FAQ

Greetings, 

Ethan Stone here, your DJ and MC for your Big Day. You probably have some questions about your entertainment and I am here to provide answers. Below you will find my custom responses to frequently asked questions I get from wedding clients. In case I missed your question, please feel free to email it to me at: djethanstone@gmail.com

About DJ Ethan

Q: What experience do you have as a wedding DJ? 

A: I have performed at approximately 1,200 weddings and special events to date. Please visit my DJ page here for photos, videos, bio, testimonials and more.

Q: Are you vaccinated? 

A: I am fully vaccinated and carry my vaccination card with me. I also wear a mask at the venue which is the current industry standard for vendors.

 

Meeting

Q: When can we meet you? 

A: I am always happy to jump on a phone or zoom call with clients when I am not working or DJing. I am available anytime after 3pm, Monday-Thursday. Please feel free to text me to schedule a meeting during that window at 323.422.5588.

Q: What will we discuss on the phone call? 

A: Generally these calls are just a meet and greet. I have endeavored to answer all of the most common questions on this FAQ sheet. The best way to communicate all of the various details I will need for DJing your wedding is to include them in your DJ timeline. Feel free to be as lengthy in your descriptions on this form as necessary. Spare no detail. What we want to avoid are multiple texts, calls and emails with bits of information that are not on your timeline. As long as it’s on the timeline, I’ve got it covered.

Q: Should we schedule a walkthrough of the venue or invite you to the rehearsal?

A: Walkthroughs and rehearsals are not necessary for me as your DJ. I arrive 1.5-2 hours before the start of your wedding which gives me plenty of time to work with the venue to find the perfect spot to set up and I always bring 75’ of extension cable in case power is not super close. That being said, if you think the setup will be extra tricky or if I will be exposed to the elements (such as at the beach,) please include a note about it at the top of your timeline and feel free to include photos. 

Q: Do you need to speak with our coordinator or other vendors? 

This is generally not necessary unless you have musicians that need sound reinforcement, in which case I should speak with them in advance to make sure I have their needs covered. Throughout the day, I stay in close contact with the coordinator, photographer and videographer to make sure we are all on the same page. I also check in with the Bride and Groom occasionally to make sure everything is just right and I encourage you to also stop by the DJ booth to let me know if you have any guidance or updates such as a favorite song request or a surprise toast.


Timeline/Planning

Q: What is the difference between your Timeline and the Sound In Motion Online Planning form? 

A: While I DJ weddings exclusively for Sound in Motion in the bay area, I also have my own custom Timeline that I prefer to use because it is easy to edit and allows additional details to be added including the start times for the various parts of your wedding. In addition to this Timeline that I ask you to fill out, Sound In Motion also requests that you complete their online planner as well. 

Q: How do we access/fill out your custom Timeline? 

A: Please copy and paste my custom wedding DJ timeline (found here) into google docs (recommended) or word. Once filled out completely, please send a link to the google document or a pdf version of the word document to me at: djethanstone@gmail.com. Once I have your completed timeline, I’ll have everything I need for your wedding.

Q: When is the Timeline due? 

A: Please try to submit the finalized timeline at least 2 weeks prior to your wedding. 

Q: How do we update the timeline after it has been submitted? 

A: If you share a link to the timeline as a google doc, all updates will be made visible to me in real time automatically. If you are not using google docs, please include all updates to your timeline in a new draft and email me a pdf of the most current complete version, labeled as a new version (i.e. Version 2.) It is important to include 100% of the details I will need for your wedding on this one single document so that nothing gets lost or overlooked (such as in a batch of texts or emails.)


Music

Q: Can you help us with song ideas? 

A: Yes, please click here to view my custom webpage with nearly two dozen unique music charts compiled from actual song requests from countless weddings hosted on my Spotify channel. Get an insider’s look into the songs that determine the success of any wedding. The links will take you to my custom Spotify playlists where you can see wedding favorites and hear them too.

For all special songs such as 1st dance, mother son/father daughter, cake cutting, etc., I personally recommend choosing songs that resonate the most with you two as a couple and not choosing based on popularity. Once it comes time for dancing however, the opposite is true. Every song for dancing should be a dancefloor filler and I recommend only choosing songs that can achieve this goal. Any song requests that won’t be hits on the dance floor are best played during cocktail hour or dinner.

*If you have trouble opening these Spotify playlists, please insure that you have the Spotify app downloaded and/or try opening them on another device such as a laptop, phone, or tablet.

Q: Can we request the DJ play only certain parts of a song?

A: Absolutely. The best way to clearly explain where to mix in and out of a given song on the timeline. For example: Mother Son Dance Song: Louis Armstrong – What A Wonderful World (Please fade out at 2:05) of (Please start song at beginning of 1st chorus) etc. 

