THERE ARE MANY WAYS TO TAKE GOOD CARE OF CLIENTS
For many years I have harbored a secret desire to be selected as one of the families to have the honor of participating in lighting the Advent candle at Christmas at our church. The church where we have been members for nearly thirteen years is a fairly large church and only four families are selected each year to light one of the candles on the four Sundays before Christmas, so the odds of being asked to light one of the candles is rather remote. This past Christmas season, we were finally given the opportunity to light the candle on the Sunday just prior to Christmas.
This particular candle was the one representing love.
Like so many things in life, this was an event that I had seen performed many times, but when it came time to actually do it, I had to ask the procedure. It was simple. We walked up as a family and I introduced my wife, Donna and our two children, Rebecca and Robert. I also made a brief mention that Robert, our youngest, had just turned twelve two days before. Then our children read some well known scriptures about love. The first Bible reading contained the popular verses often heard at weddings from 1 Corinthians, chapter 13 and the other was the oft cited Christian verse of love, John 3:16. Donna then lit the fourth candle (the other three were already burning), leaving the center white candle, representing Jesus Christ, the only candle yet to be brought to light. Then it was my turn to close with a short prayer. In that prayer, I mentioned that many people think of Valentine’s Day as the season of love, but we should remember
that the true season of love is Christmas.
Later that day, I gave much thought to the words of my prayer and how misguided it is to think that love has a season. Many things do have a season. We often talk about and dread some of them, like flu season or hurricane season. Other seasons are greatly anticipated like football season or a particular hunting season where it is legal to hunt wild game like deer or quail. There is little reason to fear a hurricane in January and football game tailgate parties are not on the weekend agenda in May because it is not the right season. But is there really a season of love? Though there may be days or seasons like Valentine’s Day or Christmas where love is a central theme, love should not be confined to a season.
Love is our greatest gift. How sad it would be if love were confined to just one season. Love should be a daily experience, practiced as often as possible throughout the day. Love goes far beyond just a romantic emotion like the one my wife and I continue to have after nearly twenty two years of a wonderful marriage. It is also expressed in the ways that we find to help people in their daily lives. It may be as simple as holding a door open for someone or greeting a stranger on the street with a warm smile.
As mobile DJs entertaining at weddings, we can express our love to our clients in many ways, including offering ideas that will enhance the experience at the reception. Many people view our job as just playing music at an event, but the seasoned professional has learned that brides especially love the extra care given by vendors who offer ideas she might not have thought of previously.
One of the factors that many brides and grooms have not considered prior to our consultation with them is the style of music to play as guests are arriving at the reception venue. They may already have all the special dances chosen and an entire playlist for the dance portion of the evening, but have given little or no thought to what the guests will be listening to prior to their arrival. The most common categories of music for background music after the first guest arrives are lively jazz, the American Song Book, or upbeat Top 40 music. If they want only instrumental music, lively jazz is the best route, but often the best choice is to combine lively jazz with artists singing American Song Book selections, like Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett and Michael Buble. For the Top 40 music (see this issue?s list), the primary criteria used is to make sure that the songs are toe-tappers and have a positive (think love) message.
Another idea that we suggest revolves around the bride-father and groom-mother dances. We have had many couples who are hesitant to dance an entire song alone with their dad or mom so they ask us to shorten the song. An alternate to that approach is to suggest that we invite all fathers present to join their daughters on the dance floor about halfway through the bride-father dance. This takes the spotlight off of just the bride and her father. Many brides have appreciated this idea and adopted it as part of their evening. We offer the same suggestion for the groom-mother dance.
Some suggestions that we offer, which our clients love, have nothing to do with music at all. Take the cake cutting, for example. We ask at our planning meeting if there is anything special about the cake that they would like announced. Often there is nothing special to share, but at times there are memorable items to talk about. At one wedding the cake was cut with a sword that was given to the bride?s great-great-great grandfather by General Lee after the Civil War. Last year, I had the privilege of telling the story that the cake topper had adorned every cake on the bride?s side of the family since 1894. Sometimes the tale to tell is not about the serving utensils or the cake topper, but to give special honor to a Mobile Beat’s resident musicologist since 1992 (issue #11), Jay Maxwell runs the multi-talent
entertainment company, Jay Maxwell’s Music by Request, LLC, in Charleston, South Carolina. He is also a professor of Business at Charleston Southern University. His passion for detail and continuous research of clients’ requests can be found not only in this column, but also in his annually updated music guide, Play Something We Can Dance To.
dear friend who loves the couple so much that she took the time
to bake and decorate their wedding cake as her gift to the couple.
Some couples are torn about the decision of whether or not to invite all single women and men to participate in the bouquet and garter toss or to limit it to those above a certain age. We actually have a blank on our planning sheet for the age, if they want to limit the age to those old enough to get married. The unique suggestion that we offer however, is that they can do a separate toss for the children who are there. Instead of tossing the bouquet and garter they will toss a teddy bear. All children love teddy bears and it’s a great way to get the younger guests involved without the awkwardness that can accompany a child catching the bouquet or garter. After all, the tradition states that the person who catches the item will be the next to be married and no parent wants their ten year old to catch the bouquet or garter.
BEING A GOOD LISTENER
There is a fine line that we must tread when consulting with a wedding couple. On the one hand we want to offer suggestions to enhance the event. This shows that we truly care about their special day and that we are offering much more than just acting as a human iPod. Yet, we must first show how much we care about their day by listening to their wishes. Typically the bride has been dreaming about this day for years, perhaps since she was a little girl, and we must listen to the details of her plan in order to make our best effort to fulfill her every wish. One of the primary differences between the professional disc jockey and the groom’s buddy who thinks he knows how to DJ lies in the ability to suggest ways to create an unprecedented experience at their event.
Thank goodness there is no season of love. As mobile entertainers, we demonstrate our love for the client as we offer more than just our equipment and music for a couple?s wedding. We offer ideas that extend far beyond simply what to play. Of course let’s not forget that knowing what to play and the right time to play it is ultimately why we are hired for the night. For a truly memorable event, one where not only the bride and groom, but every guest there leaves saying, “Wow, I just had the time of my life,” you must know the right music to play from the moment the first guest walks
into the room until the last song of the night. And sometime during the night you may also have the opportunity to share more love, by taking and playing a guest’s request after they walk up to you and say, “Hey DJ…play something we can dance to!” MB
Filed Under: Issue #147
Leave a comment