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Hiring a DJ

February 25th, 2012 | Posted by DJ Antonius in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

When you start thinking about entertainment for your wedding, Make sure to remember that there is far more to consider than just hiring someone to play music.

First you need to get some referrals. Start with friends, family,  parents, photographers, caterers and hotels (friends and family who have had a wedding in the past year or two… ask them if they have a story about their wedding DJ).

You can also use major search engines such as Yahoo, Google, or others. There are also Bridal Magazines and the Yellow pages.  Be careful about this though, as many DJ websites are deceitful about price.  They pull a “bait and switch’ throwing out ridiculously low numbers and say “starting at” to get you interested.  Then they tack on $100-200 per “add-on”.  Hire a DJ that is honest about their prices up front (aka, a professional who knows what they are worth and stands by it!).

One thing you will notice right from the start is the great disparity of pricing from one DJ service to the next (see above). However, we suggest that you leave the price topic for last. First you need to find out what makes the DJ worth their asking price. Remember, your entertainment can make or break a reception. While it may be attractive to shop for a DJ by price, just as with every other wedding service vendor, price alone should not be the primary factor in your decision. All DJ services are not equal. Ask these questions in order…(bolded questions are more important)…

  • Are you available for my date?
  • Do you provide a written contract? (If not, run.)
  • How many playing hours are included?
  • Will it BE YOU that performs or do you have other DJ’s? (This is critical! Insist on meeting the actual person who will perform. Don’t trust, insist!) 
  • How early do you need arrive to set up?
  • Do you charge by the hour or do you have a package?
  • Is there an extra charge for additional hours?
  • Can you explain how you conduct the evening?
  • Do you plan and prepare the night ahead of time? How so?
  • What do you wear?
  • Do you do the announcements? Are you the Emcee?
  • Are you open to requests? From us? From the guests?
  • How large is your music collection and is it varied.
  • How do we pick our music for the event?
  • Is a wireless mic for speeches included?
  • Is basic dance lighting included in the price?
  • How long have you been in business?
  • Do you have references I can contact? (If not, run.)
  • What type of equipment do you have? (Discuss with them if it’s professional equipment)
  • Do you bring back up equipment?
  • How much is your deposit/retainer?
  • What is the total price for the package?
  • Are there any additional charges?
  •   How is payment arranged?

 

Remember, there is a lot of prep work that should be done prior to the wedding by the DJ. He/she should absolutely be able to explain what they will do for you in advance to ensure the success of the event. This includes providing a planner, sample format of how the evening will go, a tentative timeline, making sure they have the music you want and more. Advance preparation is what a professional DJ does as part of their service.

A true professional will spend a minimum of 5-10 hours preparing for your reception. This includes going over your plans (consultations), creating custom music playlists and editing, setting up and tearing down equipment, working with other vendors, etc. In other words, what you are paying for is more than just a body pushing play!

Music however, is a very important element at your wedding reception. You have thought about the music you would like and probably imagined the evening as you would like it to be. If the DJ does not have a sufficient music library, you may find your guests won’t be on the dance floor as much as you would like.  A budget DJ simply has not invested the amount of money necessary to provide you with a first class selection of music. At a minimum, 5,000 songs is a necessity today for a professional, and 10,000 or more songs makes for a very good music library.  Therefore, it is important for you to select a DJ who has invested in an extensive music library. However, along with having the song titles, your DJ should also have a variety of music genres AND the know how to blend them into a pleasing mix. Also, find out if the DJ encourages requests from the guests or does he/she have a set music program. Decide in advance which you prefer. At Seattle Wedding DJ, we have a music library of 10,000 plus songs from ALL genres.  We encourage requests (Wedding guests LOVE hearing the request that they just made!  We also have hotspot technology to “get” any song that we don’t have… on the spot!

As the guests begin to arrive and enjoy cocktails and their meals, it is nice to have quiet background music playing. At some point after the arrival of the Bridal Party, it is customary for a toast(s) to be made to the new couple. For this, a wireless microphone is a necessity. A wireless microphone allows each speaker to be more relaxed and comfortable and make their speech where they are and a wireless microphone reaches places a standard microphone cannot. A professional DJ should never charge extra to bring or use a wireless mic. Today, it should be a standard part of their equipment setup.

