ABSOLUTELY DIFFICULT PROBLEMS:
Sometimes These Can't Be Avoided
Terry Smith of Music On The Move
Here is a long story with a short lesson, but it bears
telling. Use it when you, as a DJ, are faced with ABSOLUTELY DIFFICULT
I am the owner of a multi-system professional DJ entertainment company
and have been doing this for 22 years and absolutely love this business and am
proud to be a professional DJ. This true story is for all DJ's that act as
wedding professionals. ALWAYS REMEMBER, it is an honor and a privilege to
help a bride and groom have the reception of their dreams.
I start several months before the bride and groom's big day. I met them
at a large local bridal show in our area. Within a few weeks they were part
of our family. I met with the bride, groom, and his mom at their residence
several months before their reception. Everything was as it should be at the
meeting. All three worked for the same company as professionals. I never did
meet dad until after the wedding.
All was as it should be as the days became closer to their joyous
celebration. I kept in continuous monthly contact. I called the bride twice
the week of the reception, to calm her down. Two days till the reception.
Sunday comes and it is a gorgeous evening, absolutely beautiful. I
arrive to the Country Club 1 & 1/2 early and set up my equipment, sound and
light check, and call my backup DJ and let him know to check me off his list
and to enjoy his evening. I am very familiar with this facility and have a
fabulous repoire with the catering manager and staff. The wedding was not in
need of my services as the bride had a harpist. I had the reception.
The guests start to arrive while the bride, groom, wedding party, and
family are taking pictures. The guests are enjoying themselves, and the
pictures are almost over. During this times many of the 200 guests come to me
a say, almost in one voice, "please don't give the Dad of the groom the
microphone, he is gonna disrespect the bride's family." Pictures are almost
over and family and the wedding party introduce themselves to me as I get them
in line for their first introductions. I also meet the groom's dad.
WOW WHAT A PREDICAMENT. GUESS WHO PAID MY FEE.....YES THE GROOM'S DAD.
22 YEARS OF DJ'ING WEDDING RECEPTIONS REALLY CAME INTO PLAY!
I introduce the wedding party, parents, and bride and groom. To blessing
(grooms friend) and buffet we go. Not too bad so far, nice slow love songs
during dinner. Now about 1 hour has passed and guests are about 15 minutes
from the bride and groom toast. I hear loud voices about 25 feet from
me,,,and it's from behind a solid door. The voices were so loud that I had to
turn up the volume. Five minutes later the bride comes flying out of the room
and is out the door and out the front door. Our fabulous photographer
scampers out after her. In the bride's mind, she was out of there, and taking
herself and her auto down the road. The photographer spoke with her for a few
minutes, the bride comes back into the reception, and with a little help from
the inspired words of the photographer ("hey dear your already married to his
son,,, go into there and ,,,paraphrasing here,,,shake your tail feather"
Now we go to toast. The best man does his toast as does the maid of
honor. I immediately take control of the microphone. The dad states in a
large voice, "I need the microphone." To all the DJ's out there,,What would
you do? Think about it a minute.
I told Dad no. He stated in a louder voice, "I want that microphone." I
stayed calm and again refused to let him have access to the mic. He then blew
a gasket and was screaming, "then shut that GD music off,,,your out of here."
"This reception is over." You have a few minutes to remove yourself from
these premises or I will call the police and have you thrown out of here."
"Your is violation of your contract and I'm gonna sue you." "I'm gonna tell
my credit card company to not pay your fee." The catering director is nervous
and gets the 300 pound Brooklyn N.Y. cook from the back because she fears Dad
and I are going to go to blows.
Ok, so dad has now effectively and efficiently shut me down. Everyone is
stunned and in shock, needless to say. During some of his statements, I shook
my head that I understood him, and when he took a breath, I explained in a
very calm voice, "I understand that I am shut down sir and I am leaving." I
started to pack up and shut it down. YEA RIGHT. I only pretended to shut it
Remember the beginning of this saga..."an honor and a privilege to help
the BRIDE AND GROOM"... I am their for them, and they did not tell me to shut
it down. Now several of the guests come to me in low voices and are
apologizing for him, but stating "don't worry about payment,,, we will pay
you,,,you did right by standing up to him." A few minutes pass and mom of the
groom comes up to me and apologizes. I tell her it's not her fault, but I do
have a possible compromise for her. I tell her she can have the microphone,
take it to dad, and I'll put light music on in the background. One condition,
I will make the microphone shut down if he gets nasty with the bride or her
family. She smiles, agrees, and light music goes on. Guests are stunned,
three minutes pass and the microphone comes back with not a word uttered.
With that, WHO LET THE DOGS OUT, goes loudly out to the crowd, and the party
starts with unbridled fury.
A few minutes later dad wants to speak with me. One of my DJ's had
arrived to bring me a bride requested song (Who's That Lady-Isley Brothers - I
had it with me but carry over 1200 CD's...teaches you to reorganize your music
by style & alphabet) and watches the console.
Dad and I have a spirited conversation. One thing I did. As dad got
louder, I got lower with my voice, tone, and slowed down my speech. I was
almost at a whisper (see your local precher during his sermon next time he
wants to get your attention). Eventually he came down in volume. He asked
questions, and I answered. I explained that as a DJ for a reception my job
that I am paid for is to use my 22 years of experience to guide the reception
smoothly from beginning to end. With that experience, there had already been
one blow up and we both know there was going to be another. The conversation
progressed to the last exchange, "don't you understand, I paid 18 thousand
dollars for this wedding reception, this is my wedding reception. I politely,
calmly, and firmly told him, "sir, you have already had your wedding reception
when you married your beloved and this is your son's wedding reception and
whether you like it or not or agree with his choice , his bride's wedding
reception. Excuse me sir, I have to go play music."
WHEW. The rest of the reception went off like cotton candy in the hands
of a 3 year old. lol What a party. The last dance came and I invited all the
guests to join the bride and groom. There with all was dad, applauding,
laughing, and dancing. We blow bubbles and wished the bride and groom well on
their new journey.
The night is done, and I am packing it up. The mom and dad of the bride
come to me and thank me in tears. Many of the guests thank me for my
performance and steadiness in the face of the gale. One of the guests asks in
a large voice "hey DJ come here." I'm thinking,,what now?? I turn around and
the person walks up to me puts their hand out and says, "I want to thank you
personally for you doing what you did for the bride and groom. They deserved
a person that had them as the main priority. Thank You."
Well if I haven't given you eye strain, a little background is in order.
I found out later, that the groom and bride were of a different faith and
unfortunately dad did not settle his issues before the reception. In The last
3 years I have done 20 different mixtures of cultures, races and religions.
Keep your eyes open.
Lastly, what about the bride and groom? What did they have to say after
they got home from their honeymoon. This is a note that they sent me and I
have it hanging on my computer. When days get tough as they will in this
business, I look at that note and remember why I do this.
"IT WILL ALWAYS BE MY HONOR AND PRIVILEGE TO BE THE
DISC JOCKEY AT YOUR WEDDING RECEPTION AND TO HELP MAKE YOUR SPECIAL DAY A
MEMORY THAT LASTS A LIFETIME!"
And here's what the bride and groom said:
"We were very impressed and thrilled with the exceptional job
that you did. Even with all the complications you continued to do your job &
everyone had a wonderful time. Thanks you!" Bride & Groom
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