Icebergs are pretty awe-inspiring things. Mostly hidden under the water, their size can be extremely difficult to judge. This has led to the expression “tip of the iceberg” – or in another sense, a feel for a problem or difficulty that is only a small manifestation of a larger problem or situation.
At the risk of sounding overly dramatic here, I’d put it to you that this aforementioned iceberg metaphorically represents the planning of your wedding event. I promise you, no matter how organised you might think you are, you probably can only see a fraction of the big picture.
It’s the underside of the iceberg that you should be concerned about. Those unforeseen questions, potential problems, things you just haven’t thought about yet. You want someone experienced with you when you dive into the planning process. Someone that can guide you, someone that has strong experience, someone that can give you their professional opinion for the betterment of your event.
After all, these professionals take part in these sorts of events week-in, week out. You on the other hand might be in the middle of planning your first ever wedding event!
This is why it is critical to meet with a true specialist months before your event – someone with a strong background in wedding entertainment and DJing. When you look at the whole event, there is so much more to your day than just playing music. To me, music is just one tool that we use to entertain and engage your guests. So much more thought and consideration should go into your very special day.
I would start with;
Overall Structure. The Flow.
Overall, how do you see the general structure of the day? What moments will flow into the next? How will you facilitate these transitions? Who will facilitate these transitions? Does it always have to be the MC? In what style should this be done? Can I share some experience and suggestions with you?
Formalities & Special Moments.
What formalities do you wish to include? What don’t you wish to include? Why is that? What have you have you seen good or bad examples of, in regards to these formalities?
In what style or way do you wish to undertake these formalities? What level of detail would you like your MC to go into, in regards to his or her script and preparation? How will wording from your MC work with the formality music? Are you aware that this can be executed in an extremely impactful way, if done right? Are you aware that your MC and DJ should work in-sync, as a highly polished team? Can I explain to you how?
Have you thought of any creative and unique ways to truly tailor this moment to make it your own? Have you seen any examples of this?
How do you wish to be introduced? What music do you wish to use? Or what sort of vibe are you after? What do you want your guests to be doing while you enter?
Do you wish to involve your bridal party? Do you also wish to involve your parents? What sort of bridal introductions have you seen in the past? What have you liked? What haven’t you liked? Have you seen many examples online? Are you aware of the vast possibilities here? Can I help?
I believe that this moment sets the scene for the rest of the night. If you want to have fun at your wedding event, kick-starting the night with some truly amazing introductions, I feel, is a very important aspect to consider.
Have you thought about making this moment truly your own? Why don’t we be a little creative and produce something unique and different to the rest? Can we talk about a few ideas and find out what you guys like?
How about your guests? Please tell me a little more about them. What are their backgrounds? Cultures? Are they all local guests or are they traveling from interstate or overseas? Overall, how many guests are you planning to have? What is the split between family and friends? Generally, what do you think the average age of your guests would be? What sort of activities or music do you think they’ll be into or want to be a part of?
What sort of music are you guys into? Does it differ from what your family or guests might like? What would you prefer me to favour? Do you wish to sit down and start talking about a game plan here?
Ceremony. It’s connected.
Who is doing your ceremony? Do you know what sort of PA system does the celebrant use? Are you going to be outside? Or could it be windy? How many guests are going to be at your ceremony? Do you want to ensure that all your guests are engaged with and can clearly hear all of the formalities? Does the celebrant have additional microphone(s) for your vows or ceremony readers? Is it the celebrant that has to also mix music levels and also balance the audio of the microphones? Are you aware of positive impact of what a professional and powered PA system with a DJ can offer you? Can I explain to you the massive benefits of this?
Your guests will be arriving up to 30 minutes prior to your ceremony. Have you factored in welcoming music that will help to set the scene and provide atmosphere for the event? Have you thought about the importance of your walk in song? Your signing song? Your recessional song? Can I assist in helping you select a song that might have the right feeling for you and your event?
Do your guests depart straight after the ceremony? Or do they mingle in the ceremony location? I’d strongly advise you to consider the atmosphere of your event following your ceremony.
Is your ceremony also on site or is it in another location? What will your guests be involved in between your ceremony and reception? If your reception is at the same location as your ceremony, can I give you some ideas that might work in the interim? How will we transition your guests into the reception?
Are you doing a group photo after your ceremony? Or perhaps are you departing for your own photos? Who can direct your bridal party and guests? Is this something your celebrant can be involved in?
Room Layout. Maximised For Entertainment.
