Get Out From Behind the DJ Booth (A Guideline for new Wedding DJ’s)
Get Out From Behind the DJ Booth
(A Guideline for new Wedding DJ’s)
By Joshua Duerksen
First off, thank you! Thank you for not just purchasing this guide, but for your desire to improve your DJ service for weddings. It’s raises all DJs up when one of use does a exceptional job, and by purchasing this guide it show that you want to do better at wedding or you want to know how to do better. Now who am I my name is Joshua Duerksen. I have been in the DJ community since 1992, but really did not get my own gear until 1999. I was very lucky to be mentored under several types of DJ’s. Some mobile entertainers, some Club DJ’s, and a sprinkle of radio DJ’s.
All that being said I dove into DJing learned beat mixing, harmonic mixing, scratching all the fundamentals of “DJ DJING”. It was not until after a couple weddings, which I completely bombed and had to refund money that changed my thinking. I then started focusing on the art of being a great MC, being more than a human jukebox. I started to do research, and started to invest in my public speaking skills. I found a mentor, found a wedding planner whom would let me tag along her events as free labor. I learned good and bad from watching other DJ’s and listening to what other vendors said about the DJ.
I also dove head first into production, building remixes, video edits, DJ Logos, and DJ Drops. I have been lucky to work for some great companies like XMiX, just to name one of them. So I hope you find this guide useful, if you’re a new DJ I hope it opens your eyes and makes your realize how much work a wedding really is. If you’re a veteran DJ this really is just a mash up of all the great seminars and books I have read. More of a start here and go this way type of guide, getting new DJ’s pointed in the right direction. One side note, most of this stuff is my opinion, and what has worked for me. Remember your market is different not everything I do is going to work in your market, but all in all please be more than a human I-POD.
A Wedding DJ Paradigm Shift
Here is a question for you how many princess movies are out there about a girl finding her love and living happily ever after? There are thousands most-likely, across all the different cultures. Most little girl’s dream of their wedding day, even start planning it at a very young age. It seems to be engrained at a young age, or something we as a society push our young women to think about. Even for famous people the dreams and expectations of a great event are high they are no different than normal everyday folks as the quotes below show.
I remember when I was in school, they would ask, ‘What are you going to be when you grow up?’ and then you’d have to draw a picture of it. I drew a picture of myself as a bride. – Gwen Stefani
Weddings are important because they celebrate life and possibility. – Anne Hathaway
I hope that when I’m 80 years old, people will still be talking about my wedding. – Jennifer Hudson
With all these expectations leave it to the media put more pressure on brides. With numerous TV shows about weddings, wedding cake, and wedding dresses. Telling them, and showing them what they need to look for, also telling them what to look like. How many TV shows are there about wedding DJ’s. Zero! None! Nah Dah! Why because the media portrays wedding DJ’s as idiots! Every time a TV show or movie shows a wedding DJ it is in some comical roll as an Idiot, or “Throw your Hands Up” Scratching it up club DJ style. We as wedding DJ’s are never shown in a positive light. Why is that? As wedding DJ’s we are the ones to blame for all this.
There are lots of movies or television shows based on weddings or have weddings in them. It does not matter if they are romantic comedies, or reality TV shows. The media is telling brides, wedding DJ’s are not important all we do is play music. It also portrays we can’t even get that right most the time. The Knot, The Wedding Channel, and most wedding, bridal forums, and publications bash us. They give brides advice to use anIPod, DIY their music, they even make wedding jukeboxes so brides can rent them. All they think is human jukeboxes; we are a joke, weekend warrior’s just pressing buttons. Brides want to feel more secure, they want help, so they rent these systems and DIY their events to feel more secure about their event. They think if they can control the music they won’t have a bad wedding, with some cheesy guy or gal messing up their wedding. But a great “Wedding DJ” is so much more than just the music.
I am assuming you know how to mix music and have a basic understanding of gear. This guide is not to teach you how to mix. This guide is to get you to think different as a wedding DJ to have a paradigm shift on what it is you’re doing. If there is one thing and only one thing you take away from this guide it is this. A client (Bride) has hired you not only to play music, but be their Master of Ceremonies (MC). I will go into the MC portion of your job in a whole chapter. Being a good wedding DJ is more about being a great MC than a beat mixing scratching master.
The paradigm shift is this, the wedding celebration is not about your mixing or the hottest remix. It is not about thrown down the fattest beats, or building the most epic EDM bass drop. It is most defiantly not about playing the newest track you downloaded from the internet. It is not about how well you can scratch, or how great of a turntablist you are. You need to get all that junk out of your head. Get it out of your head!!! Throw all that self-indulgent DJ crap away, it is all ego, and ego does not help you create an unforgettable wedding experience.
What I advise you to do is throw the mental switch in your head from DJ mode to a wedding expert mode. What is wedding expert mode? It is representing your client on their wedding day. It is being the face of your client’s event positively, enthusiastically, and professionally. (I hate the word “professional” and will explain more later on in the guide) Executing the wedding script which you have planned out with your client meticulously, and being the host of hosts in front of the crowd also behind the scenes. You are a personal assistant for your client’s that day. You are a day of coordinator, portrayer of happiness, and should show that you are excited for the day. You are an outstanding public speaker, engaging the audience, and creating positive wedding celebration memories for your client.
You are not a DJ, you’re a “wedding entertainment specialist” “wedding entertainment coordinator” whatever you want to call it, but playing music is only about 25 % of what you should be doing at a wedding. So I challenge you to change your thought process. First with how, you, yourself refers to wedding events. Instead of referring to them as “Gigs”, refer to the event as John and Jane’s wedding celebration, when you’re talking about your events with friends and family. Change your thought process, about what it is your function at a wedding really is. Start referring to your events differently; change your mental mind set from calling it a “Gig” which is impersonal. Means it is just another event to you. You have not cared enough about the event to know the client’s name.
What I suggest is change your paradigm by calling it “John and Jane’s wedding celebration”. Doing this makes it more personal to you because you’re using the client’s names. You have taken the time to know your client’s name, and that is the first step. Remember there is no other thing that people like to hear more than that of their name.
Next, you are the person the client has hired “asked”, you to help them create an unforgettable wedding celebration. They are coming to you wanting your experience, asking for your expertise in wedding celebrations. So are you going to stand behind the DJ booth and make vanilla wedding announcements? Or are you going to get out from behind the DJ booth and make amazing announcements. Do you want to become the wedding entertainment specialist that commands a show, and keeps the focus on the clients? Or do you want to be just another forgettable wedding DJ. Are you intentionally continuing the stereotype which plays into the media’s portrayal of wedding DJ’s? Or do you want to help forge wonderful family memories for your clients? Maybe you just not care about your client’s event? Is it just quick and easy money? Or do you want to get the pay that comes with that great responsibility? If so what is that responsibility worth? What are wonderful family memories worth?
What all of this tells me is we as a community of DJ’s have failed? We have failed to mentor, train and guide new DJ’s who are interested in DJing weddings. They already have gone out and bought some gear and now shooting blindly in the dark. They have no clue about any aspect of wedding they are just going off the simple things they have googled or seen on TV. So when they perform a wedding event it turns into a disaster, because of a lack of experience, the lack of training, and the thinking it is just about the music, just like the brides do. The message of excellence is not being passed along, nor is the mentorship. This hurts all of us, and just fuels how the media sees us. How we can improve the value of our services, if most the public views us as idiots.
If you’re just sitting behind the DJ booth playing music at a wedding or think it’s all about you DJing you’re screwing up. I cannot sugar coat it any other way. If you are this type of, just a “Wedding DJ” and don’t want to change I have two options for you. First seek out a really good mentor who may be able to explain it better than me. Second sell your gear and get the hell out of the business and let people who do care about client’s weddings DJ them.
My wedding paradigm shift came after I met this bride who was very sweet and concerned about her budget. She was adamant she could not spend more than $400.00 on her wedding entertainment. Being the good guy I wanted to help her I only charged her $350.00. She was ecstatic, and booked right away. That’s when the micro-managing started, you will quickly learn that the more you charge the less you are micro managed at the event, and by the client. She required we have a meeting every two weeks to keep me in the loop of what was going on. Her wedding was 6 months away. So that’s 12 meetings plus the initial, so 13 one hour meetings, plus the 4 hour event itself set up and take down 21 hours of work for this event. All this means I made about $16.66 an hour on this event not good return on investment (ROI).
That’s not even the worst part when I got to the venue walked in she had two swan ice sculptures made for her event. They were being setup so, I asked the guy “Wow those are amazing how much were they to get made.” Remember this bride told me she could only spend $400.00 on her wedding entertainment. He stated and I quote “They are $1000.00 each this bride went all out!” To this day I am still mad about this; here I was doing a lot more work than those two ice sculptures melting away were. What will be your changing point?
Weddings Are Stories
Weddings are stories, especially first weddings, so you have to know your clients. You have to build that connection find out information about them, help them build their story. You have to put yourself in other people’s shoes, and sell them on the story of their wedding, the emotion of the wedding. Think about it, let’s say you have a daughter, you have held her when she was first born, you watched her crawl, watched her walk, she has stood on your shoe’s at father daughter dances. All the cuts and scrapes, and kissing boo boo’s watching her learn make up, and the junior high years of awkwardness. You have watched her grow looking more and more like her mother every day. Into the high school years, Boy’s, dating, and heart breaks. All the moments you have and the fond memories of sporting events, camping trips, and her leaving for college. One day bring home a man that could be the one. Slowly watching you lose her to him, because you have made it difficult for her to choose him over you.
You have made it difficult for a boy to come along that could measure up to you, her father. You have shown her love, and compassion, you have been a protector, and provider. You are the first man she ever loved, you were her superman. You have shown her what love is through the giving of your time. Imagine it, you have invested all that time, you have sacrificed your one non-refundable resource of time 20 to 25 years. Think about it, the best gift of love someone can give you is their time nothing else has more meaning. Nothing else is more valuable especially to children, and now your little girl is married. Now you are about to dance with your daughter on her wedding day all these emotions, and thoughts are stirring in your mind. Then the DJ announces “Ladies and Gentleman it is now time for the father daughter dance.” then hits the play button. Half the wedding guests miss the moment or were not paying attention. Things were not ready, its half way through the song before you are even up there dancing. Talk about a disappointment!
Imagine how much more the announcement for the father daughter dance could be. Imagine the emotion you could pull from all the other wedding guests thinking about their fathers This is just one perspective, one relationship of the event you are about to provide entertainment services for. Think about all the other memories you could tap and relationships you could pull from grandparent’s memories, mother and son, the couple themselves. You should be a story teller and incorporate your client’s life stories into their event, helping your client create unforgettable memories.
Meeting Brides and selling yourself to Brides
Advertising is like throwing mud pies at the wall some is going to stick some is not. I am not going to dive heavily into advertising. People get their degrees in marketing and advertising; there are books and books on this. What I believe is you need to focus in on your service and the business will come with your high quality service you are providing to your clients. Plus you’re not going to be spending a lot of money on advertising until you have a steady amount of events. Below is a list of cheap advertising I use.
- Have a business website.
- WEDJ (I use this because it includes gigbuilder)
- Facebook (Business Page Not your personnel)
- Twitter (One again not your personnel)
Social media is something you should be using to show clients that you’re at least doing events, and your clients are having a good time. Word of advice be careful what you post as far as pictures go, and who you tag and what not in those pictures. One tip on marketing I would strongly suggest you read is Guerilla Marketing by Jay Conrad Levinson.
Now on to my soapbox, CRAIGLIST! Ugh! I detest using this to promote your business, here is why it is basically a online garage sale. In my opinion my services, are worth more than advertising them along with another person’s junk. Plus all it does is promote brides to find the cheapest price instead of the best service. Most the ads focus on Craigslist are poorly written and try selling brides on 200,000 songs, loudest system, biggest speakers, all the stuff brides really don’t worry about when it comes to a DJ service. Finally all it promotes is cheaper and cheaper service. Granted brides get what they pay for but I don’t like to see any young woman’s wedding destroyed because of a bad DJ. So I call Craigslist the race to the bottom.
The Phone Call
So your phone rings, of course you answer it.
“Hello this is Acme DJ’s John speaking how may I help you” you say in your most professional DJ voice.
“Hi I am looking for a DJ to perform at my wedding how much you charge” the sweet young voice says.
So working with a potential bride on the phone and her first question is price. First off this is not her fault she most-likely never shopped for a DJ before. Next she most-likely has got a wide range of prices and heard all the horrible stories about bad DJ’s first. So what can you do to get this bride focused in and make your phone conversation stick in her mind? Also be in a completive realistic price range.
First congratulate her “Hey congratulations on your upcoming wedding celebration so before I give you a price I need some info to see if I am the right Wedding Entertainment Expert for your celebration” “Do you have a few minutes to talk about your event” Pretty much a yes or no question it if no arrange a time you can call her back. If she does not want you to call back and just insists on a price quote her something stupid crazy $5000.00. She is not the client that is concerned with having a great event she just cares about price. Not something you are going to book and if you do it will not be worth it to you.
