To illustrate this in the most start-to-finish way possible, we’ll start from the time I first sat down with Jessica and her fiancé Milton.
It’s October. 5:45 in the evening—I had just gotten off the phone with the catering manager at a location our team would perform at a few days later. They were excited to have us back—after all, a full dance floor makes for more smiling faces. And more smiling faces makes for a more enjoyable experience at the venue. But they weren’t the only ones looking forward to it. My team and I always enjoy working at venues that go above and beyond to create a more enjoyable experience. After all, that makes for more smiling faces. And more smiling faces make it easy to fill the dance floor.
In the next 15 minutes, I prepped the coffee machine and my favorite Italian cookies for our meeting.
I reviewed the notes from Jessica and Milton web inquiry for a second time. It was a big one. It’s always a big one. Even the small ones are big. They’re big because they’re another opportunity to connect with two people planning a milestone in their lives. A milestone that’s in many ways a symbol for their new life together. But, it’s not only a chance to connect with two people, it’s an opportunity for me to contribute in making their celebration—their official start as a team—one that all their friends and family will enjoy, too.
Then, a knock at the door as it was slowly pushed open.
In walked a shorter, pretty, professional-looking, glowing woman, Jessica, with her soon to be husband. He, a taller, built, bearded guy Milton appeared at first to be curbing his excitement but quickly opened up.
“Nice to meet you,” I said, as I welcomed them in.
I caught Milton’s eye as I offered cookies and coffee. I recognized it because it’s the same look I have when I leave work to head somewhere without getting a chance to eat. Overjoyed on the inside—but not appearing to be any more than pleasantly delighted and thankful on the outside.
Once we got settled, I’d ask questions to learn about them. Questions like:
how’d you meet?
what do you have planned so far?
and, what are you hoping to get from your entertainment?
It turned out they met through friends years ago when Jessica was studying and Milton had just started his first job. From the start, they bonded over exceptional food and were happy to settle on The Marina Del Rey which made it easy for them to highlight it on their big day.
Aside from settling on their reception venue, Jessica and Milton were browsing photographers and entertainment companies.
Two other big parts of the big day.
Jessica shared, “So, my friend went to a bunch of weddings over the past year and gave me a list of a few DJs she liked. I looked them all up—but the video on your site showed a sort of authenticity that none of the others did.”
Pleased to be a part of this private recommended list, I listened closely as both Jessica and Milton shared what they wanted to experience on the big day.
Coming up was this idea for everything to come together in a way that appeared effortless. In a way that wasn’t too forceful or flashy but instead tasteful, classy, fun, and just right.
I couldn’t help but grin. After all, that’s a huge reason why I built Total. The best part was, not only was everything going to appear effortless, after this meeting, it’d also end up being effortless—for them.
We went on discussing music and Milton’s love for the drums. They realized if they could choose one thing other than food and guests at their wedding, it’d be a professional percussionist.
Next, we went through some photos…
They ended up deciding on the third one because the towers would fill their space nicely. They also wanted guests to know their reception was party time—concert lighting suited that well. Last but not least, TV screens so they could show a photo reel during dinner time. But instead of 4 screens, I let them know 2 would suffice so they could better budget for the must-have percussionist.
We signed a contract and Jessica asked if they would be able to change anything.
“Too late,” I said.
Kidding—I didn’t say that. I let them know the package and extras were changeable—
“The most important thing is securing the date,” I continued, “if anything changes on your end, keep me posted. Two weeks before the wedding we’ll have a quick meeting and go over everything.”
Jessica and Milton looked at each other with the relief of another decision made. One less thing to worry about.
They went on to dinner as my night of appointments continued.
Two weeks before the wedding
Re-enter Jessica and Milton to the same coffee and Italian cookies. While three seasons passed, it felt like it had only been a week or two that we were in the same spot, meeting for the first time.
And while it might have seemed like they were thrilled to be spending a few minutes with me, their wedding was coming up! Who wouldn’t be pumped?
After we went through their requests and few ‘please play’ and ‘please do not play’ notes, we settled their remaining balance.
A sense of calm filled the air.
“How are you guys feeling?” I asked.
“Great.” “Excellent.” They shared.
“Perfect,” I said, “we’re all set!”
We thanked each other and they were on their way.
“See you soon!” we all said, excited for the big day to finally be here.
The big day
On the day of, everything was as planned—aside from a pair of bridesmaid shoes that went temporarily missing.
The commotion lasted under 10 minutes and was resolved before Jessica even knew. She was busy taking photos.
A photoshoot followed the ceremony and, at 6 pm, upbeat instrumentals filled the air.
Guests made their way into cocktail hour for finger food and drinks. At the same time, in the ballroom, candles surrounding the table centerpieces were lit. It was time.
While guests were busy, the catering manager escorted Jessica and Milton to the ballroom for a peek at everything.
By then, the room’s lights were dimmed as the walls illuminated a pinkish, purple color. Concert lighting spotted on the dance floor. And every last candle lit—looking like little stars sparkling all around.
As Jessica and Milton first entered, the look of awe that covered their faces was all I had to see. They were psyched.
“Mike!” They yelled out as they walked to the dj setup.
Jessica said “this looks perfect!”
They shared their excitement for a quick minute and left for their bridal suite. There they’d enjoy cocktails and food before seeing guests.
Believe it or not, the hype of getting ready for the day and posing for photos is much harder than it sounds.
Finally what everyone’s been waiting for was here. All the contemplations, the decisions, the planning, and preparations were finished. This was the last stop—and the most fun.
Jessica and Milton entered the room to a roaring welcome, backed by Alesso’s song Calling. Immediately following was their first dance to My Wish. The whole room lit up, a few tears shed, and there was no mistaking the bond between Jessica and Milton was meant to be.
Back, during the finalization meeting, Jessica asked if I could invite guests to join their first dance.
Midway through, I announced, “Ladies and gentlemen, at this time, Jessica and Milton have requested you join them in this special dance.” I continued, “We’re inviting all the couples here this evening to join them on the dance floor.”
All at once, chairs emptied as everyone made their way to the dance floor with their special someone. As the first dance ended, applause filled the air. Guests cheered the newlyweds and the party began.
The first set of dancing was to some mainstream dance music with a few Latin vibes. This mix matched their guests' high energy and started the night off strong. Everyone smiling. Everyone dancing.
Each dance set that followed brought more excitement to the night. And, to make sure everyone enjoyed music they were familiar with, we mixed in a few crowd-pleasers from the 60s, 70s, and 80s.
I took a step back while lights streamed through the crowd as they danced and half-sung along. I saw Jessica and Milton packed in the middle of it all… What a great night. The faces of the two most important people along with all their guests confirmed it.
After the cake was cut, I walked up to Jessica to ask how the night’s been.
Smiling from ear to ear, she said, “Mike, amazing. And you know what? Effortless!”
I smiled with gratitude and returned to my spot.
Soon after, both Jessica and Milton would be bombarded with "good-byes." Everyone congratulated them and got in a quick word about how perfect everything was.
The funny thing is, this wedding happens regularly—with different people of course. But this wedding doesn’t happen because of me, my team, or this one wedding venue. This wedding happens as a result of good planning.
And planning, no matter what it may seem, doesn’t have to be difficult or stressful. When it’s done right, it’s actually simple. Doing it right means choosing to work with people who ask you about your vision. People who understand you. Not people who give you the run-around. Or those who say “yes” to everything you say. But people willing to share their expertise with your thoughts in effort to make your big day, yours. When that comes together, is when your day comes together perfectly.
Whatever you’re dreaming up, you got this!