Frustrations Of Caring

I have an incredible job. My job is to help people have one of the greatest days of their lives. While I don’t take myself very seriously, I do take my job seriously and it seems that almost every week, I find myself in yet another situation where I’m frustrated at how easy it would be for someone to hit a home run, but they just stand there with the bat on their shoulder.

 

Last night’s frustration came from the photo booth operator at the wedding where I provided the entertainment. Full disclosure – I own two Photo Booths and we’ve put a lot of time and attention into figuring out how to make the Photo Booth experience awesome. The reason I added a Photo Booth to our company in the first place was because I used to have experiences like last night a lot. I figured the only way to eliminate those bad experiences was to do it myself, and I was right.

 

I knew there would be a photo booth at last night’s wedding. What I didn’t know until minutes before the wedding just blew me away. I went to the booth operator and introduced myself. I told her that I would be happy to announce when the photo booth was open and that there would be some times, like during the introductions, toasts and first dance, when it should not be running, out of respect for those moments.

 

The operator said, “We don’t open the booth until 7:00.” The wedding was at 5:00, at the same location. Huh? It’s set up in the back yard, where the reception will take place, but not open during that whole hour when we were waiting for the bride and groom to join us after photos? She said, “Oh, sometimes if someone REALLY wants a photo, I’ll let them, but they only booked us starting at 7:00.”

 

So now I know what’s up. This was one of those stupid, greedy vendors with a loss leader price, a “3 hour special” with the hopes of upgrading, but this client didn’t upgrade.

 

But wait – it gets worse. After waiting through that time with the photo booth just sitting there, idle, while the guests sit at their tables just a few feet away, she walked over to me just as I was getting ready to begin the introductions, about 6:45, and said, “I’m bored. Go ahead and make an announcement that they can come to the photo booth.”   She wasn’t kidding.

 

But wait – it gets worse. Throughout the toasts, the booth was open. I’ll bet my last dollar that they didn’t take 100 photos last night (we typically take 400-500) but during the toasts, they let a small, but loud group use the booth. And during the intros, same thing, but it wasn’t so noticeable, because for most of it, we were louder. Although, during the dedication of the celebration to those who had passed away, we could clearly hear the laughter and talking from the booth, mostly from the attendant herself.

 

“I’m bored.’ That was her motivation. Not, “Gee, the guests are all sitting here for an hour, a perfect time for them to be entertained with my service.” Nope, nothing, until she was bored.

 

But wait – it gets worse. She brought along her teenage son to help load in and out, wearing sagging pants (you know the shorts that end up halfway between the knee and ankles) , a t-shirt, baseball cap turned backwards, and ear buds in his ears. He stayed throughout the wedding. I know he stayed, because during the toasts, he was playing basketball on the sports court in the backyard and it was easy to hear the dribbling of the ball throughout the toasts. He wasn’t alone, but that only made it worse.

 

This vendor could have provided a great service, but she simply made no effort. The back of the booth was left open all night, which was an eyesore. She kept the booth closed when it should have been open, kept it open when it should have been closed, and of course, shut it down before the end of the celebration, because her time was up.

 

She’s guilty of working for her clients, instead of with them. I get it – the client didn’t pay for more time, but sometimes, as a service provider for weddings, you have to tell the client what they need to hear, instead of just taking their $350 and running. 3 hours won’t work at a 6 hour wedding reception. Your motivation can’t be, “I’m bored.” It must be, “What can I do to make this event the best it can be?”

 

Zig Ziglar has a famous line: “You can get everything you want out of life if you’ll just help enough other people get what they want.”   If her motivation was to serve, her service, and the client’s experience could have been much better and she would find a higher demand for her service. But her motivation was simply to find a way to make a couple of hundred bucks. Bringing along a teenage boy to a wedding dressed like that was disrespectful. Playing basketball during the toasts was disrespectful. Running the booth during toasts and dedications was disrespectful. Booking an event knowing they haven’t gotten what they need for the event is selfish and disrespectful.

 

Maybe I’m spoiled. I see what a wedding CAN be every week, but then I see things like this and I want to scream.   We have a photo booth at most of our weddings. It took us a few weeks to figure out how to make it great, but we made those adjustments pretty quickly and without listing them all, none of those ideas were incorporated into last night’s photo booth. It was the least they could do for the money, but of course, they don’t sell it that way and the client gets screwed.

 

Mostly, I like how much I care, but sometimes, caring this much can be very frustrating.

MDA Muscle Walk

Premier Entertainment was pleased to provide the Open Air Photo Booth for the MDA Muscle Walk around the State Capitol on Sunday, April 28, 2013.

MDA 2013 from Randy Bartlett on Vimeo.

Hundreds of people of all ages were on hand to show their support for the Muscular Dystrophy Association and the great work they do to work towards better treatment and a cure for Muscular Dystrophy.  As you can see from the photos on this gorgeous Spring Day, everyone had a great time and raised lots of money for Muscular Dystrophy.   To find out out to participate or help, contact the Muscular Dystrophy Association through their website at www.mdusa.org.  All photos are available here on our website!  Just click on the Photo Booth link!

 

 

Jeff & Melissa – Monterey Hyatt

I first met the groom, Jeff Roberts was back in the 90’s when he was working as a banquet captain at weddings at the Vizcaya.  Back then, Jeff told me that when the time came to get married, he knew that was going to hire me as his entertainer and Christopher Kight as his photographer.  Jeff and I worked together many times over the years and when he moved over to Del Paso Country Club, I was always happy to see him there as well.  Jeff was one of the captains who really “got it.”  He understood the big picture and knew that the day was about so much more than just food, or photos or music.

So when he called me in October of 2008 and told me he was getting married to the beautiful Melissa Martin in October of 2009 at the Monterrey Hyatt, I knew I was going to love working them.  In the months leading up to the wedding, we met and began putting together their agenda and created a fun and personal evening.

Thanks for remembering us, Jeff.  I understand how you fell in love with Melissa – what a great person!  We had a blast.  Your families are awesome!

From the custom introduction of their wedding party to their hysterically funny and poignant Love Story, from their first dance to their finale, it was a great time for all.

Check out the highlights!

San Francisco Giants – World Champions!

After waiting for years, all of us long-suffering Giants fans can use the phrase “World Champion Giants!”

One of the great retro dance hits is Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'” but here’s something special just for Giants fans!  I can’t wait for Opening Day 2011!  Go Giants!

Dustin & Kelly Petrillo – World Champions!

On September 25th, 2010, Dustin & Kelly were married at her parents’ home in Winters.

As huge fans of the World Champion San Francisco Giants and 80’s music, Dustin and Kelly themed their wedding around both the Giants and the great music of the 80’s.

Their wedding party walked in to the ceremony to Foreigner’s “Waiting For A Girl Like You,” and then Kelly walked down the aisle, escorted by her dad, to Phil Collins’ “In The Air Tonight.”

Their recessional was Huey Lewis’ “Power Of Love.”

And then, to kick off the receptions, almost every one of their wedding party members were introduced to an 80’s song, including:

Kickstart My Heart – Motley Crue
Girls Just Wanna Have Fun – Cyndi Lauper
Turning Japanese -Vapors
Holding Out For A Hero – Bonnie Tyler
Nothin’ But A Good Time – Scorpions
Legs – ZZ Top
Back In Black – AC/DC
Cherry Pie – Warrant
Sledgehammer – Peter Gabriel
All She Wants To Do Is Dance – Don Henley
Paradise City – Guns ‘N Roses
Danger Zone – Kenny Loggins
She Drives Me Crazy – Fine Young Cannibals
Eye Of The Tiger – Survivor
Hit Me With Your Best Shot – Pat Benatar
Bang Your Head – Quiet Riot

And then Dustin & Kelly enterted to Bon Jovi’s “Living On A Prayer,” followed by a great celebration!

Other great 80’s songs used for the reception included:

Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now
Centerfield
Can’t Fight This Feeling
Heaven
Simple Man
Take My Breath Away
Girls, Girls, Girls
Another One Bites The Dust
Pour Some Sugar On Me
Two Tickets To Paradise

And that doesn’t even include the open dancing!

Their video montage, prepared by Dustin & Kelly’s brother in law Devin, even opened with Dustin & Kelly on the Comcast News Desk from AT&T Park.

What a great autumn for Dustin & Kelly.  First the wedding, then the playoffs, then World Champions!  As a fellow fan of the Giants, I enjoyed both the wedding and playoffs too!

Here’s a newer version of a classic 80’s tune that all Giants fan will love!

Al & Talia – Wine & Roses

Al & Talia Martin were married on July 20, 2007 at Wine & Roses in Lodi.

It was a wild and crazy night, with wild and crazy friends and family!

Al is deaf and Talia is a teacher who works with hearing impaired community, so they had sign language interpreters in their ceremony and reception, which really added a lot of energy.  From the opening welcome to the final dance, this was a group that was there to celebrate, with dancing, laughter and applause all night.

Al & Talia’s first dance started as “Endless Love” but then morphed into “I Like The Way You Move,” and brought down the house! 

Talia danced with her dad, starting with “You Raised Me Up” by Josh Groban, with a special voice-over message she added for her dad, then broke into “Isn’t She Lovely,” a song she and her parents had enjoyed since she was a toddler.

Al followed with a dance with his mom to “A Song For Mama.”

They had a great wedding party dance which moved from “That’s What Friends Are For,” into “Thriller” and which kicked off the dancing.

Check out the highlights here!

Ryan & Lisa Greif

With a goal in mind of a fun, organized, funny and energetic celebration, Christian couple Ryan and Lisa Greif accomplished all of that and more.  Their wedding reception, held at the Davis Veteran’s Memorial Center was catered by one of our favorites, Cracchiolo’s, out of Woodland.

The reception started with fun music as guests arrived.  Introductions of their parents, and custom introductions of their wedding party followed.  Wedding party introduction music included Vogue, Hot Stuff, If I Knew You Were Coming I’d A Baked A Cake, Let’s Get Physical, Miss America Theme, We Are Family, Zombie Nation, Le Freak, Superman, God Blessed Texas. Secret Agent Man and Unbelievable, before Ryan & Lisa came in to the Black Eyed Peas, “I Gotta Feeling.”

