Wedding Receptions can be many different things to different people. Besides being a party to celebrate your wedding, they are gatherings of various groups of people (friends from school, work, neighbors, relatives) from all age groups who do not knoweach other (yet) and even more importantly, Family reunions. Relatives come from far and wide, many of whom have not seen each other for a long while. Most young couples have never had the responsibility of hosting such a gathering before and are not familiar with what this entails.

As the hosts of this grand celebration, it is your responsibility to make them comfortable, feel welcomed and make sure they have fun. As you make decisions pertaining to your reception, it is important to keep this in mind. Yes, it is YOUR day, but the party is being thrown for the people that you invited to be there!

From experience, I can tell you that family weddings become very important events to grandparents in particular, but this same consideration should be given to all age groups who will be in attendance. If you were throwing a party for 200 vegetarians would you feed them prime rib? Of course you wouldn’t. That’s why it is crucial to keep the wants and needs of all of your honored guests in mind as you make these all-important decisions. The seating, the décor, the menu and the music are all things that will help determine whether your guests had a good time at your party. You’ll likely have guests from eight to eighty at your reception and it’s important to keep all of them in mind throughout the planning process.

If you keep these concepts in mind and plan according, it will go a long way towards ensuring that your friends and family will be talking fondly about how your reception was “the best one ever!”.

Have questions about planning YOUR reception? Feel free to contact us via email or phone anytime jackbrowndj@comcast.net 866.669.5235.

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This is a great video. No matter how carefully you plan a wedding – anything can happen and sometimes even a small thing like this can produce an unexpected result.

Recently we did an outdoor wedding and we had a fun and unique Grand Entrance planned. The Bridal party was to be introduced from the inside of a building and walk out to the dance floor inside the big tent. They had all been carefully coached that once all of them had reached the dance floor, they were to look back to the house – to give everyone the impression that the Bride & Groom were coming out right behind them – but they weren’t. The B&G had slipped out into the woods where the Groom’s Motorcycle had strategtically been hidden. They were going to ride in – on cue on the bike. We coordinated this via cell phone, so they would know exactly when to make their entrance. I had the Groom on the phone as we started the music to introduce the Wedding party and told him “stand by” (for my signal). In his (their) excitement, he hung up the phone and took off on the bike … before we introduced the wedding party. I heard the engine start and tried to call him back – too late, they were already on their way.  The Wedding party, still waiting at the door and the DJ (me) were all having a good laugh as they drove up into the celebration – ahead of schedule. The guests looked on in surprise, wondering what the heck happened. We had fun with it. I explained to the guests what was supposed to have happened and tried to convince them that they were not really seeing the Bride & Groom. We proceeded to introduce the wedding party as planned and pretended that the B&G were driving out of the woods on the bike as planned. I pointed and all of the guests looked to the woods and applauded the imaginary B&G riding in on the bike. Everyone got a good laugh out of it, especially the embarrassed Groom. . This entrance didn’t go as planned, but was still a memorable experience… just not for the reason we intended.

The morale of the story – Stuff Happens – if it does, just laugh and enjoy the moment – Like they say – when you get lemons – make lemonade!.

 If like most people, you’ve attended a number of wedding receptions over the years, you have probably noticed how they can be quite different. Some receptions just don’t seem to be well organized. There doesn’t seem to be anyone running the show and half the time is spent waiting for something, anything to happen. Nobody seems to know what is going on or what to do next. The guests get bored early and head home. No matter how much money was spent on this reception, it is a failure. 

 Then there are the receptions that run like a finely tuned machine. It seems to flow effortlessly from one thing to another. The entire evening is a series of special and almost magical moments. You and the other guests are having a great time. Everyone is happy, smiling, laughing, dancing and celebrating. This has been a reception that will be long remembered as a complete and total success and a dream come true for the Bride & Groom.

Why did one fail and the other succeed? The answer? Two words. Planning and execution. The Bride & Groom in the first example, hired their DJ off of Craig’s List. They saved several hundred dollars by doing so. The DJ (Whom they never met in person before) showed up, set up his equipment and waited for them to tell him what to do and when to do it. The Couple in the second example hired a real professional DJ / Entertainment company that specializes in weddings. Their DJ met them in person beforehand and got to know them. He worked with them to pre-plan every aspect of their reception. Their DJ/MC found out exactly what their vision was and helped them achieve it. He ran the show from start to finish and it was a perfect evening. This couple paid a few hundred dollars more than the first couple for their entertainment, but which couple do you think got a better value?

