Behind The Scenes by Randy Bartlett

December 6, 2010 by Randy Bartlett


While it may seem that most of what we do as wedding entertainers is quite visible to the guests, if done correctly, most of what we do is, in fact, invisible—behind the scenes.

The results of what we do are very visible, but it’s long been my goal to make everything seem as spontaneous and natural as possible. For example, I rarely ask or tell guests to applaud. Instead, I use inflection and wording, or sometime a simple body language gesture to create applause, because if guests applaud on their own, it seems much more genuine than when the MC says, “How about a nice round of applause for Steve?”

With that goal in mind, there are many parts of the wedding that can be managed behind the scenes so that the proper results are achieved without becoming that cheesy DJ who talks too much. In fact, doing things visibly will often cause you to lose the very effect you were striving to create.

A few years ago, I rode along with a wedding DJ to offer him a critique. At the end of the father-daughter dance, the DJ said, on the microphone, “Awww, now Dad, give your daughter a hug.” And as the father did as instructed, the DJ again said, “Everybody, say ‘awww.’” Well, they did, but I thought it came off as very contrived and cheesy.

Afterwards, the DJ defended his actions, saying that “awww” moment was really cute. I suggested to him that he could create a better moment by setting that up with the dad in advance, behind the scenes. By telling the father of the bride to take his time at the end of the dance, to hug his daughter and tell her how much she means to him, he would create that same moment, but it would be infinitely better, because it would look spontaneous and unscripted. I would also alert the photographer and videographer for this possible moment and then know that it would be different at each event, because the relationship between the bride and her dad would be different each time.

Some dads might hold that hug with tears running down both of their faces while others might do a high five, wiping their brows that they “got through it.” But the moment would be genuine and the guest reactions would be genuine. By setting that up behind the scenes, you’ll get a better reaction, which makes for a better moment and since a wedding is a series of moments, each of which can be impacted by our actions, you end up with a better event, more referrals and, ultimately, a more profitable business.

From the first meeting to the last moments of the reception, I’m constantly working behind the scenes to create incredible moments. Sometimes it’s for something sentimental, sometimes funny, sometimes useful. Sometimes it’s for the couple, sometimes for the guests, sometimes for another vendor.

I call the parents of the bride and groom before each wedding and do some behind the scenes things with them. I talk to vendors, to guests, to the bride and groom, to my staff and sometimes to complete strangers behind the scenes to create spontaneous moments that people will never forget. Whatever the reason, the goal is to have a seamless event that appears to flow effortlessly, without anything being forced.

I recently worked with a videographer who I hadn’t seen in a while, but we’ve worked together many times over the years and he said, “I always thought it was interesting how you somehow manage to always get the best crowds, but I’m beginning to think that’s not just random luck.” Indeed.

At my Behind the Scenes seminar at Mobile Beat Las Vegas in 2011, we’ll look at several ways to work Behind The Scenes to create incredible results that will enable you to make your very next event the best work you’ve ever done!

Randy Bartlett is the founder and President of Premier Entertainment, Inc. One of the most sought after DJ coaches in the country, he is well-known for his 1% Solution Series of DJ training videos and workshops, in which he shares the simple, key concept that very small, easy-to-implement changes will result in vastly improved performance.

Randy Bartlett Randy Bartlett (6 Posts)

Filed Under: 2010, Mobile DJ Career Development, Mobile DJ Performance Tips