Help And Advice

Help & Advice

I have put together a collection of interesting and historical entertainment facts that also included some articles based on my own experience of over 1000 weddings, which may offer some help when organising your wedding disco entertainment.

Wedding disco entertainment is not the sort of thing you organise everyday and your wedding day is probably the biggest event that you will have ever organised with your wedding disco statistically taking up about 30% of that day... I must admit that I did not fully grasp the whole procedure until I had to organise one myself.


Wedding Ceremony ~ Receiving Line ~ Wedding Breakfast ~ Speeches ~ Evening Reception ~ First dance ~ Cut The Cake ~ Wedding Party ~ Buffet ~ Last Dance

Your wedding ceremony may be a traditional ceremony hosted by your venue and your banquet coordinator should have and provide you with a time line of your wedding from start to finish.

Your disco entertainment can be expected to follow the speeches or wedding breakfast and lead into the evening reception when your guests arrive... It will help to know exactly when the wedding breakfast is expected to conclude, so that you can start to plan for your disco arrival time.



First Dance:

This goes back to when formal banquets were opened by the two highest standing members of the Ball (such as a Duke and Duchess). Only then could the evening’s entertainment proceed. This was most commonly a waltz and choreographed dance, which is the same for weddings today as it is your wedding and as the bride and groom you would naturally dictate the days' formalities.

Speeches:

Speeches were originally short toasts, which involved clicking glasses together and drinking from them. Often it was the master of the function who would toast the ladies or his wife and also distinguished guests present, so it is not too far from todays traditions as the Father of the bride toasts the bride and the groom toasts the bride, bridesmaids and other key members of the wedding party. This is the biggest formality of your wedding and the main part of your day guests will remember. It is also one that you can do very well or just OK, so prepare & practice and it will be easier on the day.

The Cake

Beginning in early Roman times, the cake has been a special part of the wedding celebration. A thin loaf was broken over the bride's head at the close of the ceremony to symbolize fertility. The wheat from which it was made, symbolized fertility and the guests eagerly picked up the crumbs as good luck charms. This tradition evolved and spread to England in the Middle Ages where the guests of a wedding would bring small cakes and stack them together. During the Middle Ages, it became traditional for the couple to kiss over a small cluster of cakes. Later, a clever baker decided to amass all these small cakes together, covering them with frosting. Thus, the modern tiered cake was born. The earliest known sweet wedding cake is known as a Banbury Cake, which became popular in 1655.

Receiving Line:

The receiving line or 'line up' (as many clients put it) is a line of your guests prior to the drinks reception or wedding breakfast. You and your now husband/wife stand and greet each member of the wedding party. Often it will also include your parents and other key guests, but do not make it too big unless you have lots of time to spare! It is a great way (and probably the only time) to engage with every member of the wedding, however, try not to chat for too long, especially if you have lots of hungry guests! It’s also an opportunity for the photographer to take a photo with you and every guest well as a good way to seat each guest in the correct place for the wedding breakfast.

Bouquet Toss:

The bouquet was originally a bag of garlic, flower blossoms and grains, which were thought to dissuade evil spirits and was also symbolic of prosperity and love. At the same time it was also customary to tear off a part of the brides dress and take it home which was believed to increase the guest's chance of marriage. This was unsurprisingly not very popular with the bride so the modern bouquet was invented as a way to preserve the beautiful dresses.

Father Daughter Dance:

The Father Daughter dance is a very sentimental point in the day as it signifies a father handing over his precious daughter to another man, which is always a very serious matter, especially in history as it would often include a "dowry" which is a decision to pass over parental responsibilities. The Father Daughter dance is typically after first dance. Another idea is to have the father and daughter dance before the first dance and get him to hand over the bride in the middle or at the end, to officially start the first dance. It’s up to you as lots of couples do not want a father daughter dance at all for various reasons. It is also perhaps a good idea to also get the groom to invite his mother to dance (especially if it is after first dance). You can choose a track that your father knows and loves (perhaps his first dance) or one that fits, such as “my girl” etc.

Bridesmaids

Inviting women to be members of your bridal party dates back to ancient times. One Roman custom was to dress the bridesmaids in a fashion similar to the bride's to confuse evil spirits trying to kidnap the bride. Bridesmaids also had the role of fending off unsuitable suitors, leaving the bride for her groom. Although the specific functions of being a bridesmaid have changed over time, being the brides support system, confident, defender and friend hasn't.

