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Seattle Wedding DJ is extremely pleased to announce that we have added a military discount to all services across the board.  As a thank you for your service and sacrifice to all active military service members, we are offering a 15% discount on all of our services.  If you, or someone you know is looking for an Seattle event DJ/MC on a budget and this applies to you (or them) please don’t hesitate to contact us!!!  Thank you !!!

 

military discount

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 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 Venues

January 2nd, 2012 | Posted by DJ Antonius in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

It’s no secret that wedding planning is full of surprises and hidden costs (not to mention the costs that AREN”T hidden!). If you have not hired a wedding planner (most people don’t), it can be tough to anticipate how to avoid bad situations along the way, particularly when deciding on your wedding venue. Be sure to consider these thoughts before signing a contract and paying any fees. Let’s just say that after you pay your deposit, your negotiating power is limited.

Venue and Contract Details

Space Issues: Even though your Seattle Wedding Venue will give you the facts on how many people your space will hold, it is critical to ask them if they are taking into consideration the deejay or band size, cake table, gift table, etc. It is easy for them to say that they can fit 10 tables of 10 people into a room, but the real question is whether or not there will be room for anything else.

Administrative Fees & Taxes: Make sure to find out if there are administrative fees. Administrative fees are typically enforced to cover staffing costs for the night and are almost always a percentage of your total food & beverage costs. Be sure to ask exactly what that fee covers. Also, make certain you know what will be taxed and how much tax is associated with certain items.

Time Limits: Definitely find out how long you have the venue. If a venue requires that you and your guests be out of the space by 11:00 p.m. but you want your reception to last until midnight, most venues charge you a fee for that extra hour. Also, ask what time your vendors will be allowed to bring in their goods. This is important when considering vendors’ time restraints.

Parking: Do not assume that parking is included in your cost. Some venues will charge a fee for their valet service as well as their parking garages.

Food & Beverage

Minimums: Your venue will probably give you some information on the food and beverage details up front, but hidden costs are almost certain when dealing with food and alcohol. If your venue does not give you the food and beverage minimum ahead of time, you will need to ask for it. Keep in mind that the food and beverage minimum is not the minimum for anything else (i.e. linens, table rentals, etc). It is strictly the minimum for food and drinks.

Set-up Fees: Be sure to ask about setup fees because you will probably not hear about them until you get your contract. Many venues charge flat setup fees for the room setup, the bar setup, etc. and they can be quite expensive.

Waiter, Bartender, and Attendant Fees: Almost all venues charge another separate flat fee for waiters, bartenders, and attendants for various things such as manning the coat check or stationary hors d’ouerve tables.

Bar Fees: If you are planning on having an open bar, check into potential hidden fees such as, bartender fees and check into what is stocked at your bars. Some venues only stock beer, soft drinks, and wine or particular brands. If you want hard liquor you may end up paying extra. Also, don’t assume a champagne toast is complimentary.

Outside Vendors

Restrictions: First and foremost, make sure that outside vendors are even allowed. Some venues require that you use their “approved” vendors because they have strict contracts with them (which is ridiculous). Approved vendors can include cake companies, flower companies, entertainment companies, and photographer & videographer companies. So if you were hoping that your cousin could be your photographer, you better check to see if that is allowed.

Vendor Meals: Most photographers and band or deejay members require that you provide them a meal at your wedding. Most venues have something written into their contracts to ensure your vendors get a meal, often at discount prices. Make sure to ask about the price of these meals. If the venue DOES make you pay the full cost of the meal, you will have to factor that price into your budget.

Décor

Restrictions: If you have visions of 300 votive candles twinkling at your reception, be sure to ask if that’s allowed. Some venues will not allow certain candles or flowers.

“House” Supplies: Some venues have “house” supplies which are basically supplies that they keep stocked at their venue that are included in your cost. Unfortunately, most often these “house items” are low quality garbage, so make sure to check the first. For example, most venues’ house linens are white or ivory cotton linens. If you want silk or decorative linens, you may have to pay for your venue to rent them. Also, venues often have the lowest quality house chairs and china. The beautiful chairs that they have set up when you view the venue might not be the chairs that they stock.

Permanent Fixtures: Some venues will not remove anything from their space for your reception. So although the 30 year old pastel artwork on the entryway wall was cutting edge and lovely back then, if you don’t want it there the night you celebrate your wedding, you might want to ask if they are able to take it down beforehand.

