“I just need a DJ,” is a phrase that sends a shiver down the spine of many Professional Disc Jockeys. It almost sounds like the customer isn’t expecting much in the way of entertainment for their party or it could be that they want the best of the best and they think that any or all DJs can meet their needs.
That’s not always the case and a DJ doesn’t necessarily play for just a few hours a night, as NADJ Member, Chris Dye of Premier Wedding DJ in the North East explains.
“Here’s a little story about my role as a Wedding DJ and how I can provide my services that can last the whole day.
As with most of my enquiries, I received an e-mail from Matt and Jenny enquiring about my DJ services and they were interested in what else I could offer for their special day. They chose Beamish Hall Hotel in County Durham as their venue and, as with all my enquiries, I send out an email with quotation and an offer to meet up with the couple before they decide who they wanted to hire for their big day.
The couple met with me and decided to book me not only for their evening disco, but also for Mood Lighting, ceremony music, afternoon music and photographic slideshow. Due to their wedding being held very early (10.30am ceremony) they were very conscious about having a long period in the afternoon to fill. I gave them a few ideas, however I suggested instead of putting plans firmly in place at this stage we could leave it until nearer the time.
If I whizz forward to a month before the wedding and I pop out for another meeting with Matt and Jenny to discuss their plans in more detail. Here we discussed all the final details and confirmed timings. I left the meeting after over an hour having most questions answered and over the coming days we communicated to ensure everything was exactly as they both wanted.
Between now and the wedding I spent over 20 hours sourcing music, preparing, visiting the venue to confirm details and so on. A couple of days before the wedding, I received an e-mail from Jenny to say that, due to the bad weather, Matt’s planned visit to the races for his stag night had to be cancelled. As a surprise for him I organised a little afternoon ‘Race Event’ taking advantage of my Race Night Services I also supply. This was kept secret from Matt until the afternoon commenced.
Their big day arrived and I set off from home at 7.30am and had a 19 hour day ahead of me. A lot of people might shy away from such a day, but it is something I really enjoy and feel privileged to be able to play such a part in it. Arriving at the venue I setup the up-lighting in one room and the ceremony playout system in another room. Once setup I met Louise, a friend of the bride, to conduct a quick sound check as she was going to use my PA system to sing throughout the signing of the register.
Once setup I like to take the time to meet other service providers for the day and the registrars once they arrive. This day brought me working with two great professionals (and teams); Nigel Playle was the photographer for the day and the video was taken by Jon Imrye and his team from Solid Gold Productions.
The ceremony time was approaching so I played background music while the guests arrived – there were some fantastic tracks by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra chosen by Matt and Jenny. Once the guests were seated it was ready for the bridal party to enter the room.
Jenny wanted to enter the room to the instrumental version of Elbow – One Day Like This, however had specific parts of the track for the bridesmaids to enter the room, then a different section of the song for her grand entrance. With the Bride and Groom now together the wedding ceremony was conducted. Moving on a few minutes and Matt and Jenny are now Mr and Mrs Dunthorne.
Whilst the signing of the register was taking place it was the turn of Victoria to sing two special tracks for the new married couple. As I mentioned earlier the songs were sung through my PA system and sounded fantastic with sound throughout the room.
For walking back down the aisle Matt and Jenny wanted quite an upbeat song and chose Jackie Wilson – Higher and Higher, much to the amusement of guests. It was now the time for photographs which allowed me to transfer my equipment from the ceremony room into the main room for the day ready for the afternoon music. I kept this setup very discreet so as not to take away from the fabulous room decorations.
A quick check of the up-lighting and the sound was uniform throughout the room; not too loud, not too quiet. A quick break and then it was time to welcome the wedding party into the room for their Wedding Breakfast. Once all guests were assembled, Matt and Jenny were announced into the room to Jackie Wilson once again – I always find it works well using the same track the bride and groom used to leave the ceremony, to welcome back in for their first meal as husband and wife.
A lot of the time was spent at earlier meetings was to discuss the choice of music in the afternoon, something Matt was allowed to take charge of. A mixture of the Vitamin String Quartet and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra playing various chosen rock songs/groups were chosen to play throughout the afternoon.
I always think this part of the day is for family and friends to come together so, keeping within earshot, I leave the music to play through. It is fantastic working at Beamish Hall as the management keep you informed and if the music ever had to be lowered for any announcements they knew where I was and I could go to adjust the levels. Whenever went into the room I was met with a huge grin and thumbs up from Matt who loved the choice of songs.
When the meal was approaching the end I used the time to unload my equipment for the surprise ‘Race Event’ and evening disco and once guests retired to the adjoining bar I transformed the room.
The Race Event was a great success – guests were allowed one free bet per race with a simple Easter Egg as a prize for the winner with the most number of winning bets after the 6 races. I designed Race Cards naming all the runners with names appropriate to the wedding theme and even naming some after guests within the party, much to the amusement of everyone gathered. Even though the prize was small the competition was fierce and you could cut the atmosphere with a knife – a bystander could easily think large sums of money were at stake.
Once the racing was over the projector used for races was now used for a fantastic Photo Slideshow using photographs supplied by guests. This was a fantastic opportunity for those present to relive the day’s activities and for guests arriving in the evening to see what had taken place during the day. It was also the first time Matt and Jenny had seen what each other got up to before the ceremony.
With all guests assembled, the first dance took place with the bride and groom smooching away, with other guests joining in halfway through the song.
Oh, I mentioned at the very beginning of this story about playing music for a few hours at the beginning, well after 13 hours on site I had nearly five hours of music to play, covering a wide range of genres, requests and even a little karaoke at the bride and grooms request.”