The Best Man

Many centuries ago, before the women's rights movement, men who had decided upon a wife often had to forcefully take her with him (or kidnap her) if her family did not approve of him. The groom-to-be would sometimes face resistance from her male family members or from competing suitors who would fight him off. The groom would therefore bring along his "best men" to help him fight for the woman. Today the best man and ushers are honorary positions.

Leaving Arch Following Ceremony

Walking through your wedding arch at the end of your evening was started centuries ago to ensure the couple's safe passage into their new life together, the arch however was an arch of swords rather than an arch of hands.


First things first, you will need to establish whether your potential Dj is available and then arrange a meeting to discuss his or her services and how they can be used during your big day... it is always best to go prepared with as much info as possible including information about expected times of performance, venue access for equipment etc... obviously Dj's and discos vary greatly and it will be a good idea to explain to your potential Dj the type of performance you have in mind with regards to song choices and presentation that you like and do they know how to beat mix between records to help maintain continuity on the dance floor... if you love a certain style of music ask him/her do they have those songs and can they play them.

One important thing, is always check out Dj testimonials, even if it means asking your potential Dj for a non biased reference from a hotel or recent client... there are so many poor quality hobby Djs on the internet with self written testimonials, stock images of other Dj's set-ups to make them look good and also be careful of the Dj's with pictures of rooms which have been lit up by theme companies and hardly any of the equipment is actually theirs, always be sure exactly what you are paying for and what they are actually going to bring on the day... a quick test is to ask the Dj how do they transport their equipment and how long does it take to set up, if they answer in a car and the set up takes under 20 minutes then beware!... Most pro-dj's use a van or trailer to transport equipment and the average Dj's take from 40 minutes to 1 hour to set up equipment for the average wedding of 120 people. Always check them out as they are responsible for about 30% of your big day!



It is always recommended to meet with any of your wedding service suppliers, so why should your Dj be any different! Meet and check that your Dj has a professional service with a contract, check testimonials thoroughly, check that he/she has full PLI insurance and PAT equipment certification as some venues are red hot on this and will require proof of these certificates before your big day.



Wedding music planning is very much recommended but with an air of caution!... I could write a small book on the psychology of audiences and dance floor music but I will keep this brief. So do you make a Play List, Request List or leave it entirely to the Dj to gauge on the night. Firstly I would NOT recommend creating a Play List for your Dj as this can remove the creative flow from the dance floor, unless you really know your audience music taste and your a Dj and know your music really well. A request list is far more effective offering the Dj some ideas on the audience music taste and also allowing for their own creative flow. Personally I always provide my weddings with my own unique interactive music plan and you can see more about how this can help towards the success of your wedding celebration on this link *The Music Plan*



Most Djs will have a booking system, some use a simple email to collect your wedding day information and others may have an online form which you will need to complete... all reputable and professional Djs will request a booking deposit to confirm the booking and ensure that you are not wasting his/her time.



Venue Lighting will normally be atmospheric coloured lighting which is set up on the floor around the perimeter of the function room facing walls and architectural features

Wedding venues are designed to look bright and beautiful in the day with the lights on, and discos are designed to look atmospheric and colourful with the lights off.

Wedding venues are are not known for providing good quality mood lighting, and I normally provide my own mood lighting by installing a collection up-lighters around the room to illuminate the walls ceilings and architectural features... this ultimately gives you control over the atmosphere in the room.



Most venues today will require your chosen Dj/entertainer to have PLI (Public Liability Insurance) and PAT (Portable Appliance Test) certificates for all the disco equipment and these may need to be presented to the venue in advance. You can find copies of my certificates to download at the bottom of this page



A Dj should have a comprehensive light show and sound system which should be in his/her advertising brochure, website slides, video or portfolio... you should always request a picture of the type of show that you are paying for or ask to see a video... many Djs and agencies do not provide the client with a clear indication of exactly what they are paying for and what they have booked. TIP! you can get an idea of how professional or how much equipment a Dj is bringing to your event by asking what he/she transports it in, if they say that they transport their gear in the boot of a car, I would find another Dj! Most pro-Djs will transport their gear in a Van or Trailer.



