The cool thing about being a wedding professional is oftentimes you've had the experience of having your own wedding. DJ Josh has chatted with several wedding company owners that found their own found their company based on their own wedding experience. He didn't establish Highlight Weddings & Events directly because of his wedding experience but his wedding provided him with some lessons that he's learned as he looks back on it through the lens of his 7 years of wedding DJ experience.
He shares lessons from the wedding planning process as well as helpful tidbits to keep in mind for the day of your wedding. There's also a specific part that is for the fellas, so future brides if you're listening you will definitely want to share this with your soon-to-be groom.
Make sure to click that subscribe button, so you don't miss an episode. And if you haven't left a review, DJ Josh would appreciate it! He might even read it on a future podcast! Also, if you have a wedding pro that you think other brides might benefit from working with, send their info to [email protected] he'd LOVE to chat with them :)
The intro and outro for this Highlight Weddings & Events Podcast were both edited and produced by DropHouse Voiceover Production Studio and Tony Tee Neto, Voiceover Artist & Audio Producer. For more info on branding elements, editing, and post-production services, visit http://drophouse.com.
The song used for the intro and outro for this episode is Crush by https://audiohub.com License: CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:00:00] This is Season 2, Episode 7 of Make Your Wedding a Highlight! My name is DJ Josh from Highlight Weddings and Events. And today I'm going to share some lessons I learned from my wedding.
[00:00:10]Thanks for checking out the podcast. Again, my name is DJ Josh from Highlight Weddings and Events. And I figured I'd take the opportunity to reflect back on my wedding to my beautiful wife, Rhoda, back in December 7th, 2013, and to share some lessons that I've learned being able to see it from the context of being a wedding professional.
[00:00:51]Now this first point that I'm going to bring up if you've listened to this podcast for any length of time, you probably know this is coming: hire a coordinator. And now me being a groom and not knowing anything about weddings, I thought hiring a coordinator was pretty much a waste of money. It is definitely not having a good coordinator, does a lot of things. Our coordinator helped to streamline the vendor vetting process. A good coordinator will be able to narrow down your choices based on who you are as a couple, what your taste is, and what your budget is. This helps to alleviate the stress and let down of having a great meeting with a potential vendor only to realize that you can't afford to book them, which is not an experience anybody wants to have.
[00:01:43] Also specifically to our coordinator, she was able to find a venue. That was half its normal rate, which more than paid for what she charged for her services. So she essentially earned what we were paying her by finding the venue that we used. Now, the reason why the venue was at a reduced rate is because we got married in December, which in this area is very much in offseason. Not as many people come here. December can be cold in this area. We are in Florida, but, since we're Northwest Florida, we do get winter-ish. So I think the day of our wedding, the temperature was probably in the fifties or sixties, which is a little chilly considering we were having the ceremony outside. Fortunately, the reception took place inside the reception space that Tops'l has. But for the most part, weddings are not as common in December in January. So, we were able to secure the venue for much cheaper than it would have been.
[00:02:52] The next point is, decide on your priorities as a couple. Now I'll be upfront. This is a conversation that wrote in I did not have, but this is something good to have to make sure that both of you are on the same page. And this is especially important if you will be paying for your wedding yourself. But the importance of this lies in that it will help you allocate your budget appropriately based on how important something is to you.
[00:03:18] Rhoda's number one priority was finding the right photographer. Even before we started planning the wedding, she spent about two months social media stalking different photographers until she found the right one for her. She even booked our photographer before we even started considering coordinators.
[00:03:38] Another reason this is important is you don't want to miss out on a wedding professional or a company that would be the right fit for you because you waited too long to inquire about them. Especially if they are a top-tier priority, start the process earlier so that you can have your top-tier choices secured early. Plus, it just feels good to have a decision made when you have so many other decisions you have to make throughout the wedding planning process.
[00:04:03] Now this next message is for the soon-to-be groom. Whether you listen to this because you've stumbled upon my podcast or because your soon-to-be wife has encouraged you to, please take this advice to heart: be involved in the process. And I don't just mean paying lip service or doing things when asked. Though, you should do that as well. I realize that our society tends to view weddings as "the girl's big day," and that's not to say that's not true. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't have an active role in wedding planning.
[00:04:35] I know you're going to have more catching up to do to understand what all goes into the wedding planning process because most brides have envisioned their day their whole life. Whereas you didn't really start considering your wedding until you met the person who's going to be your bride. But don't let that dawning feeling discourage you from being involved. The more you're involved in the process, the more excited you'll start to become the better a time you will have at your wedding.
