Your first dance could be your favourite wedding memory. Many of these memories on your wedding day hang in the balance when it comes to who’s providing your entertainment. Will the song you chose be played? How will it sound? Should the Disc Jockey ramble on about whatever he chooses as the closing verses occur? These are all worrisome questions you may be thinking about as your wedding day approaches. Let me assure you that hiring a disc jockey is an important task; however your concerns will be fewer if you do a little research into the hiring process.
“Your decision can be based on personality, ethical business practices or gut feelings.”
First and foremost it’s best to meet in person whomever you hire. Since most disc jockey’s music libraries are huge, you will rarely find musical reasons to hire one DJ service over another. It’s best to find one through referrals from others who have had the pleasure of working with them. Your decision can be based on personality, ethical business practices or gut feelings, or you could compare DJs and make a decision based on these differences.
Your first dance could be your favourite wedding memory.
Here are five things that I do to distinguish myself from my competitors.
Music knowledge: I have many genres of music and listen to them all in various forums: radio, internet, streaming sites and satellite services. Listening to as much music as possible enables me to better judge a crowd and adapt my song choices as opposed to simply playing from a pre-set wedding list. I am familiar with music keys and am a piano player at heart, which reflects in the way I blend certain songs together using composition and BPM (beats per minute) to raise excitement levels.
Audio editing: I use mixing software and have a dexterous sense of hearing to beat match songs. There is never dead air in between songs and the constant flow ensures your guests are engaged and enjoying themselves. Recording memorable messages from a bride or groom’s parent and replaying them for the bride is one way that I edit special dance songs.
Professionalism: I am licenced through Connect Music and am a member of the Canadian Professional DJ Association (CPDJA). Through an online software system (DJ Event Planner) I utilize forms, contracts, invoices and planning tools to help my clients prepare and feel confident about the job that I will do.
Speaking Skills: You never want to have that entertainer who goes overboard on the microphone and says inappropriate things. As your MC everything I say or announced is pre-planned and practiced to assure you that there will be no surprises at your wedding. I am a member of Toastmasters International with recognitions in Communication and Leadership. Also, I’ve attained microphone skills through professional workshops and I have experience in speaking in front of large audiences.
Dedication: When you hire me, I will work with you to make sure all of your expectations are met. This is a full time career for me and there is nothing else I love better than entertaining. I am involved in the community, providing my services to organizations such as The Canadian Cancer Society, Juvenile Diabetes and Angels in Pink. Being a community leader is important to me because it’s incredibly rewarding.
“My vision is to provide a professional entertainment service that creates memorable moments for my clients, guests and partner organizations.”
Capturing these memories is essential; making them happen is my ideal. By taking time to research who you will be hiring for your wedding it will ensure that you establish expectations and are satisfied with the service delivered.
The owner/operator of Big & Rich DJ Services, Ritchie regularly volunteers his services at fundraisers for good causes such as Angels in Pink and Miners for Cancer. In 2014, he won a service excellence award from the Canadian Professional DJ Association.
It is common for both experienced speakers to be nervous about giving a speech. Over the years as a professional Master of Ceremonies, I have seen many nervous individuals give speeches, mostly at weddings where the wedding party or parents of the bride and groom had anxiety about speaking in front of guests. Like I said it is common for all speakers. The difference is that experienced speakers know how to control nervousness and understand the causes and symptoms of anxiety.
Allow me to explain, with my own examples, some triggers of anxiety and how to manage the symptoms associated with being nervous.
Common triggers for anxiety are new situations, risk of failure, the potential for appearing foolish and possibly boring the audience. These triggers will cause an individual to act differently when one of them occur. My most common symptoms of anxiety are tapping my foot or continuously bouncing my leg up and down. It’s normal, it’s a symptom of nervousness and I use three different ways to manage it: experience, visualization and relaxation.
You will feel much more comfortable in front of an audience if you have had more opportunities for doing so. It’s the experience that will ease this anxiety. I myself like to practice in front of a mirror and view what I will look like when speaking. You can also rehearse in front of family or friends. The more experience you get in front of people while speaking, the more comfortable you will feel.
This method is used quite frequently by athletes. They envision what they need to do to be successful. I always take the time before a reception to stand at the podium before I begin to speak. This lets me see the entire room as it will be when I start my speech. It’s here where I visualize the entrance, first dance, or any other event that will happen while I’m delivering my message. If you see yourself doing it before hand you will feel more comfortable when you actually have to perform.