Some Hotels will offer to sell you their Dj as part of a wedding package... my advice is check them out too, they are an important 30% of your big day! Some hotel resident Dj's will not always serve your best interests... many hotel resident Dj's are friendly with the hotel and offer very cheap bulk services to the Hotel, some of these "Hotel resident Dj's are shocking" to quote one of my brides who actually turned up to see one of the hotel Dj's perform a wedding at the Holiday Inn at Winchester... Hotels in general are mostly interested in the daytime ceremonies and food and not in the evening entertainment, they are certainly not entertainment agencies and also offer very poor judgement on the quality of any entertainment, they normally have a high volume of staff turn around and often dedicate the job of entertainment coordinator to a junior employee, who is often weekday employed, never actually there during the weddings in the evening and has no, or very little experience in entertainment!



1: Are you available for my date?

Established DJ's will be booked up months if not years in advance for popular dates. Generally Saturdays are the most popular day followed by Friday and Sunday. When you find the best DJ for you, secure the date asap.

2: How much do you cost?

A good wedding DJ can cost in the region of £350-£700 for the evening depending on set-up. Your event will ride on your DJ's performance to entertain your guests and if you book a DJ based on a low price they may ruin your wedding day or at the least not make it as special as you have planned!

3: Do you have public liability insurance (PLI) and PAT certification for your equipment?

PLI is injury and damages insurance relating to your DJ and their equipment. PAT is an electrical certificate that shows that the equipment is safe & Pro dub is required to use and download digital music. Your venue will probably need proof of PLI and PAT . Don't rely on word of mouth get your DJ to send you copies or the venue may refuse the DJ on the day.

4: Will You be able to meet me in person?

It is best to meet your DJ face to face. This is the best way to get to know if they are right for you. You can also go over music and what you want from the event. Its important that your DJ knows you before the day, but it also gives you the chance to asses your DJ and see if they are right for you. If they can't be bothered to take time to meet you then perhaps their commitment to the job is not what it should be?

5: What experience do you have and have you played at my venue?

Ask the DJ as many questions as possible relating to you function and what you want to achieve. That way you can gauge what experience he or she has. The best thing in the world is to get a DJ who has played a similar function at your venue. A good DJ will phone or visit the venue beforehand to plan out where to play, park, electricity supplies etc. Ask your DJ what experience they have? A good full time DJ will be busy every weekend of the year and perhaps be working most Friday, Saturday and perhaps Sundays. Avoid part time DJ's who do not get out often and hire an industry pro!

6: What equipment do you have?

Always ask questions about the equipment they will be bringing on the night and ask them to provide exact pictures and specifications of the set-up you are paying for. Also ask if they have a back up contingency plan, should any equipment fail.

7: Do you provide a written contract?

This is a legally binding agreement between you and the DJ and will clarify all your important arrangement details like; costs, location details and times etc?

8: Can I submit a music list & can my guests ask for requests?

Many DJ's will let you add to the music by pre requesting some favourite tracks. Your DJ will use that as a rough outline for the whole night. He/she should also take requests from your guests.

9: What happens if you are Ill or not able to make it on the day?

Are they a member of any local DJ group or has thought of what they will do should the worst happen?

10: Lastly - Who you are getting?

If booking your DJ through an agency check that the DJ you think you are booking is going to be the DJ who turns up.


Help & Advice

I have put together a collection of interesting and historical entertainment facts that also included some articles based on my own experience of over 1000 weddings, which may offer some help when organising your wedding disco entertainment.

Wedding disco entertainment is not the sort of thing you organise everyday and your wedding day is probably the biggest event that you will have ever organised with your wedding disco statistically taking up about 30% of that day... I must admit that I did not fully grasp the whole procedure until I had to organise one myself.


Wedding Ceremony ~ Receiving Line ~ Wedding Breakfast ~ Speeches ~ Evening Reception ~ First dance ~ Cut The Cake ~ Wedding Party ~ Buffet ~ Last Dance

Your wedding ceremony may be a traditional ceremony hosted by your venue and your banquet coordinator should have and provide you with a time line of your wedding from start to finish.

Your disco entertainment can be expected to follow the speeches or wedding breakfast and lead into the evening reception when your guests arrive... It will help to know exactly when the wedding breakfast is expected to conclude, so that you can start to plan for your disco arrival time.



First Dance:

This goes back to when formal banquets were opened by the two highest standing members of the Ball (such as a Duke and Duchess). Only then could the evening’s entertainment proceed. This was most commonly a waltz and choreographed dance, which is the same for weddings today as it is your wedding and as the bride and groom you would naturally dictate the days' formalities.