After you book a DJ, you will need to reach them. Knowing they are available full-time without additional costs to you is comforting.  Finally, listen to the DJ as they speak. Does he/she have a pleasing voice and personality?  Do they act and sound professional? Will they be able to handle “glitches” on that day quickly and with grace?  Remember, what you hear on the phone will be twice as good or bad when amplified on a sound system.  Make sure the person you are talking to is the one that will do the wedding reception. If they try to pawn you off on one of their employees, ask to speak to the DJ who will be doing the reception. Never, ever accept someone you have never talked to. Remember, having confidence in WHO you hire is of prime importance in all of your planning.  As with all things in life, quality and professionalism are priceless.

 

Wedding reception lighting

February 25th, 2012 | Posted by DJ Antonius in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

I wanted to write an article to cover some of the questions I have been getting lately regarding lighting options for events.  To cover some basic lighting components, we’ll discuss some of the common types of lighting used in dance floor and DJ lighting arrangements.

Vertigo DJ lights are lights that bounce and refract light to create stimulating and magical environments of color. The traditional disco ball is the most well known and popular example of moonflower DJ lighting but this takes it a step further. The main reason that disco balls and other types of moonflower lighting is so popular is that it takes one single stream of light and turns it into myriad bouncing lights, which is extremely cost-effective.

Lighting setups including various types of moonflower lights can produce stimulating, multi-layered effects while saving money compared to other high-performance DJ lighting systems.

Beamers are lights are project solid beams of light across a dance floor. Texture and depth are added to the light with the addition of fill lights. Smart or ‘intelligent’ beamers can move in time with the music or to some other type of preset pattern.

Beamers are generally best used in combination with stage lights as the intensity of beamer lights is that they fade significantly the further one gets from the light source.

Strobe lights are another mainstay of DJ lighting basics. Strobe lights flash intermittently in order to provide a freeze frame or slow motion effect that adds drama to the experience, dance floor or stage.

Lasers are a really cool effect that adds a lot to a party and has gained in popularity in recent years. This is a precise type of lighting that is generally used in conjunction with other more broad lighting.

The mood and effect that is created will depend largely on the way that you combine the various types of lights. For example, stage lights provide a general wash of color and lighting for the dance floor.

The only way to find out what types of lighting will work best for your particular application is to experiment and find out what looks the best. And above all else, listen to the music as you make these critical lighting decisions. After all, the main reason to have DJ lighting is to accentuate and extend the art of the music that is being created.

A good place to start is to ask about a few of the basic types of lights mentioned above and start getting ideas. Beamers, in general, produce the most surreal and full landscape effects. Disco balls and other types of moonflowers (Vertigo) are best at filling areas with lots of light.

Start combining types of light and experimenting with different shades or systems for alternating shades of light. Other interesting experiments include altering the shapes and materials that the light reflects onto.

The addition of lasers are a great way to emphasize particular portions of songs. Any light components can be set up to respond to rhythm and music in general. This can be a wonderful way to build a dynamic light show that will naturally complement a music program of any kind.

Uplights are all the rage these days as well… There is a picture of an example included. They are light cans that can be set to a few different colors to match a room or a decor, but add a lot to a room without being “clubby”. It’s a very classy addition to a corporate party or wedding reception which shoots beams of light up walls and pillars…

How to hire a DJ

February 21st, 2012 | Posted by DJ Antonius in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

The bottom line in deciding on your DJ, and the two most important determining factors should be experience and personality. You should always opt for the DJ with the most experience and the best personality – specifically wedding reception experience – that you can find.  The experience and the personality MUST come in the form of mic prowess.  Simply pushing play does not require you have experience to combat your stage fright.  Experience on the mic, in front of live crowds, over and over… DOES require experience and personality to be great.

There is a flow to wedding receptions and a professional, experienced wedding DJ that has done many of them is familiar with how receptions proceed. They know the traditions and how to MC to keep your reception moving along with quality transitions and keep your guests happy and dancing. There is also nobody that can save your reception faster when something goes wrong (food gets delayed along with countless other things that can and do go wrong…)  than a really experienced wedding reception DJ. Most of the time your guests will never know of a problem as the DJ has kept them entertained while the problem was fixed.

