What It Takes To Get To "Game Day"
After six months, a year, or even two years of planning, we’ve successfully made it to "Wedding Week!" All of the planning and preparation is complete... now it’s time for all of the final details to be confirmed. Let's walk through how Weddings By Kurtis Cross approaches wedding week and eventually "game day."
In getting to "game day" I truly believe that prior proper planning prevents poor results. In keeping with this theme, my team and I prepare, as much as we can, in advance for each wedding celebration. With many hours of planning in our rear view mirror, we've taken the time to get to know each couple, their likes and dislikes and, of course, the vision they share for their dream wedding day. Our main goal on their wedding day is to execute their wedding day as one fine masterpiece. It is with this in mind that my team and I approach each couple and each wedding day as if it is the only wedding in the world that matters. In fact, to us, it truly is. There are no "do-overs" and we have just one opportunity to make each moment, on this day, count. Let's fast forward...
Monday - We confirm all details with our couple via telephone & email. From arrival time to parking... ceremony to reception... sound equipment to lighting, we confirm it all. This allows us to review all matters and add any details that may be last minute.
Tuesday - We conduct an inventory check at our warehouse, to ensure that all equipment for wedding day is ready to roll. This includes charging wireless uplighting, checking all cables, updating software, designating back-up equipment and so forth.
Wednesday - This is dress rehearsal day. We conduct a complete run-through of each wedding from start to finish. A five hour wedding celebration equals a five hour dress rehearsal. My script, all of my cues, song selections and special instructions are rehearsed. All name pronunciations and cues are confirmed. The day's music program is arranged identically on both laptops. This allows us to experience any potential "bump in the road" prior to game day. All music for each wedding is then exported onto a flash drive and two external hard drives. This totals three locations where each wedding's music program can be found.
Thursday - This is typically the day whereby our staff discusses what we expect on wedding day. If we are familiar with the venue, we'll review the ins & outs of the location. This includes arrival time, load in quirks, set-up space, venue staff who we are familiar with, production ideas and more. If we are not familiar with the event space, we'll take the time to review this info online and/or by telephone, with the event manager.
Friday - It is important to me to have a low impact day ending with a great night's sleep. Call me crazy, but I won't even use either laptop on Friday. Since we've already done a dress rehearsal, I know the laptops are ready and I will not use them for anything so that they are ready, just as i left them, following Wednesday's dress rehearsal. Tomorrow is a big day.
Six Hours Prior To Show Time
In the hours prior to the wedding celebration, Paula Panasiewicz (our in-house wedding expert) and I review the timeline/itinerary again. By this time, Paula has loaded the day's timeline into an iPad, sent it to me via e-mail and has print copies available for me and any venue personnel/vendors to have on-hand. Our Road Crew will go to our warehouse and pick up the designated equipment & back-up equipment for the wedding. They are required to be neatly dressed and professional as they are the first impression that the event venue will have of The Kurtis Cross Team. Once they arrive to the event location, the Road Crew will check in with me, via text... and the countdown continues.
Four Hours Prior To Show Time
Appearance plays a part in our professionalism. Therefore, I prep for today's celebration by shining my shoes and picking out my attire. Very few things speak to a wedding vendor's attitude and readiness better than a professional appearance. A pressed suit, laundered shirt, crisp tie, sparkling cufflinks and let's not forget the shiny shoes, are all a part of my professional appearance. From our team, a Reception Coordinator always accompanies me and this person is also expected to have a similar, professional appearance.
Two Hours Prior To Showtime
By this time, I am en route to the performance location. Typically the Reception Coordinator and I will ride together and during that time, we discuss the wedding and what role we will each play in building the perfect wedding and/or reception. Our Reception Coordinators understand the importance of each couple's day and will work tirelessly to fill the role of support person to the couple and to my performance. Having worked with each of our Reception Coordinators for years, our dynamic is parallel in working toward one goal: producing the best day of our couples' life!
One Hour Prior To Show Time
We arrive to the event venue. The Road Crew briefs us and I then introduce myself to the venue personnel. Key people to meet are the front desk staff, the maintenance staff, banquet captain and on-site wedding coordinator. Once I've met the key venue staff, I check in on the couple. Our early arrival to the venue is something that each couple appreciates, knowing that our part in their day is underway without a hitch. With 45 minutes to go, we conduct a sound check with our Road Crew. Both laptops are tested, the wireless mic scans for an open frequency, and I conduct a mic check. I scroll through the iPad and then match our timeline to what the banquet captain has. More often than not, our timelines match. If for any reason they do not, we work together to sharpen up any inconsistencies, in the best interest of our couple. With 30 minutes to go, I am now permanently in the event space, waiting for our first guests to arrive. I begin the music program as I would like music to welcome our earliest guests. It's time to kick-off this celebration!
Am I nervous? Slightly. After all these years, I find that my nervousness serves as a reminder to me, that each wedding celebration is unique and deserving of our best effort. This evening, we will deliver exactly that. Beginning with organizing the bridal party for their grand entrance and ending with the couple's final dance, it's game time. There's nothing like the day of a couple's wedding. For me, each "game day" is equally thrilling and exciting. At the same time, I am a bit nervous, on each wedding day. Forget the number of years I've been in business. This is my couple's WEDDING DAY! All must be perfect... this must be their dream day and I am responsible for completing their day with a huge celebration. A celebration that they will remember for the rest of their lives. Just for good measure, their closest friends and family will be in attendance as well. With each vendor playing an important role in the success of a couple's wedding day, some vendors are more on "display" than others. As a professional wedding DJ, each announcement I make and every song selection I choose is public. I do not look at this as pressure, but rather an opportunity to make this celebration distinctly different than last week's wedding.
While there is no standard reception timeline for all weddings, we often...
Announce The Bridal Party
The Dance Floor Opens
Traditions (Cake Cutting, Bouquet/Garter, Anniversary Dance)
Dance Floor Set #2
Now game day is in full swing. Once the dance floor opens, I find myself visually surveying the crowd for signals that will assist me in prepping a few songs ahead. My #1 objective is to create energy on the dance floor. From my couple to the five year old ring bearer and 75 year old grandmother, I must be very mindful of programming a setlist whereby all guests can find their space on the dance floor. This must also be balanced with each couple's "must play" & "do not play" lists, guest requests & my experience as a professional DJ. Within a few songs, the dance floor builds and we are well into the celebration that our couple envisioned.