So many people deserve a thank you for their role in my wedding. I want to take a moment to pay a special tribute to Simon Vogt, Wedding Host and DJ, who helped make planning our wedding feel easy, and who made our reception so much fun.
Weddings are a funny thing. For some people, they have it planned out from when they are kids; others are happy to go with the flow and leave it up to their partner, content to just show up on the day and say their vows. For me, I was somewhere in the middle. I knew what I didn’t want, and I was flexible on the rest of the details. There was only one aspect of the event I was adamant about from the start: I needed to have Simon Vogt host our wedding reception.
My history with Simon Vogt goes back twenty years, from when we worked at the Blues Nightclub together. He was a brash, confident barman, who entertained the customers, headed off any trouble and made the shy, teenage me laugh. After I graduated from glass collecting and attending the cloakroom to working the bar, I spent several nights working the smaller back room of the club with him, and it was always an enjoyable experience. The night of my grandfather’s funeral, I was due to work with him, and I showed up to work somewhat half-cut. After getting lucky with the owner being in the office when I arrived, I went to the bar, and Simon knew immediately that I was pissed. He also knew it was my only income, and so spent the night keeping an eye on me, ensuring I didn’t make any major mistakes and consoling me in the quiet moments. That night, I saw a different side to Simon, and though I didn’t see him much in the years after the club, I remembered my time working with him fondly.
He came back into my life several years later, and again, he was picking up the pieces of my inability to handle my emotions. What happened was, I was in the pizza shop, waiting for a pizza, and some toerag was making racist remarks towards the owners. I was furious, and was ready to knock them into next week, until the person I was with pleaded with me to leave it, arguing it would only make things worse. I did walk away from the physical confrontation, but my drunken fury erupted in me punching through the window of a nearby business. I tried to get home, but with my shredded hand leaking blood all over the street, and with my actions not entirely inconspicuous, the police caught up with me in minutes.
Of the two officers who attended the scene, one was PC Simon Vogt. His colleague wanted to arrest me on the spot, a decision that was undoubtedly justifiable, and which could have had disastrous consequences for my career as a support worker. Simon instead argued that I needed medical attention, and took full responsibility to get me to the hospital, where he stayed with me not just until my hand was sorted, but until I had sobered up a touch, my rage had dissipated, and the stupidity of my actions was apparent to me. Then, instead of taking me to the station, he let me go home, under promise to contact the business the next day and fix the damage.
I don’t know why Simon was so kind to me that night. He was well within his rights to arrest me, and it would have probably helped his career to do so. I can only imagine it was because he knew of my mental health history, and he realised letting me redeem my mistake was better than wrecking my life over it. When my mental health was at its worst, I had a few run-ins with the police, and none of them showed any level of sympathy or understanding for what was causing my issues. None of them, that is, except PC Simon Vogt, and I can only assume what state my life would be in if he had arrested me, rather than giving me the chance to become a better person. The police force would be better and more trusted by the community if they treated people with mental health issues with the compassion and patience Simon Vogt showed me, and it’s a real loss to the local force that he no longer works with them.
However, their loss is the wedding world’s gain. When I heard he was transitioning into becoming a wedding DJ, I laughed to myself. Of course he is, I thought. It’s Simon Vogt. With his humour, charm and charisma, he’ll be perfect for the role. It gave me great pleasure to watch from afar and see his career develop. I was buzzing for him when he won the North West Wedding DJ of the year three years running, and over the moon when he was declared the UK’s Wedding DJ of the Year in the 2021 Wedding Industry Awards. Seeing him back himself to make such a huge career change was inspiring enough; seeing him rise to the top of his field was magical. My mate, the best in the country.
So, when it came time for me to tie the knot, he was the only choice. I had my heart set on getting married on June 3rd, and the gods themselves shined on me, because Simon Vogt was free on that day. He was the first part of the wedding we got locked in; before the venue, the reception, the dress or anything else, we got Simon Vogt nailed down. Now, it was time to see if he lived up to the hype.
In the build-up to the wedding, Simon was fantastic. We already texted each other semi-regularly due to our heated and entertaining rivalry in our Fantasy Premier League mini-league. After booking him, he interspersed questions about the wedding subtly, asking how the planning was going, if there was anything I needed help with, offering advice on venues and suppliers and the like. Looking back now, the way he used FPL as a gateway to keeping a constant dialogue about the wedding was a great calming influence throughout the two years of planning. I never once felt overwhelmed by the process, I never felt lost and I never felt out of my depth. If there was something I didn’t know, he had the answer. If there was something I was unsure of, he had suggestions, and not just for the wedding reception, but for the whole day and the honeymoon, too.
As we drew closer to the day, he asked my wife and me to meet up for a coffee, after several failed attempts to get me to socialise more generally. He suggested a place more expensive than I would normally visit, but I agreed anyway. I needn’t have worried, as he refused to accept any money towards our coffees. Once there, he talked us through the whole process – what he would do, how the evening would go, the best plans to produce the best party and so on – and also ensured he understood our particular needs, which weren’t many. Rather than the stress-filled madness people perceive wedding days as, Simon Vogt made the whole day seem as simple as going out to pick up a pint of milk from the supermarket. Afterwards, he gave advice about timing the day – even the bits he wasn’t a part of – the speeches, the photography, everything really. The depth of his knowledge both surprised and reassured me.
On the day, the wedding and the meal went smoothly. His advice about timing was spot-on, and we have some wonderful photos of our special day. As day turned into night, it was his time to shine, and he was as bright as the sun. Our reception went on for over six hours; after our first dance, he had people on that dancefloor all night. When I wanted a break from socialising, he let me stand with him in his area, away from the throng of the crowd. All the songs we wanted, he played. When people were requesting songs, he made sure we were happy they were played, and took the heat if I didn’t want them to be. He headed issues off at the pass. He looked after our cards and gifts, keeping them safe. The flow of his music was natural, hitting the peaks at the right moments throughout. As a host, he was funny, charming and engaging, and all night, I had guests coming up to me praising both his performance and him as a person. Live up to the hype? Simon Vogt exceeded it, by some distance.
My only regret with hiring Simon Vogt is that we only had him for the evening. Logistically, it didn’t make sense to have him traipse around to Gretna and back when he had his equipment to set up. That being said, all the advice and suggestions offered in the two years prior meant that his footprint was on our day throughout, and it went so much smoother as a result. For those doing their whole day in one venue, make sure you get his all-day package. He will keep everyone calm and laughing instead of stressed and crying. Our wedding was so much better because we hired Simon Vogt Weddings, and it was easy to see why he was named the best wedding DJ in the country. He is so much more than a DJ, though: he’s a counsellor, a cheerleader, an organiser, an advisor and a confidante. He’s a shadow best man without the title; he’s a back-up head bridesmaid without the dress, and he’d probably wear one if it was important to you! Even more than that, he’s someone who I am proud to call a friend.
Simon Vogt is so good at his job, he’ll make you want to get divorced, just so you can hire him again. I hope he’s still in business when the kids get married, because I’d book him for them in a heartbeat. Thank you, Simon, for being so great with me throughout this whole process, and for those moments in the past where your impact meant my mistakes were not life-altering. You’re a top man, and I’m grateful to know you.
Find Simon Vogt, Wedding Host & DJ at his website: https://www.simonvogtweddings.co.uk/
He is also on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SimonVogtWeddings
and on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/simonvogt_weddingdj/
"One of the most insightful works I've read on mental health problems in men ... very well-written and a real page-turner. I would recommend it to anyone.
Dancing With Disorder
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Andrew Lawes' tributes to the people and things that have impacted his life in a profound way.