1. Introduction: What's your story?
My name is David Bradford and I created Bradford DJ Entertainment about 12 years ago. I started with parties and then was asked to do a wedding. That is when I researched and learned everything I could about the wedding process and being a DJ and MC. Word of mouth got me started and creating my own website and having online exposure has just expanded the business.
Naturally, music is the backbone for any DJ. My knowledge and love of music actually started when I graduated from high school. My dad had bought a Sears Silvertone Amp and Guitar. He like to play and sing country western songs. I started playing around with it and he told me that if I learned to play, he would give it to me. Inside of a year the amp and the guitar was mine and I started a rock-in-roll band called The Eastgates. We played throughout Fresno and the valley and opened for a number of recording groups such as The Grassroots, Van Morrison of Them, The Turtles, The Young Rascals and others. I contribute my ability to read a croud and play the music that keeps them on the floor to my experience while leading and booking The Eastgates. This is how I paid my way through college, however I didn't graduate from Fresno State until 1973. Drafted in 1969 and having just one semester left for my degree in Criminology meant nothing to Uncle Sam. I spent a tour in Vietnam and then Germany, bringing my love over and getting married in Munich, Germany. An early out got me home and I then completed my degree in Criminology.
As a married man with real responsibilities, I had to get a real job. I was hired my the Madera County Sheriff's Dept., where I progressed through the ranks to Lieutenant before retiring in 2004. I lead and trained our SWAT and Search & Rescue Dive Team. I worked parol, detectives and served as commander of the Narcotics Enforcement Team. I contribute my 30 years experience in law enforcement and 35 years as an instructor at the Fresno, State Center Peace Officer Academy with my ability to work closely and communicate with clients and in the ability to focus and attend to every detail of their wedding ceremony and reception.
Now retired and at the request of band members, I organized and got the band together for a 2 day reunion. Needless to say, we didn't sound the same as we did in the 1960's, but it was a blast. To do this however, I had to buy all new equipment because I had long sold everything and stopped playing. After the reunion, I had to do something with all this gear. That is when my niece asked me to DJ and play at her birthday party. I did and they loved it and then I got the request for a wedding and I was off and running. Have enjoyed every wedding and special event since and helping couples to plan the music and flow of their special day has always been and continues to be a pleasure.
2. What's your experience as a wedding DJ? How many weddings have you done?
Did my first wedding 10 years ago but not before doing much research. I learned everything possible regarding the planning and music selections for every aspect of a wedding. Learned about both traditional and untraditional ceremony and reception programs. One of the most important things I learned is that no two weddings have to be the same. If you listen to what the client wants, you can always make it their day, their way.
I now average 8-10 weddings per year. Last year I did 11 and I am happy with that. You see, I am not in this business to make money and have a full time job. I enjoy being selective as to how may events I do a year. I enjoy family and being a grandpa so I don't want to book myself crazy. Being retired however, I enjoy helping young couples through the planning process and creating for them a more relaxed, stress free experience. It is very satisfying to talk a couple through every stage of the wedding from the prelude to the last dance of the evening and everything in between. I have them feel totally relaxed in knowing that every detail is being addressed. I am honored that they place their trust in me to oversee and make it all happen as we have planned together.
3. How far in advance do couples need to book your services?
It is nice to have a wedding or special event booked 6 to 12 months ahead of the event. The most important thing is that the client is comfortable and has confidence with the DJ/MC they ultimately want to hire. If that means taking more time to research and see what is out there, I say do it. I communicate this to clients and provide links so they can check me out. I also encourage them, when you find the DJ that meets your needs and you have confidence in, you should book early knowing you are in good hands. They can then put the DJ search aside and focus on other aspects of the wedding.
4. What's your rate? What does that include?
I don't deal in packages and add-ons. I gather from a potential client the necessary details I need regarding their event so I can provide them with a flat-rate price. My current average price for 5-6 hours is $800 - $1000. Premium P.A. System, Wireless Mics, MC Service, Dance Floor Lighting, Consultation, Planning Tools and Music Library for creating a Custom Playlist is all included.
I also try and save a client money when they say they want a wedding for 9 hours or so. I could just quote for 9 hours and forget it, but I advise them that it has been my experience that the average wedding runs between 4-6 hours. I present to them this alternative. I will provide a quote and contract for example, 5 hours. If things are going strong and you want the party to continue, I will stay as long as they like at the hourly rate of $125. I find clients very appreciative for the insight and they always see the logic that may same them money.
5. Are you available to travel if needed?
Yes, I would travel if needed but in most cases, the same qualified service can be found by a client nearer the venue location. My current travel range from the Fresno Area is about 150-200 miles. I have provided service out of state but it has to be some special request.
6. How would you describe your style?
I consider myself a warm, happy and friendly guy who loves working with couples and helping make their special day everything they desire. I am a sociable person who communicates well with others in a professional, carrying and down to earth manner. Most importantly, I listen to what my clients have to say and go the extra mile to make their wishes come true.
7. What's your backup plan if there's an equipment malfunction? Do you bring backup equipment?
I always have two of everything ready to go should there be an equipment failure. That includes speakers, microphones, lights, computers, mixers, hard drives, etc. A couples wedding day is to important to be spoiled by an equipment failure and ill prepared DJ.
8. What's your sick day policy?
Fortunately, I have never missed a booking in 11 years, however, should it be necessary my daughter is qualified to step in. I also have contact with other professional DJ's qualified to provide the same level of service with the clients approval.
9. How do you motivate a shy crowd to dance? What do you do to motivate the crowd if nobody is dancing?
Let's talk song selections over tips and tricks to get people on the floor. Music moves people to dance when it has the beat and style that they love. That is why I start with providing clients with a Music Library from which they can create a Custom Playlist. This gets us in the right genre and styles for the wedding couple and many guests, but not all. I always take guest requests by placing signup sheets out so guests can make their requests. This helps provide a basis for getting everyone on the floor at one time or another. I find that mixing these two things and reading the body movement of seated and standing guests, I can mix up the music that moves them to the floor. Add this to the many line and group party songs I can interject and you can keep the energy going. Want the older crowd on the floor, I'm ready to play their favorite oldies and slow hits that bring back those memories of days gone by. The right music at the right time is my motivator. I have been known to take the mic, step out and sing a few rock numbers which usually livens things up, especially when a guest or two step up and we sing together.
10. What is your cancellation and/or refund policy?
If a client has an unavoidable cancellation and has paid the deposit and part or all of the balance, I return all except the non-refundable deposit.