Wedding Timelines with Carl Askew – E112

Wedding Timelines with Cark Askew

Matthew Campbell of My Wedding Songs and Carl Askew of The Springs DJ & Photo Booth chat about the importance of wedding timelines.

You can find Carl on Instagram: @cizzleent and via email at or



Show Notes:

  • Heartwarming Wedding Moment
  • Remembering A Parent
  • Foreseeable Surprises
  • Common Itinerary Mistakes
  • Need of a Coordinator
  • Transition Times
  • About The Springs
  • Flexibility in Wedding Timelines
  • Taking Pictures
  • Essential Moments on the Itinerary
  • Common Wedding Moments
  • Length of Ceremonies
  • Time For Pictures
  • Formal Dances
  • Opening Music Sets
  • Wedding Itinerary Logistics
  • A Wedding Running Smoothly
  • Unique Wedding Itinerary
  • Family Moments
  • Contact and Follow Carl

Welcome everybody to the Wedding Songs Podcast. I’m Matt Campbell today we’re going to be talking about wedding timelines. To help me along this path, I have Carl Askew from the Springs DJ in Texas.

Welcome to the show, Carl. Thank you for having me. I really appreciate the opportunity to be here. Thank you. This is I think an important topic, not only for starting DJs, but also for couples planning their weddings because timelines get all over the place, and planning them, is a good thing, but also not to be very restrictive. And that’s what we’re going to be talking about today.

Heartwarming Wedding Moment

So before we get started, can you talk about a heartwarming wedding moment that you’ve had? I have two actually really close ties, for heartwarming moments at a wedding. One of them happened quite a few years back when I was early to DJing and it actually kind of taught me some of the lessons about making sure I had a timeline and working with the other vendors.

But one of the brides that was getting married, was one of her nieces. Walked up to me and decided she had a song to sing. and as I was finding the song for her and everything and kind of scrambling I gave her a microphone nobody else knew she was going to sing this song and she actually could really, really sing.

I introduced her and the bride, the groom, and several family members. They were just in tears the whole time because the girl saying one of the most beautiful songs. That moment kind of stuck with me. Like I said, it is also kind of shaped. How I deal with timelines and approach them and work with other vendors, because one thing I forgot to do at that moment was let the photographer know.

I was about to do that. And so it was during the dinner break. The photographer had just sat down to eat. I had just gotten some food and she asked for it. And I, without thinking said, okay, and played it. As soon as I saw the photographer scrambling for his camera, Okay. instantly realized, oh, you know what?

I should probably communicate a lot better with the other vendors, mostly photographers, videographers, and coordinators. I became close with all of those vendors at every wedding since then. So that was an early moment.

Remembering A Parent

And one, most recently this is an idea that I never thought of before we had a bride whose father had passed away. And for her father-daughter dance, she brought every single person out on the dance floor. She told me she wanted everybody out there and she played her dad’s favorite song and she had them all out there and danced and she was right in the middle of all of them. Probably by far the most touching moment I’ve ever seen at a wedding. There really wasn’t a dry in the place.

So, wow. Those are two awesome stories about remembering the father. I love that idea because it adds that personality and that moment that you don’t get at every single wedding. And that’s why I challenged couples to have their moments. It might not be the whole wedding. It might not be the whole reception, but if you have those. Maybe one or two moments. That’s really what makes it special.

And as DJs, as you know, we’re doing so many weddings that having those moments, those are the ones that we remember too. Oh, yes. Yes. It’s something I’ve added to recommend, even if somebody’s saying, well, you know, I don’t know what to do because of a loved one’s passed that was by far the best way I’ve ever seen to handle that. So, it was really touching.

Great tip for everybody too, that’s planning that moment as well. So the other thing I want to talk about is the girl coming up asking to sing, boy, that is such a risk for you as a DJ, I can’t tell you how many times they can’t really sing and everybody thinks they should be an American Idol star.

Foreseeable Surprises

Oh, yes. I mean, it also taught me another important lesson during the planning side. I always ask couples now, is there anybody else that would give a surprise toast or, have anything else to add, that, you don’t foresee happening or do you even want that to happen?

Because, some people, with family dynamics and different things, they don’t want certain people to have a microphone and, and they already know them, but, people will walk straight up to the DJ and they’re like, Hey, I got, I need to announce something real quick. I become very guarded now, even though that ended up being touching, like you said, it could have gone really bad depending.

So, right. Or, or Aunt Susie’s in the church choir. But she really can’t sing. So make sure that she doesn’t say, make sure you don’t give her a microphone. Right.

Common Itinerary Mistakes

So can you, talk a little bit about common itinerary mistakes couples make and how they can be avoided? I would say the biggest itinerary mistake I see is not actually putting the effort and time on the front end to plan it out.

When you’re doing weddings, weddings are so different and with the Springs, so to give a little background on where I actually DJ right now, I’m the regional manager for the Springs venues for the Dallas area. So we have 12 venues. And I have six DJs that are constantly on rotation, plugging them in and out of different weddings.

