10 Questions with Andy Cooper

WeddingRule Interviewed one of the most experienced and highly sought-after wedding DJs in Colorado, Andy Cooper. Denver based Andy is the owner of Reel Life Events Colorado.

Reel Life Events Colorado

DJs - Andy Cooper

10 Questions with Andy Cooper

1. Introduction: What's your story?

Hi, I'm Andy Cooper, the owner of Reel Life Events Colorado. From an early age I knew I had a love for music and entertaining and started my DJing career in my teens back in England. As the business started to grow along with my experience and popularity, I ended up using a booking agent up until I moved to the US in 1999. At that time I left all my equipment behind and just brought my CD collection with me. Within a few months I was DJing at several local bars in California and then relocated to Colorado in 2004. Through word of mouth and networking I started to build up my popularity again, purchased new equipment, met my wife, and now a father of 2 kids and launched RLE in spring of 2019.

When it comes to planning and DJing weddings, it's all about you. Although I have a wealth of experience, my goal is to deliver a result for you and your guests based on your visions. I make everything very personal, offer advise, listen to your requirements, music selections and ensure everything from the planning process through to the last dance is perfect.

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

I honestly cannot place a number on the amount of times I've DJ'ed at wedding, corporate events, private parties and other celebrations. I've booked 50 events since I launched RLE in May 2019, out of those, 10 were weddings, many were rescheduled to later this year and 2022 due to the pandemic, 25 were other corporate and private events and then remainder were utilizing my photo booth. I currently have another 7 weddings booked for 2021 which I'll be hosting as an MC and DJ.

I do have another full time job which is why I'm not booked as frequently. I do love to spend time with my family, schedule vacations and socialize with friends so I don't book multiple events on a single weekend. This provides more time to focus on event at hand and ensures a perfect result.

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

It's no hidden fact that weddings take time to plan and I invest a minimum of 12 hours for every wedding, and that number will rise depending on the complexity. However, I have stood in for DJs within a weeks notice and have the experience to ensure all the relevant information is obtained so your event is a success. I use a customized online planning tool allowing us to collaborate and share all the information, whether that be the details for the ceremony, grand entrance, reception, music, timeline or photo booth requirements. I can then work with the other vendors and share information to keep your wedding flowing smoothly and everything on track.

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

My packaged rates are between $1200 and $2700 depending on your specific requirements. I have selected packages based on the length of time I'm required, if additional audio systems and microphones are required for an outside ceremony or in another room and various dancefloor lighting. I then offer additional a la carte services such as up lighting, a photo booth, monogram projection and everything in between up to creating a full club experience including lasers and haze.

I do not charge any extra for larger sound systems, I simply plan ahead and provide the equipment to suit your venue (up to 300 people - I can provide additional sound reinforcement for larger events at a cost). All the time required for planning, meetings, preparation, travel, setup and teardown are included in the cost. Standard mileage rates apply if more than 50 miles from my location.

...and finally experience. Being able to read the dance floor vibe, change the music direction on the fly, MC, handling any difficult situations that may arise and still being able to deliver the result you're looking for is the value I offer.

5. Are you available to travel if needed?

Yes, I typically service the Denver metro area, some of the closer ski resorts and mountain towns and occasionally travel further afield if the opportunity interests me. As mentioned earlier, additional travel costs may apply.

I have travelled to a few destination weddings that would require me to rent equipment locally or use any equipment provided by the destination venue.

6. How would you describe your style?

Formal, traditional and high energy - it's really up to you. I'm no comedian so expect no dad jokes from me, but this is one of the questions I ask during the planning sessions. What is the style you're looking for? and this can change during the course of the day. You may prefer the traditional approach for the ceremony, speeches and dances but high energy or modern music during the cocktail hour or dinner. I have music to fit just about every style you'd like and will go further to customize the experience to include the songs you want to hear and to exclude the one's you don't.

I rarely use a playlist and will always DJ live during a cocktail hour or dinner. This allows me to understand the music individual people are enjoying, I can interact with everyone and take notes knowing that Uncle Bob sitting at table 6 is tapping his feet to an Elvis song and therefore he's likely to dance to more Elvis once the dancefloor opens. It's then important to keep that dance floor packed all night by reading the crowd, adjusting the genres and decades to give people a break. I don't talk on the microphone unless an announcement is required, such as cake cutting or a bouquet toss, I focus on the music and deliver seamless transitions between all your favorite songs.

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

The show must go on, no matter what. I'm the conductor of the train , I see problems arising usually before anyone else and will attempt to resolve anything myself or with other vendors before involving anyone else and derailing the event. It has and will happen at anytime when least expected but having back ups of key equipment is a life savior. All my equipment is top of the line, has no single point of failure and I carry a backup laptop and then another tablet with all the key music required. One of the alternatives of listening and playing music for the younger generation of DJs is to use services such as Spotify to stream music, but what if the WIFI connection is bad or fails? DJs at a lower price point depend on these services and probably won't have a backup plan, but I always carry local copies of all the music I will be playing and will only use streaming services as a last resort.

8. What's your sick day policy?

I network with a number of other DJs for this reason. We stand in for each other should something happen, and it has in the last year whether that be a delayed or cancelled flight back from vacation, car problems or sickness. Using the online planning tools allows the stand in DJ to access the same detailed information discussed with you when your event was planned.

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 accomplished a number of ways. Usually by watching everyone's reaction to the music during the cocktail hour or dinner, I can pinpoint a few people who like certain music and a few wild ones who would typically lead a crowd to the dancefloor. I try to keep the older generation interested too by opening with slower and older music to suit their taste, such as well known Motown or 60s music. If that fails I play a game with everyone and this is always a winner - I won't disclose exactly what that is, but it's one trick I have up my sleeve.

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

During the pandemic I've modified my policy be more fair for those wishing to cancel and will continue this through the end of 2021 and maybe forever. Luckily I've had the majority of my clients rebook and there's no charge so long as I'm available on the new date. Currently, I will keep 50% of the original 20% deposit so essentially I keep 10% of the total cost of the event. This is to cover the operational expenditure to run the business.



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