Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Look At The Old School DJ...

A long time ago (back in the day)... In a party or Disco... Far, far away...

Back in the day, before sampling machines and computers that let you digitally manipulate a drum sequence on a track, DJ’s used to do have to manually create beats live by using something that is now called “Beat Juggling.”

Beat juggling occurs when a DJ engages in playing a section of a song on one turntable, and at the very moment that the beat ends, cueing it up on a duplicate record, on another turntable. This was often done to extend a part of a song that a DJ particularly liked; perhaps one that really got people dancing. Beat Juggling was also used in order to create unique songs, using multiple turntables and one or more mixers.

What did this mean for prep-work? This meant that DJ's had to carry big bulky records to every event, and quite often, two copies of many of the same albums!

It is said that beat juggling with a small section of a beat is looped using two copies of the same record was first done by Kool DJ Herc at a disco club in 1973. The idea caught on and later was refined by other early hip hop DJs like Grand Wizard Theodore (first DJ to scratch in 1977), Grandmaster Flash, and Afrika Bambaataa.

DJ! Cut it up one time! ...“Scratching” came about by mistake, as the DJ was cueing up the next beat and enjoyed the sound that it made. This eventually became the artform that it is in the hip hop world today.

Afrika Bambaataa. Also known as The Godfather of Hip Hop" - produced one of the first major breakdance tracks called, Planet Rock. He invented turntable techniques that eventually spread throughout the world. The first song with beat juggling and scratching to hit the mainstream charts was by mixed by Grand Mixer DST performing on the turntables in Herbie Hancock's dance track, "Rockit.” As a result, scratching and turntablism was exposed to the masses.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Elvis-Themed Wedding!

Want your wedding to be unforgetable? Add a theme!

Here is an nifty idea… How about a wedding that is "fit for a King" pardon the pun? An Elvis Presely-themed wedding can be as classy, or as crazy as you would like it to be. This idea can do it all.

Elvis had many different looks over his time here on earth. He was a pop sensation, rock-n-roller, cowboy, Las Vegas swooner, and heart throb, depending on when you look at him. And you cannot forget his Blue Hawaiin period, which will bring in a whole different element to any wedding reception.

But what about the ceremony? What can you do if you are not really into the Elvis theme during the vows? Well... If you still want the classy traditional tuxedoed look for your wedding ceremony and really only want the Elvis theme for the reception, the easist way I have seen to incorporate it is by dressing only the goormsmen of the wedding party’s feat in Blue Suede Shoes. Then, all you have to do is match the shade of blue for the bridesmaid's dresses/gowns!

Ready to go the next step? Make the ushers dress as Elvis impersonators for the big day! And how about changing up that traditional bridal march to a balladand walk the aisle to Elvis singing “Can’t Help Falling In Love With You”.

Once the reception kicks in, anything goes. Peanutbutter and banana sandwich horesdurves are a must! Also, add some 50’s sunglasses on every table and some hawaiin leighs.

Thanks you very much, Mama!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Office Holiday Party - Door Prizes

Door prizes rock. It is not unheard of for office parties these days to charge a little bit more for their party admission so that door prizes can be given away, in raffle form.

My partner, Maria DJ (of, she just did a great one for ITT where they gave away a laptop and iPods, and all kinds of cool gadgets! There isn’t always that much left over revenue for super high-end prizes, but with a little planning, door prizes can still happen and they can still be fun. Last weekend I did one with gift certificates to places like Dunkin Donuts, Home Depot, and Target. People ate them up, on the edge of their seats, waiting for me to read the winning numbers.

There is a fine line, however, between giving out LOTS of door prizes so that everyone gets something, and also watering down the prizes too much so that they are not appreciated.

At a recent office holiday party that I DJ’ed and MC’ed for, they tried something new this year. Rather than giving away 4 or 5 gift certificates at about 20-25 a piece for various locations, they gave away a load of 5 dollar ones.

In the end, people didn’t seem to care as much and weren’t excited, as the give-away was kind of drawn out and with not much pay off.

Just a thought!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wedding DJ vs. Do-it-Yourself DJ

The otherday, I received a an email to a link by a friend saying that I was about to lose my business. The message posted on a message board explained how to DJ your own wedding. It is true that you could save money, but at what expense? I just thought I would throw a few thoughts at you on why I believe that the professional DJ is needed especially at a wedding, at all costs.

1. While the iPod itself may cost less than a professional wedding DJ, how do you plan on amplifying the music? Sitting around an iPod dock isn’t going to cut it. To rent professional equipment, you come very close to some DJ’s actual price.

2. If you are planning on anything traditional at your wedding, you know that you will need a sound system, including microphones for things like speeches, toasts and/or blessings.

3. An iPod cannot speak and offers no interaction with the guests. A good DJ hypes up great introductions, instructs on custom activities and also special announcements. If you have a crowd that needs prodding to jump up and dance on their own, an iPod will just sit there and allow the night to unfold into a boring reception.

4. The professional wedding DJ also acts as a wedding planner/organizer. An iPod doesn’t know when is the best time to toast, dance, eat, drink and/or cut the cake actually is. , etc. Experience is something that can’t be pre-programmed.

5. A professional wedding DJ doesn’t just play random “shuffled” songs. The good DJ looks at the audience at hand, reads the crowd and constantly adjusts the music selections to get or keep people dancing.
6.Finally, what happens if your rented equipment fails. Do you want to rent an additional backup system to have on hand?

If you are having a laid back small reception, you may be able to get away with supplying your own background music. However, if you are hoping for a crazy party with dancing, energy and excitement, no machine can replace a man.

Drop me a line with any comments! I would love to hear them.

Monday, November 29, 2010

New Black Eyed Peas song samples Dirty Dancing Track

The Peas have just given their fans a taste the album's first single dance track "The Time (Dirty Bit)." This track samples the iconic theme from "Dirty Dancing," "(I've Had) The Time of My Life."

"You should expect deeper, a little bit darker electro beats and a little bit more of relationship issues on this one, a little bit more touching on that." Fergie told MTV News. "But darker beats and a lot of funny stuff, as well, a lot of funny stuff." Fergie said the song, “sort of sums up the current vibe of our group.”

The new album will be released on November 30th.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Wedding Planning Options...


Not everyone can afford a real wedding planner, and quite often, some people do not even want one. Sometimes it would seem the quote “the more the merrier” when it comes time to do some wedding planning, however, for some, this may not be the case. In more cases than not, having “too many cooks will spoil the brew.”

Most often, people can help and everything will be just fine and turn out exactly how you wanted. However, wedding party members or relatives who either take it on themselves to become part time wedding planners can either become an asset to you, or can actually be a source of stress.

There are a few things to think about when bringing friends and family in for additional help.

1. Are you deciding for yourself what you are expecting the extra person to get done?
2. Do you really want to give them ultimate control, or rather guided direction? It is best to ask a few people for help with one small goal, then to put a lot on one person and have someone feel like they are actually in charge. If you put a family member “in charge” things may not go exactly your way, with the wrong person at the helm.
3. Has the person in question been helpful before, or are could they potentially be overly opinionated and pushy in times of stress?
4. Can you risk the friendship? I have heard horror cases where differences in taste result in problems. Weddings are stressful and can cause all sorts of in-fighting.
5. Does your spouse REALLY like the idea of the person helping?

So if you choose not to have Aunt Bertha run things now… You are not alone. If you have rented a hall that often books weddings, usually there is a person in charge of things that go with your expense. Use them!!! (Remember, however, they also have their own agendas as far as things to cut corners and save money. One way they do this is to push to have the cake cut earlier so that they can send staff home.

Also your wedding DJ is often your best bet for party planning at the reception. If they are a professional, not only will they be able to read your crowd and play all the songs you want, as well as others will enjoy, but they will organize the events along with your caterer and photographers so that everything comes off without a hitch.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Black Eyed Peas being sued for stealing music without permission

November 3, 2010 - Looks like the Black Eyed Peas are in for another lawsuit. In 1999, Bryan Pringle submitted this song, "Take A Drive" to Interscope Records, the same label as Will I.Am and Fergie. Back then, almost nobody heard the track. Today, there is a very similar track all over airwaves, everywhere.

