My thoughts on today's weddings....
I believe that 90% of weddings today are just average or OK at best. I call it the "checkmark wedding" and it is caused by "checkmark vendors." Let me explain...
It's a bold statement, I know, but please understand that an average wedding can be very fun for a lot of people, but unfortunately, they will just forget about it the next day.
• It's a night out with family and friends
• It's a free meal
• You get to take advantage of an open or cheap bar
This seems like an awesome recipe for a party, but the problem is, it's more than just a party—it's a wedding celebration with so many moving parts. People attend weddings all the time, and if you cannot keep them engaged from the start, you can expect an early night and money wasted.
The good news is you don't have to have the same old wedding. Weddings are very expensive, and there is no reason why you shouldn't get the most out of your wedding and the vendors you hire. The secret is this: Invest your time in hiring your Dream Team. This team would consist of your MC, DJ, planner, and you. By doing this, you are well on your way to being part of "The 10% Club" of weddings celebrations.
What is "The 10% Club" of wedding celebrations, you ask? Let me explain…
• It's a wedding where the entertainment timeline becomes the focus, and it starts as soon as your first guest arrives for your ceremony.
• It is a wedding where signature moments become a truly unique and amazing experience for all your guests and not just a photo op (i.e., the grand entrance, cake cutting, icebreakers, speeches, first dance, dance floor kick-off, garter toss, late night snack...).
• It's where you decide early in the planning process that your MC and your DJ are going to have the biggest impact on your day.
• It is where your collective team of professionals (Your Dream Team!) get together often to truly understand and plan out your unique vision as they offer their experience and creativity, and then execute the wedding celebration of your dreams.
Your Dream Team does more than just show up on the day of your wedding, provide a service and put a checkmark in your binder. They have put countless hours planning your wedding and they have become completely invested into your vision and peace of mind.
Wedding Tip #1
Let your guests be guests, and leave the important roles like your MC, DJ, or planner to the experienced professionals. Not only will your family members thank you, but all your friends will as well.
This is hands down the number one reasons weddings remain simply average, like all the other checkmark weddings. Don't roll the dice with vendors who will have the biggest impact on your day.
A couple of very common wedding fails include the following:
• The DJ you hired from Facebook who is reasonably priced and comes with referrals also has a full-time job and no time for you. He might be good one day but not interested the next (which is why he is cheap). It's not his full-time profession so you are hoping he has a good week and no better plans come up.
• You hire a multi-op DJ company that offers an MC, a photo booth, decor, etc., etc. You might get a great combo price, but you more than likely just got ripped off. If you’re lucky, you will get to meet your DJ at the time of booking. If you are unlucky, you will get the classic bait and switch. You will simply be asked to fill out online forms so your DJ/MC knows just the essentials to get the job done, get paid, and move on to the next. This is the classic checkmark vendor!
• Your planner is your girlfriend who will do anything for you and secretly wants to be a wedding planner herself. The problem is, she has never planned a wedding and has no real idea what she is getting into. Its great if everything goes perfect, but a wedding is never perfect. The experienced professionals know exactly how to deal with curve balls and how to keep everyone engaged. Experienced planners have seen it all before and will ensure the couple or guests don't even become aware of any issue. Remember that the goal is piece of mind for the couple. The girlfriend will likely get stressed and seek the help of multiple people, including her best friend, the bride, in order to resolve the issue. Watch what happens when guests realize the bride is stressed or unhappy. It never ends well.
• Your MC is your comedian friend who feels he is the star of the show and lets your timeline drift away while he desperately tries to be a guest at the same time. Your hope is he stays sober and does not offend anyone before the first dance. Your guests tend to get bored and leave before the late night snack.
These scenarios are all too common, and I can tell you from experience that it does not have to be this way. I can also tell you, that if done right, you will not only have the wedding of your dreams but you will save time and money. Peace of mind can be priceless.
There is something that a planning binder and checklist vendor won't be able to tell you. It’s how to understand the mood of your guests at any given time and to know what to do in order to enhance and maintain those feelings throughout the wedding celebration. Capturing those feelings and knowing what to do is not as easy as it seems. It takes experience and a creative mind to be able to react without being cheesy in its delivery. It becomes the difference between average and great wedding celebrations.
I pride myself on being a true professional who is experienced and a versatile entertainer. I am not your average DJ or MC. I am proud to say that most of my weddings have been part of "The 10 % Club," but sadly some haven't. The reason for this is because I was shut out of the planning process and I wasn't able to explain how I am much more than just a DJ and a checkmark vendor.
I feel the foundation of my craft rests on four important pillars:
EXPERIENCE * REPUTATION * CREATIVITY * PASSION
Weddings are just simply average...