Speeches:

Speeches were originally short toasts, which involved clicking glasses together and drinking from them. Often it was the master of the function who would toast the ladies or his wife and also distinguished guests present, so it is not too far from todays traditions as the Father of the bride toasts the bride and the groom toasts the bride, bridesmaids and other key members of the wedding party. This is the biggest formality of your wedding and the main part of your day guests will remember. It is also one that you can do very well or just OK, so prepare & practice and it will be easier on the day.

The Cake

Beginning in early Roman times, the cake has been a special part of the wedding celebration. A thin loaf was broken over the bride's head at the close of the ceremony to symbolize fertility. The wheat from which it was made, symbolized fertility and the guests eagerly picked up the crumbs as good luck charms. This tradition evolved and spread to England in the Middle Ages where the guests of a wedding would bring small cakes and stack them together. During the Middle Ages, it became traditional for the couple to kiss over a small cluster of cakes. Later, a clever baker decided to amass all these small cakes together, covering them with frosting. Thus, the modern tiered cake was born. The earliest known sweet wedding cake is known as a Banbury Cake, which became popular in 1655.

Receiving Line:

The receiving line or 'line up' (as many clients put it) is a line of your guests prior to the drinks reception or wedding breakfast. You and your now husband/wife stand and greet each member of the wedding party. Often it will also include your parents and other key guests, but do not make it too big unless you have lots of time to spare! It is a great way (and probably the only time) to engage with every member of the wedding, however, try not to chat for too long, especially if you have lots of hungry guests! It’s also an opportunity for the photographer to take a photo with you and every guest well as a good way to seat each guest in the correct place for the wedding breakfast.

Bouquet Toss:

The bouquet was originally a bag of garlic, flower blossoms and grains, which were thought to dissuade evil spirits and was also symbolic of prosperity and love. At the same time it was also customary to tear off a part of the brides dress and take it home which was believed to increase the guest's chance of marriage. This was unsurprisingly not very popular with the bride so the modern bouquet was invented as a way to preserve the beautiful dresses.

Father Daughter Dance:

The Father Daughter dance is a very sentimental point in the day as it signifies a father handing over his precious daughter to another man, which is always a very serious matter, especially in history as it would often include a "dowry" which is a decision to pass over parental responsibilities. The Father Daughter dance is typically after first dance. Another idea is to have the father and daughter dance before the first dance and get him to hand over the bride in the middle or at the end, to officially start the first dance. It’s up to you as lots of couples do not want a father daughter dance at all for various reasons. It is also perhaps a good idea to also get the groom to invite his mother to dance (especially if it is after first dance). You can choose a track that your father knows and loves (perhaps his first dance) or one that fits, such as “my girl” etc.

Bridesmaids

Inviting women to be members of your bridal party dates back to ancient times. One Roman custom was to dress the bridesmaids in a fashion similar to the bride's to confuse evil spirits trying to kidnap the bride. Bridesmaids also had the role of fending off unsuitable suitors, leaving the bride for her groom. Although the specific functions of being a bridesmaid have changed over time, being the brides support system, confident, defender and friend hasn't.

The Best Man

Many centuries ago, before the women's rights movement, men who had decided upon a wife often had to forcefully take her with him (or kidnap her) if her family did not approve of him. The groom-to-be would sometimes face resistance from her male family members or from competing suitors who would fight him off. The groom would therefore bring along his "best men" to help him fight for the woman. Today the best man and ushers are honorary positions.

Leaving Arch Following Ceremony

Walking through your wedding arch at the end of your evening was started centuries ago to ensure the couple's safe passage into their new life together, the arch however was an arch of swords rather than an arch of hands.


First things first, you will need to establish whether your potential Dj is available and then arrange a meeting to discuss his or her services and how they can be used during your big day... it is always best to go prepared with as much info as possible including information about expected times of performance, venue access for equipment etc... obviously Dj's and discos vary greatly and it will be a good idea to explain to your potential Dj the type of performance you have in mind with regards to song choices and presentation that you like and do they know how to beat mix between records to help maintain continuity on the dance floor... if you love a certain style of music ask him/her do they have those songs and can they play them.

One important thing, is always check out Dj testimonials, even if it means asking your potential Dj for a non biased reference from a hotel or recent client... there are so many poor quality hobby Djs on the internet with self written testimonials, stock images of other Dj's set-ups to make them look good and also be careful of the Dj's with pictures of rooms which have been lit up by theme companies and hardly any of the equipment is actually theirs, always be sure exactly what you are paying for and what they are actually going to bring on the day... a quick test is to ask the Dj how do they transport their equipment and how long does it take to set up, if they answer in a car and the set up takes under 20 minutes then beware!... Most pro-dj's use a van or trailer to transport equipment and the average Dj's take from 40 minutes to 1 hour to set up equipment for the average wedding of 120 people. Always check them out as they are responsible for about 30% of your big day!



