Featured Wedding – Nicola and Robert Hall – Wedding at Tankersley Manor on the 17th December 2016

Matthew Stephens Evening Wedding Package at Tankersley Manor

I was booked to sing and DJ for Nicola and Robert at Tankersley Manor in Barnsley as part of a wedding package provided by Tankersley that included the ceremony, a drinks reception, a wedding breakfast and an evening party. Nicola hired me to sing and DJ during the evening party – a relatively simple task you may think, but no – Tankersley had other ideas. For some insane reason, yet to be explained properly by any member of staff, the staff told Nicola (who had booked me at relatively short notice after deciding she did want to make an event of the night do instead of just playing CDs herself as she had originally planned) that if she wanted to provide her own DJ – it was to cost her an extra £500!!!

Now, I don’t want to make this a complete bashing of Tankersley because, as you can see from the pictures, there was a lot to like there and I’m know they do many great weddings for many very happy couples. I’ve never known any problems there until this event, but this was such a strange request I wanted to make a note of it on my blog.

After having booked me, Nicola called Tankersley to tell them of the change of arrangements and she was told of the extra £500 cost if you want to bring your own DJ – or you could hire theirs for £350. She then called me back, quite dismayed and annoyed at the suggestion that it would cost her so much just to have me on site. I can honestly say that in all the weddings I’ve ever done over the years, not just all over the country, but just at Tankersley Manor (I’ve played and DJed at weddings there since 2006-ish and have done at least three there in the last couple of years) that I have never heard of such a charge. Not once!

I played and DJed for a friend’s wedding not so long ago and as they were my friends, I didn’t charge them – and I know for a fact that such a charge didn’t exist. But, Tankersley explained to Nicola that it was a new charge brought it for people wanting to bring their own DJ – it smelled of them simply trying to make sure you booked the in house service for their benefit so I was interested to hear their reasons.

 I asked Nicola what they said the charge was for and apparently they told her it was for a special license they had to have to have me in the venue. Another reason they gave was something to do with the sound meter they have. I told Nicola that this was all complete nonsense – the license from PRS that is required by a venue to allow them to have DJs, etc, is a standard one, is a flat fee per year and you certainly do not have to pay £500 anytime a DJ comes to your venue! Also, the sound meter at Tankersley has been in there for years, as long as I’ve ever been there, so the idea that there’s any £500 charge relating to it is ridiculous. It’s a standard bit of equipment in the entertainment industry where noise level can be a problem.

Another thing Nicola was told was that she could have me singing through the very same equipment I’d use for DJing and it wouldn’t cost a penny. This was another ridiculous statement. I mean, if they needed a noise meter service for £500 for a DJ, why would they not need one for me singing on the guitar at the same volume as a DJ? Again, it sounded like anything was fine as long as Nicola booked their in house DJ.

I told Nicola all this and told her to call Q Hotels that run Tankersley Manor and many others I have played across the UK; and get hold of a manager to discuss this as I’d never heard of this at one of their hotels as I was certain they could sort this out.
After some toing and froing between Nicola, Q Hotels and Tankersley, an agreement was reached where I could play, sing and DJ at no extra cost, as long as I wasn’t too loud. So everything was now fine, but at some considerable stress to Nicola – who had paid for the wedding services provided by Tankersley in full before this point so it was too late to pull out, which I know she wanted to do. She felt as if they were trying to con her, as did I, and now she didn’t want anything to do with them. Nicola told me when she booked the wedding package there had been no mention of this potential charge so to be hit with this had left a bad taste in her mouth. But, as an agreement was reached – she felt she could have the celebration she wanted. Or could she?
I arrived at the venue on the 17th with plenty of time to set up and I was setting up as normal – putting up my disco lights, etc, when a member of staff turned to me and said, ‘You’re not setting up DJ equipment up are you cause there’s an extra £500 for that?’ So I asked if she was the planner Nicola had dealt with and she said no. I explained that Nicola had sorted it all out with Q Hotels and the  wedding planner and that now it’s fine for her to have a DJ without paying. I also asked out of curiosity why the charge existed and she said it was incase I was unprofessional and was, ‘just for our liability’ as she put it. 
  That statement boggled my mind. Not only were the reasons different than the ones already given to Nicola – but they made zero sense! Why would a DJ booked by the client turning up and doing a bad job require the venue to receive £500?! I mean, the client booked the DJ and would suffer herself if the DJ was poor – why would the venue need £500 in such a situation?

A more senior member of staff was brought down (again, not the planner Nicola had dealt with) and started to quiz me on the on the arrangements and told me if I didn’t have the necessary insurance and tests on my equipment that I wouldn’t be allowed to play. Luckily, I do this for a living so I was able to produce the documents, but I was warned that someone would be in periodically throughout the night to check the sound levels with a sound meter and the volume would have to be brought down after a certain volume. The lady also told me that that was the reason there was a £500 charge for bringing your own DJ!!! She said there was no sound meter in that room so they had to hire one in and that’s why it costs £500 for your own DJ!!

So that’s yet another reason why they needed to charge Nicola £500 to book her own DJ!! And again, it makes zero sense!! Decibel meters are about £20 so the idea that you need a £500 surplus charge for one is ridiculous. It all just rang so false.

But, even with all this messing around we were able to have a great party that went on late into the night! We were all dancing and falling around (especially the bride!!) until 1:30 in the morning and it was a genuine laugh that I really enjoyed. They were my kind of people so we just had a silly party and I really hope I get to play for them all again at some point. So funny and fun to be around. It was just nice that we got past all the complications and we were able to have a real celebration. 

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