“Wedding Micromanagement….the Danger is Real!”
Working both as a Sarasota DJ and professional musician for weddings and events, I’ve had a lot of experience with “everything weddings.” Ceremonies, cocktail hours, receptions, and even after-parties have filled my weekends for a number of years, and I thought I would take the time to talk about something that I’ve seen a lot of over the years…the “micromanaging” of weddings.
What, exactly, are you talking about? What’s it have to do with my wedding?
What is micromanaging, exactly, and how does it relate to weddings? Well, first, let’s consider the term as it’s used in the business world, where “micromanaging” describes a process or style of managing where every little task and detail that should be left up to a subordinate, or team member, is constantly controlled by a manager or person in charge. Here, you’ll find that Dictionary.com says to micromanage is “to manage or control with excessive attention to minor details.” It has negative connotations, and implies that the person in charge, a “micromanager,” is unable to hand off responsibilities to another individual on the team. So much attention is given to overseeing the subordinates complete their duties, that it creates problems with the larger overall goal of the project. It may even result in failure of the project.
“So, how does this relate to weddings,” you ask. “And why is it such a problem?” Well, I recently chatted with a wedding photographer from St. Pete who offered up an example of this in her line of work. And, of course, I’ll also be sharing some examples from the disc jockey and musician world in a few moments, as well. My examples will discuss micromanagement of the music for your wedding, and problems that may occur as a result.
Anyway, this photographer mentioned that she has some clients who are very laid back when giving her instruction for their wedding day photography. They look over her wedding portfolio, provide her with some ideas of what they like, and let her “work her magic.” At the same time, she has brides who send her, literally, hundreds and hundreds of images from Pinterest. In many cases, they will even send up to 100 images with only ideas for photographing the bridal bouquet. Then, maybe 100 more of how to photograph the wedding rings…on a piano…near the wedding cake, on a bed of leaves…sprinkled with sand…on the branch of a nearby tree. You get the idea!
Why does it happen…and what’s the big deal?
Why does this happen more and more over the last decade, and why is it a problem? Well, to answer the first question, social media and the internet allow future brides and grooms to access vast amounts of wedding information. To be clear, this can be a very good thing! However, it’s important that couples be realistic about how much of what they see on Pinterest, for example, can be accomplished on their wedding budget, at their venue, with their planners/assistants/photographers/DJ/etc.
Now, a quick disclaimer here…I’m not trying to shoot down all of your incredible ideas for an amazing wedding or anything. It’s just important to realize that every wedding is different, and provides different opportunities to the photographer, DJ, band, etc. The perfect sunset shot you saw on Pinterest might not present itself in the same way at your wedding. But, perhaps another terrific photo will. The music playlist you spent hours on may not get people on the floor and dancing the way you thought it would. But, maybe the DJ or band has developed a knack for reading the room, and can find that perfect song that gets people on the floor. As a DJ, you start to make mental notes of those certain songs that make people say “ohhhhh,” grab their friends hands, and bolt to the dance floor.
I’m going to provide some examples now of how micromanaging your wedding music may keep you from getting the best results on your big day.
Examples of music micromanagement in your wedding and possible consequences.
- You pick a different song for everyone walking the aisle during the ceremony. However, it’s a short walk down the aisle, and perhaps your wedding party walks a little quicker when they are nervous. The result? Songs are brief and barely get started before moving to the next selection. It may create a problem with flow, and feel choppy.
- You send your DJ excessive amounts of requests, as opposed to favorite artists, genres, and a reasonable list of “must plays.” The result? This can create flow problems during dance sets, where a DJ may feel like his or her hands are tied trying to get to all of the requests. Also, there’s a good chance you spent a lot of time making lists of songs that the DJ would play anyway. If you’ve selected a great local DJ, they should know what gets people moving within any musical genre.
- You choose a different song for every wedding party member’s intro at the reception. The result? While it won’t be the end of the world, it introduces more chances for errors and may create a flow problem. It doesn’t take long for wedding party members to enter the reception area, so the song may not get far before it’s time to move on. If you do a lot of songs for intros, you probably want to at least consider starting the songs at the chorus, or at a very well known spot in the song.
- You send a huge “do not play” list to your band or DJ. The result? Guests may not have as good a time, or hear songs of their generation. To be clear, I absolutely believe in “do not play” lists. It’s your wedding, and you should have music that you love. That said, I usually urge brides and grooms to reserve it for songs that they absolutely hate. Also, instead of saying “no line dances” or “group dances,” consider targeting specific ones you dislike. And, it’s important to remember that your guests may have a much better time if you allow a line dance or two. In the end, however, it’s certainly your call.
- You provide an ultra-specific timeline detailing every minute of your reception. The result? An experienced DJ can handle this, but it may visually affect his or her performance (going over a very detailed timeline every few minutes doesn’t exactly look cool to your wedding guests). An inexperienced DJ may struggle to handle the information overload and it may affect his mixing, MC abilities, etc. Also, weddings sometimes run behind, and stuff happens. You’ve probably spent a lot of time creating a wedding timeline that will have to be amended on-the-fly anyway!
“Don’t sweat the small stuff”…if you’ve already hired great wedding vendors!
Well, I hope this info proves useful to anyone who might be in the planning stages of their wedding. Relax, take a step back, and make sure you’re not over-thinking every little detail. If you carefully screen and hire the right wedding vendors, your wedding should be highly successful without any need to micromanage at all. And, think of what you’ll be able to accomplish with all the time you’ll save…LOL. That’s it for now.