And we also, sometimes I have to go down to Houston to work with the team down there as well. They have 10 more venues down there. So we’re familiar with the venues themselves. We’re kind of in and out of them, but we see a lot of different weddings happening. A lot of people have unique styles.

A lot of just different cultures have, different wedding setups. So there’s really no right or wrong answer to how you’re going to do your wedding day, but when you don’t plan it, there’s the old adage, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. And I see it so many times where the wedding day becomes a scramble because people have not actually taken the time to lay out what items are also I tell people on the converse side of that.

It’s your wedding timeline is not this rigid. You have to be here at this, this, and this, maybe the morning time, when you have hair and makeup and all of that, your lead up to it. When you get to the ceremony, one of the biggest things I tell couples is it’s your day. couples ask me sometimes, well, should I play the whole first dance song?

This is the only time you’re going to get your first dance. If you want to play the entire four-and-a-half, five-minute song, play it. Now, if you feel uncomfortable with people watching you that long, I can definitely shorten it and play an abridged version for you. But if you want to stand there and dance, Everybody else can wait. They really can. Like, this is your moment. and so I often I see that not happen or take place where people just don’t plan it outright.

Need of a Coordinator

With that being said, kind of my 2nd thing is not having a coordinator altogether. As a DJ and working with a lot of photographers. When you don’t have a coordinator, the DJ and the photographers end up being your day of coordinators, and we actually have a lot of other tasks to take care of, it’s not just, oh, I’m over here.

Let me just push play when it’s time to push play. I really have to keep track of where everything is and where it’s going, make sure the tracks are loaded, make sure everything’s kind of staying. On track. and then you have other avenues that are happening. If you get off track and catering was told dinner started at 6.

Well, catering started planning that meal. Now if we’re just kind of going off, they’ve made the meal to start at 6, but now we’re at 645 and we haven’t started dinner. Well, now that food’s getting cold because the caterer had a hard set time. So, I tell people all the time, it’s, it’s not about the specifics of, this is the right timeline and this is the wrong timeline.

It’s about, did you even take the time to. Think through what your timeline was going to be, understanding if you come in and you decide to do your dances before dinner. Well, that’s about another 10 minutes of time. and then probably my final biggest mistake I see is when people do build a timeline and they don’t build transition time into it.

Transition Times

If your ceremonies are in 1 place, but then you have to move over, whether it’s a whole other venue, or if it’s just, moving from outside to inside all of our venues have the outdoor ceremony area. And then you can come inside to the reception. But even with that moving time, getting people to move from point A to point B takes time.

So, you can’t say that. Oh, the ceremony ends at 4:30. Okay. Okay. And then, you know, we’re going straight into dinner at 4:45, but you won’t even have everybody into the building and seated by then. Some great tips there, Carl. I love it. How you’re really encompassing the whole day. So that way you’re giving those tips for each moment.

About The Springs

But you did mention some of your DJs and some of the facilities. Can you talk a little bit more about you and your company? Yes, I could talk a little bit more about the company. The Springs, I did mention there are three venues that they have in Oklahoma, but they provide venues.

We used to be Southland DJs and we were bought out. We were one of their preferred vendors. And they incorporated us into their team, along with other services. They incorporated bartending, a catering company, and linen. So, a lot of places are moving towards that. We can provide everything in a 1 stop-shop format.

They incorporated a DJ and photo booth arm as well. I’m the regional manager for the DJ and photo booth side of it in the Dallas area. I have a team of DJs, but I also have a team of photo booth attendants we offer various packages, but we offer them all through the venue.

So, when you go to book the venue, they’ll lay out, these are the services we have, and the different teams now, you can still pick your own DJ. You can still pick your own catering. They’re not an exclusive, all-included venue. They let you bring outside vendors still, but it makes it a lot easier for a lot of people planning when you don’t have to call, 6 different vendors.

You can get them when you go sit down at the venue. That’s interesting. That was talked about in the last episode where the venue is really walking them through the whole process, trying to book all of the vendors. So that’s, that’s an interesting take that they bought out a DJ. That’s fascinating.

Yes. It made it really nice because, especially even when I’m bringing new DJs on board, the DJs love it because the equipment is in every single venue, the equipment, we use the exact same setup. So, any of my DJs can go into any 1 of the 12 venues here in Dallas. They know it’s going to be the same equipment, same exact setup and, where you’re placing things.

Changes are based on how the wedding is set up. But other than that, we’ve taken the approach of being consistent in the setup and preparation. So then you can handle the craziness that might happen on a wedding day, all of the intangibles that you can’t. Stop ahead of time or prepare for I’m just thinking as a side note, are you guys incorporating the uplighting and all of the effects as well? Yes. We also provide uplighting. we have a package that provides, even advanced dance floor lighting so we use a gig bar too, which is really common. A lot of people will put the gig bar too behind them and let it kind of run on sound automation.

But we actually have a setup of moving headlights as well that we add to our packages. and those actually run straight off the DJ console. Cool. Yeah. I love that. That you don’t have to market your business. You just have to work with the venue and, supply the DJs.

