Presence vs. Being Present: Is your event about your entertainment, or is it about YOU?

By Adrian Cavlan

Just a quick thought here… There is such a difference between hiring an MC/DJ who simply offers their presence at your event vs. hiring someone who will be present at your event.

What’s the difference, you ask?

One is just there to “do your gig”: Sets up, performs, breaks down, goes home. The other is emotionally invested in the outcome of your event. This person has prepared meticulously and, from the moment of his/her arrival at your event until the last goodbyes are said, is constantly aware of the life and pulse of the event and looking for ways to serve and enhance the event in real time.

This still may not be clear, so I’ll give two examples.

1) The “gig” DJ is there at your wedding. It is time for toasts. He quickly introduces the person giving the toast, perhaps only by a generic title (i.e. “the Best Man”) vs. using the person’s actual name. During the toast, he may stand slightly off to the side, and as the toast drags on for more than a couple of minutes, he may check his phone a couple of times. Suddenly, out of the corner of his eye, he sees people raising their glasses and zones back in. At the conclusion of the toast, he walks back up to take the mic and says a quick “Thanks. And now we’ll have some dinner.”

By contrast, let’s look at how the other MC would handle this:

The emotionally-present MC would introduce the Best Man in a more eloquent manner, truly setting the stage properly for him for one of the wedding’s more memorable moments. During the toast, he would also stand off to the side, consciously trying to not be part of anyone’s view and distracting from the focus on the Best Man. He may also make his way back to the mixing position to make sure the mic is perfectly adjusted to capture the speech at the proper level. Critically, he is NOT daydreaming during the toast, but rather, listening and taking mental notes on clues and cues given during this toast that may allow him to create special moments later in the celebration. It is during this time that he finds out that the groom’s favorite soccer team is Liverpool in the English Premier League, and, leveraging knowledge he has from a past event, he slips back to the computer again to cue up the Liverpool club’s theme song (“You’ll Never Walk Alone” by Gerry & The Pacemakers). At the end of the toast, the MC graciously thanks the Best Man (by name), and announces that the venue will be now presenting this evening’s meal service. He may also explain how the venue would like the meal service handled (i.e. to please remain seated until invited by a member of the banquet staff), and then… the moment: “ and now, friends and family, I’d like to dedicate this next song to our Groom, David - we pulled this next one straight out of Anfield’s (their home stadium) playlist, and it’s called “You’ll Never Walk Alone” by Gerry and the Pacemakers!”

The best part is when you see the groom’s jaw hit the floor : )

2) Right before the First Dance at the wedding, one of the bridesmaids comes up and asks to stand next to you while holding a phone and pointing it toward the dance floor.

The “gig” DJ says “sure, ok” and figures that the bridesmaid is recording a video of it (along with all the other phones being held up by everyone else), and proceeds to play the song. Doesn’t think much more of it.

The emotionally-present MC is also accommodating. “Sure - please stand wherever you’d like…” BUT - he is also keeping an eye on things. He notices that the bridesmaid is getting a little emotional and that she is periodically looking into the phone too. The DJ looks at her midway through the song and flashes her an “ok?” signal. She looks back and smiles through teary eyes.

As the song comes to its conclusion, she slips closer to him and explains that she had the bride’s grandmother on the other side of a Facetime video, and she was making sure grandma didn’t miss the first dance. You see, she had taken a bad fall the day before the wedding and was laid up in a hospital bed instead of watching her beloved granddaughter get married that day. The quick-thinking MC asks the bridesmaid if Grandma is still on the line? The bridesmaid nods “yes”, and the MC asks her quickly to please keep her there. The bride and groom start to approach the bridesmaid holding the phone to say hello to Grandma and thank her for watching their first dance. Then, the MC opens the mic to briefly say that the bride’s grandmother couldn’t be here today to celebrate with us, but how about if we all make her feel like she is by offering a huge greeting to her?? “One-Two-Three - ‘HI GRANDMA!!!’ comes the chorus from over 100 guests!!! Grandma is absolutely thrilled on the other side as well-wishers come by the phone to wave and blow kisses for the next few seconds.

Do you think anyone will ever forget that moment at that wedding? Most importantly, how do you think Grandma felt about it?

So, just think about it a bit. Are you happy with a simple presence at your event, or do you deserve someone who will be present?

Have a wonderful day : )

Adrian Cavlan