Enjoy our answers to the most common questions our clients ask:
1. What type of sound gear does the company provide?
2. What about lighting?
3. Do the musician/DJs attend rehearsals?
4. Should I "time-out" my processional walk?
5. How do I submit my music selections and preferences?
6. Can my musician/DJ learn a new song for my wedding?
7. Will my musician/DJ make announcements during the reception?
8. How early will my musician/DJ arrive?
9. How do I book my musician/DJ?
10. What types of payment do we accept?
11. What do we need to provide for our musician/DJ?
Scroll down to read our answers...
1. What type of sound gear does John Ross Music and Production provide?
John Ross Music and Production offers 2 complete sound systems with every wedding we work. In some cases we provide a 3rd system for a cocktail hour or similar when there are 3 distinct locations. All systems are setup and tested prior to the ceremony so that our staff can move from one location to the next along with the wedding guests and ensure smooth transitions. At the end of the day we circle back and tear down all the gear.
The ceremony system is a line-array style speaker made by Bose. The system is set off to one side (usually to the right or left of the row of bridesmaids or groomsmen) so that it covers the audience evenly and also stays out of wedding photos. The ceremony setup includes a wireless mic (headset or lapel) for the officiant as well as a handheld wireless mic for any readings, prayers, etc. The handheld wireless mic is also available for amplifying vows, we recommend this approach instead of placing a lapel mic on the groom. Using a mic on the groom in an attempt to pick up the bride’s spoken vows is a bad idea and a recipe for feedback. We recommend the officiant holding the handheld mic for the bride and groom or simply allowing the bride and groom to each hold the mic when they speak their vows. Here’s a few examples of what our ceremony setup looks like:
The reception system is a traditional PA with stereo mains and all DJ gear included. Depending on which package you select, FX lighting for the dance floor may also be included. See the FAQ related to lighting. The reception setup includes a wireless handheld mic which is available for speeches / toasts. Here are few pics of our reception setups:
2. Do you provide lighting for the dance floor? What about uplighting?
Our “standard’ and “platinum” packages come with FX lighting designed to spread color and movement around the dance floor. In many cases this can help your reception feel more like a party. Some of our DJ setups have FX lights mounted to the speaker stands and placed on the DJ table while other setups have the lights all located centrally in a road case up on a speaker stand. Either way the effect will be color and movement spread around the dance floor. Here are a few pictures of our different lighting setups:
We also offer uplighting. This type of lighting is not designed to spread color or movement around the dance floor. Instead, it becomes part of the decor of the room, highlighting walls, columns or accent pieces. Uplights are low-power-consumption, high-output LEDs, that can be programmed to any color. Uplighting is available as an add-on at $40 per light, 8 lights minimum, including delivery, setup & teardown. Here are a few pictures of uplighting that we've done:
Here's a video of the dance floor and the surrounding areas at a recent wedding we worked. You'll notice the difference between the lights near the DJ table / dance floor spreading color / movement (the FX lighting that comes with our packages) and the amber fixtures located around the room pointing up at the ceiling (up-lights) and the warm vibe those can bring to a room. The effect in this video was created with just 9 up-lights in restaurant space (Gracie's) at Hotel deLuxe.
3. Do you attend rehearsals?
John Ross Music musician/DJs do not attend rehearsals. We choose this approach for two reasons: 1) our staff is often working other weddings/events during the time the rehearsal is scheduled and 2) it’s simply not necessary.
Reason #1: Most weekends our staff are out working weddings and many weekday afternoons and evenings we’re out working public and private events. Most of the time we’re simply not able to make it to rehearsals from a scheduling standpoint.
Reason #2: In light of our extensive experience, having your musician attend the rehearsal is simply not necessary. By asking a few simple questions to the right people the day of your wedding (what will the cue be to start the processional? who is the last person walking in before the bride?) we can quickly and efficiently gather the info we need to make our song transitions at exactly the right moment. Plus, since we will be performing the processional music LIVE we will be able to adjust the length of each song (longer or shorter) to fit the moment when people are walking. It’s simply not necessary for us (or for you) to practice getting this timing right together at a rehearsal. You just walk at whatever speed you’d like and we’ll take care of all the timing issues.
4. How do we “time out” our processional music for the ceremony?
As we mentioned above, there is no need to try to “time out” your processional with our music. Since we will be performing the processional music LIVE we will be able to adjust the length of each song (longer or shorter) to fit the moment when people are walking. It’s simply not necessary for us (or for you) to practice getting this timing right together at a rehearsal. You just walk at whatever speed you’d like and we’ll take care of all the timing issues. If you'd like to rehearse to the music you'll hear the day-of we can provide mp3 files of your musician performing your music that you can play during rehearsal.
The only exception to this rule is when you choose to use pre-recorded music. In these cases just let us know if there’s a certain section of the song you’d like to start at or end at for each particular moment. We can also edit the audio files ahead of time to ensure they are long enough in the event of delays or people walking more slowly the day of the wedding.
5. Can we choose the songs we want for the ceremony and for dancing? How do we share that information with John Ross Music?
Yes, absolutely. We want our clients to have as much direct input about their wedding music as possible! Unlike other music or DJ companies, we don’t come in with an agenda of doing “our thing.” Instead, we want to do “your thing.” Toward that end, we offer our help and advice and ask our clients to get involved in selecting music for their wedding.
Many of our clients select specific pieces for each special moment during their day (i.e. processional, recessional, first dance, cake cutting, last dance, exit song, etc.) and we’re happy to help them do so. We provide each of our clients with a special Client Site where they can login online and store answers to different questionnaires designed to provide us with all the info we need for each wedding. Other couples don’t have specific preferences for each moment and are more than welcome to submit answers like “you can choose” or “please pick something appropriate” and we’ll select pieces that work for the moment.
Couples can work on those questionnaires, saving and updating their answers, all year leading up to the wedding. One questionnaire, called the “pre-wedding checklist” is due a month before the wedding. The other, called “dj preferenes” is due a week before the wedding. The dj preferences questionnaire includes the option to give us your “must play” songs as well as your “do not play” list as well as additional information.
6. Can our musician learn a new song for our wedding?
Absolutely! Each of our musicians has a “standard setlist” listing all the songs he currently knows/performs. Our musicians are always learning new material so we do our best to keep the lists online updated. Clients can hire their musician to learn and perform a song not currently on their list for a small fee. Our current rate to learn and perform a song of your choosing is $50/song. If you want us to learn, perform and professionally record our version of the song, we’ll do so for $100/song.
7. Does John Ross Music staff make all the announcements at our wedding/reception? Can they direct our guests so that everyone knows where to go and what’s happening next?
Our musician/DJs happily make any and all announcements at our weddings. This includes things like introducing the couple, announcing special dances, cake cutting and toasts, as well as directing your guests at various times. In general, we think of ourselves as the master of ceremonies at your wedding and want to make sure you and your guests always know what’s happening, what’s coming next and how they can be prepared for it. For example, if you plan to toast with whatever your guests have in their glass we’ll make a few announcements beforehand encouraging guests to visit the bar or beverage station to make sure they’re prepared for the toasts coming up shortly.
8. How early will our musician/DJ arrive on site the day of the wedding?
Since we’re normally setting up and testing two or three different sound systems we like to arrive between 2 and 3 hours prior to the ceremony. Our preference is to setup in a relaxed fashion, not rushing at the last minute or stressed out, which can add to the stress of your day. This extra time also allows us to trouble-shoot any issues that may arise and fix things before the day begins. While we can certainly setup faster if access to the venue is delayed, we prefer this longer window of time.
9. I’m ready to book my musician, how do I complete the process and secure my date?
Booking your wedding with John Ross Music involves two steps: 1) signing a contract with us and 2) submitting a deposit payment. Our contracts establish the basic logistical information about the wedding (who, where, when, etc) and detail the services we’ll be providing. They also set the terms of our agreement related to the sound gear we’ll provide and the policies we’ll use in case of cancellation, sickness and failure to perform. Clients sign their contract when they book and we countersign as well. The deposit payment for each wedding differs in amount since it is calculated as 50% of the total package price. Most deposits are somewhere between $700 and $1000. Contracts and invoices for deposits are posted online to each couple's Client Site where they can be reviewed, signed and paid securely online.
10. What types of payment do you accept?
John Ross Music and Production accepts payment via cash, check and/or credit/debit card. Payments in cash must be made in person. Payment via check can be mailed to 3439 NE Sandy Blvd. #442, Portland, OR 97232. We also accept payment vie e-check online through our client portals. For the convenience of payment online via credit card we charge a 3% fee. As a small business we just don’t have the profit margin to absorb those fees.
11. What will my musician need on-site the day of the wedding?
Our contracts require our clients to provide a few simple things for us on the day of the wedding:
1. A 6 foot table adjacent to the dance floor on which we can place our DJ gear. (This enables us to travel in more fuel efficient vehicles that don’t fit a table that size.)
2. Access to reliable power within 100 feet of ceremony, cocktail hour and reception venues. (We don’t mind running extension cords to power but we don’t carry more than a few hundred feet of cord. Plus, if there’s no power we need to know ahead of time so we can reserve you a generator or battery power supply.)
3. Provide food for your musician/DJ to eat (either the same food you’re serving your guests or a “vendor meal” from your caterer).
4. Have a back up plan in case of rain. This means that you have access to a covered space (tent or indoors) or that you’ll reserve a popup tent for us (10ft by 10ft) if there is potential rain in the forecast. We simply cannot setup thousands of dollars of gear with no cover and potential rain in the forecast and then “hope for the best.”