This is the first question we are all asked when a potential client reaches out to us. The answer isn’t easy. Why? Because, simply put…we are dealing with intangibles. Yes, we all have music. Yes, we all have speakers. Yes, we all make announcements…but the results are very different depending upon who brings the music, the gear and makes the announcements. The talent level between DJ entertainers is quite diverse, and therefore the different pricing structures is enough to make any bride’s head spin.
This article isn’t about price fixing. This article is about charging what you are worth. If you are just having fun and want free beer, have at it! If you just love music and enjoy helping out friends and family for a few hundred bucks, have at it. I’m not addressing you. My message here is to those who either promise that they can deliver everything the expensive companies do at a fraction of the price, and then absolutely FAIL to deliver and those who have the talent to deliver, but practically give their service and their gear away for free! Both are wrong and both are really hurting the DJ industry.
The Great Pretenders
Just because you play song requests does not mean you have customized a wedding. Having an online planning form, or worse…a printed planning form with illegible writing does not constitute a comprehensive agenda. Pulling prose from a couple’s wedding website about how they met and reading it at the wedding IS NOT delivering a “Love Story”! And finally, spouting a family tree dissection or giving biographical information about the wedding party IS NOT a personalized Grand Entrance. If you are promising deliverables with catchy titles just because the expensive companies use these same words…you are doing your clients a disservice. Stop selling a service that you are not delivering!
The Diamonds in the Rough
You’re talented. You love music. You give great customer service. You deliver a great product and your clients love you. Why wouldn’t they? You give them your talent, your time and tons of free upgrades. Stop it! Your time is worth more and you are worth more! Stop giving things away! If you have close to a perfect score on Wedding Wire, and if you close practically every sales meeting, you are giving away the store and leaving money on the table. Charge what you are worth, and it’s probably more than you think.
The Real Deal
You know who you are. You have talent. You have skill, and your clients absolutely love you and they happily paid you what you are worth…. some of them even changed their wedding date to make sure that YOU were their DJ.
You are creative, you offer personalized service and you are committed to excellence. Why? Because this is your job and you love it… and it shows at every wedding. You are the true leaders in our industry. You are the ones who keep redefining what a fun wedding reception could be, and should be! Thank You!
Be honest with yourselves and with your customers and make sure that what you are selling is what you are delivering and make sure the price you charge represents accordingly!
Following on from my last blog post, I’d like to tell you a bit more about the workshops I attended in Las Vegas, and why I’m so excited about implementing everything I’ve learned into my performances here in the UK as a Wedding DJ and Master of Ceremonies.
All three workshops were incredible and I was honoured to be taught by people who are undoubtedly the best and most respected wedding entertainers in the world. Mark and Rebecca Ferrell’s ’Gold Master of Ceremonies’ workshop, together with Peter Merry (author of The Best Wedding Reception Ever) & Elisabeth Scott Daley’s ‘Make it Grand‘ and ‘The Professional Process‘ were all very different, but they had the same thread running through them all. It would be impossible for me to list here the wealth of information I came home with, but I’m literally bursting with ideas, enthusiasm and excitement, and I can’t wait to put it all into practice and get started.
If there’s one thing that’s very clear to me now, it’s this. In comparison to the USA, the UK wedding entertainment industry has been seriously lacking in something, and it’s thatsomething that I’ve brought home with me.
Grand Entrances can be much more
Here in the UK, we tend to compartmentalise weddings into three different sections: the ceremony, the wedding breakfast and the evening entertainment. Sadly, there is often very little that links those three sections together; no glue to hold them in place, no precision, no personalisation, no script, nothing that moulds them into one breathtaking, jaw-dropping event. As wedding entertainers, I think we’ve been lazy. As brides and grooms, I think we’ve been complacent.
It’s time to change….and I want to make that change.
We’ve all been to weddings where a Toastmaster or MC will ask us to be upstanding for the bride and groom, briefly introduce friends or family members for speeches, and then signal the ‘cutting of the cake’ and the ‘first dance’. To be honest, it’s all rather bland (and that’s putting it politely). And that’s why Peter Merry & Elisabeth Scott Daley’s ‘Make it Grand’ workshop completely opened my eyes to what we’ve been doing wrong, and to how much more magical and memorable these moments can actually be. The sub-header on the website says: Equipping Wedding Entertainers to Deliver the Most Creative, Personalised Grand Entrances…EVER! And that’s exactly what I intend to do.
So much more!
