DJ EXPERTS MANUEL AND OPERATIONS
CHAPTER 1: THE CHAIN OF EVENTS
1. Receive “hot lead” from DJ Experts Company via email. At that time, we will put you in DJEP as the status of “active” with that lead.
2. Email or call us back as soon as you receive the lead so that we know it is not “ﬂoating.”
3. Call or email the lead within 24 hours of receipt to set up an appointment. If you cannot do so, please send the lead back. You are not allowed to hold the lead more than one day. Let us know date, time and location of your meeting after scheduled.
4. Meet with the client and use the wedding booklet and Keynote/ PowerPoint.
5. Notify the client that we will hold their date for them for 7 days from the meeting date.
6. Fill out the Meeting Recap Sheet IMMEDIATELY so that we have all of the client info when they call to book.
7. Inform the client that when they are ready to book they may let the DJ know or call or email our ofﬁce. Mike or Jenn can ﬁnalize the details and book the show. Do not give out contracts at the meeting. We will handle all of that here. If they feel compelled to leave a deposit that day, it is okay; just leave it on my desk and I will send the contract.
8. Regularly check DJEP (your password is private and has been assigned to you) to see your upcoming shows and client’s planners.
9. It is very important that you enter any dates that you want off into DJEP as soon as you know them, especially Saturdays. We will assume you are open to take a lead unless we see that date submitted as OFF in DJEP.
10. CALL your client the week of the event in order to go over the planners, times, directions, etc.
11. We will email you a few days before the show to “advance” the date. This email needs to be responded to promptly so that we can rest assured
you are set for the weekend’s shows.
12. Check to make sure lights were not added last minute.
13. Do the show! Collect check, cash or credit card number from client (if needed). Make sure you know their balance before leaving for the show. Always take the contract with you.
14. Submit your invoice on our website and get paid.
CHAPTER 2: SELLING OUR SERVICES
This is the most important part of our job: getting gigs. If you are bad at selling our services, you will not get any jobs from clients. You must always be professional, courteous, conﬁdent, and enthusiastic.
The Couple’s Meeting
The ﬁrst thing you will do is to get a lead from the ofﬁce. We will email you the customer’s name, the date they are requesting our services, their phone number and e-mail address.
• You must be in contact with the client within 24 hours of receiving the lead. You may call the client or email them depending on what the lead says.
• As soon as you receive the lead, let the ofﬁce know so that we can update the leads board.
• Once you have contacted them, you must set up a time to meet them in person, unless they are out of town and want a phone or Skype meeting, to tell them about our services and so that they can see you in person. We usually like to meet at the DJ Experts Company Ofﬁce so you can show
them the Keynote/PowerPoint Presentation. Also, it shows we are professional and serious about this profession.
• Once you have contacted them and set up an appointment on iCal, you MUST let the ofﬁce know you have arranged a meeting, and when and where the meeting will take place.
• Make sure to put the time and date on your calendar, computer, and smartphone.
• Also, collect the client’s cell number and give them yours.
• Try to get to the meeting 30 minutes prior to set up the Keynote/ PowerPoint Presentation.
call us back as soon as you receive the lead so that we know it is not “ﬂoating.”
• DO NOT BE LATE FOR THE MEETING!! This is a deﬁnite way to NOT get hired.
This is what we give each couple we meet. You must become familiar with the website
DJ Experts Presentation
It is extremely useful for couples meetings. It has the history of the company, what to expect from our services, the online planning and music planning as well as pricing. Here is a summary of what you will go over:
1. Discuss their needs for their event
2. Give them a brief history of DJ Experts Company and your background
3. How to use our website to ﬁll out their music and reception planners
4. Our pricing
5. What to do if they would like to book us
You will need to get some info for our records, and hopefully their contract, from the client for the Meeting Recap Sheet (MRS). The MRS is found on a hidden page of our company website. They include:
• Couple’s Names
• Two phone numbers
• Email address and mailing address • Times of the event
• Where the event will take place
CHAPTER 3: MANAGING A RECEPTION
The Components of a Wedding Reception
Most wedding receptions are broken down into 11 parts.
1. The cocktail hour/social hour
This is the time that the guests will be there after the ceremony, but before the announcement of the couple. You may be called upon to DJ this part of the event, and it could be in a separate room where you would need an auxiliary speaker or second system. Make sure to check!
If they pick the same style of music for cocktails and dinner, the cocktail music will be more upbeat than dinner. Remember, this is background music. Make sure it is just loud enough to be heard and not so loud that it annoys guests and they cannot have a conversation.