If yes (Make sure you are taking notes)
- So when is your wedding celebration, do you need service for both the ceremony and reception or just one of them?
- What are your wedding colors? (This is important and I will explain this later)
- Where did you two meet? And How?
- How many guests are you expecting?
- Two Months after your wedding your friends, family and guests are talking about your event. What three or four adjectives would you like to hear out of their discussion about your event? (Fun, Party Organized, Memorable) (Classy, Formal, elegant)
- Where is this wonderful event being held at?
- What time were you thinking of starting your event?
- What are your expectations of a “Wedding DJ” besides just playing music, because I will let you in on a little secret all DJ’s have the same music. I am not playing a version of Love Shack or a version of any other song that is different than other DJ’s what I am here to do is help you plan, create, and execute a wonderful wedding celebration?
- What are some of your unique Ideas for your event?
- How about we set up a face to face meeting over coffee and I help you lay out a plan for your event, but an estimate for the price of my services is $800.00 to $2000.00 depending on different options you choose.
What we have done here is given the answer to her question, but more importantly shown the client we are interested in her event. Also hopefully you will have a face to face meeting with the client. You have to have a passion for your client’s events they have to hear it in your voice. When talking on the phone, smile it can be heard.
Wedding shows are one of the best places to meet potential clients because you get one on one time and interaction with them. You can show them your passion for their event first hand, and give them some great ideas. Of course you do have to gage them, and read their body language. One thing I learned a long time ago was the first question you should not ask is, “When is your wedding date?” Right when they walk up it is impersonal and remember you are trying to sell a couture wedding entertainment service not a book it and find a DJ later service.
Remember brides want to tell their stories, just like everyone else people like to talk about themselves. If you show your more interested in her, and giving her ideas to make her event unique it she will be way more open to responding to you. Remember wedding shows are that a “Show” you have to be in performance mode, smile, excited, and attentive to the bride and bride’s mother.
Selling to a bride is like painting a mental picture. I can guarantee most brides don’t care about how loud or big your sound system is. She does not care how many songs you have. She does not care how well you can mix music, hell I know some wedding DJ’s that don’t mix at all! She does not care who you are in the club or how much of a bad ass remixer you are. She cares about this, what you can do to help my event run smoother and make it unique. That’s it, that’s all. So you have to sell on helping her create a wonderful memories and making her event run smooth. Helping execute her plan whether you helped plan it out or you’re following the directions of a wedding planner. What are you bring to the table besides just playing music, because an I-Pod does that, hell my phone does that.
Planning It Out
The Initial Sales Meeting and First Planning Session with a potential client
Being a wedding expert you better have an idea of all the different “micro events” that happen in a wedding celebration event. I am going to help you out and give you a rundown of each “micro event” these are the core micro events that I see or happen at my weddings. Not to say this is the end all be all for all weddings. Other cultures and ethic weddings may have other micro events that are traditional to do. Your wedding market may have its own it’s your job to determine what is needed by your clients.
Typically there is 5 parts to a wedding ceremony here in the American custom, if you are providing the music and or sound for their ceremony part of the wedding. Obviously you’re not going to have to go over these options with a client if they are having a big church wedding and you are only providing services for the reception. Personnel may vary in this also you may have no ring bearer these are just overview descriptions not an end all be all.
1. Seating of the Family (One Song Needed)
The Seating of the family is typically when whoever is ushering in guests will seat the VIP guests in the front row. It usually has a distinct song that goes with it that the client has chosen. These VIP guests are grandparents, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters if not in the wedding party.
2. Bridal Party Entrance (One Song Needed)
The point where the wedding party comes in the ceremony after direct family member have been escorted the front row in the “Seating of the Family” now your client has some options on how they want the wedding party to enter.
a. Officiate enters followed by groom and then groom’s men, the groom’s men do not escort the bridesmaids in this option. After the last of the groom’s men are lined up on the groom’s side, the brides maids enter unescorted go to their spots. The flower girl and ring bearer come in next and go to their spots. Next Bride’s Grand Entrance.
b. Officiate enters followed by groom, then each groom’s men escorts one or two bride’s maids depends on how many you have in the wedding party if you have even numbers into the ceremony. After all bride’s maids and groom’s men are in their spot, the flower girl and ring bearer come in next and go to their spots. Next Bride’s Grand Entrance.
3. Bride’s Grand Entrance (One Song Needed)
I hope this part is self-explanatory, but just in case this is where the bride is escorted in by her father or grandfather whomever she really wishes.
4. Unity Candle, Sand, or Wine Ceremony (One Song Needed) (These are Optional Micro Events in a ceremony)
A. Unity Candle
The lighting of a unity candle is a relatively recent addition to the traditional wedding ceremony, most popular in the United States. The unity candle ceremony uses two taper candles with a large pillar candle (called the “unity candle”) in the center. At the beginning of the wedding ceremony, a representative from each family (usually the mothers of the bride and groom) light the two taper candles. Later in the ceremony (usually after the formal vows), the bride and groom use the two taper candles to light the large pillar (unity) candle together.
Often a unity candle is decorated with the wedding invitation, an inscription, a picture of the couple, or other ornamentation. The candles are almost always white. The lighting ceremony may be accompanied by special music, an explanation of the symbolism, or just some period of mutual gazing by the happy couple. In some circles, it is customary for the couple to save the unity candle and relight it on anniversaries.
It is sometimes performed to symbolize the joining together of the two families, and their love for the bride and the groom, into one united family that loves the new husband and wife. More often it is to symbolize the union of two individuals, becoming one in commitment. The popular explanation is that the taper candles are lit by representatives from each family to symbolize the love and allegiance that each family has for either the bride or the groom. As the bride and groom use these two flames to light the unity candle, they bring the love of both families together in a united love of the new couple. Generally, the two tapers are left burning and replaced in their holders (because each family’s love for their own will continue). However, in some ceremonies they may blow out their individual candles.
When the ceremony is alternatively performed to symbolize simply the joining together of the bride and groom, the tapers may be blown out, to indicate that the two lives have been permanently merged, or they may leave them lit beside the central candle, symbolizing that the now-married partners have not lost their individuality
B. Sand Ceremony
Both participants in the wedding ceremony have sand of different colors. First, one person pours their colored sand into a vessel. Then the other participant pours their colored sand into the vessel as well. Then both people pour their sand into the vessel together.
The mixing of the colored sand together symbolizes the union of the couple.
In a marriage between a Bride and Groom, it is customary for the bride to pour her sand first.
The ceremony can also include children or other wedding party members, giving them each their own colored sand to add to the vessel.
C. Wine Ceremony
The Wine Ceremony is about the same as the sand just wine is used, and usually children are not involved. The couple also usually drinks the mixed wine at the end of the wine ceremony.
This is after the officiate has pronounces them husband and wife you may kiss the bride. They then turn to the audience and the officiate usually says “I present to you Mr. and Mrs. ______________. That’s is when the recessional song starts.
Receiving Line (Background Music Needed)
Your client has the option to greet their guests with a receiving line. In a receiving line, newly wedded couple, the hosts, and often their parents and any honor attendants, stand in order of precedence and greet every guest in turn. Each guest greets the first (lowest precedence) person in the line and, if necessary, introduces himself. Etiquette advises at least one of the hosts and the newly married couple, as the guests of honor, to welcome and greet the guests, but the other members of the wedding party, parents who are not hosting the party, siblings, etc., are not required to stand in the receiving line. It is increasingly common to feature only the couple, since more modern couples host and pay for their own weddings rather than their parents.
After formally receiving each guest in this fashion, the receiving line is finished and the people who had been duty-bound to stand in it can mingle with guests, eat, and enjoy the rest of the wedding reception.
Now my opinion of receiving line is this, it is a waste of time a grand entrance works much better. Grand entrance is way more time efficient, especially if you have a lot of wedding guests. It also builds the events energy level way more than a receiving line does. Having your clients stand in line for an hour or more does not build any energy or excitement for the event. If your clients insist on wanting to greet every single guest, I would offer up this suggestion. After they are finished eating the Bride and Groom go table to table and greet their guests. This works because if it is a plated sit down meal they will be served first, or if it is a buffet style meal they will be the first ones through. So they logically they will be the first ones done eating. Why not go table to table and have them greet their guests. Get that personal one on one time with them while guests are still finishing dinner, when where is a lull in the event. Saving the long line standing and building energy into the event with a grand entrance.
There are a couple exceptions to this, two religion groups it is very traditional to do receiving lines, LDS (Latter Day Saints) i.e Mormons and Catholics. Catholics usually do receiving line right outside the church doors. Mormon’s normally have their receiving line at the ward hall or stake they are having the reception at. Most LDS wedding ceremonies take place at temples, if the couple is temple worthy. Once again not saying this is an all the time occurrence, just most the situations I come across. Remember each market is different. Each couple is different and always refer back to the golden rule of learn your client’s wishes and make suggestions, but if they insist then provide the service the way they wish.
So if the client wants to do a receiving line here is a diagram on the proper order
Grand Entrance (Music need varies)
Having a grand entrance instead of a receiving line, is a great way to build energy into the event. It is the way I prefer to start the reception. The grand entrance may involve presenting some or all of the wedding party, and the parents. Or it may be just the Bride and Groom, what I have found there are really three options for a grand entrance.
- Just the Bride and Groom (One Song Needed)
- Full Bridal Party with or without one liners, then the Bride and Groom (Two Songs Needed)
- Full Family, Bridal Party with or without one liners then the Bride and Groom (Three Songs Needed)
It may be done in the same manner as they walked down the aisle during the wedding ceremony. This is generally much faster than a receiving line and guests may be seated before the arrival of the wedding party. In addition, it can be an event in itself and be as entertaining as wished. Introductions may be accompanied by music and information about each person to introduce them to the guests. However, unlike a reception line, it does not give the guests an opportunity to speak to any of the people being presented. I have cover how you can fix that with the information in the receiving line option.
Order of Entrance for Grand Entrance
- Groom’s Grand Parents
- Bride’s Grand Parents
- Groom’s Parents
- Bride’s Parents
- Bridal Party Members
- Best Man and Maid Of Honor
- Bride and Groom
One final little thought on concerning the full bridal grand entrance. I don’t like to introduce the Ring Bear and or Flower girl(s). Because well little kids have hard time standing in line being patient they been through walking down the aisle, photos and all the other demands from them. By the time they get to me I usually don’t get the best cooperation from them. So I choose to not include them, but if the client wants them announced in then once again refer to the golden rule. I believe the grand entrance is the point where you can start building an amazing event.
As I stated above; there are 3 options I use the most for introducing the grand entrance not there could not be more, but these are the ways I do them the most.
- Just the Bride and Groom (One Song Needed)
- Full Bridal Party with or without one liners and Bride and Groom (Two Songs Needed)
- Full Family, Bridal Party with or without one liners and Bride and Groom (Three Songs Needed) or you can have a song for each couple coming in.
First just the Bride and Groom this is the easiest of the Grand Entrances. It only requires one song for them to come into the reception to. This is how I do it word it, you can find your own phrasing that works for you.
(Fade Background Music)
(Take Center Stage of Dance Floor)
“Good evening everyone!!”(Excitement in your voice) (Pause and wait count to five) “Is every one ready to have a great evening celebrating with (Groom’s Name) and (Bride’s Name) tonight?” (Pause) “I know I am looking forward to sharing what (Groom’s Name) and (Bride’s Name) have planned for you this evening” “My name is (Your Name) if you have any questions or music requests come up and see me later.” “But right now I have some people to bring in, so please welcome our hosts for this evening (Client’s Formal Name).”
(Grand Entrance Music Starts couple comes in to reception room hall, and out to middle of dance floor, fade music meet them out there.)
This second part how it is worded when, I meet the couple on the center of the dance floor varies depending on some planning options.
1. Are they Blessing the Meal
Make sure you have pre staged the person blessing the meal close by or you know where they are at.
“Friends, Family, and Guests (Pause if they are still clapping from the grand entrance) our hosts have chosen to bless the meal this evening, so it gives me great pleasure to introduce (Name of individual who is blessing the meal)(There relation to the couple) who will be blessing the meal this evening.”
