Elevating the Guest Experience with Joshua Pelling of Love and Light Entertainment
Are you planning an event and wondering how to take your guest experience to the next level? Look no further! In this episode, Joshua Pelling of Love and Light Entertainment shares insider for tips on enhancing your event with the help of a professional DJ.
A good DJ can make or break an event, and Pelling emphasizes that there is much more to being a DJ than just playing music. He describes how Love and Light Entertainment can act as MCs, read the room, and take requests in innovative ways, such as allowing guests to submit requests via QR code or text message. He understands that enhancing guest experience is crucial to a successful event, and he shares his expertise on how to make guests feel involved and engaged throughout the event.
From allowing guests to request songs via a personalized link to utilizing a unique mirror booth, there are plenty of ways to improve your guests’ experience. The mirror booth is particularly special, as it offers a four-and-a-half-foot tall mirror that allows guests to take animated photos, which they can later share on social media.
Lastly, Love and Light Entertainment offers a unique audio guest book that is completely multilingual and offers custom voice prompts.
Don’t settle for a mediocre event. Let Love and Light Entertainment take your event to the next level and provide an unforgettable experience for your guests. Watch this episode to learn more!
Gillian de Souza: Hello there. Welcome again to DC Weddings with Gillian. I am your host, Gillian de Souza with Caribbean Caterers. And always so, such a pleasure to be here with you. I have a great opportunity for you guys today to be able to take what you think you would need from your DJ, the things that you didn’t even imagine that your DJ could provide for you.
So if you wanna take your event from nice, doing well to over the top, “Wow, that was a great event.”, Listen up to Joshua Pelling of Love and Light Entertainment coming up soon.
Gillian de Souza: Hello folks. Welcome, welcome, welcome. This evening, I have with me a great pleasure for you in Joshua Pelling, he is with Love and Light Entertainment. Welcome Joshua, thanks for joining us.
Joshua Pelling: Thank you so much for having me. It’s a pleasure.
Gillian de Souza: You are very welcome. We have been chatting behind the scenes and I learned some incredible things about love and light entertainment. Now, folks, best listen to this. Listen carefully. Now I know. In the catering industry, as I’ve told y’all a lot about before, people are thinking just about the food.
When they come to a caterer, they, you know, they’re thinking, they appetizers, they’re hors d’oeuvre, they’re desserts, and just thinking about food and beverage. But once you start to talk with with a caterer full service, you realize, “Well, oh my gosh, there’s staffing, there’s bartenders, there’s code check, there’s linen, there’s China, there’s all this other stuff.
There’s planning of the room and there’s so much more.” To which the food, probably albeit important, is almost like a minor portion of all the things that we could do to get you this fabulous event that you see on our websites and you hear people talking about and so on. I have found that Joshua is going to tell us about how he is actually in the really same position where people come to him for music when you think entertainment.
So Joshua, tell us a little bit about that.
Joshua Pelling: Yeah, absolutely. I think you hit the nail right on the head. Many of our couples come to us and they think, “Oh, we just need a DJ, someone to play music.” You know, even every once in a while you may hear someone say, “Oh, we were thinking about renting speakers and just playing Spotify and while music is what we do, and obviously there’s so much more to just DJ-ing an event there is being able to read a room.”
You know, I just heard that Spotify implemented a new service called an AI DJ, and so, you know, through artificial intelligence, put songs together, but one thing that AI cannot do is read a room. It cannot take a request from a guest who comes up and doesn’t know the name of a song, but knows how to hum it.
But as DJs, those are things we can do. In addition to that, also act as MCs, so we are your event host. There are so many other things that people don’t realize that their DJ and or MC or a company like Love and Light Entertainment can bring to the table.
So really where do we begin?
Obviously, it all starts with the music. Our clients all have access to a client portal, so on the back end, before we even show up, our clients can spend all the time they want building as many playlists as they would like. So we have couples that, and not just couples, corporate events as well, that will build a must playlist, a do not playlist.
You know, often we get things like the chicken dance in there. You can build like a dancing playlist, a dinner music playlist. Just having that customization option really allows us to personalize and inject your theme or your personality into the event. But again, as you alluded to, there are so many things that people don’t realize.
Even beyond that, even beyond the ability to plan your music as an example, we even have a guest request system. So Gillian, if you wanted to, you could send this link to people ahead of your event and have them submit song requests ahead of time. So as an example, sometimes at weddings we have couples that will give this to their wedding party and they’ll say, “Hey, here’s this link. Put in your song request before our wedding.” And you know, the best man, the maid of honor, or corporate events, sometimes they do as well, allow people to submit song requests ahead of time. And that’s just really scratching the surface of all the different things that we can bring to the table. You know, it’s, again, as you said, it’s easy to just think you know, many of us don’t plan that many events a year.
