This is a great graphic novel that came out in 2011 called "Scenes from an Impending Marriage" by the amazing Adrian Tomine. It's about planning a wedding and there are a few sections about hiring a DJ.
As a DJ and longtime comics fan, I thought this would be the perfect thing to use to talk about the planning process that couples go through with their DJ. I am going to do this in three blog posts.
(Please buy the book! It is hilarious and great for anyone planning a wedding or those who have done so. And only a small part of it is about DJs, it's about the whole process.)
So on this first page we have the bride and groom, Sarah and Adrian, meeting their prospective DJ, DJ Buttercream (lol), at a coffee shop or bar. This is exactly how wedding DJs have their meetings with couples. After the meeting, Buttercream probably sent them a contract and if they decided to hire him they would return it along with a small deposit.
We are introduced to a basic theme in this book when it comes to most everything: Sarah is a little more easygoing and has the big picture in mind, whereas Adrian is (hilariously) critical and doesn't see the point of any of this.
We are in the bar and Buttercream gives his pitch. It ends very nicely, and before the meeting is over, Sarah agrees to hire him. Not bad Buttercream!
So now we are on the next page and while they are leaving he gives them some mix CDs (So 2000's!). He says the mix CDs will give the couple "a sense of his flow." In other words, he wants them to focus more on the way he's playing the songs than the individual songs that are played.
Why does he say that? It's probably because we DJs are afraid that if we give a wedding client a mix/playlist, that the client will hear one song they don't like and say "this mix CD is horrible. I'm not hiring this DJ." And you will see that is exactly what happened. But I don't think Buttercream's explanation was good enough.
Before I send a mix/playlist to a client I always say something like "these are songs that are popular at many weddings but not necessarily the ones I would play at your wedding. I choose what songs to play based on your feedback and never play songs you don't like or traditional cheesy wedding songs."
So what happens is that Adrian pops the CD in the next day, first hears "Vogue" by Madonna (not a bad song to be honest) and then "Love Shack" by the B-52's and declares the CD "horrible" and has Sarah call up and cancel on Buttercream.
So whose fault is it? Adrian's for being too critical or Buttercream for putting Love Shack on his mix? Well, I'm going to blame this one on Buttercream.
Love Shack is a classic cheesy wedding song. If you had anyone make a list of the top 10 songs their mom would dance to at a wedding, there's a good chance Love Shack would be near the top of it. While I rarely get it on a request list, I have played it for someone's aunt when the couple told me I could be liberal with song requests.
But I don't think Buttercream should've put that on his CD, and if he did he definitely should've referenced it before giving the CD to clients. Something like "there are all types of songs on this mix, even cheesy ones, but at your wedding, etc..." If I had to guess, I would say that most of Buttercream's DJ income comes from DJing in small (Brooklyn) bars and I would love to know what he is doing now (hopefully dressing better when meeting with clients).
Now let's talk a little about Adrian. I don't blame him at all for firing Buttercream. But if he had called me up and asked if he should hire him, I would have said "I don't think so, but Vogue and Love Shack alone shouldn't disqualify him."
Was the rest of the CD good? Does Buttercream have good and recent reviews online? Was he able to answer your questions confidently? Is he ok with you choosing the music and won't be imposing his personal taste at your wedding? If the answer to all these questions is yes, then I would suggest that Adrian tells him his concerns and consider giving him a chance.
Stay tuned for part 2 of this series next week when Adrian and Sarah get themselves into another hilarious situation with a different DJ.
If you are planning your own wedding or just have questions about DJing, please reach out by email or text/call 917.586.6753. Thanks for reading.