DISC JOCKEY SERVICE
We had a chance to sit down with Bill Bibeau of Rhythm Express about the business and how they serve couples with a tailored, customized experience for all their media needs at their weddings. Check it out below!
Can you tell me a little bit about the business?
This business was actually started by Anthony Ferreira, as the owner of the company. I have worked with him since 1996. The main portion of our business is weddings, corporate functions, that sort of thing. We serve couples all over Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, but of course, being here in the East Bay, and Bristol, we have so many great facilities here in the area with Linden Place, Mohawk Farm, Bristol Harbor Inn.There’s some great places you’ve got right here in town.
What would you say is something unique about your business?
I think for us, it’s the attention to detail and our longevity. Doing this for 20 plus years, you get to be able to read a crowd, understand what people are looking for. And I think one of the things, especially people in this industry, is that it’s not about the individual vendor, the photographer, or the DJ. It’s the couple, and really just the focus on the couple, the demographic that’s going to be there. And then using that to really keep in touch with your guests, and custom tailor things to the couple in their vision for the day.
So when you start working with a couple, what does that look like?
Basically, what we do is we sit down with them for a planning meeting, usually three to four months before the wedding, and walk them through things from start to finish. For most couples, it’s the first time they’re doing it, and they have no clue how the flow should be, how long things take. So we really walk them through, we create a custom itinerary, a timeline for them. And II jokingly call the timeline my Bible for the day. And we’ll go through and type it all up, send it off to them, and I tell them to rip it to shreds. So if they have any comments or changes or ideas, I want to make sure that the i’s are dotted and the t’s crossed, because if it’s wrong here, I’m gonna do it wrong. And I met with a couple last night who’s getting married in a few months and did similar things with them. And they were like, “Oh, my God, we didn’t think you had to do this!” And I’m like, okay, the wedding’s not for a few months, you’ve got some time, so we can start to fill in the blanks. But there’s a balancing act to the timeline, because you want to have a good flow, you don’t want it to be rushed. But you also don’t want it to drag out, so it’s all a matter of just getting an understanding of what vibe they are looking for. Do they want something a little more formal, a little more party, a little in between? And then helping to build something custom for them from there.
So with the timeline, what sort of things are included in that?
It’s really a matter of the flow of events. How the events are planned, what particular formalities are they going to do, that sort of thing. Because not everyone does everything. Some couples want parent dances, or they don’t want to do a cake cutting, or things like having your names introduced. I personally have one of these last names that nobody can spell or pronounce, so for me, if you’re going to do a couple’s name, you need to know how to say the name! So we go through all the names, the pronunciations, and then just like the do’s and don’ts of music, songs that they really love, and they know will get the dance floor going, and which ones to avoid because they hate them and will chuck me out the door if I play them. We work together to custom tailor something that works for them.
So you really direct them through the whole thing.
Exactly. And honestly, most times these days, we’ll do the ceremony too. I find that very few couples really do the whole church thing. Probably for more than half of our couples we’ll do the ceremony as well, and it ends up being a separate setup, outside the location and inside the location or something along the lines of that.
What do you do for the ceremony?
I’ll use an example of a couple of lessons learned in action. At Linden Place, they have a carriage house where they usually do the receptions inside and then outside on the gorgeous grounds. They’ll actually bring a full second DJ set up outside for the ceremony. And I’ll coordinate with them, you know, walking down the aisle, the music mics so people can hear them, that sort of thing.
So you’re not really “just” the DJ, you’re kind of the whole media setup.
I’m the emcee, the coordinator. Exactly. You know, it’s funny, if you go onto The Knot and look at our reviews and whatnot, that’s one thing people always say, it’s like, “I had a wedding planner with Bill! He helped walk us through the whole thing!” because people didn’t realize how much goes into this.
What should people know about your business?
I think our longevity, our experience, and just the customer focus, I think they’re really the key things with us. We’ve been to pretty much every venue you can imagine, in the tri state area. And we’ve seen it all. So it’s the type of thing that really lets us help to guide folks of the good areas and the pitfalls to stay away from. So I think that’s the biggest thing, we’re just somebody on your side – maybe the best way to put it is having an advocate for the couple. Because couples come to me all the time and say, “Oh, well, so and so thinks I should do this and that, and with this, I should do that. And I don’t want to do any of it.” And I’m like, “No, it’s your day. It should be what you want. You’re the one writing the check!”
And what’s your favorite part of this work?
Do you have any especially memorable weddings from the last couple of years or so?
Oh, gosh, they’re all great in their own unique way. You know what I mean? I don’t think there’s anyone that I would say is better or worse, I think they’re all amazing and unique in their own different ways.
Is there anything that you want to share with me that I haven’t asked about?
In the end, it really just comes down to, I think what we’ve talked about is just the attention to detail, understanding the area we live. I mean, Rhode Island is amazing. Rhode Island is gorgeous. And it’s some of the most incredible venues for weddings, but also just the people, you know, it’s great because being here being close to Newport, close to the Cape, Boston, and we get a lot of people who come in as well. I think that’s one of the awesome things about the Rhode Island wedding industry – the different types of venues, are you going to be at a hotel, are you gonna be at the library, or somewhere else altogether. Last weekend’s wedding was actually at an Airbnb at a farm out in Hopkinton, which is kind of different and in the middle of nowhere, but it was gorgeous. Or you’re out on Goat Island at Belvedere or Regatta Place. You get to see something different at every single place.
Do you find that there’s a large group of people who didn’t grow up here but just love it and come to have their weddings here? Like what would you say is the ratio of out of town people that you see?
I would say probably 30 percent. In some years, it’s more than others. I think pre-COVID, it was a little bit more sure. It did dial back a lot. But I am starting to see more and more of that. A lot of it is people who went to college here, and then went back home. And then they come back for the wedding. I’ve got two of those next year. They both live in California, but they went to school here at URI and Roger Williams. And they’re like, “Oh my god, I have to come back there!” It’s interesting that that’s the place that I see a lot of, is people who really weren’t from here, but they went to college here and they loved it so much.
So when you are working with a couple who aren’t from here, what is that process like?
Same thing, really. I mean, we’ll have regular meetings, walk them through everything. You know, it’s really no different. Even if a couple is from here, it’s still the same process. It’s all the same planning, the only difference being is sometimes they have more questions about, where they can do an after party, or if they need contacts for vendors and things.
Do you end up working with wedding planners a lot?
Sometimes. It happens usually a handful of times a year. You know, I think it was probably more prevalent pre COVID. The thing is you don’t see as many of the larger weddings now. I’m starting to see more of that come back, but I mean, I have had some more recently where people say, ‘Hey, I hired a wedding planner. Are you okay with that?”And my approach is very much “the more the merrier!”
Would you say that that’s the biggest difference between pre-COVID and whatever stage of COVID we’re in now?
No, I think the main difference is two key things: size, and less people willing to travel from out of state. So the wedding I did this weekend, they had a bunch of people who were like, “I don’t want to get on the plane.” So at the last minute, they decided they weren’t coming in from other places.
I have to ask – do you have a favorite wedding song?
You know, I actually don’t. That sounds corny. But I mean, everybody’s wedding is very unique and different, and a lot of it is what’s special to that couple and to the moment they’re in, which is just beautiful. As often as I do this, you tend to see a lot of the same thing every single time. So one of the things I try to do is strive to make it unique and different and really representative of each person. It makes it more fun for me!
Check out Rhythm Express Disc Jockey Service at (401) 254-1519 or online here!