Flexibility in Wedding Timelines

How important is the flexibility you already mentioned in the wedding itinerary and how can couples build in buffer time, you did talk about the buffer time a little bit. How much should they add in there? Well, I will say anytime people have to move.

I would at least at a minimum, you need to build in 15 minutes, but obviously, if people have to go a distance to get somewhere if they have to get in their cars and drive somewhere, we do a lot of weddings where they’ll have the ceremony at an actual chapel and then when they come over to the venue, 30 minutes, you can’t just say, oh, we’ll give a 30-minute break.

Typically, when people go to move somewhere after the ceremony finishes, they’ll stand around and talk. There might be 15 minutes of them just standing and talking, getting in the cars, and then when they get to the venue, some of them are still in the parking lot talking. They don’t come directly into the building.

And then you got to also understand that people have come into town. They haven’t seen each other in years, possibly. I mean, this is family all coming together, friends coming together. A lot of times when you’re doing the younger weddings, there’s people that went to college together and then went off to their careers.

And haven’t seen each other since they all walked across the stage on graduation day. So, you have a lot of that people catching up. So you definitely want to, like I said, 15 is a minimum that I would ever build in for anytime people move anywhere, whether it’s outside to inside, or, inside to outside.

Then when you’re going from the Ceremony to dinner time or the reception itself. I absolutely love cocktail hour. A lot of people, even if you’re having a dry wedding cocktail hour, can put out some orders just snacks and it gives people time to talk and chat before they get seated.

It gives them time to focus. If, you know anything about people, if I haven’t seen you in years and I have something to do. Yes. I’ll sit here and I’ll pay attention to the ceremony or, I’ll pay attention to the 1st dance, but somewhere in the back of my mind, I’m thinking still I need to talk to so and so, you know, I haven’t seen this person.

Just even playing with the psychology of people. My wife is working on her doctorate right now in organizational leadership. So we have a lot of psychology discussions in our house. and so just knowing kind of the psychology of people, you really need to be able to make sure you give them time to interact and move around.

So, like I said, cocktail hour is the biggest one. If you put that in, you give a nice enough buffer that people can move. It is also obviously cocktail hour mass, the picture time after the ceremony. and you definitely want to give people something to do while they wait for you to take your pictures.

Taking Pictures

That is one of the questions that I had planned to ask you about the pictures. Can you offer any tips on having the pictures before the ceremony, or after the ceremony, that’s going to affect the timeline? Yes. I see a lot of people, especially if you’re at one of these all-day venues like the Springs offers, you can come in as early as nine o’clock in the morning.

So there’s people that will come in and get dressed. I think it’s great when they go ahead and take a lot of the preliminary pictures. you can take the bride and all her bridesmaids, the groom, and all his groomsmen. You can knock out a lot of those pictures ahead of time, even if you don’t want the bride and groom to see each other until the actual ceremony.

The family members, or if you don’t want the family members to see the bride, a lot of times, they’ll take pictures with the groom and do everything that you can do within what you’re comfortable. I say, get it done ahead of time while you have that time to kind of prepare and, take your time and also a lot of people forget that you do your pictures right after the ceremony.

Oftentimes, the makeup that you did before the ceremony doesn’t quite look the same. You cried you had a few tears falling, everything you wiped your face. So sometimes the best pictures are the ones beforehand before you get into the ceremony and start going about the day. It just gives you more time to hang out with your guests.

I have to interject. That’s my number one pet peeve as a DJ, the time from the ceremony to when the couple arrives at the reception. If that’s a really long time, and if you have an open bar, that means guests are half-lit. They are hungry because they haven’t started the food line yet.

That is something that every engaged couple has to be mindful of. And not only that, yep. The photographer as well. That’s a lot of pressure on them. If they have a long list of pictures to take after the ceremony, boy, they’re on a time crunch. And, as you know, people don’t line up as quickly as you think they do.

They don’t, they don’t at all. They don’t. I was talking to a bride a few years ago. This was actually pre-COVID. and she had her wedding ceremony outdoors and we knew they were going to move inside for the reception. So, we were kind of talking through our timeline and we kind of had everything laid out.

And then she called me back a few days later and she said, well, you know, my photographer saying they’re going to need at least another half hour to take pictures. And then we already had an hour built in. And so I was like, okay, well, I was like, what was their reasoning? You know, because 1 of the things you learn in the wedding industry, people that have done this, they know why they say certain things.

If I tell you to move something around in the timeline, there’s a specific reason why and so other vendors, we kind of know that we kind of know, like, well, let me see what the other vendor said about it 1st. And so she told me she was like, well, all I did was add since the last time we talked, she said, well, all I did was add individual shots for each one of the members of the wedding party.

And I said, oh, well, no, that’s, that’s exactly why we have another half hour because I think you think you’re just going to, step up, take a picture, snap next person, step up, take a picture. And this might add five minutes to it. And I said, no, you, you have, seven people on each side of your wedding party, and so that’s 14 people.