[00:05:02] Admittedly, I was not involved much in my own wedding, but I look back on it and that's actually a source of slight regret for me. I know my lack of involvement caused Rhoda to feel more stressed than she would have otherwise. Fortunately, we had an awesome coordinator. So she helped to really make the process much easier.
[00:05:24] Guys, I know that most of us don't care about the different textures or flowers or whatever, but think of this as practice for when you're actually married. There are some times when you will have to be a part of things or experience things that you could really care less about, or you might not even enjoy them. But so will she. When you love someone, you make the time for things that they enjoy. Plus, your involvement in the process will really make the wedding that much better. You'll catch things that you may not have noticed had you not been involved in planning.
[00:05:59] Seriously. I say this mostly because I didn't do what I'm encouraging you to do. And now that I'm a wedding professional, I wish I had. Don't think you're intruding on her day. Think of it as you are helping with your wedding because even though weddings are mostly female-oriented, it will still be the first day of the rest of the life for both of you.
[00:06:21] My next lesson is DIY isn't a bad thing as long as it's not something that is super time-consuming. Rhoda is a very visually creative person. She's my social media editor and helps the posts look so much better than if I was left to my own devices and created them on my own. She actually put together our save the dates and our invitations, but all she did was take care of the design aspect. We actually hired out a printer to take care of printing and then mailed them out. We also took care of our party favors, which was a linen bag with m&ms.
[00:06:57] However, if you're considering doing something yourself, keep in mind how long something will take you to complete and how much easier either a simpler option will be, or having it completed by a professional. I've heard of some brides creating faux flowers out of paper that took days to complete. I realize that sometimes you need to trim your expenses to be able to stay under budget, but the challenge comes up when you are getting down to crunch time with about a week out from your day, and you still have all of these design elements that need to be put together. Not only will it put extra stress on you because you know you need to get it done, but it can also force the ones that are close to you to have to pitch in and help out. That's not to say that they will do it begrudgingly but remember. This is going to impact the experience they have at your wedding and the memories they have of your big day. Is the time and energy you put into creating design elements worth it, or would it be better to adjust the concept slightly or even allow a professional to do something similar for you? That's ultimately up to you as the bride, but it's something to definitely keep in mind.
[00:08:03] Here's a slightly related thought: your guests do not care about favors. I know. I know. They've been a wedding custom for a while, but if there are things that they need to take with them, a lot of your guests will just leave them at the table and forget them altogether.
[00:08:19] If you want to do something that the guests will appreciate or use, consider something edible: a personalized cookie or even a cookie bar. Otherwise, you run the risk of favors being left behind or taken home, and then never really being used.
[00:08:34] That's an expense that can be better used elsewhere in your wedding. Places such as decor, entertainment, food, or the cake. For reference, let's assume that you have a hundred people at your wedding and your favors cost about two bucks apiece. You could take that expense and divert it toward renting a photo booth. If you get a photo booth that prints pictures, that doubles as entertainment and a favor because you can have photo booth prints personalized to your wedding. Just the thought.
[00:09:02] Now this next lesson is more because I am now a wedding professional. If you have anyone who is a wedding professional that you're planning to invite, consider hiring them for your wedding. I made this mistake at my own wedding. One of my friends, Duane, who owns his own wedding DJ company, Forever Ever Entertainment, worked for an event company as a DJ.
[00:09:25] I meant well when I insisted on him just attending and hiring the event company, but booking a different DJ through them. But keep this in mind, someone who works weddings for a living, if they attend your wedding, they have to block out that day from booking other weddings. If it's a wedding out of the area, they're having to block off days from being able to book weddings.
[00:09:46] Now, that's not to say they won't be willing to do this. I am actually going to be attending my sister's wedding in Texas in mid-April. And I am okay with not being available that weekend because it's my sister's wedding. It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
[00:10:02] But back to my wedding and DJ Duane. He attended the wedding and then something unexpected happened. The photo booth we booked no-called, no-showed. It turned out that the company Duane worked for had a photo booth and he ended up coordinating all of that to assist the wedding coordinator. He ended up having to work that day anyway. So if I were going to do my wedding again, I would have insisted that Duane be our DJ instead of just act as a guest.
