Wedding Martin Scorsese

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Top Questions to Ask a Wedding DJ Page 2

Lets finish up with questions number 16 through 30.
16. When do you arrive to set up for our wedding?
When dealing with sub-standard DJs, there are often issues with them being punctual and set up well in advance of your guests’ arrival. Professional DJs will always arrive at least a full hour before their scheduled start time in order to have adequate time to set up and get organized before the wedding. RJC Studio’s policy is to arrive at least an hour and a half before our scheduled start time.
17. How much of a deposit is required to secure our date?
Almost every DJ will require some sort of deposit or retainer in order to secure your date. This is for their protection and yours. The industry standard for deposits is 50%. Some DJs require far less, but this is not always a good idea. If the contract language doesn’t stipulate a specific guarantee of services and clearly outline a cancellation policy, the DJ may only legally be responsible for returning your deposit (sometimes as little as $25) in order to back out of doing your wedding. While it would certainly be considered unprofessional, there certainly isn’t any financial incentive for the DJ if he’s only forced to pay a small fee for backing out on you.
18. What is included in the cost of my event?
DJs use vastly different systems when pricing their services. Most DJs price their services a la carte, charging an hourly rate and adding charges for any additional equipment needed. Others choose to use a flat-rate pricing system and make their packages all-inclusive. You need to be clear about what a DJ is offering for the price they’ve quoted you, so you can compare their package to those of the other DJs you are interviewing.

19. How much would you charge for overtime?
Hopefully your DJ will do such a wonderful job at your wedding that you’d like to keep dancing! Be sure that the DJ’s contract outlines a specific rate for additional time at the end of the night, whether it is a set price or a pro-rated amount based on the original price.
20. What do you require from us?
Every DJ will require a few things that you’ll need to provide them in order to be successful. The most common are adequate shelter and electricity. Make sure that you understand exactly what the DJ needs from you so you can communicate those needs to your reception site and caterer.
21. Do you require a meal?
NO! Some DJs require that they receive a meal at the wedding, and some even demand that they be fed the same food as your guests. Others do not require a meal at all, or simply accept one if you happen to offer. Again, be sure you know what the DJ’s requirements are so you can plan accordingly.
22. Are you insured?
YES! It is absolutely essential that any DJ you consider carries a full liability insurance policy. Some reception sites have even taken the step of requiring all vendors working at their facility to provide proof of insurance before the wedding. Liability insurance protects you and the reception site in the unlikely event that your DJ injures one of your guests or burns your reception site to the ground.
23. Do you take any breaks?
NO! One of the major advantages to using a DJ instead of a band is that a DJ does not need to take breaks, outside of using the restroom and possibly eating a meal quickly in another room (if this is what your site contact or caterer requires). In any case, the DJ should assure you that there would be no break in the music at any point during the reception.

24. What is your policy on alcohol or smoking during the wedding?
A professional DJ will never consume alcohol or take cigarette breaks during your wedding. If you interview a DJ and he tells you he needs a few drinks to “loosen up” while working, you should probably look for a DJ with higher standards of professionalism.
25. What kind of equipment do you use?
Any DJ you consider should be proud of his sound system, and should be using professional-grade equipment. Most DJs understand that you are very unlikely to have a working knowledge of professional DJ equipment, but he should be able to describe his sound system to you. You should not hear very many “home audio” brands in what he describes – the top brands for DJ equipment are Pioneer, Denon, Traktor, Electro-Voice (EV), JBL, HK Audio, Mackie, RANE, QSC, and Shure.
26. Do you bring backup equipment with you to the wedding?
Even the very best and most well maintained equipment would malfunction at some point. Your DJ needs to be prepared in case this happens at your wedding. The only way you will not suffer a setback on your special day is if the DJ brings a full second sound system with them to each and every wedding. Having backup equipment in a warehouse 50 miles from your reception site won’t do much good if there is no music at your wedding for an hour. RJC Studios always brings backup equipment.
27. Do you have a wireless microphone?
YES! Every professional wedding DJ should offer a wireless microphone to be used for your guests’ toasts, blessing, and any other speeches that need to be made. The industry standard for wireless microphones is Shure, and most professional DJs use Shure wireless technology.
28. Do you have a “light show”?
YES! Some DJs also offer “party lights,” either as part of their package or as an additional service they can provide. You should find out whether the DJ plans on setting up lights for the dance floor, and whether this matches your preferences. Also, if you do desire a light show, you may want to ask how this will affect the aesthetics of your reception (in other words, how bulky/cumbersome the setup is) and the quality of your photographs or video.
29. Do you set up a sign or banner with your equipment?
NO! Shameless self-promotion sometimes rears its ugly head at wedding receptions in the form of a sign or banner advertising the DJ’s company name and contact information. These items inevitably find their way into your wedding pictures and video, and ruin what is an otherwise commercial-free event. This practice is repulsive and completely unprofessional, and we believe that any DJ that does this should never be hired for a wedding.
30. Do you belong to any professional associations or trade groups?
YES! If a DJ is serious about his craft and interested in becoming a better performer, they will often join a local DJ association or trade group. These are opportunities for DJs to interact with one another, share ideas, and network with other DJs who might be able to help them should they ever have an emergency. While membership in one of these organizations is not a guarantee of that DJ’s talent level, it does at least show a willingness to grow and improve and become a better DJ.

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