Why should I hire a DJ instead of a band?
A professional DJ carries thousands of songs of many different genres including brand new Top 40 hits. Bands play the standard wedding songs of their choice and regardless of how good a band is, they do not sound like the original artists. The advantage of having a DJ is you have more control over the playlist and bands will take two, 15-20 minute breaks for 4 hours of contracted service. A DJ plays virtually non-stop from start to finish. As far as pricing goes, you can hire a professional wedding DJ for $5,000-$7,000 less than the price of a wedding band.
Is set-up time included in your price?
Yes. I typically arrive one hour prior to your scheduled start time and perform a soundcheck.
Do you take breaks?
No. My services are non-stop from your contracted start time until the conclusion of your reception.
Do you take requests?
Yes. I not only play them, I encourage them. I will play requests as long as they can be implemented into the proper flow of music and the request is appropriate for a wedding. I'm not going to play Metallica during dinner just because it was requested. If given a suitable request, I will make every effort to play it.
Can we choose the music to be played at our wedding?
Yes. I suggest you provide me with a request list of 10 "must play" songs and 10-15 "play if possible" songs. This will leave plenty of room for requests and DJ selections. I can read the crowd and I know what songs work and won't work by evaluating crowd response and the age demographic of your guests. It's not in your best interest to select every song. If you insist on programming the entire evening of music, I'm not the DJ for you.
Can we have a "Do Not Play" list?
Yes. I highly recommend you create a Do Not Play list. I understand you don't want to hear many of the overplayed wedding songs. If a guest requests a song that is on your Do Not Play list, it will not be played.
What types of music do you have?
Plenty of old and new music. I carry thousands of songs of various genres such as Top 40, Oldies, Motown, Easy Listening, Disco, Country, Classic Rock, Modern Rock, 80's Rock, Hip Hop, 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's, R & B, etc. I obtain new music every week through a professional media service that is exclusive to radio stations and DJs. These compilations contain projected radio hits 2-3 months before these songs are played on Boston radio stations.
I've seen DJs who use a laptop. Do you use a laptop?
No, I do not use a laptop. I never converted to a laptop because I never had 100% faith in its reliability and personally, I do not like its appearance. Rebooting your PC or laptop is a fairly common practice, but I cannot reboot with a dance floor full of people. The #1 fear of a DJ is system failure. With spyware, viruses and file corruption, a laptop is much more vulnerable to malfunction than an MP3 media player created exclusively for the mobile disc jockey. I use the Denon DN-HD2500. No laptop issues and outstanding sound quality.
Do you have professional equipment?
Yes. My sound system is highly maintained, well-organized and consists of all top-of-the-line digital audio products from the most trusted names in DJ business. I use a Denon DN-HD2500 Professional Media Player, Denon DN-X500 digital mixer, Shure wireless microphones and the legendary Bose L1 Sound System
. All audio components are rack-mounted in compact road cases and can accommodate any venue, small or large.
Do you have back-up equipment?
Yes. My primary sound system is tested weekly and highly maintained to insure optimum performance. I've never had to delay or cancel an event due to a system problem. I upgrade systems every two years (most recently May 2010) with the latest professional DJ products. I carry a backup system with the same exact components as my primary system (Denon DN-HD2500 and Denon DN-X500).
Do you have a wireless microphone for a speech or toast?
Yes. I carry two Shure SM58 microphones, one wireless, one wired. These microphones are for speeches and toasts only. Please note : I do not allow my microphones to be passed around to guests for singing. Also, aside from the traditional best man or maid/matron of honor toast, I will not hand a microphone to a guest who suddenly decides to take it upon themselves to make an impromptu speech. All toasts and speeches must be approved by you prior to your reception because overzealous, intoxicated guests will ramble, use profanity and make off-color remarks and it's embarrassing for everyone. My speech and toast policy will prevent this from occurring.
Are you insured?
Yes. I have a general liability insurance policy with Fireman's Fund Insurance Company, certificate of insurance furnished upon request in person. Providing proof of insurance has become a common practice and it may become a requirement with select hotels and venues. While it's not currently required by every venue, you should only consider booking a disc jockey who is insured. In fact, asking a DJ you are considering if they are insured is a simple question that will show you how dedicated and professional they are. Most amateur DJs steal music off the Internet, so if they don't reinvest any money back into their business, they certainly aren't going to obtain liability insurance. If you book a DJ without liability insurance and a guest injures themselves due to DJ negligence, you could be held liable. If your DJ is uninsured, they may be refused entry to your venue and you could be left without entertainment for your wedding. It's not worth the risk. Hire an insured DJ.
Do you offer a written contract?
Yes. My contract is straight-forward so you can easily understand the terms. Your signed contract and deposit officially reserves your date. A binding contract not only protects you, but it offers you peace of mind that you have hired a professional. I have booked last minute weddings from hysterical brides whose DJ either disappeared off the face of the earth or booked another job. In every instance, they didn't have a written contract with their DJ. Do not hire any wedding vendor who does not offer a written contract.
What is the deposit to reserve the date of my wedding and when is the final payment due?
