Think Tank for Specialist Wedding DJs – A Review

On November 13 and 14 a group of specialist wedding djs met to further explore common issues that affect them in their business and the way they entertain their clients.

all the delegates

Think Tank selfie

On Sunday we covered subjects including How good are your marketing materials, The Shoe Game – why and how?, what is an average wedding?, “Weddings – A Day in the Life, mk2!!, 20 Reasons why other DJ’s are stealing your clients, Music programing hints and tips, Testimonials” .the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

On Monday topics included – Email responders – how to reply to an enquiry, How to 10x your income, What makes the perfect host?, Connect & Convert Through Meetings., S.E.O, current trends, How do we create and then communicate “Special”, experience and expertise” an insight into establishing yourself

This was an opportunity to not only listen to and observe successful wedding djs share their knowledge and expertise, but also an ideal environment to question the experts and dig deeply into their reasoning and methods.

This is the feedback received from delegates.



Roger Knight

Well Derek, what can I say, you did it again!

You not only managed to get a group of like minded wedding Dj’s to commit to a ‘Think Tank’ but, also managed to fill it with some amazing UK based talented presenters who managed to fill the two days with an amazing array of information, tips and tricks.

Probable the best investment I have made in my business this year. If I only managed to implement a small part of what I gleaned from the last two days then I will still be streaks ahead of any perceived competition and will lead the way in my region.

Thank you, thank you , thank you!

Can’t wait for your next innovative idea to help Wedding Dj’s ‘up their game’


Roger Knight


Mike Hackett wrote


Mike Hackett

Think Tank Reading and Derek Pengelly
WOW I had a sleepless night last night due to the fact my mind was racing with all the new stuff and fantastic Ideas I picked up in a room with some of my biggest idols and that was Sunday!
THEN cue Monday… OMG now I sat for most of the day speechless as gem after gem of fantastic ideas were shared and passed around WITHOUT any of the DJ’s in the room letting the well known DJ egos [we all can have from time to time] get in the way, every DJ/HOST was willing to:
share, advise, instruct, help, mentor, listen, cheer, sing, the only things I can say were missing were 1: Dancing and 2: YOU yes YOU !!!

If you’re reading this and thought huh another money generating idea from the mind of Derek Pengelly… oh how wrong you were!

This was simply a perfect place to get priceless info for what in relation was a very small amount. I bet some of you are kicking yourselves now as new friendships have been forged, new contacts made and most of all every one taking some great ideas away with them.

I will not name all the people that took the time to prepare presentations and content that they gave to the room but each one was GOLD yes GOLD. I will spend most of this week just getting my head around this weekends info exchange.

I will however give special mention though to one guy,,,, and that was Terry Lewis You managed the impossible: almost one whole hour in a room of DJ’s in which NONE were making a sound, no not asleep, but soaking up your very informative talk.
I will finish by saying I have no idea what the Scottish version of this will be like but do try to get on it I am sure you will get some great stuff from it.
To all a SPEAK SOON 🙂


head shot

Darren Latimer

Darren Latimer wrote;

PROBABLY THE MOST POWERFUL two days of self investment and giving experience I have had the honour of being apart of!

THANK YOU Derek Pengelly, Alan Marshall

An amazing day – The knowledge I picked up from Alan Marshall, Alan Granville, Mike Hackett, Roger Knight, The brilliantly mad Irish star named Martin, Chris, Paul O’Reilly, Ian Forest and others today was Fumping Brilliant

Djs who don’t attend these sorts of things are mad!




Paul O’Reilly

Paul O’Reilly wrote

Day 2 of think tank. What has it in stall for us today? Yesterday s think tank was excellent with explosive ideas and work ethics for djs in the wedding industry .




Paul Holmes

Paul Holmes


Paul Holmes wrote;

Fantastic couple of days spent in a room with so much talent and passion for what we do so many great new ideas to incorporate into my work.
Thanks to all of you for your advice, ideas, and friendship.






Alan Granville




Alan Granville wrote:

Thanks you everyone for today, I have learnt a lot and have a sore head from the information overload.


Ian at BPM

Ian Forest




Ian Forest wrote – An awesome couple of days Derek to be honest very well planned and organised with some great discussion points.



Gavin Harris wrote

gavin harris

Gavin Harris

What an amazing two days at the Think Tank.

Never did I imagine so many wedding specialists at the top of their game would open up and reveal so much information.  It was so good to be part of a group that was happy to share information so that we could all help each other, in a way that a seminar style session wouldn’t have achieved.

