Researching entertainment for your future wedding? You’re going to love all the talent, energy and incredible options that Melbourne Entertainment Company has to offer. They are highly active in the Melbourne wedding space, and entertained at 300 weddings last year. Their team has more than a decade of experience and pride themselves on providing a bespoke, memorable and premium service to their couples. Today, Nathan Op de Coul of Melbourne Entertainment Company, shares his journey, his company’s services, what he loves about performing at weddings, and how he and his team create ‘peak moments’ that define weddings and make them memorable.
Hi Nathan! Tell us a bit about yourself…
I’m a DJ-Saxophonist who began MEC ‘out the back of the garage’ in 2011. I’m an avid lover of all things music – and have incorporated music into just about everything that I do in my life. I’m a professional show-off who loves to have a laugh. I’m extremely driven and success oriented. My main goal in professional life is to create the best and most respected event entertainment agency in Australia. I believe that if you’re good enough at what you do, and you love what you do – you’ll never have a bad gig.
Image: Dylan Giannakopoulos
And who else is part of the Melbourne Entertainment Company team?
Hayley, Senior Entertainment Manager: Hayley had been an event coordinator for over 4 years at Sandhill Road before starting with us. Her knowledge of Melbourne venues is unparalleled and she has first-hand experience in every type of function. She’ll go above and beyond to please.
Dane, Entertainment Manager: Dane has been in the event/entertainment industry for over a decade. Recording music since seventeen, 7+ years as a venue manager and 3+ years as an AV-Tech: Dane has a wealth of knowledge to tap into when organising your event entertainment.
Michael, Executive Assistant & Tech:Our amazing EA Michael comes all the way from the Philippines. This tech genius wears multiple hats for MEC & looks after all of our web/content updates while doing a bit of SEO, he finds time to complete the weekly admin tasks for our business.
Talent: We pride ourselves on having the best talent in Melbourne. Our list of over 100 performers are not only incredible at what they do, but go the extra mile to ensure that their client’s events are a complete success. Our elite DJs, singers, saxophonists, bands, acoustic musicians and more specialise in providing a unique ‘wow-factor’ to performances that keeps our guests raving.
What services do you offer?
DJs, DJ-sax, acoustic solos, duos, trios, singers, guitarists, saxophonists, percussionists, bands, photographers, roving performers and more.
You’re based in Melbourne, but do you travel for weddings?
Absolutely! We do about half a dozen interstate events every year and probably 10-15 events all over Victoria outside the two hour ring from Melbourne’s CBD. However most of the 700+ events we do in the year fall in Melbourne.
How early do couples need to book you in?
The majority of our couples book 6-18 months in advance. At the time of writing this, our furthest booking in advance is 22 months out. This is how far out our top-tier elite performers book out. Having said that though, we still have some last minute couples looking 30 days out and we’re always able to find them an incredible option or two.
Images: Michael France
What’s the process of booking you in?
We’ll first gather the necessary information (date/venue/times/music preference etc) before putting forward some incredible options with links to the talent’s videos/photos so that our couples can see the amazing talent in action before they book. Upon choosing your ideal entertainer – we ask for a 50% deposit – once paid, it’s all confirmed!
Then what happens?
We’ll send you over our wedding request form which asks a few more in-depth details about the couples and any specific music requests they have to accompany which particular formalities. This also includes a ‘do not play’ list to ensure that you don’t hear any tragically terrible tunes throughout the night (think Chicken Dance/Nutbush haha – not that we’d ever be playing those anyway!). Once this is completed, we’ll e-introduce you to your performer – exchange contact details and you’ll have a personalised phone consultation with them to ensure everyone’s on the same page. After that – all that’s left is for you to say “I do” and dance the night away!
As a DJ, can you offer some tips on different types of music for different stages of the wedding day?
We have curated a number of impeccable playlists to suit the various different stages of a wedding and can accommodate all tastes and styles. Normally pre-ceremony/dinner music will be a mix of acoustic covers, soul/mowtown, lighter background house while. For canapés we’ve found that it’s hard to go passed a light funky house playlist with a live saxophonist improvising along to set a sophisticated and vibrant atmosphere before moving into the d-floor hits after the first dance.
What are the most popular wedding songs?
‘Signed Sealed Delivered’ – Stevie Wonder
‘If I Ain’t Got You’ – Alicia Keys
‘Moondance’ – Van Morrison (live sax)
‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’ – Marvin Gaye
And what songs always get people on the dance floor?
‘Valerie’ – Amy Winehouse
‘September’ – Earth Wind Fire
‘Shout’ – Otis Day & The Nights
‘Destination Unknown’ – live sax solo
‘Mr Brightside’ – The Killers
What do you love about live music at a wedding?
