If you haven’t heard all the buzz about the guy who staged a fake wedding so he could propose to his fiance, then you must be living under a rock. I know that guy. He’s the 2011 and 2012 winner of the “DJ of the Year” competition, Jack Bermeo.
At first, Cosmopolitan magazine picked up on the proposal that he had videotaped, then it was Huffington Post, People and countless others. Eventually CNN came calling for an interview, and the momentum hasn’t stopped yet (see video below.) I asked Jack why he planned to propose to Sophia in this unusual manner, and how he feels about all of the attention he’s been getting from the video of his staged proposal:
“The creativeness of a proposal was right under my nose. I host events every weekend so when I found out I had one Saturday off in August, it only made sense to mislead my girlfriend to a fake wedding on that night. Hosting weddings is second nature to me, so to duplicate what I witness every weekend was pretty easy. Fake cake, grooms, bridal party, thirty random people, videographer, centerpieces, DJ entertainment (LJDJS of course), venue, engagement shoot, violinist and percussionist and fake-seating arrangements was set. Believe it or not, I pulled this off with just six days of preparation and we really had fun with it. Kandy, my assistant, did a fantastic job coordinating my script – yes, I scripted everything out!
“The attention I’ve been receiving is quite frankly, shocking. I knew that my proposal would be original and get some local notice but I NEVER thought it would go INTERNATIONAL and VIRAL. People from my area do recognize me from the video and when they do it’s usually an awkward moment. It’s usually a woman coming up to me while she is dragging her boyfriend along. She’ll say, ‘I saw your proposal… that was amazing…’ and as she’s saying this, I’m looking right at the guy’s awkward facial expression. Its just funny to see the position the guys are in after I supposedly raised the bar for marriage proposals.”
34 year-old Jack’s uber classy company, LJDJs Event Design & Entertainment and his team of nine DJs and MCs (Two are bi-lingual) perform over 400 events per year for Weddings, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, Sweet 16s, Quinceaneras, and Super Proms throughout New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania, as well as a few destination events.
Seventeen years in the making, today LJDJs boasts numerous and varied enhancements from which they can choose, creating full-scale production events. These include LED Up-lighting, TV Screens, Intelligent Lighting, Projected Monograms, Motivators, VJ Show, Blacklight Show, Photo booths, Live Musicians and Novelty Entertainment, Junk Trunk, Photo Montages, Furniture, Cake Pops and Candy Stations, Step and Repeat, and Staging and Runways.
I’m wondering (and you must be too) if Jack and his crew keep all of these items warehoused at his Belleville, NJ location, and how he organizes his inventory:
“We to have a store front with a showroom of 2,500 square feet. Here we can design some cool concepts for our clientele and we also keep most of our production in a warehouse not too far away. I have two production crew members that organize the trucks, vans and trailers during the week after a busy weekend. Monday: Clean out the vehicles and organize the garage. Tuesday: Check inventory and make sure the equipment is up to par. Wednesday: Check status on orders placed for repairs and inventory. We also start mapping out the vehicles for the weekends. Thursday: Pack the vehicles. The fun begins on Friday AM through Sunday night.”
Jack started his career as a club DJ and eventually made the transition to becoming a mobile. Here’s how he did it:
“The club nightlife was a great run for a few years. The transition came abruptly when I was just twenty years old and one of my mentors decided to stop DJing. He asked me to fill in for him. Then, two other mobile DJs, I knew decided to do the same thing. I was like WHY?! I felt I had a huge responsibility to make sure their clients were in good hands with me.
At the time I could beat match and throw down mixes pretty fast but that wasn’t enough, so I had to learn how to MC ASAP! I did not want to disappoint any of my mentors who were also friends so I had to step up my game. Once I knew what to do, I felt the chemistry between being both a DJ and MC. I was on fire and couldn’t stop…I wanted MORE.”
With all of LJDJs upsells, attention to detail and customer service, it’s no wonder his company rakes in an impressive annual income. Jack’s best advice for multi-ops who want to thrive like his?
“The one thing I love to do and I do it well, is to LISTEN to RELATE to prospects and clients. If they have fun ideas I will add to their vision by raising the bar and being daring. I think that’s what makes me different from most DJ business owners. The fact that I refuse to say NO to any idea that is pitched to me. I think saying no is building a wall unnecessarily because I do not know what the outcome of an idea will be – great or not. To be successful you must not put up walls. They are built to stop and contain… I hate walls. I go through them.”
The Story of Jack’s Proposal to Sophia
The fake bridal party was made up of friends, family, and complete strangers who were all wearing matching corsages, and colors. The grooms were dressed in pink Tuxedos looking “fabulous.” When Jack and Sophia arrived to the event and entered the room admiring the fake engagement photo, the actors began working the room. They said hello to every person there like they had known them for years, and alas it was time to greet Sophia. The conversation was vague, but poignant leaving off with a, “so glad you could make it” as Ghanem smiled and walked away. The bridal party then left the room to make their entrance. As the DJ called out names the bridal party entered the room being introduced as bridesmaids, groomsmen, and family. We even purposely asked one of the bridesmaids to trip two times to deter from the perfection factor making the reception more realistic. Finally, it was time for Ghanem and Micucci to have their first dance. Their names were called and they walked onto the floor initially dancing for fun, but then got more serious when All of Me by John Legend began to play. The grooms slow danced, smooched, and pretended to tear selling the audience, but more importantly Sophia. About thirty seconds into the playing of the song the DJ asked all members attending the wedding to join the grooms on the dance floor, in which everyone did. The entire crowd danced for a moment and then slowly moved out to the edges leaving only Jack and Sophia standing center stage. At this moment, the video screens switched over to photos of Jack and Sophia, simultaneously while the couple’s true friends and family began sneaking out of the side door from the upstairs. As Sophia and Jack were entangled in a moment of passion, dry ice rolled over the dance floor making it appear as if the couple was dancing on a cloud. That is when Jack whispered words to Sophia and got down on his one knee and asked for her hand in marriage. It took a few moments for Sophia to understand the surprise occurring, but she accepted which brought the room to tears of joy. After the acceptance of the ring she turned around seeing her friends and family who flew in from Las Vegas which brought on an even deeper level of beautiful emotion in the room. From that moment on it was the surprise engagement party for Jack and Sophia. With an elaborate setup, a great group of cooperative people, and the use of The LJDJS company a modern day wedding proposal was accomplished. From the defiance of societal norms about a gay couple to the ultimate surprise of proposing at someone else’s wedding, it was exciting and will be spoken about for a lifetime amongst the participants. It was not just a moment: it was an experience.