I require a $500 non-refundable deposit and signed contract returned within 10 days to reserve your requested date. The remaining balance is due fourteen (14) days before your wedding date. There is a $50 fee for checks returned for insufficient funds for any reason. Note : I do not accept credit cards.
What is your cancellation policy?
- Cancellation for any reason forfeits the deposit, no exceptions.
- Cancellation within 120 days of date requires 50% of the balance.
- Cancellation within 30 days of date requires full payment of the balance.
- Cancellation due to inclement weather must be received no later than 12pm on your wedding date. Your deposit (non-transferable) may be applied to a future wedding booking within one year of your original contracted date.
Are you a DJ agency and who are the South Shore DJs?
South Shore DJs is not a DJ agency. I started as a one-system operation in 1994 and my booking inquiries eventually increased beyond my availability. In 1999, I decided to expand and purchased a second DJ system and take on additional DJs. I acquired this website's domain name in 2000, this website went live in 2001 and South Shore DJs was born, but it was very short lived. As I interviewed DJs, while some had talent, they weren't well-balanced which is an absolute must for a wedding DJ. I wanted DJs who knew all the music from the 1950's to Today's Top 40. The younger DJs only knew Top 40, Modern Rock and Hip Hop and the older DJs only knew the Oldies, Motown and Disco. So, I scrapped the idea and decided to go it alone, so South Shore DJs really never were. With thousands of business cards in circulation, a high traffic website name and my established reputation with brides, wedding vendors and venues, I decided to keep the South Shore DJs name and remain a single-system DJ.
Why should I hire a DJ through a small DJ company versus booking one through an entertainment agency?
When you book services with a small DJ company, you receive the one-on-one, personalized service every wedding needs. You will work with one person, me, from start to finish. You won't meet with a booking agent for a consultation and never see them again. You meet with me. You won't plan your music and events with an office manager who won't be at your wedding. I will help you create your music playlists and customize your reception events and introductions. Last but not least, you will not work with a DJ who has no idea who you are and was handed your music and introductions on your wedding day. I enjoy working with people personally because the better I get to know you, the better understanding I have of what you want. I handle all ends of my business, from meeting with prospective clients for consultations, answering every phone call and email personally, design of this website and performing at each and every wedding.
If I book you, will I get you? Do you subcontract bookings to other DJs?
Yes. When you book services with South Shore DJs, I am your DJ and no, I do not subcontract bookings. (Warning : Bait and switch is common with multi-system DJ companies). If I receive an inquiry for a date I have already booked, I respectfully decline the lead and will offer a referral to a professional DJ in my business network.
What backup resources do you have if you suddenly become ill and cannot perform at our wedding?
In the unlikely event of an illness, physical injury or personal emergency, I have DJ associates that would be able to cover my booking. I have never been late or missed a function, ever.
Can we see you perform at an upcoming wedding?
I do not invite prospective clients to weddings I am performing at out of respect for all clients to keep their wedding private. Weddings are a formal event and very close attention is paid to the guest list and I'm sure you would not want uninvited guests at your wedding. Since the release of the 2005 hit movie Wedding Crashers
, there's a popular trend of uninvited guests crashing weddings. Here is a great article from the Boston Globe on the subject of wedding crashers
. This article is the perfect example why I do not invite clients to observe my services firsthand. It's unprofessional to conduct prospective business on someone else's watch. I do not conduct any prospective business aside from a simple exchange of a business card.
Do you have a video?
Yes. To view my video, please click here.
Do you have references?
Yes. I have references, available upon request.
Do you offer lighting and special effects?
No. I do not offer lighting, disco balls, fog machines, etc. In my opinion, a huge truss of lights is unattractive to the eye and I believe lights/special effects are more appropriate for general functions and nightclubs. Your wedding is a formal event and beat-activated, flashing lights are more distracting than entertaining.
We are not interested in booking a DJ and using an iPod. Do you rent sound systems?
No, I do not rent sound systems and for more on the do-it-yourself iPod wedding, click here
Are you an interactive DJ? We want a DJ who uses props. Do you offer props and this type of entertainment?
Well, no. While my music performance is flexible, my reputation is not. What I do, I do well. I don't dance around or perform cheesy routines. I don't yell over the music or dress your guests in cheap costumes and parade them around the room. Let me be perfectly clear on this issue. I am not a prop DJ. In my opinion, the prop DJ concept has been done to death and I keep this style of entertainment as far away from my reputation as possible. If you're looking for games, hats, wigs, props and constant interaction, I'm not the DJ for you.
Why should I hire you? What separates you from other DJs?
My low-key, professional approach, knowledge of old and new music and my ability to read the crowd. The self-serving wedding DJ who announces every song and mingles among your guests with a wireless mic wants to be the center of attention and steal the limelight from the bride and groom and often beyond the boundaries of good taste to get it. I recognize that this is your wedding day and I focus on the music, not the microphone.
What attire will you wear at my wedding?