2. Introduction of the Couple and/or Wedding Party
As an MC, wedding party introductions are the FIRST IMPRESSION you will make at weddings. The keys to making a good introduction are also the keys to making a great MC. They are:
• Strong command (without being rude)
• Good presence
• The ability to co-ordinate and work with other professionals at the
wedding • Conﬁdence
The ﬁrst thing you will need to do is make sure the couple, as well as the rest of the Wedding party are ready to be announced. When they are, take your wedding planner and a pen with you to where they are standing and ready to come through the doors. Line everyone up in the order they will be announced and go over pronunciations. Here is an example of a complete wedding party line-up in announcing order:
Grandparents of the Bride (most of the time seated) Grandparents of the Groom (most of the time seated) Parents of the Bride Parents of the Groom
The Ushers Flower Girl & Ring Bearer Bridesmaids & Groomsmen Maid (Single) / Matron (Married) Of Honor & Best Man Newlyweds
You will tell the wedding party what they will do as soon as they enter the room. Normally they either go to their seats (you will need to know where their table is and tell them where to go), or they may stand around the dance ﬂoor in a semi- circle for the couple’s ﬁrst dance. This makes a great picture during their ﬁrst dance and takes you out of the picture.
Sample First Announcement: “Ladies & Gentlemen, if I could have your attention please. We will begin our bridal party introductions shortly. Would you please make your way to your seats and direct your attention to the back of the room where the wedding party will enter. Thank you.”
Sample Introduction Script: Start music “Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like to announce OUR wedding party. If you
would please bring your attention to the doors at the back of the room.”
“First, the Parents of the Bride _______________” “Please put your hands together for them.”
“Next, the Parents of the Groom _______________” “The Ushers _______________ & _______________. Thanks, guys.”
“Next, the smallest and cutest members of the bridal party, the Flower Girl & Ring Bearer _______________ & _______________”
“Now our Bridesmaids & Groomsmen” _______________ & _______________ _______________ & _______________ _______________ & _______________ _______________ & _______________
“The Best Man & Maid /Matron of Honor ____________ & _____________”
Long pause as they close the doors.
“And now Ladies & Gentlemen, it is my pleasure to introduce, YOUR Bride & Groom (if opposite sex): _______________ & _______________.”
Turn the music up and clap!!! 3. The First Dance & Parents’ Dances
The ﬁrst dance is one of the most important parts of any wedding reception. It is usually the ﬁrst thing the couple does after entering. It is very sincere and it is the time that the most eyes are on the couple. You will want to make sure everyone is quiet and you have their attention drawn toward them.
• If they are going to have their ﬁrst dance as soon as they are announced, the announcement will go something like this:
“And now, Ladies & Gentlemen, it is time for their very ﬁrst dance as husband and wife. Let’s give them another round of applause.”
“(At end of song) Please put your hands together for the new Mr. & Mrs. __________.”
• Usually the parents’ dances will follow the ﬁrst dance. You will start with the Bride & her Father.
“(Bride’s name) would now like to dance with her Father, __________. Please put your hands together for them”.
“(After song) Another round of applause for __________ & her Father.”
“(Groom’s name) would like to dance with his Mother, __________. Please put your hands together for them.”
“(After song) Another big round of applause for __________ & his Mother.”
• Sometimes the couple may only want to dance to part of the song with their parents. If so, they usually will tell you beforehand. Either ﬁnd out when they want it faded out or listen to it to ﬁnd an appropriate point to fade and do the announcement. You may also just have them give you a sign to fade it when they are ready. Both work ﬁne. If you shorten, play at least two minutes of the song
so photographer can get pictures and, if possible, let the photographer know it’s shortened.
4. The Welcome and Dinner
• Usually the Bride’s Father will take the mic to thank everyone for coming and propose a toast to them. Make sure you have the wireless mic ready and the batteries are good. You would say something like this to lead into his welcome:
“Ladies & Gentlemen, (Bride’s Father’s name) would like to say a few words, please give him a warm round of applause.”
• After the welcome, many times the couple will have their ofﬁciant (person performing the ceremony) say the blessing. It is also customary to have an Uncle or Grandfather say the blessing. You would say something like this:
“I would now like to welcome (Name) up to say the blessing.”
• It is now time for dinner. You will thank the ofﬁciant/blessing leader and lead into dinner. Many times, if there is a buffet, the caterers would like you to have people wait until they are ready so everyone is not at the buffet at the same time. Here are a few ways to announce dinner.
If there is a buffet:
“Ladies and Gentlemen, dinner will be ready shortly. Please wait at your seat until one of the staff here releases your table for the buffet.”
