Saturday 25 August 2012

It's been a great week.

Despite the wedding season still being a few weeks away, this week has been really eventful and wedding focused. I've had four meetings with couples, three of those have been with future brides and grooms who have been looking for their wedding entertainment and the fourth meeting was with existing clients to do some more work on their planning, memorable moments and music selection. And on tomorrow night, for another couple, it all comes together at their wedding. Really looking forward to getting out from behind the desk and getting back behind the decks.

Yesterday's meeting was the cherry on the pie when it comes to those meetings though. I've know and worked with the Groom to be, for around two years, so building a rapport with him was never going to be an issue. But the Bride to be was an unknown, we had never meet before, and worst still shes in the wedding industry too. So I half expected her to be a little distant and maybe even a bit skeptical. Still if I let a little trepidation get in the way, I'd never get anything done.

I needn't have worried, we hit it off. Together these guys were so easy to work with, giving me a vision of their day in broad strokes, thoughtfully answering my questions, and allowing me to place highlights and splashes of color where I thought they would enhance the painting that will be their day.

We started off by first establishing the type of Wedding reception they want, with a little visualization. I asked both of them to give me a few key words that come to mind when they think of their reception as being a success. Those key words become our focus and reference point for the rest of the discussion and also our future planning meetings. They help us to decide almost every aspect of the reception that I will be involved in, and also help them keep on track with many other parts of the night as well.

I try to get a real feeling for what they want to achieve of the night, and they get to decide if I'm the guy they want to trust the night to. That's what the first meeting is all about, at least it is for me. I'm not one for closing the sale or asking for their commitment to use my services on our first date. It's about building a connection with my couples, and getting to know them well enough to decide if they want to work with me, and me with them. I will work for couples on occasion, but spectacular things can really happen when I get to work with them instead.

Oh yes, the cherry on top couple, they don't get married until the middle of 2014, so I expect they maybe the subject of a few more posts here as that painting of theirs takes on more definition, highlights and depth. Stay tuned.

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Sunday 12 August 2012

The right to wed?

As I've mentioned before, I get to see some beautiful things from back here, behind my DJ's desk. In the last few years, I've been lucky enough to attend well over 300 weddings. Some have been simple, sweet functions with a rejection of pomp and circumstance. And at others I've been involved in helping couples create awe inspiring masterpieces of romantic statement, which rivalled the grandness and magnitude of the very love the newlyweds felt. Then some have been heart warming unions of not just a Bride and her Groom, but of their families and close friends as well.

I have watched couples with hardly a base income exchange their vows, and I have helped the son of a socialite calm his nerves as he prepared to dance with his Wife for the first time. Some couples are cast from the same mould and others look as mismatched as Anna Nicole Smith & J Howard Marshall. I was there at the very, "her side - his side" wedding of a beautiful Indian bride, daughter to a family of wealth and position, as she stood beside her oil rig working "Aussie Bloke" husband and told her family to Get Over It.

I have been in tears at the hastily arranged reception of a British couple, as it was held here in Perth, so that the brides ailing mother could see her daughter wed. I've been the Master of Ceremonies at a wedding attended by 11 people and another attended by over 400. I have watched as slim brides’ married large grooms, and vice versa. I have had many multi cultural couples call on my services, Japanese tea ceremonies and Slavic drum dances float around in my memories. Heck I've even DJ'd and MC'd the wedding of a profoundly deaf couple where the only people in the room that were not hearing impaired where a handful of guests, my signing interpreter and myself.

I have had the privilege of being part medieval themed weddings and ultra chic ones. It has been so far a grand and strange rainbow of people celebrating one of our most basic of human needs. The only common thread that weaves its way through them all is the love of one person for another.

But you know that right now, as things stand in this beautiful wide brown land, I cannot watch a couple who love one another wed, if they are both of the same gender, and that, to me seems terribly wrong.

