It seems like a bold statement to make, but last year I helped 48 wedding couples to realise the wedding reception they’d dreamed of.
If you’re in the process of planning your own wedding reception and are currently looking for wedding entertainment, this is how I work with couples when they approach me to enquire about what I can do.
I believe in creating a completely customised package for every wedding I entertain at. After all, each and every wedding is completely different in it’s own ways (trust me….I speak from experience!). And you can see from my testimonials that I tend to get it right!
So…how did I do it?
Step 1: Find out as much as possible about what’s actually required.
That may seem a bit obvious, but believe me….every single wedding is different in some shape or form. It’s my job to understand exactly what the happy couple are expecting so that I can determine whether or not it’s something I’m going to be able to deliver (I really don’t believe in promising to do things which I can’t!).
I know…planning a wedding is complicated and time consuming (believe me….I did it 20 years ago!), and your DJ isn’t necessarily your number one priority. BUT…I can help with a lot of the other planning such as timelines as well!
Yes, it might seem like I need an awful lot of information – but the more I know about your plans for your big day, the more I’m able to tailer what I do.
- For instance, you may be looking for a DJ who specialises in Drum & Bass music (that’s not me by the way), or a DJ who’s happy to play a selection of different genres to suit the age groups of your guests. It may be that there’s certain types of music you really DON’T want to hear (and indeed those that you definitely DO!).
- Maybe you have special requirements you require from the entertainment, such as interactive games, a custom or music from another country, or a tradition which happens at every family wedding.
- Maybe you or your guests might have a condition such as photosensitive epilepsy where certain types of lighting can cause seizures.
- Maybe you have a certain type of theme to your wedding such as “retro“, “Rock & Roll” or “elegant and timeless“
- Maybe you’ve got a coordinated first dance routine you need me to accommodate, or maybe you’re not doing a first dance at all
- Maybe you’ve got a “special” event up your sleeve that your partner is unaware of (such as the “hens” performing a dance routine from the Hen night or a surprise guest making an appearance)
- Maybe you need me to work with other suppliers such as pyrotechnics displays (fireworks) or a Scottish piper.
- If you’re hiring me for an “all day” wedding where I’m to provide the ceremony music, are there certain “cue points” in the music you’ve selected which need to be emphasised (for example, a particular verse in your Processional track which needs to be played rather than the entire track)
- If you’re hiring me for the wedding breakfast, what are you expecting me to provide (services such as informal Master of Ceremonies and any preferences on background music whilst you and your guests enjoy your meal).
Or of course, maybe you just want somebody to turn up with loud music and flashing lights and leave the rest to chance on the night….that is entirely up to you.
Step 2: Meet up with you
OK, that doesn’t happen EVERY time. Some couples are just too busy or prefer not to meet up in person before the day…that’s entirely down to you (see…I said every wedding is unique!).
It can also happen as part of step 1…some couples prefer to meet before they even book…and I have no problem with that! It’s important that we’re able to work together to create your ideal wedding entertainment. I’m not going to be everybody’s ideal wedding DJ, and similarly, not every couple is my ideal customer (it works both ways).
I have many previous couples who regularly talk to me when out shopping etc. who have become friends!
What I will say though is that it helps enormously!
From experience, the best weddings happen when I’ve met with the happy couple before the big day to go through things like timelines, any special events I need to be aware of, music preferences and a whole lot of other things.
This normally happens somewhere neutral like a coffee shop (it’s on me!), but can be at the venue or I can come and visit you at home….it’s your choice entirely.
Of course, if you’re not comfortable/don’t want to meet up…that’s not a problem either. Tools such as email, Skype, FaceTime and the telephone can all help with the planning and as mentioned in step 1….the more I know about your plans for your big day….the better!
Step 3: Visit your venue
This doesn’t always happen, mainly because I’ve worked in many of the wedding venues I tend to entertain in before, but also because venues won’t always allow a visit (yes it’s a fact of life, but some venues don’t see the need to allow suppliers to do a site visit).
However, if it’s a venue that’s new to me….I’ll do my very best to go and have a look around!
Why do I do this?
It’s really simple. I have an awful lot of equipment at my disposal….far more than I can fit into the van on the day!
I wouldn’t want to turn up at your wedding venue on the day with a sound system which is suitable for a small village hall when you’ve booked something much bigger (the same goes for lighting).
Likewise different venues have different rules (including what’s in their entertainment license regarding volume levels and finish times….and I HAVE to abide by these rules regardless of your plans…it’s the law 🙁 ).
It may be that I’m not allowed to use certain effects such as fog, haze or confetti…I need to know these facts before I start setting off smoke alarms or upsetting the cleaners with a pile of paper and metallic shreds!
As well as equipment and setup and licensing requirements, I also need to perform a Risk Assessment (yawn!) to ensure I’m doing things safely for you and your guests (sorry…it’s part of my insurer’s requirements), and on an even more basic level, work out how I’m actually going to get in and out of the venue (for instance, I need to be prepared to be there early if your function room is above ground level without a lift!)
I like to be prepared so that I can provide the best possible setup on the day to suit YOUR wedding and your venue.
Already….that’s a lot of effort which has gone into my side of your special day!
It’s actually around 5-10 HOURS of work before I hit the play button and start to provide music!
It doesn’t end there though!
After all of this, I’ll be in touch with you with any other questions for information I need….all to make sure I’m going to be doing what you want me to do. I’ll also be responding to questions YOU have (and it’s the little details which often trip people up!).
And on the day itself…
This is where the real work begins. I might have to be on-site several hours early to suit your needs (an all day wedding can be 18 hours of work on the day and an evening reception at least 6). I might need to set up and sound check several different systems to ensure they all work (and do any appropriate fault finding when they don’t….and yes….that really DOES happen but you won’t know about it!)
I may need to liaise with different suppliers on the day such as your photographer to ensure the correct lighting for the first dance, a hog-roast to ensure correct timings as to when they’re ready to serve, or professional Toastmaster to ensure we’re all providing the very best service we can and act as a uniform service.
I also have to be prepared for the unexpected on the day (you’d be amazed at some of the last minute things I’ve had to do such as an army tradition of serenading the bride, last minute grand exits, a sudden change of first dance because of a sweepstake between the guests on what the track would be, and surprising the father of the bride with a father and daughter dance he knew nothing about!).
I’ve also been known to work with relations of the bride & groom in the past where the bride was French and announcements needed to be translated!
So, there you have it.
The way I provide the perfect wedding entertainment whether all day, from the wedding breakfast onwards, or just for the evening reception is understanding the details of what YOU’RE expecting from your special day and delivering on those needs.
Delivering perfect wedding entertainment really isn’t as easy as turning up and pressing “play” on a predetermined playlist…if only it was that simple…..
I pride myself in being able to work with wedding couples to (hopefully) achieve everything they’re expecting…and sometimes more.
Yes, it’s hard work, both physically and mentally (previous couples will be able to tell you how even after many hundreds of weddings…I still leave nothing to chance and have the first dance track cued up on at least THREE different systems!).
But, I wouldn’t have it any other way!