fig weddings has 24+ years of experience creating personalized experiences and tailored soundtracks for weddings in Chicago and beyond. We are big thinkers and we are good at what we do—we get to know you, share our perspective, identify what you need, and invest in your event's success. We create and direct agendas for successful event flow while facilitating the wedding experience of your dreams. Personable, tasteful, thoughtful, professional, responsive, and fun—that's who we are, and more, at fig.
How long has fig DJ been in business? . . .
fig has been in the DJ game for over 24 years. Our founder, James Gustin, has been spinning for over 25. James is a master of developing talent and has trained over 50 DJs in fig’s two-decade-plus tenure. Today, we have a strong team of ten artists with unique personalities and talents, but a common core of strategy and approach to events. Three of our team members have been exclusive to the fig residency program for the past 10 years—that says a lot in itself.
What makes you different from others out there? . . .
All of our DJs share a deep love for music, but primarily, we share a love of people and customer service. The success of an event goes beyond the beats. The fig team has worked hard since 1993 to be leading your event with style, grace, and professionalism. We not only hire phenomenal DJs, but we cultivate amazing people through our extensive training program. fig’s founders, James and Michele Gustin, have a total of 40+ years in social & emotional intelligence training and have used their performative studies to create the best platforms and systems for success. Training for our DJ team includes:
- How to understand & execute your vision
- How to build rapport with you, your guests, your vendors, and the room
- How to sequence the flow of an event
- How to emcee your night well
- How to distinguish demographics on a dance floor & adjust accordingly
- How to skillfully transition between songs
- How to set up sound in a room for best coverage
We also have bi-weekly meetings led by our DJ manager, Brent Rolland, in which we check-in on past events and review what worked, what didn’t, and our learns so that we can improve, as well as prepare for future events and clients. We see ourselves as a brain trust with a dedicated "war room” that thrives on learning and strengthening our skills. Oh, and don’t think of us as straitlaced workaholics—we heart the occasional get-together over Italian food and lively conversation. Don’t you?
How does the DJ work with other vendors at my wedding? . . .
Like the Blackhawks (yeah!), we are serious, authentic team players. We are a crucial part of your event, but we aren’t lone wolves looking out for ourselves so we can get the “best vendor” award. fig believes in vendor friendships, a.k.a. “friendors.” Definition: We make early relationships and work closely with your day-of team to assure big-picture success. Our standards of collaboration make a big difference—and you won't have to lift a finger. That is, unless you want to point at us and say, “You’re the best.” We can get used to that. Some examples of this include:
- Calling your planner to introduce ourselves and getting to know them in advance
- Touching base with your venue manager to view the space and setup (whether we’ve been there or not)
- Reaching out to the filmmaker before your event to see if they need an audio input from us for clear sound
- Checking in with your catering manager cue on speeches, so we aren’t interrupting their service
- Making sure your photographer is ready to shoot before we make announcements, and discussing the best places to stage persons who are speaking for lighting purposes
- Going over the timeline and pronunciations as many times as needed
How do I choose my DJ? . . .
Decisions, decisions. Well, just two, to be exact. We offer a pair of exciting options when booking our DJ services:
THE RESIDENT: You know that “pair of jeans that fit juuust right” that Zac Brown sang about? That’s our lovely resident package. And, we’re a little bit chicken fried.
With our resident package, after you book your package with us, we match the best available member of our resident team to you based on your music tastes, your venue, your personality/needs, and your overall vision of your day. All of this information will be in the notes that we take in our initial meeting with you, as well as input by you in your personalized Google Doc that we send you as part of our e-welcome packet. You will get to meet your selected DJ before your event (we recommend three months in advance but you can meet whenever) to review all of the details and make sure they are the right fit. (While we’re not perfect, we have never had anyone request another DJ). This is the choice for you if:
- You love fig overall and feel that anyone on our team will do a stellar job
- You want to be paired up with a DJ through a thoughtful process instead of random luck
- Want the fig brand but do not have the budget to book a specific artist
THE ARTIST: With our artist package, you select the DJ from our resident team that you’d like to work with. We created this option as we understand that some clients prefer to work with their person from the first meeting to the last. To secure a specific member of our team, you will pay an added artist rate to guarantee that person (based on their availability) for your event. This is the choice for you if:
- You have a specific music direction or cultural requests
- You have seen/experienced a member of our team in action and want them for your event
- You really, really love a particular DJ from our bio pages (Ooh! You got a crush!)
- You have been referred to a specific DJ from a venue, planner or other source
- You want to know exactly who you are working with before you book
I get to pick my DJ? Awesome! But, why is it more expensive? . . .
When you book an artist, they hold your date and turn away all other work. So, if your DJ gets offered an opportunity in London to open for Lady Gaga, they know they can't go jet-setting. (Sorry, Lady Gaga. Loved your halftime performance, though!) Often times, clients book artists up to a year in advance, and sometimes more. We aren't always sure what next year will look like or where our creative endeavors will take us. We love to travel and while weddings are our passion, our DJ often have many personal projects, corporate clients and social events keeping them busy. This is a boon to you as, our DJs benefit from experience with a variety of work in addition to their wedding portfolios. We are also a small business that empowers artists. Our DJs are hardworking, hustling peeps with families, responsibilities and fun extracurriculars, just like you. The added rate both respects the commitment of the artist to you and honors your commitment to us. Pricing for artists vary. If you are interested in a specific person, let us know. Our DJs deejays love to consult and talk about their work.