If they are having it served:
“Ladies and Gentlemen, dinner will be served shortly, please enjoy yourselves.”
If it is food stations around the room:
“Ladies and Gentlemen, dinner is now ready. There are several food stations
around the room. (Announce what is at each station). We will start with our couple, and then the rest of the wedding party. After they have gone through, the stations will be open for you to help yourselves. Please enjoy.”
You will usually need to play music during dinner. The music should be slower in tempo until the end of dinner, then start picking up the pace. The music should also be lower in volume than the cocktail hour. Keep an eye on tables closest to the speakers and make sure they are not yelling across the table at each other. Check with the couple to make sure they are happy with the volume. Also, check with their Parents to make sure they are happy with the volume! They will really appreciate your thoughtfulness!
6. The Toast/Speeches
• The Toast will usually be done after dinner and just before or just after the cake cutting. The Best Man and the Maid/Matron of Honor usually toast.
• If they are having a champagne toast for everyone, you will need to make sure the caterers know when the toast is and they are ready to pour the champagne. For a wedding of 100 people, the caterers will usually need around 15 minutes to pour and distribute the champagne. Make sure all the champagne is poured before announcing the toast.
• If they are not having a champagne toast for everyone, you will need to make an announcement about 10 minutes before that you will soon be doing the toast, in case guests would like to refresh their drink.
• Make sure the couple is ready for the toast, they have something to drink, and that the Best Man & Maid of Honor are ready and that they actually are aware they are doing a toast and that they have something to drink.
• Make sure the videographer and photographer are ready and are in the room. Also, tell them where the “toasters” will stand, or see where they would want to stand.
• You may also want to gather the couple as well as the “Toasters” at the cake. It puts them all together for pictures, gets them near the cake for the cake cutting, and brings all the attention to the toasters and the couple.
• After everyone is ready, it is time to announce the toast.
Here is a sample way to intro the toast:
“Ladies & Gentlemen, it is now time for the toast. If you would please take your seats and bring your attention to the cake, we will start with our Best Man, __________. Please give him a hand.” “Thank you __________. Next up, the Maid Of Honor __________.” (Pass her the mic)
“Thank you __________. Now, we are going to move forward to the cake cutting. (Couple’s names), if you would like to make your way toward the cake.”
Cue cake cutting song
7. The Cake Cutting
The cake cutting involves both of them holding the knife simultaneously while cutting a piece out of the cake. They will then both take a portion of the piece and feed each other.
This can get messy. It can also get out of hand if you egg them on. Just let them cut the cake, feed each other and don’t say anything about it.
After they have fed each other, say something like:
“Let’s give them a round of applause for a successful cake cutting!” or “And no one got hurt.”
After the cake cutting, it is usually time to open the dance ﬂoor and get things going.
You can say something like this to lead into the opening of the dance ﬂoor:
“At this time, the staff here will cut and serve the cake. In the meantime, we are going to open the dance ﬂoor.”
If the Bride has requested a wedding party song, you would play it now and invite the whole wedding party onto the dance ﬂoor for this song. If not, start out with something “timeless” like Motown.
8. Bouquet & Garter
You don’t want to wait too late after the cake cutting to do this. Maybe half an hour. This can also get somewhat “raunchy” and you should not “egg it on” or talk about what is going on. It will make you less classy and may turn some older guests off.
• Before you announce it, you will make sure the couple are ready and that there are single people there to do it. Also, make sure the videographer and photographer are ready.
• You will start by inviting all the single women out to the dance ﬂoor as well as the Bride. You would say something like this.
“It’s now time for the bouquet toss. If I could have all the single ladies out to the dance ﬂoor as well as (Bride’s name) and her bouquet.
(Bride’s name), are you ready? Here we go ladies on 3! 1..2..3 !” (Bride tosses)
“Nice catch! Now I would like to have (Groom’s name), a chair for Our Bride, and all the single guys please come to the ﬂoor.”
• This is where you have to be very careful. Don’t say anything about what the Groom is doing. Just let him do what he wants and then have him throw the garter to the single guys. Say something like this.
“OK guys, the key is not to drop it and to actually try to catch it. Here we go, on 3!...1..2..3!”
“Oh, nice catch...Please put your hands together for everyone for being good sports.”
• You may also have the guy catcher put the garter on the leg of the lady catcher, but only if the couple have asked you to do this. It is somewhat tacky and not appropriate if there are children present. Make sure you have an appropriate song ready if this is the case.
• After the pictures are taken, re-open the dance ﬂoor. You will open it back up with something high-energy that everyone knows. Here are some examples.