It was a massive benefit to my business to be in a room full of success and positive thinking, and I’ve come away with lots of actionable advice to use that will make a significant impact to my business.

I hope this can become a regular event!



So if you missed this event all I can say is that you missed a truely special event, one which sadly can never be repeated. We may put together other similar events in the future but this was very much a one off.

Good News

We will be bringing Think Tank Scotland to Glasgow on Monday January 30th. This will be a one-day event and will feature presentations by Ian Forrest, Fabio Capozzi, Martin Keogh and an incredibly talented, award winning specialist wedding dj Mystery Guest, and myself.

Book Now

There are only 25 places available and 15 have already been taken. You can reserve your place with a £50 deposit. Local DJs and specialists from the north of England will be in the room – will you?

More details can be found here


Never Underestimate The Power of Thank You

Building relationships through gratitude

thank you

thank you

  • Be sincere
  • Be different
  • Say Thank you.
  • Go the extra mile
  • Personalise your message
  • Stay in-touch with clients
  • Keep in their minds
  • Generate referrals
  • Best of old and new technology

There is nothing better than sending a thank-you card or an Anniversary card to a Bride and Groom following their wedding.

Cards are displayed, kept and talked about.

Our cards are created on your computer, smart phone or tablet. They are printed and personalised with your message and inserted into an envelope and a real stamp is applied.

SendOutCards place it in the mail and your postman delivers it in the traditional way.

More cards

Cards for all occasions


Albany lions hotel wedding

Albany lions hotel wedding

1st anniversary

1st anniversary

Get started sending personalised cards with our new 2015 offer

Dip your toe into the water and take a three month trial for a special one -off price.

Get your “Splash Pack” starter kit which includes 25 custom cards for only £25

All you need to add is the postage for each card which is $1.15 or about £0.75 at current exchange rates.

Actually your first two cards will benefit from FREE postage so you can test the system and see the results for yourself.

So have we got you interested?

Would you like to get started sending custom thank you cards for a £1 a piece or less plus postage?

Order your SPLASH PACK today and I will show you how simple it is to get started. You will receive training on our photo-shop editing system and contact-manager which keeps track of your cards and contacts.

Your three month trial, with 25 cards costs £25

You buy your international postage direct from SendoutCards in $5 bundles via registered debit or credit card.

Building your business based on gratitude and referrals is the smart way to target clients and sell more to people who already know you.

Why waste money on “Blind” advertising when you can concentrate on your existing and past clients who will be only too happy to recommend you?







The Mobile DJ Challenge 2014

You would be crazy not to enter. This opportunity really is a once in a lifetime occasion. What have you got to lose compared to what you will gain by taking up the challenge?

Are you really happy and contented with the current mobile DJ Marketplace situation? Do you find yourself frustrated by other DJs under-cutting your fee? Customers should value your top-end gear, huge music selection and your ability to fill the dance-floor, not to mention your great customer service, so why do they always say they can get something cheaper elsewhere?

Can you change this situation alone, probably not? Can you break free from this ever-increasing downward spiral? Yes you can. What do you need to do to make a change and regain control of your business? The answer, like most things in life, is simple and sitting right under your nose – you just can’t see it. Don’t worry; it’s not your fault. You are suffering from a decease which is rife within Mobile Disc Jockeys. The illness is called apathy and it’s contagious.

Apathy is spread by contact. You can catch Apathy by talking on the telephone, posting on forums and in social media networks. You can also be exposed to apathy by chatting to other DJs who agree with your views while downing a pint in the local pub. Apathy is dangerous. It is difficult to control and spreads like wildfire. Do not despair just yet for there is an antidote. However this medicine should not be self-administered.  It is strongly recommended that you should seek help and partake in the cure among people who have been through what you have experienced as they are best qualified to help you through the recovery process.

This is where your challenge comes in.

Your challenge, should you wish to accept it, is to stop mixing with negative people who constantly tell you things like the following statements;

“I wouldn’t pay £xxx for a Disco”

“You can’t earn more than £xxx in this area.”

“There is no way Dave Doubledecks is worth that kind of money.”

“I’d rather earn a few quid than be sat at home doing nothing”

The news gets even better. Remember I said that there is a once in a lifetime opportunity available to you? Well there is, and it’s only going to be available on one day this year. It will not be repeated in the UK so you have a decision to make which is literally life-changing. How do I know this; simple answer is I have been in the same situation and was lucky enough to be offered the cure.