There are many factors for this bold and very strong belief. Let me explain...
People attend weddings every year, and if 9 out of 10 are simply average, it sadly becomes the new standard of what people perceive as great. Wedding guests end up lowering their expectations, and some guests simply dread going to that same old wedding. They would have a much better time going to the pub, paying for dinner, and dancing the night away with complete strangers.
• It's the same music played too loud, with no thought or reason, by a DJ named "DJ Glorified iPod."
• The MC is a family friend with a good sense of humor but no idea what his job really is.
• The cake cost $500 bucks and was never cut because the photographer went home.
• The garter/bouquet toss only entertained four people and when the music stopped, everyone snuck out the back door.
With huge lapses in the timeline, guests become bored, get drunk (if it was an open bar), dance only if the song was their favourite, then tell the bride and groom what an amazing time they had but have to get up early the next day, “so, thanks for the free meal!”
I hear this all the time: “My wedding was awesome, and we never had a DJ. My brother was the MC, so we saved so much money.” I think that if you asked the groom's dad, who paid for the booze, the couple who got a babysitter, or the best man who was in charge of the Spotify playlist and clean up, you might get a different opinion. It was a great dinner party that ended three hours early.
So, why are most weddings simply average? Let's start with social media…
• Social Media Groups. Quite frankly, Facebook Groups have set the bar really, really low. There seems to be no professional standards or ethics when it comes to businesses or individuals trolling themselves to vulnerable brides looking for advice and recommendations. Couples simply don't know what they don't know, and Facebook takes full advantage of this. It can be a great resource and a place to get used wedding décor, but be careful when it comes to hiring vendors. There is a reason why most professional vendors stay far away from social media groups or refuse to post within these groups. The problem is Facebook attracts a lot of brides, making the wedding industry and the reputation of many professional services suffer at the hands of a small minority of checkmark vendors.
A truthful Analogy
Wedding Facebook Groups are like going to Value Village and wanting to buy a Porsche. Value Village will tell you the truth and send you to the right place, but Facebook groups won't.
• The cost of living in Vancouver - Parents are now contributing less, making it harder for couples to afford weddings. Not only is there the stress of buying a house, a car, university tuition, raising a newborn...they are now faced with planning and paying for a wedding celebration. It's tough, and no wonder brides look for cheap. The truth is, having less to spend does not mean you are not going to have an amazing wedding. It's all in the prioritizing, planning, and hiring of vendors.
Check out an article I recently wrote: “Prioritizing Your Wedding the Right Way.”
• Planning. Brides and grooms simply have less time to plan. With work, school, extra-curricular activities, etc., it’s overwhelming, and scheduling appointments to meet Vendors becomes very hard. This is why a couple plays the game "get as many checkmarks as we can this weekend" because it’s the only time they have together.
• Multi-op companies that offer everything but specialize in nothing. They will entice you with low prices and combo packages but rarely offer the level of professional service needed to make a wedding join the "The 10% Club." Your wedding becomes a number and a profit margin.
• Undervaluing the power of entertainment. A wedding is a celebration. Without entertainment, your wedding becomes a very expensive dinner party. Remember that if 90% of weddings are average, your guests come to expect just that. I say blow them away with amazing and unforgettable, and join "The 10% Club" of weddings. The investment with the biggest impact on your day is your entertainment. Guests will leave and remember the party, and they will recall all the unique signature moments that got and kept them on the dance floor all night. The leader of your entertainment timeline is your master of ceremonies. Invest lots of your time planning and finding the perfect MC.
These, in my opinion, are the main contributing factors to the "average wedding" problem we face.
Your wedding is a big deal to me, and it should be for you as well. Entertainment, planning, and hiring your Dream Team of professionals, and prioritizing your budget will become the key to an amazing wedding celebration.
My biggest recommendation to any couple is to enjoy the entire process. It doesn’t have to be stressful.
At this point, you probably have many questions to ask; indeed, I have many questions to ask you and would welcome the opportunity to explain the whole process.
I hope you enjoyed my perspective on the wedding industry I care deeply about. Please feel free to comment on this article or call me direct anytime to discuss. I am always available to meet, and I look forward to the opportunity to learn all about your unique wedding vision.
Mark Vanderende / DeeJay Absolute
DJ / Emcee / Entertainment Specialist
Websites: DeeJay Absolute | Absolute Entertainment | Absolute Bartending | Absolute DJS Kelowna
"DJing is not just about choosing a few good tunes. It's about generating shared moods, it's about understanding the feelings of a group of people and through creativity of music and skill directing them to a better place."