That might rub a few people up the wrong way. GOOD. We all need that from time to time, otherwise we get complacent.

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Friday 3 August 2012

The new car analogy.

A young man walks onto a car yard in the top end of town and is soon approached by an impeccably dressed salesperson.

I'd like to buy a car, he says. The salesperson leads him into the showroom and straight up to a gleaming black 2 door sports sedan. The young mans face broadens to a wry smile, "just to get to and from work", he continues. Ahh comes the salesperson's response, as she leads our young shopper back out to the yard and over to a shiny small blue compact. The young man's smile widens, "It's 600 kilometers each way" he says, pausing just a little between each word. "I see" replies the salesperson undaunted, and beckons the smiling youth to follow her.

Several rows over and a few cars back, sits this years, stock standard 6 cylinder 4 door, in white. The rep makes a bee line to it. What do you think, she asks, "Closer, but I need something that can carry my tool chest." is the mans answer. "Right, right, I've got just the thing, this way then" comes the acknowledgement, as she heads off deeper into the lot, stopping now and then to ensure that the buyer is still with her. Finally she halts beside a late model, low slung, ever so slightly modified Ute.

"Well that will fit all my tools, but it will never get out to the site, what have you got in a 4 wheel drive?" Its the sales rep's turn to smile, at last, she has some direction from the guy. "petrol or diesel?" she fires back at him easily, flashing the pearly whites as she does so. "Diesel, definitely has to be diesel", he answers. "Ok, we have a one tonner over here that might be perfect" she says to him as she heads off once again. "Its not a problem I only have a grand to spend and I've been knocked back twice for credit, is it?" she hears him ask after her, and she thinks, this, this is going to be one, long, day.

Ok so the story is obviously quite contrived and salespeople would bounce a few questions off a prospective customer before giving them any options. But getting some detail before you try for a sale is not what this particular ramble is about. Its apparent that not every car was right for this fellow, and with his last question, its clear that not every customer is right for this car dealer.

News flash. Not every DJ is right for every client or function, and not every client or function, is right for every DJ.

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Wednesday 1 August 2012

The three pillars SKILL

These few "Three Pillar" posts are my attempt to answer that initial question put to me: "How do couples find a Great Wedding DJ" and are directed towards those couples who are looking. Now that being said, if you are hoping to become a Great wedding DJ, then perhaps you can get something from the reading too.

SKILL it’s the first of the pillars I mentioned.

All the "Greats", regardless of their field of endeavour have skill. The actual ability to perform their respective "Great" and a Great Wedding DJ (GWD) is no different. The skills that a GWD brings to the table are a unique blend; there are the basic skills, like the ability to use, and setup the equipment they operate. Then there are more advanced skills, reading the room, controlling the flow on the floor, and creating maintaining and modifying a mood. And then, there is the "Great" skill set. LISTEN, ENTERTAIN, & MAINTAIN.

A GWD must listen.

Any wedding vendor that does not listen to their clients is not "Great", and honestly, I don't care if they have initials after their name, or a top floor office, or a luxury car and a Platinum card. If they are not interested in what YOU want, then kick them to the curb, say "Next" and keep looking. They should be asking questions and paying attention to your answers, then asking more questions based on those answers to find a motivation, so they can build a performance that goes to the core of your vision.

For example, I ask my clients to close their eyes and think about their perfect reception, and then give me 3 words that describe the perfect night that they want to achieve. Most will pause a little and normally one of those 3 words turns out to be "Fun". That’s perfect, the night should be fun, it is after all a celebration. BUT, if your wedding DJ doesn’t dig a little deeper, then it’s THEIR idea of fun and not YOURS. See where I'm going with this? If they don’t ask you questions AND then ask more questions acknowledging your answers they are not invested in your wedding, they may be adequate, but we are looking for Great. You want someone who makes the effort to find out what you want and what they need to do to make it happen.

I'll be back with my view on the Entertain and the Maintain parts of Skills soon.

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