Mark ferrell

Clear your diary for Saturday 26th of April and Sunday 27th. If you have a booking for any of theses dates do everything in your power to get out of it if you can. Pass the booking on to local DJs and tell them you have something vitally important to do instead. Do whatever it takes to get yourself to London for a meeting which will change your whole perspective on mobile DJing in the UK.

You will probably need to make travel arrangements that require you to stay in London overnight as getting to and from the event in one day may be unrealistic. You also owe it to yourself to be relaxed, refreshed and ready for what the day will reveal.

At this point I wouldn’t blame you for thinking you can smell the strong aroma of BS.

Yet I can’t stress strongly enough that I am deadly serious. Over the years I have written many words and delivered many seminars and workshops to mobile DJs. This advice is without doubt the most serious, and important advice, I have ever uttered.

Clear your mind, open your eyes, leave all of that negativity at home and get yourself in front of MR Mark Ferrell on Sunday April 27th at 11.00am. The venue is Dukes Meadows, Chiswick. The event is being sponsored by The National Association of Disc Jockeys but you don’t have to be a member to attend.

“Getting what you are worth” by Mark Ferrell is an updated presentation for British DJs based on the phenomenal presentation, which I attended in Las Vegas in 2002, to a room of over 800 DJs. The atmosphere was electric. It was standing room only and the standing ovation he received had to be seen to be believed.To my knowledge, for the first time ever, Mark will be presenting three one-hour seminars which will cover the entire spectrum of:

  • Getting what you are worth.
  • Believing and communicating what you are worth.
  • Being what you are worth.

All of this knowledge, experience and expertise is available to you for the princely sum of £15 while NADJ members get in for FREE! Yes, that’s correct, free, gratis, no charge, nothing, zilch!

Warning – this event will be sold out, make no mistake about that.

Guarantee your place TODAY by registering your attendance, don’t fall at the first hurdle and let apathy tell you that you can just turn up on the day or wait until nearer the day!

Don’t think to yourself “I’ll try and get along to this event,” we all know that really means you won’t be there. Tell yourself, “I’m going to be there”. “I need to be there”.

Book it now, its simple and painless – just follow the link below. I’ll be checking later with my colleagues to see if you did – big brother is watching you!

Register Here

Love from Sunny Cyprus. I’ll see you there, we’ll take the cure together, or in my case, get my booster Jab which should protect me for another 12 years.


Playlists and time-lines

Don’t you just love it when you receive a playlist from a bride and you just know it’s either too long or too structured.

As you may be aware, dear reader, I reside in Cyprus for most of the year and my clients are visiting the island to be married. Usually there are no more than thirty guests at the evening reception with a maximum so far of fifty on one occasion.

usually the wedding takes place between four and six in the afternoon and is followed by a drinks reception and the inevitable photographs including final shots taken as the sun sets which is around eight o’clock in the evening.

Dinner will be served anytime from six o’clock onward and speeches and those sunset photos will be intermixed within the time-line according to the venue and event coordinator’s agreed instructions from the bride.

Cypriot meals have a tendency to take far longer than those in the UK. Traditionally a meal is the time for relaxation, conversation and no one is watching the clock. This can come as a big surprise to visiting families from the UK. Inevitably this time factor eats into the allocated time for dancing. Believe me I’ve been present when the first dance scheduled for 8pm has not taken place much before 10 o’clock.

I guess we could lay the blame for this on the wedding event planners and the venues for not advising the bride or sometimes on the waiting staff for not being organised. However none of this prepares the DJ for the frustrated bride who simply wants to do her first dance and get the party started, especially when she has supplied you with a playlist running to four hours or more of music.

Communication is vital to avoid such situations alas very often the DJ has no or very little contact with the bride before the day of the wedding. All communication is with the tour operator or the venue and the DJ is only given the playlist and expected to fit a quart into a pint pot![ or whatever the metric equivalent may be]

Example 1

Music – DJ Play List edited

My first reaction to this list was that it contained far too much music. It had a running time of seven and a half hours. I was also concerned about the bride’s allocation of times when music selections should be played. Apart from the early music for dinner I was concerned that her choice would be too much to her taste and not that of her guests. I doubted very much I could stick to this list and provide entertainment for all of her fifty guests. The reception was to be outdoors by a pool and music volume would have to be reduced significantly after 11 o’clock with the party finishing at 12 midnight.