Every bride and groom I work with will be getting the red-carpet treatment they deserve and no longer will there be just a quick shuffle across the room as they make their way to their seats. By continuing to take the time to really get to know my couples, by combining my writing and delivery skills and by personalising each and every moment, their special day will be unique, fun and jam-packed with emotion. And it doesn’t end there. The entire wedding party – the best man and the bridesmaids, the parents and grandparents – they will all have their time in the spotlight too. It’s all about creating wonderful, lasting memories and I guarantee that the guests will be in awe of what they’re witnessing – not to mention a really nice way to honour them as important people in your life.
I flew half way across the world to learn how to get it right from the most sought after Master of Ceremonies in the United States. And once word get outs, weddings in the UK will never be the same again.
If you’d like to learn more about my process and how I can make your wedding far more than you ever dreamed it could be, just click here. I promise you won’t ever regret it.
What happens when an Author/Comedian and a Broadway Actress/Theatre Arts Major who are both highly skilled Disc Jockeys and Master Of Ceremonies collaborate?
They develop a M.I.G. Workshop
What does M.I.G. stand for you ask?
Maximum Investment Gain?
Must Invest Gathering?
More Intense Guidance?
Meeting Intriguing Guys & Gals?
Many Intangible Gifts?
Move Into Greatness?
Mind Intellectual Goodness?
Most Information Gleen
Married Introduction Guide?
More Interested Guests?
These are ALL good guesses and benefits of attending the workshop, but the answer is:
Make It Grand!
You will receive a Gift
Peter Merry and Liz Daley use their talents and experience to create an environment for YOU to develop your own way to express yourself and relate to your audience as a Master Of Ceremonies. You will then combine YOUR expression with appropriate music and sound drops.
They will Make It Grand For You
Although you will learn proven techniques, they want you to find what lies within you – to tap into your creative side. You will share this journey with likeminded peers. You will receive critique from ALL their perspectives of your performance and expose your strengths and weaknesses as an Entertainer.
You Can Then Share your Gifts and Make it Grand for Them
The result is a personalized, entertaining, fun and memorable celebration for your clients, their family and friends.
What this means to Me – I Am A Desert Rose
The Desert Rose or more commonly know as “Adenium”, is a flowering plant found in the desert regions of Africa and Arabia. The flowers are a sight to behold, and you’ll enjoy them in abundance each summer. Clusters of gorgeous pink or red flowers grow at the tips of the stems, with a succession of blooms.
I think of my unique presentation and style as this Rose that will continue to grow and bloom. The desert, terrain and sky are the musical flower bed and backdrop for my presentation.
Your peers will fertilize your Rose to help you grow.
Peter and Liz will water and prune what is necessary to highlight your Rose and help you set the scene.
For me it was an uncomfortable, challenging and rewarding workshop. I experienced a knee-knocking, lump in my throat “watershed” moment. For this I give thanks to God!
I can imagine the possibilities, feel empowered and am excited about using this gift.
While I can’t guarantee you will have such an epiphany, I couldn’t have had better Gardeners to tend to my Rose.
I am now secure in the fact I will never be the same personally or professionally. And neither will my clients’ events be!
Matt & Erin had 19 wedding party members to be introduced in an outdoor setting…so we opted for a format called “Who’s Getting Introduced Next?” which was submitted by Randy Bartlett as a creative idea in the Grand Entrance chapter of my book, “The Best Wedding Reception…Ever!” It should be no surprise to note that Randy is a Wedding Entertainment Director™. If you would like to learn more about the techniques in writing, rehearsal, and delivery…along with staging tips and getting immediate feedback on your current performance skills…joins us for our next 2-day workshop.
Sun-Soaked River-Side Ceremony filled with love and laughter!
Jonathan and I just wanted to express how pleased we were with your services and how much we appreciated everything you did to make our wedding day so WONDERFUL and SPECIAL! We couldn’t have asked for a more professional or talented DJ to work with!
We had so many people tell us how wonderful you were and how you made our wedding! That is exactly what we wanted to hear! We will definitely tell others about you.
Thanks for EVERYTHING!
Jonathan and Amy
Amy shares a moment with her father after surprising him with a special recording.
Dancing by the River
Liz Daley and Peter Merry served as co-Masters of Ceremonies for Amy and Jonathan’s riverside wedding ceremony and reception at Westover Plantation in Charles City, Virginia.
I just got home last evening from Cleveland, Ohio, where I attended the two day, “Make It GRAND!” workshop. Facilitated by Peter Merry and Liz Daley, two well known and respected wedding entertainment veterans, the workshop provides 16- hours of advanced training, designed to teach individuals the nuanced art of being a highly sought after Master of Ceremonies at weddings and other functions.
