Early this week, Weddingwired-dot-com, an everything wedding website clearing house hosted “Happy Hour Albany,” a mixer for industry professionals.
I’ve taken advantage of a free listing offered by this site for several years. To be fair, I’ve gotten what I’ve paid for: nothing. Until now. At this swanky soiree I enjoyed a few chicken wings some guacamole, and a seltzer, all complimentary. Congratulations to the company for not holding attendees hostage to some elaborate sales pitch. I think its reputation speaks for itself, and paying for enhanced promotional opportunity makes sense for some folks via this channel.
Also, this evening at the Hall of the Pines in Saratoga Springs, I met a number of possibly like-minded wedding service providers. One has been at it for quite a while. The other is new to the, ahem … business.
Reverend Ronald Hunt travels within about a sixty mile radius of Rotterdam, a town I know fairly well. But he also ventures farther – nearer to http://www.catskillsphotographer.com home base as Windham, and points farther north than Saratoga.
It seems to me that an officiant, or ‘celebrant,’ as he describes himself might be selected late in the game. But I know I’ve booked at least one ‘rescheduled’ wedding in recent years because while I was committed on the original date I was available on the new date when the pastor of choice could conduct the ceremony. Rev. Hunt said he has presided over weddings on as little as two days notice but typically books for the following year as he likes to get to know the couples before the big day.
I liked this guy. I could tell he was the sort of down-to-Earth soul who would bring a joyful and respectful tone to virtually any ceremony. I hope we get the chance to work ‘together.’ I’ve worked a bit in Saratoga, and would love to return because there are so many beautiful backdrops there. Hunt has covered the region far more extensively than I so one never knows.
Afloat in this sea of photographers (many of whom seemed to know one another) and DJs, (likewise), was another relative newcomer to the WeddingWire mixer scene; Barbara LeFleur. A musician, who recently was invited to play at a wedding that stumbled upon her (if I got the story straight), LeFleur enjoyed it so much she has decided to pursue it. I commend her, and support her.
While I’ve never heard Hunt or LeFleur in action, but it is without trepidation that I say I’d be comfortable around either. I can be very focused, easy-going guy and I suspect they are both similarly focused and easy-going. My thanks to each for striking up the conversations on Monday.
I also spoke briefly with a disc jocky, who said he keeps busy with approximately 30 weddings and 30 bar or bat mitzvahs annually. AND he increases his take from many event by offering a self-built ‘photobooth.’ Photobooths are popular north of Albany. They’re typically actual booths like you find in malls these days, or were common in the 50s, 60s and 70s. Several companies specialize in them. This is the first time I’ve heard of the DJ running the franchise (so-to-speak) but kudos to him for showing the creativity, initiative and ambition.
As a photographer, it might seem kind of funny to compete with my own images by enabling guests to take their own with my equipment. BUT covering the basis would also make sense. Perhaps I could create my own non-booth booth, wire up a spare digital camera, computer and printer and see what happens. Then I could worry that this “Rube Goldberg” was running correctly, while I did my job. Of course I’d need to include the cost of an attendant in whatever I charged, find a reliable and available someone, and convince clients they can’t live without offering these party favors to their guests.
Back to reality.
DJ Dancin’ David seemed like a nice enough fellow. But I wondered how he felt about the DJ laying the musical backdrop for this mixer.
I recently read a list of things that could be ironed out ahead of time or ways a DJ hoped he and any Photographer he was teamed with at a wedding could work together. I’ve been meaning to write a similar list from a Photographers perspective.
The best DJs I’ve worked with have that team approach. We’re there to provide a service to the couple and the guests, and working together can help move an event past uncomfortable lulls or unexpected rough spots.
I’ve found that some DJs do what they do no matter the venue or audience. Somewhere they read that volume and BPM should be increased as time passes.
If getting guests to move on the dance floor is their goal, they might pursue that and never notice that the entrée is being served. If setting the scene for dinner conversation is the aim then, wait, oh right I haven’t encountered too many DJs yet that understood the subtleties of volume and mood.
Of course most of the cliques at this mixer were packed in tight around the DJ so I guess ease of chat wasn’t the goal. To be fair, further, I liked the mix of music and speculate that perhaps the volume was intended to minimize crowds in proximity to the open bar. Sorry, feeling cynical.
(The worst DJ I ever worked with pushed a couple through their first dance because he wanted to get the “business” portion of the evening over with. What a ma-roon. Rivaled perhaps by the one who came pushing through the buffet ahead of the couple.)
Basically I was confused at this mixer in Saratoga. Not sure it was worth the trip. Not sure it wasn’t. Glad I went, but also wonder what I could have been doing instead.
Rather than mixing in, I left feeling mixed up.
Thanks as always, for reading.
~ Jonathan Ment, Photographer