Hand the microphone to person blessing the meal. Once they are finished you can head the first dance, toasts or dinner
2. Are they doing Appetizer and Cocktail Hour
“Friends, Family, and Guests (Pause if they are still clapping) feel free to visit the bar, appetizers are coming around and dinner will be starting here in about (20 -30 minutes or however long you have talked with the catering staff about) enjoy your evening” (Bring Background Music Back up to reasonable level)
3. Proceeding right in to dinner
a. Sit Down Plated Meal. “Friends, Family, and Guests (Pause if they are still clapping) feel free start finding your seats dinner is going to be served here in about (5 -10 minutes or however long you have talked with the catering staff about) enjoy your evening” (Bring Background Music Back up to reasonable level)
b. Buffet Style Meal “Friends, Family, and Guests (Pause if they are still clapping) please start finding your seats, now I will be coming around to each table and personally inviting you up to the to get your meal.” “Please wait till I come around I will get to your table as quickly as I can enjoy your meal and evening” (Bring Background Music Back up to reasonable level) (Turn to your clients invite them and the wedding party up to begin getting their meal. Or head over to the head table and invite the wedding party to follow their hosts up.)
**You will notice, how in this last one I just did not say the buffet line was open. I.E “Ladies and Gentleman the buffet is open head on over and get your food” I call this the cattle call approach.
First it is just tacky your clients should eat first, that way they finish first. Then they can go table to table and greet their guests when they are done eating. Also if the photographer needs to take more photos or pull the clients away right after they are done eating the photographer will have that chance when it won’t damage your event too much.
Second it gives you the face to face time with potential clients. Going table to table and talking with the guests, learning a little about how they know the couple and tell a wedding joke, just being an amazing MC. Will make you be memorable, you will book more events from doing this because it shows that you care about you clients events.
Last it eases the burden on two vendor team members, one the cater, two the wedding coordinator or planner. Remember the easier you make other vendors jobs the more referrals, because they know you understand weddings are team efforts. How it helps the cater is by regulating the flow of people coming up to the buffet line. Two it takes one job off the planners hands so they can focus on whatever event is coming next.
4. Proceeding right into first dance
“Friends, Family, and Guests (Pause if they are still clapping) feel free to visit the bar, appetizers are coming around and dinner will be starting here in about (20 -30 minutes or however long you have talked with the catering staff about) enjoy your evening” (Bring Background Music Back up to reasonable level)
OPTION TWO AND THREE
Full Bridal Party with or without bridal party one liners, and Bride and Groom
(Fade Background Music)
(Take Center Stage of Dance Floor)
“Good evening everyone!!” (Pause and wait count to five) “Is every one ready to have a great evening celebrating with (Groom’s Name) and (Bride’s Name) tonight?” (Pause) “I know I am looking forward to sharing what (Groom’s Name) and (Bride’s Name) have planned for you this evening. It’s going to be an amazing event.” “My name is (Your Name) if you have any questions or music requests come up and see me later.” “But right now I have some people to welcome in,
(Bridal Party Reception Entrance Music Starts bridal party enters upon hearing their names.)
(The Part in Blue below is something your client has provided you about the individuals being announced in. This is with wedding party one liners part. If your client does not want to wedding party one liners just take out the blue part)
“The First Couple is also known as Mr. and Mrs. Happy hour. She is the queen of grilled cheese sandwiches. He is the only king with a purse dog named Tigey. Please Welcome In” Bride’s Maid One Escorted By Groom’s Man One
“She can recite any episode of Sex in the City. He believes a true man plays golf in flip flops, decorates his house in dragonflies and still balances a checkbook. Please Welcome In” Bride’s Maid Two Escorted By Groom’s Man Two
“He lives for Boston Beer and the blue and gold. She lives for the Blazers, Botany, and bow ties. Please Welcome In.”
Bride’s Maid Three Escorted By Groom’s Man Three
“She has known the bride since they were groundhogs at Amity Elementary. He has known the groom since they were in college bachelors at North Idaho College. Please Welcome In” Bride’s Maid Four Escorted By Groom’s Man Four
“She enjoys a cocktail. He enjoys a cocktail. They are both educators the only difference is he can take down a rowdy high school kid with one hand. Please welcome in our Maid of Honor and Best man for the evening.” Maid Of Honor Escorted By Best Man
You could keep going with how ever large your wedding party is, but the two people you bring in before the Bride and Groom are the Best Man and Maid Of Honor.
Music Change Bride and Groom’s Reception Grand Entrance Song
”Friends Family and Guests, It gives me great pleasure to introduce our hosts this evening (Client’s Formal Name).”
Blessing of the Meal (No Music)(Optional)
The Blessing of the meal is the prayer before the meal. Some very religious client’s like this some others don’t. Once again it is about knowing your client’s, you can present this as an option for them. Here are some of the options I have come across in my years of DJing weddings.
- Father of the Bride, if the Father of the Bride is not going to do a toast then I usually suggest to my client’s that he does have the option of blessing the meal. Why some guys find it easier to say a prayer in public than to do a speech is beyond me. This is great to get the Father of the bride involved in the event.
- Grandfather of the Bride, if the Father of the Bride is giving a speech or does not want to do the blessing. If you client still wants to do the blessing the Grandfather this is a good option to go.
- Groom, if the groom wants to do a blessing of the meal I have seen this happen a couple events and it works well.
- Any other adult male on the brides side is traditionally who does the blessing of the meal if the Father of the bride and or Grandfather cannot or don’t want to.
How I word introducing the blessing of the meal. Make sure you have pre staged the person blessing the meal close by or you know where they are at.
“Friends, Family, and Guests (Pause if they are still clapping from the grand entrance) our hosts have chosen to bless the meal this evening, so it gives me great pleasure to introduce (Name of individual who is blessing the meal)(There relation to the couple) who will be performing the meal prayer.”
Hand the microphone to person blessing the meal. Once they are finished you can head into one of the options talked about previously
Dinner (Background Music)
The food served at a wedding reception is determined by the time of the wedding and local customs. Food may range from a single non-alcoholic drink with wedding cake to elaborate, multi-course dinners. The type of food is chosen entirely at the discretion of the hosts.
Some receptions, especially if the family’s culture or religious faith prohibits alcohol or dancing, focus on dessert. Hosts may also choose to honor regional or local customs, such as by serving a culturally important cake like croquembouche in France rather than a white layer cake, or by adding local specialties. For example, weddings in Pittsburgh often feature thousands of homemade cookies in addition to a wedding cake.
Cake Cutting(One Song For Cake Cut)
Wedding cakes can certainly range in size, from a small cake that feeds ten people, to a very large cake that will feed hundreds, all depending on the wedding. Modern pastry chefs and cake designers use various ingredients and tools to create a cake that will reflect the personalities of the couple. Marzipan, fondant, gum paste, buttercream, and chocolate are among some of the more popular ingredients used. Along with ranging in size and components, cakes range in price. Cakes are usually priced on a per-person, or per-slice, basis. Prices usually range from a few dollars to a few hundred dollars per-person or slice, depending on the pastry chef hired to make the cake. Wedding cakes and cake decorating in general have become a certain pop culture symbol in western society; many TV shows like Cake Boss or Amazing Wedding Cakes have become very common and are trending in today’s popular culture.
A wedding cake has always been a very traditional part of a couple’s big day. It was originally a luxury item and so a sign of celebration, and for those who were in the position of wanting to assert themselves; the bigger the cake, the higher the social standing. They were traditionally fruit cakes topped with marzipan and icing with tiers and the cutting of the cake was a big part of the reception. As with all other areas of weddings these days, they don’t need to be as traditional as they were. In the same way that all weddings aren’t in churches and brides don’t always wear white, wedding cakes no longer have to be the traditional white, 3 tiered norm.
History of Cutting the Cake
The contemporary wedding cake has grown out of many traditions. One of the first traditions began in Ancient Rome where bread was broken over the bride’s head to bring good fortune to the couple. In Medieval England cakes were stacked as high as possible for the bride and groom to kiss over, if they successfully kissed over the stack they were guaranteed a prosperous life together. From this the Croquembouche was created. The myth behind this cake tells that a Pastry chef, visiting Medieval England, witnessed their tradition of piling sweet rolls between the bride and groom which they would attempt to kiss over without knocking them all down. The pastry chef then went back to France and piled sweet rolls up into a tower to make the first Croquembouche. The modern croquembouche is still very popular in France however it is common to place the croquembouche tower on a bed of cake and make it one of the top tiers of the wedding cake. This traditional French wedding cake is built from Profiteroles and given a halo of spun sugar.
In 1703 a man named Thomas Rich, a baker’s apprentice from Ludgate Hill, fell in love with his employer’s daughter and asked her to marry him. He wanted to make an extravagant cake, so he drew on St Bride’s Church, on Fleet Street in London for inspiration.
Traditionally the bride would place a ring inside the couples portion of the cake to symbolize the acceptance of the proposal. During the mid-17th century to the beginning of the 19th century, the “bride’s pie” was served at most weddings. Guests were expected to have a piece out of politeness; it was considered very rude and bad luck not to eat the bride’s pie. One of the traditions of bride’s pie was to place a glass ring in the middle of the dessert and the maiden who found it would be the next to marry, similar to the modern tradition of catching the Flower bouquet. Bride’s pie eventually developed into the bride’s cake. At this point the dessert was no longer in the form of a pie and was sweeter than its predecessor. The bride cake was traditionally a plum or fruit cake, the myth that eating the pie would bring good luck was still common but the glass ring slowly died out and the catching of the flower bouquet took that meaning. The action of throwing the bouquet has its roots in the Ancient Greek myth of the Apple of Discord. Fruit cakes were a sign of fertility and prosperity which helped them gain popularity because all married men wanted to have plenty of children. The bride’s cake eventually transformed into the modern wedding cake that we know today. In the 17th century, two cakes were made, one for the bride and one for the groom. The groom’s cake eventually died out and the bride’s cake turned into the main cake for the event. When the two cakes were served together, the groom’s cake was typically the darker colored, rich fruit cake and generally much smaller than the bride’s cake. The bride’s cake was usually a simple pound cake with white icing because white was a sign of virginity and purity. In the early 19th century, when the bride’s cakes were becoming more popular, sugar was coincidentally becoming easier to obtain. The more refined and whiter sugars were still very expensive therefore only the wealthy families could afford to have a very pure white frosting, this showed the wealth and the social status of the family. When Queen Victoria used white icing on her cake it gained a new title, called royal icing which is why it is called royal icing.
The modern wedding cake as we know it now originated at the wedding of Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany, in 1882; his wedding cake was the first to actually be completely edible. Pillars between the cake tiers did not begin to appear until about 20 years later. The pillars were very poorly made from broomsticks covered in icing. The tiers represented prosperity and were a status symbol because only wealthy families could afford to include them in the cake. Prince Leopold’s wedding cake was created in separate layers with very dense icing. When the icing hardened the tiers were then stacked; this method had never been used before, and it was a groundbreaking innovation for wedding cakes at the time. Modern wedding cakes still use this method, but because of the size of today’s cakes, internal support is added to each layer in the form of dowels.
Symbolism of Cutting the Cake
Wedding cakes have been present at wedding ceremonies for centuries. They were not always the focus of the event and often came in different forms, like pies or bread. There has always been a lot of symbolism associated with the wedding cake. The earliest known sweet wedding cake is known as a Banbury cake, which became popular in 1655. During the Roman era unsweetened barley bread was used as the wedding food and the groom would break the piece of bread in half over the brides head symbolizing “breaking of the bride’s virginal state and the subsequent dominance of the groom over her.” One of the most obvious symbolic traditions is the cake’s white color to symbolize virginity and purity. The white color has been attached to wedding ceremonies since the Victorian era when Queen Victoria chose to wear a white wedding dress at her wedding to Prince Albert in 1840. Queen Victoria accentuated an existing symbol; the color white is frequently associated with virginity and purity. The wedding cake was originally known as the bride’s cake therefore the color white became common because the cake needed to reflect the bride.
The cutting of the cake is a task full of symbolism. The cake was originally intended to be distributed among the guests by only the bride because consuming the cake would ensure fertility. As weddings grew and the number of guests increased this task became a joint venture, the groom needed to help cut the growing cake and distribute it among their guests. Layers of cakes began to pile up and the icing would need to support the weight of the cake making is very difficult for one person to cut. The groom would assist the bride in this process. Once this tradition began the bride and groom would share a piece of cake before distributing it to the guests to symbolize their union and their promise to forever provide for each other.
Superstitions of Cutting The Cake
The wedding cake is surrounded by superstitions. In a traditional American wedding, maidens would be invited to pull ribbons that are attached to the bottom layer of the wedding cake. Out of all the ribbons, only one contains a charm or a ring, and whoever gets the charm will be the next person to marry. In other countries, the wedding cake is broken over the bride’s head to ensure fertility and bring good fortune to the couple. Also, some people today think that eating the crumbs of the wedding cake would give them good luck because the wedding cake symbolizes happiness and good life to the newlywed couple.
There are also myths that most bridesmaids have on dreaming their future husbands. Hopeful bridesmaids would take a piece of cake home and place it under the pillow. Some bridesmaids would sleep with the pieces of cake in their left stocking and the rest are under their pillows after passing the pieces of cake through the bride’s wedding ring.