This is a once-in-a-lifetime day. You do not get a second chance to do it right.

  

smash_computerWhile marketing my DJ company to prospective clients, one thing I have strongly emphasized is to “Hire a Professional” – don’t trust your important day to an amateur. This is a true statement and applies to things other than hiring a Wedding DJ as I have recently learned.
I had adopted a do-it-yourself approach on building and maintaining my web site. Sure, I’ve had help with things like special codes and flash scripts, but by and large, most of my web site has been a do-it-yourself project. I’ve been doing this for a number of years, launching jackbrowndj.com in 2003. The problem is that I am a Wedding entertainer – not a web designer. Why do it myself? For fun, sense of accomplishment and that it allowed me to make any changes I wanted whenever I wanted to make them, plus it didn’t cost me anything. I managed to get a decent site online but not a great site. A real web designer works on these things every day and all of the nuances of web design and file management becomes second nature. In my case, I only worked sporadically on mine, often not touching it for months at a time. I would have to learn how to do things all over again. As I would soon find out, this was a recipe for disaster.
After an extended time of not making any changes myself, I decided that I needed some revisions and went into my design software (Microsoft Frontpage – now obsolete) to make them. All was fine until I went to upload the pages to the server. You see, I had someone else make some more complicated changes a while back, adding some of the really nice flash photo montages to my wedding site and a few other things. He also made some needed changes to the file structure, which I had not done correctly. These changes were not on my computer, but that thought never occurred to me. . When I went to upload my pages, the server flashed a message asking if I wanted to delete the files that didn’t exist on my server. I clicked the yes button (oops) because this was what I had always done in the past without any problem, but then again, I always had the files. To make a long story short, my action resulted in having most of my website erased into internet oblivion – gone forever with NO BACK UP (another major screw-up)! Whose fault? MINE. Would a professional web guy who does this work professionally have allowed this to happen? Not a chance. Afterall… He’s a professional.

There is the difference between an amateur and a professional, only this time, I am the amatuer. I have spent most of the last four days rebuilding my site, reconstructing much of it from memory but some of it is gone forever. It is nowhere as nice as it was before. Lots of mistakes and hundreds of little corrections that need to be done. It is going to take months before it will be 100% finished at this rate. Once I get the basic site back in operation, you can bet that I’ll be looking for a pro to hand this over to.

I’ll be taking my own advise from now on. Sometimes you (I) have to learn the hard way. HIRE A PROFESSIONAL!

So Jack, tell me, what do you do? I reply, “I am a DJ”. What does the other person think when they hear that response. Do they have a vision of a kid with 100 tattoos wearing his hat backwards spinning vinyl on his turntables? No, that’s not me…

Do they envision a guy sitting in a dark, smoke filled room talking on the radio at 3:00 AM?  That’s not me either.

Am I the guy working karaoke at the local corner bar? Nope, that isn’t me either. So, who am I… What am I?

“I am a Wedding DJ”, I explain…

Oh, You’re like that Saturday Night Live Wedding DJ who plays “Sister Christian” as the priest is giving the Blessing and “Who Let the Dogs Out” for the Bride & Groom’s First Dance (He didn’t have the Norah Jones song)…  Well, that may indeed be the environment where I work, but that’s definetely NOT what I do!

Now that I think about it… the term “DJ” really isn’t a good term to describe my job at all!

So what exactly is it that I do? Good question… glad that I asked… Let’s look at one “typical” wedding and see what it is that I actually do…

It begins with a phone call or email followed by a face to face meeting. The Bride & Groom-to-be and I meet for the first time where we get to know one another and determine whether I am the correct “DJ” for them and if they are the right clients for me… I guess that I am a Salesman or maybe Consultant.

The couple likes and trusts me and books me for their wedding and we begin the reception planning process. I am now a Planner. I provide ideas and give advise. I am an Advisor too.

I gather information of all kinds about the clients, their families and Wedding party. I am a Researcher.

I begin to write scripts for various parts of the reception. I am a Writer.

