What’s Your Reward?

By Dave Austin, “Music Professor”
Last week was a harrowing experience…but I learned a valuable lesson which I feel compelled to share with you.
For the past couple of months I’ve been relocating my operations to Chattanooga, while at the same time, stepping out into an additional business venture.  If you’ve ever made a major move of business and household at the same time, I need not tell you that one’s entire live goes into chaos for a period of time.
In the midst of this, I had a wedding, which had been booked some months back, scheduled for last Saturday evening.  All week I had been attempting to prepare the bride and groom’s ceremony and reception music, but one obstacle after another seemed to pop up, ending with a complete crash of the computer which I was using to edit the couple’s music.  In short, after two and a half days of scurrying around, coupled with the purchase of a new PC, I finally got their music squared away.   I breathed a long sigh of relief!
Come Saturday morning of the scheduled wedding, we backed our vehicle up to the shop doors, and amid a steady rain, loaded all the needed equipment in preparation for making the dash to the venue some 60 miles away.  But, nooo!  It had been raining heavily all week and the wheels of our vehicle sank into the squishy waterlogged earth and would do nothing more than spin and dig themselves deeper into the mud.  We tried everything to extricate the vehicle, but nothing worked.  Finally, a wonderfully kind neighbor with a four wheel drive truck came to our rescue and after grateful thanks to him, we were on our way.
For the entire trip, the angry skies teased us with brief patches of blue and glimmers of weak sun.  However, when we reached the venue, a light but steady rain continued.  Oh, did I mention this was an outdoor wedding?
Our bride and groom had rented a good sized tent for the occasion, but because of the weather, had moved as much as possible under the canopy.  To say the least, seating was tight and they had decided not to set up the dance floor because of space limitations.  Fortunately, they had remembered to dedicate a small spot for my setup under a corner of the tent.  We were unable to park as near to the tent as I would have preferred and were obligated to handle our gear over fifty yards or so of wet ground to set up.  But, we managed and soon had music playing as guests began to arrive.
I had assumed that the wedding couple would surely move their ceremony from the outdoor arbor which had been set up on the nearby lawn.  It was not to be.  Apparently, the bride had her heart set on an outdoor ceremony, and despite the seemingly endless light rain, the couple had a lovely ceremony as a thoughtful guest held a large umbrella over their heads while they exchanged their vows.
Once the introductions were completed and the wedding party was under the tent, I incorrectly assumed there would be no dancing.  I could not have been more wrong.  Once everyone had passed through the buffet and enjoyed a slice of wedding cake, I was pleasantly surprised to see several couples dancing on the nearby lawn – raindrops and all!  Also, as it turned out, there was a very small spot directly in front of my booth where several couples and younger guests were dancing and jumping around to the music.
Despite all the problems encountered with this wedding, it will go down in my memory as one of the most rewarding ever.  As the evening ended, a number of guests made a point to come by the booth and tell me they enjoyed the music, another lady spoke with me about doing her wedding and has booked with me already.  Most gratifying, however, was when the bride and groom came, thanking me profusely,  saying that I had “made their wedding a success” and how they appreciated me helping them “pull it all together.”
Earlier, I mentioned that I had learned a valuable lesson.  First, it renewed my understanding of just how important our service can be to our clients.  On occasion, what we may see as unrewarded effort is, in fact, truly appreciated.  And…the reward?  Well, in truth, I probably lost money on this wedding because of having to buy a new computer and other expenses, but the look on the faces of that beautiful couple, the sense of personal satisfaction for having gone above and beyond in order to meet their expectations…  There’s no price we can assign to such as these.  It made me remember – these are some of the reasons why we do what we do.


  • Dave Austin began his career at age 13 at a small, hometown radio station. He went on to graduate from the University of Southern Mississippi with a Bachelor’s degree in broadcasting. Since that time, Dave has been a mobile and radio DJ, radio station Program Director, and a TV news reporter and anchorman. He has also done voiceover work for documentaries and commercials. In 1986 Dave’s longtime passion for music prompted him to start “Southern Celebrations DJs,” a multi-system mobile entertainment company serving clients in Tennessee, Northern Georgia and Northern Alabama. You can email him c/o TheDJDave@aol.com

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