Musician Bryan Pringle is now accusing someone of stealing his track "Take a Dive", and end up transitioning the hook into the pop group's smash hit, "I Gotta Feeling." Bryan copyrighted the song in 1998, and then sent his unreleased demo along to many record companies, including Interscope, EMI and UMG.

The group has been engaging in what the lawsuit calls “a pattern and practice of intentional copyright infringement with respect to the unlawful copying of songs of unknown or lesser-known artists”.Bryan is now seeking damages, net profits from the sale of the song, and future credits and royalty payments.

Whenever a DJ or producer uses a sample in a song these days, laws mandate that the original artist gives permission and gets credit, after a negotiation of whatever that credit may be. Both the owner of the song and the artist on the sample are allowed to reap the benefits. However, it looks as if The Black Eyed Peas have taken some costly shortcuts.

Here is the track in question:

Here is The Black Eyed Peas track:

This is the group’s second lawsuit like this and we hope the courts figure everything out. The first one, , was recently just re-filed by musician Phoenix Phenom, with their original track in question called, "Boom Boom Dynamite."

DJ Kenny Casanova dropped a line to MC Hammer, a rapper from the early 80s who found great success in legally using a sample from Rick James' mega-hit "Superfreak" with, "U can't Touch This." MC Hammer stated that he had not heard of the lawsuit and requested a link to the track in question. After that we asked him what he thought and he stated, "Will I.Am is my very close brother." That was it. LOL!

Anyhow, check it out for yourself and let us know what you think!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Halloween Wedding!

As you probably already know, I am a huge theme-wedding fan, set to have my own on a pirate theme come next April. This past Saturday, I DJ'ed a Halloween wedding in Grafton NY that was great fun.

Something interesting that I would like to share; groups of people came in themes to match the tables!

We had a Superhero table, complete with Batman,Superman, Clark Kent, Wonderwoman, Spider-man, WOlverine and a Transformer to boot.

We also had an WOnderland Table, with Alice, the Queen, The Mad Hatter, and a Door Mouse.

Ane one other cool table was The Wizard of Oz table, with a male bearded Dorthy, The Lion, The Witch and a person actually dressed as a chuck of the yellow brick road!

Great fun was had by all!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Roles of a Wedding DJ

Since DJs have become such a popular choice for weddings, they are no longer a guy who just “plays music” at your reception. These days, the wedding DJ has transformed into a full-fledged organized entertainer, with many responsibilities.

With a good wedding DJ, you get an emcee (M.C.) who keeps your guests happy and having fun, and you also get a coordinator who also, for the most part, acts as a wedding planner in many cases. Most professional DJs who don’t just play in bars, understand the import role that organization and planning plays.

In most cases, your DJ , handles all the important announcements so that your guests know what’s coming up next during your reception. Don’t fool yourself. This is not an easy task. The ability to communicate well with large crowd is a talent. Knowing what to say, how to say it tastefully, and what professional voice to use is difficult.

The best way to judge if your DJ will communicate well with your audience is really listen to your first conversation with your prospective disc jockey on the phone. Do they know what they are talking about? Is your DJ clear? Do they make sense? Do they sound like they have several experiences to pull from?

Your first conversation can help you get a sense of your DJ’s personality and can help you decide on whether or not you should even think about setting up a meeting. Also, ask for multimedia website information, such as pictures and videos that might portrait your DJ-in-question in action at an actual wedding.

Your DJ is also responsible for the music and the flow of the evening, as well as take on the role of event coordinator. This includes the all the stuff that happens like the grand entrance introductions, the first dance, the father-bride dance, mother-groom dance, the cake cutting, and the garter/bouquet toss.

Monday, October 18, 2010


Have you been to a wedding lately? Was it good or bad? If you answered “good,” there is a good chance that the DJ had a good part of helping you come to this answer.

It is funny how a lot of weddings have so many similarities, but can still be good or bad. There are many traditional activities that happen at most all receptions. The first dance, the bouquet toss, father & bride dance, mother & groom dance, toasts and the cake cutting… we have seen these all time and time again. But these activities alone do not make the wedding reception a night to remember. If you really want people to have fun, your guests need the option to interact.

Dancing Activities are important. Some will argue that group dances are hokey and there are a number of them that really, really are. One example is the dreaded “Chicken Dance”. I personally, hate that song! However, there are some that are very modern and can do wonders for getting people out of their seats.

Even if you as the bride and groom absolutely hate dance activities, these are great ice breakers. If you can sacrifice a couple of songs to the majority of your group and and moving, it may be worth it in the big picture. If you get the people up and dancing with The Cha Cha or Electric slide, they may very well stay up there for the rest of the night.

There are many activities you have at your disposal as options. Others include The Cupid Shuffle, The Apache, The Mississippi Mudslide, The Conga, Souljaboy and The YMCA. Also, there are dollar dances, the freeze dance, The Limbo, the twist, and anniversary dances – where the DJ calls out numbers of years married to leave the dance floor, until the couple that had been together the longest remains.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wedding Recption Money-Saving Tip: Centerpieces

I had to put this money saving tip up as a blog the moment I heard about it. While it is not really my idea, I must admit, it is a good one that I needed to pass on.

Since most brides & grooms book their weddings on a weekend, be it Friday, Saturday or Sunday, they are probably not the only ones using that hall over those days. While it is not always probable, it is certainly possible to have up to four or five other weddings in the very same room you are renting on the same weekend. Most Halls book out their popular rooms for parties in blocks like this:

A - Friday Evening
B - Saturday Morning toAfternoon
C - Saturday Afternoon to Evening
D - Sunday Morning to Afternoon
E - Sunday Afternoon to Evening

Think about that for a second. Do I need to even say where I am going with this? If you, or your the other bridal party(s) are sharing the same colors, or are open to working together, why not share the center pieces and split in on flowers? If you end up splitting in with only one other wedding, that right there is a hefty 50% off on your flowers.

Of course, you will not be able to give the centerpieces away, but honestly, as a wedding DJ who provides great music to the very end of the night, quite often, people do not always want the burden of bringing home the centerpieces anyhow, as I have seen many wedding receptions end with the flowers being left behind.

If this money-saving tactic works for you, the only flowers you have to pay for in face value is the wedding bouquet that the bride will toss. :)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Chosing a DJ or Live Band for Wedding Receptions

DJ Kenny Casanova of Albany NY - When to chose a DJ or Live Band for Wedding Receptions
Two weeks ago at a hotel on Western Ave, I talked with a cool bartender who had been serving drinks there at weddings for almost twenty years. He said he remembered a time when everyone booked bands and has since seen the trend switched to the selection of the right DJ for the majority of reception entertainment. There are still great bands out there and sometimes they really make the wedding special. But we wondered, “What caused the switch of most brides & grooms these days, over to DJs?”

I think it goes without arguing that the music chosen can make or break any traditional or non-traditional wedding celebration. The food can be really “awesome” or totally “suck,” but it only lasts as long as it takes to eat it. Your musical entertainment is the heart and soul of the party and consumes 75 percent or more of the overall spotlight. The music selection and the dancing that this ensues it ultimately what will send your guests home with a smile or a frown. People remember a good meal, but people never forget a good time.

When people plan a wedding today, they have to really decide if you want a live band or a DJ. It is all personal taste. While both options are the main source of entertainment for a wedding reception, they both offer different things.

The main advantage of hiring a band is to create an impressive visual impression. A good band can really create a great deal of entertainment, as the guests can enjoy the music as well as watch different musicians interact and “put on a show.”