The photographer has to get in position, make sure their outfits look right, and get them to turn just the right way and stand correctly. And so I said, Oh, no, that it makes perfect sense that the photographer asked for another half hour. We just ended up pushing everything back, but it was an hour and a half and I did ask her upfront.

I said, how important are these individual pictures? And she said, no, I really want them. And I said, if that’s what you decided, you really want. The time is going to be needed for it. So, right, exactly. And then you have that conversation, you better have hors d’oeuvres or something, because now your guests are waiting an hour and a half, boy, that’s a long time they’re going to be bored or games, or, you know, just have something, not saying that the DJ is not great, but just have other things to keep them occupied.

Oh, yes. Yeah, you definitely want food because even like you said, if they get in there and start drinking alcohol during an hour-and-a-half cocktail hour with no food, the alcohol is undefeated. rare that you can continually drink and not eat and, still be good by the time everything is time to proceed with the reception.

So, yeah, you want to watch that time. And that’s why as much as you can get done beforehand. Yeah. Get it done before people arrive. So great tips.

Essential Moments on the Itinerary

What are essential moments that must be part of the itinerary when you’re planning out the moments of the reception?

Essential moments that, well, the most essential moment for me would definitely be the first dance. I just feel like that’s one of the moments that, we come for. You have a few moments in a wedding and you have the ceremony portion, you want the vows, you want the I do’s, you want them, I now present you Mr and Mrs.

You may not kiss your bride. I believe the first dance falls just as important as those it’s just that first dance or first chance for the two of you to get there, get to get together, and be able to share a moment and everybody else comes to enjoy and celebrate you. So it is your time in the spotlight.

Along with that, I do believe the other dances with the father-daughter and the mother-son. I feel like those are very integral. I do see a lot more weddings now where some people are doing them and some say, you know, we don’t want to do that at all. That’s kind of an interesting one that, I’m kind of sad to see if it phases its way out, it’s one of the traditions that I really like, obviously being a DJ, any moment I get to play more music and draw attention to somebody dancing is fun for me.

We talked about food earlier, people kind of overlook it and kind of glaze over and say, Oh, we’ll just kind of feed people. But really, again, when you go back to the psychology of people, once you feed people, you get a much better dance portion afterward. Like, if you open the dance floor and people haven’t eaten. They’re sitting there thinking about food.

Common Wedding Moments

In your area, are you seeing any money dances or cake cutting, or are those being faded away? Money dances that have largely faded away. I still see them here and there, but I see them at fewer weddings than I do see them at weddings. The bouquet toss and the garter toss.

I see more of the bouquet toss, but I’ve seen the garter toss also take a hit. It doesn’t go as much. A lot of times people will just opt for only the bouquet toss. I actually haven’t seen anybody only opt for the garter toss. So, that kind of tells you the direction or how they kind of feel about moving through with that one.

Cake cutting is important. If you have a cake, I’ve seen people do different things. Like, they do different dessert tables and stuff now. And so, if you have various dessert tables, you kind of just lose that naturally. On not having a cake and some people I see they’ll have the dessert table, but they’ll just do like a little one-layer cake and they’ll go cut that for picture’s sake.

That kind of depends on whether they get a cake or not. It would be awkward. Let’s cut the cupcake in half. And you get half, I get half. Let’s share this cupcake real quick.

Length of Ceremonies

What is the common length of a wedding ceremony in your area? Right around 15 minutes is the sweet spot. Some of the more religious ceremonies have extra components. They might do a sand ceremony or communion. 30 minutes, but, you know, pretty much people are. And they get up there, the pastor or officiant will say a few things about them and explain, what the tenets of marriage are.

And then, they’ll say their vows and they’ll, they’ll exit. So really 15 minutes, kind of, they get in and they’re back out. That’s why I wanted to ask that question because it’s so quick. It’s so fast that most couples don’t even realize that it’s over when it’s over. Even mass ceremonies could be up to an hour, depending on if they have communion. Everyone is unique, but yes, the standard is like you said, in most areas, 15 minutes.

Time For Pictures

Do you see couples getting their pictures before the ceremony or after, what are you seeing as far as percentage? For the couples getting their photos before, if it’s the couple together, I actually rarely see them doing their photos beforehand.

I would say probably about 30 percent because I’ve seen a rise in the trend of the 1st look. And so, where the first look is not when the bride walks out, the first look is, you know, sometimes they’ll position the bride and I know they do it often with the parents of the bride, they’ll have the dad or the mom or both of them, they’ll stand with their back to the bride, bring them out and position her and then go ahead and she’ll put her hand on their shoulder and they turn around.

So the photographers capture that. But I’m starting to see them do that also with the groom as well. Yeah. Where they’ll pull them to the side and, sometimes I’ve seen them do where they’ll actually read separate vows to each other that they’ve written beforehand. I’ve seen some of those pictures, but overall, they just, take their pictures up at the altar and different things like that.

They still mostly do that after the ceremony. Okay. The first look is an important moment for a lot of couples, but not every couple chooses to do that. We all see pictures where they’re standing around the corner or at a door or yeah, there’s some creative people and creative photographers, I guess I should say that the plan, those moments.