Night of Reception Details

Other events: Be sure to ask if there are any other events going on at the venue on the night of your reception. Although they can’t really guarantee that you’ll be the only event there that night, if there is another event going on, it’s important to ask how that will affect your guests (parking, noise, traffice, etc.). For example, ask whether or not your guest will have their own bathrooms or whether they have to share them with guests at another event. Also, if you are not at a hotel, you may want to ask whether a bridal suite or area will be provided to you so that you can change if needed or fix your dress throughout the night.

Venue Staff

Coordinator: If you are working with a coordinator or sales person that the venue has provided, you may want to ask if they will be there for the duration of your reception. If you have a problem during the reception, you want to make sure you have someone there who knows the details of your reception plans to help. Many of these people are there at the set up but leave shortly after that.

References: Asking for references can be helpful. It allows you to ask specific questions and get an unbiased answer.

Correspondence: When you are in the middle of choosing a venue, venues are after your business so there is a quick turn-around time on emails and phone calls. However, once you sign the contract and hand over your first payment that is likely to change. Ask the venue what their average turn-around time is for corresponding with you throughout the entire process.

My best advice is to ask a venue for a sample contract before you sign your own contract. You can then view what the average wedding reception costs are for that venue. It may seem that there are a lot of questions to ask, but by asking, not only are you avoiding surprises, you are showing the venue that you are a serious customer and that they should treat you accordingly.

DJ, Band or iPod? Part 1…

 

What kind of bride should consider this option?

DJ
A bride who wants to dance to her favorite songs by the original artists and wants someone to keep an eye on the party mood. A DJ can read the crowd and play the right songs at the right times — even create mixes at the last minute. An iPod is a machine, which can’t do that, and no matter how good a band is, they can’t sing every song. I have 20,000 songs in my collection and update it weekly.

Band
The bride who really loves to party and wants that concert atmosphere at her reception, enhanced by the band’s live interaction and communication with the audience.

iPod
Music snobs, control freaks and brides throwing a very small wedding. An iPod wedding will ensure you have complete control over the playlist, something all music buffs can appreciate. Plus, an intimate reception might just need a few key songs paired with background music.

What are the disadvantages of going this route?

DJ
If any problems come up, a DJ is on his own to fix things, while a band has multiple people to help work out any issues.

Band
There’s always some risk involved with hiring a band you’ve never seen perform before — the band may not be very good, or they may not be capable of playing the type of music you’re looking for.

iPod
Without the help of a professional band or DJ to keep the reception events flowing smoothly, there’s the assurance of more stress on the wedding couple.

What are some good ways to find a DJ or band in a new location?

DJ
Check magazines and the Web — blogs, forums, social networks. Also ask friends or other brides who married in your destination for recommendations.

Band
Without a doubt, the best way to find a well-regarded band is to seek the opinions of the locals who live in the location, such as taxi drivers, restaurant servers and people who work in the local stores.

What are some important details to check?

DJ
Ask the DJ questions: Do you offer a written contract? Will you be the DJ at our wedding, or will it be someone else from your company? What experience do you have on a microphone? What do you do to motivate the crowd if nobody’s dancing? Do you take requests from guests? Do you bring backup equipment with you just in case?

Band
Find out the type of music they play, the versatility of their repertoire, the length and frequency of breaks, whether they’re restricted by any local union regulations or practices, the length of performance sets, the number of people in the band and the basic terms and rates of their performance contract. It’s also important to ask if the band has its own sound equipment; if they don’t, you’ll be charged for the rental.

iPod
Look into what equipment is available at your venue — is there a microphone, sound system, docking station? Another important thing to consider is the bit rate of the songs; differences in bit rates can mean lower quality and reduced volume. Ideally, each MP3 should be between 256 and 320 kbps. When importing CDs and buying songs on iTunes, check bit rates by clicking the View menu and then View Options.

Wedding DJ prices

December 17th, 2011 | Posted by DJ Antonius in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

There is a lot to think about when planning a wedding. Your dream wedding. That is the understatement of the year! There is the venue, officiant, bridal party, day, time, guests, invitations, dresses, flowers, decorations, reception, photographer… (overwhelmed yet?)… cake, music, itinerary, speeches, etc. We all know I could keep going as there are 100 more things to plan for and consider.

Every piece of the puzzle has its own price range. What you are willing to pay has a direct corellation with the level of quality you should expect to get. If you hire a super discount photographer with little to no experience or reputation, you should expect some sub-standard photos. Likewise with flowers, catering, and every other service provider you are hiring to play a part in your special day.

Your DJ is no different. When you are deciding on a DJ service to hire, there are so many things to consider. Keep in mind that you are hiring this person to control what music your guests hear and at what volume, with what epuipment, at what interval, in what order, at what speed and with what lyrics. I cannot stress enough the importance that all of these things play in the quality of your reception, and that’s just the music!