On the flip-side, while a band can bring tons of cool atmosphere to your party, it is safe to say that any band booked will lack the diversity of music that a decent professional DJ brings to the table. Simple enough, a good DJ can download a song before the reception to expand his collection in seconds, while a band has to practice for days to learn how to play a new track out successfully. The learning curve in music is not always an easy one, and bands usually charge when you request a song that is not part of their set.

In the age old debate of Band vs. DJ, there are a number of other important pro’s and cons for both to consider. Which type of entertainment you choose suits your budget personal taste, guest demographics, space allowances, and your dancing ability to bring forth the very best in killer dance moves. Keep an open mind, and consider the following issues:


The music you select sets the tone. If you want a fast fun party with lots of dancing you will want a DJ or band that regularly accommodates this need.

Variety is the Spice of Life

Have you ever told someone “I like all kinds of music” when someone has asked your favorite genre? Whether you choose a live band or DJ, be sure they can play slow and fast, and old and new songs. If you want to involve everyone in the celebratory mix, then changing things up is the way to go. If you decide to book a band, it is important to make sure they are not only good at one genre or type of sound. You want to try and keep everyone happy.


In the price war, the DJ almost always wins. While prices vary depending on the band, no matter how you look at it bands will generally be more expensive than a DJ, since there are more people to pay. While there are exceptions to this rule, such as celebrity DJ’s, and bands trying to get their name out there, for the most part, the DJ will be cheaper.

Space Wanted

If your heart was set on an 12-piece jazz band, you really need to check with your reception hall, as the site may have restrictions on the space needed to accommodate such a request. There is also the consideration of electrical power supply needed and noise limitations, so make sure you stay in contact with your event planner at the hall so that you are not planning something that needs special accommodations that cannot be met.

Do Your Homework!

Finally, no matter which way you go, you really need to do your homework. It is best research reviews or to actually go and see a DJ or band, live and in action before you sign a contract, or give a commitment. Completing your homework will give you an idea of how they work the crowd and read the crowd. Ask for referrals from the last few weddings the band or DJ played. Consider your first-dance song a test. If the band doesn’t know it and is unwilling to learn it, or the DJ doesn’t own it and is unwilling to get it, move on!

DJ Kenny Casanova Albany NY Wedding DJ

Monday, September 27, 2010

When to Cut the Cake at Your Wedding Reception

So… When do we cut the wedding cake?

The activity of celebrating the wedding cake has been an important part of the wedding reception since the days of Ancient Rome. During that time period, things were a little different. There was no stacking and there was no crazy decorating. There was, however, a simple wheat cake crumbled over the bride's head and into her hair. Sound odd? There was a reason. Wheat at this time to this culture was a symbol that represented bounty, so this messy tradition was carried out to ensure her fertility.

Today, many things have changed at the wedding reception. While we may seem more civilized to pour crumbs over the head of the new bride, we do carry on a twist to the old cake tradition. Instead, now the bride and groom hold a knife together and cut the cake together. In some cases, the groom lovingly smashes the cake in the glowing bride's face; Not a far cry from the old tradition after all. This new tradition continues with the top of the layered cake is now saved for the bride and groom to eat, one year later on their first anniversary.

The first wedding I ever DJ’ed at where there was no cake cutting happened last week. Do you have to cut the cake? Technically no. However, cutting the cake gives your guests and your photographer a great photo opportunity and lets them all celebrate your marriage with you, and your creativity of cake choice.

There seems to be a constant battle, of late, between the DJ and/or wedding planners and the wedding hall/ caterers on when the best time it is to cut the cake at your wedding reception. Well, what is the answer?

Traditionally, the cake should be cut towards the end of the evening. After eating a big meal, dessert isn’t always right on the guests’ minds, but could be after an hour or two of dancing. Some also choose to do the cutting right after the dinner so that everyone can dance the night away without any interruptions, but again, the cake often isn’t eaten then, if at all, until later.

One thing to keep in mind… If you do notice that, during your reception, the hall is seeming to nag you for the cake to be cut and eaten right away, they probably have a hidden agenda. Having the cake cut early is often a cost-cutting factor; the hall can send home their extra staff and save money on payroll!

Whatever you chose to do, do what feels right for you! Here are some song ideas to play while the cake is being cut:

Destiny – Jim Brickman
Can You Feel The Love Tonight? – Elton John
Recipe For Making Love – Harry Connick, Jr.
I Got You Babe – Sonny and Cher
This Will Be (An Everlasting Love) – Natalie Cole
Thank You – Led Zeppelin
The Sweetest Thing – U2
Sugar, Sugar – The Archies
Wedding Song – Bob Dylan
Unbroken – Tim McGraw
How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) – James Taylor
It’s Your Love – Tim McGraw & Faith Hill
Ain’t That A Kick In The Head – Dean Martin
Chapel Of Love – Dixie Cups
Love You Madly – Cake
Because You Loved Me – Celine Dion
When I’m Sixty-Four – The Beatles
Love And Marriage – Frank Sinatra
That’s Amore – Dean Martin
Grow Old With You – Adam Sandler
Eat it – Weird Al Yankovic
After All Is Said And Done – Beyoncé Knowles & Marc Nelson
1, 2, 3, 4 – Plain White T’s
‘Cause I love You – Lenny Williams
Whatever It is – Zac Brown Band
One Love – Bob Marley
Here and Now – Luther Vandross
I Do (Cherish You) – 98 Degrees
Cut The Cake – Average White Band
All My Life – K-Ci & JoJo
Yummy Yummy Yummy – Ohio Express
Sweet Emotion – Aerosmith
Pour Some Sugar On Me – Def Leppard
I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch) – Four Tops

Monday, September 20, 2010

Wedding Reception Group Photo Opp Activity

Sounds simple, but this almost always never happens. You mean to plan for a great big “everybody picture,” but you just don’t seem to find time between the business of the whole day. Why not actually stop everything for a second during the party, and create a memory that will last a lifetime?

Last week, we actually took time out of the fast-pace dancing to set up a time-slot where everybody lined up for a group shot, behind the bride and groom. The shots were incredible!

If you have a decent disc jockey, you can easily make this a fun activity. It is true. You do have to be careful with this, because any stop in pace can slow things down. This is why the bride and groom had their DJ do announce the photo opportunity immediately after the cake cutting sequence, when things slow down anyhow.

It seems to me that the extra three minutes were, in fact easy to recover from. Everybody stayed right out on the dance floor and moved right into a fast dance.

Monday, September 13, 2010

What do you do when someone pulls a fire alarm at your wedding?!

DJ Kenny Casanova is “Burning Down The House!”

True story… Last weekend, I had three weddings; a Mexican Salsa Reception in Saratoga at Tiznow, a Pakistani Wedding at Best Western in Albany, and a Six Flags Lodge Reception in Lake George, NY. There is a first time for everything.

At the Six Flags wedding reception, the guests settled into their seats for dinner right after the cocktail hour and the intro. They were just about to enjoy their salads, when all of the sudden a loud siren sounded with a blinking white strobe light from wall.

Whhhhoooop! Whhhhoooop! Whhhhoooop! A recorded voice followed the shrill alarm. “The fire alarm device has been activated. All guests, please evacuate the building.”

At this point, the wedding coordinator for the hotel ran up to me to inform me that all was okay. “A five-year-old boy pulled an alarm.” He said loudly over the siren. “It’s a false alarm. However, the alarm is going to have to run its course.”

“Ugh,” I replied. “How long is that going to take?”

“I am not sure,” he replied. “Maybe fifteen minutes? Can you make an announcement and ask the guests to stay seated?”

“Okay. I will try.” I said. For one, one of the piercing alarms was right behind me over my head, and for two, there were others around the room annoying the attendees.

I grabbed the mic and people who were gathering objects looked over at me. “Ladies and gentlemen, do not worry it is a false alarm,” I said. “The cake is not going to melt and my equipment is not going to burn, so let’s try and make the most of it.”

I quickly browsed through my computer and found “Burning Down The House” by The Talking Heads and pulled it up. A few faces started to laugh.