What venues do you work at? . . .
If you name a venue in Chicago, we have mostly likely played there. Our team DJs for hundreds of events a year, so that allows us to cover a lot of ground. Five-star hotels, loft spaces, museums, restaurants, barns, and more are on our list. Most of our events are in downtown Chicago, and we also travel nationally and internationally. We have also held several team residencies and partnerships with venues like SmartBar, W Hotel, Rockit, the Radisson Blu Aqua, the Dana Hotel, Headquarters, & Celeste.
Oh, really? You travel for weddings? . . .
Yes we do! We L-O-V-E traveling for weddings and events. There’s nothing like a great road trip! We’ll discuss travel plans with you, as well as our plan for bringing/acquiring equipment. The process and communication is just as seamless and timely as a local event. Just farther. (Travel fees and amenities may apply depending on wedding date and availability.)
What does the DJ setup look like? . . .
We like our DJ setups like a Ford Shelby GT350: Clean, sexy, and a powerful engine. We use pro DJ gear from brands like Pioneer, Denon, Vestax, QSC, Yamaha, EV, JBL, Mackie, and others, and we keep our table setup as tight and minimal as possible with beautifully hidden/wrapped cords. Our sound systems are excellent and we tape down cables for the neatest look. Our goal: Look good, so you look good. Who says that music junkies don’t know a thing or two about design?
Do you do lighting? . . .
We do not bring lights or have a strength in lighting, as we focus on what we do best—great music, hosting, and timely service. We defer to your venue or designer for lighting, or we’ll send recommendations on who to contact.
Do I get to pick my songs? Will you play my music? . . .
How do you handle requests? . . .
With a smile. That is, unless ol’ Aunt Mildred comes up and demands that we play “The Chicken Dance” in the next ten minutes because she’s about to leave and she will be downright appalled if we don’t make her dream come true. (Everyone has an Aunt Mildred like that, right?) Seriously, we kindly welcome requests from your guests; due to time and artistry, we cannot promise we’ll get to all of them. Your music list comes first and we will fit in requests that work with your vision and what’s currently happening on the dance floor.
Some may claim that the song they request will “get everyone going”—which my be true, or it might be a song on your do-not-play list.
What is your hosting style? . . .
Philosophy: Nobody likes to hear a DJ talk during the night. We talk as little as necessary and ensure guests know what’s happening. We’re great hosts and facilitators.
Do I need more speakers for my venue? . . .
If your guest count is over 250, or if you're are looking to create a concert-like sound environment, contact us to hear our recommendations for your space. Long, rectangular venues like Galileo’s Café at the Adler Planetarium or large, cavernous spaces like Modern Wing, Germania Place and The Chicago History Museum and the like require special equipment and a specialized quote. Our deejays are knowledgeable and love geeking out about big set ups, let us help you design your guest experience.
What if my venue has a sound system? Can you use it somehow? . . .
Short answer: Maybe! Some venues, like the House of Blues, Morgan Manufacturing, The Geraghty, and Moonlight Studios have excellent sound systems installed by audio pros that are suited for dancing and loud applications that are available for us to plug into. Other venues, such as Spiaggia, Howells and Hood, and 19 East, have in-house sound systems that are best only for light background music and some microphone usage; they are not recommended or designed for loudness or dancing. With a skip in our steps and an iPod in our hands, we will meet personally with your venue to listen to their sound system and determine if it’s usable and suitable for your event. We care about our relationships with venues and have your best interests at heart.
My ceremony will be at the same venue as my reception. Can you handle music and microphones for it? . . .
Most definitely! Ceremonies mean the world to us and we have a knack for getting them right as a start to your magnificent day. If your ceremony is in the same room as the reception (i.e. The Oak Room at the Metropolitan Club or the Great Hall at Café Brauer), we typically recommend using the same sound system and wireless microphone with stand for both. If your ceremony is at the same venue or grounds as your reception but in a separate room from the reception, either indoors or out, a separate sound setup is necessary. It requires our team to set-up, run audio during your ceremony and break all the equipment down.
What if I need more hours for my wedding? . . .
Book what you think you will need up front, you can always add hours later. Overtime and extra hours booked on the day of the event are a bit more then if you book up front. Our artists may have to rearrange schedules on the day of your event and are happy to do so, which is why the premium is different. Anytime our team can plan their schedules in advance we are efficient and we pass that savings on to you.
Ok! I’m hooked. How does it all work from here? . . .
CONTACT US to set up a meeting with us.
It all starts with an initial meeting—either in-person or over the phone—in which we get to know you, your love story, and what you’re looking for DJ-wise. We will explain our process, go over your concerns, and give you a clear idea of how we do what we do.
If you like us, we’ll send you a proposal or a contract over e-mail.
What is in your DJ Package? . . .
Our packages include up to 6 hours of playtime w/ an early load in and sound check. We provide music for cocktails, dinner, dancing and the basic sound equipment w/ microphone. We can also provide music and mic’s for ceremony!
So…what if my guests don’t dance? . . .
Great question! Not every party is a dance party. People can have an amazing time at your wedding—and not dance. The hits don’t always work, and the non-hits sometimes wow us.
Also, if you aren’t a dancing couple... We can play the greatest hits, but people may not dance at all. We won’t be on the microphone demanding that people dance. We tailor the event to your preferences. We’ll change songs to adjust the mood. We listen to you and tailor the vibe to you. Your song choices may not be the best for dancing. We will review and consult with you beforehand on your crowd and your music