Anticipating not being able to play all of the music I asked the bride to highlight in bold her “must plays” and then proceeded to refresh my memory by listening to the selected tracks and graded them by scoring each track as a 1 = great tune, 2 = definite maybe or 3 = doubtful to be well received.

On the day we juggled the photographs and the speeches by starting with the father of the bride’s speech and then taking the first course of the meal while the bride and groom went for their sunset photos. We then carried on with the other two speeches and toasts prior to the main course being served.

The mood was lively and it became apparent that i would not need to add much more to  the older music selections. In fact I opted to introduce her “Other special requests” during the meal and was amazed when people started dancing at their tables and in front of my DJ booth. Before I knew it we had a party on our hands before desert had been served or any of the three spotlight dances had taken place.

We had to put the brake on, call a halt to the open dance and introduce the three spotlight dances. I suggested we start with the father daughter dance so that dad could hand his daughter to her new husband for their first dance. This worked really well. Finally we took the brake off and invite everyone back onto the floor for the third spotlight dance and sure enough our party was back on track.

It turned out that this bride did indeed know her family and friend’s taste in music very well. She was up for a party and so where all of her guests. My challenge was to keep to the time line. I managed this by editing her playlist with brutality. I stuck to her “Must Haves” and then selected according to my own scoring system. I removed over three hours of her music selections while retaining the order of her music choice rearranged into a more acceptable structure which maintained the energy and delivered a packed dance area throughout the night.

Indeed the night was so successful that they asked me to relocate to a room indoors where we continued to party on for another two hours.  So I am delighted to say that my apprehension and doubts were unfounded and on this occasion my bride had proved to be the exception to the rule. She really did know better than me. I however used my experience and knowledge to take her idea and programme a playlist which evolved in real-time on the night. Together we produced a fantastic party which I am sure everyone will remember for many years to come.

Example 2

Wedding Play List edited

The first thing I noticed about this playlist is that it had three and a half hours running time and that most of the tracks were popular choices which would work fine. Then I realised my bride wanted them playing in decade order starting with the sixties and working toward the present day. She later added another six current chart hits to the list.

I have previously encountered such lists with a similar structure and was aware that this may not be an ideal way of presenting this music for maximum effect. I had also noticed that the start time was 5.30pm. Upon arrival i was told that was the time of the wedding ceremony and that dinner would not be served until 7.30pm. Fine.

Once again the issue of speeches and time taken to serve and eat the meal were of concern. My bride was very demanding and was keen to squeeze in as much music as possible however she did not appreciate how long the meal would take. She had arranged for a videographer to come back at 9pm to film her first dance. When he returned some guests where still eating their main course which was the third item on the menu that night. Deserts where still to follow and so too were the speeches.

Eventually it was decided to hold the speeches once everyone had finished the main course. Desert would be relegated to after the first dance. I arranged with the bride and the videographer to insert a second dance into the scenario as the first dance was to be a special routine created by the B & G.

It was gone 9.30 before we introduced the B & G onto the dance floor and then invited the rest of the guests [only 24 in all] to join in to “My Girl” by the temptations. The instruction was to carry on with the playlist which i did. Once again I had to be brutal with removing tracks I believed would not work and also rearrange the running order to get best results. I removed one and a half hour’s worth of music yet kept the floor steadily occupied throughout the night. We had planned some slower quieter music for the final twenty minutes and finally finished on a high with “500 miles”

A good time was had by all and we finished on time which was essential as by law in Cyprus you can can not go on after midnight. All outside music has to be off or else you risk your equipment being confiscated and a hefty fine.


I don’t always know best despite my thirty odd years playing music at weddings. Brides sometimes do know better than us. Even with the best of planning time-lines slip. My job as the DJ is to make the music fit. I need to use my programming skills to ensure that the right music is selected and organised into the best order with the most chance of delivering a full dance floor to the satisfaction of my client. On both of these occasions I can honestly say Job Done!

Why do mobile djs question the need for training?

There has never been a better time to be a mobile DJ especially if you specialise in weddings. While club and pub work is good regular income the down-side is that competition is fierce and because supply outnumbers demand earning potential is limited.

In pubs and clubs the mobile DJ is working for two clients at the same time [the owner and the audience]. Sometimes the owner’s idea of music programming can be at odds with the audience which leaves the DJ with divided loyalties. This can lead to dissatisfied customers or to a disillusioned DJ and even worse a bewildered boss. Getting everything in harmony is more difficult than it looks. A good boss will appreciate the DJs knowledge, experience and expertise. A competent DJ will be able to read a crowd, be flexible regarding music requests and be a great communicator both on and off of the microphone.