Q: How do we share our music with you?

A: Please include all of your music requests on the timeline in the appropriate spaces. There is also a space at the bottom for dance music “must play,” “play if possible,” and “do not play” songs. If you use Spotify, please feel free to share your custom Spotify playlists for cocktail hour, dinner, and dancing by pasting links in the timeline. For ceremony and special dance songs I recommend sending a link either to Spotify or YouTube to clarify the exact version of the song you are requesting.

Q: Do you play 100% of our requests or read the crowd? 

A: Once the dance party begins, my main goal is to build and sustain the best possible dance party from the first song to the last. To achieve this goal, it is important for me to have the flexibility to read and respond to the crowd, take requests from your guests, and most importantly, to play the right song at the right time. No two crowds are the same and it is not possible to know ahead of time exactly what set list is going to be the most effective at your wedding.

As your DJ, I am of course open to your suggestions. At the same time, please don’t assume I will be able to play every one of your requests. If one of your favorites is missing from the night, please do approach me and let me know and I will be sure to include it in the set at the appropriate time.

With every song I play, my goal is to keep the people already on the dance floor dancing and to encourage others not already on the dance floor to join the dance party. Below are a few important suggestions to keep in mind while creating your dance request list:

  • Sit down with your soon-to-be-spouse and go through your favorite songs together to create the must-play and do-not-play lists. Once you’ve handed over the lists, leave the rest up to your professional DJ. And be careful not to micromanage your DJ (that’s why you hired us.) If your must-play list gets too long (say, more than 10 songs,) create a third list called play if possible. This can be more of a wish list of songs you’d like to be played only if your guests respond positively to them.
  • Select songs from multiple genres. You both may truly love ’90s grunge, but five full hours of Nirvana might drive some guests to leave early. You’re sharing this day with family and friends, so save your more obscure favorites for the honeymoon playlist and let your DJ play a mix of songs that everyone can enjoy.
  • Keep it PG-13. While it may not please everyone, it is my policy not to play songs with excessive profanity during the reception. When it’s just you, your college besties and adult cousins at the after-party, feel free to play the songs that weren’t appropriate while your grandparents and baby nieces and nephews were around earlier in the night.


Equipment

Q: What Equipment do you bring? 

A: I believe in exceeding expectations in all areas of my DJ performance and have invested heavily in the very highest quality professional audio and visual equipment available. To view the nightclub grade equipment I bring to every event, click here. Feel free to share this link with your videographer as he or she may have questions about the microphone and connections to the DJ mixer.

Q: Who do we speak to if we wish to add something additional? 

A: If you wish to book anything additional such as extra microphones, a subwoofer, up-lighting, a photo booth, silent disco headphones, additional hours, etc., please email me at: djethanstone@gmail.com. If you booked me through Sound in Motion, please email this request to: shawn@sim.events.


Important Notes for your Wedding Coordinator
(please email this entire section to your coordinator)

Q: Do we need to provide a timeline?

A: Yes, a detailed timeline is essential for me to be able to do my best work as both DJ and MC. More info on this below under the heading, “Timeline/Planning Form Questions.”

Q: Do we need to provide a table/umbrella for the DJ?

A: Yes, I would very much appreciate it if you could request that the banquet manager or event rental company provide a small cocktail hour table with linen and an umbrella with a stand for me to use during the ceremony and a 6′ table with linen to use during the reception. This allows me to move more quickly from ceremony to cocktail hour to reception locations and insures that the linen matches the décor of your wedding. 

Q: Do we need to provide a meal for the DJ? 

A: I would very much appreciate it if you could request that the catering director or event coordinator set aside a dairy free meal (I am lactose intolerant) for me towards the beginning of meal service so that I can finish eating in time for toasts, parent dances and the dance party.  Did you know that 36% of people in the United States have lactose malabsorption? For the sake of your dancefloor, I highly recommend having dairy free options available to your guests. 

Q: Where should we put the DJ? 

A: This is an important detail that is too often overlooked. Please click here for information on where to put your DJ and sample floor plans.

Q: What responsibilities do the DJ and coordinator share? 

A: The DJ and coordinator work closely together during the entire reception to insure all the elements chosen by the couple are performed properly. Even though it’s the responsibility of the DJ to run the reception agenda (i.e. grand entrance, first dance, toasting and cake cutting) a coordinator assists their efforts. Many times a DJ can’t be in two places at once or is not able to leave their booth because they need to cue the music and adjust the microphone levels, so the coordinator is their back-up in times of need. Here are a few specific ways that the coordinator can really help your DJ at your wedding:

They signal the DJ for the playing of the processional songs and will cue the parents and bridal party to walk down the aisle.

They signal the DJ when the catering staff are ready to transition from cocktail hour to dinner and release tables to the buffet line if applicable.

