During the downtime of the COVID 19 pandemic, I've found myself doing a lot of soul searching. Would you believe I've heard through the grapevine that some wedding businesses may not make it through? Times are tough out there. I have been trying to think of new ways into selling myself as a wedding DJ. In a super fierce competitive wedding market, one must ask the question to current and prospective clients. "Why did you hire me to be your wedding DJ?". Was it something you saw on my website? Was it my website? Was it my stellar reviews? Did you see me perform at your friend's wedding? COVID 19 has made things more tough and it's made me jump out of my comfort zone when people approach me to be their wedding DJ. In recent months, I've talked with various clients who have either hired me or would like to hire me. One of the first things I ask after sitting down with these couples is I inquire about what it was that caught your eye. Why did they pick me out of all the other wedding DJs? The recurring answer from these modern brides and grooms has been the fact that I ONLY PERFORM AT ONE WEDDING PER DAY.
Since this has become a central theme of how I conduct myself as a wedding DJ, I thought I would take the time to elaborate on this and explain to modern brides and grooms who have found my website and blog and might be intrigued about this concept of performing at ONE WEDDING PER DAY.
Back in August, I met one of my 2021 brides and grooms down at my favorite place of meeting clients, Butcher & Bee. This particular bride had organically found me online and we had a brief call on the phone and she ended up booking me for her 2021 wedding. We had made a few attempts earlier this spring when her and fiance came down to Charleston to meet, but COVID 19 had other plans. Upon finally meeting this couple, we began talk about their wedding and how things would play out in May 2021. It was not too long after we started talking that I broached the question face to face what it was that caused this modern bride and groom to hire me as their wedding DJ. This bride and groom expressed to me that they had spoke to other companies and began to felt a little uneasy when they continued to talk as other companies seemed to be focused on getting the booking, and then figuring out which wedding DJ to send later. I believe the brides words were "We liked the fact that it was JUST YOU and you were not a big company. I told them my reasoning toward this was because I did not believe the way I conduct myself with clients could be duplicated. Having built a stellar reputation as a wedding DJ over the years, I did not want to put that into the hands of a "sub-contractor" or amateur wedding DJ who just wants the money and does not care about doing a good job. When you truly care about doing an excellent job for your clients, you will follow up and get reviews from your clients.
The Dark Side Of Wedding DJ Companies All Couples Should Avoid
Since Day 1, I've operated my company with the notion that I am going to put "quality" first and leave the cookie-cutter weddings to the companies who are more interested in quantity. Brides and grooms have spoken. They want a great wedding DJ. One that can read the crowd and help them put together an amazing playlist that will have them and their guests dancing all night long and make lasting memories. They want a wedding DJ who will have no problem meeting with them to go over their music and offer suggestions on how to plan the music for their cocktail hour or put together the songs for the dinner music portion of their evening. Would you believe there are some wedding DJs who won't meet with you because they don't think they have the time? There is one word for this. LUDICROUS.
The story I am going to tell you has been told before, many times, in wedding markets around the country. Even close to 5 years later, there is still a part of me that gets enraged at the thought this activity STILL happens in the Holy City, and really anywhere. Even though I've tried to put this experience behind me, I can feel my pulse increase when I begin to think of the memory and how it all played out. I received a call from a competitor who appeared to be in a bind because they were short a DJ for an wedding. This phone call came in about 8 days in advance of the wedding date. Why the original wedding DJ was unable to fulfill their contact is completely irrelevant. It's the situation that this company put me in that will forever cement my opinion and business process of continuing to work "independently" and never expand my company to have 8 - 10 wedding DJs. I will forever be set up to PERFORM AT ONE WEDDING PER DAY.
I Was Not Allowed To Speak With The Bride Or Groom
Knowing the time that it takes to put together the music for one of my clients, 8 days seemed daunting to get it all together, but the good thing was I was contacted on a Friday. Since I had that weekend off, it would have been perfect timing to get the contact information for the bride and groom and set up a quick call to discuss music. Had I been put into touch with this bride and groom over the weekend, things would have turned out drastically different. Instead, the weekend came and went without any communication from the bride and groom, and I ended up putting no time in creating any wedding playlist for their big day. By the time Monday rolled around, I began to seek the advice from wedding vendor friends and it was recommended that I remove myself from this situation. No contracts had been signed. I was certainly free to do so and hindsight is always 20/20. I wished I had.
I Was Not Supposed To Be Their Wedding DJ And NO ONE Told The Bride & Groom That
Not having been in this situation before, you would think that the best course of action would be to communicate with the bride and groom that the original wedding DJ they were supposed to have at their wedding was not going to be there. I mean, why wouldn't you communicate this? Was this DJ company trying to protect their reputation? What about the planner? Why wouldn't the wedding planner (who has never met me before) want to make sure there was a seamless transition of responsibility between the original wedding DJ and myself. There should have been a conference call between the owner of the DJ company, the wedding planner, the DJ who was supposed to be there, and myself. This would have been the "right" thing to do, but it's not how it played out.
