“I wish I had….” said the regretful bride.

Probably one of the most painful moments I have as an event planner, is hearing the regrets of my clients that either didn’t listen to my advice, or worse, listened to the advice of their friends while planning. They ignored their gut and let the outside world influence them. Only on the day of the event did they see what they should have done, and by then, it was too late. Now, they shout from the rooftops “don’t do what I did!” Is anyone listening?

Hindsight is interesting. Frequently, people believe that they know what is best and there is no convincing them otherwise. You can use spreadsheets, a slideshow, puppets, it doesn’t matter. It’s not until something blows up in someone’s face and they actually see it that they actually believe it. So I was wondering what are some of the major regrets clients had, and I caught up with my friends over at Elegant Ensembles in New Jersey. They have provided amazing live music for many events we have put together, and as an established vendor, they know what the clients “shoulda, coulda and woulda” done differently.

A whopping 72% of all brides say they would have spent more time choosing their reception entertainment. Almost 100% of brides say they would have spent more of their budget on the entertainment. 

I believe it.

I see brides spending over 50% of their budget (please refer to a previous blog where I say not to do that) on their venue and then digging for change in their couches to pay the rest of the vendors involved. 

Here’s the thing about entertainment: if it sucks, so does your entire event. Empty dancefloor? No one will care about anything else. I could bring in ceiling flower installations, top caterers from across the country, vodka direct from Russia that is served by bears on little bikes and none of it will matter if the entertainment is sub-par. 

We are seeing more and more clients pick up bad talent for their entertainment. This includes radio DJs that have never performed at a wedding before and probably never ever should. A good DJ/MC combination (if you prefer to not do the band thing) is essential. You need people that will communicate with you as clients, your crowd throughout the night, and especially, your wedding planner. Too often $5 DJs are hired and make the entire event about them and their music. They ignore your timeline, forget the bouquet toss and announce the wrong people as they enter. All that matters to them is playing music. That’s great, but then your caterer plates the food late (how much did you pay per plate again?), the cake doesn’t get cut until everyone leaves, and your mom is making her entrance to the wrong damn song. Just say “no” to the radio DJ and those that make it about them and not about you. Because if a DJ is doing his own thing, there is little to nothing that can be done by us to fix the problem….aside from “grabbing the microphone” and “taking over” as was suggested to us to do at a wedding one time. PS- that’s not our job. Nope.

Going the band route? Awesome. There are so many to choose from and we recommend meeting with them and hearing samples, live if possible. The amount of bad music and really bad pitchy singing that is out there is extraordinary. Don’t have a great ear for this type of stuff? Bring someone with you that does and ask that person to be honest. You do not need some Christina Aguilera wanna-be riffing flat notes all night. 

Finally, with any music, this is not where you cut your budget (go after that 250 person guest list instead). Bad music=bad event. There is no way around it. Always ask your planner for their recommendations because they will be working with them to time the entire event. 

When asked, 81% of guests say the thing the remember most about a wedding is the entertainment.

Don’t be a hindsight disaster. Kick “shoulda, coulda, woulda” to the curb.

Thanks to Elegant Ensembles for providing the statistics! Check out their website for your music needs: http://www.elegantensembles.com/

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