Live musicians whether that be a singer/sax accompanying a DJ – or a full-blown five piece band, brings an element of interaction that can’t be achieved by a regular DJ. A lot of our couples are tossing up between a DJ, or a live band. Bands are definitely more interactive than DJs – but after 2-3 hours of the band playing – they do start to sound a bit ‘like the band’ – and sometimes you just want to hear Beyonce’s ‘Crazy in Love’ the way SHE recorded it. On the other hand, a DJ while being more affordable than a band, sometimes just doesn’t bring that ‘pizzazz’ that a live element can! Such a tough decision!
We have created an extremely popular option which ticks both boxes – a Hybrid DJ (or a DJ with an additional skill such as sax/singer/percussion). These hybrid DJs will bring that live element and interaction to a performance that a regular DJ simply can’t achieve – without reaching the price that often a full five piece band brings. We have more hybrid DJs (25+) than any other agency in Melbourne – and it’s kind of what we’re known for. Being a DJ-saxophonist myself, I’ve seen this gap in the market which has become our best sellers over the last 2-3 years.
You say that one of your core values is to create ‘peak moments’ for your clients. What does that entail?
Peak moments are something that we value extremely highly in our business. Our performers are encouraged to create a few highlight moments in the night that the next morning (with the hangover setting in) will be raved about. These moments are what define the wedding and are what is remembered for years to come.
“Remember when the sax player was lifted up by the groomsmen onto their shoulders and belted out ‘Destination Unknown’!” or “Remember when that acoustic musician sung the most beautiful rendition of ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love With You” as the bride walked down the aisle? I had tingles down my spine while I was welling up – simply phenomenal.”
These are the moments that our performers are trained to create – the moments that tell the story of the best day of our couple’s lives – the moments will be remembered forever.
Sometimes a picture paints a thousand words – and the below picture perfectly captures what a ‘peak moment’ is. It showcases our DJ/sax player Jonathan mid-dance-floor with the groom and crowd lighting up around him.
How many events do you do per weekend?
Melbourne Entertainment Company handles anywhere from 8-10 during the quieter winter months up to as many as 45 per week in peak wedding season. Me personally as a DJ/sax player will do 1-2 events most weeks with the occasional busy 4/5.
Most memorable wedding you’ve been a part of?
The most memorable wedding that I’ve been a part of was a cocktail style beach wedding for Jaz and Joel at Alaltonero in McCrea earlier this year. This was the first time I’ve performed in this particular venue, and the unassuming relaxed vibe was perfectly suited to the crowd. The weather was absolutely amazing that night, and we had a DJ + live saxophone performance booked. The entertainment and dance-floor was able to spill out into the outdoor area under the festoon lights. The whole night was a complete success from start to finish. What stood out the most was the last three hours, where the crowd was absolutely electric. The bride and groom were being lifted into the air on the bridal party’s shoulders; we had live sax standing up on the chair, the drinks were flowing and the vibe was at an all time high. All of the guests were so lovely and the peak-moments were magical.
Aaron from AC Media captured the day perfectly without a hitch. Here’s a small highlight reel of the dance-floor:
Best testimonial you’ve received?
Reviews/testimonials is something that we work very hard here on at Melbourne Entertainment Company. We proudly boast that we have more five star reviews across our Google, Facebook and Easy Weddings than any other wedding entertainment agency in Melbourne with over 1000. It’s very hard to pick the best – but we’ll choose a recent one for one of our DJ/singer Berni:
“We couldn’t have been happier with the service provided by Berni and Melbourne Entertainment Co. They are super professional, friendly, and responded promptly to communication. Berni was just as described, we couldn’t have been happier. She was an amazing singer/DJ, friendly, professional, punctual and acted as a great MC for our wedding night. She read the crowd well and played all the songs as requested. We are so grateful she was able to help us out at the last minute (literally a few days) to sing for the ceremony songs, after our friend who was going to perform got laryngitis! She did an amazing job with the guitarist and they rocked it off with just an hour to practice beforehand. Dealing with our entertainment manager Hayley was an absolute breeze. She was so friendly to deal with in all communications & was able to assist with our every request. Amazing talent and well done to Melbourne Entertainment for advertising her well and having such talented musicians available. We are so happy Berni and the whole Melbourne Entertainment Co. team was part of our wedding day. Thank you!”
What do you like most about working on weddings?
I love the fact that everyone at a wedding is there to show their love and support for the couple, to celebrate joyously and share in the magical moments that are created on their special day. Everyone is in a good mood and it’s very easy to get everyone dancing. The food is always top notch! The energy of the room is always buzzing. It’s an addictive feeling.
Sometimes I need to pinch myself as I’m questioning, “Wow am I really being paid to be here right now?” These are some of the best days of people’s lives that we get to share on a weekly basis. It’s absolutely a privilege to earn a living, out of creating and sharing these peak-moments with our couples.
Thanks Nathan for sharing the Melbourne Entertainment Company story with us today! Couples planning their future weddings will no doubt be impressed by your passion and all the options you provide to create the perfect atmosphere and those peak moments. To find out more about Melbourne Entertainment Company, head to their website or check them out on the Polka Dot Directory.
Headshot by Michael France