You might hire a DJ two, three times max in your entire life. So it’s hard to know what all a DJ or an entertainment company such as Love and Light Entertainment can bring to the table.
Gillian de Souza: Fantastic. You said so much in there that I would love to explore because giving your guests the opportunity to select music beforehand, brings them into the process, brings them personalizes for them, and you know, we’ve all heard, “That’s my song!” when the song – it really is their song when it plays at the wedding because they made that selection so that, you know, we always talk here at Caribbean Caterers about the guest experience, and when I say guest, I mean every single one for the first person that comes to the last person that leaves not just a few people. But that all guests should have this experience. And what’s the experience your client want us to have, want your guests to have, and how we serve, how we set up, how we place things, what colors we use, all go into creating that experience for the guests. And this is an extension of that in the DJ world.
Joshua Pelling: Jillian, sorry to interrupt. I was simply gonna say that not all guests are gonna feel comfortable coming up to the DJ booth, right? So, number one, the ability to potentially send them a link ahead of the event and have them submit the song request ahead of time really just makes them feel involved before they even show up.
Furthermore, we typically put out signs with a QR code and a phone number that any guest can text their request to from across the room, and we. Clients, old, young, really everybody who can text, they can be out on the dance floor, groove in and submit their song request right from the dance floor. So again, these are things that some people don’t realize that they can add to their event to really, as you say, enhance the guest experience.
And I agree with you. It’s all about guest experience.
Gillian de Souza: That’s what people talk about for years and years. When people tell us that at their 10th anniversary, they want their same menu that they had for their wedding, for their anniversary party. Cause people are still talking about the food at their wedding. They’re not realizing that it’s not just the food.
It’s the experience that we created as they enjoyed that food. So now I happen to know that you have other ways to enhance the guest experience. And so again, for the audience, I know one of the things, planning, putting on events for all the decades that we have is not, you have to give people some sort of activity.
Some things that sort of, not whether they’re different or not, but things that make them do something other than sit at one table for four hours. And so when you do little activities that people can enjoy, it again, makes things more memorable. Somebody who is there that has come as a guest of someone else but does know a lot of other people can do something that they can feel included and not feel like they can’t talk with anybody.
And so, again, entertainment is in your name. So I happen to know that you have some other things that are proprietary to you that would blow people’s socks off. And I want you to tell our audience how you can take their event from zero to 100 with a nice, neat little thing that you have created.
Tell us all about it.
Joshua Pelling: Real quick. Well, there’s actually two that I’d like to take a moment to highlight. Two that I think really hit on those points that you said. It’s all about enhancing that guest experience but also. You know, I tell clients all the time, how do you engage the guests throughout the duration of your event?
And obviously you can do this by injecting a speech, injecting a raffle, if it’s a corporate event; if it’s a wedding, injecting a shoe game or the bouquet toss in between the dancing set. But as you said, people really need more, they need engagement and they really thrive on those things. So, two main ways.
One of which, many people are familiar with the standard photo booth. We actually have a really unique take on that, which is called our “Mirror Booth.” Our mirror booth is unique in the sense that it’s a four and a half foot tall mirror. So when you walk up, it looks like you’re just staring in a beautiful mirror, we have a beautiful red carpet we bring out in addition to that, and the screen that the guests see when they walk up to it is completely personalized to the event. So, for example, for our wedding clients, we typically have a couple’s photo or perhaps their engagement video if they have one. Or if it’s a corporate client, for example, we can have a start screen that is completely customized to their theme.
Offline. We were talking briefly about a roaring twenties event that we did over this past weekend, and everyone seemed to be really impressed with the start screen that was completely roaring twenties theme and Gatsby-esque, and as well as the animations that the mirror booth goes through, and a few other you really unique features about this.
In addition to receiving the printout, so most people, you go to a photo booth, you get that print, you take it home, gives you a really great memory, and we can customize the way that looks. But we can also allow guests to type in their phone number and that picture will instantly go to their phone in an animated version so they can share it on Instagram or social media, and the text message that goes along with that we can personalize.
So if you have a specific message, if you wanna send them to a specific website, some of our corporate clients really love to have a survey or some other information. Some of our wedding clients just want to put a really nice “thank you” message.
