It was Michael Swerdloff’s first wedding as a DJ. He was nervous but felt he had prepared sufficiently for his first wedding … or so he thought.
“The groom was the older brother of my DJ partner, and the bride was a good friend who previously dated the younger brother,” remembered Swerdloff, now the owner of DJ Mystical Michael. “I knew the bride, whose parents were divorced, and knew that she spelled and pronounced her last name in a Polish cultural accent.”
According to Swerdloff, the wedding went smoothly and the reception was a large one, with around 450 people all dressed to the nines. “I had never performed to such a large crowd, and I was given the list of names for the bridal party introductions about 10 minutes before I needed to announce them,” said Swerdloff.
After announcing the first groomsman and bridesmaid, a very large man in a three-piece, dark pinstriped suit approached his DJ booth and placed his hand over the microphone. Then, he slid back his jacket with his other hand to reveal a holstered .357 handgun. “He stared straight into my eyes with his scarred face and said, ‘Mr. _____ does not like his name mispronounced. If you do it again, it will be the last time you turn on a microphone. His name is pronounced _____,'” recalled Swerdloff.
As the man departed, the room fell silent as 450 people stared at the horrified DJ. “I gathered myself as much as possible and meekly introduced the rest of the bridal party using this new Italian pronunciation of the bride’s last name,” said Swerdloff. “To say I we shaking would be a gross understatement, but I survived and it was a great party.”
Later on, Swerdloff discovered that the bride’s father was a local mob boss and that was why the mother-of-the-bride divorced him as well as spelled and pronounced their last name with a Polish accent.
And what lesson is to be learned here? “Make sure you practice the pronunciation of all wedding party members in advance of the wedding with the bride or groom and ten minutes before their entrance,” replied Swerdloff. “It’s been 30 years since that happened, and I have not made the same mistake since.”