It used to be simple. Get married, enjoy a meal with your friends and new relations, and then hire a DJ for the evening party.
When I got married 20 years ago this October (eek!), you went to a church where an organist played music (sometimes unlike ours, they even got the notes in the right order!)
After the formal bit, you retired to a village hall or similar for a buffet of vol-au-vents and curled up sandwiches (no music during that bit), you shouted your speech across the hall in the hope that everyone could hear you, and then hoped a fat and balding DJ in a t-shirt and jeans turned up to collect a wad of cash and actually had your first dance track in his collection.
Thankfully, times have changed.
Gone are the days of marrying in a church then going down to the local village hall (although it still happens and I still love those weddings), rapidly disappearing are the “one stop shop” wedding venues (again, they’re still out there…but they seem to be becoming a LOT quieter of late).
IN is the blank canvas wedding with a registrar or humanist celebrant and a tipi/marquee/tent/barn.
I like these weddings A LOT!
Why….because they tend to have a more relaxed style to the day. Couples appear to be going more for enjoying the day for what it is and creating memories as opposed to the more formal approach.
What’s not to like?
This year has seen me taking part in more and more ALL DAY celebrations.
What does that mean?
Quite simply, I’m there to provide the music for the ceremony (and microphones if needs be). I’m there for the wedding breakfast either to play background music, facilitate the speeches and the cake cutting or provide some light hearted entertainment in the form of various table top games, and I’m there for the evening party.
It's a hell of a long day!
A lot of DJs won’t even consider offering an “all day” service. Some will provide music for the wedding breakfast and the evening party, but very few will take on the ceremony itself because of the hours and stress involved.
With an all-day wedding, it can be around 18 hours between leaving home and returning again, having been on my feet for most of that time!
I actually enjoy these wedding days. It’s always a great honour to be there with you for the whole day, to witness the wedding itself, to get to know you and your guests, to help with the running of the day, and to provide entertainment you’ll remember for a long time to come.
I'm the one that glues the different parts of your day together!
As a wedding couple, you want to relax and enjoy your day. You certainly don’t want to be running around, chasing different suppliers, making sure things are ready on time, herding your guests from one place to another…
This is where I come in as an all-day wedding DJ.
OK, I'm interested....what exactly do you do?
I had this conversation with a lovely couple on the telephone this evening (you’ll be reading about their wedding day next year!).
Every wedding day is unique – there really IS no pre-defined format to how things run. But in this scenario, we have a Registrar performing the marriage ceremony before lunch, an afternoon wedding breakfast in one tipi, and the evening party in another.
I won’t lie, it’s going to be a very long day (I’ll leave home at around 8am and return at around 2am the next morning). And I have many jobs to do during that day.
So…let’s break down the day into it’s different parts….
This is the part from my side of things where absolutely NOTHING can go wrong, both from the perspective of my pride in what I do and indeed the legal side of things (because after all, marriage is a legal contract).
I’ll be on-site for 10am, nearly 100 miles away from home and after a 90 minute drive.
For the ceremony, I’ll be using a very powerful battery powered PA system with wireless microphones attached to the groom and possibly the Registrar so that the guests can hear every word of the ceremony (the microphone levels are literally controlled on-the-fly…Registrars don’t like sound tests for some reason).
I’ll provide the music whilst the guests arrive and are seated, the music for the bride walking down the “aisle”, the music for the signing of the register (which in this case will be away from the ceremony site because this has to be done in a permanent structure due to our archiac wedding laws), and then the recessional as they leave as husband and wife.
Between the ceremony and the wedding breakfast...
After the ceremony, I certainly don’t sit on my hands. I’ll be there to help guests with various activities that are planned (I won’t reveal those just yet, mainly because they’re still in the planning stages), and also help the photographer gather the people she needs for her formal shots.
At the same time due to the layout of the site, I’ll be setting up PA systems and microphones for the wedding breakfast.
The Wedding Breakfast
This is to be an informal wedding day (my favourite type if I’m honest). Whilst there IS a timeline and structure, things are planned to take their natural course and flow as needed.
The wedding breakfast will happen a couple of hours after the ceremony , allowing guests the chance to unwind before the next part of the day.
Once the guests are seated, my job is to introduce the newly married couple to cheers and rapturous applause (their choice of Grand Entrance), and ensure that everything is as it should be.
Their choice of background music will then be controlled by me, whilst at the same time taking a quick bite to eat myself and setting up in the second tipi for the evening party.
Once the food is done, I’ll introduce the speeches, control the microphone levels (bear in mind the speakers will probably never used a microphone before so it’s very much real-time control), and facilitate the cake cutting.
The Floor Filling Evening Party
No pressure here, but I will have already been on my feet and working for 9 hours by this point (longer than most day jobs). I still have 5 hours of filling a dance floor to go!
This for me is the easy part. I’ve been filling dance floors for over 30 years and barring absolute disasters with things like power, I’m pretty good at what I do…my previous customers will attest to this!
The start of the evening obviously involves the first dance, a perfectly timed confetti shot, and a father & daughter dance. From thereon in, it’s party time until carriages.
And I love every single moment of it!
Yes, this particular wedding day will be around 14 hours on my feet, thinking ahead, planning, solving problems, organising, and ensuring that everything is running the way the bride and groom want it to.
There’s also around 3 hours of travelling involved all told, so in total around 17-18 hours of work before I finally get home and hit the pillow.
But do you know what? To be involved in such a special day and to help create memories that will last a lifetime….it’s more than worth it.
This service doesn’t come cheap. It’s a lot of work, stress, equipment (including backups), planning, back-office work and organisation….and I do this for each and every wedding day that I’m honoured to be a part of!
And it's a service I'm proud to offer!
I take a lot of pride in providing the very best service I can.
This is just one example of a wedding day which I’ll be involved in. Each and every wedding day is different with different timelines, different logistics in providing the service, different requirements for entertainment….the list is endless.
But I work very closely with each and every wedding couple I provide this service for to ensure that everything runs the way it should. Couples rely on my experience to make sure their day runs smoothly, and that’s both an honour and a lot of trust.