This story is about a bride who had her wedding at a church reception hall. That hall charges their congregation a minimal amount to hold celebrations there and that bargain price includes metal folding chairs and folding tables. You get to use their kitchen to prepare your own food.
While the atmosphere might leave something to be desired, if it rains you don’t get your hair wet and the sun doesn’t bake your cake. It’s not the place for everybody, but the price is right and it’s adjacent to the church so it’s convenient for those getting married there. This type of reception isn’t that unusual.
At this particular wedding, the other “vendors” in attendance were family and friends. Those helpful folks prepared and served the food, decorated the hall, set up all the tables and chairs, acted as the photographer and did all the other things that many brides pay many thousands of dollars for.
What’s more, the bride and groom’s guests also ponied up a lot of money in the money dance. How do I know this?
Over the years in any job one learns a lot from both one’s own experience and the experience of others. You hear about something happening to someone else in your profession and take measures to reduce the risk of the same thing happening to you. As a DJ, we are all part of the larger category of entertainers and there is no form of entertainment that you don’t pay for completely in advance. You never get to pay the balance of a movie ticket after the projector stops flickering, and you never finish payment after the fat lady sings. But many beginning DJs, myself included, don’t require the balance to be paid on any event until that event is finished.
For many DJs and others in the wedding profession you begin to correlate the amount of money spent by the bride with the type of event she is going to have. The more she pays, the less likely that uncle Billy Bob is going to slug his cousin in the face for marrying his sister, or whatever. Somehow it has become accepted that these low-budget weddings are more likely to turn into trouble.
This could have been my own bummer of a story but after all was said and done my bride client came up to me with the balance of my payment in bills of varying denomination, counting out to the last dollar the money she owed for services rendered. She then explained how relieved she was that the money dance had been so successful because that was her plan for paying me.
The reason this story goes in this book is that it sets the example of what usually happens at weddings. Things run a bit late here and there, minor disappointments happen but overall there is so much jubilation, joy and happiness that little bumps along the way have no relevance whatsoever. The wedding goes off without a hitch, the reception in a joyous celebration and a very happy couple exits to begin a new life of promise and hope.
Of the 1,000 or so weddings that I’ve seen, this one is very typical in that respect. Nothing bad happened, people were nice and happy and the day became a day to remember for all the right reasons. For those planning a wedding, you can relax in the fact that this is probably what will happen to you.
But that’s also not why you bought this book. It’s that small percentage of weddings where something goes terribly wrong that makes for fun reading, and a few nightmares.
In the end the bride in this story told me that I was the only “professional” vendor she hired because, in her mind, the music and entertainment were the most important part of the whole celebration. That was probably 15 years ago and that still touches me to this day. And her wedding story is like so many others. She planned a great celebration. She enjoyed a great celebration. Now it’s a part of the fabric of two lives.
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