Today, I’ve started a new blog series; The Vendor Says, with the intent to draw greater attention to the working relationship between the planner and vendors we work diligently with when planning and executing your wedding. Executing a wedding is often a full-on production, requiring countless hours of planning and numerous labor hours, installing and ensuring that every last detail is picture perfect. The vendor relationship is important, as everyone works harmoniously, under the planner’s guidance, to give you the most amazing wedding day. This further emphasizes the importance of hiring a professional planner for your wedding; one that’s knowledgeable on the ins and outs of the planning process, is well equipped to handle any situation that may arise, and have strong vendor relationships so that you can have some assurance of what the end result will be. Since so many brides attempt to go at it alone and plan their wedding themselves, I wanted to shed light on how we, as planners, help orchestrate the planning and execution of a wedding, while making it easier for everyone involved.
First up in the series is the always dapper, always smiling and full of life and energy, which you want in a DJ, Toryn Lankford of Exquisite Sounds Entertainment. Here’s what he had to say:
1. How did you get involved in DJing?
So, I’ll admit, I’ve always loved music, from being a really bad member of the church choir, to being in a high school Hip Hop group, to even pretending to be a hype man in my college years. It was in college, however, that I first attempted to get into DJing. I admit, I was horrible. Just horrible. I tried again several years later because being a DJ really appealed to me and I love all types of music. I tried again and I was still horrible. Several years later and minus a few distractions, I tried again and it stuck and I was on my way! I’ve now been DJing for years and I’ve gotten pretty good, but still find the time and desire to work on and sharpen my skills each week to make myself and my team better.
2. Why did you choose to become a part of the wedding industry?
I chose to become part of the Wedding industry because of the great people that I met as I was researching or even just entering the field. I’ve met a lot of just really positive and create people and being around that energy each and every week, as we collectively help someone celebrate one of the best days of their lives is a great feeling.
3. How did you get into the wedding industry?
Actually the very first wedding I did was for a friend of a friend. I was DJing on a regular basis at a few bars, clubs and private events and someone asked if I could do their Wedding. I had never really thought about it but agreed to do it. I worked with them on their ceremony & reception music and quite honestly, just never looked back. From the time I did that first wedding I was hooked and I’ve wanted to do bigger and better weddings ever since.
4. What do you love about being a part of the wedding industry?
I love the community that exists within the industry. It’s great to be a part of a group of people that really care about what they do and how they do it. I find that wedding professionals are always looking to do better and be better and that really matters to me. I also find that we’ve been fortunate to be connected with some really great fellow vendors who offer great feedback, insight and even just help provide opportunities to one another. That level of support and dedication to the craft really excites me and keeps me motivated to continually add and do more!
5. What's your ideal bride or couple?
The ideal couple, to me, are music lovers, but not just one genre. They’re lovers of Top 40, Hip Hop, 80’s, 90’s and just all around good music. A couple with a deep appreciation for good music and what good music and entertainment can do for an event. Couples that offer input, but allow for enough creative control from the DJ to navigate the evening musically are always the best to work with because they don’t appear so rigid with their musical requests. They simply want to have an amazing time and help ride along on the journey.
6. In your field within the wedding industry, is it easier or preferred to work with a planner or the couple alone?
Working with an organized, professional and knowledgeable planner is always a plus when it comes to weddings. The age old saying of “you get what you pay for” is true here. I prefer if we always have a great planner on board to work with. This helps to cut down on all the back and forth with the couple on the day of the wedding. There are a number of things that could happen or events that could change and being able to have a planner to facilitate those always helps.
7. Do wedding planners make your job easier? If so, how? If not, why not?
In some cases they do, in some they don’t. With everything it’s about relationships and working together. Some groups work better together as they know their team member's strengths and weaknesses or they see where help or value can be added. Planners help to work with the bride & groom, venue and other vendors while we as entertainers can entertain. We don’t have to be consumed with announcing tables for the buffet, not that we mind, but a planner’s simple communication to each table is far better than a DJ announcing it several times over. Also, if something changes or needs to be changed, it’s helpful to have a planner on hand to assist with those items, while not having an experienced one can make these times difficult and take away from the event at hand.
8. Do you encourage your brides to choose wedding planners? Why or why not?
We always encourage our couples to secure the services of a knowledgeable planner. No matter if it’s for Month Of Planning or Full Service Planning, we definitely understand the value of having an experienced planner. If for nothing else, it helps the couple to be able to sit back and enjoy the moment at hand without having to worry about every single moment that’s going on or that’s coming up. They can enjoy the process as it leads up to their special day. Being consumed with contacting all the vendors and all the other various tasks takes away from the experience that they’ve been looking forward to for so long.
9. What's the best piece of advice you can provide to a bride?
Simple. Hire an experienced Wedding Planner, oh and Exquisite Sounds Ent. But seriously, it would be to hire a wedding planner and hire one that you want to work with and that wants to work with you!
10. What has been the worst thing you've seen from a wedding when the bride and groom has gone against your suggestion of hiring a planner?
I’ve personally seen a lot of things…but usually I’ve seen the worst when there;s no one at the helm on wedding day. It tends to be just a bit of chaos leading up to the point where the band or DJ takes over. In these cases there's always questions around when we start, end, when’s food, etc..once the party gets going, we’re in control, so that’s great, but leading up to that point are some very critical points and I’ve seen some really great moments missed because of lack of good planning and attention to detail.