It is always recommended to meet with any of your wedding service suppliers, so why should your Dj be any different! Meet and check that your Dj has a professional service with a contract, check testimonials thoroughly, check that he/she has full PLI insurance and PAT equipment certification as some venues are red hot on this and will require proof of these certificates before your big day.



Wedding music planning is very much recommended but with an air of caution!... I could write a small book on the psychology of audiences and dance floor music but I will keep this brief. So do you make a Play List, Request List or leave it entirely to the Dj to gauge on the night. Firstly I would NOT recommend creating a Play List for your Dj as this can remove the creative flow from the dance floor, unless you really know your audience music taste and your a Dj and know your music really well. A request list is far more effective offering the Dj some ideas on the audience music taste and also allowing for their own creative flow. Personally I always provide my weddings with my own unique interactive music plan and you can see more about how this can help towards the success of your wedding celebration on this link *The Music Plan*



Most Djs will have a booking system, some use a simple email to collect your wedding day information and others may have an online form which you will need to complete... all reputable and professional Djs will request a booking deposit to confirm the booking and ensure that you are not wasting his/her time.



Venue Lighting will normally be atmospheric coloured lighting which is set up on the floor around the perimeter of the function room facing walls and architectural features

Wedding venues are designed to look bright and beautiful in the day with the lights on, and discos are designed to look atmospheric and colourful with the lights off.

Wedding venues are are not known for providing good quality mood lighting, and I normally provide my own mood lighting by installing a collection up-lighters around the room to illuminate the walls ceilings and architectural features... this ultimately gives you control over the atmosphere in the room.



Most venues today will require your chosen Dj/entertainer to have PLI (Public Liability Insurance) and PAT (Portable Appliance Test) certificates for all the disco equipment and these may need to be presented to the venue in advance. You can find copies of my certificates to download at the bottom of this page



A Dj should have a comprehensive light show and sound system which should be in his/her advertising brochure, website slides, video or portfolio... you should always request a picture of the type of show that you are paying for or ask to see a video... many Djs and agencies do not provide the client with a clear indication of exactly what they are paying for and what they have booked. TIP! you can get an idea of how professional or how much equipment a Dj is bringing to your event by asking what he/she transports it in, if they say that they transport their gear in the boot of a car, I would find another Dj! Most pro-Djs will transport their gear in a Van or Trailer.



Some Hotels will offer to sell you their Dj as part of a wedding package... my advice is check them out too, they are an important 30% of your big day! Some hotel resident Dj's will not always serve your best interests... many hotel resident Dj's are friendly with the hotel and offer very cheap bulk services to the Hotel, some of these "Hotel resident Dj's are shocking" to quote one of my brides who actually turned up to see one of the hotel Dj's perform a wedding at the Holiday Inn at Winchester... Hotels in general are mostly interested in the daytime ceremonies and food and not in the evening entertainment, they are certainly not entertainment agencies and also offer very poor judgement on the quality of any entertainment, they normally have a high volume of staff turn around and often dedicate the job of entertainment coordinator to a junior employee, who is often weekday employed, never actually there during the weddings in the evening and has no, or very little experience in entertainment!



1: Are you available for my date?

Established DJ's will be booked up months if not years in advance for popular dates. Generally Saturdays are the most popular day followed by Friday and Sunday. When you find the best DJ for you, secure the date asap.

2: How much do you cost?

A good wedding DJ can cost in the region of £350-£700 for the evening depending on set-up. Your event will ride on your DJ's performance to entertain your guests and if you book a DJ based on a low price they may ruin your wedding day or at the least not make it as special as you have planned!

3: Do you have public liability insurance (PLI) and PAT certification for your equipment?

PLI is injury and damages insurance relating to your DJ and their equipment. PAT is an electrical certificate that shows that the equipment is safe & Pro dub is required to use and download digital music. Your venue will probably need proof of PLI and PAT . Don't rely on word of mouth get your DJ to send you copies or the venue may refuse the DJ on the day.

4: Will You be able to meet me in person?

It is best to meet your DJ face to face. This is the best way to get to know if they are right for you. You can also go over music and what you want from the event. Its important that your DJ knows you before the day, but it also gives you the chance to asses your DJ and see if they are right for you. If they can't be bothered to take time to meet you then perhaps their commitment to the job is not what it should be?

