As a rule, I try and spend a decent amount of time with a Bride and Groom getting to know them as people and getting to know their tastes in music. This ensures that their event is a reflection of their individual tastes and personalities. As a result, I build great rapport with them as well, and at the event, it makes it look like I am more of a “friend” than just the DJ they hired for their wedding. To be perfectly honest, I prefer this because I ‘fit in’ and it helps put the couple more at ease with the confidence that their event will, in fact, be their “Perfect Wedding”.
As it is standard practice for me, it something I do automatically. The night of the event, however, it has presented a little bit of a challenge for me because, as after working for some DJ companies in the past and witnessing first-hand the result of a DJ who is not shy about have a few drinks while they are working, I have made it a steadfast rule not to drink during an event. (Once the event is over, I may accept a beer, and on more than one occasion, I have been invited to the “After Party” at the hotel bar and enjoyed a drink with the Bride and Groom, the wedding party etc.) Nonetheless, I am regularly offered numerous drinks by everyone from the guests at the party to the Bride and Groom. My response is always the same: “Thank you but I don’t drink during events.”
Call me judgmental, but when I see another vendor drinking, the first thing that comes to mind is the fact that, first and foremost it is unprofessional, and while they were getting that drink…and while they are enjoying/suffering from its effects…what were they missing? As well, aren’t they working, and if they were in an office or other professional setting, would this be acceptable behavior? In addition, how are they going to behave after they have had a FEW of them? One of the most difficult experiences I have had was working with a vendor that, once the alcohol started flowing, began to treat the bride, groom, and members of their families in a ‘less-than-professional manner’. The worst part was, they did not realize that they were acting any differently!
As a new DJ, I recall a couple of events where the DJ that I was supposed to be learning from was so drunk that they began talking so often on the microphone that bride started to give him dirty looks! He didn’t realize that he was slurring, it just sort of came out that way. More recently, I was at a wedding and the photographer could not be found for one of the events. (As a rule, I always walk around and make sure everyone knows what will happen next before I start so everything is captured in photos and video.) When I finally found the photographer, he was standing in a really long line at the bar.
Please don’t get me wrong, as most vendors are professional and do not subscribe to this type of behavior. Even if they have had a couple of drinks, they do not act this way. These are simply examples of extreme experiences I have had. At the same time, some people people that are “never” adversely effected by alcohol can have a bad night, and in my personal opinion that is one night too many, and it could have been avoided if they had waited until after the event to relax and unwind with a drink.
As a note to vendors, I was working at a particular venue and was offered a drink by the on-site coordinator. As I do not drink at events, I turned her down on multiple occasions. Later in the night, she approached me and thanked me turning her down, because, as she would explain, she would have given me a free drink, but they have a ‘Zero Tolerance’ policy for vendors drinking during events and had I accepted, I would have, as she put it, “Not been allowed to work at that venue ever again.”
***Geoff Maddox has been a wedding and event DJ and Emcee in Los Angeles and Orange County for the past 10 years. For more information, please visit http://gmedj.com.