In the medieval era, wedding cakes were constructed in rolls and buns that were laid on top of each other. The groom and bride would attempt to share a passionate kiss on top of the stack of rolls to ensure fertility and have good fortune. In the 18th century, newlywed couples would try to keep the cake until their first anniversary to prevent them from marriage problems in the future. This is one of the reasons why cakes in the 18th century were made of fruits and blended with wine.
I like to make announcements unique one of the options I do is tell the meaning behind the cake cutting which is just another interactive element. It is prior to cutting the wedding cake, it is easy to memorize and makes your event flow well into the cake cut
“Without googling it on your phone who here can tell me what is the modern reason we cut cake at a wedding.” (Pause)“When (Groom’s Name) and (Brides Name) place their hands together on the knife symbolizes the unity of their relationship. When (Groom’s Name) feeds the piece of cake to the (Brides Name) it symbolizes that he will provide for her. When (Brides Name) feeds the piece of cake to (Groom’s Name) it symbolizes that she will nurture their relationship. So friend’s family and guests (Client’s Formal Name) cake cutting their cake as Husband and Wife.”
Sound a hell of a lot better than “Ladies and Gentleman look over the at cake and watch them cut it
The “first dance” of a married couple is a popular element at many post-wedding celebrations in modern European and American traditions. Exactly like an old-fashioned ball, the idea is that the married couple, as the guests of honor at a dance.
In the past, the first wedding dance was commonly a waltz. In modern times ballroom dancing is no longer a widespread skill, and rehearsing the “first dance” has become a lucrative business for dance studios and independent dance instructors. Today more popular dances include the foxtrot, merengue, and swing. Alternatively, many couples just do a “slow dance”. More recently, some couples have been known to introduce a surprise into their dance to shock and humor their audience e.g. by dancing to a song in a mock disco style.
Introducing the “first dance” is a key moment, a huge chance to help create memories for your client. I have two ways of doing this. The first way is the couple’s story themselves, I have a questionnaire that asks four questions, which I will list below. I ask that the clients write a paragraph on each of the 4 questions.
- Where they met and how it came about
- Where the First Kiss, or First Date happened and some details about it (Now it can be either first date or kiss depending on your client’s choice)
- Who said “I Love You” First and the details about it
- How the groom proposed, and the details of how it worked out.
Now I take the time to rewrite these stories and memorize them in a way it flows well for public speaking, so when it comes time to introduce the couple to do their “first dance” I stage them off center of the dance floor, and tell their “Love Story” to the audience. I have had guests come up to me at the end of the night and ask “How do you know the couple” that is when I know I have done a very good job.
The second way to do this is to share letters the couple has written to each other. I usually will have them email me each one individually. That way I can cut and paste them into my wedding script, and they have not seen the letter they have written each other.
I also typically don’t memorize letters written to each other like I memorize the love story. The reason I don’t memorize the letters they write to each other, is because unlike the story of the couple which should flow well when you’re in front of the audience. The letters were written to be read the way they are. So I usually cut and paste them right into the script. How I word this will be in the telling your client’s story chapter.
Customizing how you “Introduce” the couple into the first dance shows you care about the client, you have learned their story, or shared what they have written for each other personally, and hopefully captivated the audience. So now think about how you are introducing the “first dance”
Father / Daughter dance (Optional)
The father-daughter dance is a common wedding tradition, in which a bride dances with her father (or a father-figure like a step-father, grandfather, or family friend). Now that being said there are a huge difference between first wedding and second weddings and the feelings the father daughter dance invokes. I will cover this more in gauging your client’s needs chapter. Usually I have three different options I offer clients on how I can introduce the father daughter dance
1. A “Vanilla Introduction”
2. Father Daughter Memories Introduction
3. Note to my parents (A note to my daughter) the bride does not know about the parents part of this.
Option One Vanilla Introductions
What do I mean by a Vanilla Introduction; well a vanilla introduction to me is this. “Ladies and Gentlemen, good evening at this time we are going to do the Father Daughter Dance.” “Please welcome up the Father of the Bride as he dance dances with his daughter.” BORING!!!! Some people like vanilla though; these introductions work well at second weddings or clients that just are blah about their event. Once again it is all about getting to know your client and determining their needs. These types of introductions you are most-likely already doing and I don’t feel the need to write verbiage on how I say my “Vanilla Introductions.”
I stated in the, weddings are stories chapter how powerful this moment can be for the right client, again it is about knowing your client and building the right event for the client. If the client does not have a positive relationship with her father, or her father has passed you obviously have to work with what you got. The client may want “Vanilla Introductions” that don’t require any preplanning, stories or letters.
The father daughter dance usually takes place at the wedding reception sometime after the newly married couple’s first dance. At least that’s where most of my clients place it in their time lines. Some places around the country it is more typical to do after the wedding party dance. Really it all comes down to what the client thinks, and how they want their event to flow.
Some couples combine the father-daughter dance with the mother-son dance to save time.
How I word my “introductions” for the father daughter dance you can see an example of in the wedding script chapter.
Mother / Son Dance (Optional)
The mother-son dance is a common wedding tradition, in which a groom dances with his mother (or a mother-figure like a step-mother, grandmother, or family friend).
The dance usually takes place at the wedding reception most times after the father-daughter dance is complete. The Mother son dance is just a rehash of what I have explained already in the Father / Daughter Dance description just meant for the Mother / Son.
Wedding Party Dance (Optional)
Anniversary Dance / Generations Dance (Optional)
The anniversary dance is one of the newest traditions coming around and is a great way to get the more mature crowd, actively participating in the wedding reception.
The anniversary dance is basically a way to honor the couple attending the wedding who has been together the longest. You the MC or DJ announces it, asking all couples (married or not, that’s your call) on to the dance floor for a couples’ dance. Once the song starts after a minute or two, all couples other than (Bride’s Name) and (Groom’s Name)who have been together less than ____ years (you can choose the increments, I use 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 15, 20 so on so forth) are asked to have a seat. After another few moments, this is repeated using a larger number and so on and so forth until there is only one couple left, the one who has been together the longest. The couple is then presented with the bridal bouquet (this part is optional, if your client is not doing a bouquet toss.)
I love this idea for several reasons. One, I think it is important to honor those marriages that have lasted for decades and even half-centuries. These types of unions are an inspiration to people and deserve a place at weddings.
Money Dance / Apron Dance (Optional)
In America, practice of a money dance varies by geographic region and ethnic background of the families involved. It typically involves guests giving small sums of cash to the bride or pinning cash to her gown or veil. Sometimes the money is placed in an apron held by the maid of honor or a female relative and the best man gives shots of whiskey to participants before the dance.
Even cultures that accept this may balk at paying the groom for his time and attention, so alternatives have developed, such as “paying” the groom with play money or a stick of chewing gum. Some consider this a way for the bride and groom to have face time with their guests and to wish them luck. Some couples place a small bowl on each table for guests to leave cash or checks so that guests won’t feel obligated to ‘pay’ for a short dance with the bride or groom, while still giving them the opportunity to spend 30–60 seconds chatting and dancing with them as the newlywed couple visits each table. Others say that the money will be for their firstborn child so the money is not for the couple.
Many, including traditional North American etiquette experts, consider the practice of asking for money from invited guests via the “Money Dance”, as incorrect. If your client is planning a gift table and a card box I would advise they steer clear of this option. Advise them how it looks they have a gift table plus a card box, and now they are wanting do a money dance looks a little greedy. So carefully explain this to them , guide them in the appearance of the dance if they are planning on the for mention plans.
Bouquet Toss and Garter Toss
The practice of the tossing the bridal bouquet is believed to be an outgrowth of an idea that was popular in the 14th century, particularly in early French tradition. It was considered lucky to get a fragment of the bride’s clothing. In those days, the bride was treated poorly. Guests would grab at her wedding dress in order to tear off pieces. Although brides continued to believe that they would not be wearing their wedding gowns again, they objected to its wanton destruction. They looked for an alternative and, instead began the custom of throwing personal articles, such as the garter, to the guests.
Other sources describe the garter as representing the virginal girdle. When the groom removed the garter he was, in essence demonstrating publicly, that the bride was relinquishing her virginal status. In medieval times, it was also traditional for wedding guests to accompany the newlywed couple to their bed chamber, after the ceremony. Sources say in following this practice guests became more and more rowdy, to the extent that some even attempted to disrobe the new bride or “take liberties” with her. In order to keep the other men at bay, the groom would toss the bride’s garter as a means of distraction.
The practice of throwing the garter survived and became more focused. People not only subscribed to the superstition that whoever “won” the bride’s garter (la jarretière) was lucky, but also that their good luck could be carried through . . . for it was believed that a man who gave his beloved a bride’s garter would be guaranteed his loved one’s faithfulness. It was up to the best man to “steal” the garter, tear it into small pieces and distribute it to the wedding guests. This notion was taken so to heart that oftentimes guests were seriously injured in the rush for the garter. Some guests apparently got drunk, became impatient and unruly and then tried to tear the garter off the bride. Brides became wary and modified tradition by allowing one garter to dangle, making it easy to reach.
The British practiced another custom, “tossing or flinging the stocking.” Groomsmen would actually invade the bridal chamber and steal the bride’s stockings. Then they would take turns sitting at the foot of the bed flinging the stockings over the heads of the couple. The notion was held that whoever threw the stocking that landed on the groom’s nose, would be the next to marry. Understandably, brides objected to this tradition because it was both undignified and embarrassing and the stocking throw tradition soon disappeared, evolving into the bouquet and garter toss tradition that many brides and grooms follow today.
In the 17th and 18 centuries, today’s garter was a silk sash tied well below the bride’s knee. The groomsmen considered the sash to be a trophy. Whichever groomsman “captured” the garter would wear it in his hat for the remainder of the celebration.
In keeping with the adage “something old, something new. . . ,” brides may choose to wear a blue garter or sew a blue ribbon into their undergarments. This, it is thought, will protect the bride against bad luck or unhappiness. This concept may date back to the Order of the Garter, which was symbolized by a blue ribbon. It is one of the oldest orders of knighthood, and knights were known as the consummate protectors of women. The mantle of a Knight of the Garter was worn by royal bridegrooms over their wedding attire. In 1893, at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor, Prince Edward married Alexandra and became the last royal to wear the blue velvet mantle.
Many brides today hold fast to the tradition of a garter toss. The groom removes and tosses the garter, right before the bride tosses her bouquet. Custom has it that the unmarried man who catches the garter, place it on the leg of the unmarried woman who catches the bouquet. It is said that they two will be the next to marry (not necessarily each other). For the sake of balance and egalitarianism, some brides choose to throw a bouquet instead of tossing the garter. Some simply throw a bouquet to the bridesmaids, while the groom throws the garter to the groomsmen.
With some couples, the custom of tossing the bouquet, albeit a very old one, has come under some criticism. It seems that in the rush for the bouquet, young children have been caught underfoot, and even adults have been injured. This actually prompted some musicians and photographers to include a liability release from the bride, should she insist, against their advice, to follow this tradition.
Some modern brides feel that the custom is embarrassing and tacky, because it singles out the single women who are with all good intention “dragged” to the floor to participate in the ritual. Those feelings have motivated changes.. One way of “saving the tradition,” but sensitizing it, is to have all the female guests, not just the unmarried ones, participate in the bouquet toss.
There continue to be objections raised both about tossing the bouquet and about tossing the garter. Couples today consider including new, alternative traditions. One such option is to call all the girls in their teens to come up to the bride’s side and present each with a flower from a pre-made bouquet. Or, in order to avoid a stampede, the bride may call them all up and give out bags of candies or token gifts to the young girls and teens. Another alternative to tossing the bouquet and/or the garter is to throw dried rose petals, white sequins, confetti, or ribbons, or to blow bubbles and not to expect or invite anyone to catch anything. The bride might also choose to call up her bridesmaids. With the use of a pre-made, break-apart-bouquet, which is designed to separate it into smaller ‘arrangements,’ she can give each attendant a “piece.” This is a lovely, public way to thank her bridesmaids for their participation in the wedding party.
There is an elegant alternative to the ‘tossing’ tradition is for the bride and groom, which works particularly well with mature couples. The bride and groom ask all the married couples to stand. Then by groups of five or ten years, the married couples are asked to be seated as the length of their marriage is mentioned. The couple that remains is the one married the longest. They are “rewarded’ with the bridal bouquet and the garter.” Still another delightful tradition takes its place after the cake cutting. The couple say a few words and then ‘as a token of love and appreciation,’ they give the bouquet to her parents.
Some couples make use of tradition, using the bouquet toss as a way to acknowledge a special person. It can, for example, be a way to single-out an engaged friend or relative. A centerpiece or corsage may be substituted for the traditional toss bouquet. Whatever the form of presentation, it’s best to avoid a surprise and ask the recipient, in advance, for their okay. By “clearing” the concept, any embarrassment is avoided. Not everyone is comfortable being singled out in front of an audience, even for something pleasant.