One of the best ways to find a top-notch wedding DJ is to ask the venue where your reception is being held if they have one that has done numerous weddings there that they can recommend. A DJ that knows the venue and the support staff and has worked it many times before is a real advantage, obviously has the experience and can really help things run super smoothly.

If you are using a DJ company, it is typically a good idea to hire the owner of the company. The owner will likely cost a buit more to hire but they will also likely have more experience and they are well worth the extra money. You can specify this in your contract with no substitutions allowed so they can’t switch at the last minute.  At the very least, whomever you choose to hire, MAKE SURE… actually DEMAND that you at least get to meet the DJ that will be performing at your wedding so that you can make an educated decision on the person… not just the terms and the company.  Also, always have your own backup plan, even if you’re using the best DJ company on the planet, and always check in quickly and confirm a month, and then the week before your wedding to make sure everything is still on track. In reality, if you hire a PROFESSIONAL DJ company, they should be doing this for you, but unfortunately not all DJ companies are as committed to customer satisfaction as Seattle Wedding DJ.

Seattle Wedding receptions

February 12th, 2012 | Posted by DJ Antonius in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Since we are local born and raised AND perform at dozens of weddings in the Seattle area each year, we speak to a lot of people each and every day who are searching for the right entertainment for their wedding. The majority of our potential cleints have never hired a DJ for anything before and have no idea where to start. Unfortunately, with this lack of experience in interviewing for the right person to hire the number one question we get (without fail)  is “how much do you charge?” Cost is definitely an important factor in who to hire… but it’s just ONE factor. It’s not the only factor.  I understand why people ask this question as a wedding is a major investment (and you do have to set a budget for any type of event) but the one thing I advise all couples on is that it should not (should NOT) be the determining factor in choosing a DJ, as a DJ can either make or break a reception.

 Budgets will definitely vary as the average cost of a wedding in Seattle is over $15,000. When you look at the big picture a Disc Jockey usually only accounts for about 5% of your wedding budget (which is small when you consider that this person is RUNNING the show for the majority of the night!). The DJ is one of your less expensive wedding vendors (sure it’s AWESOME to leave in a stretch Hummer limo, but that has no bearing on the success of the night). Without exception, the number one question that all past clients asked themselves was… “Did we have fun?” (Number 2 was how good was the food?) I say give it TWO years tops and your guests will not remember what they ate at your reception… but they WILL remember if they had a good time or not. So here are some things to consider when choosing THE most important vendor for your wedding reception.

A lot of the DJ’s you will run across in Seattle (especially if you are “googling”) charge less because they do not have the same level of experience to offer, which in many cases could result in disastrous outcomes.  The will flash “4-5 hours for $395!” on their websites and google ads.  Since you are familiar with google, try googling “Bait and switch” and read about this tactic.  They upcharge for everything and you end up paying as much, if not more than an honest, up front DJ running a professional business.  They also charge this much because they have to… to get the business.  You will likely see cheap equipment and a lack of experience and confidence… You DON’T want that when it comes to YOUR wedding reception. You want AWESOME! Keep in mind most DJ’s in the market are smaller, part time companies and although their packages might appear similar, the service itself is not the same. Most do not carry the same quality of equipment (and although they say they have a digital system, using their Laptop they also use for School is not professional). In addition most do not carry the essential back up equipment, and although it is rarely needed, if your wedding is the exception it is good to know your wedding will not be ruined because of this. What if the DJ you hire is sick or there is a last minute emergency and they do not have a solid back up plan you could be out of luck (and believe me this happens much more than one might think in the wedding industry). These are just some things to keep an eye out for in choosing a DJ. It is always important to go with a reputable, full time wedding business to handle such an important event.