[00:10:29]We were going to book the company anyway, so it would have only made sense to book him. Duane's my oldest friend, and I know that he would have done an amazing job. Another thing about seasoned wedding professionals is that while weddings can be stressful, the more experience you have, the more likely you are to either just roll with what's happening or you can take care of things ahead of time to keep those stressful things from happening at all. In Duane's case, my good intentions didn't really matter because he still ended up working for a part of the wedding.
[00:11:00]The scenario I mentioned is another reason to hire a coordinator. Seriously. Not only was she invaluable during the wedding planning process, she was also integral in making sure everything happened when it was supposed to.
[00:11:15] Any good wedding professional can follow a timeline, but that adds in an element of distraction away from our main focus. For a DJ, it's making sure that the vibe is wherever it's supposed to be while watching the guests to make sure they're enjoying the direction we are headed for the night. For the photographer and the videographer, they're focused, capturing the moments that you're going to enjoy and remember for a lifetime.
[00:11:39] That's not to say that we can't function without a coordinator, but having a good coordinator just helps the night move so much more smoothly. They make sure everything is happening as it needs to be. And if something happens to be a little late, they let the rest of the wedding event team know so they can adjust accordingly. That way you and your guests have no clue that the food wasn't quite ready when it was supposed to be, or the best man happened to leave right when we were going to do toasts. With a coordinator running the show, the wedding event team knows what's going on, and it allows you and your guests to just enjoy the moments, being none, the wiser that there is a slight change from what was originally planned getting to be a guest at your own wedding. Sounds pretty awesome, right?
[00:12:25] My next lesson is hire a videographer. That's the one thing my wife and I regret not having for our day. Photos are essential for sure. But having a professionally-produced video tells your story in a way that pictures just can't. There are so many things that are going on during your wedding, that you're not going to be able to take all of them in. My wedding was a blur, and I'm sure yours will be too.
[00:12:49] Also, my wedding was extremely unique. Rhoda and I met at the Beal Street Bottle Club. It's no longer in existence, but when it was, it was a live jazz and blues spot. Each night, they would have a feature performer or performers, and then it would turn into an open mic. We had a ton of talented friends that attended our wedding, who offered to perform during dinner. I think there are about seven to eight different performances with wide ranges of styles and genres. It basically was dinner and a show. Also, Rhoda and I learned a choreographed dance. Regretfully, I don't remember any of the steps. And very little of that was captured on video.
[00:13:32] Your wedding may not have quite the entertainment ensemble that ours did, but there are still going to be moments either that you'll want to be reminded of, or you may have just missed. I realize weddings can be expensive, but once the wedding is done, all you'll have are the memories captured by the photographer and the videographer. And you'll want those to reminisce and look back on. I promise.
[00:13:54] I have one final tidbit that's not from my wedding, but more of a general observation that I've noticed while working with couples. Brides, don't get fixated on having all of the details absolutely perfect for your day. For one, your guests probably aren't going to notice that everything is not exactly how you had planned. You need to ask yourself a question. Is getting stressed and frustrated about a specific detail not being quite what you expected worth the stress you will feel on your wedding day? Weddings are stressful enough just because it's usually a new experience for you. And even if this is not your first time getting married, there's still a great deal of stress that comes from it.
[00:14:36] Instead of getting wrapped up and fixated on small details, trust your wedding event team to pull off your wedding. And remember that you are at the beginning of the rest of your life with your forever person. The day is going to go by in a blur. And it is much greater than the detail you may have noticed as the dust settles, the sparklers are shining in the night and you make your grand exit, all you'll be thinking about is how awesome your wedding was and how much of a highlight it was for both you and all of your guests that were able to be a part of it.
[00:15:09] I guess to close out this podcast, I'll leave you with some advice as a wedding professional. Hire the wedding event team you trust so you can trust the wedding event team you hire. And this is what I mean. When you hire each part of the wedding event team, you want to make sure that you feel comfortable enough with them so that, as the wedding planning process starts to get closer to your wedding day and even on the wedding day, you know that they are going to take care of what they are responsible for. This is going to alleviate an immense amount of stress for you. Because when you trust the professional, you don't have to worry about micromanaging everything. You know that they are going to do what needs to be done to make your wedding a highlight.
[00:16:00] As always, you can find out more information about Highlight Weddings and Events at www.highlightweddingsandevents.com. You can also find Highlight Weddings and Events on Facebook and Instagram. Just search for "Highlight Weddings and Events". Or if you'd like to get a hold of me directly, you can email me at [email protected] or text or call at (850) 665-0055.
[00:16:28] Here's to the couples planning their weddings. And here's to making each of those weddings a highlight.