Sister Sledge - “We are Family” Kool & the Gang - “Celebration” Commodores - “Brick House” Usher - “Yeah” Bruno Mars - “Uptown Funk”
9. Last Dance
The goal of every party is to end on a major high note. You can work the crowd all night, but the ending is the key to getting a good tip and to sending the guests and couple home with lasting memories.
Try to save a song like “Shout” by Otis Day & The Knights until near the very end. You can really work this song and get a huge response if you MC it right and make EVERYONE get up and on the dance ﬂoor. Then, as it ends, say “Make some NOISE for the new Mr. and Mrs. Johnson!” This keeps them pumped. Just as the applause starts to die, cue one last slow song and invite everyone to join the couple.
• You will want to end on a high note, with them wanting more. You may be asked to stay longer (MORE MONEY!!).
• Save some great high-energy songs for the last half hour. Some great suggestions are:
Outkast - “Hey Ya” Otis Day & the Knights - “Shout” Black Eyed Peas - “I Gotta Feeling” Kenny Loggins - “Footloose” Rihanna - “We Found Love” Walk the Moon - “Shut Up and Dance”
• Before playing the last song, check with the couple and tell them the last dance is coming up and make sure they are ready for the last song and what they have chosen for the last song.
• Announce that it is time for the last song of the evening, but always thank the couple for having you.
Say something like this:
“Ladies & Gentlemen, it is now time for the last song of the evening. Before I play it, please give a great big round of applause to __________ & __________. It was truly my pleasure to play for you tonight and thank you to
everyone here for partying with me tonight. Please drive safely on your way home. Goodnight.”
Start last song.
10. End of the Event
This is when you thank everyone for coming, congratulate the couple, play the last song, and send the guests outside for the send-off (if there is one).
They normally will have an organized exit like sparklers, bubbles, rose petals...you will need to announce, usually several times, for people to leave for it.
CHAPTER 4: THE MUSIC
GROUND RULES OF PROGRAMMING THE MUSIC
1. Stick to the couple’s request list.
2. Sets should consist of similar songs. (Ex: by genre, by era, or by theme)
3. Songs should increase in energy within the set (think of CLIMBING!)
4. Sets should get longer throughout the night.
5. Sets should become more current throughout the night.
6. When a set is over you break it off (as opposed to winding it down.)
7. There is such a thing as playing the right song at the wrong time.
8. Never play more than two slow songs in a row.
9. Not every set has to start with a slow song.
10. Do not play more than two line dances in a row.
11. Rules were made to be broken.
Opening The Dance Floor
The easiest way to ﬁrst get dancers out on the dance ﬂoor is to open up with a slower low-key song. You don’t want to come right out of the gate with a high- energy song with too much volume. You will scare people away from the ﬂoor and the older guests will instantly get a bad impression. Usually Motown is a good opener.
If one or two don’t work right away, don’t panic. Pull a classic slow song and that should get them out there.
Keeping The Guests On The Dance Floor Remember, each wedding will be different from the last and reading the crowd is what separates a good DJ from a great DJ. Look at the crowd’s ages. Also, the couple’s song list is going to help you a lot. If they have only picked a few songs, but the majority are 70’s and 80’s and no hip hop, then you can assume that is what they really are into. Work that vibe the majority of the night. Also, ask them in advance if they would like you to take requests.
The key to a good night of dancing is to use their list as a guide for the night. Make notes beside each song, for example, The BPMs beside the dance songs, S beside the slow songs, etc. This allows you to create “sets” of music and then break them up with the occasional slow songs. What normally works the best is to start with Oldies, then move into 7O’s and 80’s. By the end of the night, depending on the couple’s selections, you may be able to move into more 9O’s and Top 40 hits.
Audience Participation / Line Dances
We call these songs “audience participation” or “line dances” and that is pretty self- explanatory. We don’t tend to rely on these, but you will deﬁnitely need to have them and know what they are.
V.I.C. - “Wobble” Marcia Grifﬁths - “Electric (Boogie) Slide” Bob Kames - “Chicken Dance” Village People - “YMCA” Los Del Rio - “Macarena” Big Mucci - “Biker Shufﬂe” Mr. C. - “Cha Cha Slide” Cupid - “The Cupid Shufﬂe”
These songs can be great IF and ONLY IF the couple have requested them on their play list. Otherwise, they are the enemy. The majority of our couples ask that we NOT play these songs, or maybe only a couple of them.