And lastly, it also goes to an online gallery so all of your guests can go get their photos there as well. So again, it’s engaging in multiple ways, not just at the event, but after the event, when they go through and they visit that link and see their photos for another time. So that’s one that we really love and I think it really helps to engage the audience throughout the event because as you’re up to go get a drink, you can have your DJ or MC encourage people to use that, and a lot of people really love that.
But I think there’s even one that to me, I’m really excited about, and you touched on it as well, which is our guest book phone and hotline. Now, currently in the market, the event space, there are many audio guest books out there.
They’re great, I’ve purchased one, it’s good. Most people take an old phone, they rip the guts out, they throw a recording device in. It works great. You record your message, cool. We’ve taken that concept and really built something from the ground up. Literally, I was in the back end of it coding exactly what it does. What this means for the guest experience is prior to the event, the wedding couple, or if it’s a corporate event, the corporate client or myself or whomever can record a custom greeting. What this means is when we’re at your event, we will bring a phone and we can use literally any landline phone. We have a beautiful gold phone, we have a white model, we have a black model.
There are different color options. Really any landline phone you find we can plug up and use it.
Gillian de Souza: Do you have a GetSmart shoe phone? I don’t know if you remember, GetSmart, used to have a shoe.
Joshua Pelling: I do, you know, it’s funny, I did see one of those online and I was really tempted to purchase that, but there it is right there, Gillian. Any phone that we find online, if it’s available for sale, we can use that phone. In fact, I’ll take it one step further. We can actually use two phones at your event and we can have them call different numbers.
So, for example, we can have, let’s say a white phone and a black phone, maybe one is for the bride, one is for the groom. If it’s a corporate client, and let’s say we have a theme like maybe fire and ice. We can have one phone. When you pick it up, have one message, another phone. When you pick it up, have a different message and guests can choose which phone they want to pick up and leave a message on.
So there’s so many ways that we can use this. Now, what’s also cool and unique about our software are a few things. Number one is our service is completely multilingual, so when you pick it up and your guests hear that greeting, if you have guests that maybe speak a different language, we can build in different voice prompts. So for example, if a guest speaks Spanish, they can say Español, or they can press, let’s say the number two, and it’ll go through a series of Spanish prompts so that they can fully understand as they leave their message.
It also has the ability for other languages as well. Another really unique thing is instead of having to wait until after your event to get your recordings, as soon as they hang up, it’s going to email those recordings directly to you. Just super excited about this guestbook phone and hotline. You get both services when you purchase it, and there’s just so many cool things that you can do with this.
Super ecstatic about this.
Gillian de Souza: Well, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. I can see the guest listener is like, what is he talking about? What do you mean a hotline, a phone? What? How do I do that? Well, ladies and gentlemen, you have one of those old time paraded phones like long ago, and use it just like a phone and leave a message for the bride and groom.
So instead of writing in a guest book, you now have an audio guest book and it’s just a cool feature, and there’s so much more than what Joshua is saying that you can do.
Joshua Pelling: Miss Gillian, I suppose I got a bit excited and forgot how to actually explain it. As you said, very simply what this means is the guestbook phone is any landline phone. And again, we have a beautiful gold option. We also have a beautiful white phone, but literally any landline phone we can bring it out to your event.
We have a beautiful neon sign that says, leave a message and some instructions that we post out as well, and it very simply tells your guests, “Pick up the landline phone receiver, listen to the greeting from the host, leave your message and then hang up to save your message.” But what’s more is the hotline. So that same number that the guest book phone will call when a guest picks up the phone at your event, is the same number that we can give to any of your guests, whether they’re able to make it or whether they’re not.
It’s a toll-free phone number that anybody can call and leave a message for the guest book hotline. So it’s not just on site, it’s literally anyone. And so again, I think about, I have a couple wedding clients coming up that have family overseas that are unable to attend their wedding. This is a way for them to leave their well wishes.
We have corporate clients as well that maybe have sponsors that want to leave some sentiments, but again, maybe aren’t in the same state or for whatever reason, are unable to attend the actual event, you could really open this up. It just opens up a whole world of possibilities for who can leave those words of encouragement, who can call in and tell a joke, or offer you some marriage advice if you’re getting married.
Gillian de Souza: And so these are just some cool activities that you can do to enhance your event, enhance the guest experience, and just take your event to the next level. And it’s being provided by your DJ guys. So your DJ is way more than music and so here is an opportunity to chat with your DJ, get not only the kind of music that you wanted for your themed event even, but to get other activities that you can do.