Seattle Wedding DJ is Seattle’s premier DJ/MC service. We are a well-established company run by a professional, not a “pant’s sagging, snobby club DJ”. My firm specializes in wedding receptions, with over 90% of our events each year being weddings. My packages are all inclusive and include the correct amount of time for the reception and also includes features many companies treat as optional, for instance: a professional digital sound system, upgraded lighting, wireless microphone system, on site back up equipment, and MC service to run the itinerary of your reception and handle announcements. You can find DJ’s “advertised” pricing as low as $400.00 (and remember, Bait and Switch… this is just where they “start” before the add-ons! The average cost of a Full Time, reputable DJ company is typically $1000.00 to $1500.00 (with my company being at the low end of the average). At Seattle Wedding DJ we fully understand that everyone wants to save money, but when looking at the full picture, if you’re spending $20,000 on a wedding, at the end of the day, paying a couple hundred dollars more for a professional, full time quality DJ only costs you 1% more overall. The quality of service received however, will far outweigh the additional money spent as a DJ can make or break a wedding reception.  When you hire a cut-rate DJ… a “broken party” is usually what you end up with.

Wedding DJ/MC checklist

January 29th, 2012 | Posted by DJ Antonius in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Checklist for the Wedding MC. (Wedding MC Duties Tips and Advice)

The checklist for the Wedding MC is one of the most important items the Wedding MC will use at the wedding reception.  If the Wedding MC follows the Wedding MC’s Checklist closely, the bride and groom can be left with a wonderful memory of their wedding day.

The Wedding MC Checklist will detail an itemized list of everything that needs to be checked out or attended to – prior to, during, and after the wedding reception. Here are 9 general Wedding MC Checklist thoughts that the Wedding MC should be thinking about in preparation for the wedding reception.

Wedding MC Checklist – #1 – Meet with the wedding planners

The wedding planners may be the mother of the bride, the bride, or a professional wedding planner.  One of your first tasks as the Wedding MC will be to meet with the wedding planners to find out what is expected from you and to get information about the wedding reception.  This is also where you will start preparing a tentative wedding reception agenda and wedding run sheet.

Wedding MC Checklist – #2 – Gather background information on the bride and groom

The background information you obtain on the bride and groom will help you with remarks you make during the wedding reception.  You’ll also want information about their childhood, courtship, and engagement. And you might be able to use a detail or two from their forthcoming honeymoon.

Wedding MC Checklist – #3 – Gather background information on the speakers who will be making wedding speeches and toasts.

Unless the bride and groom ask you to give a Wedding MC speech or they specifically request no toasts or speeches, there will be other speakers who will give wedding toasts and wedding speeches and a quick but thought out introduction can go a long way toward helping their speech be successful.

Usually the wedding speeches and wedding toasts will be made by the best man, the father of the bride, and the maid or matron of honor. Other family members including the Mother of the Bride, the Father of the Groom, and the Mother of the Groom may also be asked to make a speech or toast. The information you gather about the wedding speakers will help you introduce them during the wedding reception. A good Wedding MC will take a minute to talk with each speech giver prior to the event starting to give them a few tips to make their speech a success (mic control, cut off point, speech giving advice, etc.)

Wedding MC Checklist – #4 – Prepare the wedding reception agenda

The reception agenda is your detailed timeline of events during the reception and will be prepared in consultation with the wedding planners. From the arrival of the wedding guests to the wedding speeches and toasts to the final farewell, this will be your guide to keep things running smoothly and on time throughout the reception.

Wedding MC Checklist – #5 – Prepare the wedding MC’s run sheet

The wedding MC’s run sheet is much more detailed than the wedding reception agenda.  For example, where the reception agenda will say “wedding speeches and toasts,” the run sheet will indicate who the speech or toast is to, the name of the wedding speaker, and background information for introducing the speaker.

Wedding MC Checklist – #6 – Prepare your material

Now that you have your background material on the wedding couple and the wedding speakers it’s time to put everything together.  You’ll need to prepare your Wedding MC speech, the Wedding MC Opening Speech, introductions for the wedding speakers, games for the audience, jokes and humorous stories, and anything else that is entertaining and keeps the wedding reception running smoothly.

Wedding MC Checklist – #7 – Prepare the “back-pocket” Wedding MC Speech

As the Wedding Master of Ceremonies or Wedding Toastmaster, you may be asked to give a Wedding MC Speech.  Alternatively, if one of the wedding speakers is unavailable at the wedding reception, you may have to step in and give a speech.