Now, mind you, you usually do not want to play loud dance music while people are eating, but I needed a way to entertain and cover up the annoying backdrop and the salads weren’t cutting it. The talking heads was a good start. The next step was to get the people on the dance floor to make them forget that a peaceful first course probably wasn’t going to happen for the moment.

Shift gears to a hot set… “Disco Inferno” by The Tramps, “Great Balls of Fire” by Jerry Lee Lewis, “Burning Love” from Elvis, and Buster Poindexter’s “Hot, Hot, Hot.”

The guests had a blast. Somewhere in the middle of the last song, the alarm ended and everyone went back to their meals.

Later on, the manager said, “Kenny Casanova saves the day!”

Also, the Lodge was really cool about everything. They gave the guests a free hour of open bar, that they wouldn’t have had otherwise, as well as an extra half hour of hall time at the end of the night.

In my opinion, it made the night better and a fun memory.

Good times.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Planning your wedding location...

I just thought I would give everybody a little heads up when it comes to planning the locations for your wedding ceremony and reception.

From experience, I have learned that the weddings that have had the smoothest transitions from ceremony to reception have been at the same location, or under ten minutes away. I know this sounds simple, but it doesn't always happen.

I have seen many wedding receptions run late, due to, in part, the transition between ceremony and reception. We already know that pictures typically transpire during this time, and that the bride and groom will be engrossed in what usually becomes a lengthy photo shoot. Depending on the circumstances, the photo shoot alone can be the cause of upsetting anxious guests and also end up running overtime charges by the hall and other wedding professionals waiting at the reception hall. To avoid further wait time, it really is best to plan for the ceremony to be very nearby the place of reception, whenever possible.

Rule of thumb; you really only want about an hour to an hour and a half at the very latest between the ceremony end time and the reception start, and that includes the cocktail hour within that window frame. Just keep in mind, that everyone is waiting to be with you on your special day.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Wedding Reception Bridal Bouquet Toss Tips

Tradition has every bride throwing the bouquet behind them, at some point during their wedding reception. What is this all about? Well, this tradition is supposed to bring good fortune to the lucky single woman who catches the flowers, as she is then destined to be the next one to marry and live a long happy life, just as the bride. Along with the flowers, goes the responsibility of taking the garter that the single male counterpart caught, in a silly exhibition set to music. This activity happens nine times out of ten. We have all seen it before. There are, however, a few things to think about when organizing this activity.

If you predict that there are going to be a lot of children attending your wedding reception, you may want to set aside something for them to do, so that they have a special moment for them during the bridal bouquet toss. I have seen a number of tosses where a child has caught the flowers, and an older man catches the garter. As I DJ, I call this “Deliverance” or the outback Ravena, NY moment. The old man then has to put the garter on a young girl. Can you say, “creepy moment?”

One thing you can do to avoid this and keep the silly fun on the up-and-up, is to exclude children under 16 or so from participating. But then, before the bride tosses her wedding bouquet, toss something else just for the kids. You could toss a stuffed animal in bridal regalia, or a teddy bear or even a special smaller bouquet of flowers just for this segment. It is another great photo opportunity!

One other thing to think about is your crowd participation factor. Sometimes your guests are all about jumping in there for a good time, but sometimes, “eh.” If you really want to have everyone lining up in your groom garter/ bridal bouquet toss, then there is only one answer. BRIBE THEM.

Have your wedding disc jockey hold up a prize that you have provided for the catchers. While a dance with the bride or groom might be nice, remember, cash is king. Then, your participant base will grow, and you will have great pictures and memories for years to come!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Wedding Reception - Shot Glass and M&M Favors...

I saw a real nice and simple favor at a wedding over the weekend. I thought it was a pretty cool idea and I thought I would share it with you all. On every table was a shot glass, printed with the Bride & Groom's first initial in big letters, "J & D" (for Jamie & Daniel) and the wedding date printed underneath it.

Inside the shot glass was a square of lace tied up, holding a handful of specific colored M&Ms.

Again, simple idea, with a nice keepsake.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Creating a Loungy Wedding Cocktail Hour

Loungy Wedding Cocktail Ideas & Music List
If you are planning a classic “Loungy” cocktail hour for the period of time before the dinner is to be served at your wedding reception, the possibilities are endless.

Try serving martinis with poker chips and and playing cards tossed around on the tables as decor. Sunglasses will aslo give tuxedo wearing guests that extra added “Rat Pack” feel. But what ever you do, you have to set the atmosphere with music.

To really have that “loungy” feel, you need a great mix of Jazz , Ballroom dance, 40’s / 50’s Swing, Big band, and Blues, along with some more modern light rock, Broadway, Motown, and Pop.

Here is a great list of songs to pull ideas from and create your own playlist:

