The only event that may be more important to most brides than their wedding day would be the birth of a child.
I’ve uttered those words on countless occasions; not only as part of a pitch to prospective clients, but to people that I’ve had a hand in training to become wedding DJs. Wedding receptions, while fun, are serious business. You want a DJ who understands that aspect of it, while still capable of making your celebration just that: a celebration.
I mention this because I understand how much stress that brides, specifically, take on when planning for their big day. All of the decisions to be made: what to have for dinner; who’s going to be invited; what florist to go with; what colors will serve as the backdrop; what venue to go with. It can be overwhelming; I’ve had MANY conversations with overwhelmed brides (and the occasional overwhelmed groom) in which I’m essentially called on to allay their anxieties. The key is to understand that they are hoping to achieve perfection on their big day.
But what happens when the big day arrives and The Universe has chosen to throw a rather sizeable monkeywrench into all of those carefully laid out plans?
This is what I faced this past Saturday. Thunderstorms blew through that morning, resulting in a power outage at the venue where I was to handle a wedding reception. The forecasted temperature was supposed to be north of 85° F, with a heat index of 100° plus. Can you imagine the thought of a wedding reception with no lights, no air conditioning on a rather hot and humid day? Not the ideal situation to consider on what’s supposed to be one of the happiest days of your life.
When I talked with the bride-to-be earlier in the week, she was already nervous. I reminded her that she hired the vendors that she believed would best serve all of her needs on her wedding day and to trust that we all had her back. I reassured her that, so long as everything went as flawlessly as possible in terms of the ceremony, the most important part of the day, that anything else could be brushed off. I always suggest this to every client, especially when I do sub-contract work. By the time we are having that particular conversation, the big day is only 4 or 5 days away; too late to make sweeping changes.
Back on point: when I arrived at the venue, there was over 3 hours before go-time. At that point, venue staff had been assured that someone from the power company would be on-site roughly 45 minutes after my arrival. That changed to two-and-a-half hours. As far as I’m aware, by the time we’d wrapped up at the end of the night, noone from the power company had made an appearance. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
As a wedding DJ, it’s my job to do all that I can to provide entertainment. Sometimes, Life Happens. Weather gets in the way, power outages put a severe damper on things. For that bride, the day had gone wrong in nearly every way that it could go wrong. To make matters worse, there wasn’t enough power at the venue to do an effective job of playing dinner music or even making announcements over a microphone. In that situation, Poise Is Paramount. My first order of business was to reassure her that I was doing all that I could to honor my word. Even while being at the mercy of the circumstances, my attitude was positive: it was never a question in my mind of IF power were restored, but WHEN. My rig was already set up and ready to go; all I needed was a figurative green light that we had enough power to get us through and we’d be good.
I had an extended conversation about the situation with the father of the bride. Being a father, I understood his position; he was in protective mode and wanted to make sure that his daughter was happy on her big day. I also assured him that I was doing everything in my power to take care of EVERYONE; I served as an intermediary between him and the venue’s event coordinator (sometimes, when things get heated, a liaison is necessary to help facilitate things). I kept in contact with venue staff so that I was aware, as much as possible, of what our situation was. Information in that situation was HUGE.
By the time dinner was to be served, there was still no power. So, we did the grand entrance with no music and it still received the fanfare of my usual grand entrances. Upbeat, energetic; would music have made it better? Possibly. But it was more about the energy in the moment; making the most of the situation and determining that you were going to have a good time, regardless of the circumstances.
I had an apprentice training with me. It was his first time going out into the field and he stepped up big-time. He assisted me in attempting to troubleshoot ways to provide as much sound as we could to accommodate our client: switching music sources; checking out every available power source that we had at our disposal; he even had his roommate bring his personal studio monitors (lower powered than the speakers that we had with our rig). We attempted playing background music from his phone through said monitors (it didn’t sound the best; but it provided SOMETHING). On that day, he learned that the number one rule of being a wedding DJ is REMAIN CALM.
Eventually, generators were provided to accommodate our needs. Between the photographer and the fathers of the newlyweds, we had enough power for fans (no power, no air conditioning) and for my sound and light system. The dance went better than was expected given the circumstances that I walked into that afternoon. I personally received quite a few compliments for making the situation at least somewhat enjoyable, despite the situation. I also got to be the bride’s dance partner for a couple of songs as we closed out the night.
For those of you looking for a wedding DJ, make sure, to the best of your ability, that you find one who can exhibit that Poise Under Pressure. It won’t be very difficult for you to figure out; if you speak with her or him and find that they bring you a sense of relief about what your big day will be like as you continue to connect with them, then go with your instinct. If talking with them about your big day results in you feeling more relaxed or even giddy about what’s to come, then hold on to that. It won’t steer you wrong.