Creative and Talented Wedding in Santa Clara October 20th

 Typically at a wedding, I am the only source of music. There are some instances when that is not the case. On October 20th, I did a wedding with talented guests and it was one to remember. I brought my typical equipment plus an extra mixer with cabling. The young musicians delighted the crowd with their vocals and their keyboard and guitar skills. It did not take them long to set up since it was running through my system. For this set up, I included a Mackie 1402 analogue mixer. It had 14 channels  (and it was not complicated to work) so I can easily add 2 more microphones, 2 guitars and 1 keyboard. Also I had my own wireless microphone connected and with my controller was connected to the mixer. From the mixer out, the videographer was able to record everything that took place at the wedding with a recording device. 

   The best man told me he was nervous and wanted to do the second toast after the maid of honor. With that information, I introduced the toast and gave the microphone to the maid of honor. Later I was told that the best man would be doing the toast while a guitar was strummed and I relayed the information to him and he had a shocked look on his face. The best man started serenading the bride and groom and it surprised everyone. In reality, the best man was not nervous but it was an act. He had a good voice and sang a good song. Weddings can be creative especially when you have talented people. 

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My Favorite First Dance Songs for Weddings

1 Des’ree  I’m Kissing You

2 Sade  By Your Side

3 Luther Vandross Here and Now

4 Christina Perri A Thousand Years

5 Eric Clapton Wonderful Tonight

6 John Legend All of Me

7 The Righteous Brothers  Unchained Melody

8 Ingrid Michaelson Can’t Help Falling in Love

9 Stevie Wonder  You are the Sunshine of My Life

10 Etta James  At Last

11 Journey  Faithfully

12 Stevie Wonder  I Just Called to Say I Love You

13 Lonestar  Amazed

14 Dooley Wilson It Had to Be You 

15 Nat King Cole Unforgettable

16 Louis Armstrong What  A Wonderful World

17  Jason Mraz I’m Yours

18 The Goo Goo Dolls Iris

19  Joe Crocker  You are So Beautiful

20 Savage Garden Truly Madly Deeply

21 Aerosmith  I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing

22  Israel Kamakawiwo’ole  Over the Rainbow

23 K-Ci and JoJo  All My Life

24  Mazzy Star  Fade Into You

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Let Djs Be Djs and Stop Telling Them What to Play (Unless it is a Jam!)

They use an analogy that someone would not go into a restaurant and tell a chef how to make food. I believe djing a party is a wee bit different.  As djs we play for the people. The best requests are the ones that go with the genre that the dj is playing. For example, if the dj is playing Bell Biv Devoe and a guest suggests throwing in En Vogue.  That is applauded. Usually I put in on my prepare list and throw in as soon as I can. If it isn’t the right genre I can still put it on my prepare list and can throw it on when its appropriate.  If they ask for a song I already play, then I ask them if there is another song I can play for them or I give them suggestions they can choose from.

   When I play at an event, I use the playlist given by the client and I will include music suggested by the guests. I will happily play the suggestion. If every guest came with a suggestion, I would add it to my list. It can be a little much when the same guest keeps on asking for more and more songs and the event becomes more about that guest than the rest of the guests of the party. As a dj, I never ask another dj to play my song since I know its difficult to dj a party and maintain the dancing vibe.  Sometimes djs get in a zone and playing hit after hit and the floor is jamming.  Be aware the wrong request can kill the party and the concentration of the dj.

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Ways to Find your Wedding Vendors

Ways to Find your Wedding Vendors

One way to find vendors is to ask someone who recently got married and ask for their input. The newly married person can give their recommendations and who to stay away from. 

 

Also once you secured your wedding vendor then you can ask them if there are people they worked with that would be a benefit to the wedding.  People in the industry know other folks in the industry and have seen and heard of their work. 

Also the venue may have their own preferred vendors to help you get ideas of who to select. Usually the preferred vendor has been there a few times and knows how the venue does their business. 

 

Another way would be to go under yelp and see who has good reviews. It is quite humorous how people trust stranger’s recommendations. Yelp uses an algorithm rank the top performers. I would trust someone with more reviews than someone less that 15. 

 

A way to find vendors would be to search under Google. Google will rank based on how often the vendor is searched. If the business is registered as a business then they will have Google reviews. 

 

Another way would to go to a bridal show. To actually set up a display at a bridal show as a vendor is very pricey. Vendors who invest in a booth are serious about their business to invest so much. Beware of the folks who hide behind the table. The best vendors are in front of the table and make them easy to approach. Be aware of those vendors that seem too pushy. Ideally, you would want to select someone you chose as opposed to someone who bullies you to buy his or her service.

