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Being a wedding DJ & MC is (admittedly) an odd profession. Most of us did not set out to be a “wedding professional”, but over the course of years as a professional mobile DJ, some of us naturally gravitate to the energy, excitement, meaning and beauty of a wedding day.
In the “old days” people would hire an etiquette coach, consult a wedding procedure book, hire a seasoned wedding coordinator, etc. But in modern times, newly engaged couples and their families often turn to the DJ for this information! This can be a crazy shot-in-the-dark for those couples who know little or nothing about what to expect in the ways of wedding procedures and etiquette.
Up until the last 5 – 10 years, the thought of using a DJ for wedding ceremony music was almost unheard of – now it is commonplace. This also lays an extra responsibility on a DJ & MC. What music to play and when? Classical or pop music? Is there a singer or live musician added to the mix? How long is each song? When does everyone walk down the aisle, etc.? How do you handle different family dynamics like divorced parents, children, etc.?
Also in the last 5 years, lighting has become a major component for a lot of DJs. This means that not only does a DJ & MC need to be responsible for music, announcements, ceremony etiquette, timeline, event flow and more, but now many events also rely on the DJ to help decorate the room with UpLights, GoBo Monograms or other lighting effects.
Many times, I will receive an email simply asking for a quick quote. But with so much to be responsible for, it is always best to talk about it in person (or at least over the phone) to get a complete picture of the vision the bride & groom have in mind for their special day.
These events only happen once in a lifetime and I want to do everything I can to help my clients understand what they need to achieve their vision and then help them get it. :^)
There are only two things I know that can be spent in this life: money and time. When planning a wedding it is best to identify how much of each you have and make plans accordingly. Some of the best advice I ever received about planning major events was to try and figure out to the best of my ability what I thought things would cost – then double it! This way, the surprises that come along the way won’t have as much impact and expectations can be more realistic.
Some examples of surprises that impact a bottom-line would be things like security guards when serving alcohol, damage deposits, cake stand rentals (on top of the cake costs), delivery fees, service fees for cutting a cake, mandatory gratuities (as well as voluntary ones), etc. Many DJ companies charge mileage fees, set-up and teardown fees (or hide these in their “hourly rate”), insurance fees and more. The list goes on and on.
When planning in advance as to what vendors to book and when, I always advise brides & grooms to book their venues first and then anything else that is one-of-a-kind. If your favorite musician is available for that day, book them as soon as possible. Same thing with a quality DJ & MC. Since most entertainers are not big companies with multiple “clones” of the same product available, it is good to ensure that they are committed to your event early in the process.
Cakes, flowers, linens, and even catering can all wait until later in the planning process as these can be duplicated by many companies. For example, a bakery can bake many cakes for the same day, but a specific band or DJ can only be at one event that night.
Lately, I have seen a lot of wasted food and cake at many weddings. Since this is a major expense (as well as alcohol), try to be conservative on estimates for food – especially desserts and cake. Most guests do not eat two pieces of wedding cake, so make slices slightly smaller and talk to your baker about accuracy in guest count. I have posted a video with a lot of cake ideas that I have seen in the past couple years:
When the day is done and my bride & groom are finally married, people often look back at the things that they remembered the most. The venue and the entertainment are always closest to the top of the list. Food, cakes, linens, formal wear, dresses, limos, etc. all have a smaller role in the overall impact of the night. Have fun during the process and best wishes in your planning!
The Metroplexers are sounding great and can provide your party, special event, wedding, corporate function, etc. with an exciting live-music show that is fun for all ages. We are a four-piece band with guitar, bass, keyboards and drums.
All four of us are also singers, so harmony vocals and a variety of vocal textures are all part of our show. And since we are a smaller band, we can play in places where others cannot. We can also add DJ & MC services to your event for “the perfect mix”.
It is always great to start the year with recognition within my chosen profession. So I am happy to be chosen among the top 5% of professionals in my field by a leading online wedding planning website (more on that in a future post). But it is truly my greatest honor when Brides & Grooms from all over the country choose me as their wedding DJ & MC for their special day.
During the holiday season, many engagements happen – especially on New Year’s Eve. That is why the holidays are often referred to as “engagement season”. As a result, many wedding vendors book up to 60% of their year by the end of February. In other words, the best dates go fast and it is critical to act quickly if you are planning a 2013 wedding.
Specifically, make sure that you book your venue and your entertainment as soon as possible. Most venues can only host one or two events per day. So you can imagine that with only 52 Saturdays in the year that dates go fast. Entertainers (such as myself) are much the same in that I can work only one event on any given night. Florists, bakeries, caterers and other services are different as they can often work several events at the same time. So make sure you hire your professional help in the right order.
