Friday, January 23, 2009

Wedding Univ: Ron Grandia

A Different Kind of DJ?  What makes you so different?
My approach to each wedding is very different from what I've seen others do. The best way to describe it is "Music Last." In other words, it's far more important for me to get familiar with each couple, find out what they are like, learn as much as I can about their tastes and sensibilities, so that I can help them reflect this back to their guests, who are friends and family. This helps me help them make their wedding celebration look and feel like a genuine expression of their personalities which ultimately makes the whole affair much warmer and and more personal.  If I can find some deeper connection with the couple, then all kinds of interesting and fun things spill out during our planning sessions, and that helps me fold myself, a total stranger, into a very intimate group of friends and family at a very personal celebration.  By the time we get around to discussing music, I have a much richer context in which to help me decide what will stoke the fire of their party.

What's your favorite kind of party?
Personally, I like the big ones because there is usually more built-in energy in a larger crowd, and they always seem to take off on their own. But  strangely, some of my favorite weddings to date have mostly been smaller ones - It is a much greater challenge, and therefore a greater accomplishment to subtly help a more intimate group of people forget themselves and get lost in the "now" of a wedding celebration.  In a crowd of 250 people, If I can't get 25 people up to help me prime the dance floor, there is something wrong, but getting a group of 40 going is much narrower path, and usually requires some finesse extra finesse. 

So does it have to be a dance party to be successful party?
I'm a DJ, so If I had my way, every party would end up with bare feet, spilled drinks and open shirt collars, but somewhere along the way I realized that a full dance floor is not always the most accurate  measure of success. I can think of a number of celebrations where best thing that I could do was stop pumping disco at a room full of people that would rather enjoy another glass of wine and some nice conversation with people they love. Playing to a crowd like this takes a whole different set of skills and a deep library, but when it's done right, people are just as appreciative as if you sent them home sweaty and sore. I count evenings like this as some of my best work.

What are some of your "tricks" to get people to dance?

People have been feasting and dancing at weddings for thousands of years, so I just try to maximize the elements that encourage that impulse rather than think some gimmick will help me get the boulder rolling. Believe it or not, a well-considered and expertly executed timeline is a most effective offensive tactic. The best thing I can do is try to set people on the right path early on in the evening and the rest sort of takes care of itself as long as I have the good sense to stay out of the way. But if I find the party needs a little extra push, I have found that personal information I have gleaned through my "Music Last" approach serves me very well - Perhaps I have knowledge of a favorite Aunt who loves to Cha Cha or family friend who knows all the words to some silly song is all it will take to tip the scales. Finding a way to give guests permission to rise to the occasion and put their energy to work always works better than anyhting I could ever do or say. It's their party after all.

What single piece of advice would you give couples trying to hire a DJ if they can't hire you?
Hire someone you'd want to invite to your wedding. Try to find someone that you feel really "gets" who you are as a couple, and is someone that you can imagine getting along with your college friends, Grandparents and new in-laws. This is the person who will likely seem less like a foriegn body, and more like a trusted friend - someone you feel comfortable putting in front of your friend and family with a loaded microphone and power over the playlist.

We've worked with Ron at a  number of weddings.  He unfailingly gets the party going and keeps it going, while doing it in a refined way.  A nicer guy you'll never meet. Come see him in action at Wedding University!

Wedding University

Sunday, February 8, 11 AM - 5 PM

Four Seasons Hotel Silicon Valley

2050 University Avenue

East Palo Alto

$25 for 1 | $40 for 2 guests

At Wedding University, well-respected professionals will guide you through the fundamentals of planning your wedding.  Topics include floral and tabletop design, music and dance, catering and menu planning (and tasting!), wedding coordination,photography and videography.

No comments: