This weekend I delivered a Grand Entrance for one of my largest Wedding Parties…EVER! In addition to welcoming the out of town guests by calling out their home states and spotlighting the parents at their tables, I was going to be introducing 2 Guestbook Attendants, 2 Ushers, 1 Flower Girl & 1 Ring Bearer, 10 Bridesmaids escorted by 10 Groomsmen (including a Matron of Honor and a Maid of Honor escorted by 2 Best Men), and of course, the Bride & Groom.
The setting had its own set of challenges as we were on the 2nd floor of a barn with 180 guests seated upstairs, another 90 seated on the first floor, and the Wedding Party’s loved ones were waiting for them on the 3rd floor loft/balcony. The long tables on the 2nd floor gave no easy pathway for the Wedding party to enter from the wider set of stairs at the front of the barn, which were under the loft. Luckily, there was a narrower set of stairs at the back of the barn right next to the Cake Table and the Sweetheart Table and there was plenty of space behind the Sweetheart Table in front of the barn’s back doors. I was also set up in that corner right behind the narrower staircase.
So, to help this large group’s entrance go as quickly as possible while still giving them all a fun, personalized biographical introduction, we decided to line them up single file on the staircase (it was a very narrow staircase) and just have them step out in front of the Sweetheart Table one “couple” at a time for their scripted intros. Then, when they were done, they were instructed to step back to the barn doors and group up between my BOSE® L1 speakers until the Bride & Groom were introduced.
Now for the really fun part…
I met with the Bride & Groom 2 weeks prior at the barn (and this barn is located almost 2.5 hours from my house) to work out these logistical challenges, but more importantly, to go over the info that they had provided on their Wedding Party members so we could brainstorm about how to introduce each one of them in the most personalized and humorous way possible. They had also selected music beds for each couple, so including my opening music, I had music beds for the parents and each “couple” in our lineup finishing with an introduction for the Bride & Groom. I had to format 16 different music beds to start at just the right spot in each song along with 35 sound clips that would add punch lines to some of our intros. And I also had to pick up 2 props (matching his and hers booster seats) for one “couple” who just happened to be the shortest of our Wedding Party members.
All told, I probably invested 2 hours of the final meeting in solving the logistical challenges and reviewing the introduction content for each Wedding Party member. Another 8 hours were spent writing (and re-writing and re-writing) the biographical introductions to keep them brief while still connecting who each person was to the Bride & Groom and finding some humorous things we could share about each of them…and then seeking out and creating 6 new special sound clips. And of course, I spent about an hour rehearsing the script several times, with and without the music beds and sound clips.
The entire production took 18 minutes to deliver. They were 18 minutes filled with cheering and laughter that set the tone for what would later prove to be a fantastic celebration that had such strong dancing, the Bride and I were both getting concerned that our 2nd level dance floor might give way because it was bouncing so much (Thank God I wasn’t spinning vinyl). Thankfully, the floor held. 😉
I share all this as a precursor that appears to have no connection to my headline because I wanted you to feel the amount of time, effort, and energy that was given to create this uniquely personalized kick-off to an amazing celebration…because the very next day I ran across a rather striking post in a private Facebook forum where “professional” Wedding DJs share their best ideas and advice.
Here is what I saw…
The names of the people posting do not matter. What matters is a mindset that is actually far too prevalent among way too many “professional” Wedding DJs, in my opinion. This DJ was expressing his angst at having to format 14 songs to their best starting points for the parents and each individual member of the Wedding Party and his relief that his DJ software had a comments field he could use to make it easy to introduce the correct person with their correct music track.
Of course, it should go without saying by now that anyone who calls these “intros” is misinforming their clients (probably because they are either uninformed or have been misinformed themselves) on what constitutes Wedding Party introductions. Introductions given by an MC (Master of Ceremonies) requires some tidbit of personal information being conveyed to help the guests begin to feel acquainted with that person. (Introduce: “to present a person to another so as to make acquainted.”) No one begins to feel acquainted with anyone just by hearing their name announced. And that’s what the vast majority of “professional” Wedding DJ/MCs do regularly at weddings under the guise of “introducing” the Wedding Party…they merely announce them by only saying their names.
But, putting that rant aside for now, the thing that stood out the most was his hashtag, #micromanaged. Clearly, he was feeling that giving his client this level of personalized production was asking too much of him, probably compared to his easier clients who are just fine with 1 song for the “intros” and 1 song for the Bride & Groom’s entrance. It gave the distinct impression that he was giving the client what they want somewhat begrudgingly. And what made that impression eve more apparent where the comments that followed from many of his peers.
Why does the couple have to narrow their intros down to 1 minute and less than 5 songs? Who made that rule? I thought we were there to make these events amazing and unforgettable? I thought our job was to give the couple something that exceeded their expectations?
Labeling the client as a “Bridezilla” because she wants personalized music for the intros shows a lack of willingness to work just a little harder to make our clients feel like rock stars instead of just seeing them as annoying customers. Reminds me of the movie “Clerks.”
Let that sink in for a moment. Clearly these opinions show a lack of understanding for the overall purpose of doing “introductions” for the Wedding Party. The purpose they are familiar with is using the Grand Entrance to build energy to kick off the Reception with a “BANG!” But the primary purpose (in my personal opinion) is to help the guests understand the connections between the Wedding Party members and the Bride & Groom.
A vast majority of the time, most of the guests at a wedding will know a few or even some of the Wedding Party members, but most of them do not know who most of the Wedding Party members are or how they are related to/connected to the newlyweds. When that personal connection is revealed in even the most subdued manner, the guests immediately recognize this reception (and the MC) as being dramatically different than most of the weddings they have attended…and that informs whether or not they will start looking at their watches while wondering how soon until they can leave without looking rude. Adding fun information about the Wedding Party members, giving them their own theme song to dance into, or even giving them a lighthearted roasting, are all layers that can be added to make those introductions not only more meaningful but also much more memorable and enjoyable.
The best part is, doing real introductions (instead of just announcing the Wedding Party’s names) and adding personalized touches to the production will not only put the guests into a better frame of mind to dance and celebrate, but it will also earn the Wedding DJs/MCs who deliver them more word of mouth referrals which leads to increased demand for their unique talents and services, and that leads to being able to command higher and higher performance fees. And best of all, your couples will love it
But, then again, that does require doing more work…and for some “professional” Wedding DJ/MCs, that’s just a bridge too far.
So, are some Wedding DJs starting to feel Micro-Managed? I hope they are…I really do.