Arranging a wedding is a huge task and a massive responsibility. You’ve probably spent many days visiting venues, poring over wedding breakfast and buffet menus with friends and family. You’ve discussed colour schemes, floral decorations and bridesmaids’ dresses and spent weeks flicking through magazines and clicking through websites for inspiration. You’ve tried on endless amounts of wedding dresses with your heart set on finding the one of your dreams. You’ve searched for suits and discussed ties versus cravats and hiring versus buying. You’ve ploughed through album after album of portfolios, in search of just the right photographer and you’ve seen so many wedding cars you can’t even remember what the first one looked like. You probably even dedicated an entire weekend to choosing the perfect underwear or shoes for your special day.
And now all there’s left to do is to book your wedding DJ.
I can’t stress this highly enough, but often, this is the one thing that people get wrong. Research suggests that couples not only spend the least amount of time sourcing their DJ in comparison to everything else that needs to organised, but it’s the one thing they wish they’d gotten right. So many perfectly beautiful weddings have ended in disappointment because people didn’t take the time to think about what they really wanted or expected, or even what was possible to achieve.
There’s a general consensus that all DJs are the same – that they arrive in the evening with a good selection of music and some disco lights and entertain your guests – but if you believe that, you couldn’t be more wrong.
Amber and Dan were married in July 2011. When they were asked what made them choose their wedding DJ, Dan said: “we liked him. He seemed like a nice guy, he’d done lots of weddings before and his rates were really good. Unfortunately,” Dan went on, “our day was ruined, and we had no-one to blame but ourselves.”
Amber and Dan’s DJ was booked to arrive at the venue at 6:00pm. They both appreciate that punctuality is a great thing, but he arrived forty minutes early. “He started hauling his gear through the hall when we were still at our tables,” Amber said, “and it was really embarrassing. Dan’s best man had a chat with him and he apologised and waited at the bar, but by then I could tell that the guests were thinking it was time for them to leave. We’d been having such a lovely time, but one by one people started heading to the bar or back to their rooms, and that part of the day was broken up before we were ready. It was a real shame.”
Dan and Amber went back to their room to freshen up. “A few of the other guests had rooms too, but many were still at the bar,” Amber said. “When we returned, all we could hear was the most horrendous music – a kind of drum and bass – and it was so loud. The evening guests hadn’t arrived yet and there were family members at the bar, most of them older. Even Dan’s Gran was there. It was completely inappropriate. What made it worse was that when Dan went to find the DJ to tell him to change the music, he couldn’t find him anywhere.”
An hour later, things went from bad to worse. “I could kick myself,” Dan said. “I’d told him months before what song we wanted for our first dance and he told me it was no problem. But when the time came, he told us he didn’t have it. I should have made sure.” Amber and Dan had chosen Joe Cocker’s ‘You Are So Beautiful’ but after a heated discussion with the DJ – and with each other – they ended up dancing to Shania Twain. “It wasn’t the memorable dance we wanted it to be,” Dan said.
As the night went on, Amber and Dan were getting more irritated and upset. “I asked him several times to play a particular song,” Amber said, “and he either didn’t have it, or by the time he played it, the moment had gone. A lot of his song choices were just awful. He didn’t seem to have any idea about who his audience were or how old they were, he just played what he wanted. Most of the time the dance floor was empty.”
At 9.30pm, Dan’s best man asked the DJ to announce that the buffet was ready. “He did it,” Dan said, “but by then he seemed a bit drunk and actually swore over the microphone. It was horrible. We had some children on the dance floor and it didn’t even occur to him that it was inappropriate. I hadn’t noticed him drinking before and I would have stopped him if I’d found out earlier. I wouldn’t begrudge anyone a couple of pints, but he was way out of order.”
“One of the most annoying things,” Dan went on, “was that he didn’t shut up. He introduced almost every song, but kept turning down the volume half way through and speaking over everything. When I first met him I thought he was a nice bloke, but by the end of the night I couldn’t wait to see the back of him.”
When Amber and Dan were asked what they wished they had done differently when choosing their DJ, they said two things: they would have spent more time and more money. “In fact,” Dan admitted, “we booked him after a five minute phone call. Asking questions just didn’t occur to me. It’s the one thing I regret, not just because Amber and I were disappointed, but the lasting memory our guests were left with wasn’t a good one. If I could go back and change one thing about our wedding it would be making sure the entertainment was right.”
Dan and Amber celebrated their first wedding anniversary on July 21st of this year. Initially they’d planned for a quiet, intimate meal and some special time together, but then decided to have a party instead. “I wanted Amber to have the night she deserved,” Dan said, “and so we hired our wedding venue again and invited all of our wedding guests to celebrate with us. It was a fantastic night, and although it didn’t completely make up for the disappointment of our wedding reception, it certainly made us feel a lot better about our wedding ending in such a disastrous way.”