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Ways to Save Money on the Wedding (so you have enough for your dj):

 

A way to save some dollars is to get married on a Friday or Sunday. If a Sunday is selected, then make sure a holiday Monday follows it to ensure your guest will stay longer.

 

If there is an option to have the ceremony and reception at the same location that can save time of commuting and places often give discounts since the couple are having both events at the same place. 

 

 

Having a buffet at the reception instead of a sit-down dinner will save money for the couple. Even if that is too much of a cost then appetizers can be served instead of a whole buffet. Brunch and lunch can be served instead of dinner to save on money.

 

 

Having liquor at the reception can be a high cost. It is more economic to have beer and wine at the reception and it can be done for a few hours or done the whole night unless the couple decides to do a paid bar.

 

Sometimes weddings are just for a small group of folks and it can be held at a restaurant. There is no need to pay for a rental space but only for the food and drink. Some restaurants have private rooms that may be reserved at no cost or a small fee.

 

 

An Officiate can help you with your budget or go over it. In California, officiants range from 250 to 500 dollars for the ceremony. And that does not even cover if they need extra audio for the ceremony if the venue does not provide it. In certain states, friends and family can be ordained and perform the ceremony. Please check if your state allows this.

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Wedding DJ Myths

It is just music and anybody can push play.

 

In essence, a monkey can push play, but are you going to trust a monkey with one of biggest days of your life? A professional dj prepares the playlist based on what the couple wanted. A true professional knows the keep the cocktail and dinner music at a lower volume, so the guests can socialize and not have to yell over the music. The party music is at a louder volume to get the party really started. With the excitement of the wedding, time zooms by and a true professional keeps the wedding within the timeline. 

 

They play the same music for every wedding.

 

You must be tired of the YMCA or the Chicken Dance or Celebration. To make sure the songs are not played at your wedding then make a DO NOT PLAYLIST.  Bride and groom work with the DJ to make a customized playlist. Cocktail hour can be classic Jazz sounds or can be 90’s R & B. Dinner music can be classical music or 80’s soft rock. Every wedding is different so the playlist will be different.

 

All DJs are the same.

 

This is not true by any means. Some Djs have the gift of gab on the microphone while others stand behind their music collection. Some djs do not know how to mix and fade songs out and put new songs in. Some djs can mix songs like you hear on the radio with a smooth transition. Equipment is not the same also and some djs would like a lot of bass and volume while others focus on the clarity of the music. Like other wedding vendors, there are so many choices out there.

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Wedding Regrets: Forgetting to Arrange an After Party

 

The after party can be just as fun at the reception but grandma the little nephews won’t be there (hopefully). The ceremony and reception was formal and it is good to change things up a big and go informal.  An after party of course is optional. Party poopers need not apply.  The wedding ceremony and reception flies by and you want to night to never end. It is best to see before hand of local spots close to the venue.  Or one can reserve a room at the hotel if you want it to be private. Some folks at the wedding have came far and it would be a joy to spend some more time with them.

 

Some suggestions:

Head to Karaoke hang out and act a fool with a microphone. Music helps keep the party going.

 

Bar or club: Why not keep the dancing going. In other information they mention the couple spotting the tab but others say guests should open up the tab. How bout everyone go Dutch?

 

A friends pad (hopefully they were invited to the wedding) can be an option. The party can keep on going and can set up spotify list. Food can be preordered and ready to go when everyone arrives. Just be aware of the noise level since you do not want a visit from the police.

 

(Semi Party) Food trucks or fast food joint: can be miracle workers especially after a night of dancing.

 

Casino: If one were located close by then it would be a spot to hit up. Casinos are typically open 24 hours a day so you don’t have to worry about your night ending too soon.

 

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Wedding Regrets: DJ Miscommunication

 

  A dj should always do a sound check every time they do their set up. A sound check can consist of how loud they want to music during dinner and how loud they want it when it is the dance part of the night.  Wireless Microphones can be checked if they work and also if they have a full battery especially if they are going to do speeches. It would be ideal to have a wired microphone handy just in case the wireless microphone battery runs out or the signal gets lost.

 

The dinner music is background music. Guests should be able to talk to their neighbor without any strain.

 

Bride and groom can give the dj a must play list. Songs that have significant meaning for them or just songs they would love to have in the dance section of the night.

 

The first dance of the couple is a monumental song but at times the song can be too long and the dj plays the whole song out. How many one arm turns can the groom give the bride? The dj can fade out the song but can communicate with the couple on how long they want to song.

 

When the dj is stuck on one genre during the dance part of the night. The couple may have requested a solo genre but sometimes it is good to spread the love a little bit for the guests who are not dancing by putting on a different genre.

 

Explicit lyrics may have been cool while driving to your high school while you were in high school but in a place with your grandma and maybe children at the same place, it’s best to go clean version. 

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