it in this type of forum.

Another reason to stay away from this type of come-on is that it’s gimmicky. I’m not about gimmicks (or any trick to get you to hire me.) I am as straightforward as I can be with clients and using any type of bait just doesn’t suit me well.

So, in short, there is no coupon code of “SheSaidYes!” or “today only” sales going on. The only thing I’ll do, to those of you that celebrate it, and especially to those who are getting engaged today, is to wish you all a Happy Valentine’s Day.

Oh, and if you need a wedding disc jockey, I know a guy: http://djjerryb.com

 

November 14, 2011

Shannon and Matt – Smith Barn

Filed under: Weddings — Tags: , , , , , , — DJJerryB @ 5:21 pm

A return to Smith Barn at Brooksby Farm in Peabody for Shannon and Matt’s celebration was my final wedding in 2011. I couldn’t have been more pleased to end my wedding season with these two.

Shannon was the ultimate planner, having originally contacted me fourteen months prior to the wedding.  It was a great plan, since they were to have a destination wedding in Key West, Florida, followed by a party for all of their family and friends back home. All of that changed when Matt was accepted by the Boston Police Academy, thereby canceling the plan for a wedding in Key West in October (it’s hard to have a wedding when one-half of the couple can’t be there…) They had already secured tickets to see Jimmy Buffett at the Comcast Center in Mansfield and, being self-described major Parrotheads, they decided to get married there in the parking lot, surrounded by 20,000 of their closest friends. Imagine that: after nine years together (they met in college at Hofstra University) and all the early planning, they ended up putting together the actual wedding in only two weeks. A fantastic slideshow of that day in June was shown to the guests immediately preceding their vow renewal and it set the tone for the rest of the evening.

Shannon and Matt have had their share of challenges on the road to marriage, but they come from good stock. Each of them have parents that have been married for more than 30 years, which was celebrated through the dedication of Alan Jackson’s “Remember When.” I have no doubt that they will be celebrating their own 30th anniversary. And if Jimmy Buffett is still around and singing, I have no doubt HOW they will celebrate — nibbling on sponge cake…

October 25, 2011

Kristin and Nick – Indian Pond Country Club

Filed under: Weddings — Tags: , , , , , , — DJJerryB @ 9:05 am

Opulent. No other word describes the Indian Pond Country Club in Kingston, Massachusetts, which is where Kristin and Nick held both their ceremony and reception. It was so lavish that I almost (ALMOST) felt like I was in over my head.

As has been the case many times this year, the bride and groom hired me to do the sound for their ceremony as well as reception. And, true to course this year, the skies were threatening rain. As an aside, a word of advice to couples considering having their ceremony outdoors: if it’s your dream, go for it (and have a solid plan “B” in place in case the weather refuses to cooperate.) If, however, you’re on the fence about it, I strongly suggest having your ceremony indoors. I have done around a dozen ceremonies this year and every single one of them have given the couple an extra element to consider in the days leading up to their wedding. With so much else on your mind, why add one more thing to think about?

That ceremony was quite sweet and I witnessed, for the first time, a wine box ceremony. The couple selected a favorite bottle of wine and placed it into a wooden box. They each brought along a sealed envelope containing a letter that they had written to the other, describing what it was about the person that made them fall in love and decide to share a life together. Neither knows what the other has written and, after placing the letters and wine inside, the box is locked (the Justice of the Peace joked that he felt Kristin should keep the key…) The box is to stay locked until their 10th anniversary at which time the couple will open the box, enjoy the wine and read the letters that were written. At that time, a new bottle of wine will be selected and new letters will be written. The box is sealed again for another 5 or 10 years at which time the process is repeated. It was quite touching.