In the interest of full-disclosure, Peter & Liz have been my friends for many years. They’re also the force behind the Wedding Entertainment Directors Guild, for which I am also a member. But, above all, Peter has always been a very unselfish mentor to me and someone who I respect greatly for his talent and entertainment expertise. These factors may have contributed to the reason I felt compelled to attend the workshop but have nothing to do with the value of what I learned.
Obviously, Peter wrote the book on wedding entertainment and is fairly well known to just about everyone in the DJ industry. Liz, on the other hand, may not be as familiar. Her contribution as a facilitator, though, is extremely valuable. She holds a degree in the theatre arts and was a working actress in New York for 12 years. That stage background gives her a unique perspective when it comes to discussing performance technique
Effective Writing and Storytelling
The title of the workshop, “Make It GRAND!,” is somewhat misleading. Some may think, as I did, that it would revolve entirely around making grand entrances at wedding receptions more fun, personal and entertaining. Although the majority of the curriculum does focus on that important element, there were far greater lessons to be learned, particularly about being an effective writer, story teller and Master of Ceremonies.
Intimate Work Environment
The workshop was a small classroom setting. I was joined by seven other wedding DJs from the Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Chicago areas. Our classes began at 9:00 a.m. each day and didn’t end until 6:00 p.m. or later. Even lunch time was spent in the classroom. It would have been easy for the days to become long and tedious. But, the content that Peter & Liz provided was always relevant, entertaining, never ending and of benefit to everyone who made the investment to attend.
For me, it wasn’t the content alone that made the experience so worthwhile. Each day we were asked to write a number of personalized, wedding party introduction scripts and deliver them as though we were in performance. To some that may not seem like a big deal. Anybody can do that, right?
But, knowing that each of my performances were going to be videotaped and reviewed, not just by Peter & Liz, but by everyone in attendance, can be intimidating. Suddenly, whatever self-confidence I may normally feel in front of a large group of strangers at a wedding reception gave way to a bit of stage-fright in front of a small group of my peers. What made those moments so special was having individuals who genuinely care about the quality of my performance offering ideas, advice and direction that will, if followed and practiced, make me a better wedding entertainer. And, that sense of care was felt by everyone in my class.
Safe and Structured Constructive Criticism
Peter & Liz provide a “safe’ and structured environment in which to learn. Offering constructive criticism is an art. It’s easy to tell someone what they are doing wrong and leave it to them to simply change their behavior. Peter & Liz take a different approach and not only point out weaknesses, but provide examples of how you can convert those weaknesses into strengths. They give an honest appraisal of each performance, something that is difficult to receive from friends, family or even in self assessment. At the same time, they provide direction and suggestions that allow for immediate improvement. As I said above, however, much of what was learned will take practice to fully achieve. There are no short cuts to success. It takes confidence to explore new concepts and commitment to achieve one’s full potential.
Don’t be a “Clone”!
What the “Make it GRAND!” workshop is not is indoctrination into a specific performance style. Peter and Liz have never suggested that every wedding DJ follow their lead in performing personalized introductions at wedding receptions nor have they ever suggested that their way is the standard.
What they do offer is a technique that, if performed properly, will allow you to bring something exciting and different to your clients and their guests at wedding receptions. They give you the tools needed to better connect with an audience, emotionally engage them in the moment and leave them wanting more. Even their workshop came to an end all too soon. I would have gladly invested another day.
The common thread that those workshops share is that they open new horizons for becoming a better entertainer and for being a true master of your craft. They will stretch your talent and take you on a journey that is far away from your comfort zone and into areas of extraordinary possibilities that you never knew existed. But, you’ll also find caring, expert assistance that is dedicated to helping you reach your full potential as a performer and elevate your capability to exceed expectations, including your own.
Walt Disney once said, “We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” Moving forward requires a passion to take the first step in that direction. Opening new doors calls for courage and confidence. Doing new things involves imagination and an innovative spirit. Being curios takes little more than a desire to discover all that is possible.
Whether you attend the “Make It GRAND!” workshop or any other, open your mind to the likelihood that there is hidden talent within you, talent that is eager to be uncovered along a new path.
Editor’s Note: Ron Ruth of Ron Ruth Entertainment attended our workshop on April 23 and 24, 2012, in Cleveland, Ohio. The above article was written for the May 2012 Issue of Disc Jockey News.