One other point of interest is that many popular wedding websites recommend the same wedding-planning timelines to all of their brides. So if you are being told to book your event 6 months in advance, so are hundreds of others in your area. Certainly do some homework on who you are hiring, but don’t wait too long or you may find yourself researching vendors in the same categories over and over again.
I am happy and humbled to announce that today I was awarded the coveted Wedding Wire Gold rating. This means that over 30 brides & grooms rated me at 5-Stars in 2012.
For those who are interested in such things, remember that these are ratings for me personally, not a company with a bunch of DJs that can work 20 events per week. I provide a personal touch that is very difficult to duplicate.
Thank you to the brides & grooms I served in 2012 and to all my future and past clients for contributing to this honor.
When most people call me, they are in need of checking out my services to play music at their wedding. But by the time I am actually hired, my clients are happy and relieved to know that they have someone who can help them through the entire process of planning their wedding day event.
Am I a wedding coordinator?* No. But the planning process I provide helps to diminish the need for additional paid professionals on your wedding day. A a good Wedding DJ is also a Master of Ceremonies. Unlike a nightclub or Party DJ that occasionally “does weddings”, a true MC will be able to speak effectively on a microphone in front of (sometimes) hundreds of your guests. Can you imagine a nightclub DJ who works night after night in a club trying to effectively communicate to your grandmother about the cutting of a wedding cake? Some can, but at the same time, I am not the guy you would want in your nightclub every night either! :^)
As a Master Of Ceremony, I have a written planning guide that I help you think through and put together in the months prior to your wedding. I can help with ideas about lighting, video slide shows, monograms, the order of events, etc. Since I have seen hundreds and hundreds of weddings (in 2013 I will surpass 1,000 weddings that I have been a part of), I can help you with money-saving ideas about your decorations, candy stations, catering, your officiant, photographer, photo booth, and any number of other things.
I am an advocate for my brides & grooms. Sometimes, I can help weed-out vendors that may be treating you wrong or give advice about what to look for in a venue. I help put your mind at ease about contracts, insurance, staff turnover, day-of expectations, and so much more. As a quality wedding DJ & MC, you cannot just put on your headphones and play music because you are wearing too many hats!
*A wedding coordinator is a paid professional that helps put your wedding budget together, contacts and interviews all of your vendors, hotels, etc. (and sometimes pays them on your behalf). They also create detailed day-of time-lines that include travel times, flowers, beauty salon visits, airport pick-ups, etc. Wedding coordinators also help with the flow of the event, which for an average Dallas/Ft. Worth wedding is a service that I already provide as a part of my wedding DJ & MC services.
Weddings should be all about the bride and groom and those whom they wish to honor at their reception. One of my roles as a professional DJ & Master Of Ceremonies is to help facilitate the wishes of my brides and grooms and not be the star-of-the-show.
I am so pleased to share the video below with you from a recent wedding that hi-lights this very well. Jose and Luciana chose to have a cinematic film crew cover their wedding, but that is not why I am showing it to you. My point is to show the people there having a great time, making toasts, and sharing in the creation of once-in-a-lifetime moments that occurred through the process of planning in advance and hosting as MC.
In a positive way, I wish to point out the utter lack of attention paid to me in the video! (Note:at 2:59 I am partly seen standing next to the Maid Of Honor during the Best Man’s toast.) To me that is exactly where I should be – facilitating a good time for all parties involved and helping the bride and groom shine on the most special night of their lives.
With Fall now here, I am always reminded of Halloween and the scary costumes that people now gravitate to. But in the world of weddings, there are few things scarier to a bride than a loud-mouthed, cheesy DJ masquerading as a professional Master Of Ceremony.
I received a call recently that illustrated this fact very well. It is easy for people to be able to see the work of a photographer or videographer. Even to taste food or see pictures of a wonderful buffet spread is no problem. So how can you tell if you are getting professional MC or just another frustrated performer with a sound system and a laptop loaded with music? Here are some clues to look for before you even meet the DJ/MC in question:
1). Does he advertise himself as a Master Of Ceremony or only as a “Wedding DJ”? In my opinion, the imagery has a lot to do with how people see themselves. A true Master Of Ceremonies (sometimes known as an Emcee) knows that his value is being a conduit to focus your guests’ attention to the needed destination – usually the Bride & Groom. A true MC is NOT at your event to be the center of attention.
2). Does he refer to himself by a “DJ Name”? I often have people ask me, “What is your DJ name?”. To which I reply, “Mike Mahnich or simply Mike”. Do you really want DJ Scratchy-scratch or DJ Trainwrecka to be the facilitator of your most special event? This is a sign that you are hiring a night-club or party DJ and not a Master Of Ceremonies.