There are several ways to relax before having to speak before an audience. In a Google search you will find isometric exercises, breathing techniques and ‘mind over matter’ as ways to alleviate anxiety. Our mind and body are connected and feelings often affect the body physically. Practicing a relaxation method will help reduce tension, ease shortness of breath and help you support your voice.
The anxiety you feel when speaking is normal. What’s important is to know the triggers, how to manage the symptoms and to use tools such as relaxation, visualization and experience to help you cope with your nervousness. The next time you are about to give a speech, as your heart pounds, you have butterflies in your stomach and your knees quiver, turn your anxiety into positive energy using the methods mentioned above. Your audience will be impressed with your confidence and listen to every word you say. Hopefully these methods will give you control of your fear.
One of the many things I enjoy about Djing is playing at a Halloween party. The atmosphere is already fun and exciting as guests dress up and our imaginations run wild. But to me having fun with my playlist is what I really enjoy. You never know what spooky or scary sounds will creep up in a mix. The standard Halloween recordings are always available and included in some form, however making something new as far as a spooky mashup or sampling a scary movie theme makes the mix extraordinary.
Here is something I decided to dig up for this years Halloween….
Well the controversial Top 100 DJ’s reveal has come and gone. The yearly list published by the UK magazine DJMag ranks the best DJ’s in the world based on popular voting. Most Electronic Music listeners believe it is nothing more than a popularity contest, with artists paying for multi million dollar advertising campaigns to get votes. In my opinion the list is flawed as some of the best DJ/producers in the world have been left off the list. The Top 5 were:
I voted and there is not much criteria to the application except choosing 5 of your favorite DJ’s, you can even add your own name in if you’d like. Now of the 5 that I selected only was was not on Top 100 list. That was North American DJ duo The Chainsmokers based out of New York. I’ve slowly warmed up to them and their DJing antics (you can read most of them by following their Twitter feed @TheChainsmokers). You might remember their first single #selfie that exploded onto the billboard charts a years ago, and since then they have made major waves with releases such as Roses, Split (Only U), Let You Go and Until You Were Gone. Most of these releases I have featured or played on my show Thursday Thumps over the past year. I’m attracted by their love of fun, over the top chemistry. They seem to enjoy performing and when they record their songs reflect that. It’s really unfortunate that they did not reach the Top 100 but I’m still a huge fan and have been following them on such shows as their Youtube EDM 15 hosted on SiriusXM channel 51 BPM. Check out The Chainsmokers latest release called Until You Were Gone.
It’s all about the location! No, I’m not talking about your venue or reception hall. The bride & groom will surely be able to handle that decision without their disc jockey. However, discussing where to have your DJ or dance floor set-up is just as important as selecting the seating chart for your guests. Imagine having your grandmother placed beside a 1200 watt speaker with music screaming from it. Also having your dance floor 20 feet from your entertainment, accessible only by jumping over your grandmother’s table. These are all areas of concern when planning the location of your disc jockey or entertainment. Let’s discuss this very important aspect of wedding planning and consider sound placement, dance floor proximity and equipment requirements. There have been many times when I have set-up for a wedding after realizing that the location of my booth was overlooked. This is an important but forgotten area in wedding planning. First of all your music entertainer will be providing sound for your guests. This includes using a sound system with speakers, and having them placed appropriately will increase your guests’ enjoyment of the music provided. A guest table that is positioned directly beside or in front of a speaker will create aggravation and discomfort due to loudness. Make sure there is sufficient space for your guests to sit and enjoy the music. Second, the proximity of your dance floor to the DJ or entertainment is crucial because ensuring your guests will have a fun experience requires them to interact or participate. Just as it is exciting to be in front of the stage at a concert, the entertainer needs that same feeling to perform and feel the energy from the crowd. The last area of concern involving equipment is more technical than any other planning consideration, so I won’t get into too much detail with this. Having a dedicated 15 amp circuit breaker to plug into is the most concerning requirement. A certain amount of power is required to provide proper sound. Sure, there are always extension cords available, however the longer the cord the more resistance there will be in the wire. And thus, the amperage that the wire can carry is reduced, causing a loss of power through resistance. With a disc jockey or entertainer using superior sound equipment, having proper amperage will ensure the equipment performs at its best. Considering sound placement, dance floor proximity and equipment requirements, will ensure your disc jockey or entertainment can provide an exciting party. Always discuss this important aspect of wedding planning with whomever you hire to entertain at your reception.