Wow, where do I start? This was the last Fri., Sat., Sun. weekend for me for 2007. Unless a random Sunday event books before the end of the year, of course. I still have a few Fri., Sat. weekends coming up. I am reluctant to book anymore Sunday events this year. I start to really get burnt out this time of year; it’s been a really long wedding season.
Friday night I was in Milwaukee. It was a full day, ceremony in one place, cocktail hour in another and reception in a third location on the same property. My set up plans and pre-sorting/coordination of my equipment was very important. But! As we know, no matter how much planning you do, things never go exactly as planned. I arrived with an extra hour of time to juggle the different set ups. The venue had a “ceremony sound system” set up already and the manager told me I could patch into it with my CD player and mics, so needless to say, I was delighted. (One less thing to worry about) I took a look at the system and it was average quality,s o i figured it would work well. Their system had to work, because setting up my system next to theirs would have been a TON of sound equipment in the backdrop of the ceremony, so I went with it. The sound check sounded pretty good.
I rushed upstairs, wrestled with the elevator for a little bit, hauled all my stuff down a long hallway and finally found an open door to the reception room. Most of the employees at venue locations are really nice and helpful, but every now and then you run into some really ignorant, rude people. The staff at this place saw me come in, but they left their boxes, carts, and tons of garbage right in front of the only accessible door. I moved a few things out of the way (as they all watched) and slid my equipment through. By the time I gathered a few more things and went to enter the room again, they had a ton more garbage right in the pathway I made! Not to mention all the dish ware on the table designated for the DJ. hahahaha It sucks when you have to deal with stuff, but it’s part of the business.
I got everything set up in the reception room just in time to go sound check a performer for the ceremony. She sounded great; she liked the levels and the sound as well. The ceremony started and the house system was sounding okay. Until! The building next door to the ceremony started playing really loud music on their outdoor system. It was ridiculously loud and the sound system was already turned up to its max. I tried to turn it louder, but it began to distort. It was embarrassing because I was in plain sight of all the guests and you know they thought that crap house equipment was mine! It’s just one of those lose/lose situations you cannot avoid. The bride and groom did not mention anything…I think the outburst from next door masked the subtle things that seemed huge in my mind.
Saturday was a long haul to the other side of Madison, WI. Luckily, there was no ceremony service required;
I did not have to arrive until 4:30pm. There was a mother of one of the newlyweds that was a real piece of work. She would grab me by the arm and drag me across the room trying to make me do things that were already taken care of or were on my agenda. She was not very friendly, but you have to keep smiling in situations like this. I always force myself and really strive to remain professional.
Things went smooth until the dance floor opened. It was one of those crowds where the young crowd wanted to dance right away to up tempo music. I always advise my customers against this, but the groom came up and told me to “start playing hip-hop right away”, so I reluctantly did. Older guests immediately began to express their concerns, so I started “sets” of music to try and satisfy everyone. You have to really be careful how you balance the music genres in a situation like this and consult with the bride and groom…which I did…several times. Remember the mother? Well, needless to say, she gave her opinion on music several times. I almost thought it was her wedding there for a second. My balance of music was not working great. Whenever I would play oldies the young group would get upset and whenever I would play up tempo music the older guests would get frustrated. Hmmmm….what do you do? Slow dances! But, you can only play so many slow dances, even though they are a crowd favorite. They seemed to satisfy everyone, so I did a prior requested Dollar Dance and Generation Dance during this time as well. The rest of the evening I bounced back and forth with tempo and I tried to choose songs that would satisfy young and old. Also, I would plug in appropriate requests during song sets. Everyone seemed to have a good time. The ride back to Milwaukee was dark and long.
Ewww, Sunday’s wedding was in central Illinois with an early ceremony. So, I was on the road really early Sunday morning with no sleep. (with Sunday drivers) Note: Always budget time for Sunday drivers. The crazy thing about the Sunday wedding was I arrived and the hall already had a full, professional sound system set up and ready to go. I could not understand why the bride did not tell me this in any of our recent conversations. Oh, well, I was 2 hours early. The night went really well or should I say evening. The reception ended at 8:30pm. Evidently, there was a contract disagreement between the bride and the hall. They had to be out by 8:30pm, and they had me scheduled until midnight. It was kind of a treat after a long tiring weekend. Again, needless to say, it was a long ride back to Brew City, the bext day of course. I grew up in the South suburbs of Chicago, so I stayed with family.
See you next weekend. Bill