Formal Dances

When do formal dances fit into the timeline? Are you seeing them after the grand entrance or after the meals? I see quite a few of them after the grand entrance, my advice, is often to tell people, that while you have everybody in that moment, it’s great to do the first dance. but the father, daughter, and mother-son dance, I usually recommend they put that after dinner.

Mostly because again, you have people, they’ve kind of come in and they sat down for the ceremony and then you transitioned into cocktail hour and then now you’re kind of here at this moment where we’ve sat everybody down for dinner, but by the time you do the grand entrance and if you do all three of those dances to start off, a lot of times you’ve kind of already.

Taking some of that time that people are like, okay, I’m hungry now, ready to go. Also one of the things I like though, is when the parent dances are actually after dinner, it gives you a chance to kind of refocus everybody. Everybody’s kind of eating and when they finish eating, they kind of float off and do different things or move to tables and talk to people.

And sometimes the couple floats around the room and talks. And so it gives you a chance to bring everybody together and go into toast. And then right after you come off a toast, if you go straight into those dances, you can come off the, the last dance you do and go straight into the dance floor opening.

I kind of like it when that just flows right into the dance floor opening and having a good party. Now we didn’t prep for this.

Opening Music Sets

So what are some of your opening sets? What are songs you’re playing to get the party started? So I usually do. It’s a very similar set that I have that it kind of goes through.

It’ll pull some old school. I love to open with Let’s Groove Tonight. It’s a really fun dance floor opener. I often like to throw in like Bruno Mars, give him a little uptown funk real quick. Bruno Mars gives you the fresher style, but he uses a lot of old-school beats and gives you that feel throughout.

So, it kind of goes through and I might throw a country song or two in. I really try to go oldies something pop that’s newer and then still give them a way to kind of navigate through. My opening set generally lets me see who’s going to dance in which areas.

The opening set for me, I always say it’s kind of a trust-the-process opening set because you might play a song and you don’t see people rush onto the dance floor right away and you kind of have to analyze, are they not rushing on the dance floor because they went over to get cake real quick it’s another reason why I don’t like to do the cake cutting and then open the dance floor right afterward.

Because a lot of times people now want cake, it’s hard to gauge, are they not dancing because the songs work because you’ve done enough weddings, but, you’re trying to gauge, are they going to get cake or are they going to get drinks real quick?

Sometimes they come off and now they’re ready to go to the bar real quick. I like to run through that opening set. I have about 8 songs that I usually I’ll play in different orders or I’ll switch out kind of similar songs. I might switch out, let’s groove tonight for September, you know, something I want to play around with, just to kind of mess with a little bit.

I always try to slip in, a song that I know that the younger children like if they’re in the audience, because, one of my things is to get some of their music out of the way real quick, or else you’ll get into a heavy set towards the end and somebody’s child to walk up and ask for a song that completely won’t fit into what’s going on.

So, you know, you try to give them their chance to dance. While they’re still, some of them are just not even awake that late at night when you get up later in the evening. I also try to gauge it, I always tell people, that DJing at weddings is not the same as being a club DJ because you have such a wide age range.

You have from, the nephew or niece or the grandson to grandma and granddaddy are both here as well. If you have that wide range, you have to be able to kind of figure out who’s going to dance most effectively in which areas. That’s really where I try to open it.

When I see the range, I kind of steer myself through getting certain people on the dance floor much earlier than others. Or even as a DJ, maybe you’re thinking, okay, this kid just. Came up and requested Baby Shark. Do I want to play that in the first hour of the dance set? Or maybe I want to play that during cocktail hour just to get that out of the way.

There are a few songs that when people ask for them, cause that’s one of the things that I love. I actually love interacting with people. I’m not a DJ that, if you come up and ask for a song and I’m like, no, let me do my job and get away.

I actually welcome talking to people and getting to know them. So I always love it when I’m in the middle of setting up and people walk up and there’s, Hey, we’re going to have a good party tonight. And I’m absolutely, are you going to be on the dance floor? Cause we’ll make it happen.

I’ll give you the music. As I’m having those interactions, a lot of times people will say, Oh, well, make sure you get this song in or make sure you get that song. And if I know some songs won’t really fit into a set throughout the night. Then I’ll get those in during cocktail hour.

I’ll get them in during dinner time. Even I might sneak a song in, just, because I know the person wants to hear it and that allows me to play the song, you can’t be in 120 BPM. And then somebody’s like, Hey, I want to hear Sinatra real quick.

And you’re like, okay, I can’t, Yep. Like you said, then you’re playing Sinatra when people are going to get their cake, cause you know, they’re eating it. Then the people who aren’t eating, you’re not blowing a dance hit off of when you know, the dance floor is not going to be full.

Yes. Yes, which requires a lot. I tell my DJs all the time. It requires you to pay attention to more than just the music and the dance floor. At a wedding. You have to watch what’s going on outside of the dance floor area, if you call the last call at the bar, you don’t want to play your best hit of the night right after you call the last call.