Wedding DJs have a similar situation to manage. Their client is the person who engaged them, usually the bride. Her music tastes may vary and in some cases may have very little in common with her guests. This places the DJ in an awkward situation. How can you please everybody all of the time?

In order to tackle this dilemma we need to explore and understand why bosses and brides believe they know more about playing music in public than the professional mobile DJ does. Of course the answer is that they don’t. However they do have a fear and a lack of trust when it comes to handing over responsibility to a less than competent DJ. In order for us to take command and demonstrate our skill and talent we need to establish ourselves as experts in our field. We need to communicate effectively that we know what we are doing and that we are very good at what we do.

This kind of thing doesn’t come easy to DJs. I suspect most DJs expect to be allowed to do their own thing, after all is said and done their survival is based on their reputation…..or is it. Maybe things have got so bad that the clients are no longer interested in what the DJ thinks. Maybe these days they believe they can hire the cheapest Dj and tell him or her what to do. This includes making music selections [play-lists], advising on volume levels and what to say or not to say on the microphone.Little wonder average DJ fees are at an all time low.

And there lies the nub of the problem. “AVERAGE”

If there are too many DJs chasing too few bookings which pay low wages why would a DJ be bothered to challenge current beliefs and perceptions? To do so would require the DJ to bare his soul, insist that he knows more than his client and is prepared to demonstrate exactly HOW his Talent and EXPERTISE will make a big difference to the outcome of an event.

Unfortunately the majority of good mobile DJs struggle when it comes to marketing what they do and how they do it. Many have day jobs and they simply do not have the time to dedicate toward mastering the sales and marketing skills required to successfully communicate why they should be the clients first choice for a party.

The internet has a lot to answer for.

These days everyone communicates via email, social networking sites and information is exchanged via Blogs and web sites. The whole process of communicating has become less personal and mass media. Where people would once make a phone call they text. everything is dissected into soundbites. Twitter insists on the “meat” without the “Veg”

This week in the Uk a group of mobile DJs are attending a training course. This training has nothing to do with what they do, technically speaking, when playing music. Indeed general opinion is that teaching a DJ what to play and when to play it [with the exception of radio] is an impossible task. Mobile DJs and many club DJs are self-taught and have an instinctive ability to read audiences and make music selection on the fly.Whilst this is not an ideal method of learning a profession it is one which will over time weed out the wheat from the chaff. The competent DJ will prosper while the “Wanerbee dreamers” will fall by the wayside.

The amazing thing about this training for DJs and other training courses currently on offer is that they offer an insight into what customers really want from a service provider. Clients are better informed than they used to be thanks to modern technology. Clients have expectations which they expect to be met if not surpassed by their DJ. Thanks to YouTube they have seen plenty of examples of what they wish to avoid and they are better placed to make value judgements.

So like it or not modern mobile DJs will have to brush up on their presentation skills. They will need to be able to answer probing questions as well as being able to generate trust and confidence before an enquiry is converted into a booking. Modern mobile DJs will be aware that in order to separate themself from the competition they will need to know how to demonstrate just how different they are from other DJs.This may all seem pretty basic stuff to regular businessmen and women, alas it is still virgin territory for many DJs who still believe their music speaks on their behalf.

Today we have the opportunity to meet and learn. Yes many will argue that everything needed is to found out there in hyperspace and can be gleamed for free. Alternatively some DJs are keen to point out that their mates in forums and chat rooms can tell them all they need to know about any given subject so why should they pay good money for CDs, DVD’s, Books, seminars and courses?

For me the choice is simple. There is an easy way to learn or a hard way.

I can spend time trawling the internet looking for information or  contacting friends and acquaintances and asking them questions. Non of which will teach me anything, all I will gain is more information more facts. The biggest challenge is what you do with the information. How do you implement the facts and turn them into actions which will improve your business.

I can buy a copy of the Highway Code tomorrow but it won’t teach me how to drive a car or pass the driving test. In order to pass my driving test I will need an instructor, someone with a proven ability and track record of success. Investing time and money with a qualified instructor makes perfect sense. So too does the idea of seeking tuition from people who have been there before you, made all of the mistakes and found a better more successful way of doing business.

If you invest in formal training courses you take yourself out of your comfort zone. You expose yourself not just to the trainer but also to the other attendees. You share your experiences not just one on one but to the whole group. Very soon you develop an understanding of issues which not only impact on you but which are common to the whole group. Together you share points of view, experiences and ideas. Best of all you now have a point of reference.Questions can be posed and support sought not only on the day but subsequently. Feedback and support should be ongoing.

