INTERVIEW: Get to know the wedding Pro | Helen Smith at The Fridge
Get to know the wedding Pro!
Every week, we will be shining the spotlight on our Bride Club ME vendor club members, allowing our readers to learn more about some of the best wedding vendors in town. Here, we’ll bring you everything you need to know about the people behind the businesses we recommend hiring to make your wedding day perfect.
This week, we have the privilege of showcasing Helen Smith, Senior Artist Booking Manager at The Fridge in Dubai. Below, Helen provides us with exclusive insight into the company and the wedding entertainment options available, and shares with us what she loves most about her job.
When was The Fridge set up, and what do you do?
Established in 2007 in Dubai, The Fridge is the leading artist booking and management agency in the UAE. We manage and promote more than 3,000 performances annually, from some of the Middle East’s most iconic occasions and corporate events to private functions and daily hotel residencies. Our team identifies and develops the talents of musicians and performers living and working in the Middle East.
What do you love most about your job?
Working for a company that actively develops and supports the local performing arts scene is something I have always been passionate about.
What is the most unusual wedding entertainment request you’ve received from a bride and groom?
We love receiving unusual enquiries and turning them into reality. No idea is too radical. I once dealt with a request for six aerial ribbon dancers for an Arabic wedding. It took some very complicated rehearsals to pull off, but the results were stunning.
What is the most popular choice of wedding entertainment?
Classical musicians (eg, harpists, violinists and string trios) are very popular because they appeal to brides and families across different cultures. This type of entertainment works so well because it’s elegant, fits in during any part of the day and is uncomplicated to set up. Also, our musicians can tailor their repertoire to appeal to you; a lot of them play both classical, Arabic, Indian and contemporary music.
There is a misconception that booking wedding entertainment via an agency is more costly. Please explain the benefits of using The Fridge, as opposed to booking an artist directly?
Let’s start with the initial planning stages. We are there to make the process of searching for and booking your entertainment stress-free. Finding entertainment can take a long time if you don’t know where to start, so you can save a lot of time and stress by coming to The Fridge as we already have hundreds of artists on our roster.
We’re also there to overcome an entertainment crisis. For example, I once had a bride come to me practically in tears. She’d asked three different singers to perform during her ceremony, and each of them had dropped out for one reason or another. We found her a fantastic soul singer, Kerrie-Anne, who was happy to work with the bride’s specific song requests, which meant she got the personal ceremony she wanted. We have a team of fantastic artist booking managers who manage every stage of the process.
The Fridge also has an in-house sound department, so it’s easier for you (and us!) if this is booked altogether. Hotels rarely have a complete sound system available and won’t provide you with a dedicated sound engineer to actually manage it. No one knows our musicians better than our sound team, so you’re guaranteed great sound quality.
Congratulations on your own upcoming wedding! Could you tell us what entertainment you’ll be choosing for your special day?
It’s a garden wedding with a very relaxed, bohemian feel to the whole day, so I want the entertainment to reflect that. For the cocktail reception, I’m considering either an acoustic folk vocals/guitar/violin set up or something more Buddha-Bar style, such as an electric violinist or cellist, which would be quite unusual. The tempo will definitely be livelier later on though; we’ll book a DJ to keep us dancing into the wee hours!
What tips would you offer a bride and groom considering their entertainment options?
The most obvious advice is to book in advance to secure your ideal artist’s availability. However, one point I would stress is to consider including a sound system in your budget. I’ve worked with so many couples who thought speakers and a microphone would create an amplified sound, which is not the case.
It can be a nasty surprise if this hasn’t been budgeted for, and I’ve had couples who’ve had to compromise on their choice of entertainment, which can be very disappointing. As a rule of thumb, always assume that if you want live music, you will need a sound system, as it’s almost impossible for a group of musicians to perform without it.
On a more personal note, remember that the entertainment can be tailored to suit you and your guests. Get creative. Most of our artists are happy to take requests or ideas that mean something to you, so long as they have time in advance to rehearse it.
Lastly, why did you choose to list with www.brideclubme.com?
Bride Club ME is the right fit for The Fridge. It has a great handle on what brides need and want to know, and provides this in an approachable and candid way. It’s fantastic to be associated with such a useful website and to be able to present the range of wedding entertainment services that we offer.