 

Dinner followed, with tables being sent to the buffet line with songs chosen by Ryan & Lisa and then a fun centerpiece giveaway and a hysterical version of The Shoelywed Game.

Ryan & Lisa’s Love Story was a huge hit, with guest laughing and clapping and crying throughout.   Because their faith plays such a major role in their lives, we were able to bring that in throughout the reception, while keeping everything fun and exciting.

Toasts followed, including one from Jonnalee Henderson, one of the bridesmaids.  This was the second time I’ve had the opportunity to hear Jonnalee give a toast, the first being at the wedding of her sister, Kara, to Jake Spooner last year.  Once again, Jonnalee knocked it out of the park – she’s a dynamo who proves that big things come in small packages.  (And thanks for referring this wedding to us, Jonnalee!)

After a traditional bouquet and garter toss, it was time for the first dance, and they chose Must Be Doing Something Right by Billy Currington, which I edited down for them  from 3:54 to 2:06.

Lisa followed with a dance with her Dad, a custom recording we made of Heartland’s I Loved Her First.  Then it was Ryan’s turn to dance with his mom, to a custom recording we made of “You’re Gonna Be.”

And since the next day was Mother’s Day, we finished with a recording that Lisa made for her mom, of Josh Groban’s You Raise Me Up, and invited all moms and their children to the dance floor.

Dancing rocked the house for the remainder of the evening and before we knew it, it was time for their finale, to Lonestar’s Amazed, which we played with highlight audio clips from their welcoming and reception. 

As Ryan & Lisa headed off on their life together, all their friends and family were gathered in two lines, showering them with bubbles and cheers!

Check out their highlights here!

Three Years Later – Neil & Julie Harms

I just received a great message on Facebook from a client.  Here’s the message:

Hi Randy,
You may or may not remember me. My name is Julie Harms and you did the DJ work for my wedding to my husband Neil at Sun City in Roseville almost 3 years ago (our anniversary is Aug. 5). Neil and I went to a wedding on Friday where there were a lot of friends and family that had also been at our wedding 3 years ago. I was told no less than 5 times that we had the best DJ of any wedding they had been to (the one on Friday–for lack of better words–sucked). In discussing the wedding with my in-laws who were not at the wedding on Friday, my father-in-law mentioned he has been to a few weddings lately and he thinks your services were the best he has seen–and he is 84 and has been to his share of weddings! Anyway, I just wanted to thank you so much for the lasting memories you gave Neil and I as well as all of our guests!!
Thanks,
Julie Harms

Of course I remember you, Julie – I remember all of my clients!  We incorporated several very cool and personal ideas, including having Neil’s sister, Dawn, play violin during their Love Story.  It was hysterical, because we had rehearsed together and I had given her some great song ideas and she would switch from song to song without missing a beat, playing everything from “Take Me Out To The Ballgame,” to “Jaws,” to “Psycho” to “Romeo & Juliet.”  She’s incredibly talented.

But my personal favorite moment came at the end when Neil’s mom came over and asked me, “Do you ALWAYS make weddings so personal?”  Well, yea.  Otherwise, what’s the point?

Thanks for keeping touch, Julie.  Sorry about your experience last week.  It always saddens me to know that they could have had a great experience but ended up with a dud.  Keep spreading the word about Premier Entertainment!

Dave Barry On Grooms

From my June 10th Dave Barry calendar:

“Don’t tell me that the groom can help with the wedding plans.  Please.  The groom is useless.  Statistically speaking, something like 92 percent of all grooms are male.  If you let males plan weddings you are going to end up with Skee Ball at the reception.  No, the groom dropped out of the picture minutes after he proposed.  For all the bride knows, he has been kidnapped by aliens.  It does not matter.  The bride must pluge grimly ahead, making decision after decision, day after stressful day, night after sleepless night, until she has, at most, two remaining marbles.” – Dave Barry

Funny, but not exactly true.  (Well, maybe the Skee-Ball part – can you imagine how much the guys would LOVE that?)  I can’t speak for other vendors, but we’re pretty lucky – most of our grooms are very much interested in helping to put together a fun and exciting wedding and they love helping with the planning for this part of it, at least.   Our only issue is sometimes trying to get grooms to understand that this isn’t just about music, but about the entire feel of the day.  Once they get that, they have a blast with planning.

Maybe we should add a portable Skee-Ball game?

Dave Barry On Brides

One of my favorite humorists is Dave Barry.  He writes often of weddings and always cracks me up.  From my Dave Barry calendar on April 24th:

“With spring upon us, you may find yourself near a woman in the throes of planning a wedding; if so, you need to recognize that she is under severe pressure, and above all you need to do exactly as she says.  If she wants you to wrap yourself in toilet paper, or purchase and wear a bridesmaid’s dress that makes you look like a walking Barcalounger, JUST DO IT.  You should do it even if you are the groom. – Dave Barry

I couldn’t agree more.