Because people are conflicted there. They said, well, he just said last call. So I have to get to the bar and then you burn off a song that people are like, Oh, I wanted to dance to that, but you just sent everybody to the bar. And then you say, okay, I’m going to play a sing-along song or something else that they can groove at the bar while they’re in line. Yes. Great tips.

Wedding Itinerary Logistics

So what advice would you have for couples managing the logistics of the wedding itinerary? As we talked about it could be from the hotel to the ceremony. It could be from the ceremony to the reception hall. What tips can you give to couples who are planning those timelines?

My biggest first tip is, like I said earlier, to get a planner, we, obviously being in the same venue, run into a lot of the same people, but, one of the wedding planners we work with quite often, a lady by the name of Marion, her company is meant to artistry. She does an entire timeline from the time you get up, and you’re leaving the hotel.

Again, transportation time. If you’re having everybody come from the hotel, if you’re having the wedding party, I’ll stay at the same hotel and come over. You have to remember, it takes time for you guys to load up on a bus. Everybody get all your bags packed. Make sure you got everything out of the room that you needed because you’re not running back and forth from the hotel to the venue.

So, you want to make sure you, you actually are stopping and planning those times out. I think it goes back to 1 of the things I said earlier as a mistake is not intentionally planning the day. if you don’t take the time to intentionally plan these things, they’ll come up on you and then you realize they take longer than you expected, if you plan on being at the venue at 9, you can’t tell everybody to meet in the lobby at 8:30.

Somebody won’t be in the lobby on time. You’ll have to go to somebody’s room and say, Hey, come on, let’s go. Somebody will get in the van and forget something upstairs. You have to calculate again, that drive time to the venue, but really moving people, getting people to each point, and just laying those times out.

Deliberately I’ll often tell people, as you go throughout your day from the beginning to the end, this is why a planner is key because as the bride and groom, you actually can’t sit and. Pay attention to where people are supposed to be. You can’t babysit and prepare for your big day.

A lot of times I show up and I see couples having to run around and move this or move that, I try to get all my questions out the way. So, the only thing I’m talking to you about on your wedding day is giving you my congratulations and telling you it was a pleasure to be able to, DJ for you.

But when you have a planner, because things will inevitably come up, and they just will, I was at a wedding a few months back where the cake company, came and they were setting up the cake and somebody had left the top tier. It was in their planning, they had set it off to the side you really need somebody who can navigate those things.

The worst thing you can have is the actual couple having to address, oh, we have a top tier missing and even though, most of the companies and most of the vendors will, they can get in and get out. I always build time in everything I have even if 1 of my DJs shows up at the wrong venue, which I’ve had to happen before a DJ called me.

I thought I was at this hall today, but this is not the wedding. I was assigned. I look up real quick and I’m like, oh, no, you were supposed to be here. It gives them time to kind of get over it. So I always tell them to be there early. But you want somebody being able to look at that and, not have to send a text directly to the bride-groom saying, hey, this is running behind or, or this is off, so designating, even if you don’t do a coordinator, make sure you have a day of somebody who’s designated, whether it’s 1 of the bridesmaids or the mothers of the bride are probably the best at it.

That’s, I’ve dealt with quite a few of them and they, usually they’re on top of it. You really need somebody to be watching and managing what’s going on with everybody else throughout the day. Absolutely. The bridesmaids are there to party too. So having them. It can be tricky at times.

Yes, but I think having somebody that’s professional in the wedding industry to help with those moments that you don’t think about, one of the common things that I always thought that I always saw was brides would get to the reception hall, they would get ready for the grand entrance and then they would have to bustle their dress.

Well, that might take 10 minutes. That might take 30 minutes. It depends on who’s doing the bustling. Yes. And, you have to have that extra time and not be so stringent that we have to have our first dance at eight 30. Cause I want everybody partying at such and such a time. Well, you have to have some leeway there because I tell every couple something’s going to go wrong.

It just depends on how you handle it. You’re always building in the day for things to, go off schedule or, something to happen. As a DJ, one of the things I do, it’s funny, you mentioned bustling the dress. That’s one of the things that in my initial consult if they tell me they’re doing their grand entrance and going straight into the first dance, I immediately ask them, are you going to make sure somebody bustles your gown before?

You come in and are introduced because I’ve had it happen where the bride walks in and then they go straight into their first dance. And now she’s trying to move her dress the whole time and stepping on it or the groom stepping on it. Has to happen before we introduce, one of the other ones that you run into is during the bouquet toss.

Inevitably, you can’t find the bouquet because generally a lot of a lot of people don’t realize the bouquet that you toss. Obviously. It’s not the 1, the bride used. She keeps her bouquet, but they usually have 1 that they’re just going to toss. It seems like every time you just go straight into as a DJ, I always find out because I’ve had a couple say, hey, let’s just go.

Let’s go ahead and do the bouquet toss. And then I have to pull them to the side real quick and say, hey, wait, do we have do we have the bouquet ready? Do you have the garter on for the garter? Are we ready for those elements? and a lot of times, you know, they send somebody scrambling to the bridal suite to go get it.

