As a wedding professional, I've learned over the years that paying people to do what they do well is really worth every penny. I have a great hairstylist, she does a great job and I pay her for it. I take great photographs, but I haven't a clue on graphic design, so I pay a wed designer to do a great job. And while I understand very well the need to economize in "This Economy" let me share a true story from a wedding I attended as a guest.
It starts at the reception. After the cocktail hour the banquet coordinator talks to the bride and the groom about being "announced in" to the wedding reception. This is additional fare, part of the DJ's job is to also to be "Master of Ceremony" or MC for the event.
The bride has no idea if she is being announced in, and directs the banquet coordinator to The Brother with the iPod. He has no idea. He's supposed to do what? And when? And what should he say? The coordinator tells him to just say something generic like "Announcing Barbie and Ken Smith!". So the brother goes to the mike stand, and makes the announcement.
~ He doesn't ask for everyone's attention and speakers quietly holding the microphone far from his mouth.
~He makes the announcement while people are talking and mingling not only in the hall, but also when they are in the bar in the next room.
~The bride and groom, confused, come in a different door than the videographer and I are at, poised to capture the moment.
The banquet coordinator herds the rest of the group in and everyone is seated for dinner. There is nothing but the noise of clattering china, coughing, and the lingering looks from people wondering what they are to do next. The coordinator asks me "Is there dinner music?" guests reply that they have no idea. She locates the brother at the bar, asks if there is dinner music, and he says "Uh...I hadn't planned on any" So for nearly three hours we were treated to the soft muffled Music over the main sound system for the hotel.
90 minutes after the meal, the bride and groom stand at the bar. They can't be blamed, they are chatting, having fun, and when you are a bride and groom you have no sense of time, everything is a blur. Meanwhile, their guests have been fed, caked and coffeed for a good hour and the natives are starting to get restless. the Function manager approached them to talk to them about the time line that they had initially shared and was running a bit late, and when they planning on starting the first dance? They have no idea. Brother has no idea. They said that it's fine, but as we had discussed, overtime charges for the hall would begin in 1 hour. They look panicked, they booked til 11pm for a reason, and based on the time line they had, they SHOULD have been able to easily fit everything in.
But without having someone to help with the festivities, things were behind for more than an hour at this point. They responded that they still had to go to tables to greet, what should they do? They were told that they would stay until their specialty dances were over at the overtime rate we discussed. They agreed.
2 hours later, nearly 3.5 hours after the end of dinner the Mother of the Bride approaches the function manager very annoyed that dancing hasn't started. She was told her that the bride and groom are still greeting, and she says "Well where is the brother!" People are leaving, they are sick of sitting around! We need to get the party started!" Brother is located at the bar in the other room. He comes in, fires up the laptop and the bride and groom are poised on the dance floor. At this point, he looks over to the bride and groom and says "What song did you want?"
The bride responds in an annoyed tone the name of the song, snarling "I emailed you that was the song I wanted". Brother replies he never got the email. A small sibling spat arises on the dance floor. It's discovered that the brother does not have that song in his itunes playlist. But hey, no problem, he'll download it right now. Except for one small thing....itunes does not sell that particular song. The bride is breaking tears mode. This was "their"song, it's not a popular tune and she wants it. So the call goes out to everyone with an iphone/ipod to see if they have the song. After 15 more minutes it is discovered that no one does. An enterprising groomsman finds the tune on YouTube, and the first dance begins, about 45 minutes after it was supposed to.
And then...oh holy hell, it's You Tube. They forgot about the buffering.
So for the entire duration of the song, about every 8 seconds, there is a 5 second pause. The bride is in tears, and not the happy kind. She was equally as gloomy in the Father Daughter dance that did not have the song she wanted. This is followed by the Mother Son, and the speaker quality is terrible. The people in the back of the room have no idea that the dance is going on, and their is a cacophony of talking and laughing during the specialty dances. The music volumes varied soft to loud and it was annoying and inconsistent.
They leave 2.5 hours after their contracted time. Overtime charges are $750 per hour, so they've just spent $2250 extra on the booking.
I can't help but think that Canberra DJ Hires rates would have gone a long way towards a good DJ and a enjoyable stress free night for all involved.