Am I a wedding planner

Wedding Chair Covers

Rant alert! Wedding chair covers ~ when did they become a thing? Why do people have them? Should you put them in the FIB? What is a FIB?

I will attempt to answer some of these questions, but first let me just say, if you are going to have chair covers do them properly – like this! Make sure they add a real WOW to your wedding.

When did they become a thing? 

I have no idea! What I do think I know is why they became a thing – because of scruffy chairs that needed to be hidden!

Let’s be honest here, weddings are big business for many venues and many venues are a bit shabby with tired carpets and furniture. So, slapping some elegant covers on chairs and using beautiful drapes and fairy lights can improve a room very quickly. The problem, as I see it, is that the venue have found this is great way to charge every couple for the service.

 

Why do people have them? 

The chair covers make everything look clean and uniform. The addition of a sash gives you the opportunity to inject colour and maybe some bling, but that can be at considerable cost. I took the picture below at the recent Chilworth Manor Wedding Fayre and I got really excited because the venue has really good, neutral coloured, comfortable seats that didn’t need covering. That means you might have more to spend on really beautiful things like flowers, the lovely arrangement here was provided by our friend Carole from the Flower Stables.

Wedding chair covers

 

Should you put them in the FIB and what is the FIB?

OK first, the FIB … I’m going to call it the “Forget It Bucket” – but that’s not what the “F” really stands for. I first heard the phrase in the VERY excellent Bridechilla Podcast by Aleisha McCormack. I highly recommend this podcast, in fact I’d go as far as to say it’s essential listening BUT it does come with the warning that Aleisha is not for those who are easily offended by profanities. One of Aliesha’s jingles is “The Bridechilla Podcast, telling chair covers to get f****d since 2014”.  I’ll be posting more about BrideChilla soon but please check it out.

 

In Conclusion

A covered chair with a sash can look really elegant. However, once someones been sat in it for a while the sash often moves and it’s not quite as tidy. Badly tied sashes often come untied and end up being a slip/trip hazard on the floor. I know some venues where the same chairs are used for the ceremony in one room, then moved to another room for the wedding breakfast and then moved around again for the evening party, often the sashes need redoing several times. However they can be a good way of getting your colour theme into the day.

My personal opinion is book a venue with chairs that don’t need covers but if you do want, or need, to have covers do them well, create something special. Here’s a beautiful venue dressed to make it look even more gorgeous. It’s the Hampshire Barn at Norton Park (click here) and it was dressed by my friend Suzanne Tie The Knot Events (click here). The table cloths and sashes really take the room to another level while maintaining a clean, tidy feel.

Wedding Chair Covers

 

What a wedding is really about?

What a wedding is really about … what is a wedding all about?

Now there’s a topic we could talk about for days but, to me, it’s a moment in time when we celebrate the fact that two people met, fell in love and want to spend the rest of their lives together.

How they choose to celebrate is surely their choice?

I think it’s fair to say that often guys just want to give the woman of their dreams the day she wants. What if they disagree and what about others like the parents, should their feelings be considered in the planning?

My daughter got married in April last year. It was a beautiful day and her mum and I, and her husbands parents, now have many fantastic memories to cherish. We all had a great day and of course we ‘re still talking about it.

THE Dress

However, I see lots of posts on social media from couples planning their weddings and dealing with all kinds of family agro! It’s often very sad. As a wedding planning expert, I like to offer advice but some of their problems just seem impossible to resolve … and then I saw this …

This is a clip from The Steve TV Show from October last year that came up on my FaceBook feed a few days ago and got me thinking. The Steve Show is an American daytime TV show, it’s been around in various shapes and forms for many years. It often has great insights into human nature.

James Sexton’s thoughts really resonated with me – what do you think?

“Do not let the first time all the people you love be in a room at the same time be your funeral”

James Sexton ~ October 2018

What a wedding is really about … well I stand by the description I gave at the start of this post. If you are planning your big day please keep in mind everybody who’s coming. This will probably be the biggest party you ever throw (unless you win the lottery), so don’t rush into it.

