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Friday, January 20, 2012

Wedding Tips: Is Your DJ Prepared To Handle Unforeseen Emergencies?

Everyone knows the age old motto of the Boy Scouts of America: Be Prepared. Buy how many of us really are? More importantly on your wedding day is your DJ prepared? I have long carried an emergency kit in my DJ console. Redundancy and back up equipment is great for any of your own emergencies but what about the other vendors? If you are truly part of the team, then you should be able to come to the team's rescue if necessary. Many items that can solve big problems are really just small things. This photo is an example of backup audio connectors I bring to every event just in case your videographer needs a connection to record audio from my system or you discover the need for an adapter/cable for a surprise A/V presentation you've planned for your guests.

My "Just In Case" case has a wide variety of connectors and adapters.

Do I ever need my backup kit? Yes. For example, I once came to the rescue of a wedding photographer. We were working at a wedding reception at Ralston Hall Mansion and she was having problems with her slave flash. The slave is a remote flash that fires simultaneously with the on camera flash to fill and bounce extra light. Her slave was not firing regularly so she figured it was low on battery power. When she discovered that she had no more 9 volt batteries in her case she became concerned. She asked me if there was any chance I had a 9 volt and I said no problem. I carry plenty of extra 9 volt and AA batteries with me because I use them in my wireless mic systems. She was thrilled to have a fresh replacement but soon realized that the new battery was not solving the problem. Some quick troubleshooting on my part revealed that one of the two contacts that lead from the electronics to the snap on connector had weakened.

Standard 9 volt battery snap connector

The photo above is a replacement connector which is a common fix on any device powered by 9 volts because the wires are so tiny that they can fail with even the normal pressure exerted during battery replacement.

I also carry a small soldering iron and solder for just these kinds of problems. It took me no time to repair the solder connection on the contact and have her slave back working like new. The photographer was blown away by this unexpected on-site repair service. I was happy to be able to help. The client was never aware that there had been a problem and her photos came out great.

My soldering iron, solder and a smiliar connector that crippled her slave unit.

Sometimes you just never know what kind of connectors will be required to tap into a house sound system or feed an audio signal to the videographer. Sometimes you might get lucky if an open Radio Shack store is just around the corner from your event but why count on it? Other times you are on a bay cruise ship with no other options other than what you've brought on board yourself.

Here's a list of just a few things I bring along and never leave home without them.
1. Tape (Gaffers, Adhesive, Masking, Electrical)

2. Safety Pins of all sizes (saving many a dancing bridesmaids' dresses in distress)

3. Zip ties in a multitude of sizes

4. Batteries (9V, AA, AAA)

5. iPhone Charging Cable

6. Advil, Tylenol, Aspirin

7. Tool Kit (From tiny tweezers to lug wrenches)

8. First Aid Kit

9. Assorted Audio Video Connecting Cables and Adapters for many possible configurations.

10. Extension cords, Flashlights, Jumper Cables

Are you planning a slide shows or video presentations at your wedding reception? The absolute best sound you are going to get is through your DJ or band's system.  Discuss this presentation with them in advance of your reception. You should get their approval to plug into their system and make sure they have a spare line level input to make this audio playback possible in addition to all of the right connectors and cables. Another a good idea to assign one of your guests who you can trust to be in charge of the entire audio visual presentation. This person working with your DJ should have knowledge of the computer, application, projector and screen to insure your presentation is the best that it can be.

Even in this high tech world sometimes plain old hustle and low tech solutions do the trick like having the right tools to perform a simple soldering repair. Such was also the case in another recent one of my posts called Above and Beyond: Wedding DJ Customer Service. That story told of my diligence in finding an obscure song on a vinyl record for a special client request.


  1. very useful tips for preparing wedding party...
    wedding disco dj hire

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  3. Your clients are very lucky to have you! I bet most of them give little consideration to exactly how well prepared for anything is the DJ they've hired for their wedding. I can tell you right now I've read a lot of wedding plannin "check lists" and I've never read a single list that said to ask the DJ if they bring a soldering iron in case the photographer needs it :)

    BTW you've been tagged @ http://theflirtyguide.blogspot.com/2012/01/blog-tag-youre-it.html