Monday, December 22, 2008

Working With Wedding Vendors

A unique characteristic of the wedding industry is that it is primarily small business driven.  Sure, there are some national companies or "chains" that provide service or product in this arena but to a significant degree the success of a wedding will depend on how effective the bride and groom are in selecting the right small businesses as their vendors.

In some instances, planning a wedding may be the very first time either the bride or the groom have ever entered into a contractual agreement with anyone (except perhaps their cell phone carrier or a landlord to rent an apartment).  Now, with a wedding date set, the stress of interacting with multiple vendors to compare prices, negotiate contracts, plan for the festivities, etc. can be stressful and overwhelming.
Here are just a few tips on working with the small business community:

1) Learn as much as you can about the company and its history in the community.  Is it family owned and operated or does it have a different structure?  How long has it served the community?  Can you have access to referrals from past customers?  The more you know about the business the more secure you will feel about using it as a vendor.

2) If you can, arrange to meet with the owner or those who have a direct stake in the success of the business.  Small business owners understand that your satisfaction is crucial to future business, especially service related industries such as photography, DJ services, or catering.  Small businesses are often extensions of their owners and tend to take on the owner's characteristics.  So getting to know the owner will help you determine the type of service you'll receive.  It will also give you someone influential to call (other than a salesperson) if you should have a concern.

3) Ask many questions.  A lot of couples are either too shy to ask questions of the vendor or they simply don't know how to go about the inquiry.  A proud business owner or manager is always willing to explain their service.  It gives small business people great joy to talk about their livelihood and special talents.  If you feel that you are getting the "run-around" or not getting clear answers to your questions, this is a sign of confusion, or worse, reluctance to share all of the truth.  At the very least, ask for a full explanation of all that the service promises to deliver.

4) Get it in writing.  A reputable company will understand the importance of using a written contract.  If you get resistance from a vendor to get details in writing, this should be a "red flag" to warn you away from using that particular vendor.  Ask for an addendum to the contract if you want specific items included in the service you'll receive.

5) Use information technology to compare vendors.  In today's business environment you can find a lot of information at the touch of a computer keyboard.  Most small businesses who work in the wedding industry will indeed have some internet presence as the web has become a wonderful tool for brides and grooms looking for vendors.  Use the internet to seek referrals and testimonials from past customers, get price quotes and learn about services.

6) Call or visit the vendor.  While the internet is great for gathering information, as mentioned earlier, you'll still want to visit the vendors who made your top three or four choices.  Did the vendor respond quickly to your call or did you wait days before receiving a reply?  Was the vendor hesitant to meet with you in person?  During the meeting, was the representative personable and professional?  Did he or she seem to genuinely care about delivering a great service or did it seem that it was "just their job" to meet with you?

7) Does the vendor play nicely with the other vendors?  Ask your photographer if he or she has ever worked with your choice of DJ service or band.  Have the caterers ever heard of the florist that you are considering?  The best vendors like working with their favorite associates.  They've established a good working relationship over the years and know how to communicate with each other.  There's nothing like a vendor who refuses to demonstrate some flexibility when things call for a change in plan.  You might get some useful "inside" information about a vendor from others in the industry.

The good news is that most small businesses are dedicated to providing brides and grooms with exceptional product and service.  Those who follow through with a little homework and communication will avoid the few "bad apple" vendors that are the source of wedding day nightmares and find their way to the great quality vendors who pride themselves on making wedding events fun, memorable experiences for everyone!

Click here if you want to learn more about our DJ service or receive a price quote for your upcoming event!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

DJ's Who Assist With Wedding Ceremony

I've been a professional wedding disc jockey for many years and have observed a number of trends. One significant trend has to do with couples deciding to plan a ceremony that is not held in a church but elsewhere, usually the site of their reception.

Almost half of the weddings that I book now require my attention to both the ceremony and reception, something that was very rare even ten years ago. Couples who plan a non-traditional ceremony often forget to consider the need to amplify the proceedings. Most churches have a sound system that allows guests to hear the officiant, listen to vows and enjoy recorded or live music before, during and/or after the ceremony - a benefit not always found at other venues. Ceremonies held outside in parks, gazebos or at other non-church venues often lack a PA system.