All The Things You Are – Sinatra
Almost Like Being In Love – Ella Fitzgerald
American Patrol – Glenn Miller big band
Armando’s Rumba – Chick Corea
As Time Goes By – Peggy Lee
At Last – Etta James
Autumn Leaves – Duke Ellington
Because You Loved Me – Celine Dion
Begin The Beguine – Artie Shaw big band
Bei Mir Bist Du Schön – Benny Goodman
The Best Is Yet To Come – Tony Bennett
Bewitched – Linda Ronstadt / Sinatra
Beyond The Sea – Bobby Darrin
(Along Came) Bill – Jane Monheit
Black Coffee – Julie London / Janice Siegal
Black Orpheus (latin) – Paul Desmond
Bleeding Love – Boyce Avenue
Blue Bossa – Kenny Dorham
Blue Monk – Thelonious Monk
Blue Skies – Ella Fitzgerald
Body And Soul – Coleman Hawkins
The Breeze And I – Sonny Clark
Brown Eyed Girl – Van Morrison
Bye Bye Blackbird – Miles Davis
Can You Feel The Love Tonight – Elton John
Can’t Help Falling In Love – Elvis
Can’t Help Lovin’ That Man – Lena Horne
C’est Magnifique – Ella Fitzgerald / Sinatra
Cheek To Cheek – Eva Cassidy / Fred Astaire
Come Away With Me – Nora Jones
Come Fly With Me – Sinatra
Cottontail – Duke Ellington
Dance Me To The End Of Love – M. Peyreux
A Day In The Life Of A Fool – Paul Desmond
Desafinado – Stan Getz
Do Nothin’ Till You Hear From Me – D. Ellington
Don’t Get Around Much Anymore – D. Ellington
Don’t Know Why – Nora Jones
Don’t Sit Under The Apple Tree – Glenn Miller
Don’t Wait Too Long – Madeleine Peyreux
Dream A Little Dream Of Me – Mama Cass
Embraceable You – Nat King Cole
Fever – Peggy Lee
Fly Me To The Moon – Frank Sinatra
A Foggy Day – Les Brown
Footprints – Miles Davis
For Sentimental Reasons – Patti Page
The Gentle Waltz – Oscar Peterson
Giant Steps – John Coltrane
The Girl From Ipanema – Antonio Carlos Jobim
Gone With the Wind – Ella Fitzgerald
Green Dolphin Street – Bill Evans
Have I Told You Lately I Love You -
Rod Stewart
Have You Met Miss Jones – Ray Brown
Hawaiian Wedding Song – Elvis
Hernando’s Hideaway (tango) – Charlie Byrd
How High The Moon – Stan Kenton
How Insensitive – Pat Martino
How Sweet It Is – James Taylor / Michael Bublé
I Could Not Ask For More – Sara Evans /
Edwin McCaine
I Could Write A Book – Harry Connick, Jr.
I Get A Kick Out Of You – Sinatra
I Got The Sun In The Morning – Judy Garland
I Left My Heart In San Francisco – Tony Bennett
I Only Have Eyes For You – Sinatra / Kay Starr
If I Were A Bell – Ella Fitzgerald
I’ll Dance At Your Wedding – Peggy Lee
I’m Beginning To See The Light – Bobby Darin /
Diane Schuur
I’m Putting All My Eggs In One Basket – Ella
I’m Yours – Jason Mraz
In A Mellow Tone – Duke Ellington
In The Mood – Glen Miller
Inchworm – John Coltrane
Inseparable – Natalie Cole
It Had To Be You – Harry Connick Jr.
It Might As Well Be Spring – Ella Fitzgerald
It Was A Very Good Year – Frank Sinatra
It’s All Right With Me – Ella Fitzgerald
It’s Only A Paper Moon – Nat King Cole
I’ve Got A Crush On You – Linda Ronstadt
I’ve Got The World On a String – Frank Sinatra
I’ve Got You Under My Skin – Michael Bublé
Jeanine – Kenny Burrell
Joy Spring – Manhattan Transfer
Just One Of Those Things – Dinah Shore
Killer Joe – Quincy Jones
A Kiss To Build A Dream On – Louis Armstrong
L.O.V.E. – Natalie Cole
Lady Is A Tramp – Ella Fitzgerald
Let’s Stay Together – Al Green
Luck Be A Lady Tonight – Bill Evans / Sinatra
Lullaby Of Birdland – E. Fitzgerald / S. Vaughan
Mack The Knife – Bobby Darrin / Ella Fitzgerald
Memories Of Tomorrow – Dave Anderson
Misty – Ella Fitzgerald
Moon River – Henry Mancini
Moondance – Van Morrison
Moonglow – Diane Martinson / Artie Shaw
More Than You Know – Judy Garland /
Jane Monheit
My Favorite Things – Dave Brubeck
My Foolish Heart – Tony Bennett / Bill Evans
My Funny Valentine – Bobby Darin
The Nearness Of You – Nora Jones
New York, New York – Liza Minnelli / Sinatra
Nice Work If You Can Get It -
Rosemary Clooney
Night And Day – Lena Horne
Night Has A Thousand Eyes – Horace Silver
A Night In Tunisia – Dizzy Gillespie
Now’s The Time – Charlie Parker
O Pato – J. Gilberto
One Note Samba – Jobim / A. Gilberto
Orange Colored Sky – Natalie Cole
Our Love Is Here To Stay – Dinah Washington
Peel Me A Grape – Diana Krall
Pennies From Heaven – Goodman / Peggy Lee
Pick Yourself Up – Ella Fitzgerald
Quiet Nights Of Quiet Stars – Jobim
Recordame (latin) – Joe Henderson
Route 66 – Nat King Cole
S’ Wonderful – Gershwin / Sinatra
Satin Doll – Duke Ellington big band
Sing, Sing, Sing – Benny Goodman
Sittin’ On The Dock Of The Bay – Otis Redding
Smile – Charlie Chaplin
Smoke Gets In Your Eyes – Helen Forrest
So Nice (samba) – Jobim
Some Day My Prince Will Come – D. Brubeck
Somebody Loves Me – Ella / Tommy Dorsey
Someone To Watch Over Me – Linda Ronstadt
Somewhere OVer The Rainbow – IZ
Song For My Father – Horace Silver
Spanish Eyes – Al Martino
Stand By Me – Ben E King
Stormy Weather – Rosemary Clooney
Straighten Up And Fly Right – Nat King Cole
Strangers In The Night – Frank Sinatra
A String Of Pearls – Glenn Miller big band
The Summer Wind – Michael Bublé / Sinatra
Summertime – Lena Horne
Sunrise, Sunset – traditional
Sunny – Classics IV
Sushi – Oscar Peterson
Sway – Dean Martin
Sweet Georgia Brown – Benny Goodman
Sweetheart Swing – J.J. Saecker
Swinging On A Star – Bing Crosby
Table For Four – J.J. Saecker
Take Five – Dave Brubeck
Take The ‘A’ Train – Duke Ellington
Taking A Chance On Love – Jane Monheit
Temptation – Diana Krall
That’s All – June Christy / Michael Bublé
That’s Amore – Dean Martin
The Show – Lenka
There Is No Greater Love – Ben Webster
They Can’t Take That Away From Me – Bennett
Till There Was You – The Beatles / Peggy Lee
Too Darn Hot – Ella Fitzgerald
Tuxedo Junction – Harry James big band
Unforgettable – Nat King Cole
Waltz For Debby – Bill Evans
Watch What Happens (latin) – Tony Bennett
Watermelon Man – Herbie Hancock
The Way You Look Tonight – Garland / Sinatra
We Are Family – Sister Sledge
Weekend in New England – Barry Manilow
What A Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong
What The World Needs Now – Dionne Warwick
When I Fall In Love – Linda Ronstadt
You Make Me Feel So Young – R. Clooney

DJ Kenny Casanova - is a professional wedding reception mobile dj and professional wrestling ring announcer out of Albany, NY and Troy, NY. You can email him at

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Monday, August 16, 2010

Wedding Idea - Remember a Loved One Who Is No Longer With Us.

It is a very thoughtful idea for the bride & groom to want to honor a relative, loved one, or family member who is no loger with us. The key to making this happen effectively is to keep it classy and in the spirit of celebration. You do not want to depress the members attending your wedding reception by causing something that could envoke tears, but provide something that will at as a visual representation of the missing person that celebrates their life.

This is not hard to do, as you really end up with countless tasteful options. I have seen annotated pictures and photo album displays, a small table setting with a plaque that held many names, a stand-up photo cut out, a poetry reading, a song dedication activity from the wedding DJ, a special lit candle and/or lighting presentation, an insert on a slide show, and countless personable things that meant something to the person no longer with us.

Whatever you choose, it is a great idea. Just keep in mind that it is very important to not dwell on the loss, but to smile, toast and celebrate the person for their contributions in life to the couple's happy day. Afterall, they would have wanted it that way.

DJ Kenny Casanova - is a professional wedding reception mobile dj and professional wrestling ring announcer out of Albany, NY and Troy, NY. You can email him at

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Friday, August 13, 2010

How to Hire A Wedding DJ

Over the years, I have seen a lot of trepidation from customers who want to hire a DJ for their wedding. They have already decided that hiring a band is limiting, but they don’t know really what extra stuff a DJ will bring to the table. It is true. There are a ton of people out there who consider themselves “Disc Jockeys,” but they all offer many different things. There are a number of things to look for, to make sure you pick the right DJ for your wedding ceremony and/or wedding reception.

If you are in The Capital District, you are already going to hire me of course! So the rest of this article is for the rest of the world. (Just kidding!) …There are a number of questions and things to think about when hiring a DJ. Here is my Top 10 list of topics:

1. DO THEY KNOW MUSIC? Make sure they know about the music you like, and also the music your guests like. This is very important. If they are not very familiar with songs or artists across many genres, the music you get may not be what you are looking for.

2. PERSONALITY. Are they fun? Are they professional? Are they willing to meet you face to face if possible before hiring them? Will they share stories of experience, or pictures of them DJ’ing in action?

3. REQUESTS Do they have a huge library? If so and they are able to provide your party with pretty much any song ever, how good is their ability to screen requests? Make sure they are willing to take requests and customize the night for you and your guests. However, make sure they have a plan on eliminating song that people may ask for that you do not want at your reception.

4. CUSTOMIZABILITY. Can they cater to your specific needs, or do they force you into buying everything by saying everything is included? Individual packages are the key to finding an affordable DJ. If you don’t care about karaoke and lights and a smoke machine, but it is all including, you are probably being charged for it. Ala carte when the prices are reasonable could save you good money and get you exactly what you want without paying more.

5. EXPERIENCE ACROSS THE BOARD. Weddings have a little bit of every demographic. Try to find someone who has been doing it at least 3-5 years, and not only at a bar scene. Bars these days hire ANYONE, and the demographic is not exactly what you will find at your wedding.

Your DJ should have experience across the board and be able to tell you stories about all kinds of different parties that they have worked for. Sweet sixteen’s and school dances mean they can handle your young guests without a problem. Holiday Parties and other events may prove young to middle age is no problem. Anniversary and retirement parties mean they have experience in catering to older clientele. Make sure they have good experience in all categories and all your guests will be satisfied!

