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Common reception formats

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

Arrival of guests at reception site

Some guests may arrive early to the reception. Definitely be sure all reception to-dos are complete by the start time of the wedding. All wedding vendors should be wearing proper attire for early arriving and late staying guests.  All tables should be set-up including cake table, entertainment’s table, sign-in table, food tables, and tables with chairs for all guests.  If you have a seating arrangement, all seating lists should be at the reception with everyone’s name with where they are sitting. I recommend seating arrangements as many wedding meals are buffet style serve your self set-ups, and having assigned seats and table dismissals makes for a much less crowded and frantic buffet line.

Introduction of wedding party

This step is not mandatory, but it is nice for everyone to know who the wedding party is as many have not met before your wedding. I personally LOVE this, and love doing it.  The most fun intros that I have done were similar to introducing a team with a sports theme behind it.  Similar to this…  Create a “Reception Planning Guide” (I call mine a “Run sheet”) and make sure your master of ceremonies is fully prepared prior to your wedding. This details, among other things, the order of entrance into the reception site with their names and titles. The order of entrance is as follows: parents of the bride, parents of the groom, ushers with bridesmaids, flower girl and ring bearer, special guests, best man, maid/matron of honor, bride and groom.  In addition, review the pronunciations of the wedding party’s names with the master of ceremonies.

Introduction of bride and groom

This is always the last of the introductions. Everyone should stand before the bride and groom enter. In addition, a special song can be arranged with the music entertainment and a special announcement made to punctuate a true grand entrance. Also, inform the master of ceremonies how you would like to be introduced: Mr. and Mrs. Smith or John and Jane Doe.


This is another step that is not mandatory, but for the religious couples makes a nice setting. If you invite the person who performed the marriage ceremony to the reception, I would recommend having them conduct the blessing. If they are not able to attend, a parent or family friend is a good idea. Lastly, the master of ceremonies could give the meal blessing. Be sure to communicate with whomever is giving the blessing in advance so they are prepared to give a personal touch.


Your guests want to eat! Bride and Groom, be sure to stop and take a moment to eat. The bride and groom should probably be first through the line if it is a buffet.  This may be your only chance in the day. Most guests know to wait until the bride and groom start the food line. So don’t be late!

Cake Cutting

This is the traditional bride and groom making the first cut on their wedding cake. Then, the bride feeds half of the piece of cake to the groom and the groom feeds the remaining half to the bride.  The cutting of the cake is a ceremony intended to symbolize the caring and sharing for one another.  Forks may be used as they make the image very attractive for the photographer.  Forks may also minimize the possibility of someone being hurt with the more playful squashing that sometimes happens.


The toast is when the bride and groom toast each other then interlock arms and drink. Immediately following, the best man and maid/matron of honor make toasts to the bridal couple. Be prepared for other family and friends to follow with their toasts too.

Bride & Groom’s First Dance

The Bride & Groom’s Dance is the first dance between a bride and groom as a married couple. The dance is also commonly known as the “First Dance”. The timing of the bride groom dance can vary in the evening based on your preferences. The first dance can be done immediately following the grand entrance with the wedding party circling the dance.

Father & Daughter’s Dance

The Father & Daughter’s Dance or the Father Bride Dance is the dance between the father(s) of the bride and the bride. Brides, if you have more than one father in your life, one can tap the other on the shoulder in the middle of the dance so you can dance with both of them. If you do not have a father, a common substitute is a father figure or even your brother would make a very nice gesture.

Mother & Groom’s Dance

The Mother & Groom’s dance is the dance between the mother(s) of the groom and the groom. Grooms, if you have more than one mother in your life, one can tap the other on the shoulder in the middle of the dance so you can dance with both of them. If you do not have a mother, a common substitute is a mother figure or even your sister would make a very nice gesture.

Special Dances

There may be songs in your life that mean dear to your heart. You can ask the music entertainment to play these songs during the night or immediately following the formal dances. An example would be: If someone dear to you passed recently, you may ask the music entertainment to play Angels Among Us by Alabama.

Bouquet and Garter Toss

The traditional tossing of the bouquet is when the bride tosses the bridal bouquet to all single women in attendance.  Immediately following the bouquet tossing, a chair is set in the middle of the dance floor. The chair is for the bride to sit and the groom to remove the bride’s garter from her leg. The traditional tossing of the garter is when the groom tosses the bride’s garter to all the single men in attendance. The people whom catch the garter and bouquet are said to be the next one to marry.

Dancing and Fun

This is what you pay the music entertainment to do…get people to dance and have a good time.  Give the music entertainment music examples and limitations of what type of music you want but don’t give them a list of 100 songs they need to play.

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!