The florist can be asked to replace the toss bouquet with a corsage or table centerpiece. At an appropriate moment in the reception, the bride can give the “refashioned” toss bouquet to her mother, mother-in-law or grandmother.
In that same vein, the bouquet may be dedicated to a deceased loved one. Mention may be made of this gesture at the reception or in the program. This is a moving way to make a loved one’s memory part of a special day.
In Finland, there is another “tossing alternative.” The single women form a circle around the bride, who has been blindfolded. The bride turns slowly in one direction and the women, holding hands, turn in a circle in the opposite direction. The single women’s circle stops and the bride reaches out and hands her bouquet to the woman facing her. This works especially well when there aren’t too many single women guests.
Whichever version the couple chose, the bouquet and garter toss are best done right after the cake cutting. This allows the caterer to cut and serve the cake while guests are being entertained. Many couples are dispensing with these two traditions altogether, while some hold fast to what they have known, like and wish to replicate.
Old traditions are hard to break, but bridal couples must be mindful that just because something has been around for a long time, doesn’t mean that fashioning new rituals isn’t perfectly acceptable and perhaps even preferable. The new alternatives they design, may in time become traditions in their own right. There are no hard and fast rules about tossing the bouquet and the garter. With this custom, like many of the other aspects of a wedding celebration, should reflect the wishes, sensibilities and sensitivities of the couple and their guests
Last Dance (Optional)
Second, Third Marriages, Other Situations
Presentation of a Wedding Entertainment Expert
I do have to go over some equipment mentoring to go over with you. You should have professional disc jockey equipment as a DJ, with back up equipment in case something goes wrong. Now Band or P.A. equipment, some is and some is not professional DJ equipment. It all depends on the manufacture if it is. Your equipment should be clean and look presentable try to cover and hide it as much as possible, without risking loss of sound. I would highly suggest you use a DJ façade to put in front of your control area. Banners on the front of your DJ table are just cheesy; you’re not there to advertise yourself you are there to MC/DJ a wedding.
This reminds me of something I seen at a wedding I went to. Do not put a business card at every place setting, if someone wants your card they will ask. (Once again that DJ ego is poking its head out.) Find black extension cords bright orange ones are just tacky. Also gaff tape, tape your cords down if they are in a high traffic area. Remember safety first you have children and ladies in heels walking around. Tape your cords down with gaffer’s tape which does not leave a residue. You don’t want to have to file a liability claim to your insurance. Yes you should have liability insurance if you’re doing private events.
Over all your equipment should present a clean and expert look to it, like my dad told me when I got my first car “It maybe old and have a few scratches, but it runs well is clean, waxed, buffed, and clean shiny scratches are better than dull ones” this is the same thought I have about gear you don’ have to have the newest equipment. If it performs well and is clean, and presentable use it till it does not work. You’re going to hear arguments about different software and hardware, as long as it is not the cheapest Nady or Radio Shack equipment you can buy you should be good. I am not going to sit here and argue semantics about gear, all except for one piece of equipment I feel you should spend as much as you possibly can on. Your Wireless Microphone!
I would advise you to spend the most you can on your wireless mics. They will last longer and sound better. You will get better range and distance, over all a better performance, now do you need a $3000.00 microphone no! That being said, high model shure, or sennhiezer you should be fine. Ballpark $600.00 to $800.00, when you spend that kind of money you should get a high quality microphone system. Once again this is my opinion for which I am sure someone out there will swear by their POS Nady mic, and email me a nasty gram.
Bottom line is this, keep your equipment clean, and keep it functional. Make sure your set up does not take away from the look of the wedding, with cords and wires hanging all over the place. I am advising you to have some pride about your equipment setup, and how it looks to clients. So below here are examples of horrible DJ setups setups. Do you think these people have pride in what they are doing? Do you think they look like a wedding expert?
Wearing the right clothes can make or break you as a wedding entertainment specialist. Not all weddings require a tux, but I would highly suggest you have a business suit, for less formal weddings. In my opinion anything less than a business suit is not appropriate. Here is the idea that I am trying to instill into you. You are the face, the go to person for the client’s event. When you are out in front of the audience you want to look like an expert, act as an expert and sound like one. Walk the walk, talk the talk you got to live what you say, and believe that a DJ is more than just a monkey pressing a button.
Now here is a little nugget, an idea for you. For events that require a tux why don’t you invest in different vests and tie colors. That way you can match your clients wedding colors. Imagine the selling point that makes, telling your client you will be in a Tux matching her wedding colors is a very high level of customer service. Or at least in my opinion is and it represents the client well when you’re out in front of the crowd in tux with a vest and tie that matches the bridal colors
Remember your audience wants you to succeed, but they will judge you at first glance. So when you’re talking on the microphone do you think people are more inclined to listen to you in a suit or tux, or polo and kakis. Stand with good posture, and smile. Don’t just pass your gaze throughout the room; try to focus on individual listeners and create a bond with them by looking them directly in the eyes for five to 10 seconds.
*Side note* Know your own smell; I should not have to include showering and good hygiene that should be obvious!
The preparation of an expert
You have got to prepare, I do it by writing a wedding script which I have included an example of later on. This helps me memorize people’s names and how they are related to the client. I like to walk up to people and be like “Hello “Sally” or whatever their name is. It shows you care about your client’s event. It surprises a lot of the guests that the DJ knows who they are. If you can get some details about something they like and include that when you introduce yourself. “Hello Sally my name is Joshua; I hear you’re really into horses.” “What got you into that?” Then take the opportunity to listen and not speak, be and attentive listener, and be engaging.
Take time to practice, practice memorizing the client’s story or things about the client that should be memorized. People Names, what their relationship to my clients are. Now don’t get me wrong I mainly memorize direct family members, not everyone coming to the event. Getting Name pronunciation correct is so important. I can’t stress it enough that the words people like to hear the most is their own name. If you have to type it phonetically in your wedding script that way when you read it you say it right.
By writing out a wedding script you know what you’re going to say on the microphone, it reduces the um’s and ah’s. It helps you sound better, and by practicing it helps you look polished and prepared. A side note of this is you got to know when and how to think on your feet if all hell breaks loose at a wedding. Those types of things are few and far between for me anymore at weddings.
I also burn one CD for the event with each of my “Important micro event” songs I am going to need. This is my back up if my both my computers crash and both external hard drives die. I have my CD players with me I could hook up in an all-out emergency. I also put all the MP3 Songs I am going to us for the important events on a thumb drive, once again redundant backups incase the worst happens and I have a complete failure of a hard drive.
Preparation is a very individual type thing, so my biggest advice is make your own check list and check it off. Things like extra batteries and gaff tape, all the way through practice wedding script and memorize names and relationships. It is better to be over prepared than under. It all goes back to this, it is better to have a tool and not need it that not have a tool and need it. It is better to be over prepared and not need it than under prepared and have a bad performance.
The microphone is your tool not a weapon
Public Speaking 101
In the pursuit of becoming a better wedding entertainment coordinator, becoming well-spoken is a task that should not be overlooked. How you speak is a huge component of the impression you make on others, and thus your potential influence on them. People will form judgments about your education, intelligence, background, and personality simply based on the sound of your voice and the language you use to express yourself.
Being well-spoken encompasses a lot of traits:
Creating well-formed sentences
Having a large and diverse vocabulary
Speaking clearly (not mumbling)
Having a good pace, tone, and intonation (not too loud, fast, or monotone)
Being fluent – words come easily to you
Being able to explain things easily
Being straightforward and meaning what you say
Being thoughtful and courteous to the needs of the listener
Using little filler and empty language
We hope to cover all of these traits eventually, but today we’re going to concentrate on the last item on the list: removing the filler — particularly the um’s and uh’s — from your speech.
What is filler? Filler consists of empty, extraneous language that pads your sentences without adding any additional meaning. It’s like empty calories – it’s there, but it doesn’t nourish. Examples of fillers include words and phrases such as “I mean,” “sort of,” “ya know?” “well,” and of course, “like.” Over use of opening phrases such as “Ladies and Gentleman”, Friend’s Family and Guests” be creative on your opening phrases.
But the most famous fillers of all — the type that comes in for the most attention and disdain – are “uh” and “um.” To many, um’s and uh’s are tantamount to “verbal viruses” that clog up the language of the uncivilized and uneducated. Many public speaking experts recommend attempting to scrub your speech clean of this pesky padding.
The truth is that almost everyone uses these “filled pauses” in their speech; if you don’t think you do, it’s because speakers (and listeners in many cases as well), are very bad at hearing them. But if you were recorded throughout the day, you’d notice how much you sprinkle um’s and uh’s into your conversations. They are a very natural part of human speech and have likely been around since the beginning (although they vary according to language – such as “eh” in Spanish). In friendly conversation, as long as your fillers aren’t excessive or clustered together, people tend to filter them out and hardly notice them, if at all. Also, contrary to popular belief, fillers do not impede the listener’s comprehension; in fact, they can aid comprehension, signaling to the listener that you misspoke and are about to edit something you just said or to pay attention to what you say next.
This is not to say that you can’t control your um’s and uh’s or should use them indiscriminately. Rather, that the issue is simply not an all or nothing affair. The appropriateness of um’s and uh’s varies on a sliding scale, depending on your audience and your purpose. Researchers have found that a listener’s sensitivity to a speaker’s um’s and uh’s depends on the speaker’s social role. People expect those who are giving prepared remarks, on television, or in a position of authority to use little if any filler. For example, you would quickly notice if the play-by-play announcer for a basketball game said “um” before each sentence. “Um, Harden gets the ball. Um, he shoots and scores another three pointer. Um, his beard is awesome.” (Go Thunder!) This is also why President Obama gets lampooned on late night shows for his tendency to pepper his extemporaneous remarks with a bunch of uhhh’s and ummm’s.
Using uh and um too often takes away from the forcefulness and eloquence of your remarks. So while it’s not as big of a deal when used in conversations with friends, when meeting people for the first time and during job interviews, business presentations, formal speeches, and the like, you want to minimize your use of fillers as much as possible. If curbing your ummm-ing is something you struggle with, read on to learn why we all “um” and “uh” and what we can do to curb this tendency and become better spoken gentlemen.
Why Do We Say Um?
While it is popularly believed that um’s and uh’s arise because of anxiety, studies have not found a strict correlation between this type of filler and that emotional state (other “disfluencies,” however, like repeated words, the repeating of a single syllable or sound, omitting a word or part of a word, or a slip of the tongue are correlated with a speaker’s anxiety-level). For example, you are not more likely to use fillers when talking to a stranger than you are when talking to your spouse.
The reasons behind our uh’s and um’s are in fact a lot more nuanced (not to mention interesting). Here are some of the research-based theories that have been advanced:
Um’s and uh’s indicate that the speaker is “in trouble.” The primary view on the purpose of filler is that it is either an involuntary symptom or a purposeful signal (here linguists do not agree) that the speaker gives to indicate to his listeners that he is “in trouble” – he needs a moment to plan what to say next or to hunt for something in his memory. It tells the audience that there is about to be a delay. “Uh’s” signal a shorter delay, while “um’s” tell the audience the delay will be longer.
Basically, um’s and uh’s happen when you’re trying to think and speak at the same time. This is why they occur more frequently during transitions to a new topic or at the beginning of a sentence rather than at the end or in the middle of one; your brain is idling at the juncture between planning and executing what to say next.
Um’s and uh’s act as placeholders to let people know you’re going to continue speaking. When you can’t think of what to say next, you’re in a bit of a pickle; you need a moment to think about it, but social mores dictate that a pause can make you seem lost, or, provide a opportunity for someone else to jump in and start talking. So you may say “um” to tell your listeners: “I’m still in control – don’t interrupt me.”
This is one theory as to why men use more fillers like um and uh than women do: they are more assertive about holding the floor.
Uh’s can be a cry for help. Um’s and uh’s are not identical. In addition to the former signaling a longer delay in a person’s speech, uh’s are used more often to solicit help from others. They let listeners know they can jump in and provide the answer.
Harry: Jack was supposed to email, uh, uh…
Mike: Steven. He was supposed to email Steven.
Um’s and uh’s indicate that we’re not as confident about what we’re about to say. When asked a question, people use more filler before responding when they’re less sure they have the right answer (and are in fact more likely to get the answer wrong). Conversely, people use less filler before giving an answer they’re sure is right (and one that is indeed more likely to be correct).
People also use more fillers before a non-answer like “I don’t know,” when they actually do know the answer, but simply can’t summon it to the fronts of their brains and the tips of their tongues.
Um’s and uh’s indicate that you’re searching for the right word. The more concerned someone is with choosing the right way to say something, the more they tend to ummm, which is why, while too much ummm-ing has been associated with a lack of intelligence, it’s actually correlated with having a large vocabulary. The intelligent person has many words to choose from, and so sometimes gets caught up in taking pains to pick just the right one to express himself; “um” is the sound of his decision-making process.