Wedding MC Checklist – #8 – Check reception venue set up

Ensure room set up and decorations are scheduled to be completed well before the wedding guests arrive on the day of the wedding.  This is a critical detail. From the seating arrangements to lighting to catering to entertainers…everything must be checked to ensure things go smoothly throughout the wedding reception.

Wedding MC Checklist – #9 – Ensure your clothing is ready

The wedding reception is a special and formal occasion. As a professional wedding MC you’ll be expected to dress the part.  Make sure your suit, tuxedo, or dress, and shirt or blouse are clean and pressed and your shoes are shined.  There’s a lot more to being a wedding MC than having a Wedding MC’s Checklist.

Cavaet… Wedding MC Run Sheet

Wedding MC Run Sheet – The Wedding Emcee’s “Lifeline”

The Wedding MC Run Sheet – also known as the Wedding Reception Agenda or Wedding MC Running Sheet – is a critical tool for the Wedding MC.  It lists every event that will take place at the wedding reception – from the moment the wedding guests arrive to the time they depart. As wedding MC you’ll list the major events of the reception including entertainment, wedding guest activities, wedding speeches and toasts, dancing, cake cutting, bouquet toss, and the garter toss.  Any introductions or attention getting toward a specific event relies on the skill of the MC.

Let’s plan!  And then… let’s party!

Wedding Budget

January 28th, 2012 | Posted by DJ Antonius in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

The most expensive part about a wedding is usually the reception. Many couples are trying some very creative ideas to keep the expense of a nice reception to a minimum. Here are some ideas I have heard in the past couple of months and some that I looked into for some of my clients.

You may not realize it, but a lot of caterers and facilities have great discounts for Friday and Sunday receptions (not to mention receptions in the middle of the week!) Often, they book their Saturdays very far in advance, but are just dying for the Friday and Sunday business. A great way to cut off a large chunk of your budget would be to get married on a Friday evening or a Sunday afternoon. Ask your caterer or reception facility what kind of discounts they offer for the flexible bride.

A great time of year for a Sunday wedding is Memorial Day weekend or Labor Day weekend. That way, you can get married on Sunday, but for the majority of your guests, it is like a Saturday – because they don’t have to work on Monday. Plus, this gives your guests extra travel time or visiting time. You can plan a gift opening for Monday and see your distant relatives again. If you are close to an Aunt or Uncle, you could even ask them to host this for you to reduce your (and your parent’s) stress. Keep in mind that a lot of families plan vacations and camping trips for three day weekends so you might lose some attendees.

Something that is gaining a lot of popularity is the brunch reception. Couples are getting married in the AM and following it with an intimate brunch. Don’t be fooled, though. If you want to be extravagant, you can spend just as much money on a brunch as you can on a dinner. If you choose to make the menu light however, this can significantly reduce your costs.

Also gaining popularity is an hors d’oeuvres reception. A lot of fancy bite-sized sandwiches, mushrooms, and shrimp is less expensive than an entire meal. This works especially well for evening weddings. There is something romantic about getting married when the lights are low. If your church just happens to have a nice hall in it, or grassy area outside, you could get married at 8:00 PM (indoors or out) and invite your guests to remain for some mingling or dancing.

Another great idea, is to check out public parks and attractions in your area. Here in the Seattle area, when you are looking for a reception venue, the possibilities for uniqueness are endless! Woodland park Zoo? Beaches? Country clubs? These ideas are exciting to me because they are so different. Plus, they were very inexpensive! They usually require the hiring of a caterer, but the small facility costs would have been worth it. Call your parks office, or a city administrator for more information.

Ultimately this article was to serve as a reminder that if you are planning a wedding reception… you can have an incredible event, without killing your bankroll.  Be creative…

Wedding Reception Music

January 28th, 2012 | Posted by DJ Antonius in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Planning your wedding music and working with a DJ may seem daunting in light of all the other things on your mind when planning your wedding. The thing to consider is how impactful your selection is to the execution and success of your reception.  Create a checklist of these essential steps and tasks to help you keep everything straight for yourself and the DJ.

