Monday, September 28, 2009

A DJ's Perspective: Martin Felipe of Invisible Touch Events

Martin (pronounced like martini without the "eeee" on the end) Felipe of Invisible Touch Events is a funny guy. And a dang good DJ to boot. If you know me at all you know that I have a love/hate relationship with reception entertainment, be they bands or DJ's, so when I know someone is good, I loooooove them. I currently don't have a picture of Martin as he's traveling right now in post-wedding season bliss, I'm sure, but it's sufficient to say that he's very nice looking too. Not that large, loud, sweaty, smarmy, mouth-breathing DJ that many of us know and dread. Martin took a few minutes to answer my questions. Enjoy!

Q. Who are you and what makes you fabulous?
A. I have a few philosophies I've developed over the 400 or so weddings I've had the honor of DJ'ing. The most important is that my role is that of a facilitator. By that, I mean that I am not the star of the show, the couple is. I showcase them. Their wedding is NOT an opportunity for me to show off. What skills and talents I have are in service of making them look good, and making their wedding day an experience for them to treasure for the rest of their lives.

I also feel that a couple is not the host of their reception, they are the guests of honor. They shouldn't have to worry about what happens next, when it's time to cut the cake, what songs they're going to hear, and so on. This is why they hire people like us with the experience to keep their party flowing, so that they can relax, meet their guests and have a great time. They spend months working up to this day, we allow them to let the pressure valve release.

Finally, each reception is different. I customize what I do to suit the vision of each individual couple. If you want a ton of fun interactive ice breakers, I can provide that. If you prefer a more traditional and formal approach, that's what I'll give you. If you like 80's music, but not hip hop, 80's music it is.

Q. What is it like working a wedding WITHOUT a wedding coordinator?
A. One of the things I like about having a coordinator is that I know all of the details are covered. When it's time for the cake cut, I don't have to worry if there are plates and a knife at the cake table. When I announce the father/daughter dance, I don't have to check first to see if dad's in the bathroom. When the groom removes the garter, it's on her leg and not in the hotel room. I've developed the trouble shooting skills to avoid such problems on reception night, but with an experienced coordinator, I can focus more on the music and announcements, and trust that champagne will be poured when the best man gives his toast.

Q. What makes a coordinator good?
A. I answered this in part above. I also think a great coordinator creates a sense of effortlessness about the job. By this, I mean everything looks smooth, even when it's not. As a performer, showmanship makes a big difference to me. If a cd skips, or if the wrong song comes on, how I handle that is very important. Mistakes will happen, and rushing around, frantic, trying to resolve the problem NOW DAMMIT! only draws more attention to it. I think the same is true of all vendors.

A coordinator, of course, has the toughest job, because they're juggling all aspects of the wedding. Now, they tend to develop relationships, as do we all, with other vendors that they trust to do their thing, freeing the coordinator up to know the train will stay on the tracks while they focus on some other detail. However, when the train threatens to derail, great coordinators fix the problem without clients and guests ever being aware that there was a danger in the first place. They're magicians. Sleight of hand.

That said, I can't say enough about the relationships. A wedding has so many facets, so many areas where things can go well or can go wrong. This is why a coordinator is so important. They develop those relationships. They know which florists, photographers, videographers, dj's, and so on do great work, and can handle the trouble shooting. That way the coordinator is freed up to do their thing, confident that the team is on point, doing theirs.

Q. Do you have any funny wedding stories?
A. Oh, you can be sure that after hundreds of events, I've seen quite a lot. And, every time I think I've seen it all, some new adventure will happen. One story stands out in my mind for some reason. I was introducing the father/daughter dance and right in the middle of my intro, the bride grabs her father's hand and drags him from the dance floor. I pop on a song to stall and rush over to find them at the bar. Turns out the bride wants to do shots with her dad and she wants me to join them.

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