A great place to start is with my Your WOW Wedding Guide. Use this form to request a copy

The picture of us above and this one were both taken in the minute before I walked Amy down the aisle for the ceremony 😉

 

September weddings

Get Me To The Church On Time

“Get Me To The Church On Time” is a song from the musical My Fair Lady and this post isn’t about that, or even Church – I was just thinking about wedding day timings and the idea that “it’s the Bride’s prerogative to keep the Bridegroom waiting”. Whether it’s a Church, a civil ceremony or a humanist wedding blessing, this is one wedding tradition that you can forget in my humble opinion and here’s a few reasons why.

First, it’s just rude. Of course the Bride will make an entrance, everyone is there waiting for her arrival, to see the dress, to see the Bridegrooms reaction as sees her for the first time etc etc etc.

Get Me To The Church On Time

Being late causes stress – is she coming? Is she OK? What’s happening?

It’s quite usual for things just before the Ceremony to take longer than expected – maybe the traffic is heavier than expected, one of the bridesmaids has a problem, the photographer needs a little longer to get everything covered and captured for posterity. So please make sure you make a plan – talk to your hair and make-up artist, your photographer, your driver, make sure you have plenty of time.

If you are late for a Church wedding your minister may well take offence and your ceremony may “get off on the wrong foot”. If you are having a civil ceremony with a registrar they will probably have another wedding to get to after yours and have to rush, or maybe even cancel because they don’t have enough time. If you are having a humanist celebration then you may be OK, but it’s still not ideal.

People don’t like to be kept waiting – FACT. If your nearest and dearest are all seated and ready for the wedding and you’re late they won’t thank you for it. If you have any children or babies at your wedding their parents will probably be able to keep them quiet for the duration of the ceremony, but if you arrive late the children will me more fidgety.

If you are late it may throw out the timings for the rest of the day, the meal etc.

One last thing, if you are late YOU LOSE time for the rest of the day – time you will never get back.

Please make sure you make a plan to Get me to the Church on time.

And finally, here is Stanley Holloway’s version of “Get me to the Church on Time”

 

September weddings

“I was let down yesterday”

“I was let down yesterday”… So this just came up on my FaceBook timeline …

“Are there any photographers free on 28th July? I was let down yesterday by my photographer and with my wedding in 4 weeks I need to find a replacement. I have £250 as that was the price of the last one. Bridal prep to first dance/evening (11:30am/9pm)
Please if you can help then either message me with prices or leave your link with prices. Thanks”

I was let down yesterday

It’s really sad that a couple have been let down just four weeks before their wedding but just think about it for a moment. This bride booked a photographer for her wedding at the “bargain” price of £250 – £250 for nine and a half hours shooting (that’s just over £26 per hour) PLUS travel time PLUS editing time after the event. The date isn’t even mid-week, it’s a Saturday – I know many great photographers, some are cheaper than others but none of them would be as cheap as £250!

Looking at the thread, some people have been put forward but I’d think most of them are new to the business or, what are often called, “Weekend Warriors” – they do this on the side, they are not a proper business and they often don’t have insurance and the other certificates required to trade lawfully. Please forgive me if you are reading this and you run a business charging this sort of fee – I’d love to hear how you manage it.

This kind of situation happens a lot with DJ’s too and I often see threads on forums when this happens – one of the common replies is “they can pay me £250 and I won’t turn up either”.  I believe it’s very possible that if someone takes a booking for a relatively low fee and then gets an offer of a larger payment they may well let the original customer down and switch to the higher payer. The FaceBook DJ pages often carry “urgent DJ required NOW” messages where couples have been let down on the actual evening of their wedding – sad but true.

Here’s a video I made way back about choosing your suppliers

You’ll find more videos full of good advice and ideas on my YouTube page – just click through from the video above.

