Advice

Book with confidence:

10 Reasons to book Lee Live

1. Won the VOWS awards in 2008 and was nominated in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013.
2. Mainly plays requests - gives guests cards and pens on the night.
3. Can call all the main Ceilidh Dances.
4. Doesn't charge extra until after midnight.
5. Uses the High-Resolution Audio files (16bit Linear PCM Wav Files).
6. Has a vast music collection - owns over 58,000 wav files.
7. Can play international music - German, French, Spanish, Polish, Indian etc.
8. Has all the necessary legal reqs. - Produb licence, PAT cert, PLI ins etc.
9. Always arrives at least 30mins before the required set-up time.
10. Keeps the volume at a suitable level so people can still talk.

My advice on ipod Weddings.

The ipod may seem like a suitable choice for a wedding but before you make any quick decisions it is worth considering a few things:

Requests - A good DJ will take requests from guests to keep them happy.
Quality - I am afraid that MP3s are good on headphones while jogging... but the sound quality is comparable to radio quality when played through a good PA system. A good DJ will be playing Linear PCM Audio Wave files through a 24bit Dual Stereo soundcard.
Continuity - A disc jockey is there to group together similar styles of music and beat and harmony match them so that the dancers keep bouncing to the same rhythm. He will also be able to react to changes in mood of the audience and know what style of music will change the dynamic.
Rapport - It is not just about the music. The rapport of a good DJ as he shares the experiences of your night will give that extra dimension to the event.
Lights - A good DJ will have a suitable LED lighting rig. This will add immensely to the atmosphere of the night.
Less stress - With a DJ at least you will be able to relax without worrying about the need to change the music if no-one is dancing.

My advice on having a DJ instead of a Band
A DJ has a passion for all styles of music. He will be able to play all your favourite tracks, current chart material, take requests, read the crowd and adjust the music to suit, cater for multicultural music and play the original recording of your First Dance. He is more likely to have a dedicated lighting rig and be able to set-up earlier and play on longer. He will also adapt to the size of the space available. He will also be the more cost effective option which is helpful if you have a set budget.

My advice on advance song request from guests
At one time it was very useful to have a list of songs in-advance, just in case any special CDs had to be purchased, but now professional DJs can obtain wav audio files from subscriptions to commercial databases for downloads. So now music is available in minutes on the night via a 4G connection. I recommend that the Bride & Groom just give me a dozen of their "must play" songs in-advance as I will give the guests cards and pens on the night for their requests. The main reason for this is so I can put a face to the person who asks for a particular song. This is useful for knowing when to play a track. If I notice someone has gone off for some fresh-air or to change their shoes etc... I can hold the track. It is also useful to know which requests have come from families with kids as their songs generally need to be played earlier.
I suppose another good reason for requests to be taken on the night is because it is easier for the DJ to knock-back a song that is on your "do not play" list rather than you having to tell the guest yourself. Also, if any dodgy requests are given to the DJ he can check with you on the night before playing them.
If you are including a song request-slip on your invite can I suggest it says something like "the song I definitely want to dance too is:" as there lots of great songs but not all are ideal for the dancefloor.I do not recommend an advance list of any more than a dozen songs. On the two occasions where I have been given a play-list of the entire music for the evening there has almost been a mutiny!! Guests generally become very unhappy if there is no music they can dance to and will leave early! If you do insist on having an exclusive play-list then consider having many styles and not just all 90s trance (for example)!

DJ Check List:

As a VOWS Awards Winning DJ who prides himself on customer service I feel I can offer a few tips on the things you could ask to see if a DJ is serious about the business and the music.

Do you take Play-Lists and requests from Guests? It is your Big Night and a good DJ should be able to prioritise a dozen of your favourite songs. They should also ask you what songs you don't want to hear no matter who asks for them. As an extra they ought to be giving your guests cards and pens for requests.

Do you have a ProDub Licence? A legal requirement for anyone using a laptop to play copies of their CDs.

Can you call Ceilidh Dances? As a wedding has all ages present a few may want some ceilidh dances (especially if they are in kilts!). A professional DJ ought to be able to call upto 30mins of the dances for you should they be required.

Do you play MP3s or WAV (LPCM Audio) files? MP3s are reduced quality (compressed files) and are really not suitable for DJs... especially as most DJs ought to be using a dedicated studio quality digital-to-analogue soundcard and not the headphone socket on their laptops! The difference will be seriously noticeable with ultra-modern sound equipment. You will hear the full range of frequencies with no loss to the top or bottom.

Can you download a song at the last minute if urgently needed? There are specialist DJ websites where WAV audio files can be purchased (such as the ilikemusic commercial music database). If the DJ is serious then they should have a 4G internet connection to be able to do this for you on the night!

Will my guests still be able to talk when you are playing? If they adhere to 2005 H&SE Noise at Work Directive you should be able to talk as-well as dance. A good DJ will use a graphic equalizer or sound optimiser to also remove troublesome audio frequencies caused by anomalies in the shape of the room. As an extra, they should ideally be carrying protective headgear to offer for any babies present.

