It could be argued that ‘cheesy’ is in many ways like pornography. As Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart said in one of the most memorable decisions made (Jacobellis vs. Ohio – a case dealing with obscenity) – “I know it when I see it…” The question is, do we? Do we really know what ‘cheesy’ is? Do we really know it when we see it?
If you walked into a room full of people doing the Macarena, YMCA, chicken dance, and the like your first thoughts might be to say, ‘Cheesy! I would NEVER want this at my wedding!’ You’re quite right. But sometimes there’s more to the story…You see, a couple of years ago I was covering a wedding for a friend of mine who was sick. I showed up and talked to the groom when he and his bride arrived. He said, ‘Did you get the list of music?’ I said, ‘Sure, but I have a question. This is a list of every single cheesy song ever made.’ You see, the list contained the Macarena, Chicken Dance, YMCA, Hokey Pokey, you name it – 100% pure wedding cheese through and through for 99.999% of the people out there. I said, ‘Did you have a reason you wanted to have all these songs played?’
His response? “Every year my family goes to Mexico to a resort where they play all these songs and it’s part of what we consider a celebration. This year I took my fiancé and she got to experience that celebration too. We want to share that experience with her family.”
What did I do? I realized that he didn’t just want these songs played, but that this was important to him, his new wife, and his family. I started playing the chicken dance and the groom’s family ran to the dance floor. Literally, they almost sprinted to the dance floor! The bride’s family – not so much. I saw some hang their heads, others groaned audibly. And at this point I could have just let the song play but I didn’t. You see, the bride’s family was looking at that chicken dance like it was the worst song on the planet and consisted of 100% pure cheese through and through. And not good cheese either, the really smelly stuff, like Limburger. It was as though I had just won the cheesy DJ of the decade award and was trying for the century level. Instead of letting this moment pass by and the bride’s family miss out on what was surely to be a memorable moment – I stopped the music cold. The groom’s family turned towards me in obvious disappointment – the bride’s family sighed in relief. And then, I picked up a microphone and told everyone in that room what the groom told me. I invited them to celebrate with the groom’s family and to experience what they wanted to share with them. I then started the chicken dance again and watched in amazement as the bride’s 90+ year-old great-grandmother got up with her walker and joined the circle and enjoyed doing the chicken dance with everyone else.
With this story comes a unique perspective? Do you think that chicken dance was cheesy? Some might – but given that there wasn’t a single person in that room that wasn’t on the dance floor, if I had to guess, no one in that room considered it ‘cheesy’. They now had a REASON to be on that dance floor, being silly, and celebrating the union of their loved ones, along with all of their family members and friends.
But it’s more than just ‘music’ that some might consider cheesy. We can take this one step further as the same thing applies to most anything any vendor might do. For example, what if a bride wanted hot dogs and hamburgers at her wedding? What if a bride wanted a red, white and blue bouquet but said it was because her father was a war hero who had died just a month before and she wanted to celebrate his patriotism in the flowers at her wedding and it was going to be mentioned in the ceremony program?
Even commonplace things can seem ‘cheesy’ if done poorly and without purpose. We’ve all seen the grand entrance where the DJ’s running around the room, trying to hype everyone up for ‘the couple waiting to come in’. We’ve all seen the ‘The bride will now dance with her father’ introductions to a moment they’ve waited for most of their lives suddenly become nonchalant, all but turning this beautiful moment into little more than wedding cheese. At the most basic level because you might say it’s because they didn’t even try to know their names or to even say them. At a much more fundamental level it’s because they simply don’t care or are trying to prop up their lack of talent with hype.
It’s not the things vendors do that are cheesy – it’s doing them rote. It’s calling in the performance because they’re not ‘into’ what they’re doing. It’s cheesy when they simply don’t care about what they’re doing or the reasons why. It becomes cheese when they SIMPLY DON’T CARE.
And therein lies the real challenge – finding a vendor that actually cares. A vendor that can take something that might be cheesy, but instead make it something people talk about for a very long time – in a good way.
That’s our take on it anyway.
First Day Entertainment is a wedding entertainment company providing a DJ and Master of Ceremonies for weddings throughout Pensacola, Mobile, Destin, the Emerald Coast, and beyond. They specialize in creative entertainment for discerning couples – coupling cultural, religious, and personal tastes into your wedding entertainment – with a purpose.