Two of my favourite photographers Colin from Entity Photographic and Antony from Lightbox Studios would never leave a couple in this situation, they are both members of the Hampshire Wedding Group, an excellent place to find suppliers who meet all the criteria I suggest you look for.

I was let down yesterday

Think carefully what you want from your suppliers, meet them, build a real relationship with them so they give you exactly the service you want. Please don’t find yourself saying “I was let down yesterday”.  If you need help finding a great supplier or anything wedding related please feel free to contact me – if I don’t know the answer I’ll probably know someone who does – just email paul@thepartydj.co.uk

Mug of tea raised ~ cheers! x

Over 4,000,000 views in under 2 days

My Mission To Stamp Out Boring Weddings

My Mission To Stamp Out Boring Weddings … I just want to help, it’s as simple as that.

Planning a wedding is not easy and you have probably never done it before. You have to find out what you need and what  want and work out how it’s all going to happen – scary stuff! Speaking to your married friends and finding out about their experiences is one great way to start and so is finding suppliers you like and getting their advice is another. I’ve seen hundreds of weddings and have lots of experience and knowledge that I’m happy to share.

I originally made this video back in 2016 after I’d given my “I’m On A Mission To Stamp Out Boring Weddings” talk at Toastmasters. I found it again and re-edited to share again – it’s still just as relevant and I still feel just as passionately about it.

You’ll find lots of great advice on the bookcase page of my website CLICK HERE and also in this blog – there’s even a search function here so you can look for specific articles, or you can just drop me an email or call me! Obviously I’d love to be considered to provide the entertainment for your big day but if I can just help by telling you a few tips I’ll be happy too.

So that’s My Mission To Stamp Out Boring Weddings. As the song goes …

“Winter, Spring Summer or Fall, all you’ve got to do is call, and I’ll be there, yes I will. You’ve got a friend” 😉

My Mission To Stamp Out Boring Weddings

 

DJ Training

Here’s one I prepared earlier … Mark and Rebecca Ferrell

I was going through my files earlier this week and found this video I made a year ago, it’s about Mark and Rebecca Ferrell. Now I’ve decided to post it because the content is still relevant and, I’ll be honest, I’m too lazy to make it again!

So this post is really for DJs who might be considering training options and also for couples who want to find DJ’s who really want to give their clients more than just music.

I first became aware of Mark and Rebecca around 2009 when I started to look for training opportunities and people offering something more to their clients. I found their Marbecca website (CLICK HERE) and was very taken with their ideals, but they were based in the States and it was unlikely (for numerous reasons) that I would be able to travel to train with them.

A few years later when I was on my first training course with Derek Pengelly and I met Alan Marshall who told me all about his Marbecca experiences. Alan was then responsible for bringing Mark and Rebecca to the UK and so I got the opportunity to train and develop my skills using the Marbecca Method. They visited the UK twice and I was so lucky to train with them at five of their Marbecca workshops, as well as hear Mark speak to gatherings of DJs and just spend time with them.

Mark & Rebecca Ferrell

I love working on my performance and Mark and Rebecca helped me enormously but my time with them has meant so much more to me. To have the opportunity to help couples create WOW Weddings is a real blessing and so much of what I do, how I do it and why I do it is down to Marbecca.

I see many people on social media criticising Mark and Rebecca Ferrell and questioning their motives and ability – I can honestly say from the bottom of my heart that these are two of the kindest and most honourable people I have ever met. I also see many arguments from DJ’s as to why this isn’t for them and that’s fine, BUT if you are a DJ looking to improve your skills I would 100% recommend you consider Marbecca, AND if you are a couple looking for a DJ I’d 100% recommend you look for one who has been trained by Mark and Rebecca Ferrell – and the more training they’ve done with them the better!

I’ve blogged about Mark and Rebecca several times before …
Mark Says (CLICK HERE)
Marbecca 2013 (CLICK HERE)
and Keeping Focused (CLICK HERE)

This is my video, as I say I made it a year ago. If you would like to find out more about them CLICK HERE or just give me a call.