• They ﬁll the dance ﬂoor
• They get the party going
• They provide a perfect way to START a dance set • They usually appeal to many age groups • They look good on video
• Many younger people think they are corny
• They may not be the on the couple’s list, but they just assumed you
wouldn’t play them
• They are over played
• It’s hard to keep people on the ﬂoor after the line dance
Those being said, when in doubt, just ask the client. Preferably, you would do this before their reception and not at it.
Here are some ground rules when it comes to Audience Participation:
1. Space them out along with good dance music to structure your evening.
2. Never end a dance set with one of these songs. Use them to kick off a dance set OR to change directions. Let’s say you’ve done four Motown songs in a row and you want to go into some club music. Use an audience song (Slide, etc.) then go into a club set. The audience song will rebuild your dance ﬂoor and serve as a “bridge” from one type of music to another.
These can add just as much energy to your room as a line dance if they are played at the right time. Try one after a great dance set. If it works, try another. They usually work best at the end of the night. Here are some great examples:
Van Morrison - “Brown Eyed Girl” Journey - “Don’t Stop Believing” Neil Diamond - “Sweet Caroline” Garth Brooks - “Friends in Low Places” Billy Joel - “Piano Man”
Old Crow Medicine Show - “Wagon Wheel”
The most important thing to remember when going into any event to DJ is this: You are hired to play songs for the people who hired you, not to yourself.
One mistake that many DJs make, especially veterans, is that they turn away from
certain songs because in their minds, they are “played out.”
How many parties do you think these guests have been to in the past year that had a DJ? Probably not a lot. They maybe go to 2 or 3 parties a year.
The point being, the songs that we as DJs get sick of...THEY haven’t heard those songs a hundred times in the past year. YOU may have, but you are not playing for you. You are playing for them.
Remember, songs are your TOOLS. No carpenter throws his hammer out because he’s sick of it. No doctor tosses his stethoscope away because he’s used it every day that week. No, in fact it is quite the opposite. Carpenters buy the best hammer available and then are grateful every day when they use it that it works and it saves them harder work.
We encourage you to think the same way with songs and equipment that will work for you and ﬁll your dance ﬂoor. Don’t get sick of hearing the song but be grateful for the response it will get you almost every single time.
Slowing It Down
It is a good idea at the end of about 8-10 “fast songs” early in the dancing portion, to slow it down. A good way to MC this as you are coming out of the fast song is to say, “We are going to slow it down for a minute here to give you guys a break.” It allows the crowd to know it’s coming rather than just slamming it in there.
Your choice of what to play depends a lot upon your demographics. If it’s an older crowd, reach for a classic ballad from the 50’s or 60’s. A younger crowd and you should think about something more contemporary.
At the end of the slow song, it is rare to need another one back to back, but you may. If not, move right back into something with some energy. Your ﬂoor may turn over with a different crowd, but too many slow songs can kill a party.
“What do I play next?”
The question of programming is one you’ll be asking yourself throughout any party pretty much every 3 minutes or so: “What do I play next?” It’s really a two-fold question: What to play & When to play it.
So to tackle this programming dilemma, we’ll ﬁrst discuss what to play. Start out by making playlists from the Top 200 list (found on our website). This will get you started with great playlists to fall back on. The more knowledgeable you become about music, the better you are as a DJ, and the more conﬁdent you’ll be each and every week as you lean across your DJ table and hear those magic words “Do you have ____________?”
Putting Your Music Into “Sets”
Okay, now you have a very rudimentary overview of “What to play.” Now let’s discuss the other key question: “When to play it.” The ﬁrst place to start when it comes to programming is to start thinking in terms of putting your music in “sets”. Sets should be “like” songs that complement each other. And within each set, you should try to build energy and BPMS (Beats Per Minute) whenever possible.
Quite simply, if a 50’s rock n roll song works, we encourage you to play another one. And if that goes over, maybe a third one. Don’t overdo it (don’t play 45 minutes of 50’s rock n roll) but also don’t be haphazard in your programming (meaning try not to play a 50’s rock n roll song, followed by a new club song, followed by a disco selection followed by a swing song.)
One other tip on “sets.” When you have a song, let’s say a request by the Bride, think of what songs you can use to get to that song. Here’s what I mean: If you have to play “Jump Around” by House of Pain, you shouldn’t really start a set with it. So think—what can you use prior to that song to build up to it? You want the younger people on the dance ﬂoor so you’re not exactly going to use a 50’s set. And it kind of has a hip-hop, dance vibe so think dance beat instead of rock. So if you used “Let Me Clear My Throat” into “Yeah” by Usher, those would all be good answers. Now think, what do I want to play after “Jump Around?” Maybe go into Top 40 Dance like Beyoncé, Black Eyed Peas, or Bruno Mars.