Two Turn Tables and a Microphone – my day as a DJ assistant
After my little stint as a florist for a day with B Huff, I decided I would tackle each part of the wedding industry in this manner and share what this job is all about. Behind the scenes. The work, the play, the sweat, the dance moves… I had this opportunity over the weekend to assist Allegro Entertainment DJ Anthony. Being a DJ (assistant) is just as fun as you imagine.
DJ ANTHONY WITH ONE OF HIS BRIDES
Picking songs. Watching people have the time of their life. Literally. You know we played that jam from Dirty Dancing and yes it’s always way more entertaining when someone does the famous lift.
Having a full dance floor and people running up saying: this is my song! Totally. Awesome. The light show! The beats! The flowing champagne! It’s all just Simply the Best – Tina Turner Style! I couldn’t help but have a small dance party myself behind the booth – in fact I would much rather prefer to be on the dance floor to get funky funky funky funky everybody clap your hands clap clap clap clap your hands! but it’s not my day and there is a time and place for that. Even bringing tears to the grooms eye because you play the one song that reminds him of everything wonderful in his life. The group dances where they stand in a circle and out sing each other (not necessarily the right words but those are just details- details that I in fact struggle with myself so no judgement) while taking turns having dance-offs in the center. The slow dances that bring couples to the floor to sway closely together, making them stop and remember the romance of the day, perhaps reminisce of a slow dance they shared before.
AND WHO DOESN’T LOVE AN ADORABLE COUPLE SLOW DANCING?
As a single person enjoying the beats of Ke$ha and Usher, slow dances are always a big bummer to me because they ruin the flow. Let’s be honest, they don’t really ruin THE flow, they ruin MY flow. I’m cranky because I’m usually without a date having convinced myself it’s easier without one as I’m usually a bridesmaid or working right. But the point is, the slow songs gave me a new perspective on the party- there are folks who love a slow dance and you have to entertain all your guests. Not everyone is into sandwich dancing (as my parents call it), or line dancing or even the circle dance-off. Something for everyone guarantees a super happy crowd and that’s what we are going for. So bust out the Brian Adams and Tim McGraw because we are going to get slow and romantic for a few folks. Plus slow songs are a great time to freshen up your cocktails, hit up the photo booth or the potty. As a guest who always is bummed at the last song, I now understand why receptions aren’t all day affairs. It’s not just about saving their livers or bank accounts. This is one long night from start time to end time. After 5 And 6 hours of following the must play list, must not play list (usually 3 pages longer than the must play list), making sure each song transitions smoothly, handling requests, announcements and all the traditional and non-traditional pieces of the reception, and confirming that the couple is satisfied (although we do feel like stalkers checking in but you can’t redo this party) then our job is nearly done.
AS A DJ WE ANNOUNCE AND COUNT DOWN THE GARTER TOSS… CAN YOU GUESS WHICH SINGLE LADY IS GOING TO CATCH LUYEN’S BOUQUET? (that’s right, front and center 🙂
Nearly. But here’s how this not-so-glamorous job begins and ends. First you have to haul a van full of equipment into the venue. We are talking multiple trips even with a dolly. Sometimes upstairs. In my case, it was upstairs which means NO DOLLY. Can’t complain though, it was a great bicep and quad workout. However as cute as my heels were they were not the best decision I had made that day. So now you have to set up. Awesome. This particular party also had up-lighting. So literally we had a suitcase of power cords. A suitcase. On wheels. Thank goodness. It was definitely TSA approved as a carry-on but would require the assistance of at least two flight attendants to help get that bad boy in an over head compartment. So now you know lots of cords. With those cords comes the hazard of tripping… I tried twice sober so we know at a four hour open bar, it’s imperative to tape all the cords down. Safety first. I completely agree. Now we are tapping cords for 15 up-lights, a gobo, a slide show projector and the speakers, lighting and sound system for the actual booth. That’s a whole lotta tape. And guess what-It’s a whole lotta bending and snapping Actually it’s not as cute as Elle Woods- it’s more of a on-your hands-and-knees work out. All around the room. No big deal. But it feels so great when it’s all done and cords are safely and neatly concealed…
SEE NOW ISN’T THAT PURDY?
Until the end of the night when you have to remove all of this super sticky tape from the floor and the cords – it is NOT fun. In my case, I realize I’m calling myself out here but it’s part of the experience, the tape kept sticking together and then sticking to my fresh manicure which pulled the polish off. Annoying. Keep in mind, this is just the set up and break down which was what I had the pleasure in experiencing, but this doesn’t cover all the preliminary work that goes into preparing for a wedding. There is a whole list of things that the owners and office employees do to ensure that the couple’s every request is met and communicated. Needless to say, yes, a DJ’s job is fun, but it’s a TON of work and again, the similar lesson learned here is that they are worth every penny. I’m not saying that my shoes and nails aren’t cut out for the job of a DJ… nor am I saying that if given the opportunity again would I say no. In fact, had a blast and a new found respect for the DJ’s and look forward to droppin’ the beats again. What I am saying is that I will happily stick to my job as wedding planner and when I talk to my brides about the DJ’s they hire, I can explain in detail what that job entails and what to look for. Thanks for the awesome experience Anthony and Dori! ***please note, I am well aware that I am breaking some grammatical rules in case my high school English teacher takes a ganderloo at this-… my disclaimer is that it’s part of my charm***