My First Instinct Was To Bail (Which I Did) But Then I Got Talked Back Into This Toxic Situation
Since we went through the entire weekend without any communication from the bride and groom, I made a decision to resign from this opportunity on that Monday before the wedding. I did not need the extra income. This situation was actually adding more stress to my life than I needed at the time. All of a sudden it was late Monday afternoon, and I got a smallish email with a basic timeline and a "few" songs from the wedding planner. There were some key songs listed inside this email that showed the grand entrance and first dance song, etc, but that was it. I had no idea what this bride and groom wanted to hear. I had no idea what songs to add into this bride and groom's DO NOT PLAY LIST. <---Click the preceding link to read about the top wedding DJs allowing a Do Not Playlist. After sending an email to the owner of this company to "bail", I got a call later in the evening to talk me back into taking this wedding. Never again. It's my belief that the owner of this company DID NOT care about my success at this wedding, they only wanted to preserve their reputation because they knew they screwed up and were doing the wrong thing.
Your First Instinct Is ALWAYS What You Feel. This Wedding Was A Complete Disaster
I knew this wedding was going to go south. It's why I resigned from it, and I should have stood my ground. The way I operate my company was developed out of the belief that meeting a bride and groom (even for a short time) before their wedding is the right thing to do. Why is this the case? Because the music and entertainment is what you and your guests are going to remember the most, and the person you put in charge of your entertainment should be met prior to your big day. Leaving this step out of my process did not feel right and I should have stood my ground and bailed on this wedding, rather than be put into a compromising situation by a competitor company. I will never be placed into a situation like this EVER again. Having been an experienced wedding DJ, I know what the best wedding DJs need to do before a wedding and NONE of this was going to be accomplished before their big day. Emergency or not, there was 8 days to put together a game plan to make sure this bride and groom had the best time of their lives, instead of an average night put together by a wedding DJ who was NOT supposed to be there. The wedding planners sat back all night long and continued to pretend that "I" was supposed to be their wedding DJ, when all they were doing was lying to this bride and groom. I still don't know why the bride and groom were not told that I was not the right wedding DJ. I guess it's just the shady part of the wedding DJ business, and if you are reading this post, you'll thank me later (even if you don't decide to hire me).
Not Knowing A Couple's Music Is Like Kryptonite For The Wedding DJ IMO
Heading into this wedding weekend without any knowledge of the bride and groom's favorite music is not only destroying the couple's wedding day, but also makes for a distrastrous outing for the day. By not operating their company any differently, they were saying that all weddings were the same and that a wedding DJ was free to throw on any song they wanted to. Planning a bride and groom's music before their wedding day allows me to plan out their big day better. Yes, there is a lot of time that goes into a couple's wedding day. Click the preceding link to find out what the best wedding DJs put into your wedding.
The Biggest Takeaway From This Experience: There Is Dishonesty Out There. Be Careful.
The primary thing that I learned by trying to bail out this company is there a definite dark side to the wedding DJ industry. There are definitely companies out there who are just looking to take a deposit from you and then send another DJ like was done to me. The biggest head scratcher to me was the lack of transparency. The only way I could ever see myself entertaining the idea of doing this again would be a situation where I am in complete control, and I operate this wedding like one of my own. At the end of the day, everyone lost out on this day. The bride and groom could have had a better time with more preparation on the music side of things. Both the competitor company and myself both looked bad for not being fully prepared.
In The 5 Years Since This Nightmare I Still ONLY PERFORM AT ONE WEDDING PER DAY
I learned a lot from this experience, and the pain and frustration that I endured from it has fueled my passion for continuing to be the best wedding DJ that I know how to be. The only way I will ever run my DJ business as long as I am in this industry is to be independent, so I know I can give my clients the best experience possible. This wedding was a big wake-up call for why I run my company the way that I do. Out of my deep respect for the wedding industry and my clients, I will continue to perform at ONE WEDDING PER DAY. I will continue to provide focus that not many other wedding DJs can on your wedding day.
Don't Just Imagine Mike Bills As Your Wedding DJ: Book HIM NOW
Since you now know the biggest reason why modern brides and grooms have hired me to be their wedding DJ, I think it's time that we sit down and talk about your wedding. I hope I shed some light on why I am an independently run wedding DJ company, and why I will continue to ONLY PERFORM AT ONE WEDDING PER DAY. All the reviews you see on my Weddingwire profile and Google profile are all weddings that I performed at. Your wedding day is only going to happen once (at least that's what you plan for), so you need to make sure you hire a wedding DJ that is supremely focused on making sure your big day is the best ever. Working ONE WEDDING PER DAY and dedicating that entire day to my client is the best way to ensure success on your wedding day. When you contract a wedding DJ who specializes in ONLY PERFORMING AT ONE WEDDING PER DAY, you can rest easy knowing that there won't be any surprise who your wedding DJ is going to be. You won't have to worry about another wedding DJ showing up or hiring a company that hides the fact that they double or triple-booked your wedding date. In triple-booking your wedding date, they probably got you all excited on the phone about their "best" DJ only to send their lower tier guy who just started. Hiring the wedding DJ is serious stuff and I hope this post has shed some light on what situations you do not want to find yourself in when your wedding day finally arrives. If you should hire me to be your wedding DJ, you will get the laser focus that all of my clients have come to know over the years. I will never bite off more than I chew because I ONLY PERFORM AT ONE WEDDING PER DAY. That one wedding will be yours. I would love the honor of being your wedding DJ. Let's talk soon.
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