Um’s and uh’s are more common when you’re speaking about an abstract topic. Although they use filler at the same rate outside the classroom, during lectures, humanities professors say “uh” more than professors of hard sciences (4.76 times per hundred words compared to 1.47 times per hundred). Researchers posit that this disparity is due to the fact that professors of the humanities have a broader, more abstract subject matter to cover, and thus more options to think over on how to express themselves; there are more ways to describe Rembrandt’s artwork than a physics formula. Whenever you’re contemplating complex options on how to articulate your thoughts, your ummm-ing will go up.
How to Minimize Um’s and Uh’s When Speaking
While it’s not necessary, and some linguistic experts would say, even desirable, to eliminate all the um’s from your everyday conversations (unless they’re excessive or clustered), you do definitely want to minimize them in more formal settings where the stakes and expectations are higher and your hemming and hawing could be a distraction. Too many um’s and uh’s can irritate your listeners because you’re essentially thinking out loud, and people want to do less thinking when listening to someone and instead be carried along by your words. Constant delays prevent people from getting lost in your rhetoric, and make them think, “Come out with it already!” They also hurt your credibility with the audience because they can make it appear you didn’t respect them enough to prepare adequately and decided to wing it, and/or that you’re not confident in what you’re saying and don’t know your stuff inside and out. Finally, a lot of um’s can signal dishonesty, leading people to think you’re buying time to think of an excuse or alibi. All in all, not the kind of impression you want to make.
Across the population, people use fillers as little as 1.2 times per thousand words up to as many as 88 times per thousand words. If you want to be the guy on the lower end of the scale, here are some tips:
Limit distractions. Remember how an um can represent the junction between planning what to say and executing it? Anything that adds to your cognitive load while you speak increases the need for these pauses, as you’re not just trying to think and speak at the same time, but are also distracted/feeling emotional/working on some other task. The more you can concentrate on just speaking, the less fillers you’ll use.
Don’t put your hands in your pockets. Studies have found that when your arms and hands are constrained, the amount of filler you use goes up, because you’re unable to gesticulate and thus are less confident your message is getting across.
Prepare rigorously. When giving a speech or presentation that can be planned for beforehand, extensive preparation can minimize your use of filler. If the information you wish to convey is fresh in your mind, a filled pause won’t be needed to retrieve it. A couple of points that will be especially helpful here:
The less constraints that are placed on what you can speak about, the more likely you are to use fillers. So narrow down your topic, and then narrow it down again.
Concentrate on the transitions you’ll make. Transitioning from one topic to another in a speech is a dangerous time for the formation of um’s, because the task adds to your cognitive load. Plan out exactly how you will transition to and from each topic, and write these transitions on an index card you can glance at during your speech.
Tell a story. Um’s and uh’s naturally vanish once you get involved in telling a story. And as a bonus, stories are some of the most persuasive and memorable rhetorical tools you can employ.
Talk face-to-face if you can. The use of fillers goes up when you’re talking on the phone. Because you don’t have body language and facial expressions at your disposal, you struggle more in choosing the right words to convey what you mean.
Try to relax and be less self-conscious. Um-ers tend to describe themselves as “unusually self-conscious” and apt to “worry quite a bit over possible misfortunes” and thus unsurprisingly speak more slowly, carefully planning and crafting what they are going to say. Instead of concentrating on what people are thinking about you (and this advice works for a lot of things, folks) focus on totally getting into what you’re doing. Instead of pausing, just keep charging ahead, talking a little faster than you normally do and letting your sentences roll together. You’ll choose the wrong word more often and have to restart your sentences more frequently, but stylistically, the audience will find your speech more fluid, engaging, and forward-moving.
If you need help lowering your inhibitions, researchers have found that after 19 beers, the average person stops saying “um” and “uh.” They also stop saying many other words that are comprehensible, of course.
Keep your sentences simple and short. The longer the sentence, the more likely you are to fall into filler. And shorter sentences make you sound clearer and more forceful, confident, and manly to boot. To keep your sentences simple and short:
Use more simple declarative sentences. Subject. Predicate. Period. Drop the unnecessary clauses and conjunctions and get right to the point. Take it from E.B. White: “There isn’t any thought or idea that can’t be expressed in a fairly simple declarative sentence, or in a series of fairly simple declarative sentences.”
Get rid of other fillers such as: “sort of,” “like,” “ya know,” “okay,” “right,” “so,” “well,” “stuff like that,” “kind of,” and “I mean.” If it’s extraneous to the meaning of the sentence, leave it out.
Use less hedge words and phrases, such as “hopefully,” “probably,” “possibly,” “quite,” “relatively,” “reasonably” and “fairly,” and don’t say things like, “I was just wondering…” “I was thinking…” “I don’t know but…”
Hedge words and fillers are often used to weaken and soften a sentence when someone is afraid they might be wrong and/or want to tread lightly. They sometimes can be helpful when you’re trying to be diplomatic (and are useful in emails when you only have words to convey meaning), but many times it’s better to plainly put your idea out there and be assertive.
Now a Note on What Not to Do
You may have heard that the best way to get rid of your um’s and uh’s is to replace them with a silent pause. This is public speaking dogma; you’ll find it in practically every public speaking book out there. And it certainly makes sense on the face of it. A silent pause sounds dignified and noble while an um sounds uncertain, right?
Wrong, as it turns out.
In a study done with college students, the students were first asked about their perception of people who frequently say “um” and “uh.” Not surprisingly given the cultural bias against ummm-ing, the students rated um-ers as “uncomfortable, inarticulate, uninteresting, ill-prepared, nervous, disfluent, unattractive, monotonous, unsophisticated, and lacking in confidence.” Ouch!
The students were then asked to listen to three different edits of a recording of a man’s call-in commentary on a radio show. In one version, the man’s um’s were left in. In another, the man’s um’s were replaced with silent pauses. In the third version, the pauses were removed altogether so that the man’s words flowed together.
The result? The version without any pauses at all was rated the best. But the verison with silent pauses was not ranked any higher on quality than the version with the um’s; the silent pauses did not improve people’s perception of the speaker’s eloquence. And, in fact, the man in the version with the silent pauses was rated has having more anxiety than the man who um-ed.
Bottom line: Minimizing all unplanned pauses (a purposeful dramatic pause can be an effective rhetorical tool) can boost your eloquence. But don’t worry about trying to replace your um’s with silent pauses; it doesn’t improve your speech, not to mention the fact that the stress from the effort may make you sound worse than just relaxing and letting a few um’s sneak in there.
Take Heart Ye Um-ers: A Final Tip
Even if none of the um-minimizing techniques mentioned above are able to help you keep your ummm-ing in check, there’s still something you can do to come off as well-spoken to others: concentrate on always making the content of what you say outstanding.
In the study just described, the students were broken into three groups before they listened to the recordings. One group was told to only focus on the content of the recording. Another was told to only focus on the style. And the third was given no instructions (the control).
When listening to the recording in which the um’s had been retained, those who paid attention just to the style of the man’s speech noticed them, while those who focused on the content largely filtered them out.
And now we get to the crux of the stigma that surrounds um-laden speech. If you find yourself noticing um’s as someone speaks, chances are it’s because you’re focusing on the speaker’s style instead on his content, and the reason you’re doing that is because the content isn’t very interesting and worthy of attention. As the author of the study concluded: “Um’s will not be associated with poor speech, but noting ums will be…Just about every speaker produces um’s, but the good speakers, by keeping substance, not style, the center of attention, will effectively hide their hesitancies.”
As I have stated before weddings are stories, have you ever wished you could captivate an audience? Ever felt the desire to grip a crowd in such a way that you could move them to action? Nothing grabs our attention, holds our attention, and moves us like a good story. And when a good story meets a great storyteller, great things can take place. If you are looking to become a dynamic wedding entertainment expert and an exceptional speaker, then you must learn the fine art of storytelling. Storytelling is an art, and needs to be developed.
It has been discovered that each of us has a desire, and perhaps even a need, to tell and to hear stories. By sharing stories, and listening to the stories of others, we learn to understand one another at a much deeper level. By creating a common level of understanding, we come together as a community of individuals-appreciating both the differences and similarities we share.
Storytelling is a cherished tradition and an entertaining, effective way to convey information about almost any subject. Walk in any classroom and you will find teachers educating their students with stories. Walk into a major corporation and you’ll find high profile CEOs expressing thoughts, opinions and facts to their employees with stories. Wherever you go, storytelling is a powerful means of communication. Weddings are stories, stories about children growing up and coming adults finding love and starting their own path. Second weddings are different, and have different feel too them. I will cover more on second marriages later.
So, how do you go about becoming a great storyteller? How do you develop the fine art of using stories to make your speech more dynamic? Here are some steps to becoming an exceptional speaker, and a great storyteller:
1. Know your Clients. Know their story, where they met, when and where the first date happened, know who said I love you first. How He proposed! (When I get into the idea’s section why knowing this for your first dance introduction is so important!)
2. Practice. Practice. Practice! Rehearse out loud with all equipment you plan on using. Revise as necessary. Work to control filler words and phrases; Such as uh, um, ah, “At This Time” Practice, pause and breathe. Practice with a timer and allow time for the unexpected.
3. Know the audience. Greet some or even all the guests of the reception attendants as they arrive. It’s easier to speak to a group of friends than to strangers. (I will give you an Idea how to greet every single wedding guest. Remember your next three wedding clients are in the audience)
4. Know the room. Arrive early,Arrive early, Arrive early! Not just for set-up and all the little issues that can happen with things not functioning right or a cord going bad. But you have to walk around the speaking area and practice using the microphone.
5. Relax. Begin by addressing the audience. It buys you time and calms your nerves. Pause, smile and count to three before saying anything. (“One one-thousand, two one-thousand, three one-thousand. Pause. Begin.) Transform nervous energy into enthusiasm.
6. Visualize yourself. Imagine yourself speaking, your voice loud, clear and confident. Visualize the audience clapping, laughing in joy and the girls crying in joyful emotion – it will boost your confidence.
7. Realize that people want you to succeed. Audiences want you to be interesting, stimulating, informative and entertaining. They’re rooting for you to make the event great.
8. Don’t apologize for any nervousness or problem – the audience probably never noticed it.
9. Concentrate on the message – not the medium. Focus your attention away from your own anxieties and concentrate on your client’s story and your audience.
10. Gain experience. Mainly, your focus should represent your client’s wishes. Experience builds confidence, which is the key to effective speaking.
The human body contains more than 700 muscles, but few of those are used by speakers – except when using their arms and fingers in a life-preserving clutch of lecterns and laser pointers or frenetically clicking on PowerPoint slides. Speakers tend to focus most of their efforts in search of the perfect word to illustrate their precious points, despite overwhelming evidence proving that, in fact, our bodies speak louder than words.
Your effectiveness as a speaker is directly related to your ability to invoke emotion and interest through the use of non-verbal communication. Your listeners judge you and your message based on what they see as well as what they hear. In public speaking, your body can be an effective tool for adding emphasis and clarity to your words. It’s also your most powerful instrument for convincing an audience of your sincerity, earnestness and enthusiasm. Whether your purpose is to inform, persuade, entertain, motivate or inspire, your body language and the personality you project must be appropriate to what you say. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “What you are speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.” So be sure your appearance, posture and attire is appropriate as well.
Here’s how you can incorporate appropriate body language into your announcements:
• Start with eye contact. Being prepared – having control of your message – is a prerequisite for being able to project and establish a bond with the audience.
• Express emotion with your facial muscles. For inspiration, take a look at the The Human Face, a BBC documentary narrated by John Cleese of Monty Python fame, now available on DVD.
• Avoid distracting mannerisms – have a friend watch as you practice and look for nervous expressions such as fidgeting, twitching, lip biting, key jingling, hands in pockets or behind the back.
• Telling a story? Highlight the action verbs and look for ways to act out one or more parts. Speaking about marathon running? Run a few steps.
• Stay true to your personality. Don’t copy gestures from a book or other speaker, but respond naturally to what you feel and say.
• Make gestures convincing. Every hand gesture should be total body movement that starts from the shoulder – never from the elbow. Half-hearted gestures look artificial.
• Vary your speaking position by moving from one spot on the stage to another. For example, walk to the other side of the stage as you move to a new topic or move toward the audience as you ask a question.
The DO’s the DON’Ts of using the microphone
DO. Allow time for a sound check (a practice not just for professional musicians). A great public speaker still cannot overcome bad sound. Remember that one bad element of the event—harsh or inadequate lighting, uncomfortable temperature, background noise from fans or equipment—can eclipse all your hard work in preparation. A speaker simply asking, “Can you all hear me OK?” and then moving right on is not a sound check.
DO. Keep away from the loudspeaker. Feedback is great in surveys and focus groups, but disastrous from a mic. Nothing says “we’re amateurs” like that all-too-familiar screeching sound.