Decide What Music You Want

If you’re having a small, less formal wedding then consider providing your own music on an iPod. I don’t recommend this at all, but it is an option.  It has only one benefit (it is cheap) and MANY drawbacks (namely, it makes your reception look and feel cheap to your guests).  You will still need to plan ahead, providing a variety of jazz, pop-rock and classical music for the events and take someone AWAY from the guest list to run it. You also need to make sure you test out your playlist before the big day. The con list continues…You will not be able to have a transition to change.  Hiring a professional, experienced DJ is the key to ensuring you have a fantastic reception AND you don’t have to do the work, provide/rent equipment, provide music and have an MC to run the itinerary for you.

Choose Your DJ

When choosing a DJ, ask for a tape/video of a public performance or ask to attend a dress rehearsal (most DJ’s don’t do this). If this isn’t available, ask for a sample playlist and look for songs you’d enjoy. Ask for references from past weddings and celebrations or ask your friends and family if they have anyone they’d recommend. Before you agree to hire a DJ, agree on any specifically requested songs, do-not play lists and other requests.  Make sure they have a contract (protects YOU as well as them) and have a great personality (typically this person handles most, if not all, of the announcements and events).

Create Song Lists

Whether you decide on a DJ the entire celebration or portions of your wedding, put down your song options (and narrow them down later) on paper. Organize them by ceremony, reception and dance sections. For the ceremony, include a prelude song to play while your guests enter to the processional song for the court and bride’s entrances, any ceremony or religious music and a recessional. Though you may not have a DJ for the ceremony, the list is still good practice. For the reception and dance, include a playlist for a cocktail hour (if applicable), dinner, couple’s first dance, bride and father dance, groom and mother dance, guests’ first dance, cake cutting, bouquet toss, garter toss and any general dance requests.  It works best if you have a professional DJ who will put time and preparation into your event PRIOR TO the actual day.  Creating a playlist to work from ahead of time is what a professional does.  It is easy to slip a reasonable request into your playlist during the event as they come.

Address the Technical Issues

If your reception and dance take place in a private home or outside, find out about local statutes on noise permits. You may need to obtain one, or at least notify the neighbors, if your dance is going to make for a loud and late party!

Address electrical issues beforehand. Keep the caterer and DJ on different circuits. It is also a good idea to seat guests with hearing aids, pacemakers and other such devices away from the speakers and DJ equipment so the frequencies don’t interfere with their functioning.  Let’s party!

Wedding planning

January 21st, 2012 | Posted by DJ Antonius in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

THE BEST MAN TOAST!!!

So here you are after JUST being asked by one of your dearest friends to be the best man at his wedding. Sweet! Bro! You guys have done everything together. You are practically brothers. You met in kindergarten and have been inseparable ever since.

Oh Shoot! Speech. Public Speaking? Uhhh… You want to say all the right things and make an amazing impression. You also have your own sense of humor that mostly the Groom and a few other guests might get (but probably not everyone… hey! At least you are aware… ). So how do you turn your life experiences, fun times, and life journey into a speech that will be remembered? One that will make people genuinely laugh without sounding like a hack wanna be comedian at an open mic night…

The good news is that writing a great toast will not be too difficult once you learn how. You will need to access your creativity and put some actual time into it.  However, you also don’t have to do it alone. One of the best ways to write a great toast is to work with other close friends who know the Groom. Starting the writing process in a team format will help inspire you. Once you have gathered enough ideas you can then settle down and write your own thoughts on your own. The most important rule in toast writing…. DON’T WING IT! You may think you are the funniest person in the room, but chances are you’re not. (and stage fright is a real thing… the number one cure for stage fright? ULTRA preparedness)

Like any great speech you will need to apply the same principles to the toast. The toast should have a logical flow to it but at the same time, sound like you JUST thought of it. It needs a strong attention getting beginning, important points in the middle, and great finale. Based on your style you can decide to be entirely from the heart or intermittenly sprinkle in humorous points throughout. Whatever you do, DO NOT wait until the week of the wedding to begin preparing the toast. It may prove difficult to truly do the Bride and Groom justice and share your inner most thoughts with them if you are rushed when you write it.  A rushed prep time will show in the end product.