Consider also how important your Master of Ceremony (MC) is. The DJ service you hire typically provides this service in addition to just playing music. The DJ will control the microphone. They will keep the flow moving along, introduce people, organize speeches and transitions, and more. You could potentially hear this person’s voice a lot through out the night. Can they talk well? Do you like their voice? Are they nice, cordial, funny (without being a hack), confident and all the other traits that you would expect in a Master of Ceremonies.

Say that out loud once… Master of Ceremony. The term “MC” has taken on a Hip-hop connotation and has lost some impact. But Master of Ceremony has power. It is important. You are giving someone the trust and freedom to run the show from beginning to end and trusting them to consider all the variations and potential hiccups WHILE still having a great time in the process. That is a tough combination to find.

These considerations are two very important aspects of your reception that you DO NOT want to go “cut rate” on. Something else to consider is the bait and switch that many DJ’s will do when talking about prices. Watch out for the term “Starting at” because it is usually followed by some unreasonably ridiculous low fee that they will upsell. “Packages starting at $399 for 3 hours with $100 for each additional hour.” In my experience there is only one underlying reason to do this to potential clients. They don’t have confidence and belief in the service they are providing. They are afraid to discuss or publish the true fee because they are afraid to stand behind their service as quality. So these DJ’s will start you at a low fee, then when you actually “order” what you need… 5 hours of Music, full MC service throughout, lighting, and more… you end up paying so much more than that.

Ultimately… the bottom line is that paying a fee for wedding services rendered will always end up in a “get what you pay for” result. DJ and MC services are paramount to the success or lack of success of your wedding reception. Hire the best person you can for the job because those memories last a lifetime. You will regret trying to save yourself $100-200 by hiring a subpar DJ. In the grand scheme of a wedding and the lasting effect it will have, it is not worth it. You give up way too much quality to save a buck and I promise… you will wish you hadn’t. Ask any married woman in your life about their wedding DJ. They will all say the same thing. Either they loved who they had and wouldn’t change a thing, or they regretting trying to save a quick buck.

Seattle wedding DJs

December 17th, 2011 | Posted by DJ Antonius in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

In today’s fast paced world full of industries that are saturated with garbage for you to choose from, there is a trend rising up in the e-commerce world that all “soon-to-be bridal parties” should be aware of.   The internet has become a marketplace where anyone and everyone can create a global storefront for their make shift business.  The problem is this… There are SO MANY to choose from, how do you possibly begin to navigate through it all and intelligently differentiate the great from the good and the mediocre from the… well… less than mediocre.  Allow me to give you some tips to try and help…

Interview.  It is more than reasonable for you to have the opportunity to meet with, and talk to, THE person who will be your DJ.  The actually DJ who will be running your reception… right there in front of you in flesh and blood.  Are they professional? Can they talk? Can you easily picture them speaking through a microphone to your friends and family and sounding like an intelligent and entertaining person? If not, don’t hire them.  Picture how well they will handle the announcement of your grand entrance as the bride and groom… How well will they interact with your guests? You are paying this person. Do they listen to what you want and all the while make you feel special on your wedding day?

If you search on search engines, beware.  The top results will be PAID, sponsored sites.  They pay for adword space on a per click basis.  For example, if you search for something on Google, the Sponsored results are businesses who pay Google to be there.  If you click on the link and go through to their website, Google charges them fifteen cents (or whatever the keyword term is worth).  Hence the term, Pay-per-click.  Many of these business results are national companies who get themselves ranked on Google, but aren’t actually local businesses.  They get you on their site, they get your information, they get you to hire them and then they will find a local DJ.  They contract with local DJ’s to send them the referral and take a fee.  Many of the natural, organic listings (non-paid results) these companies as well.  Scrutinize their information.  Don’t assume because they are number one when you search for “Seattle Wedding DJ” that they are local businesses.  Many of these people have never seen the Space Needle in person!

How would you feel? Would you have the utmost confidence in a DJ and their abilities if you were just the next referral name on their list that they paid for?  You want to hire a talented, local person.  You DON”T want to be handed off to a local person who pays for your name.  It is a very good sign if your DJ has referral partners locally.  A great indicator of locale and trust is whether your DJ has local connections and vendor relationships.

Ultimately, you need to feel comfortable about trusting the person you hire to play the right music and be great on the microphone for 4 hours or more.  If you don’t have a peace about hiring someone, keep looking. Continue interviewing potential DJ’s until you feel completely comfortable about someone.