I do not wear a tuxedo as I am not in the wedding party. When it's a more formal wedding, my wedding attire is a pressed dark suit, conservative tie and dress shoes. Some weddings are less formal and some bypass the tuxes and opt for more casual attire. For the casual or outdoor wedding, I wear the Cape Cod Tuxedo (navy sportcoat and khakis).
What are your requirements that I need to inform my wedding coordinator or function manager prior to my wedding?
I require one sturdy, 6-8 foot, rectangular, banquet-style table with skirting, located near the dance floor and within 25 feet of a grounded 120 volt, 20 amp power source in good working order. I also require a minimum of 8' of clearance to properly mount my speaker system as the Bose L1 stands just over 7 feet tall. Please discuss where the DJ will be located with your wedding coordinator. Some reception venues will place the DJ at the far end of the room away from everyone or 15 feet above the dance floor to save table space. It's very important that I am located near the dance floor for your First Dance, Cake Cutting, Parent Dances and the dancing segment of your reception.
I'm getting married at my wedding venue. Can you provide music for the ceremony?
My sound system is available for your ceremony for an additional fee of $300 (as it requires a second system setup). Please note : I do not provide lavalier microphones for the officiant. I will allow the officiant and readers to use my wireless microphone. After the ceremony has ended, I will break down and set up in the reception room immediately.
Do you hang banners or signs telling everyone who you are?
Absolutely not. You would be surprised to see how some DJs shamelessly plug their business at weddings. The incessant self-promotion is deplorable. DJs constantly dropping their DJ company name on the microphone, displaying huge banners with company logos, playing recorded sound bytes ("DJ JOHN DOE PRODUCTIONS!") before almost every song. I've seen DJs who place stacks of business cards on every table and ask trivia questions and award prizes with their logo. It's tacky. This is a wedding, not a nightclub spot. I do not display or promote my business name with any signs, banners or any promotional materials aside from a unobtrusive stack of business cards. I let my style and performance do my advertising for me. If someone is interested in my services after observing my performance, they don't need a sales pitch, they need a business card.
Is tipping expected?
By no means is gratuity expected and you'll never see a tip jar on my table. If you feel I have surpassed your expectations and wanted to offer me a gratuity, I would accept it as the utmost compliment.
Should we feed the DJ?
Providing a meals is completely up to you. If you choose to provide meals, I would greatly appreciate it, but you are not obligated.
How early should I book you?
You should be prepared to sign a contract as soon as you have booked your reception venue. Friday and Saturday availability during the summer and fall months can book one or two years in advance. However, if you are planning on short notice, it's still worth your while inquiring for availability.
Is overtime available?
After the contracted time has expired, overtime is available (with consent of reception venue). Your overtime rate is listed in the price clause of your contract. Overtime is available in 30 minute increments and must be requested one hour prior to the conclusion of your event.
Are there any other fees applicable to your services?
No. My services do not have hidden fees. However, additional fees are applicable and noted on the contract if your place of reception :
(a) *is located on Nantucket or Martha's Vineyard (vehicle ferry service required).
(b) *Services for your onsite ceremony.
(c) *Cocktail hour set-up outside the reception room.
(d) *is held in an upstairs facility without elevator access and/or difficult set-ups.
(e) *Weddings held on Nantucket or Martha's Vineyard that end after the last ferry leaves the island for the evening, one night's hotel accommodations is required.
(f) *requires paid parking
Please inquire for pricing.
What are your rates and are they negotiable? Will you match a price quote of a competitor?
It's very important that you place style, ability and professionalism over pricing. Hiring a DJ by price alone is the worst method of comparison. It's too risky. I've heard the stories about budget DJs not showing up, showing up late, DJs who use poor quality sound systems or DJs who botch weddings because of lack of experience and ability. Hire your DJ by style and ability first, then consider pricing. When all is said and done, no one remembers the dresses, flowers, appetizers or what kind of chicken they had for dinner, but everyone remembers a bad DJ.
I do not post prices online as every wedding is different. Please contact me for a price quote. My rates are non-negotiable and I do not match prices because most DJs cannot deliver the quality of service I can. There's a misconception that a DJ shows up, plays a few hours of music and goes home. I wish it were that easy, but it's much more work than it seems. I make phone calls to your wedding coordinator, follow-up emails and phone calls regarding introductions and music, creating a timeline for your reception and searching for and purchasing your requested music. This work is all prior to your wedding, prior to my actual performance. In addition to preparation and performance, there are many expenses that are not directly associated with your wedding that I need to account for. System maintenance and upgrades, auto and liability insurance, gas, website domain and hosting fees, cellular and business phone bills, Internet broadband service, office supplies, postage, advertising, monthly CD subscriptions, etc. The cost of doing business as a reputable DJ company is always overlooked when people are price shopping.
I recognize the importance of this day and I take every wedding very seriously. This business isn't a hobby to me unlike the hacks with beat-up systems who dabble on the weekends with little to no wedding experience. My service (sales, administration, event preparation and performance) is one of the best on the South Shore and my experience, overall ability and easygoing personality is why I book over 60 weddings every year.
The best mix of new and classic hits... without gimmicks.
DJ Gregg MacDonald
South Shore DJs