So let’s go back now, Joshua, and talk about what people are expecting of a DJ. I heard you talk about an MC, again, I know from our vast experience with doing these events for so many decades, an MC can take your event again from nice to wow if you have the right dynamic person. Did you wanna chat about that for a little?
Joshua Pelling: I think you absolutely touched on a very important point, which is again, your mc could be the reason why people remember your event forever. Or why it’s very forgettable, right? It could be unforgettable or it could be very forgettable. Um, so it could be the reason they talk about it or the, you know, they could talk about it in a good way or in a bad way.
And so you really wanna make sure that you choose the right DJ and MC. I’ve personally been DJ-ing and MC-ing for over 11 years now. We’ve got a team of great DJs and MCs who also have tons of experience, some far more than I, and we’ve spent a lot of time and energy honing our skills on our craft training, and taking different courses on public speaking and different classes, all sorts of different things, just to make sure that the experience all around is unforgettable for the right reason. And so there’s a number of ways that we make sure that that goes according to plan. Really, it all starts with your vision. So when a client comes to us, we spend a lot of time planning and preparing and having meetings to make sure that we understand exactly what the vision is. From there, all of our clients get access to that client portal, which I briefly mentioned.
And in there, there are a few forms that we have that asks you some of the details. There’s one example in our wedding planner form that a groom recently commended. He wanted a way to honor his grandparents, but he wasn’t sure how to do so. So, in the planner form, we ask you “For your grand entrance to your reception, how would you like to be introduced?” We ask, “Would you like to be introduced just you and your spouse, or would you like your entire wedding party introduced?” Now, if you say, “I would like my entire wedding party introduced”, we’re gonna ask, “Would you also like your parents or your grandparents? Now if you say yes, there are number of options for how we can introduce your parents and grandparents. Of course, most people assume that if they’re going to introduce their parents or grandparents, that they’ll probably do it walking out with the wedding party. But again, I’ve been doing this 11 years. There are many ways we can do this, and so the groom was really impressed with the other option, which was at their tables.
So as an example, before we introduced that wedding party, we got on the microphone and said something to the effect of “In just a moment, we are going to introduce our wedding party, but before we do, we’d like to take a moment to honor John’s parents. Mr. And Mrs. Smith sitting at table one.” Everyone claps.
Then we say, “We’d like to now take a moment to honor Jane’s parents, Mr. And Mrs. Smith at table three.” And so these are just all the different ways that you can, again, enhance that experience and work with your MC, or your event host, if it’s someone that you choose to ensure that, number one, you are honoring any VIPs that may be attending, that you also understand thoroughly before the event how each event is gonna play out.
Also, another very important thing that some people don’t consider: pronunciation of names. It seems so straightforward, but there’s a reason why there’s a difference in quality of MC-ing, for example. So one of the things that all of our DJs and MCs do is we will walk out, let’s say it’s a wedding, we’re gonna walk out and make sure the bridal party or wedding party, if you will, is organized in the same order that we already have listed. We’re going to introduce ourselves to the wedding party who may not know us. We’re also gonna inform them. This is our last opportunity to get your pronunciation correctly. Typically by then, we’ve already gone over that with a couple, but we’ll say to the wedding party,
“We’ve already gone over the pronunciation once, but this is our last opportunity to get it right.” So first in line, we need Mr. And Mrs. Doe, and if I said it incorrectly, usually they’ll correct me. So just as an army veteran, it’s really all about attention to detail. So you want to have checks and balances at numerous points throughout the event.
Not just pre-planning checks and balances, but on the day of you need to have those checks and balances in.
Gillian de Souza: Oh my goodness. That is so good. Folks, if you take anything away from what Joshua just said, beside the great progress they have in performing their duties at your event is planning, planning, planning, attention to detail and planning. I can’t tell you how many little things that people don’t think mean much or are much that cause big situations that affect, again, your guest experience and how you’re enjoying your day.
One thing that I would add or on the side, say that Josh sort of said this, we don’t have, we are not able to do do-overs. We have to get it right the first time.
Joshua Pelling: Sorry to interrupt. I’ve heard it said that every wedding is the Super Bowl right? There’s one opportunity. It’s the biggest day of people’s lives. You don’t get a second chance. You can’t introduce people, have them walk back and try again. First impressions mean everything in this industry, so it’s very important that not only you plan and prepare multiple times for multiple different outcomes, you have to have a plan A, a plan B, a plan C. But also on the day of, again, those checks and balances to ensure that the plan is going according to plan.
