Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Get it Girl: DJ K-Swizzle

About a week ago I started a post about learning how to fearlessly embrace a challenge - to have a little more "gumption" as Arthur taught us in The Holiday: 

The Holiday
I can’t think of anyone with more "gumption" than my BFF Kate. She lives and laughs louder than anyone I know (emphasis on LOUD J). I don’t mean this in a negative way. On the contrary, I think everyone needs a confident, enthusiastic friend who likes to live life with the volume cranked up! A joyful, encouraging, country-music-loving, Tyler-Perry-movie-watching, changing-her-own-motor-oil kind of friend. Kate is that friend to me.  But even Kate has a comfort zone that she needs to break out of every once in a while. This post is about the dare she took on of becoming a wedding DJ.
Always bringin' the party!

Give us all a brief background about who you are and your usual day-to-day life:
I’m a 30-year-old freelance court reporter who’s a natural extrovert (unlike my introverted hubby). I love life, my friends and family and I’m a Starbucks addict ;) And I’m extremely loud, which cracks all my friends up that my job is to sit and not speak all day long J

How did this “DJ gig” come about?
My husband’s family gets together every Thanksgiving on the west side of Michigan for four days. Most of his aunts/uncles/cousins live out of state – so it’s a time for us to just hang out and really connect with each other. And it’s a riot! 

Over Thanksgiving, his cousin, Heidi was there and we started to chat about her upcoming wedding plans. I quickly found out that they had decided to hook an iPod/iPhone up to speakers for their music. I inquired about who would be announcing the wedding party, introducing toasts and recognizing parents/grandparents, etc? She was unsure about it. So naturally…I offered! I told her to chat with her fiance Adam about it, but that it would be something I’d love to do for them. By the end of that day, I was DJing their wedding and my husband was joking that he’d be in the corner wearing camouflage! ;)

What fears did you face as you started to prepare for their big day?
One of the main fears I had was that I could really screw up. I was afraid of saying something stupid or off the wall that would either embarrass me, my hubby or worse...the bride and groom! As I started working on what to say, it became apparent to me that this was a big deal. I mean, wedding days aren’t something you can just “re-do!”

Photo Credit: Keri Harrison Photography

Did you seek any help or advice?
Yes, I did. My friend Shaun is a DJ so I was able to get some tips from him. He urged me to focus on using my personality as a platform, instead of just reading off of a card.  After meeting with him, I went home and changed a few things. I was so grateful for his advice!

The other piece of advice was to practice, practice, practice! I printed off “cue cards” of what I was going to say at different times throughout the night and I practiced my butt off! I spoke them out loud in the shower, while driving, at home when cooking – whenever! I didn’t want my head to be down and reading off of a paper when I was in front of everyone. I wanted to look people in the eye. Therefore, I tried my best to memorize whatever I could so it wouldn't seem rehearsed. I think it worked because I had people asking me at the end of the night how long I’d been DJing. It cracked me up! My response was “3 months!”

Cue Cards

Are there any fun, wedding moments you'd like to share?
Probably the highlight of the evening for me was when Rod, the father of the bride, was giving his speech. His speech was super sweet and awesome – and a little on the lengthy side ;) During it, he spoke about how much of a talker Heidi was when she was a little girl. He would go to tuck her into bed at night and she would talk so much that he wished he had packed a lunch! A few moments later, at the end of his speech, he handed me the mic and I said to him, “Well, apparently we ALL should have packed a lunch!” The place erupted in laughter and given that my husband’s family is all big jokesters, it went over pretty well! J

What did you learn about yourself through this experience? How did you use your strengths?
This may sound corny – but it really did make me feel like I could do anything! With a little bit of practice and hard work, I really felt like I could do anything I set my mind on. 

I really enjoyed putting together playlists, figuring out how to transition songs, and just helping Heidi pick out some music that was fun and upbeat - that was a blast to me. She really wanted their reception to be a fun party, and I was all about helping it be just that! 

My strength has always been my outgoing personality. I have never minded being in front of large crowds - even as a little girl. It was more typical for me to be bouncing around family get-togethers and being my loud self. So it was really awesome for me to channel that strength in a way to bless other people I care about. 

Photo credit: Keri Harrison Photography
Would you do it again and do you have a DJ name?
YES! I would do it again in a heartbeat! And yes, I made up a silly name. I've requested from here on out that everyone refer to me as DJ K-Swizzle ;)

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