1. Introduction: What's your story?
Hi, my name is Bobby Bruno, owner of Phoenix DJ. I have been a wedding DJ/emcee the past 15 years, and I love it as much today as when I first started! I fell in love with music the day I was born. Once I was given my first cassette tape, it’s been my supreme joy to play music for others.
I am the baby of nine kids and grew up listening to oldies and rock and roll. I moved from beautiful Illinois to even more beautiful Arizona in 1997, where I fell in love with country music and have been two-steppin' ever since! My two favorite artists of all times are Elvis Presley and Garth Brooks. Both have phenomenal music of course, but it's their ability to entertain and captivate their audience that I really love and appreciate... as well as them both being incredible role models! I love to mix all types of music these days and enjoy playing the piano, guitar and harmonica. I really do love to make people feel special and help them to create memories that will last their lifetime. Weddings are a great way for me to do that!
I helped a great friend of mine DJ a wedding when I was a Sophomore in college (2005), loved it, and have been doing it ever since.
2. What's your experience as a wedding DJ? How many weddings have you done?
A lot, I have been performing a wide rage of events the past 15 years. Of those events, 90% have been weddings. Weddings still remain my favorite, by far. I enjoy the pressure that everything HAS TO go right; people are there to have a blast, everyone is looking great, and it's the wedding couple's most important day of their life! I know that, and it's my plan to kick it up a notch, and it's my sole responsibility to give them the best night of their life. Maybe it's because I'm in the industry, but I firmly believe that the DJ/entertainment makes or breaks the event!
3. How far in advance do couples need to book your services?
It really varies. But, since I am the owner, planner and the DJ; 6 months to a year is ideal. Typically, right after the wedding date and venue are chosen.
Unfortunately, I can only work one wedding a night, and it is an all day affair.
It doesn't necessarily always have to be booked that far in advance, but I think it's smart to play it safe.
4. What's your rate? What does that include?
Rates vary, but a good rule of thumb is $250 an hour. An hour of 'music playing' time. I do not charge for meeting, planning, setting up, breaking down ect. For example, if a wedding Ceremony starts at 5:00pm, followed by cocktail hour, dinner & Reception, with the last song at 10:00pm, that is 5 hours, so I charge $1,250. $250 an hour.
Planning is most important, and the most time consuming aspect. I need to learn exactly what the bride, groom and family have been dreaming of and customize my service to fit that perfectly. Visits to the venue, talks with other vendors, additional communication with the Bride, then I back up everything, just in case! The more prepared and rehearsed I am, come wedding night, I'm there to have a fun time with everyone else! Often times I am the first to arrive to the venue for set up and the last to leave, but I only charge from when the music starts to when it ends.
My package that I price at $250 an hour includes, a Ceremony set up with music, lapel and wireless microphones. A Cocktail hour set up, and my Reception set up. Reception set up includes my sound board, mixer, wireless microphones, computer, music, 2-3 self powered JBL speakers and [American DJ] dance lighting. I am not big on up-charging, so I try to include everything that will be needed. However, if up-lights, or a monogram or karaoke is desired, I do charge a little more for those.
5. Are you available to travel if needed?
I have been flown out to Hershey- PA, Cabo San Lucas- Mexico, Caloma- Michigan, San Diego- CA, Telluride- CO, Cape Cod- MA, and New York- NY.
I can typically bring my mixer, cords and microphones, but most everything else needs to be rented.
6. How would you describe your style?
Energetic, passionate; you can tell I am excited to be there and truly care about everyone making life-long memories.
I take this job very, very seriously, which is why I always come very well planned and prepared for most anything. If you were to see me at a wedding, you would likely mention to your date, "look how much fun the DJ is having!" I love getting people to loosen up and getting them out onto the dance floor. It's my goal to make everyone there feel special, while reminding the bride and groom to soak this all in. This is one of the very few times they will have the majority of their friends and family all together in one place, so I try not to waste a second. Their love story is just that, 'a story,' so we need to showcase that story perfectly in a matter of a few hours.
I have been doing this fifteen years now, and I have yet to sit down during a wedding. I'm not boring, I'll say that. My style is focused on making memories for the bride, the groom and their families!
7. What's your backup plan if there's an equipment malfunction? Do you bring backup equipment?
Half my vehicle is filled with all back up equipment.
One of the best weddings I've performed at in my life, the videographer broke my mixer when trying to plug into it. Thank goodness I had a back up mixer, not nearly as nice as my normal mixer, but the wedding turned out incredible. Nobody had the slightest idea I was playing off my back up, except for the videographer of course, I made sure he knew!
I always arrive at the venue to set up long before I need to, just in case.
I back up everything, all equipment and songs. Always.
8. What's your sick day policy?
I have yet to miss an event. Not one, nor be late!
The day my father passed, I made it to my event, and that was just a little 8th grade dance. If I commit, you can bet your butt, I'll be there.
Things do happen though I understand. If something did, and if I was too sick to move and medicine was not an option to get me moving again... I have DJ owners that I partner with that I would call on, one of which I work for as well. Starz Entertainment, phenomenal company, they have 8-10 DJs working for them at anytime. I would pass along the timeline, wedding names, information, music, ect. to them, which is all kept on-line just incase something were to ever happen.
9. How do you motivate a shy crowd to dance? What do you do to motivate the crowd if nobody is dancing?
This can be done a few ways.
A good slow song can usually get them. Or a good line dance, depending on the crowd. If that's not doing the trick, I could play a song like the YMCA, where people can go along with the song right at their table.
I always ask the bride and groom ahead of time how important is it that there is dancing. Some do not care, it's not their focus, so with those I do not worry as much, as long as everyone is still having fun. If it is important to the bride and groom however, I make that my priority!
I remind the shy ones, that they did not come all the way from (whatever state they are from), to sit and watch! Often times, by them seeing me having fun dancing, unfortunately still with terrible dance moves, it loosens them up. I believe it whole heartedly, if the DJ is having fun, wanting to be there, it rubs off on guests. The same is true for the opposite, I can not stand a boring Wedding DJ.
I had a wedding a few years ago where the majority of the guests were being stubborn and just would not get onto the dance floor. I knew it was important to the newlyweds who warned me ahead of time that their families will likely not be doing much dancing. So, I stopped playing music completely until everyone, yes everyone, was on the dance floor. The musical silence along with the microphone telling them to get onto the dance floor seemed to work. Once everyone was out of their chairs, I played the song Shout, and the dance floor stayed pack the remainder of the night, no joke!
It happens time after time after time, the bride or groom or parents or grandparents tell me after a wedding, that they, or so-and-sos have never danced so much in their lives. One of the best compliments I get!
10. What is your cancellation and/or refund policy?
Nine times out of ten I do not refund the down payment, which is 30%. That down payment holds the date where I do not, and will not reserve anyone else. If there is a date change, I am more than happy to apply that down payment to the new date.
I am very understanding and typically have a great relationship with the bride/groom or parents prior, so I have yet to run into any issues with refunds for cancellations.
As far as refunds after the event; since day one, I guarantee my services 100%.