Can you cater for Multicultural and Interracial Marriages or for the requests of my foreign guests? The world is becoming culturally smaller. A good DJ should know what types of music to play for all corners of the globe or be willing to learn what to play.

Is your equipment electrically tested? Some venues won't let the DJ in the building without a PAT certificate. Check they have this.

Do you have Public Liability Insurance? In the unlikely event that an accident occurs you want to be assured that the DJ can be sued for damages. Most should be taping down cables and securing lights with safety ties.

Do you have back-up equipment? If they are prepared then they should have a duplicate of almost everything in case of any emergency. (i.e laptop, soundcard, speakers, mixing desk). If they are really serious then they also should have a Uninterruptable Power Supply (UPS Battery) so that they won't have to restart everything if there is the slightest of surges, spikes or power failures.

How much space do you take up and how long will it take you to be ready? A good DJ should have already visited or at least been in touch with your venue to ensure that there is sufficient access and set-up space. Most DJs should be at your Wedding at least 30mins before the required time to ensure that they have all their equipment in an anteroom ready to set-up when the room is ready. Doing this will keep their set-up time to less than an

Do you have Digitally Controlled Lighting (aka Digital Multiplex or DMX)? A professional DJ will have complete control of the lights so that they can set them to match the mood of the music.

Will you play background music during the buffet? I have added this because years ago when I got married the DJ played through the buffet and hardly any of it was eaten! You want the DJ to lower the volume and allow 20-30mins for people to enjoy the food before getting the party going again.

What is your style of DJing? Ideally a good DJ will be grouping together similar styles of music and mixing in harmony as well as beat-matching. There should be no gaps in the delivery of the music. Do they also know how to read a crowd and react to changes in mood of the audience and know what style of music will match the dynamic.

Do you have any images or videos of your set-up in action? You'd be surprised how many don't want you to see it and will send you photos of the crowd instead. This is usually because they use cheap equipment or have messy set-ups with untidy cables hanging everywhere (which won't really be the look you'll want on your Big Day).

What extras do you have? You can save a lot of money by seeing if your DJ can provide such items as evening mood-lighting, microphones and a power amplifier (PA) system for your speeches, a projector and screen, or even an audio transmission system for placing a wireless speaker system in the bar area if it is far from the dancefloor (so that guests don't miss their music requests).

On top of all that you should get 100% focus from your DJ. ie. Quick replies to your quote request and any other communications. Follow-up emails a month before the event to check your First Dances and confirm timings etc... And on the day they should be professional, polite and dedicated to ensuring that you and your guests have an absolute scream!

Each year I purchase a licence that legally allows me to copy tracks from my CD collection.

Here is a list of the licences to-date: 2007/8 DigitalDJ Licence - 20,000 tracks, 2008/9 ProDub Licence - 5,000 tracks, 2009/10 ProDub Licence - 10,000 tracks, 2010/11 ProDub Licence - 1,000 tracks, 2011/12 ProDub Licence - 1,000 tracks, 2012/13 ProDub Licence - 1,000 tracks, 2013/14 ProDub Licence - 1,000 tracks, 2014/15 ProDub Licence - 1,000 tracks, 2015/16 ProDub Licence - 1,000 tracks,  2016/17 ProDub Licence - 1,000 tracks,  2017/18 ProDub Licence - 1,000 tracks,  2017/18 ProDub Licence - 1,000 tracks,

A produb licence is not required for the wav files that I download.

Here are my answers to the 2013 VOWS Awards Business Review Form:

1. VOWS acknowledges consistent & excellent customer service. Using the headings given, please describe the customer service experience that you provide from initial contact to the day of the wedding and if applicable, after the wedding (max 100 words per section).

Before:
I like to keep things simple. My website is designed with the wedding couple in mind. They can quickly see if I am available and there is an in-depth Frequently Asked Questions page to put their mind at ease about any worries they may have. When responding to quotations I attach links to photographs of me performing at their chosen venue. That gives them a feel for what it may look like on their Big Day.

During:
One the night I don't just have one customer - I can have hundreds. My aim is to keep them happy so that the couple can relax. I tell them that I will to play all requests (so long as that they will dance to them). I also check that granny can still hear herself talk!

After:
That very night I send the couple an email thanking them for booking me to perform at their wedding. Also this year I have been attaching a few photographs of their First Dances. Many have expressed delight to see them before breakfast!


2. What company standards, policies or processes are in place to ensure that your customer service is consistent from one customer to the next (eg length of appointment/response time to an email/follow-up process). Please highlight any which are new in the last 12 months (max 100 words)

I keep a spreadsheet detailing all customer contact. This way I can keep a track of all the processes from issuing a quote to sending a booking confirmation. It also prompts me to contact the customer one month before the event to go over the finer details.
This year I decided to give myself a check-list to take to each venue. It ensures that I remember to ask all the right questions on the night from whether or not the bouquet is being thrown to if a coach is arriving at a certain time to take guests home etc.


3. In the last 12 months, give an example when you have offered excellent customer service (max 100 words).

I pay £800 per year for access to the same music database as the BBC uses so that I can download high-quality audio files. I ask the couple for their song requests in-advance so I am always prepared. But at The Caves recently they remembered another (and quite obscure) song at the last minute. Sadly there was no internet connection as the building is underground. Not wanting to let them down I stood outside the venue with one of my laptops waiting for the 50mb wav file to download just so I could ensure it was played for them.