If you are planning a small, intimate ceremony inviting less than 50 guests and do not desire music, you probably do not need a PA system. Ceremonies larger than 50 and/or for those that include music to create a special atmosphere definitely will need an experienced DJ who understands the dynamics of a wedding ceremony.

A ceremony DJ will:

1) deliver and set up a sound system at the site of the ceremony before guests arrive
2) provide a microphone for the officiant and the couple
3) play selected music before the ceremony begins while people are arriving
4) play selected music during the processional
5) play selected music during the ceremony itself if the couple so desires
6) play selected recessional music providing continuity leading to the reception

Unlike during the reception, a DJ who assists with the ceremony should not be seen as a prominent figure and will work in the background of the event. His efforts, however, will create a result that lasts in the memories of the couple and their guests for a long time.

Most DJ's are not trained or experienced to assist with the wedding ceremony. The skills necessary to help facilitate a successful ceremony are somewhat different than those needed to produce an energetic dance floor during the reception. For those searching for a DJ who will assist with the ceremony and the reception it is important to be sure your DJ has experience in both regards. Ask your DJ to detail how he or she can help make your ceremony a successful one. Ask for advice on how best to amplify the ceremony, select appropriate music and how the DJ interacts with the officiant to make it all happen. Also, be sure to ask about any additional rates for the added service.

The roles and responsibilities of the professional wedding DJ are expanding along with newer trends. Asking the right questions, including those pertaining to the ceremony, will help the couple feel at ease knowing their DJ is perfect for the job!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Holiday Rush

Twelve percent of all wedding engagements in the U.S. happen in the month of December. That's why there's a rush of interest in booking wedding vendors in the following months - January, February and March.

My suggestion to couples who already have a wedding date set for next year is to have most, if not all, of your wedding vendors booked before the holidays. That way, you will avoid the additional competition for wedding vendors that comes from the "surge" of newly engaged couples. Waiting too long might mean losing your number one pick of banquet hall, DJ/band, photographer, etc. You may even end up paying more for your second or third pick of vendor.

Booking your wedding DJ 8 to 12 months in advance is recommended. That means signing a contract and sending in your deposit. Vendors will appreciate you for being well organized and you will have peace of mind that the major considerations for your special day are in place. If you know that you want a particular vendor but lack the money for the required deposit, contact the vendor and ask about alternative payment options.

A little time spent planning now will go a long way in avoiding unneccesary frustration after the holidays. Good luck and happy holidays!

Click here if you want to learn more about our DJ service or receive a price quote for your upcoming event!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

How We Named Our Company

Some people are curious to know how we came upon the name "My Life Media" for our company.

One answer is, that the music one uses to celebrate a significant moment, whether it be a wedding, graduation, anniversary, family reunion, etc. is an important type of media that reflects one's own tastes and personality. Music has a powerful affect on us and is as unique as those listening or dancing to it. Music has always been a basic component of one's very culture. When we "bring" music to an event, we are making available to our client a form of media that celebrates a special moment in their life - thus "My Life Media" - is the music media that one uses to celebrate life as considered through the perspective of those enjoying it. The name was changed slightly in late 2014 to "My Life DJ Services" when we registered with the state of Ohio to become a limited liability company.

Another answer to the question is a little more coincidental. Company owner, Jim Gepperth, was listening to the radio on the day that we were considering what to name the company (we were debating several options). At the very moment we were about to decide - the Beatles song "In My Life" came on. The song was written primarily by John Lennon with some input from Paul McCartney.  It was designed as a life reflection put to music. We knew immediately that the name My Life would work. If you listen to the lyrics of the song, you'll hear a message that strongly supports the meaning behind our work - appreciating special people and significant moments in our life. Our company exists to help people celebrate significant moments with music. More selfishly, the name gives us reason to play that classic Beatles song whenever someone asks how we named the company.  Listen to the song and watch a short tribute to John Lennon here!

Click here if you want to learn more about our DJ service or receive a price quote for your upcoming event!