Preparation

To springboard your thinking, it sometimes helps to get a photograph of the bride and groom. If you have known the groom for a long time go through a bunch of pictures of the two of you. Follow these steps:

  •     Notice the key memories that come up when you look at the pictures
  •     What stories does it make you remember?
  •     What story in particular or string of stories would be funny to share with a mixed audience?
  •     What is the one message in one sentence that you want them and the audience to know about the the groom?
  •     In reference to the bride; when did the groom meet her? What did he tell you about her? (keep it G-rated)
  •     How was it the groom chose you to be his best man? Did he tell you? How did you feel when he asked you?

Get Started Now that you have gathered some ideas, stories, and insights and begin writing. You don’t have to do it all at once (hence why giving yourself a lot of time to write it will be a good idea!). You can even start by writing the key ideas or phrases on index cards or a notebook. Remember your toast will have a beginning, middle, and an end.

Strong Start

The beginning of the toast will be your intro. Make certain to take into account the bride and groom’s style and even the mood of the reception. You can open formally or informally but ultimately choose a way that will get the audience to perk up and pay attention. You might do this by inserting a good humor joke, question, or quote about marriage.  Don’t be afraid to steal other people’s hilarity.

People will want to know who you are, so make sure to state your name (if the MC does not do it ahead of time). Let the audience know how you know the groom and even how he asked you to be the best man. You can share a funny story here about your reaction to his request. Here is an example:

“Good evening everyone my name is Kenny Davis, and I am Michael Jordan’s best man and best friend for the last 59 years. I know we look young but being Air Jordan’s right hand man has aged me by 29 years easy. When he asked me to be his best man I was kind of shocked and very confused. He has been in all my English classes in high school and he knows I can’t write or speak publicly, and then it struck me that he was obviously STILL upset about buzzing his eyebrows in 7th grade.”

As you can see the goal with the beginning of the toast is to establish who you are and something interesting about how you came to be the best man. The audience will want to know who you are in order to establish a context for the jokes and stories that follow.  The goal above ALL goals with the opening…. ?  Get Their Attention!  No one remembers a speech they aren’t listening to.

The Middle

Once you established who you are and how you came to this role, now share some great stories and jokes about the bride and groom. A very important thing to remember here is that not everyone will ‘get’ an inside joke. If you have to follow the joke with “you had to be there” it will lose the effect. Tell a story or joke that helps to illustrate some things about the bride or groom (or both) that shares more information about who they are and why they are perfect for each other.

A rule of thumb here is to never mention an ex-partner, husband, or wife. Stay clear from these areas although they would provide laughs (maybe in private) it may be at the expense of the bride and groom and this would be humiliating.  Awkward silence and crickets is all you will hear.

Cheerful Close

If you spoke from the heart and inserted appropriate jokes and stories, the bride and groom will be moved. The audience will applaud you for being thoughtful in your comments. and greatly appreciate your tact.  Lastly, as you are drawing to a close either ask everyone to raise their glass or you raise yours and they will follow. Ask them to join you in a toast to the happy couple. A classy way to end is with a meaningful quote that is easy to remember.

Test Your Toast

Don’t be shy, share your toast with a friend. Even better share it with someone who does not know the bride and groom. This will test the logical flow of the toast as well as the stories and jokes. You want to convey your emotions but in a very sincere manner. Your toast is just the tool that will allow you to help celebrate the love you and everyone else feels for the bride and groom.  Cheers!

Wedding MC

January 21st, 2012 | Posted by DJ Antonius in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Wedding receptions are intended to celebrate the love of two people. Celebrate! Family and friends gather to have fun and party with you. A common trend I am witnessing in our current budget-weary, economy, however, is a bit disturbing. Many Brides are being advised by venue coordinators to have their friends help them with organization, planning, and even DJing their wedding.  HUH?!?

When your friends hear you are getting married they will often times offer to help you plan it. They are eager to help because they love you. Some might have experience with planning their own wedding and may actually have some good advice. Although these are good sentiments, weddings are a tremendous amount of work and should be handled by professionals.  The planning can quickly overwhelm you (and your helpful, well intentioned friends) and your budget can get out of hand extremely fast!