5: What experience do you have and have you played at my venue?

Ask the DJ as many questions as possible relating to you function and what you want to achieve. That way you can gauge what experience he or she has. The best thing in the world is to get a DJ who has played a similar function at your venue. A good DJ will phone or visit the venue beforehand to plan out where to play, park, electricity supplies etc. Ask your DJ what experience they have? A good full time DJ will be busy every weekend of the year and perhaps be working most Friday, Saturday and perhaps Sundays. Avoid part time DJ's who do not get out often and hire an industry pro!

6: What equipment do you have?

Always ask questions about the equipment they will be bringing on the night and ask them to provide exact pictures and specifications of the set-up you are paying for. Also ask if they have a back up contingency plan, should any equipment fail.

7: Do you provide a written contract?

This is a legally binding agreement between you and the DJ and will clarify all your important arrangement details like; costs, location details and times etc?

8: Can I submit a music list & can my guests ask for requests?

Many DJ's will let you add to the music by pre requesting some favourite tracks. Your DJ will use that as a rough outline for the whole night. He/she should also take requests from your guests.

9: What happens if you are Ill or not able to make it on the day?

Are they a member of any local DJ group or has thought of what they will do should the worst happen?

10: Lastly - Who you are getting?

If booking your DJ through an agency check that the DJ you think you are booking is going to be the DJ who turns up.


Help & Advice

I have put together a collection of interesting and historical entertainment facts that also included some articles based on my own experience of over 1000 weddings, which may offer some help when organising your wedding disco entertainment.

Wedding disco entertainment is not the sort of thing you organise everyday and your wedding day is probably the biggest event that you will have ever organised with your wedding disco statistically taking up about 30% of that day... I must admit that I did not fully grasp the whole procedure until I had to organise one myself.


Wedding Ceremony ~ Receiving Line ~ Wedding Breakfast ~ Speeches ~ Evening Reception ~ First dance ~ Cut The Cake ~ Wedding Party ~ Buffet ~ Last Dance

Your wedding ceremony may be a traditional ceremony hosted by your venue and your banquet coordinator should have and provide you with a time line of your wedding from start to finish.

Your disco entertainment can be expected to follow the speeches or wedding breakfast and lead into the evening reception when your guests arrive... It will help to know exactly when the wedding breakfast is expected to conclude, so that you can start to plan for your disco arrival time.



First Dance:

This goes back to when formal banquets were opened by the two highest standing members of the Ball (such as a Duke and Duchess). Only then could the evening’s entertainment proceed. This was most commonly a waltz and choreographed dance, which is the same for weddings today as it is your wedding and as the bride and groom you would naturally dictate the days' formalities.

Speeches:

Speeches were originally short toasts, which involved clicking glasses together and drinking from them. Often it was the master of the function who would toast the ladies or his wife and also distinguished guests present, so it is not too far from todays traditions as the Father of the bride toasts the bride and the groom toasts the bride, bridesmaids and other key members of the wedding party. This is the biggest formality of your wedding and the main part of your day guests will remember. It is also one that you can do very well or just OK, so prepare & practice and it will be easier on the day.

The Cake

Beginning in early Roman times, the cake has been a special part of the wedding celebration. A thin loaf was broken over the bride's head at the close of the ceremony to symbolize fertility. The wheat from which it was made, symbolized fertility and the guests eagerly picked up the crumbs as good luck charms. This tradition evolved and spread to England in the Middle Ages where the guests of a wedding would bring small cakes and stack them together. During the Middle Ages, it became traditional for the couple to kiss over a small cluster of cakes. Later, a clever baker decided to amass all these small cakes together, covering them with frosting. Thus, the modern tiered cake was born. The earliest known sweet wedding cake is known as a Banbury Cake, which became popular in 1655.

Receiving Line:

The receiving line or 'line up' (as many clients put it) is a line of your guests prior to the drinks reception or wedding breakfast. You and your now husband/wife stand and greet each member of the wedding party. Often it will also include your parents and other key guests, but do not make it too big unless you have lots of time to spare! It is a great way (and probably the only time) to engage with every member of the wedding, however, try not to chat for too long, especially if you have lots of hungry guests! It’s also an opportunity for the photographer to take a photo with you and every guest well as a good way to seat each guest in the correct place for the wedding breakfast.