Congratulations on your engagement

Here’s The Thing!

Here’s the thing, if you have a thought someone’s probably had the same thought before! Very few things are original, especially in this day and age when social media means ideas spread across the globe in minutes. A case in point is the ‘Shaun’s Conscience’ video (CLICK HERE) which has now been viewed over FOUR MILLION times via the LADbible FaceBook page in just a few days. There are probably people making their own versions as I type this!

This means ideas can be copied and frequently dumbed down in the process. I’ll be honest, I’ve seen things on FaceBook, in on-line articles and various magazines and books that I’ve adopted and adapted to create my version. A good case in point is the “shoe game” which featured in another FaceBook video which went viral last week also achieving millions of views. I’ve been offering my version of the shoe game which I call “Getting To Know You” for about 7 years, in fact here’s Kim and Ian on their big day ~ 18th September 2010.

Every now and then I get a call or email from another local DJ like this one …
“A bit cheeky I know but next weeks bride has been to a recent wedding hosted by yourself and now want’s me to do a “Mr and Mrs” for her wedding! Can you give me any tips or some questions and I have not a clue where to start?”
… and I usually help and send out a rough guide. BUT, here’s the thing, I’ve spent a long time developing what I do and I’ve been on numerous training courses that have helped me develop the skills that make moments like this really work. Does that make me the best DJ … no! But what I do is thought through, it’s not just thrown together.

Another skill that I’m asked to help other DJ’s with is mixing. I was very lucky to learn how to mix in the early eighties on vinyl, I was taught by my friend and colleague Stevie Q. For me it’s been a bit like riding a bike and I’ve taken the principles Steve taught me and transferred them from vinyl to CD and now digital DJing. I’m happy to run through the basics with colleagues but real skill comes from practice and hours of performance.

Here's the thing

So, here’s the thing, I have a unique set of skills developed over a lifetime, I continue to spend time and money on improving my skills and learning new ones. I’m happy to help others when they ask but they have to put the work in if they really want to improve.

Why I Enter Wedding Awards Competitions!

Why I enter Wedding Awards competitions … Well, for the last few years I’ve entered the National Wedding Industry Awards (WIA’s) and this year I’ve also entered the first Hampshire Wedding Supplier Awards and I know some people will wonder why.

I don’t believe I am the best wedding DJ in the World, or Great Britain, The South Of England, Hampshire or The New Forest. In fact for a while a few years back I may not even have been the best DJ in my house while Joe, my son, was learning the skills! I do, however, want to be the best DJ I possibly can be at every event I’m booked to play at.

Even with the depth of experience and knowledge that I have I continue to study, train and practice so that I can improve and move forwards. I wrote a post a while ago about personal development and training CLICK HERE. Entering these competitions means I have to review my work and I get genuine feedback from my previous couples.

Each award I’ve entered has been a genuine process where I believe the competition is fair. Obviously “you have to be in it to win it” and it may be possible to cheat, but what’s the point!

Once you’ve been nominated in The Wedding Industry Awards (WIA’s) you pay an entrance fee to register for the competition. Then you are asked to contact your clients and ask them to score you on various criteria and write a little about their wedding and your service. You start in a regional group, mine being South East (including London), and then the Regional finalists go through to the National Finals. I’ve been a Regional finalist for the last two years, in 2015 with Alan and Gary in The Party Hosts and last year in my own right. I’ve entered again this year and I’ll know in the next month if I’m going through to the National Finals.

This year the organisers of The Dorset Wedding Supplier Awards have started The Hampshire Wedding Supplier Awards. In this one I had to get testimonials from two couples and another supplier and I have blogged about that previously … click on the names to see the posts…
Hannah and Dan’s Beaulieuful Wedding
Gemma & Brian’s Wedding DJ Testimonial
Antony on me! A testimonial from a professional colleague
I also wrote another blog with full details of how the competition process worked in the Hampshire Wedding Supplier Awards ~ CLICK HERE

As I have been chosen as a Hampshire Wedding Supplier Awards Finalist in the ‘Musical Entertainment DJ’ category, I’ve also been entered into ‘Overall High Score’, ‘People’s Choice’, ‘Peer’s Choice’ and ‘Contribution to the Wedding Industry’ awards. The ‘People’s Choice’ award is one where you are supposed to ask your clients, friends and family to vote – which, to my mind, is just a ‘who knows the most people’ competition so I’ve decided not to promote myself in that category.