You won’t learn everything you need to know in one training course just like you won’t find the answers to your questions in one book or web site on the internet. the quest will be never-ending as indeed should be your development as an entertainer and performer. Footballers never stop being coached. Singers and actors need producers and directors. Mobile DJs need less ego and more skill. Training / coaching is the key which will lead to appreciation of your talent and your talent is valuable.

Some DJs maintain they can’t afford to pay for training. My response is you can’t afford not to. The cost of a course is the same as  purchasing a new microphone or mixer. It can be offset against your pre-tax profits and is therefore a legitimate business expense. The taxman is happy to pay for your training and ultimate success. The more money you make the more tax you will be paying.

This year I will be continuing my training courses for wedding DJs. There will be two in Bolton this May and a couple more in Birmingham this September. Details can be found here.

SEDAbuzz – a full day of learning is once again being repeated this year in June. Check here for details.

BPM DJ SHow will also be providing three full days of seminars covering all aspects of being a DJ – mobile, club and radio. Take a look here.

Also look out for local seminars and meet-ups organised by:

best of luck, remember, DJs who learn more – Earn More – Honest!

Untill the next time, take care.Cheers.

Beware UK Hotel Packages which include the DJ

Some things Brides and DJs need to know about UK Hotel wedding packages.

In this economic climate I can understand why hotels are keen to offer “Wedding Package Deals” to their customers. It is a very competitive market and business is tough. Brides are conscious of keeping their budget under control and value for money is an important part of the process when hiring service providers.

However cutting costs too far can be a false economy especially when slashing budgets may well mean poor quality and indifferent service. Saving money on products can be a good idea especially if the consequence is negligible. Choosing a Chicken dinner instead of Beef or a less expensive Cava instead of Champagne will save money but will not detract from the overall enjoyment of the event.  Services however are a whole different ball game.

Cutting costs on services can seriously impact on the guest’s enjoyment. When a hotel claims they can provide certain services usually associated with other professions please be very careful for all may not be as it seems. The hotel “Wedding Planner” or “coordinator” may well believe that such services are a great reason for clients to take the package but in my experience, and many of my colleagues, what is provided is often below parr.  All too often they result in a bland, stereotypical production line wedding reception no different from the one the day before. Where is the personalisation, how unique will the service be and who is guaranteeing the enjoyment of the guests?

“Our Duty Manager as your Master of Ceremonies”

How experienced is this member of staff. Does the bride have the opportunity to see an example of his work. Very often the hotel won’t even know who this individual will be until nearer the date. Staff members come and go, and rotas are not prepared much more than a few days before an event. Do brides really want to take a gamble when it comes to being introduced into the room and announcements made for toasts and speeches. Is it acceptable for Mr and Mrs Jones to not be referred to by their first names and does the father of the bride wish to be called Jack instead of John or is he to be announced as Mr Smith?

You DJ is included in the price.

This is scary. How can a hotel use the same DJ day in day out and guarantee that their DJ can provide a unique, fun and memorable entertainment experience for everyone. Maybe they can. Maybe the DJ will agree to meet with the bride ahead of the date and will work with her to create something special. However I doubt it.

In my experience in the majority of instances the in-house DJ supplied by the hotel will not be available to meet with the bride. This DJ is probably, but not always, supplied by an agency or is part of a group of DJs who work for the Hotel. Remember this, the DJ is working for the Hotel and not for the bride. The hotel has its own criteria for using this type of DJ. Generally speaking a hotel is terrified of a failure for a DJ to turn up so they insist on using a DJ service that can cover sickness, accident and unexpected events at short notice. The hotels just want an average dependable DJ and surprisingly they expect to get such a DJ for very little money. Worse still, many hotels actually make money by offering this kind of package. You can be assured the DJ does not receive the fee mentioned in the advertising.

Who gave them the right?

A wedding reception is a once in a lifetime event. Two families are being united for the first time. Guests are travelling often many miles to share this special occasion. The wedding breakfast and the reception afterwards should be a reflection of the personalities of the bride and her bridegroom and families. Who gave the hotel the right to treat entertainment as a product like a cheap bottle of wine?

You don’t know what you don’t know.

