I learned a very valuable lesson over the weekend. Last Tuesday, I received a call from a semi-panicked man who explained in broken English “Are you by chance available this Saturday morning for a small wedding reception?”
“Saturday…” I said in disbelief “As in 4 days from now?”
“Yes!” he replied, “for my daughter’s wedding!”
Now I didn’t think to ask him why he hadn’t hired a DJ to this point, but red flags began to pop up as soon as he explained to me that his daughter (from an Argentinian family) was marrying a Russian man. You see, I know nothing about Russia and speak Spanish only to the extent that I can have a [slow] conversation. However, he assured me that his daughter and her fiance mainly wanted American music and that the announcements could be done in English without any issue. Not wanting to turn away someone in need and eager to earn $1000 dollars for 3 hours on a Saturday morning I obliged and sent him a contract.
The next evening I had a phone call consultation with the bride and groom. They were both extremely nice, fun, and interested in our planning process (shortened as it was). With the obvious stress the bride and groom were under from planning other elements of their wedding so late in the game (again, I don’t know why), the bride chose to forego some of the more involved elements of my services such as personalized entrances and customized special dances. Thankfully, they were ready with their music selections and timeline decisions, but as the call came to an end the bride said, “Would you mind doing your announcements in both English and Spanish?”
“Sure,” I replied, reminding her once again that my primary language is English and I may be unable to MC in Spanish with my usual fluidity.
The morning of the event came and the ceremony went off without a hitch. Minutes before the reception, however, the bride walks up to me and asks “Could you do all of the announcing in Spanish? Everyone here is more comfortable with Spanish.”
And so, the reception went on with a much more flustered MC than before. I don’t need to tell you all of the details for you to know that it wasn’t my best performance. The minimal planning time we had pre-wedding, combined with the last minute surprise language switch amounted to a less than stellar performance on my part. It wasn’t that I had any major goof ups or mistakes; in fact, the wedding went off just fine. Even though they may have been satisfied with my services, I knew that I had given them a mediocre product at best. While the bride and groom and their families thanked me repeatedly, inside I felt that I had failed myself, my brand, and most of all the clients.
In retrospect, I know that I should never have taken the event, no matter how much money I could have gotten them to pay me; I simply was not the correct entertainer for their wedding. While it is true that things probably went much better than they might have gone without a DJ at all, I know I did not deliver the full experience that I feel I am capable of delivering. When my gut told me during that first phone call that there was not enough time to properly plan and pull together all the details to deliver an extraordinary experience I should have heeded it. In my desire to fill my schedule and earn a buck I put my company’s image in jeopardy of being tarnished.
I’m glad that wedding is over, and even more glad that I learned this valuable lesson; if I don’t have the time or experience to give a client exactly what they want it’s not worth risking my company’s reputation (and my sanity) just to book another event.