There’s one more BIG reason why I enter Wedding Awards competitions, I want future Brides and Bridegrooms, as well as everybody in the wedding industry, to know that there are DJ’s who offer more than just music.

So, that’s why I enter wedding awards competitions ~ wish me luck!

why-i-enter-wedding-awards-competitions

Party DJ!

Party DJ Hampshire

I just wanted to say … I’ve still got it!

When I first purchased the Party DJ domain I had no idea I’d still be DJ’ing in 2015 and loving it more than ever.

I’ve categorised this post as “soap box” and I guess it’s a bit of a rant. The problem is anybody can call themselves a DJ – there are no qualifications that you need to have. The only criteria anybody calling themselves a DJ should meet is holding public liability insurance, and many don’t even have that! The market locally, nationally and globally is flooded with people who call themselves DJ’s although they have no little to no experience, they’ve cobbled together some cheap equipment and downloaded illegal music. People expect to pay a couple of hundred pounds for a DJ because they’ve never seen one worth more than that – when they actually see a proper DJ they are blown away.

So far this year I’ve done three weddings, I spent time in advance with each couple finding out what they loved and hated to make sure their party was as good as it possibly could be. Each of them have been great fun and I’ve received some amazing feedback both from my clients, their guests and even the staff at the venues. Each of these three couples took my advice and set up a FaceBook page in advance and invited their friends and family to make suggestions for the reception playlist, it worked really well.

First up was Kat and Gareth’s wedding at Audleys Wood. The golden rule for a busy dance floor at a wedding is wherever the Bride and Bridegroom go their guests will follow ~ Kat and Gareth spent the whole night on the dance floor!

Audleys Wood DJ

This one’s from Tara and Rob’s wedding at the Bartley Lodge ~ not one of my photos, this one turned up on FaceBook ~ thanks Nik and the ladies for wanting a selfie with me!

Party DJ Bartley Lodge

Finally for now, on Friday I was at New Place for Emma and Simon’s wedding, their friends and family had suggested nearly eleven hours of party music and I think some of them would have danced to the whole lot. You’ll find plenty of pictures from their party HERE on my The Party DJ FaceBook page .

New Place DJ

There are plenty of DJ’s out there, wherever you are, but not all of them really know what they are doing. NEVER book a DJ without having a good chat with him/her first, ask them about their experience, check they have insurance, don’t waste your money on a muppet wannabe … well I did say it was going to be a bit of a rant didn’t I.

I’ve been a DJ for a very long time and I won’t be giving up any time soon.

It’s still happening …

I had a phone call last Saturday lunchtime from someone needing a DJ for a wedding the same evening.  It appears the call was from an agent who had taken the booking at a very respectable local venue.

I’m not sure what the clients were paying for the disco but I was told by the agent “there’s only £180 in it”.  The call came in while I was on my way to drop Joe, our son, back at Uni in Loughborough and our day was planned out already. I declined the booking but did text the caller back an hour later to make sure the booking was covered – it was, thank goodness.  

So why do I feel the need to share this here …

As I indicated I don’t know the full story – how much the couple were actually paying, why the original DJ wasn’t available, or how much was being taken by the agent as their fee. I just think it’s sad this happens so often and that couples don’t seek out entertainers who they can trust to deliver on their wedding day.  I’ve never let a client down and, in the event of a major personal disaster and I can’t make a booking I have a long list of colleagues I can call on to step in and take over.  This isn’t necessarily about how much a DJ charges, it’s about how much you can trust your DJ.

 

angry-face