Last week was built around a lot of preparation for the wedding I had successfully completed on Saturday night in Martha's Vineyard. It was big for a number of reasons. First, it was the kickoff wedding of the 2016 season for my - the first in a good size stretch to be honest. It was also the first large scale event I've booked since working for myself. Meaning that it was a fairly good size package with options added in, significant travel, and a number of new features that I was debuting at an event.
Now, I should also mention that this wedding was the first one I've worked since I left my former job in Television. It's safe to say that I was looking to deliver in any way possible and make it special of the Bride and Groom (of course!), but for my business this was sort of stepping out of the farm league and into the big game. If I say that I wasn't stressed - I'd be a damn liar. I've been a DJ and an entertainer of sorts for more than 20 years - and I'm confident in what I do, but the execution of everything from travel to set up had me triple checking things at minimum.
On Friday, I arrived at The Dunes at Winnetu Resort in Edgartown after a long day of travel from Western MA. The wedding party was gathered there in the afternoon for the scheduled rehearsal, and I was there to entertain for the Rehearsal Dinner/Party with music and Smartphone Trivia. The resort is absolutely breathtaking and the restaurant where the wedding reception was to take place was not yet set up - but looked to be a promising space for an elegant, but fun party. Hosting SpeedQuizzing was a huge hit with everyone. It also allowed for me to develop a bit of chemistry with the bridal party and some of the family who was also attending the gathering. I've only hosted a couple of outdoor Trivia events, and this specific location had me concerned as they have very strict rules regarding outdoor amplification and overall volume levels. In the end, we had no issues at all with the outdoor game and used a bit of creativity to make it work.
After the party wrapped, I decided to grab a couple beers and some food before heading back to the digs I found on Air BnB. Granted the place I was staying in was beautiful - but it was early and there's little to do aside from sleep. So I hit Henry's Pub in Edgartown and enjoyed a couple brew from Wash Ashore Brewery and splurge on a burger and truffle fries!
Despite my comfortable digs, I woke up at 3am on wedding day. Much like this morning actually! Wanted to run through the list of things to do and leave time to get it right. I still hadn't had any concrete decision on where to place the couples monogram projection.
Ultimately, I'd decide that with the input the event manager had, and the freedom the couple allowed - and factoring my own logistics, that projecting on the dark carpet at the entrance of the room in front of the gift table made the most sense and created the perfect impact. It looked great and made the impression I was hoping to make as guests were arriving.
Set up in general was pretty great. This was the first event where I had used my DJ Facade - which provided that 100% clean, elegance that I was looking for. I also scaled down my regular DJ setup. I had just installed a new 4 channel controller in my slant top console, but for travel decided that using my "trivia box" (which I use for mics and a sub mixer anyway), would be perfect if I used the old 2 channel controller with a laptop stand.
I loved it. As a matter of fact, as another first - this was the first event I've used VDJ 8 at over my old standby of version 7! I have to say that - I sort of fell back in love with mixing again! Anyway, Guests arrive from the ceremony and cocktail music is going. People are all "ooh & ah" about the lights, the decor, everything. The couple concludes photos outside and is waiting downstairs to be brought up and introduced. I get everyone all lined up and we're moving forward right on schedule (of course). Upon the conclusion of intros, we do the first dance, followed by a combined parents dance, then a special "Flash Mob" dance done at the surprise of the Groom! There we about 20 people in on this too.. it was pretty amazing. After all this concluded we excused everyone to their seats to begin dinner service. I should add that the staff at this venue was AMAZING. I overheard the pep talk right before go time - and they are managed by one seriously service oriented leader. They also were very focused on me sticking to a very strict schedule, which I pride myself on doing.
Next it was time to open the dance floor, as the couple had very little in the schedule for traditional reception events. I had first started catering the young kids (6 and under) with some songs for them as I knew they most likely would be heading home to bed soon. Then moved into some older, classic wedding jams to get everyone dancing. From there I just elevated into what the crowd was responding to. I took very few requests, as I seemed to hit the right points through most of the night, making sure to play the favorites that the Bride had requested in advance.
At one point the Event coordinator had asked me to reel them in a bit because they don't typically have weddings that get this boisterous and she had concerns about the hotel guests and sound levels. I played a couple slow jams and got them back up though. In the end we had no issues at all with sound levels, and ended exactly as scheduled. Upon packing up the management came out to thank me for such a professional job, to request business cards and ask if I'd agree to be listed as a preferred vendor. They apparently, like the way Bobby Roast Beef dresses up, and throws down at a party.
The conclusion of this wedding has me very excited for the future. It took me a lot of planning to execute this the right way, and ultimately it was a total success! I made a newly married couple extremely happy and had all the guests celebrating their new marriage enjoy themselves. Took me an hour to pack everything up and head out - I was completely exhausted heading back to my Air BnB and slept like a champ! Woke up early to catch my morning ferry back to the mainland and head home after a job well done.