A great deal of time is spent meticulously planning every detail of the events that we are involved in, especially when they are wedding celebrations, and rightly so. These are important days for our clients, and deserve thorough planning to ensure they are memorable for all the right reasons. Most parties that we play at will have been months in the planning, while brides and grooms typically spend a year or more covering every last detail including food, cake, drinks, flowers, décor, entertainment, special dances, toasts and speeches, but, will they have considered how the event will end? Probably not! However, that’s what guests will remember the day after and it’s our job, as professional DJs, to plan and execute a memorable ending for all of our events.
Particularly when it comes to planning a wedding, brides and grooms often get so caught up in planning the ceremony, wedding breakfast and aesthetics that the evening, especially the end of the evening, gets neglected. There’s often an assumption that it will just ‘take care of itself’ however, as professionals, we know that’s not always the case. I have always put as much effort into the end of my parties as I have for the beginning, and here’s why…
Think about how important the end of a movie is, if it’s a bad ending, you probably won’t recommend it to friends and you certainly won’t watch it again. Weddings and parties don’t get a second chance, we must get them right the first time around. One of the biggest pieces of advice I give to my clients is to make sure they consider ending their event on a high note!
The end of the evening at any party – but especially at a wedding – should be a celebration of everything that has come together to make a great day. It’s not as simple as picking one best song – it should be so much more. Fast or slow, raucous or romantic, the tone will depend on your individual clients, but the end of the evening should always involve a gradual build up to a fantastic finale.
Every bride or party organiser wants their invited guests to leave at midnight and hear these words: “That was the best wedding [or party] I’ve ever been to”.
They will only ever hear those words if people feel they were involved in a great a party. At EVERY function, whether a wedding or any other type of celebration, people will need time to settle into the environment before they feel comfortable and at ease. This normally happens as a gradual process throughout the evening (or day) and involves eating, drinking, talking and, most importantly, interaction. Without interaction you will NEVER deliver the perfect party. Interaction can come in various forms but it must involve your audience, so how do you involve your guests?
What can you do to enhance the experience for your audience? Depending on the personality and preferences of your clients, perhaps you could lead specific interactive routines or activities. Great examples are ‘The Shoe Game’, a wedding day quiz or a limbo competition. A less ‘contrived’ way of encouraging interaction is to distribute inflatable props on the dancefloor. You can also interact with guests in much more subtle ways. Early in the evening, try introducing yourself to a few tables and asking what music they like to dance to. This will not only give you ideas for what to play later on, but help them to feel more involved with the party and connected with you as the DJ. Make yourself approachable and, more importantly, make yourself likeable! Even if you’ve had a bad day, smile, show your teeth, if you have a face like thunder no one will want to talk to you!!
Engaging the guests and making them feel involved with the event is the groundwork for a fantastic finale. However you also need a plan for how the party will end. Throughout the many years I’ve been a DJ, without doubt, I’ve found that the best parties have been the ones that have built up towards a definitive ending.
Of course we all know that many clients – especially wedding couples – have unrealistic expectations over when their event should end. They want an epic party, and figure that means a late finish, without considering the staying power of their older guests. One great way to combat this is to have a ‘false ending’ ahead of the actual finishing time, maybe an hour before you’re due to stop playing. This is a perfect way of delivering a memorable ‘finish’ involving all of the guests before then providing an excuse for some of the older guests to leave before the volume goes up and the younger guests get raucous! If the older relatives (Nans and Grandads) have been there all day they will probably be tired by 11pm and just ‘clock watching’. A ‘false ending’ allows them to head to bed without feeling embarrassed at leaving early. Once they have left you can transition into an ‘after party’, creating a different atmosphere by switching the genre, increasing the volume and even changing the lighting. However you do it, it’s important to make it clear that you are entering a different part of the evening; think about the music choices, possibly increase the tempo and then build up to a final finale.
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The full review can be found in Pro Mobile Issue 92, Pages 36-38.