6. FAIR PRICE. Look around and see what other experienced DJ’s are charging. Find the DJ who seems right for you and in the ballpark.

Cheap DJ – Very cheap quotes may spell inexperience or desperation and could destroy your party. Make sure you know exactly what kind of gear the DJ uses, and also what kind of experience they have. Do they have different packages available? What do they do at weddings that make them worth looking at?
Expensive DJ – Overpriced DJ’s, on the other hand, may warn you not to go with any DJ who charges under, say $700, or whatever the overpriced DJ wants to charge you. They may say that under a certain price means a DJ is “not a professional” or “will do a lousy job.” This is ABSOLUTELY NOT TRUE. This only said to command more money and scare you into hiring them. Using fear tactics and negativity to try and secure your business is NOT GOOD BUSINESS. Trash talking other DJ’s openly is also a bad sign.
7. PROFESSIONALISM. Can they actually blend the music together? Some DJ’s have moved over to laptop set ups which can be great, but if they do not have professional DJ programs, then there could be gaps of “dead air” between songs. Ask about this first, as dead air in any dose can kill your party.
Do they offer something in writing? Do they have professional gear? Do they have a web site or something you can look at? Do they have a business card? Do they have back up DJ’s and or equipment available? Or is it only them with one set up? Can you see them publicly in action somewhere?

8. FLEXIBILTY. The DJ cannot be “stubborn” or “set in his own way.” They are there to serve you and do what you want. If you do not want The Dreaded Chicken Dance, then don’t let him tell you that is going to happen!
Are they okay with playing music that they do not like? Some DJ’s refuse to play certain songs, because they feel it may not get them gigs by potential customers at your party. However, if this is the case, then they are more worried about their image than they are doing a good job for you. They are there to work for you, not be a commercial for themselves. Make sure they will do what you ask them to, within reason. At the same time, make sure they do also know what is appropriate to play and professional. As Ali G says, “Respect!”

9. REFERENCES - Ask for references! Duh!

10. FUN AND CLASSY? – Can they do both? It takes a great DJ to be good in both departments. If it is your special day, you will probably want some seriousness, as well as craziness to remember.

DJ Kenny Casanova - is a professional wedding reception mobile dj and professional wrestling ring announcer out of Albany, NY and Troy, NY. You can email him at

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Monday, August 9, 2010

How to save money on Wedding flowers

They say it can't be done. Flowers are often a very inportant and very expensive part of a wedding ceremony/reception decor. There are ways, however, to save in this department.

If you are low on funds after paying the DJ and the hall, before you even talk with your florist, pick a color scheme rather than a particular flower. Then you can ask your florist to choose whatever is available in your palette at the best prices out there. If roses are a must have, you can always have more roses on the head table, than on the guest tables, for example, and supplement another red flower there insead. You should be keeping in mind what is in season.

While you probably won't be able to save money by creating your own arrangements because of time, if a friend is willing, you can save a bundle by ordering in bulk from a wholesale or farmer’s market. Also, some Votec classes may be willing to make a classroom assigment out of it!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Dim tent reception? Add paper lanterns!

This past weekend, I did the DJ work for a great little wedding at The Bucksteed Manor in Washinton, MA.

The Bucksteed was like a cross between a bed-n-breakfast and a mini-resort. It had a main eating hall, little cabins, a tent perfect for the reception, a barn gutted and turned into a full bar, and a nice gazebo for the ceremony.

The entire backdrop is wooded area surrounding a nice open field.

The massive tent had a line drwan up high in the center with large white circular paper lanterns, each with a soft glowing single watch battery-operated LED light. These lanterns provided a nice glow to light everything up with a ton of class.

THe paper lanterns where cheap but looked awesome. Another great idea that needed to be shared.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Themed Alternatives to Wedding Place Cards

You know the little cards that lead you to your table at the wedding reception... Well, they do not need to be cards anymore. As I wrote in a previous blog about a month ago, I recently saw a couple use lit tea candles with their guests names printed on the candle holders. This isn't the only alternative option out there, especially when a them is involved.

At a beach-theme reception, you can really have a blast. Seashells with names printed on them, perhaps from metallic ink pens are a novel idea, as are decorative stones. Other people may choose to actually decorate coconuts with their guests names on them, as well. Other ideas can include mini-ships in a bottle, messages in bottles (open slips of paper read through the glass), or other various sea-related statuettes.

A vegas theme could involve poker chips with names on them, or even large playing cards!

Music-friendly? Another neat idea includes cd's (compact discs) with the couples names printed on them, with music for later listening. How about a 45 record with names on them for the older guests?!

It is really worth stopping by the dollar store and seeing what you can whip together! You will be surprised, and hopefully, so will your guests!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Ultimate Willy Wonka Theme Party Idea Blog

First off, let me say my sister is nuts! So when she recently called me and asked if I could draw an Oompa Loompa without a face on a foam board, it didn’t seem like an unusual request from her. I completed the task with ease (see picture below.)Little did I know that she was planning a ridiculously huge theme party for her two kids’ birthdays: WILLY WONKA STYLE!

Willy Wonka? You mean the creepy chocolate guy? That’s right and it was a huge success. Rather than to try and write up everything I saw, here is some of what my sister, Kathy Bechand, wrote up about it – with photos: How to Throw the Ultimate Willy Wonka Birthday Party.

Tags: candy, kids party

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Wedding Recption Locations in Capital District

Planning a wedding? Hello Wedding Reception in the Capital District seeker! I am a local DJ and often have to pinch hit as a party planner. From time to time, customers ask if I recommend any locations for wedding receptions and big parties, so I decided to put together a list.

Here are some great locations to check out, if you are planning your wedding reception. I have broken them down kind of into regional areas, rather than alphabetical order, to help you get an idea. It is all still a work in progress. For regional locations so far, I have Albany, Averill Park, Troy/Cohoes/Latham, Schenectady, Eastern Points towards Mass, Clifton Park/Saratoga and a few more. If you know of a good one or would like to see your own establishment on this list (which will soon become a tab on my website) drop me a line at

DJ Kenny Casanova - 518-506-3305

Shaker Ridge Events Ltd
802 Albany Shaker Road, Loudonville, NY - (518) 456-4251

Albany Marriott
189 Wolf Road, Albany, NY - (518) 458-8444

German-American Club of Albany
32 Cherry Street, Albany, NY - (518) 482-5845?

Albany Clarion Hotel
3 Watervliet Ave Ext., Albany, NY - (518) 438-8431

La Serre Restaurant
14 Green Street, Albany, NY - (518) 463-6056

Crossgates Restaurant-Banquet
225 Washington Avenue Ext, Albany, NY - (518) 456-0261

Italian American Community Center
757 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY - (518) 456-0292

West Albany Italian Benovolent
50 Exchange St, Albany, NY - (518) 482-4731

Best Western- Albany Airport Inn
200 Wolf Rd, Albany, NY - (518) 458-1000

Jack's Oyster House Inc
42 State Street, Albany, NY - (518) 465-8854

The Desmond Hotel Albany
660 Albany Shaker Rd, Albany, NY - (518) 869-8100

Paolo Lombardi's Ristorante
104 West Sand Lake Road, Wynantskill, NY 12198 - (518) 283-0202

Crystal Cove Weddings
38 Old Route 66 - Averill Park, NY 12018 - (518) 674-0703

Lakeview On Crystal Lake
4 Old Route 66, Averill Park, NY - (518) 674-3363

Crooked Lake House, The
NY Route 43 & 66, 2339 SR 43, Averill Park, NY - (518) 674-3894

Averill Park & Sand Lake Fire Co
35 Eastern Union Turnpike, Averill Park, NY - (518) 674-3077

West Sand Lake Volunteer Fire
3697 Old State Highway 43, West Sand Lake, NY - (518) 674-3677