So, you have to build in the time. It can’t be a hard set, this is what happens specifically at this time. Also, when you integrate things into the dance portion. I often tell people, that if you say the garter toss and bouquet tosses at eight o’clock, as I approach that time, I’m going to start trying to put myself in a gear that I can transition into.

But if you hit a heavy dance set and people don’t want to leave the dance floor, you run the risk when you go to do that off, Oh, well, we had everybody dancing. They were going. The party was happening and then we calmed everybody down real quick and said, okay, watch the bouquet toss, watch the garter toss.

Okay, get back on the floor, and party right away. people of course have taken those transition moments to take another trip to the bar so it really is filling the whole evening, especially when you get to that dance portion. I think that the flow is so important, exactly what you’re saying, you’re having everybody dancing to Wagon Wheel.

They’re all doing their line dance. And then, oh, we’re going to go cut the cake. Oh, what a buzz kill. That is what it is. It is. Yeah. You, it’s a, it’s a delicate balance. And I tell people all the time, it’s a juggling act. Sometimes you can have it and it happens perfectly.

And then sometimes you do it, and people don’t come back right away. So you’re trying to get them back into the mood and get going again. That takes us right into a great question.

A Wedding Running Smoothly

How do you ensure that everything runs smoothly as the DJ? For me, again, it’s going to come down to the preparation ahead of time, as much as I can give the couple advice beforehand, I’m going to try to advise them to set everything up so that we’re successful.

A lot of times that changes based on the couple, it changes based on the wedding. There are different dynamics. It’s one of the beautiful things in your podcast that I was listening to about the nonalcoholic weddings, which again, was a great listen. if you have a nonalcoholic element going on, that actually changes a lot of how I’m going to approach getting people to where they need to go.

You know, all of the things I said about the last call at the bar, suddenly they don’t play a part anymore. There’s just a different dynamic in general. And overall, I’m going to approach each wedding, like I said, in the preparation phase and find out what the couple is really looking to do.

And, if they’re looking to dance the whole night, one of the things I’ll tell them, some people will have a two o’clock in the afternoon wedding and then they’re like, nope, we’re dancing till midnight. You’re not dancing till midnight. Yeah. I’m just going to, I’m going to tell you right now.

You’re not dancing till midnight because you guys have been here since nine o’clock this morning. I’ve had couples that feel bad that they have people ready to party and people are ready to go. And, the bride and the groom, one or the other, or both of them are like, I’m tired.

I’ve been up. I’m ready to go sit down somewhere and relax. You have to plan all of that stuff too. There are ways to build in even moments to kind of take a moment and decompress. I often tell people when the bride and groom sit down to eat, let’s all stay away from their table.

When they’re finished eating. They’ll come to greet you all and mingle. Let’s keep everybody kind of away. Especially when they specifically set a sweetheart table. It’s kind of like they set a sweetheart table, a moment for them. So if you can keep everybody away and just give them that time to kind of relax for a minute, or, go away to the bridal suite, sit down for a minute, regroup, come back out.

A lot of people fail to catch those points in the night. and they think like the bride and groom just have to go, go, go constantly the whole time. And no, it’s okay to take a break. It’s okay to rest. And, and that’s why you have people like a DJ out there. We can keep people dancing on the dance floor while you step away for a minute and sit down.

I agree. I’m going to take it one step back to say it’s very important. The couple eats at the reception and a lot of couples forget to even do that. So, yeah, I love the idea. Just leave them alone because they may be the only real meal they eat through the whole day. definitely is. so I actually experienced that in my own wedding. when I got married, obviously, being a DJ and caring about the music, put so much on my plate that I was like, Oh, I have to micromanage this and I have to micromanage this. And I did so much micromanaging that when I sat down to eat, I really wasn’t super hungry.

And plus, I kept noticing things that needed to be adjusted. I didn’t actually stay in the moment of the wedding because I had so much that was grabbing my attention and then I turned around and afterward I started to feel it because, you know, you deteriorate really quickly when you haven’t eaten.

By the time I felt like I needed to eat, it was kind of too late in the process. I think that you mentioned a very important thing is to live in the moment at your wedding and your reception because this is only going to happen once.

And hopefully, hire professional vendors that you can just let them do their job. It may not be exactly perfect, but you know what your guests aren’t going to realize what’s going on. That’s the funniest thing about the itinerary is you don’t pass out a program for the reception.

So the guests don’t know that we said the bouquet toss was at 8 o’clock and it happened at 8:30. they don’t they don’t know any of it. They just knew they were having a good time. They kept moving along with the process. So yeah, and it’s funny because I often say when I do have to, step in, because sometimes you have couples that say, stick to this.

And so sometimes when you do stick to it, everybody looks over at the DJ and they’re like. But that was my song. Why would you transition out or they like, Oh, we were just getting started dancing? Of course, you just, go with it. Obviously, we’re all professionals. So I don’t mind you looking at me instead of looking at the couple, even though I know it was the couple that specifically told me to do it this way.