4. During the year, how do you know that your customers have been happy with the service you have provided? If possible, give specific examples in support of your answer (Max 150 words)

This year I felt that is was important to know why two thirds of couples who asked for quotes didn't book me. In most cases it was because they ended up booking a band instead. But one customer said I didn't have enough photographs on my website. I am so glad she told me because I now take photographs and videos not just for my website but to email to the couple straight after their wedding. They then share them with friends and family. The ones on facebook and vimeo are attracting an average of 50 viewers each too. One groom even told me he made one into a large canvas print and gave it to his wife as a surprise present. But on top of that more than 20% of customers this year took the time to send me Thank You cards for performing at their wedding.

In April 2017 I was asked to answer these questions for an article for a Scottish Wedding Magazine. 

Unlike bands, wedding DJs don’t usually play sets that couples can check out before booking them. How do couples find great local wedding DJs?
When booking a Wedding DJ find one that has lots of great Recommendations and Testimonials. Also, see what music styles are mentioned on their website. And have a chat with them to see if they have played your style before. But generally a great DJ will have a passion for all styles and so be able play all your favourite tracks and adjust the music to suit the mood on the night.

Is there a limit to the music you can play?
I love to find new types of music to add to my collection. Just this week I had to buy half-a-dozen Apres Ski CDs especially for a Wedding later in the year. Over the years I have DJd at many German, Spanish, Polish and even Algerian Weddings and so have amassed quite a collection of world music.
So, no. I will always absorb and learn about whatever new music is needed. On the night I aim to play all requests. As most weddings receptions are around 5 hours long there is always time to get through many many different styles to suit what the guests want.

Do you have to deal with licencing laws at all?
A DJ needs to have Public Liability Insurance and have all of his equipment electrically tested every year. And also pay for a Produb licence if copying his music collection into a digital format. I also take sound-meter readings where bar-staff are working so that I do not exceed 85db. That is required for Health and Safety Laws.

How do you work with the venue beforehand to ensure that all your equipment will work?
I have different sizes of sound and light systems so if I have never played at a venue before I will go and visit it to see how much space is available. While I am there I will also check the access for loading my equipment on the night.

What precautions do you take in case any of your equipment fails on the day?
I have lots of back-up equipment. It is very rare for an item to fail, but I don't take risks when it comes to a couple's Big Day. I test all equipment while setting up. If anything fails then it is quickly swapped out. For DJing a have TWO systems running simultaneously and both are connected to a big battery back-up underneath in case of a power failure! I have only had to change two lights and a few cables before now. But as I refresh my equipment every 5 years I am always using the highest quality equipment.

Do you play songs from a fixed set list, or do you read the room? If you read the room, what songs do you play for what moods?
I take requests and fill in the gaps with songs I know will work. I like to change the style of music every 20-30 mins in order to keep everyone happy. Usually playing the style that has been requested the most first. Each new song has to be mixed in key and just feel right for the flow of the night. Each night is different.. .A lot of it is down to timing....   It is also an intuitive thing but a great experience is always had by all guests. Sorry, you'll have to come and experience my style for yourself... (can't share my trade secrets here).

Can couples have control over what type of music is played?
I work with the couples to get a flavor of what types of music they do and do not want on their Big Day. And usually recommend that they give me a dozen or so songs that they want to hear through the night.

What type of couple would prefer a DJ over a band?
A couple who want a mix of all styles of music to keep their guests happy. But also ones that want flexibility - a DJ usually has a dedicated lighting rig and is able to set-up earlier and play on longer than a band. A DJ might be the best option for a couple using a venue with limited space and also for those who want something more cost effective.

Do you do any extras- like games?
I call Ceilidh Dances.... they are really fun. Other extras include: Mood-lighting; Wireless speakers for remote bar areas (so no-one misses a song on the dancefloor); PA systems for speeches; Projector and Screen for slideshows.

Are there any common problems that arise at weddings that couples don’t always initially think about? For example, not giving you enough notice on what first dance song they would like played? It can be anything though!
I would have said that the one issue I notice a lot revolves around the cutting of the cake. I'd recommend that couples check-out how to pose for that before the Big Day.. or ask their photography to put them in position. Plus, also find out what knife is to be used in-advance.. I have seen folk running for a meat cleaver from the kitchen before now. BUT, that is not really DJ related so I would ask the couple to remind the Best Man to speak for 10 minutes maximum. Many a meal (and consequently the evening reception) has been delayed by someone speaking for 50 minutes instead of five.

You also include extras like lighting- why is this important for creating an atmosphere at weddings?
I like to have the lights matching the mood of the music. I can control my lights from completely still and dramatic in all one colour (during the First Dance to totally wild and raving (during Bits and Pieces).


Lee is now offering Wedding Photography in Edinburgh. You can now book him to undertake both Wedding DJing and Wedding Photography together (Monday to Friday only). Visit: http://www.ourdreamphotography.com/