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Marc was asked to DJ a wedding last night, it was a very close friend so he agreed, which is amazing because he HATES DJing weddings. I can count the times on one hand that I've seen him do it, and he'll only agree if 1) he knows and loves the couple personally and 2) they're poor and can't afford to pay an outside professional DJ. Which is funny, because marc is a real DJ, and earns good money for club spots, but it's not about money to him, it's about being a hippie artist or something. In the years I've known him I've seen him swing back and forth multiple times between "I want money, I can do this, I'm going to take jobs." and "I feel dirty like I'm selling myself I don't care if you're paying me nine million dollars I WILL NOT PLAY 'CALL ME MAYBE'" But that's club gigs, where he swings back and forth. When it comes to weddings there's no back and forth, just "no". I will give him credit for consistency.

And it's a shame because I LOVE it when he DJs weddings, I love helping, it's so powerful! And you get a chance to create someone's incredibly memorable event. Brides and grooms are perfectly qualified to select flowers and clothes and chose between chicken or steak at their buffet, but they rarely know how to keep a party going, and there's this scheduling aspect to weddings that it truly and unspoken about art form. People ever notice what made them not bored at a wedding, they just go home thinking "That was so much fun!"

I get the scheduling bug from my mother, I'll totally admit it, she presented a wedding schedule for my event which I thought was a little neurotic but our DJ was in total agreement with the whole thing, and when I started paying attention at other weddings, I realized "Yeah, this IS what's missing!" You don't want to be sitting around for two hours after dinner waiting for the dancing to start, people bail out and call it a night. And then dancing sucks because no one's there. And there are those who'd say, "Well it's the couple's night, if they wanted to chat and relax and smoke cigarettes outside who cares if their wedding is dull and unmemorable? They'll like it." Will they really though? When it could have been better, when people could be raving about it for years?

So someone has to move things along and that someone is the DJ! Time for the buffet line to start, get that head table up there. Thirty minutes have past... toast! Now most people are done eating so it's cake time! Now first dance! Now party! Now a break from the party for a [slow dance, bouquet toss, dollar dance, something else people can ignore while they refresh their drinks].

I love being put in charge to make this all happen, and Marc has a talent for the DJ part of it where you rotate songs and feel the crowd out to tell what they like. He can know the perfect time to get Earth Wind & Fire in there or whatever, you should have seen the it last night, there were only 50 people or so at this wedding but it was going the whole time. And since it was DJ friends he even worked in a drum and bass set that everyone loved, we totally gotta bring glow sticks for the kids next time.

When I found out the couple had NO schedule I was thrilled because that left it up to us! Marc was not thrilled. He hates the timing, does not want to think about any of this, just wants to play the music.

I told him later that we were a perfect team, we should always do weddings together and I will have a blast indulging in my control-freakyness and breaking the news to a happy couple that even if it is your night, you gotta come inside and cut the cake because I know what's best for you. He said no. Not worth it, even if he is just left to music there's always that awful cousin at a wedding who will say "Please, you don't understand, you HAVE to play the cha cha slide!" and then he'll turn angry and snap someday, like a horrifying axl rose version of adam sandler's breakdown in wedding singer. Maybe it's back to the club gig dirtiness he gets, except worse because it's weddings. and even I cannot balance it out or make it better.

Maybe the real trick is to just spread the word to couples that plans are important, and DJs are supposed to be capable of keeping you on one, it's just that some of them are scared to do it because it's not a well-advertised part of their job. You can get photographer checklists on wedding sites to make sure a guy isn't missing any key shots, you can get song playlists which people give DJs and they're usually awful and don't let the DJ do what he's good at: feel the crowd and play what is right. But reception schedules? Yawn, not pretty, nobody wants to think about it. It's the dirty secret of the wedding world. I'll just have to advocate it, I guess, since my artist husband doesn't want to grant me a path to just do it for everyone.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 11th, 2012 11:35 pm (UTC)
Our DJ was ok but not great. I bet you and Marc would be way awesome.
Nov. 12th, 2012 04:06 am (UTC)
We had an awesome DJ at our wedding, who was also a friend. He kept it going so well. I'm pretty sure we had a schedule going on. We also told him that if he played any of our "do not play" songs, we would string him up by his toenails. He asked us if someone requested said song if he could string them up by their toenails :). Yup, awesome DJ.
Nov. 12th, 2012 04:59 am (UTC)
Wow, there is a cultural difference I would never have guessed at. I don't think I have ever been at a wedding that had a DJ. With one exception, it's been a live band.

That exception was my brother's wedding and they just set up the stereo to play in the backyard of their house, which was a bit of a fiasco since they had a hard time getting the CD player to work, resulting in the bride walking down the aisle to the salsa station on the radio.
Nov. 12th, 2012 10:30 am (UTC)
I've been to weddings where there was a DJ'd reception (although I think I've been to more where the reception was a ceilidh band; and a few where there was "just" a meal and time to stand around and chat, with no music at all) but I've never been to a wedding where the DJ organised anything other than the music...

I guess if it were my wedding I would in fact feel perfectly qualified to decide whether I wanted music, and if I did when I wanted it and what sort it should be. Lots of parties I go to are basically people sitting around talking, and that's fun at normal parties so I don't see why it wouldn't be fun at a wedding reception.
Nov. 14th, 2012 02:39 am (UTC)
Yup, same here. In Chinese weddings, there is no background music and no dancing. There's not even a dance floor.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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