Happy New Year! ….ok, so I’m a few days late but the sentiment’s still there!

For all those recently engaged couples, this is probably your biggest year. Planning, interviewing, reviewing and ultimately booking your wedding day suppliers seems quite daunting at the outset, but trust me you will definitely know when you find the right people. Instinct is way more valuable than it’s given credit for. That little feeling nagging away at the back of your mind that something just isn’t right about a person or their services needs to be given serious consideration. This all stems from two incidents which happened in 2016 to two lovely brides (and grooms) who booked some cheap ‘n cheerful suppliers, despite their own reservations…

The first occasion was a wedding in the summer in a large hotel marquee in Essex. I was there to provide music throughout the day and into the evening so I was setting up at 11.00am when the groom broke the news to me that a starlight dancefloor and photo booth supplier they’d booked for a budget price were ‘incommunicado’…they hadn’t arrived at the agreed time and they were not answering any calls or emails. It transpired that the bride had booked their services online, via a faceless wedding ‘agency’, and based purely upon their low price of £700 for the lot (also to include 5ft L-O-V-E letters too). With the groom in a state of despair over this large gap in their big day plans, I managed to contact my dancefloor specialist (who is a very successful event management supplier) and within 90 minutes he was onsite with a fabulous twinkling floor and a high quality photo booth with all-new dressing up props. Needless to say, his services were more expensive than the bargain-basement fee of the original supplier, but at least he was actually there….

The second occasion was an engagement party for a friend-of-a-friend. I quoted my usual fee for these events and awaited the email response. They returned to me a few days later, stating they’d found someone else who was over £200 cheaper than me! Without revealing any prices on here, I can honestly say that whoever they’d booked was virtually working for free! They didn’t know the DJ personally and they described him as being ‘a bit shifty’ (they’ve seen me dozens of times and they like what I do) but they wanted to save money for the rodeo bull attraction they’d also booked for the party. Oh well, I thought, hopefully it’ll still be a good night for them. I got subsequently booked elsewhere for the date and forgot all about it…until I got a call from my friend on the Sunday following the gig. “Ian, you missed a fantastic night!” “Did I? It went well then?” I asked. A long pause came before he replied. “Nope, I was being ironic. The rodeo man broke down on the M11 and didn’t turn up. The DJ was a young scruffy fella, about 22, with a beaten-up old van and, wait for it, no speakers.” It transpired that the ‘DJ’ was one of many young chancers now doing the rounds in pubs and social clubs, rocking up with just a laptop full of illegally-acquired music, and plugging into whatever the venue had to hand by way of PA system. As the venue for the engagement party had no house PA system at all, the guests retired to a local pub for a quick drink before making excuses and heading home.

So, if I can offer any advice for 2017, it would be trust your instincts! If it sounds too cheap, it could be your most expensive mistake on your biggest day!

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