They signal the DJ for playing of the grand entrance song(s) and will cue the wedding party and newlyweds for their entrance.

They insure the photo and video team are in place before each special part of your wedding (grand entrance, first dance, toasting, cake cutting, bouquet and garter toss)

They insure that those performing a toast are ready and in their seats just before toasts are announced.

Q: How early does the DJ arrive for set-up? 

A: I will arrive 1.5-2hrs early depending on the venue. On average it takes me about 1.5hrs for set up.

Q: How much should we tip our DJ? 

A: “Your wedding DJ not only plays music, but also serves as the emcee for the evening—a big role to be sure. When deciding how much you’re tipping this wedding vendor, the rule of thumb is that he or she should receive 10 to 15 percent of the total bill.” (source: weddingwire.com) Tipping is always appreciated and never expected. If tipping is not in your budget but you still had an awesome dance party, please consider taking a few minutes to post a review on Yelp and Google. This helps me continue to provide great DJ services to customers, and helps potential clients make confident decisions. Thank you in advance for helping me out.

Q: Do you need the Venue Wifi Password? 

A: Yes, is possible, please include the wifi password on the planning form. This helps to ensure that if a song is requested that I don’t have, I can downlead it immediately. 


Important notes for your Officiant
(please email this entire section to your officiant)

Q: What type of microphone do you use for our ceremony? 

A: The microphone provided by your DJ captures ceremony audio not only for your guests but also for the video of your wedding. That is why I provide the Rolls-Royce of microphones, the $1,200 Shure QLXD24/B87A Digital Wireless Handheld Microphone System With QLXD4 Receiver Band J50A. Because of their larger size, handheld microphones produce the best audio quality and transmit the strongest signal to the receiver. Lapel microphones, on the other hand, are highly sensitive to wind, more likely to have feedback issues because they are omni-directional (meaning they pick up sound from every direction,) have lower sound quality (because the microphone diaphragm is so small) and are more likely to suffer signal dropouts (because the microphone antenna is smaller.) Click here for a comparison of these two microphone options. I bring a handheld wireless microphone and a lapel microphone to every wedding. The choice of which microphone to use is ultimately up to the client, though I strongly recommend the handheld microphone over the lapel for the above reasons.

Before the start of every ceremony I put fresh batteries in the mic and turn it on. Please note that their is an on/off switch on the upper portion of the microphone. It is possible (though unlikely) to mistakenly turn the microphone off. If for any reason sound cuts out, simply flip the switch from the off position (down) to the on position (up.)

Q: How close should I be to the microphone?

A: Your mic should be as close to your mouth as possible in order to only pick up the sound of you voice, and not the other sounds of the space. A good rule of thumb is to have the mic positioned about 6-12 inches away from your mouth. For sanitation purposes the wind filter for the microphone is replaced after every ceremony.

Q: How do I insure that audio of the Bride and Grooms vows is captured?

A: The mic will be provided on a stand for the officiant. If the officiant is reading during the ceremony, the stand is recommended. Otherwise, the microphone can be handheld and the stand set aside. Whenever anybody other than the officiant speaks during ceremony it is the officiants duty to place the mic in front of that person to capture their voice. This is especially important for vows and for guest readings. The top of the mic stand is a flexible gooseneck which can be easily and quickly adjusted to the height of each person speaking. Setting the mic pointed straight up on a mic stand in between the officiant and B&G works well too.


Important notes for those performing toasts
(please email this entire section to those performing toasts)

Q: How close should I be to the microphone? 

A: Your mic should be as close to your mouth as possible in order to only pick up the sound of you voice, and not the other sounds of the space. A good rule of thumb is to have the mic positioned about 6-12 inches away from your mouth. For sanitation purposes the wind filter for the microphone is replaced after every ceremony.

Q: Where will toasts be performed? 

A: Toasts will be performed immediately to the left or right of the Bride and Groom, depending on the photographers preference. There will be a microphone waiting there for you in a stand. Please leave the microphone in the stand but do feel free to adjust the flexible neck of the stand to your height.

Q: When will welcome speech and toasts take place? 

A: The welcome speech takes place right after the grand entrance and toasts toward the end of dinner. Those performing welcome speeches or toasts should please refer to the timeline to insure that they know when to be seated and prepared to be called up.

Q: Should I introduce the next person? 

A: The first person toasting will be introduced by the DJ. After that, each person should please introduce the next person speaking when they conclude their toast. This keeps things reunning smoothly and allows the DJ to remain in the booth to adjust mic levels as needed.

 

Conclusion

I hope this document was helpful. If you have any remaining questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I am honored to have the opportunity to be your DJ and I am really looking forward to your Big Day. 

Thank you,

DJ Ethan Stone
323.422.5588
DJEthanStone@gmail.com
DJEthanStone.com