Gillian de Souza: Fantastic. Fantastic. So folks you heard in here, this is why we have to employ professionals who understand what they’re doing and use their experience and expertise to give you that wedding of a lifetime. So I am going to ask Joshua one last question, and that is, Joshua, I know the value of your company because we work with professionals all the time, so I know even if I just hear somebody talk about their work, I say, I know that that’s gonna be a great experience, but our brides and grooms listening are looking for the first time just getting information for the first time, hearing things that they didn’t know. If there is one thing you want our brides and grooms to hear from you, for Joshua and Love and Light Entertainment, why you should be their choice for DJ and entertainment for their grand event, what would that one or two things be?
They are listening.
Joshua Pelling: it’s certainly hard to boil it all down into one thing. What I would say is just to remember that your wedding is all about you. It’s the one time in your life where you can be as selfish as you want to be, and while I don’t encourage people to be selfish, I say that to say that every moment of your wedding day should be personalized to how you want it to go.
There’s a reason why they call it your dream wedding, right? The goal is to have it exactly as you would like to. So if that means for you it’s a little wacky and whimsical, then that’s what you should ask from your vendors. But if for you it’s more formal and very straight to the point and very traditional, then that’s exactly what you should ask of your vendors.
With that being said, you should really be looking for a vendor that gets to know you, that knows your likes, your weaknesses, your wants versus your needs. And you should really ensure that they’re willing to work with you to put the pieces in place to make every piece of it custom and personal, and engage with your guests in such a way that it reflects positively on you. Whether you’re a corporate client that wants to ensure that your brand and your mission is injected into every piece of the entertainment, from the type of music that you play to the events that you go through throughout the evening to the announcements that are being made, or whether you are a wedding couple that wants to ensure that you honor certain people with specific songs or with specific announcements or by grand entrances, honoring grandparents at their table as an example. Whatever that looks like for you. Your event or wedding really should be all about you, and I would encourage you to build a vendor team that does just that.
At Love and Light Entertainment, people are at the center of everything that we do, and we get to know our clients. And we build everything around that. Our relationship building is really the most important thing, which is why at Love and Light Entertainment, we keep office hours available. We have a simple link that anyone can use to schedule a call with us at any time, so we make it easy if we have a couple.
Even if you’re getting married a year away and you just need 5, 10, 30 minutes to talk or vent, or whatever that looks like, you can always jump on that link. Schedule a call with us and we’ll make sure we’re there to listen. So that’s really what it’s all about. It’s about finding those vendors that work with you that listen, and that’s what we pride ourselves on here at Love and Light Entertainment.
Gillian de Souza: Fantastic. And it so aligns with the Caribbean Caterers model, the Caribbean Caterers way for our clients. It has been an absolute pleasure, Joshua to chat with you. I am sure we could talk a whole lot more about activities and themes and things that you have done for your clients. So maybe we need to do around two on this, at some later date, but this was great.
Joshua Pelling: Before we go, one last thing that I have yet to announce to the world that I can break here on Caribbean Caterers.
Gillian de Souza: Hold on. Let’s a drum roll.
Joshua Pelling: Okay.
Gillian de Souza: You heard it here first. So here we are, Joshua Pelling, Love and Light Entertainment, making a big announcement. Go!
Joshua Pelling: Well, the announcement is that I am, as of last week, officially registered with the Loudoun County to be a permanent civil celebrant throughout the state of Virginia. So not only can I be your DJ, but we can also be a civil celebrant for your wedding ceremony. Now, what this means, I can obviously officiate your wedding, but it also means that as your DJ, if something were to happen and your officiant is late or can’t make it for whatever reason, you have a backup.
So again, this is the other thing when I talk about attention to detail, it’s having a backup plan, a plan A, B, C, a plan D, right? So I’m really excited to share that with you and, yeah, a lot of really exciting things happening here at Love and Light Entertainment.
Gillian de Souza: That’s great stuff. Congratulations. And it’s so interesting that you make an announcement that’s great for your business, but who benefits? Our listeners. They get the opportunity to have a twofer, backup plans and so on. So this is really exciting. So congratulations again to Love and Light Entertainment.
You are welcome.. So folks, we’ve been talking with Joshua Pelling of Love and Light Entertainment, and we wish you all the best and we will see you not only in Loudoun County, Northern Virginia in DC, and Maryland as well.
Joshua Pelling: Yes ma’am, the DMV. It’s been an absolute honor and a privilege. Thank you so much.
Gillian de Souza: You are very welcome. Thank you for being here. Good to see you.