Mallozzi's Banquet & Ballrooms
1930 Curry Road, Schenectady, NY - (518) 355-0340

Maple Ski Ridge
2725 Mariaville Road, Schenectady, NY 12306 - (518) 381-4700

Mohawk Golf Club
1849 Union St, Schenectady, NY - (518) 374-9121

Stadium Golf Club
333 Jackson Avenue, Schenectady, NY - (518) 374-9104

Woodlin Club
49 Mohawk Avenue, Scotia, NY - (518) 399-3117

Riverstone Manor
1437 Amsterdam Road, Glenville, NY 12302 - (518) 382-8322

Millstone Food and Spirits
654 Saratoga Road, Burnt Hills, NY - (518) 384-3812

Glen Sanders Mansion
1 Glen Avenue - Scotia, NY 12302 - (518) 374-7262

Birch Hill Catering
One Celebration Way - Schodack, NY 12033 - (518) 732-4444

The Lodge on Echo Lake
100 Hudson Street - Warrensburg, NY 12885 - (518) 623-5599

Comfort Inn - Glenmont
37 Route 9W, Glenmont, NY 12077 – (518)-465-8811

Herbert's At Birch Hill Cater
1 Celebration Way, Castleton On Hudson, NY - (518) 732-4444

Gateways Inn & La Terrazza Restaurant
51 Walker Street, Lenox, MA - (413) 637-2532

Rookwood Inn
11 Old Stockbridge Road, Lenox, MA - (413) 637-9750

Best Western Cobleskill
121 Burgin Dr, Cobleskill, NY - (518) 234-4321

16 Blantyre Road, Lenox, MA - (413) 637-3556

Stockbridge Country Inn
26 Glendale Rd, Stockbridge, MA - (413) 298-4015

A Taste of Europe
3630 State Route 145, Cobleskill, NY - (518) 296-8000

The Quarry Steakhouse
100 New York 81, Coxsackie, NY - (518) 731-8914

Clarion Hotel at The Century House
997 New Loudon Rd., (Route 9), Latham, NY - (518) 785-0931

Captain JP Cruise Lines
278 River Street, Troy, NY - (518) 270-1901

Michael's Banquet House
1019 New Loudon Road , Latham, NY 12047- (518) 785-8524

Century House - Hotel/Restaurant/Conference Center
997 New Loudon Rd - Latham, NY 12110
Local: (518) 785-0931 - Toll Free: 1-888-674-6873

Comfort Suites
7 Northside Drive, Clifton Park, NY - (518) 373-2255

Holiday Inn Saratoga Springs
232 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, NY - (518) 584-4550

Georgian Resort & Conference Centre - Lake George
384 Canada Street, Lake George, NY - (518) 668-5401

The Boathouse Restaurant
3210 Lake Shore Drive - Lake George, NY 12845 - 1-800-853-1632

Monday, July 12, 2010

Vegas Theme Wedding Reception

Ding, ding, ding! “Vegas Party Theme at a wedding? We have a winnerrrr!”

I short time ago, I DJ’ed a wedding reception at The Western Turnpike Golf Club in Guilderland, NY that had a “Las Vegas theme.” The bride said that it was the only way she could get the groom to buy into having a hand in the planning. All in all, she was right. By the end of the night, the guests had a blast and it was a very different and memorable party for all.

Thinking of planning something similar? You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Here are some ideas that they used, as well as a few others I have seen…

The shuffling of the cards. The rolling of the dice. The spinning of a silly roulette wheel. Aside from the obvious playing of must-have lounge lizard music like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Louis Prima and other Italian American oldies, decor will be your key. The visual plays an enormous role part in getting over the theme and in this case, you don’t have to spend a lot to get that sweet cheesy Vegas feel.

If you really want to sell the idea to your guests, buy a bunch of playing cards and poker chips from the dollar store. Then, go nuts. At this reception, they scattered the loose cards and chips everywhere around table centerpieces, by the guest book, on the gift table and on pretty much any flat surface available. A special colored poker chip can also be taped underneath one chair at each table to signify who gets to bring home whatever casino-related centerpiece you can dream up.

As far as clothing is concerned, black felt gangster hats and jeweled tiaras are also a must to keep in hand! Maybe even get a Money Boa for the bride. Another idea is to put a bunch of cheap black sunglasses on the tables. Because a number of people will be wearing tuxedos, a lot of the pictures will end up having that monkey suit and sun glasses combination that The Rat Pack made famous.

Another great idea this group had was to make massive eight-foot cardboard cut-outs of playing card suits and put them in the corners of the room. The diamonds and clubs and spades were all made out of painted cardboard with a cross section in the back of each to help them stand. The heart was right near the head table. Each fixture was outlined and finished in glowing white Christmas lights.

For invitations that scream Las Vegas, attach the actual invitation to a playing deck of cards, poker chips, or dice. If you are really creative, a custom caricature, kind of like the walls at Delmonico’s Steakhouse on Central Ave might be fun. Portrait the bride and groom as casino dealers or mafia, or a lounge singer and a showgirl. The couple could also be the King of Diamonds or the Queen of Spades!

This party opted for a massive candy table. Have you ever seen these? The colors really got over the feel of the party and there were loads of packets of bogus bills and dice beads mixed throughout to keep them in the Vegas mindset! During the dancing, it was funny to see guests throwing the money around and “make it rain in the club” to various hip hop songs later in the night.

The decorations really turned the hall into the Vegas strip! Aside from the playing card suits, they hung slot machine backdrops and a big Las Welcome to Vegas sign on the wall.

For Vegas themed favors, you can get custom printed poker chips, or make dice out of card stock and fill them with goodies.

Last but not least, someone had secured two HUGE appliance boxes and wrapped them in white paper, then painted black dots on them. They created a gigantic pair of dice that sat off to the right of my DJ set up. It was great!

Have fun with it and don’t be afraid to be different!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Ten Tips for Planning a Succesful Wedding

As a wedding DJ, I have seen many things go wrong. These were little tiny problems to start and could have been eliminated easily, just with a little planning ahead of time. Here is a top ten list of ten important things to think about in order to plan a fun and succesful wedding for all.

1. Think of EVERYBODY
I cannot say this enough. Even though it is your special day, you have to think about your guests and be a humble host, as anyone who throws a party should. After all, a good host puts others needs first. Do guests know what to expect? Are you planning your wedding for on a holiday that friends and family may have other obligations to? Are you a vegan and forcing your guests to eat food they are not comfortable eating to make a statement? Do you love hardcore music and do not care what the others think? Try your best to make everyone happy.

2. Be Yourself

If the couple is not all about classic music and being overly elegant, planning much of the reception as such may not be the right thing to do. You may want to go for more up beat fun stuff right from the get-go, during the cocktail hour. Also, some couples are now making the grand entrance into the cocktail hour to enjoy the festivities and then heading out for some pictures before they eat.

3. Don't Waste Money
The wedding industry is a money making industry, with lots of avenues to indulge in. There is a lot of good advice out there, but remember, people will also profit from it. Shop around and do your homework! Budget means budget. If you have a number, stick to it!

4. Know who is running the show!
There are two people running the show. One is the officiate, the minister or justice of peace. His/her personality will come out in the ceremony. The other is your DJ/band, who plays a very important role in whether the guests will say your reception was fun, or not.

5. Be prepared for ANYTHING
Most people don’t want to believe that something could go wrong at their wedding, so they do not plan for it. If it is an outdoor wedding, make sure that you have an alternate location in case of rain. Keep phone contacts on hand for vendors and people with important roles.

6. Don't Lose Perspective
Don't get caught up in so many small details and traditions that you don't spend enough time on what's important. Keep the big picture in mind. If something doesn’t go exactly as planned, this is okay. Nothing ever does! Just remember, it is a celebration. Make it work.

7. Careful Having a Heavy Party the Night Before
It’s not always a good idea to plan crazy bachelor/bachelorette parties for the night before the wedding, if people with important roles tend to get carried away. The last thing you need is to wake up with a headache, or upset stomach. Too much drinking the night before is not always a good idea.

