By Dave Austin, “Music Professor”
Here’s the situation: You have a bride who has booked her wedding with you several months ago and has given you a cash deposit. As the weeks roll by, you’re getting no response from your bride, despite your calling her and encouraging her to begin providing you with the information you’ll need for her event. You propose a face-to-face meeting with her. She tells you that she’s attending school, is very busy and doesn’t have the time. More time passes, and still, no response from the bride, even after you’ve sent her a letter stressing the importance of getting her information to you in a timely manner. As added incentive and convenience, you included another complete set of forms for her use in organizing her information. Still no response.
It’s quite understandable that putting a wedding together while attending college full time is a challenge, however a little more than month before the wedding date, it’s probably a safe bet that the bride’s dress has been purchased, attendants’ attire has been selected, a venue booked, flowers, food and other items finalized. So, based on your experience – or lack of – with her, you conclude that the DJ is among the last items on her list of concerns.
As a professional, you take great care and pride in your performances. After all, your reputation and future business depend on it, and you certainly don’t want to undertake an event as involved as a wedding and come off looking like an amateur. As a practical matter, managing your business and meeting your other obligations prohibit you from spending an inordinate amount of time and energy chasing after such recalcitrant clients. So, what are you going to do at this point?
I brought up this question to some of fellow DJs and received diverse responses. It was promptly noted that some people are just dawdlers, or are disorganized and put things off until the very last moment. I think each of us can all relate to that.
Another DJ raised the possibility that such a bride is likely to continue delaying until the very last moment, not allowing the DJ sufficient time to prepare. However, it is also likely that her expectations of the DJ will be much the same, just as if she had provided her information and input in a timely manner. Rather than trying to deal with such a situation, the suggestion was made that the DJ, in his or her own best interests, should bow out and refunds the bride’s deposit. It was also noted that, dropping a client in such a manner, could prompt her to “badmouth” you, despite the fact that she failed to hold up her side of the arrangement.
Others argued that the DJ has taken on the obligation to provide a service to the client, and therefore should deal with the problem, doing whatever possible to involve the bride and gain the needed information from her, using such methods as phone calls, email, texting, etc. Failing this, relying on past experience with weddings could help fill in some of the missing information. It was again pointed out that one could still run the risk of having a displeased client after all is said and done.
Another proposed idea was to contact the mother, groom or even the wedding coordinator to assist in getting the bride to come forth with her information. These are people likely to be among those closest to the bride at this time and may serve as a valuable resource in helping you do your job.
For the younger or entry DJs reading this, weddings are times of high emotion for most brides and grooms and you are likely to find yourself in the midst of it all. There is so much more to providing DJ services for weddings and receptions than the inexperienced person can imagine. Therefore, preparing as thoroughly as possible can help to avert, or at least deal with, potential unexpected situations. Even the most seasoned pro will quickly tell you that it is not unusual to be faced with the unexpected at events. However, walking into a wedding or reception “blind” because your bride did not provide you with the necessary information or guidance is a scary prospect. When it comes to the music and entertainment, you are the one everyone is looking to, and no matter who was at fault, the blame for a sub-par performance will fall on you.
I encourage you to give some thought to our above scenario. What would you do? It’s a pretty good bet that if you remain in the DJ business long enough, you will encounter this or a similar situation and it’s a good idea to have given some preparatory thought about your options. To paraphrase a popular song, “Should you stay or should you go?”