Ask any bride about the most important piece of her wedding day puzzle and she’ll most definitely tell you it was also the most expensive, most daunting decision: entertainment. Likewise, if you as what she regrets most, the answer will be the same. Sometimes, it’s due to cost cutting. Other times, it’s due to the decision battle between band and disc jockey. Regardless, the decision of wedding entertainment is crucial to the success of her big day.
As I began my music career, nearly 10 years ago, the occasional wedding gig was a premium event, worthy of only my best performance. Couples were willing to pay a premium rate for someone who could produce an incredibly romantic, yet professional, performance. Most often, things went without a hitch. However, there were occasional miscommunications, such as the time a bride requested the song “Crazy” by Patsy Cline to be performed as their wedding song, only to be embarrassed at her wedding when I began performing, as she realized that she had the wrong artist and really wanted “Crazy” by Gnarles Barkley. As such, I’ve learned a few, valuable tips in my decade of performing, that I believe will be of great value to other up-and-coming wedding entertainment professionals.
1.) Visibility – Make your service visible in a multitude of media formats. At the minimum, you’ll want a newspaper advertisement, a spot in the yellow pages and a well-designed website, complete with photos, videos and music samples. If the bride can’t find you, she can’t book you. I made the mistake, at the beginning, of not having a web presence, and paid for it by losing out on a lot of possible gigs – simply for lack of internet capability.
2.) Repertoire – A diverse, well equipped music library is a must. If you’re a solo performer, the task is more difficult, but with dedication to the craft, it will be worth the added preparation. Have a well-produced demo tape, or CD, available. Include 5-6 songs from different eras. One of the greatest improvements I have made is the preparation of standards from the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. In today’s market, they are becoming increasingly popular.
3.) Attire – Dress professionally, at all times. Respect the bride’s wishes. She is, after all, footing the bill. Rarely have I performed where a bride has not requested something special for my attire, which I would not have worn, otherwise.
Most important of all, HAVE FUN! The reception guests want to see that you are having just as much fun entertaining them, as they are having being entertained. An enthusiastic, fun-loving entertainer will nearly always get more word-of-mouth bookings and added revenue generation, simply from being an entertainer. That is, after all, what we’re all about.
The author, D. Benjamin Satkowiak, has had a successful co-career as a wedding disc jockey and wedding performer, spanning almost a decade.