Nick was possibly the most animated, engaging groom I’ve ever worked with. He was clearly having the time of his life. When the time came for the cake cutting, he appeared to be on his best behavior and, after slicing a piece of cake, raised it to Kristin’s lips…and promptly leaned in and ate it himself. Apparently he really likes cake because it took two or three more attempts to get it right. When Kristin’s turn came, she was clearly NOT going to repeat his antics and fed him quite sweetly  — before delivering the best follow-through I’ve seen since Ted Williams and pushing it up into his face — a totally spontaneous move I am absolutely certain. I’m not generally a fan of this “tradition” but in this case it WAS pretty comical. If that wasn’t funny enough, the little victory dance she performed was (every pun intended) the icing on the cake. Nick, true to form, never even broke character, instead turning to the photographer and asking, “Do I have something on my face?”

October 3, 2011

Who has the best customers?

Filed under: Fun,Personal,Weddings — Tags: , , , , — DJJerryB @ 1:09 pm

I do. Without question…

I like to talk about the concept of finding the right “fit” when interviewing wedding vendors. It really goes both ways because, from my perspective, not every person who makes initial contact with me is my ideal customer. If the last few years are any indication, identifying that fit has become very effective and I couldn’t be happier with, or more proud of, the relationships that have been built. It’s a labor of love to help create a wedding celebration that is both tasteful and FUN. And my customers give back to me.

For the last couple of years, I have increased my visibility on WeddingWire, which is a wedding planning website. Not only does it offer planning tools, it also provides an opportunity for customers to post reviews of their experience with their wedding vendors. I am continually humbled by the rave reviews that my customers post in their own words. And not just the fact that they were happy with the job that I did for them, but that they take so much time to express the level of their satisfaction. Want to see what I mean about how great they are? Take a look for yourself here.

Beyond that I get e-mails and handwritten ‘thank you’ cards, sometimes MONTHS later. And not too long ago I had one former bride  that sent along a note immediately upon returning home from her first anniversary dinner with her husband. She had been reflecting on how much fun she had on her wedding day and just wanted to say thank you again. I firmly believe that not everyone is lucky enough to meet these types of people.

Then, just this past week, a package comes in the mail. Upon opening it, I discover a small card that reads, “Thank you Jerry, Everyone enjoyed the music! – Liz and Chris 9/4”. Also, there is this:

 

You are looking at a box of Cakettes, which, I learned upon research on their website, are a hybrid of chocolate truffles and cupcakes. Allegedly they can keep for two weeks without refrigeration. For me, about one pot of coffee should just about do it…

 

September 28, 2011

Matthew and Chrissy – Spinelli’s

Connecting with Matthew and Chrissy was the result of a fortunate turn of events. Another couple had wanted to hire me for the same date but, due to changes in their planning, I was available when the bride e-mailed me. After working with them, I could not have been more pleased. This is as genuine a couple as you could ever hope to meet.

Chrissy is originally from Arizona and Matthew hails from Indiana. If you have ever met anyone from the west or midwest, you know that you are dealing with a different mindset. It’s definitely different from native New Englanders and it showed at every phase working with them. Matthew is a disarmingly over-the-top nice guy — almost to the point that I found myself forgetting that it was a business transaction we were participating in. And their reception could only be described a “simple elegance”. Everything from table settings and centerpieces to the cake was beautiful but simple and tasteful.

Spinelli’s in East Boston is a great facility but it’s not the easiest location to navigate. The Ted Williams tunnel may get you INTO Eastie, but those neighborhood streets can be a challenge.  Since the vast majority of their guests were from out -of-state, the bride and groom had arranged for buses to shuttle guests to the reception from the ceremony. This was a great plan since, not only is parking somewhat limited, it’s pretty easy to get lost — which is exactly what happened when we heard that one of the buses carrying guests was indeed “missing”. All turned out well in the end and the festivities that were planned were only delayed by a few minutes.

Once everyone had arrived, we jumped right into the introduction and first dance. This is something that I truly enjoy every time, since it sets the stage for the entire reception. This one was unique from any I had ever done, since Matthew had asked his good friend Scott (a Berklee graduate and master guitar player to play.) Scott and I got along great and it was pure pleasure listening to him “vamp” as we got ready to introduce the couple. They entered and he transitioned seamlessly into a really sweet rendition Israel Kamakamiwo’ole’s cover of “What A Wonderful World” — the hairs were standing on my arms that evening and they are again as I write about it.

