By Alan Dodson, “Wedding Wizard”
Attending the wedding rehearsal could be the most important opportunity to impress your professionalism to your clients. As a wedding entertainer, you’ve probably provided sound for dozens of ceremonies. You have played the music, probably not more than four songs, and watched the bridal party march. Easy stuff, right? It certainly can be, so why on earth should you attend the rehearsal?
I recently conducted a poll on a large DJ Facebook group. There were hundreds of respondents and a majority said they did not and many said they absolutely would not attend wedding rehearsals. But, almost one third stated that they attended most if not all rehearsals. Only 6% stated that they attend all rehearsals plus offer additional entertainment services for rehearsal day. Of those that said they did not attend many made additional comments about not being paid to be there, or would attend if paid additionally to attend. Also gleaned from the comments of those not attending, a large majority put very little importance on the ceremony itself. Some of those stated “waste of time,” “I would be standing around doing nothing,” “There is no need for this.” And, “if they pay me extra.”
Are you “Just” a DJ?
I do admit that for a long time, I had many of the same excuses for not attending the rehearsal. However, as time moved on and I grew in my career from “just a DJ” to a wedding entertainment specialist, my attitude changed. Consequently, so did my income! What changed my mind? It’s your time to shine as an expert. Your clients are paying you for your expertise, so any opportunity that allows you to show your value and experience should be used to impress the client and improve your services.
You are not showing up to learn the structure of the ceremony; you learned that in the first dozen that you worked. I know from experience, at some point in the rehearsal the officiant will ask about the music and the cue points. Some will actually say “Is the DJ here?” Imagine the thoughts of the bride and groom if you are not. Now they are wondering why you did not come, and that looks bad on you.
It is not necessary to set up a lot of equipment. A simple, battery powered, sound amplification device, a tablet or phone to provide music to allow the wedding party to practice with the actual music for the day. While the bride and groom will be familiar with the music being used, this will likely be the first time that the bridesmaids and groomsmen and the parent actually hear the music being used. At many of the rehearsals, I end up taking the lead and directing the flow, unless there is a competent planner present. In some cases avoiding total disaster!
A BIG Opportunity
The rehearsal gives you an opportunity to meet all of the wedding party, to create personal connections, to verify pronunciations of names, to meet the officiant and inform them of how they will be “wired for sound” and to clarify timing of the flow of the ceremony. It gives you the chance to find out about last minute changes, like the addition of a reading, or a change in order of participants. You can speak with the parents and find out their feelings before the big day. These are the moments that can help make the wedding day fantastic. Most of the time you will also be invited to rehearsal dinner which expands the opportunity for interaction with the bridal party. This is a great way to enhance your grand entrance and change announcements to introductions with personal information about the members of the wedding party.
An additional bit of information that came from this survey was that the people that absolutely did not attend rehearsals were treating the rehearsal and ceremony as an inconvenient add-on that they considered as only a prelude to the reception and party. They place little value to the ceremony both financially and philosophically. If these people placed a higher value on the event, they could and would charge an appropriate fee that included attendance to the rehearsal. Many DJs place too much emphasis on the dance floor rather than the events of the wedding that brought this group of people to a party. Taking this attitude is, in my opinion, a disservice to the clients.
The most important reason of all is to be there to support the clients. They look to you as a professional to provide support. This is the first step to their most important day, they are going through all of this for the first time and they will be looking to the wedding professional s that they hired. They need help, they want help! So, are you going to be a professional and be well prepared ….. or are you just going to wing it?