While having family and friends help with your wedding may save (a little) cost… it is a burden on them and, ultimately, they aren’t the experts. In one of my recent weddings the Bride had recruited the help of her best friend, sister, and a cousin to do photography. While these ladies were organized and prepared as well as helping the Bride with many important items, they also appeared as stressed as a vendor the whole day without the experience to handle it. They ran around making sure things were in place, and except for the photographer’s cousin, they were not professionals. They could only focus on the tasks they were given. In the end they did not fully enjoy the celebration because they were working not to mention the fact that the photos weren’t what they could’ve been.

Here are 3 ways to avoid having to make family work:

  1. Hire a “Day Of” wedding planner:  Although it’s called “day of” planning,  the planner comes into play about 3 months before the wedding. It will be assumed that 90 days out from your wedding all the major items such as venue, vendors, and catering have been secured. Their job is to plan, coordinate, and orchestrate all that will happen at your wedding. The planner will be there through out the entire event to make sure everything goes off without a hitch. You can find wedding planners in most of the popular sites such as The Knot or Wedding Wire.
  2. Hire family/Friends:  If you can’t afford to hire a professional planner, then have your helpers train themselves on how to plan. Many wedding sites have planners they can use. In return you will pay them for their help even if they don’t want it. Don’t accept their help if they are not willing to get paid. Even if it means a gift of equal value to payment.
  3. Hire an MC:  Professional MC’s are extremely helpful as they help to direct the reception events. A good MC will work with all the vendors and venue staff to ensure that all the events run smoothly. If they also happen to DJ (like we do at Seattle Wedding DJ… shameless plug, but hey… It’s my website!) then it’s a double win for you.

Notice in all 3 suggestions I said “hire”.  Weddings are events that must be managed well in order to make them successful. It also takes a tremendous amount of teamwork among everyone to ensure success.

Have you recently been at a wedding where there was a lack of planning or organization? Or a serious lack of MC skill? Don’t let that be you…. You have waited for this day to happen your entire life. This day, above any other day… good is NOT good enough. Hire the best! (us…)

Wedding Music

January 19th, 2012 | Posted by DJ Antonius in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Hey folks!  Let’s talk for a minute about MUSIC for your wedding reception…

If you are planning a reception (or any type of party) most likely one of your main goals is for your guests to dance and have fun! One thing that makes a party memorable as well as fantastic is the music that is played at the event. But how do you know what people will want to listen to? Here are a few questions to get you started:

1. Who ARE the guests at the party?

2. What is the age range of those guests? (Do you have to consider kids and grandmas?)

3. What do think  most people at the party listen to (and most importantly, will dance to)?

4. When you think of your party what do YOU want to hear?

5. What images come to mind when you think of your party?

We think, feel, and taste through our senses. Music is one of the most amazing ingredients to twitterpating our senses and making us move. When we eat something sweet, we hum and move. When we laugh, we make sounds and move. So when you think of your party you see people moving, dancing, laughing, eating, and having a good time and all of that adds up to amazing memories and a fantastic evening.

Your music list should include something for everybody. If it’s a wedding with a wide range of guests playing songs from the 70’s and 80’s is always a hit. Don’t be surprise some people even want some 50’s oldies but goodies. You will always fair well playing top 40’s. Top 40’s are songs that are being played on the national radio stations and these work so well because the majority of your guests will know them. Top 40’s do well with mixed crowds because the main streem has either heard the song or the artist at some point.

The key is having a variety of music styles to suit most of the people at your event. A good rule of thumb is that unless it’s a heavy metal or hard core rap or rock theme, stay away from music that is hard to understand or has overly loud instruments. That would be a sure fire way to empty your dance floor!  Other than that… Hire a DJ who knows what they are doing.  At Seattle Wedding DJ, we have the crowd in mind at all times. We don’t play all of our favorites because it is not about us.  It is about you and your guests.  What will keep them dancing and smiling?  The mood of the crowd can ebb and flow with the night as well, so make sure the DJ you choose can read the crowd and understand what will work next!

Let’s talk… and then, let’s party!