If no one mentions the DIFFERENCE a QUALITY, EXPERIENCED PROFESSIONAL DJ or MC can make to a wedding then the bride will be left in the dark completely unaware that there is a better alternative. I heard the other day of a venue who wanted an independent DJ to be their wedding package DJ after he did a great job at the hotel’s Christmas part season. He was happy to oblige but was disappointed when the hotel only offered to pay him less than half his usual fee per wedding. It turned out that their usual wedding DJ was, in the words of the hotel, “crap” and they wouldn’t dream of using him for an event held in their name. Yet they are happy to have him “entertain” at a wedding reception!

Do you really want to end up with a MacWedding?

There is a better way. There are DJs & MCs out there who are specialists in wedding entertainment. They will want to meet brides and help plan the party. Many will have lots of ideas as to how to introduce special “Spotlight Moments” into the proceedings where all of the guests can be part of the celebration.  My advice is to seek these specialist wedding DJs out and do the research. Insist on meeting a “house” or “resident” DJ and ask them exactly how they intend to entertain your family and guests?

Level playing field.

Not all resident DJs are as previously described. There are some very good resident DJs who do offer a personalised service. They will meet with brides and they will work with them to help create something special and memorable. Sadly they are few and far between and are difficult to find. They will price their service according to the time taken to plan, prepare and customise their performance. They will not be cheap. They will represent good value for money and will be backed by testimonials from satisfied clients.

The same is true of venues. Some venues are very customer focused and appreciate the value of professional services. These venues will offer a choice of service provider and will encourage clients to meet and talk through with them their requirements. A venue which recommends clients select their service providers [all be it from a preferred list] and is prepared to work alongside them is a much better option in my opinion.


When a venue starts trying to tell brides they must have a particular DJ they need to ask  why. The venue will mention things like insurance, back up, reliability. These are red herrings. A good local Independent Wedding DJ or “Specialist Agent” can match all of these “reasons” and deliver much more. Think about this? Venues don’t say brides must use this Band for live music so why are they being allowed to say which DJ should be used?

Unfortunately there are more DJs out there than brides. Many DJ’s treat a wedding like any other party. In their eyes the reception is no different from a birthday party. They believe it’s all about the music and that whatever was played last night will be more or less the same tonight with one or two requests thrown in. Nothing could be further from the truth.

A wedding reception brings together people of all ages with a huge difference in musical taste. The specialist wedding DJ needs to cater for everyone in the room and focus on the bride and groom’s personal preferences in a way in which they are represented and presented to their guests. The specialist wedding DJ knows that the reception requires more than just great music to interact and entertain all of the guests.

It’s not WHAT a DJ does it’s HOW he does it which gets results.

How are a bride and groom going to be announced into the room?

How will the cake cutting be announced?

How will the first dance be staged, directed and produced?

How will the party finish, with a bang or a whimper?

What will the guests remember weeks, months and years after the event?

Is it worth the risk, the gamble, of hiring a cheap unknown DJ for the most important day of a bride’s life?

Please do the research, don’t accept anything a venue says without checking out the details and do please seek out a professional Wedding DJ and ask the right questions.

Beware of the phrase, “we always do it this way”

Save money

Engaging a DJ / MC directly can often save money too. Very few are VAT registered where as every venue will add VAT to the bill. The extra 20 percent could go a long way to helping make the day “perfect”

Congratulations, good luck and best wishes.

The January workshops – a review

A new begining

This year i brought in the New Year at The Beaufort Park Hotel In Mold, North Wales and found myself the following day on a train out of Liverpool heading down to Southampton. My latest workshop “Specialist Wedding DJ A-Z” was to be launched on January 2nd.

I was excited and nervous. When i write a workshop I have little idea as to who will be sitting in front of me on the day. Many of those in attendance had been to previous workshops while for one or two this would be their first time at such an event. This means the content has to be flexible enough to be relevant to beginners and experienced DJs as well as challenging enough to be interesting and stimulating to all.

On the day of the workshop there is always time upon arrival for informal chat over coffee and a chance to put delegates at ease while I prepare the documents and set up my computer and sound system. This half hour also helps me “Get into the zone” and focus on the day ahead.

My primary objective when presenting and hosting a workshop is to engage everyone in the room. I encourage people to speak out and interrupt / interject at any time. The difference between a workshop and a seminar is that there is INTERACTION. The delegates provide valuable content by sharing their knowledge and experiences just as much as I do.

Surprisingly It’s amazing how quiet and subdued a group of DJ s can be at ten o’clock in the morning! however if I get the introductions right and the first topic presented hits the spot then the room quickly comes alive. By the time we get to our morning break for more tea & coffee the room has a “Buzz” and the cross conversations are flowing. Often the information & views shared over coffee produce little golden nuggets which delegates can take away and add to their armoury of expertise.