Bouquet Toss:

The bouquet was originally a bag of garlic, flower blossoms and grains, which were thought to dissuade evil spirits and was also symbolic of prosperity and love. At the same time it was also customary to tear off a part of the brides dress and take it home which was believed to increase the guest's chance of marriage. This was unsurprisingly not very popular with the bride so the modern bouquet was invented as a way to preserve the beautiful dresses.

Father Daughter Dance:

The Father Daughter dance is a very sentimental point in the day as it signifies a father handing over his precious daughter to another man, which is always a very serious matter, especially in history as it would often include a "dowry" which is a decision to pass over parental responsibilities. The Father Daughter dance is typically after first dance. Another idea is to have the father and daughter dance before the first dance and get him to hand over the bride in the middle or at the end, to officially start the first dance. It’s up to you as lots of couples do not want a father daughter dance at all for various reasons. It is also perhaps a good idea to also get the groom to invite his mother to dance (especially if it is after first dance). You can choose a track that your father knows and loves (perhaps his first dance) or one that fits, such as “my girl” etc.

Bridesmaids

Inviting women to be members of your bridal party dates back to ancient times. One Roman custom was to dress the bridesmaids in a fashion similar to the bride's to confuse evil spirits trying to kidnap the bride. Bridesmaids also had the role of fending off unsuitable suitors, leaving the bride for her groom. Although the specific functions of being a bridesmaid have changed over time, being the brides support system, confident, defender and friend hasn't.

The Best Man

Many centuries ago, before the women's rights movement, men who had decided upon a wife often had to forcefully take her with him (or kidnap her) if her family did not approve of him. The groom-to-be would sometimes face resistance from her male family members or from competing suitors who would fight him off. The groom would therefore bring along his "best men" to help him fight for the woman. Today the best man and ushers are honorary positions.

Leaving Arch Following Ceremony

Walking through your wedding arch at the end of your evening was started centuries ago to ensure the couple's safe passage into their new life together, the arch however was an arch of swords rather than an arch of hands.


First things first, you will need to establish whether your potential Dj is available and then arrange a meeting to discuss his or her services and how they can be used during your big day... it is always best to go prepared with as much info as possible including information about expected times of performance, venue access for equipment etc... obviously Dj's and discos vary greatly and it will be a good idea to explain to your potential Dj the type of performance you have in mind with regards to song choices and presentation that you like and do they know how to beat mix between records to help maintain continuity on the dance floor... if you love a certain style of music ask him/her do they have those songs and can they play them.

One important thing, is always check out Dj testimonials, even if it means asking your potential Dj for a non biased reference from a hotel or recent client... there are so many poor quality hobby Djs on the internet with self written testimonials, stock images of other Dj's set-ups to make them look good and also be careful of the Dj's with pictures of rooms which have been lit up by theme companies and hardly any of the equipment is actually theirs, always be sure exactly what you are paying for and what they are actually going to bring on the day... a quick test is to ask the Dj how do they transport their equipment and how long does it take to set up, if they answer in a car and the set up takes under 20 minutes then beware!... Most pro-dj's use a van or tailor to transport equipment and the average Dj's take from 40 minutes to 1 hour to set up equipment for the average wedding of 120 people. Always check them out as they are responsible for about 30% of your big day!



It is always recommended to meet with any of your wedding service suppliers, so why should your Dj be any different! Meet and check that your Dj has a professional service with a contract, check testimonials thoroughly, check that he/she has full PLI insurance and PAT equipment certification as some venues are red hot on this and will require proof of these certificates before your big day.



Wedding music planning is very much recommended but with an air of caution!... I could write a small book on the psychology of audiences and dance floor music but I will keep this brief. So do you make a Play List, Request List or leave it entirely to the Dj to gauge on the night. Firstly I would NOT recommend creating a Play List for your Dj as this can remove the creative flow from the dance floor, unless you really know your audience music taste and your a Dj and know your music really well. A request list is far more effective offering the Dj some ideas on the audience music taste and also allowing for their own creative flow. Personally I always provide my weddings with my own unique interactive music plan and you can see more about how this can help towards the success of your wedding celebration on this link *The Music Plan*



Most Djs will have a booking system, some use a simple email to collect your wedding day information and others may have an online form which you will need to complete... all reputable and professional Djs will request a booking deposit to confirm the booking and ensure that you are not wasting his/her time.