How about the layout of the room? Is your venue flexible with the layout? Would you like my professional opinion as to how the room can be best optimised for entertainment purposes and dancing?
Consider the overall structure and flow of the night. The transition between your formalities and where they take place in the room is an extremely important factor to consider. Can we discuss these factors and can I give you a little insight into this?
Your MC. First Impressions. The ‘WOW’ Factor.
How will your MC first introduce himself and setup the night for your guests? Have you thought about doing something slightly creative and different with this moment in order to engage and ‘wow’ your guests?
This moment is all about setting the tone for the night. Can I show you a few examples that might work for you guys?
Are you aware that I work with all of my MCs prior to my events? Can I talk to you about the massive benefits of when your MC and DJ are connected and in-sync?
Have you considered putting some welcoming speeches up the top of the night? This can be a really nice way to transition from our introductions into your first meal. Can we talk about a few more ideas that might best suit you guys?
Speeches. More Than Just Dribble.
Perhaps we could break the overall speeches into smaller ‘bite size’ brackets for your guests. Have you considered who will be speaking? Is your best man speaking? Is your maid of honour speaking? Can I explain to you the benefits of when both sides of the bridal party are represented in the speeches?
Would your parents wish to say a few words? Tell me about them? Are they going to be shy or do you think they’ll speak for a while? Where do you think the best place in the night to put them? Can I give you some suggestions?
The Overall Production. Other Activities. How Everything Else Fits In.
What sort of other activities do you have planned for the night? Do you have a photobooth planned as well? Or possibly you have a wedding guestbook? A candy bar? What time will these activities be active from and until?
Do you have any other activities or vendors coming that I’ll need to know about? How will we make sure guests are aware of these additional activities? How can we best optimise these activities into the grand scheme of the night? Can I give you some suggestions that have worked for me in the past?
Keeping It Active & Engaging.
What other moments do you wish to plan into the night? Typically the momentum of the night can slow between the entrees and main. Would you like to brainstorm different and creative ideas to help keep the energy levels up, your guests engaged and having a good time? Can we talk about something that would best suit you guys?
The Big Transition Of The Night.
Have you thought about your first dance of the night? Do you have any ideas that can truly make this moment special and yours? Have you thought about editing a soundtrack or a music bed that specifically suits this moment?
Would you wish to also incorporate your bridal party? Or perhaps your parents too?
Have you considered doing something else, perhaps like a father-daughter dance, or something similar, in another dance section of the night? Do you know why I’m suggesting this to you?
Killing The Vibe?
What about desert? Do your guests have to sit down for this, or is it roaming? Do we have the option to do this course roaming? If guests do have to sit down, what is a fun and engaging activity that can bring the focus back to the dance floor and encourage your guests to be involved again? Can I give you some ideas or suggestions?
Finishing With A Bang & Your Exit Strategy.
How will you finish up the night? Are you leaving in a car? How do you wish to exit the room? Or will you stay and mingle with your guests? Do you wish to do a bouquet throw and/or garter removal? In which style would you like to undertake this? Are you also aware that we can also design or style this to make this moment more ‘you’? You don’t have to be stuck with the typical and predictable “single ladies” bouquet formality. There are so many more fun and different ways we can plan for this moment. Can I give you some suggestions?
How about exiting? Will your guests get a chance to say goodbye to you? Have you considered a traditional farewell circle? Have you considered the many advantages to this approach? Can I explain them to you?
If this formality style doesn’t suit, have you considered alternative ways to exit the room and also allow your guests to say goodbye to you? Can I suggest some different ideas to you?
What time does music have to be off? Are there sound limitations at your venue? Have you considered the implications of this if we are limited with the volume of the music and entertainment? What is the venue’s strategy in dealing with this? Do you know how this seemingly insignificant factor can totally upset your night?
What time do your guests have to be out of the room? How much time do vendors have to load out?
And so on and so forth..
Now Ask Yourself.
A good entertainer and DJ should on top of all of this. A good entertainer and DJ should be asking you all of these questions – and if not, more. Furthermore, this is not something you can sit down and answer all in one meeting. It’s actually a creative and highly iterative process. Together we brainstorm to produce unique and creative ideas that are specifically tailored for your reception.
I’d argue that all of these questions are just the tip of the iceberg. Once you get deeper into this line of questioning, one can eventually start to see the full picture.
I hope that you can see that I take wedding events very seriously. Every little detail truly does matter. Peter Yacono Productions – Your Melbourne Wedding DJ.