I run into that with song requests too. I’ll say, oh, I can’t play that song or because we actually offer a do-not-play list. if it’s on the do-not-play list, we won’t play it. And I’m okay with you saying, I hope the teacher didn’t play what I wanted to hear.

I’ll take that one on the chin. but it’s about insulating the couple and letting them enjoy their day. I absolutely love that because you want the couple to have their moments. This is the happiest day of their life. You never want somebody going to the bride, the DJ is not playing this. Oh my gosh. That’s the worst-case scenario.

Unique Wedding Itinerary

So just to kind of wind things down, can you give a unique wedding itinerary that you had in the past that really stands out? a unique one that stands out to me. It’s funny because being at the Springs, like I said, you see so many different formats.

That goes on, but I’ll say one of my favorite ones. It was actually a wedding and photo booth. My daughter actually does a photo booth for us sometimes when she’s not at college. And so she, she happened to be at the wedding with me and we still talk about this to this day as 1 of our favorite ones.

The people that were getting married, were from Guam. You already have different traditions and different dances that they were doing. But from the start of their ceremony, everything was going smoothly. Well, we came into the reception, and in the reception, as they were eating dinner, they had an entire dance group come out and they were doing different dances from the islands.

They brought them in and they had, I usually say go with catering. This was the one wedding where it was not catered. But the food was all from Guam. It was, it was authentic. they, they brought out an entire pig. We still joke about it because we were surprised at seeing the pig out there.

One of the guys that he was actually in the wedding party, one of the groomsmen, he’s fully clothed, fully dressed. And he pulls out a knife and just starts breaking down the pig right there. He didn’t even have to take his jacket off. We were just sitting there amazed, oh, you do this regularly.

So they did all this, they served the food, we had the buffet, and we ate really well. And then the dancers came out, and while the dancers were out there dancing, I looked over, the buffet area was to my right. I looked over, and they brought me to the second pig.

And I found out that the way they do their reception it’s really you have dinner time, but then you can go back and eat throughout. And so, people were dancing. In the dance floor state packed aside from when they brought in the separate dancers and the musicians to do their separate part they stayed on the dance floor.

So, it was it was really fun. They have all the traditional elements of the cake cutting the garter toss the bouquet toss and the first dances. They did all those traditional elements, but they made it. I was joking with the groom afterward. I told him I said, I felt like I went more to a cookout that you ended up getting married at.

And he looked at me and he laughed and he said, well, he said, if you feel that way, I need to invite you to 1 of our cookouts. I took his information down. I told him, yeah, 1 day, I’m gonna have to come over because it was more about family. Then the show. As much as I am a showman and a DJ and obviously having a show plays to my skill set, it was really good to see somebody say, this is a family moment.

Family Moments

This is a moment with all of our friends really not losing sight. We often say it with things like Christmas. We’re like, oh, don’t forget, the real reason for the holidays, make sure you spend time with your family. Make sure you enjoy the people you have. Well, I do think the same thing happens.

Like I said earlier, when weddings, you have so many people that haven’t been around each other. So for some, it is like a family reunion to come together as well. I don’t think it does any good for you to get done with the wedding. And now the aunt is mad at a niece or as mad at a cousin, or, you know, mad at the bride and you have all of these people upset with each other because you were just trying to pull off this day.

And you forgot that family is really what made this happen otherwise you could just, go to the justice of the piece, and say, I do get it signed. Like, the reason you did this wedding was to have all of these people together. And so, that wedding was really a, it was one that just reminded me, even in the middle of getting caught up and, constantly running, saying timelines and all of the structure that, they seem like they had the most amount of fun.

Just kind of enjoying each other throughout the evening. That is a great way to close out what we’re talking about today. That really matters to who you’re sharing your wedding day with. I love it.

Is there anything we didn’t talk about today that you think we should have talked about?

No, I think we did a pretty good job of covering, especially dealing with, as it comes to timelines, as you know, weddings are, very intense. A lot is happening. So, I mean, you could have discussions for days about it and still get quality material out of it each time.

That’s actually one of the things that I met. Some of your team at the Wedding MBA and I got to sit and chat with them a little bit, but even chatting with all the vendors that were there and all the different industries, you start to realize that the dynamics of a wedding you can take it to the moon and back really.

I mean, you can really do whatever you want. And as long as you kind of plan it out ahead of time, you can have a really successful day. Timeline, as I said, take the time to plan it ahead of time, look at it, and focus on it beforehand because then you could just sit back and watch the day play out.

Contact and Follow Carl

Absolutely. Carl, where can people find you and contact you? You can contact me. Usually, I’m on Instagram @CizzleEandT. that’s C. I. Z. Z. L. E. E. and T. That’s my actual entertainment company. I do audio engineering work as well. @CizzleEandT, that’s where people generally will reach me and, contact me for different works.

Also my work with the Springs as the regional manager They can email me there. If you’re looking at one of The Springs venues, they can reach out to me directly and everything as well.

Well, thanks Carl for being on the show today and talking about wedding itineraries. Stay tuned for next week for another episode of the Wedding Songs Podcast dropping every Thursday morning. Thanks for listening and have a great day.

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