10 Questions with Mark Hardin

WeddingRule Interviewed one of the most popular and highly sought-after wedding DJs in California, Mark Hardin. Sacramento based Mark is the owner of A Big Ticket Sound Experience.

A Big Ticket Sound Experience

DJs - Mark Hardin

10 Questions with Mark Hardin

1. Introduction: What's your story?

Hey there, My name is Mark Hardin, owner of A Big Ticket Sound Experience. I started rocking events when I graduated H.S. in the 80s. Then quickly moved to working in several clubs in the Bay Area. Eventually, I moved to hosting and DJing private corporate parties and weddings. To date, I have entertained at more than 1200 weddings. My main goal is your wedding, social event, or corporate party is a complete success, We pride ourselves to recognize what makes the perfect day for our clients.

2. What's your experience as a wedding DJ? How many weddings have you done?

Our experience is vast as it started in the 80s when we did our first weddings. Then, we actually did a decent job DJing the weddings we hosted. At that time, our equipment was mediocre and our music selection was pretty sad when you consider our endless collection of music we have now. We have come so far with both technology and the way we harness our music library.

Today, we use the best equipment in the market (with backup programs if something were to fail). Our lighting is also top of the line and and again, our music library is endless. Our experience shines when you meet with us and we review everything regarding your wedding day celebrations.

3. How far in advance do couples need to book your services?

When you book our services, it really depends on several parameters of when to book us. The most important is your wedding date. A wedding date from May to October (conventional wedding season) should be booked anywhere from 9 to 15 months prior, or immediately after you have reserved your venue. On the other hand, a wedding from November to April, we can safely say booking 6 months in advance is usually okay. With that said, we do have many couples who book their off season wedding entertainment a year in advance. Another important consideration is if you want me (Mark Hardin) to host your wedding. In this case, earlier is always better.

4. What's your rate? What does that include?

When it comes to pricing, it varies to what our clients are looking for. We do have complete bundle packages that are designed to save our clients monies when booking these packages. We also have a la carte pricing for those couples who know exactly what they want on an individual basis. Conversely, some couples will combine a bundled package with a la carte services to complete their specific desired package. Some of the most popular things added to packages are uplighting, photo booth, extra hour OT, video monitors’ package, monograms, and dance floor lighting. So, to get down to what we charge is difficult if I do not know what the couple is looking for specifically. I can say all of our prices are published and we don't change them if our client is getting married at a high-end venue. In an effort not to waste customer’s time, we offer up our pricing upon request and can provide a quote for services where pricing is guaranteed for 30 days and we hold your date for 7 days.

5. Are you available to travel if needed?

Our office is based in the Sacramento, California region. So, our preference is to host and DJ weddings within 100 miles of Sacramento (Including but not limited to South Lake Tahoe, San Francisco, Napa, and Chico areas) as this is most economical for the couple and ourselves. We will travel further if required providing the event meets certain requirements. Our mileage is free for any event within 50 miles of Sacramento. For events outside the 50 mile radius, we typically charge $50.00 per hour based on Google average time standards. This can rarely change due to road closures and/or detours.

6. How would you describe your style?

Even though I have DJ’d for decades, I’m always trying to stay cutting edge with what can make my customers have the most up to date entertainment experience. I am doing my best to stay current on the latest lighting and sound technologies, and always pushing to improve. My style is based on uplifting you and your special guests; keeping everyone entertained, without taking center stage. I strongly feel that on the night of your event, we are all working together as a family to keep you happy. So, there’s not a single word that represents my style other than making sure your wedding day desires are fulfilled.

7. What's your backup plan if there's an equipment malfunction? Do you bring backup equipment?

The chances of our main DJ equipment and computer to die at your event are extremely unlikely. Our main system, controller, and cables are new (less than a year old). We only use the highest rated DJ equipment, cables, and a MacBook Pro to run our DJ software. With that said, we do bring a backup MacBook computer and controller in the rare chance that something does fail. We also have a third tier of protection if for some reason the backup system fails. We call this our “Three Tiered Backup System” to insure your night’s entertainment is seamless, successful, and stress free.

8. What's your sick day policy?

In 30+ years we have never missed an event due to sickness or anything else. Our core values insure we will make sure we are at each event. However, in the result of sickness, as a long standing member of the Association for Wedding Professional and The American DJ Association, I am personally connected with over 100 DJs in our region, and I am confident we can work with a partner company to insure a perfect entertainment experience at your event. In addition, every event we host has two professional DJs who work together. While many wedding events can be done with a single DJ, we bring two in the result a backup is needed. So, if your host DJ is sick, the backup DJ will host your event with an associate DJ assisting.

9. How do you motivate a shy crowd to dance? What do you do to motivate the crowd if nobody is dancing?

Actually, getting people to dance has always come very easy to me. I believe there are many things to consider when we motivate guest to dance at a wedding. First, we rate songs not only for their popularity, but their “Dance-ability Factor”. When songs are danceable and popular, guest will tend to dance more frequently at the reception. This will both motivate a shy crowed and pack the dance floor when empty. We also explain to the couple in our initial consultation, “The more they dance, the more their guest will dance” because often it is seen that dancing is the upmost compliment to having fun. Lastly, amongst other parameters, we help create a fun atmosphere from the very first announcement and throughout the evening; using keywords and phrases to pinpoint more of a reaction and anticipation for guest to participate and elevate the wedding reception as a whole.

10. What is your cancellation and/or refund policy?

Our cancellation policy is spelled out in the contract and we cover all aspects to protect both the customer and ourselves in regards to any booked event. However, paragraph 14 states, "Termination by Customer. If this Agreement is terminated or the Services are cancelled by Client in writing to DJ at least 60 calendar days before the Event, Client will be issued a refund of all amounts paid less the nonrefundable retainer. In all other cases, Client is obligated to make full payment of the total amount due under this Agreement, regardless of the circumstances surrounding the termination." Keeping in mind, few events ever cancelled up to 2020. Then, most of our clients decided to reserve for dates in 2021 or 2022. A Big Ticket Sound Experience will make every effort to work with couples and make sure we make things right in difficult situations as we are in the business to help make "Best days" for couples and their families.

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Awards

WeddingRule Editor’s Choice 2020