Later, after the cake cutting, I learned more about the connection to family and tradition that this couple cling to. It has to do with when and how they became engaged. The details are pretty involved, but in summary, Matthew proposed to Chrissy at the same location where his parents became engaged, the ring he gave her was his grandmother’s and they got married on his parent’s anniversary.

Matthew and Chrissy you were a joy to work with (I also SINCERELY appreciate the fabulous review.) Thanks for letting me be part of your celebration.

August 29, 2011

Kathy and Paula – Colonial Inn

Filed under: Weddings — Tags: , , , , , , — DJJerryB @ 1:18 pm

Kathy and Paula held their private ceremony on Cape Cod at the end of July and wanted to host a post-wedding reception for their family and closest friends at the Colonial Inn in Concord. I was told that as they looked around the room, they couldn’t think of anyone that they didn’t REALLY want to be there.

Okay, so who invited Irene?

Pulling off this incredibly fun reception was a matter of good planning and great timing. As Hurricane Irene was moving her way up the east coast, Kathy and Paula’s friends were making their own travel plans to be there. Many were traveling from the exact areas that were in the path of the hurricane — New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and, I’m sure, one or two others. In my mind, it was a race to stay ahead of the worst conditions. And to tell you the truth, I was impressed by how few guests didn’t make the trip — it’s a testament to how special these people were to this wonderful couple. The celebration wrapped up within hours of when Irene hit Massachusetts.

Planning for Kathy and Paula’s celebration was fun. They had their own taste in fun music, mostly 80’s, but were keen on having me put together a diverse play list so that everyone in attendance could party down. And party they did.

I don’t think I’ll ever forget their official first dance. We started it off as Etta James “At Last” and, just as the guests started to believe that it was going to be a slow romantic dance, we threw in the sound effect of a record scratching and kicked it into high gear with the Pointer Sisters bouncy rendition of “I’m So Excited”. Their wedding party joined them on the dance floor sporting colorful boas. Many of the guests joined in as well.  Have I mentioned how fun it was? I wish I could have captured it on video to share with you.

A special thank you goes out to Arthur, the captain in charge at the Colonial Inn. He and his crew did a great job of keeping everybody comfortable — and he even led the spotlight moment when the brides cut the cake — and he managed to completely engage everyone in the process.

Kathy and Paula were an absolute joy to meet and to work with. They have already been together for 26 years and the special bond that they share is pretty obvious. And I met some of the sweetest, nicest guests as well. My thanks truly do go out to each and every one of them.

 

August 10, 2011

Dawn and Emily – John Carver Inn

Filed under: Weddings — Tags: , , , , , — DJJerryB @ 9:35 am

“And, for the first time as legally wedded spouses, let’s welcome Dawn and Emily, who are celebrating 35 years of friendship and love”…

Dawn and Emily’s wedding was a long time coming, so they definitely wanted it their way. In fact, my role at their celebration at the John Carver Inn was much more geared toward being a host and emcee than that of DJ. Dawn had selected special songs to be played as dedications to many of the friends and family that were in attendance. It was a little different from my normal role, but I have to say that I was happy to be connected to such a deeply committed couple.

Friendship was a very strong recurring theme at Dawn and Emily’s wedding in Plymouth. I was more than just a little impressed with the durability of the relationships that they had both sustained over the years. I had the chance to witness, for the first time, a candle dance. It started off with humor, as every guest in attendance did their best to learn the steps while trying to maintain a circle (and NOT drop their candle.) They did a great job and, when the lights were lowered and the dance was done for real, it was quite touching. The end of the dance calls for every person to place their candle in a box of sand in the center of the circle, all done silently. Very moving.

Here’s to another 35 years together.

 

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