DO. Use the mic. Microphones are totally ineffective, unless people use them. Inexperienced users are sometimes intimidated by them or simply forget they are there.
DO. Positioning is key. The person speaking should be no more than about two widths of the hand from the mic. Too close to the mic, and sound will be “boomy” (known as the “proximity effect”). On sensitive condenser mics, “p-popping” will be more prevalent. Too far from the mic, and the level of voice pickup will be too low—you’ll pick up more room sound, and increase the chances of feedback.
DO. Don’t use a lavalier mic as a hand-held. Clip it onto your clothing and don’t bring it right up to your mouth, as this creates overload and distortion.
DO. Don’t cup the mic. Although a popular technique among hip-hop artists, “cupping” your hand around a mic increases boominess and the potential for feedback.
Using Humor and Emotions
All the Options for Order of Micro Events
The Wedding Script
An Example of Mine
Wedding Script for the Dunn / Kittleson Wedding
(Copyright Info and Privacy Acts)
The following is the Wedding Script for Seth and Rebecca Dunn wedding since Real Entertainment Disc Jockeys Service is based on providing more than music. It is requested you only share this info with other wedding professionals such as your photographer, Venue Coordinator and other event professionals for your event. Please do not distribute this document post wedding celebration to friends or family for their event. My business and ideas depend on couples hiring me for their event. Likewise I will do my best to keep your names and private info, private in my post event marketing posts and pictures
Date of Event
June 11th 2011
Location of Wedding Celebration
Names Of Clients
Seth and Rebecca Dunn
Colors for Event
Horizon / White
Start and End Time
4:30PM – 8:30PM
Seating of the Family
Don’t Blink by Kenny Chesney
Bridal Party Entrance
Everything by Michael Buble
Rebecca’s Grand Entrance
Come Away With Me by Norah Jones
Making Memories of Us by Keith Urban
4:45 ish Grand Entrance Full Bridal Party
Wedding Party Members Entrance Sirrus – Alan Parson Project
(Please Wait Till You Hear your Names) (Gather out on dance floor)
The First Couple is also known as Mr. and Mrs. Happy hour. She is the queen of grilled cheese sandwiches. He is the only king with a purse dog named Tigey. Please Welcome In
Maddie Huttash Escorted By Caloub Huttash
She can recite any episode of Sex In The City. He Believes a true man plays golf in flip flops, decorates his house in dragonflies and still balances a checkbook Please Welcome In
Whitney Holm Escorted By Chris Nutt
He lives for Boston Beer and the blue and gold. She lives for the Blazers, Botany, and bow ties. Please Welcome In
Jessica Kittleson Escorted By Van Dunn
She has known the bride since they were groundhogs at Amity Elementary. He has known the groom since they were in college bachelors at North Idaho College. Please Welcome In
Katelyn Odle Escorted By Quinn Walkington
She enjoys a cocktail. He enjoys a cocktail. They are both educators the only difference is he can take down a rowdy high school kid with one hand. Please Welcome In
Nicole Bernert Escorted By Chris DeCleur
Music Change Rocky Theme Song
Friends Family and Guests, It gives me great pleasure to introduce our hosts this evening
MR. And MRS. Seth and Rebecca Dunn
4:55 ish Invite all Active Duty Military members to get food first
Start of Dinner (Invite Seth and Rebecca first followed by Wedding Party)
Dinner Music Begins
Toasts Caloub and Mattie Huttash
Chris and Whitney
6:10 ish – Cake Cutting (The Sweetest Thing by U2)
Meaning Of Cake Cut (Please wait to cut the cake until after the intro)
Placing their hands together on the knife symbolizes unity of their relationship. When Seth feeds the cake to Rebecca it symbolizes that he will provide for her. When Rebecca feeds the cake to Seth it symbolizes that she will nurture their relationship; and now Seth And Rebecca Dunn, cutting their cake as husband and wife.”
Cake Mash Joke on bride’s sister Jessica and groom’s brother Van
6:20 ish – Intro (Stage Seth and Rebecca) (Please Read through and Correct Stories)
** How Seth and Rebecca Met **
We met on a Saturday night in February at East Side Tavern in East Boise. Seth’s high school friend, Amber brought Rebecca there to meet up with friends. After seeing Seth, Rebecca told Amber that he was tall, dark and handsome. He had the greatest smile I had ever seen. At the same time, Seth was telling his best friend Caloub that Rebecca was it was the confidence, the humor and the passion that she carried with her at this moment. . As the night progressed, they decided to create some shuffle board competition. Seth and Rebecca were on opposite teams but on the same side of the table. While talking, the two got to know each other a little better. An important part of this story is that Rebecca had NEVER shuffle board before She pretty much kicked his butt but the best part of the night was that they decided they wanted to hang out again. The first time I actually was introduced to Rebecca was at small concert at a local downtown establishment known as the Reef on Valentin’s Day. I played the “I don’t notice you” card but let me tell you I NOTICED HER but I could not allow her to know that. The following weekend her and a friend of hers contacted us to see what my friends and I plan was for the evening, thus they showed up at, what we like to call, our “shuffle board getaway”. Rebecca then proceeded to give the worse beating in shuffle board I had ever experienced in lieu of tossing 3 three point pucks in one turn for a total of nine points. And we were only playing to ELEVEN!!! I was shocked! Not only that, while she was throwing these remarkable tosses I was away getting some adult beverages for us she comes running across the room to me and grabs my arm and says, “come here YOU have to what I just did to you!” And long behold there it was directly in front of me my shuffle board demise met me. But it was not her shuffle board LUCK that made me really want to pursue her.
Seth and Rebecca went on their first date a few days later. Seth wanted it to be a surprise and didn’t tell Rebecca where they were going. Rebecca waited and after Seth was 15 minutes late (and Rebecca being a little impatient), she was getting a little concerned. Not a great way to start the date. Seth arrived and brought Rebecca pink daisies (favorite flower and favorite color which he didn’t know). He opened the car door for her which is HUGE brownie points for him. They drove toward downtown Boise but Seth got a little lost and we went in a circle. Finally we made it downtown. Seth was going to take Becca to get a coffee at the Moxie Java on the bottom of Bogus Basin hill. Well, it was closed. So the two went across the street to the gas station where they got coffee and ice cream. They drove up to a nice spot, parked the truck overlooking the valley and spend the next 2 ½ hours talking about everything they could think of.
** Who Said “I Love You First”**
This is still a debatable topic between us. After enjoying a long walk on the beach at Rebecca’s parents cabin, the two revealed that they both “really liked each other, I mean more than really like.” Later that evening before bed, someone said I love you and the other immediately responded with I love you too. We still don’t know who said it first and no one is willing to throw in the towel.
** How Seth Proposed **
During a 4th of July weekend in 2010, Seth suggested that they take a hike to the infamous Charlie Brown Tree stationed at the top of the hill across from the cabin. As they started their trek up from the shoreline, they began to wonder what they were getting themselves into with the steep incline. The day began to heat up to 90* and the close company of rattlesnakes lingered in their mind. Seth and Rebecca made time to stop for many pictures and many breaks but eventually made it to the top. Once at the top, Seth was waiting for the perfect moment to pop the question. As they started down the hill, Seth convinced Rebecca to carry the pack for the way down so Seth helped Rebecca with getting the pack on and told her, “hold on just a second,” with her not knowing that the ring was hidden within the confines of the pack that she was now wearing. Seth grabbed the ring out of the pack and got on his knee and asked “ Rebecca Ann will you marry me?” And obviously the answer was YES!!!!
First Dance Song – You and Me – Dave Matthews Band
6:30 ish – Intro (Stage Steve Kittleson) ) (Please Read through and Correct Stories)
(This is word for word how my dad told me the story) My dad’s favorite story is the time he took me and Jessica and our friend Nat sledding up to Bogus Basin. Back then, there were no designated spots to sled. So we drove around and saw a hill off the road and parked. Took quite a bit of work to get you gals over there through the deep snow, I think you were about 5 then. We had two little saucers and a large one. You had to go first. You only went about 20 yards the first time down. So we all started taking turns and we started going farther and farther down the hill. It was a lot of work because of the deep snow. Jess and Nat didn’t go as far because of their lighter weight. So you talked me into going double with your sister and off you went. That was the farthest run so far. But it was a lot of work getting you two back up the hill. So you insisted that all 3 of you could go on the bigger saucer. So you all got on and I gave a big push and off you went. You were all screaming down the hill. At the end of the hill was a big snow bank before you hit the road you gals hit that and flew over it and out of my site. All I heard as I was running down the hill was screaming. I was scared to death you were all hurt. I was thinking how irresponsible I had been. I get down to the road and you gals are not screaming but you were laughing your asses off. I felt such relief that day. I tried to be more responsible for you from that day forward.
The other story that my dad ALWAYS tells to EVERYONE is the story of my big blow out. When I was about 1 years old, my parents and some friends had taken me to the Sun Valley Ice Festival. They had stopped into a restaurant/bar to get some good. Well little Miss Becca decided to have the biggest baby blow out ever. I mean, “stuff” coming out every which way of the diaper, down the legs, up the back, ewww! Dad had to go and change me in the men’s bathroom that didn’t have a changing table. To this day, as much as it is embarrassing, it still makes me giggle.
One of my favorite memories of my dad was when him and I went up to Washington State University, home of the Cougars to do a college visit. This is my dad’s alumni and so I was excited to see it. He seemed so “giddy” about everything. We bought new shirts and sweatshirts to wear to the game. We went to the annual University of Idaho vs. Washington State football game with my good friend and her dad. Dad had such a good time heckling the U of I fans. It was the father daughter experience I ever had.
Father Daughter Dance – My Little Girl by Tim McGraw
6:40 ish – Intro (Stage Erin Ranstrum ) (Please Read through and Correct Stories)
Floating down the Indian Creek with Cousin Nikki Lynn and Steven.
Getting to visit mom at the dairy especially when the vet was there.
All of the camping trips to Red Fish Lake and Silver Creek Plunge where, even though I was still a young lad, mom let me “the man” of the trip.
(These next 2 stories are word from word from Seth’s mom) I think my most favorite memory of Seth was when he was a baby just starting to smile. I would feed him his bottle and he would look up at me and give me the biggest smile looking at me like I was the most important thing on this Earth to him. You could just feel and see the love in his eyes when I fed him. Seth was the happiest and easy going baby a first time mother could ask for. He loved to cuddle and rock when I fed him or just held him.
One of my most favorite memories of Seth was when he was about 6 or 7. He would get off the bus where I worked. I worked on a dairy farm and he would come to work and we would go and get a pop and a snack before he would go with me to ride in the hay trucks. He would ride along with me just telling me about his day until the sound and the motion of the truck would finally put him to sleep. Asleep with his head in my lap until it was time to go home. I enjoyed every moment I could get with Seth because he was such a loving kid.
Mother Son Dance – The Dance by Garth Brooks
6:45 ish – Rebecca Rejoins Seth on Dance Floor along with wedding party members Sweet Home Alabama by Lynard Skinner
6:50 ish – Open Dance Floor
7:20 ish Bouquet Toss – Girls Just Wanna Have Fun – Cyndi Lauper
7:25 ish Garter Removal American Girl by Tom Petty
Cheap Sunglasses by ZZ Top
7:35 ish Open Dance Floor
8:30 ish Ending Event to be determine (Last Dance – I Cross My Heart by George Strait)
Find Your Spouse
Entertaining Wedding Reception Ideas!
Over the years I have compiled a list of creative ideas that can enhance the enjoyment a wedding reception not all these ideas you have to do and by far this is not an entire list or all the ideas.
Music Requests and Pearls of Wisdom
During the dinner hour you can get the family, guests, and friends involved in the celebration. Set small request cards out on the tables and invite wedding guests to write down 1 or 2 songs they would like to dance to later on in the evening. This helps them have ownership in the music selection and let them know we want them to stay for the dancing portion of the evening. We will also invite them to write down their Pearls of Wisdom. Pearls of Wisdom are words of advice or inspiration that your guests would like to share with the bride and groom as they start their new married lives together. They will be witty, humorous, sincere, and inspirational! This is a great activity that allows your guest to participate in your wedding reception and a great activity leading into the Toast.
Future Anniversary Cards
An alternative to the Pearls of Wisdom activity is future anniversary cards. As an Emcee will ask the guests what will occur 365 days from today’s date. The response will be your client’s anniversary. You will then let everyone know that we are going to get a heads start on writing the bride and groom an anniversary card and direct them to the card and pen placed on each table. The twist is we let each table choose which year your client will open up the card. It could be a 1, 10, 25 or 50 year anniversary card. This card will serve as a mini time capsule that potentially will be opened years from now.
Center Piece Giveaway
Some couples would like to give away their centerpieces to their guests. We can make this into a fun activity at the end of dinner. To determine which person at each table gets to take home the centerpiece, we can ask who traveled the farthest to get to the wedding, or whose birthday is closest to today. You can also ask one person at each table to volunteer a $1.00 bill. Then the DJ will start the music and the guest must pass the bill around the table. Once the music stops whoever has the dollar bill gets to keep it. The DJ will announce whoever volunteered the dollar bill gets the centerpiece!