Venue Lighting will normally be atmospheric coloured lighting which is set up on the floor around the perimeter of the function room facing walls and architectural features

Wedding venues are designed to look bright and beautiful in the day with the lights on, and discos are designed to look atmospheric and colourful with the lights off.

Wedding venues are are not known for providing good quality mood lighting, and I normally provide my own mood lighting by installing a collection up-lighters around the room to illuminate the walls ceilings and architectural features... this ultimately gives you control over the atmosphere in the room.



Most venues today will require your chosen Dj/entertainer to have PLI (Public Liability Insurance) and PAT (Portable Appliance Test) certificates for all the disco equipment and these may need to be presented to the venue in advance. You can find copies of my certificates to download at the bottom of this page



A Dj should have a comprehensive light show and sound system which should be in his/her advertising brochure, website slides, video or portfolio... you should always request a picture of the type of show that you are paying for or ask to see a video... many Djs and agencies do not provide the client with a clear indication of exactly what they are paying for and what they have booked. TIP! you can get an idea of how professional or how much equipment a Dj is bringing to your event by asking what he/she transports it in, if they say that they transport their gear in the boot of a car, I would find another Dj! Most pro-Djs will transport their gear in a Van or Trailer.



Some Hotels will offer to sell you their Dj as part of a wedding package... my advice is check them out too, they are an important 30% of your big day! Some hotel resident Dj's will not always serve your best interests... many hotel resident Dj's are friendly with the hotel and offer very cheap bulk services to the Hotel, some of these "Hotel resident Dj's are shocking" to quote one of my brides who actually turned up to see one of the hotel Dj's perform a wedding at the Holiday Inn at Winchester... Hotels in general are mostly interested in the daytime ceremonies and food and not in the evening entertainment, they are certainly not entertainment agencies and also offer very poor judgement on the quality of any entertainment, they normally have a high volume of staff turn around and often dedicate the job of entertainment coordinator to a junior employee, who is often weekday employed, never actually there during the weddings in the evening and has no, or very little experience in entertainment!



1: Are you available for my date?

Established DJ's will be booked up months if not years in advance for popular dates. Generally Saturdays are the most popular day followed by Friday and Sunday. When you find the best DJ for you, secure the date asap.

2: How much do you cost?

A good wedding DJ can cost in the region of £350-£700 for the evening depending on set-up. Your event will ride on your DJ's performance to entertain your guests and if you book a DJ based on a low price they may ruin your wedding day or at the least not make it as special as you have planned!

3: Do you have public liability insurance (PLI) and PAT certification for your equipment?

PLI is injury and damages insurance relating to your DJ and their equipment. PAT is an electrical certificate that shows that the equipment is safe & Pro dub is required to use and download digital music. Your venue will probably need proof of PLI and PAT . Don't rely on word of mouth get your DJ to send you copies or the venue may refuse the DJ on the day.

4: Will You be able to meet me in person?

It is best to meet your DJ face to face. This is the best way to get to know if they are right for you. You can also go over music and what you want from the event. Its important that your DJ knows you before the day, but it also gives you the chance to asses your DJ and see if they are right for you. If they can't be bothered to take time to meet you then perhaps their commitment to the job is not what it should be?

5: What experience do you have and have you played at my venue?

Ask the DJ as many questions as possible relating to you function and what you want to achieve. That way you can gauge what experience he or she has. The best thing in the world is to get a DJ who has played a similar function at your venue. A good DJ will phone or visit the venue beforehand to plan out where to play, park, electricity supplies etc. Ask your DJ what experience they have? A good full time DJ will be busy every weekend of the year and perhaps be working most Friday, Saturday and perhaps Sundays. Avoid part time DJ's who do not get out often and hire an industry pro!

6: What equipment do you have?

Always ask questions about the equipment they will be bringing on the night and ask them to provide exact pictures and specifications of the set-up you are paying for. Also ask if they have a back up contingency plan, should any equipment fail.

7: Do you provide a written contract?

This is a legally binding agreement between you and the DJ and will clarify all your important arrangement details like; costs, location details and times etc?

8: Can I submit a music list & can my guests ask for requests?

Many DJ's will let you add to the music by pre requesting some favourite tracks. Your DJ will use that as a rough outline for the whole night. He/she should also take requests from your guests.

9: What happens if you are Ill or not able to make it on the day?

Are they a member of any local DJ group or has thought of what they will do should the worst happen?

10: Lastly - Who you are getting?

If booking your DJ through an agency check that the DJ you think you are booking is going to be the DJ who turns up.


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