I hope you all enjoyed my very first Vendor Scoop post last week! If you didn’t get a chance to check it out, here it is!
This week, we are here with the amazing Jimmy Harris from DeepBlu Entertainment. I’m gonna be straight up with you folks. I used him for my wedding, and obviously, I thought he did an amazing job because I am interviewing him for the VENDOR SCOOP! Wahoo!
Real quick, I wanted to give you some background on Jimmy and his biz, DeepBlu Entertainment. DeepBlu is a team of 8 entertainers/DJ’ers, all experienced in wedding and event DJing. Jimmy has been DJing for 15 years and a professional musician & songwriter for 23 years now. So needless to say, if something CRAZY were to happen at your venue, like the power turning off….Jimmy could “technically” swoop in to save the day with a professional live performance! Not gonna say that actually happened, you will just have to contact him to find out (wink, wink)!!
Ok, so on to our questions. I wanted to make sure I got a DJ into the Vendor Scoop asap to ask the how, when, where, and “please walk me through it” because I honestly think the DJ has the life of your party in the palm of his/her hand. If their computer crashes, or transitions suck, or if they are just obnoxiously talking too much as the emcee, people may have to hit up the open bar way more than usual ($$)…or they may just leave. EEK, every bride’s worst nightmare. So how can you tell the good from the bad? Ideally, you could make your friends who are getting married the year before you try them out first, and if everything works out – THEN you can hire them. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that all the time. So here’s what you need to know!
In the wedding vendor booking timeline, when should you book your DJ? We both know you’re a pretty hoppin’ DJ, so about how far out do you book?
This is a good one, and it gets asked of us a LOT. The best time to book your DJ or any vendor, especially if they are in demand, is as soon as possible. We currently have events booked all the way up to May of 2017. Some clients, like our May 2017 client, already know that the best time to book is ASAP.
This is true people. Here’s my little 2 cents on booking asap. If you LOVE a vendor, like “OMG, my wedding will be ruined without them,” hire them as soon as you can!!
For things like venues, photographers, particular DJs, videographers…the things where there is only 1 person/place to accommodate you on YOUR date, hire ASAP.
I can’t photograph 2 weddings in a day, but if you hire a commercial florist or baker, they can do waaaaaay more weddings/day than others can.
And keep in mind when you are scheduling your meeting that for companies like Jimmy’s where there is a team of DJs, make sure you meet with the actual DJ you are hiring. You want to have a great fit for your big day, so just be sure to either inquire about the DJ selection process prior to meeting or request a specific DJ if you have a person in mind.
Is there a chance a bride/groom can ever come out and see you in action before booking? Is that a weird request to make?
No it’s not weird at all. We have made arrangements like this in the past. However, it’s an aspect that must be handled very carefully. In order to make this happen it is necessary to contact the couple that is having the wedding that your prospective client is asking to attend to make sure that they drop in. If not handled correctly, it may seem a bit imposing to your current client. Tread carefully and respectfully.
Do you do ceremony music too? (This is a pretty typical combo: a ceremony + reception package.)
Yes we do. We offer pre-recorded music as well as string trios and quartets. Many years ago, I experienced a string quartet at an event and was so impressed I brought them on to be a part of our team. I got more than I bargained for though. I didn’t realize that it wasn’t just a string quartet I was bringing on – it was an entire TEAM of extremely talented musicians. Now they are all part of the DeepBlu team.
This would come in handy for sure if you want an instrumental touch for the ceremony, but not the reception. Way more convenient than having to hunt another vendor down. If you are ever having a hard time finding a vendor, just ask a vendor you have already booked! The wedding industry, especially in Memphis (woot woot) is a very close-knit community, and they are HAPPY to refer the people they believe to do good work!
Can you explain a little about what makes you awesome?
(Perhaps this question is biased…but whatever. When my venue’s awesome event coordinator referred Jimmy, she said “I recommend Jimmy Harris with DeepBlu Entertainment because he’s one of the few who doesn’t irritate me.” Verbatim!! That’s pretty telling right there because DJs can really ruin the vibe of the event, be annoying, or just straight up “ugh.”)
So how do you and your team mitigate this risk and differentiate yourself from the not so great DJs?
We care deeply about our performances at every wedding. We also care about the image that we portray when we are performing at wedding events. I think that people have had bad experiences with DJs in the past for many reasons, but the ones I hear the most are that they take too many breaks, they drink & smoke on the job, they don’t follow the instruction and direction of the coordinator/planner and they don’t dress appropriately.
“With regard to how we are different, I think that’s because we are all working, professional entertainers with strong backgrounds as musicians ourselves.”
Musicians hold music as a precious life essential, so our view on music as a whole is almost sacred. That may sound silly, but it’s true. Also, I have been told that our customer service is better than any business that our clients have ever experienced – not just wedding vendors, ANY business. That was my goal from the start, and it has always been extremely important to me.
How do you tailor the music played to the couple and their crowd?
Our couples have as much input on their preferred (and not preferred) music as they want. Basically, we get a snapshot of their musical tastes and go from there. We never truly know what kinds of music we will play for the entire evening until the event gets rolling. That’s the “live” aspect of our performances.
“You have to let the event and the guests in attendance dictate where to go as long as it fits within the parameters mutually agreed upon by us and our clients. It’s very organic.”
**That’s a great point too. You want to look for someone who can improvise and feel the mood of the room. What gets the crowd going so they get on the floor dancing??
What are your most frequently asked questions along with the answers?
“How much do you charge?” is the most commonly asked question obviously. That’s the question that has no “one size fits all” answer. My response to that is, “What would you like for us to do for you?”
The next most popular question is (believe it or not), “OK, what’s your sales pitch?” This one is my favorite. My answer is always, “I don’t have one.” Talk about an ice breaker LOL
That’s pretty funny! I don’t think I’ve ever been asked that. I’d be like…uh…. *long awkward silence.* Haha
So before we finish, is there anything you want to add onto for what bride/grooms should know about hiring a DJ?
Don’t be afraid to ask hard questions of your DJ. It’s your right as a client to ask anything you want. Dig as deep as you’d like. Ask your DJ if he/she drinks or smokes on the job. Ask them what they will wear, and tell them what to wear if the answer isn’t the one you want. Tell them that you can’t stand Taylor Swift even though you know that your Maid of Honor will ask to hear “Style” some time during the night.
“Stay in control when appropriate, but then take your hands off the wheel and let them do what they do after you have decided that you trust them enough to hire them.”
That’s something too, folks. At some point ladies, you have to trust your vendors and ENJOY the day. You’re job is done after your last vendor is booked. If you’ve hired great vendors, it’s your turn to sit back and watch the magic happen.
Well, did y’all like Jimmy?? I highly recommend him for any event you need a DJ for! 🙂 Tell me what you thought, and who else do you want to hear from for your wedding planning?!
Stay tuned for the next vendor scoop!! Who will I interview next??