3). Do their advertisements or website tell you how great all of their DJ equipment is? When someone is focusing their efforts to convince you to hire them based on their “state-of-the-art sound and lights”, that is a clue that they are more interested in their DJ persona or prideful of their equipment than what they can bring to you as an MC. Any professional should have good, name brand, professional equipment - that is a given. But a true MC will focus on you even in their advertisements and during interviews and phone calls.
4). Do they ask a lot of questions about your event and your vision? I am shocked at the DJs that I meet that do not have a written planning guide or force brides to go online and fill out event timelines for themselves. They do this because it takes the pressure off of them if things do not go well and they also do not have to invest any additional time into the event beyond the actual play time on the day-of.
Professional wedding MCs should have the experience of a wedding coordinator and the skills of a DJ to combine into one package. Although I am also a live musician, I understand that my role as a Master Of Ceremonies is completely different than that of someone onstage entertaining at a concert. I am there to help you plan and execute your vision for your most special day as well as advise you of any pitfalls along the way. Woe to the bride that hires a frustrated entertainer as her wedding DJ!
Remember to ask a lot of questions of your Master Of Ceremony/DJ and make sure that they are paying attention and taking notes. Many decisions are made months in advance or can change over time. If you are working with a “DJ Company”, it may be difficult to actually speak in advance with the person who will be at your event. This is why hiring a professional full-time DJ and Master Of Ceremony takes a lot of the pressure off the planning process and can assure you of having good results.
The Metroplexers are having a great year playing weddings, special events, and even special night club showcases. Most professional party bands in the DFW area are too expensive for a lot of budgets or they are simply too big. Did you know that many venues do not allow bands of 5-pieces or more? Lots of bands are just too big or too loud for many events.
That is why The Metroplexers were designed specifically to be wedding, party, and corporate friendly. All-time party song favorites from the 1980s, 1970s and 1960s played live along with full DJ & MC services by Mike Mahnich (who plays keyboards in the band). Check them out tomorrow at Lone Star Roadhouse in Dallas.
There are so many wedding options in Texas; different facilities, number of guests, private residences, time of year, food choices, entertainment, etc. The lists go on and on until it makes some brides and groom’s heads spin. One of the first choices that a bride has to make is whether to have an indoor or outdoor wedding ceremony and reception.
This choice is sometimes a result of a budget constraint. Do we have a family member who is willing to let us use their lake house or estate property to host our wedding? Other times, it is simply a long held wish to be married in a beautiful garden or beside a body of water.
Whatever the reason, there are some things to consider. The most important factor to consider for everyone’s peace of mind is a contingency plan in case of inclement weather. A rainy day plan often must be put into effect several hours before the wedding time is scheduled. So there needs to be a person who can “make the call” and decide if the wedding festivities are to be moved indoors.
If the wedding is to be held outside, then there are other considerations. Sound is critical to a successful wedding. Even if you are having live musicians, an outdoor facility can quickly gobble-up a preacher’s voice or a beautiful harpist’s song. Having a sound system with wireless microphones is a great solution to these issues. Additionally, once you have a sound system, any type of recorded music can be played. Pre-planning is the key if you are using a DJ for a wedding ceremony. There is only one chance to get things right and it is no place to cut corners with an inexperienced sound man or DJ. An “iPod wedding” is just asking for trouble.
Even on a nice day, wind can be a factor too. Microphones can be sensitive to wind. Candle lighting ceremonies rarely do well in wind (there are alternatives). Bridal veils can become unruly and have even caught fire due to wind + candles. Table clothes that are not clamped or properly weighted down can cause havoc. But the worst offender on a windy day is the dreaded chocolate fountain – messy!
The other consideration for outdoor events are proper bathroom facilities. There are many options if you do not want people going inside a private residence. Keep in mind that over the course of a 5 – 6 hour event, most guests will use the facilities at least once. If you have an average sized wedding for the North Texas area, that would mean over 150 trips to the bathroom! There are companies that offer elegant (somewhat) solutions for portable restroom facilities. Of course, if you are
having an outdoor wedding at a professional wedding facility, restrooms should be well taken care of.
During an outdoor wedding reception, sound is often overlooked. The same sound system that might be adequate for an indoor wedding reception with 100+ guests, could be woefully underpowered when it comes time to dance outdoors. Additional bass or subwoofer speakers are usually needed to make up the difference. Outdoor lighting is also a factor once the sun goes down. Many DJ effect lights are designed to project onto a ceiling and therefore do not work well outside. String lighting looks great, but is sometimes cost-prohibitive or may not even be allowed.
Whatever your choice in wedding facilities, the best weddings (large or small) are those that have been thoughtfully planned in advance with an experienced professional. Remember, a seasoned wedding veteran will give you money saving alternatives and save you from headaches and pitfalls that a bargain wedding will often run into. This means that you will often get better results for the same amount of money or less. As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.