During the workshop i show video clips from other leading DJ trainers and advocates. Glimpses of material available from Peter Merry, Jim Cerone, Randy Bartlett, Mark Ferrell & Rick Brewer are often included as well as material from You Tube featuring British and American DJs.


The current workshop focuses on opportunities for a DJ at a wedding. It goes into great detail about what actually happens at such an event and concentrates on what happens if a dj is NOT involved. Weddings are in danger of having all of the fun and emotion stripped from them by chain hotels who treat wedding as little more than, as DJ Dave Windsor describes them, “an expensive meal”.

Brides “Don’t know what they don’t know” and only you, the DJ, will be the one to tell them the reality of the implications of not hiring you “the Expert” Specialist Wedding DJ / Host.

Throughout the day we examine each segment of a wedding. opportunities abound for an interactive DJ who understands how music can add to the energy, dynamics and emotion of the ceremony itself as well as introductions and Toasts. It’s not long before delegates appreciate that they can bring unique skills and talent to a wedding reception. DJs who understand and appreciate the responsibility placed in them can reap many rewards not least financial by offering to be involved in the planning, production and coordination of the may ceremonies which make up the wedding day.

Step out of your comfort zone

The most interesting part of the day for me was when I asked delegates to write a simple introduction. It could be introducing a B&G onto the dance floor or an introduction into the room. I also add a little twist to this to make it more challenging and interesting. Its amazing how this seemingly simple exercise can produce very varied results. DJs in a small room among their peers can find this task difficult. It’s strange and uncomfortable for them. However the workshop is the best place they can do this. Practise and rehearsal are vital to getting things right and making things better. If you can’t do this in a rom of colleagues and friends how can you do it elsewhere without benefiting from positive critique and support.

By the end of the day the delegates are filled with ideas and have seen for themselves just how they can implement simple changes to what they are currently doing which enhance their performance and which brides will value.

Feedback has been very good.

Within a few days I had taken the workshop to Southampton, Reading, Maidstone and Glasgow. Around fifty Djs attended and many have already seen a change in their business. One attendee has managed, within a week, to secure two events at a significantly higher fee then previously and also booked his first all day wedding.

I was so pleased the other day to receive this testimonial from a DJ who has attended a number of my workshops. If you have any reservations about attending one of my events Dale’s story should overcome them.

An attendee wrote on January 25

2/3 years ago, a local DJ told me that he heard a rumour that a mobile DJ in the Liberty stadium in Swansea was getting ‘XXX’ much [per gig), which was more than double what the local average was. We chatted about how AMAZING it would be to earn that amount per gig but came to the conclusion that the DJ or the rumour was full of BS (lol).

About a year after the above conversation, I came to hear of Mr Pengelly and after reading numerous recommendations I attended a 2 day workshop run by him ( Wedding Marketing & Unlock the cash).

I was pretty quiet for the 2 days. I sat there like a sponge taking in as much as I could.

Over the last 12 months I implemented the changes in my business, took further workshops to increase my skill set, and had advice on tap from Derek whenever needed.

Last year was great for me. I took a number of weddings at fee’s I thought only household club DJs could earn, not local wedding DJs. The best thing is though that my job is MUCH better, I am appreciated more, valued more and feedback is better than ever.

Today I have a bride and groom coming to my home at 10.30 to finalize contracts and pay the deposit.

The deposit is the amount I charged 3 years ago and the overall fee is just under double what that DJ was ‘apparently’ earning at the stadium.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:

Mr Derek Pengelly – THANK YOU

Thank you for Showing me a new way

Thank you for making my customers value me

Thank you for making my job even more enjoyable

Thank you for showing me how to earn a livable wage

Thank you for changing my lifestyle – YES – my lifestyle has changed.


Good News – New workshop dates for March 2013

I have added three more dates and one provisional date – location to be confirmed.

Enter discount code “DAP” to get £10 off your ticket place.

Tuesday March 19th in Reading

Thursday March 21st in Bolton

Sunday March 24th in Leeds

25 -28th March? TBA – somewhere in the midlands

Thanks for your support:

If you can’t attend a workshop but would like an insight into the topics covered and a condensed presentation of the event including hints and tips on how you can become a Specialist Wedding DJ there is a CD / MP3 download available for £9.99

Buy it on Ebay here