Everyone wants to see the bride and groom kiss on their wedding day. Here are several ideas of how you can get your guests involved in the process.
1. Golfers – If you enjoy golf you can have a putting green at the head table and if any guests get a hole in one would result in the bride and groom having to kiss.
2. You Kiss First – Since it is your first day as husband and wife, you may need some lessons on how to kiss, so in order to help you learn another couple must first go up in front of the head table and demonstrate how it’s done! An alternative is to roll a pair of dice, if someone rolls an even number the bride and groom have to kiss, if it is an even number, the couple who rolled the dice have to kiss.
3. Donate Money to Charity – Select your favorite charity. If the crowd wants you to kiss, they have to make a donation (the bigger the donation the better and longer the kiss).
Cake Cutting Activities
Paparazzi- If we have your permission we will invite everyone who has a camera to participate in this activity. Just before you go to cut your wedding cake your Emcee will say something like this over the microphone, “Steve and Susan, I apologize but the Paparazzi has snuck into your wedding and they need to get photo’s for their magazines and so we are going to give them the opportunity to get those photos right now.” We will play an upbeat song as your guest come up from their chairs and surround you to take photos like you are movie stars on a red carpet. This is your opportunity to pose and have fun while all the cameras are flashing.
Alternatives to Bouquet Toss
Here are some alternatives to throwing the bouquet
Counting For Flowers
Rather than tossing your bouquet to the bridesmaids, set up a jar of marbles in colors that match your wedding reception decor. Make an announcement during speech time that each unmarried female attendee must guess how many marbles are in the jar. The guests should write down their answers on their name placement cards. Near the end of the evening, enlist in the help of your maid of honor to collect the answers and determine the winner. You can then go and personally present her with the bouquet.
• Bouquet Presentation
Instead of throwing your bouquet you can choose who you would like to have it. The DJ will provide the bride with a microphone and the can proceed to tell everyone why this person is important to her and announce who she is and have her come up and the bride present her bouquet to her.
• No Single ladies
Here is an alternative if there are no single ladies to throw the bouquet to. The DJ will invite all the married ladies to one end of the dance floor and the bride will be at the other end. The DJ will start by saying, “If you been married less than one year you have to move to the other end of the dance floor.” The DJ will increase in years until the lady who has been married the longest is left and the bride will meet her in the middle of the dance floor to present her bouquet.
• Bouquet & Garter Giveaway
Some brides and grooms do not want to throw their bouquet and garter at their reception. An alternative is to present them to the couple has been married the longest during the anniversary dance. The Anniversary dance is when you invite all married couples to the dance floor and we discover who has been married the longest. “If you have been married less than 4 hours, you have to leave the dance floor. If you have been married less than 1 year, you have to leave the dance floor.” We will work our way up in years until we get to the last couple on the dance floor. An enthusiastic congratulation will be given to the couple that has been married the longest.
Alternatives to Garter Toss
Here are some alternatives to throwing the garter
• Have the groom throw the bouquet and the bride throws the garter at the same time
• Have the groom toss the little black book signifying that he is taken and will no longer need it
• Have the groom wrap the garter around a football and then throw the football
• Have the groom pin a $20 dollar bill on the garter to entice the guys to actually catch the garter
• Have the groom use a miner’s hat to remove the garter. The light will illuminate the when he is under the dress
• Make the groom perform a dance around the chair to prove he is worthy to remove the garter
• Mary Poppins trick: Have the bride sit in a chair next to a table that is draped to the floor. When the groom goes under the dress to remove the garter, have someone feed the groom from under the table unusual items like, an umbrella, iPod, cell phone, granny panties etc. The crowd will laugh hysterically.
DVD Photo Montage
The DVD Photo Montage is a unique way to tell your life story through photos set to music. Typically the montage starts with the Bride and Grooms photos from birth to engagement. This presentation can be shown at a rehearsal dinner or at the wedding reception. It can be shown throughout the event or as a special presentation generally after the toast. This service includes completed DVD, DVD Player, Projector and Screen.
Remote Control Game
The bride and groom sit on chairs back to back. I’ll ask the best-man and maid of honor to come up and help with this. They are each given a roll of toilet paper on a rod that either the best-man or maid of honor holds for the bride and groom. The MC will announce that the race is for control of the TV remote for the next 3 months. The first to unroll all of the toilet paper wins. Audience applause will determine a tie.
Who Wears the Pants Trivia (Wedding Shoe Game)
The Bride and Groom Sit back to back and are asked to take off their shoes. This works really well at the end of the night when your clients want to take their shoes off anyway. They give each other one of their shoes and keep one for themselves. Then have them sit back to back in the chairs on the dance floor so they can’t see either others answers. The couple is then asked questions like: Who controls the checkbook? Who does the laundry? Who does the cooking? Who cleans the toilets? etc. The Bride & Groom respond back by holding up the appropriate shoe.
Here is a list of great shoe game questions
- Who is more romantic?
- Who is hotter?
- Who made the first move?
- Who said ‘I love you’ first?
- Who says ‘I love you’ most often?
- Who says ‘I’m sorry’ first after an argument?
- Who was the bigger geek at school?
- Who is smarter?
- Who is more creative?
- Who is the better driver?
- Who is better at keeping secrets?
- Who is more likely to give the other food poisoning?
- Who is more spontaneous?
- Who is the bigger flirt?
- Who wears the pants in the relationship?
- Who is more likely to drop their phone in a toilet?
- Who is more likely to get injured?
- Who looks better in glasses?
- Who is more likely to be running late?
- Who is a better dresser?
- Who spends more money?
- Who’ll be in control of the TV remote?
- Who is more likely to deal with a spider in the bath?
- Who is more likely to get lost?
- Who is more likely to ask for directions?
- Who is messier?
- Who has the smelliest feet?
- Who spends the most amount of time in front of the mirror?
- Who has the craziest family?
- Who is the better kisser?
- Who gives better birthday presents?
- Who has a better sense of style?
- Who talks more?
- Who is more likely to use all the hot water?
- Who is more likely to wake up with a hangover?
- Who snores the loudest?
- Who has better general knowledge?
- Who is a bigger baby when they have a cold?
- Who has the better taste in music?
- Who is always right?
- Who is funnier?
- Who is a better dancer?
- Who is the most organized?
- Who is less likely to reach for their wallet?
- Who is more stubborn?
- Who did more of the wedding planning?
- Who owns the most pairs of jeans/shoes/sunglasses etc.?
- Who spends more time on Facebook?
- If both of you were trapped on a desert island, who would be more likely to eat the other one to stay alive?
Finally, ask: “Who do you love most in the world?” That’s sure to get an ‘Aaaaah!’
This must be preplanned with the DJ before the event. Obtain several house keys (10-20 keys) during the party before the garter/bouquet toss someone from the wedding party is responsible for handing out the keys to several guests. Just before the groom removes the garter the Emcee will announce “Now that the bride and groom are married, everyone must return their key to his/her apartment/house”. At this time several people walk forward and place the keys in a bucket. For laughs, have an older grandma come up last.
Wedding Trivia is questions you ask the audience about the bride and groom to test their knowledge. For example, “Where did the bride and groom go on their first date?” “Where did the groom purpose to the bride?” or “What city was the groom born in?” The correct response could result in that table getting to go through the buffet line first or the bride and groom having to share a kiss.
Other DJ’s, and Haters
I am writing this because I am trying to make you more valuable, more valuable to your potential clients. So you can make more money, and because it raises all of us up. If you don’t want to make more money DJing then get out of DJing weddings and stick to club work. I’m constantly justifying my prices to lower quality DJ’s who can’t believe what I charge, it flabbergasts them. They place ads on craigslist trying to spin me up stating things like the ad below
“Many DJs charge up to $1000 to provide music at your event. This is very unreasonable. On Craigslist you will find a DJ that will fit your budget. Don’t be fooled by DJs that charge unreasonable prices. When was the last time you ever heard of renting an individual service $1000 for a service. Right! So turning to Craigslist is a great choice!” (What is funny is I had to fix the grammar and spelling in this ad.)
DJ’s that say this fail to realize is they are self-bias, they have tunnel vision because they still see it as just playing music. Neither they nor you have ever seen my performance at a wedding. Nor have they watched any other great real wedding entertainment experts. When I hear other DJ’s say “No DJ is worth X amount of dollars. All I can think is, No you don’t see your DJ service worth more than X amount of dollars. Some people will never get it and they think they are making money, when all they are doing is working harder than they have too. I rather work 2 weddings a month at $1500.00 each, verses four or five for the same money. Plus the effort and quality I can place into those two events makes them amazing. The repeat business from friends of past clients compound each time I perform amazing wedding celebrations. I believe that quality trumps quantity, every day of the week.
If you were to call any party rental place to rent a sound system, or rent a quality sound system from an event center it would be $300.00 to $400.00 just to rent the sound system. There may also be a setup fee to deliver the system and set it up. This does not include someone to run it. Why does a rental place charge so much for just a sound system? Well in the rental business, typically they charge 10% the total cost of an item to rent it, that way after 10 rentals the item is making money. Now why are you not doing the same you have invested in quality equipment right? You are placing wear and tear on equipment that will run out one day, break down or need replacing. You need that equipment to make you money right? Then your price should include the fee to rent your equipment.
Now I get the counter augment all the time. “Does a carpenter charge you to rent his hammer, or a carpet cleaner to rent the steamer?” Well “No!” they don’t charge you directly for their hammer and steam cleaner. I would not suggest you not list your sound system as a rental fee in your services, but it should be in your price. With services like carpenters and carpet cleaners though you do pay for the building materials, and carpet cleaning solution, I guarantee that! Also you if the carpet cleaner is horrible you can have them re do it or hirer a different carpet cleaner, carpenters can rebuild if they mess up. There are no do overs at a wedding.
Let’s look at your price. Are you charging the client to rent your system? Because they are renting it from your business you’re just operating it! Let’s say you have $4000.00 in DJ equipment you bring to an event. Minimum $400.00 is what any rental place would charge to rent this type of system. Your business should be doing the same. That is not your equipment it is the DJ businesses. Well if you are a “Professional DJ Business” Maybe you’re not and you’re just a hobbyist. This should have a condescending tone to it. I am trying to make you realize the difference between you and your business, if you even are one yet. “Professional DJ’s” run “Professional businesses” do you have a business license, liability insurance, do you have an EIN number, and paying your taxes on the income from DJing weddings? If not, you are far from “Professional” in my book.
Now if your business is just charging $400.00 what are they paying you? That $400.00 is what the business should be making on the rental of the equipment. What are you making for your time the business should be paying you for your time, the one non replaceable resource we all have? Are you giving away your time for free? The time you could be with friends, with your children and grandchildren, or with your loved ones. You can ever get this time back it is finite. We all have a limited amount and don’t even know what it is. Don’t you want to be compensated for it? Of course you do we all do. That’s why employers pay people; you are sacrificing your resource of time, in turn for a monetary compensation. That’s why they call it on the clock! Your clients are no different than an employer they should be paying your for your time.
So what are you worth, what is your time worth $50.00 an hour? Let’s say that, $50.00 an hour and you do a 4 hour wedding your need to pay yourself $200.00 pretty simple math there. Now let’s say you’re doing a lot of the above mentioned stuff, and you investing in yourself as a wedding entertainment expert. You are buying books, going to conventions, joining toastmasters, joining N.A.M.E or ADJA you are investing in yourself becoming a better expert. Your training yourself, educating yourself, don’t people with more training and education make more money? Of course they do!
Now just these two things the price to rent your equipment and the price for your time is $600.00 we have not even covered things like a business license, liability insurance, music subscription, website fees, online planner subscriptions, gas and maintenance on vehicles, supplies like gaff tape, and zip ties. The actual meat and potatoes of running a “Professional Business” not just being a “Craigslist Hobbyist” That is why I hate craigslist and the word “professional” when DJ’s use it in advertising on craigslist because, I guarantee most are not. I could write so much more on why you should be charging more if you are doing the above things I have been talking about.
Other Resources and Material You Should Read
Everyone Communicates, Few Connect: What the Most Effective People Do Differently by John C. Maxwell
How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie (Oct 1, 1998)
The Wedding MC Jokebook by Lee Bells and Mark Schweighardt
The Best Wedding Reception Ever! Your Guide to Creating an Unforgettably Fun Celebration by Peter Merry (Sep 20, 2010)
Awesome Wedding Ideas: 20 Strategies for a Successful Wedding Reception by Mark Peace Thomas (Mar 15, 2013)
Wedding Receptions That Rock: Creative Ideas for Music and a Fun, High-Energy Celebration by Rich Amooi (Apr 21, 2013)