I begin to put all of the various elements together of what will be the Wedding reception. I am a Producer and a Programmer.

Wedding day is finally here and I arrive at the venue and set up my gear, which may include sound, lighting and video equipment. I am a Technician. I give instructions to my assistant as to what I need him or her to do. I am a Supervisor.

I meet the Banquet manager, the venue staff, the photographer, the videographer, the cake people, etc. and share our timeline – getting everyone together on the same page. I am a Director. I am a Coach, a Referee and sometimes even a Mediator.

I greet the guests as they arrive, serve as the spokesman for the Bride and groom and run the event. I am a Host and Master of Ceremonies.

I deal with any problems as they develop throughout the course of the night – preventing most of them before they ever happen. I am a Troubleshooter and a Problem solver.

Finally dinner is finished, the formal dances are history and the open dancing begins. I become the party doctor, reading the crowd, taking requests, keeping the dance floor full and making sure everyone is having a great time – I am a Motivator and Hey… now I’m a DJ! More importantly, I am an Entertainer. I talk to some people who have had too much to drink. I am a Counsellor and sometimes Security officer and Mind reader (“Do you have that song that goes do da dooo do do”?)

The night ends. It was a huge success. Guests are buzzing about the great time they had. I just got a big hug from a happy new Bride. Mission accomplished! Now it’s time to pack up and go home. I’m exhausted, but I need to load all this heavy equipment back into the dark night air and into my van or trailer. Now I am a Laborer.

What am I? Who am I? Now I’m more confused then ever!

I’m not sure what I am… but I love my job!

Michigan DJ’s Rock!

August 19, 2009

Last weekend, we had a rare opportunity to go outside of the state to do a wedding ceremony and reception. The location was a very unique venue, Barn at the Backwoods in Thornville, Ohio – about 35 miles east of Columbus. We met the owners, a very nice and accomodating couple. We struck up a nice rapport with them as we set up and prepared for the wedding. One unusual thing about this venue was that they had a built-in DJ booth with dance floor lighting. They had a huge and I mean Van Halen concert size HUGE (and expensive) sound system. This system was way more than they needed for this venue and I wondered what they used it for.

As the Reception progressed, things were going perfectly and going exactly to plan… as they almost always do. The owner of the facility eventually came out from the kitchen where he also serves as the head chef (wonderful food!). He had been watching the reception from a distance and wanted a closer look. He checked out my event planner / script, looked at my equipment and was fascinated with my lighting system. He told me “You are the best DJ we have ever had in here”. I said really?… why do you say that? He said first, you’re a professional – you know what you are doing. You have a plan. You are the Master of Ceremonies. Most of the guys who come in here calling themselves DJ’s are an embarrassment – with their “boombox” sound systems and “I don’t give a care” attitudes. That’s why I put in this DJ system and lights – to try and keep those jokers out of here. I have seen Brides in tears because of these lousy DJ’s, so I have my own equipment and hire the DJ’s myself that I want to work here… but I have never seen anyone do what you do. That is some really cool stuff that you do… I can’t find anyone around here who even comes close to what you do.”

Wow, I thought, that was a great compliment. I thought about the Bride in tears because of a bad DJ. Then I thought about the DJs he was talking about . We have bad DJs in our area too, but we also have some great ones. I am proud to call many of them my friends.  These are the DJ’s who raise the bar of excellence in the Detroit area market. Brides here can have a much higher expectation of what kind of performance they will get from their wedding entertainer – that is as long as they have taken time to find a good one… the right one for them.  I took this compliment as one for Michigan DJ’s in general – we all make each other better. Michigan DJ’s Rock — at least a lot of us do!

Hello world!

August 18, 2009

Hello to the Blogging world. It’s about time that I delve into this new medium. There are lot’s of things to talk about and this is a great way to do it.  I’ll be discussing the events where we have performed, The outstanding vendors we have worked with and especially, the wonderful people, our clients whom we have worked with to create special wedding memories. I’ll also be sharing thoughts and ideas about how to make future wedding receptions unique and special. Your comments and questions are always welcomed. Please feel free to forward these posts to anyone who might be interested ( Fellow wedding vendors or perhaps someone planning a future wedding). Afterall, why write if no one reads it?  Have a great day!