8. Bride & Groom Team planning
Wedding planning can and should fall on the bride and the groom together. If one becomes too overbearing or selfish, it can make for an awful night for the other. Ask yourself, did I listen?

9. Seat Guests Effectively
Your wedding is no place to try and mend broken bridges between guest. Forcing enemies to come together by seating them together is probably not going to work and not a risk you should try taking. Also, try and keep older people away from the DJ or band, as they often do not like louder volume levels. For more ideas on seating, see my other blog.

10. Don't be afraid to be different
Traditional weddings are all the same. Don't let your wedding reception fall into the regular pattern. If you do, your wedding will blur into the rest. Never be afraid to be different! A good idea is a good idea, even if it bucks tradition.


DJ Kenny Casanova - is a professional wedding reception mobile dj and professional wrestling ring announcer out of Albany, NY and Troy, NY. You can email him at

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Monday, June 28, 2010

Three Tasty New Trends in Wedding Reception

An interesting new trend for wedding receptions and cocktail hours is for the bride and groom to actually be announced fifteen minutes or so into the cocktail hour, so that they can enjoy the spirits, as well. As everyone knows, a tasty drink or two can really make the party fun. If the bride and groom get done with their pictures quickly enough, why not?

A sweet new treat in weddings is the Candy Cart. A scrum-dilly-icious candy buffet adds fun and color to any wedding. This new trend has a table on wheels that looks like it was heisted straight out of Wonka’s Chocolate factory. The cart is covered with large glass bowls and vases over-flowing with goodness. Little baggies allow for all of your guests to pick what kind of candy they want and take it home. Kids and adults love taking home little bags of loot so that the sweetness of the reception continues long after the DJ has packed up.

Enough said. Just like any other type of gift registry at a store or on Amazon, friends and family members purchase parts of the bride and groom’s honeymoon. If it is not the obvious plane tickets or hotel room credits, it could be a show, an expensive dinner or a tour bus ride at the point of destination.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Wedding Reception First Song Ideas

Sometimes it is tough to reinvent the wheel. If you are planning your first dance, here is a great list of ideas:

• You Are My First, My Last, My Everything - Barry White
• Take My Breath Away - Berlin
• The Rose - Bette Midler
• Our Love Is Here To Stay - Billie Holiday
• Just The Way You Are - Billy Joel
• She’s Got A Way - Billy Joel
• We’ve Got Tonight - Bob Seger
• You Are My Special Angel - Bob- Helms
• If - Bread
• Everything I Own - Bread
• Heaven - Bryan Adams
• True Love Ways - Buddy Holly
• Tonight And Forever - Carly Simon
• You’re The Inspiration - Chicago
• Lady In Red - Chris DeBurgh
• Longer - Dan Fogelberg
• Endless Love - Diana Ross & Lionel Richie
• Can You Feel the Love Tonight - Elton John
• Friends - Elton John
• The One - Elton John
• Your Song - Elton John
• Can’t Help Falling In Love - Elvis Presley
• Always - Erasure
• At Last - Etta James
• Let It Be Me - Everly Brothers
• Songbird - Fleetwood Mac
• The Best Is Yet To Come - Frank Sinatra
• The Way You Look Tonight - Frank Sinatra
• If I Loved You - from Carousel
• As Time Goes - - from Casablanca
• Some Enchanted Evening - from South Pacific
• Somewhere - from West Side Story
• Love Theme To Romeo & Juliet - from Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet
• Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love For You - Glenn Medeiros
• Here We Are - Gloria Estefan
• Beautiful - Gordon Lightfoot
• It Had To Be You - Harry Connick, Jr.
• So This Is Love - James Ingram
• Up Where We Belong - Joe Cocker & Jennifer Warrens
• You Are So Beautiful - Joe Cocker
• Woman - John Lennon
• I Swear - John Michael Montgomery
• Chances Are - Johnny Mathis
• Beautiful In My Eyes - Joshua Kadison
• So In Love - K.D. lang
• Don’t Know Much - Linda Ronstadt & Aaron Neville
• Amazed - Lonestar
• What A Wonderful World - Louis Armstrong
• Here And Now - Luther Vandross
• Dream A Little Dream - Mamas & the Papas
• Hero - Mariah Carey
• Grow Old With Me - Mary Chapin Carpenter
• Embraceable You - Nat King Cole
• Unforgettable - Nat King Cole
• When I Fall In Love - Nat King Cole
• Marry Me - Neil Diamond & Buffy Lawson
• When A Man Loves A Woman - Percy Sledge
• After All - Peter Cetera & Cher
• Glory Of Love - Peter Cetera
• Wedding Song - There is Love - Petula Clark
• Perhaps Love - Placido Domingo & John Denver
• Forever and Ever, Amen - Randy Travis
• You Are the Everything - R.E.M.
• I Can’t Fight This Feeling Anymore - R.E.O. Speedwagon
• Unchained Melody - Righteous Brothers
• Tonight I Celebrate My Love For You - Roberta Flack & Peabo Bryson
• Truly, Madly, Deeply - Savage Garden
• Kiss From A Rose - Seal
• Dreaming Of You - Selena
• From This Moment - Shania Twain & Brian White
• You’re Still The One - Shania Twain
• If I Never Knew You - Shanice Wilson & John Secada
• True - Spandau Ballet
• You Are The Sunshine Of My Life - Stevie Wonder
• I Believe - When I Fall in Love - Stevie Wonder
• Ma Cherie Amour - Stevie Wonder
• Give a Little Bit - Supertramp
• Eternal Flame - The Bangles
• I Will - The Beatles
• In My Life - The Beatles
• Something - The Beatles
• We’ve Only Just Begun - The Carpenters
• In The Still of the Night - The Five Satins
• I Only Have Eyes For You - The Flamingos
• A Groovy Kind Of Love - The Mindbenders
• Oh, How The Years Go - - Vanessa Williams
• Will You Marry Me? - Vonda Shepard
• Hold Me - Whitney Houston & Teddy Pendergrass
• One Moment In Time - Whitney Houston

Am I missing anything? Drop me a line.

DJ Kenny Casanova - is a professional wedding reception mobile dj and professional wrestling ring announcer out of Albany, NY and Troy, NY.

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DJ Kenny Casanova - is a professional wedding reception mobile dj and professional wrestling ring announcer out of Albany, NY and Troy, NY. You can email him at

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Finger Food Wedding Reception - AN APPETIZING BIG HIT!

I was the disck jockey for some good people out of Schenectady, NY this past weekend, hosted at a nice little restaraunt called The Cella Bistro. The bride and groom’s favorite thing about past wedding receptions that they had attended was always the appetizers.

Hors d'oeuvres, hors d'oeuvres and more hors d'oeuvres!

From every party to wedding they have ever attended, it seemed that these two had a huge interest in the fun food, rater than the actual sit-down. They liked mushrooms, and wonton shrimp and crab cakes and friend veggies and jumpo shrimp, you know, all the yummy stuff.

So what did they do? The made EVERYTHING APPETIZERS!

That is right. There was no real sit down, but there was soooo much good finger food and hors d'oeuvres around that you never even missed it.

The mass grazing was a good time by all.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Wedding Seating: Tea Candle Place Cards

Yet again, I saw a different thing this weekend that I thought I should share with you all. At a reception at Franklin Terrace in Troy, NY, I saw Place Cards printed on small candle holders with a lit tea candle inside.

You know those little cards you see at the front of the hall at the beginning of the ceremony? Yeah you do. Place cards are the little folded business card-like slips of cardstock that have the guests name printed on them, directing them to their assigned table for the reception.

The wedding I did had the cutest little little tea lights with professionally printed names on each one and the table number, as party favors for the guests to bring home with them as a momento. These particular ones had a white crest with the guests' names printed on it in gold with a black outline. Beneath the names was a table name, each with a synonym for love like, "PASSION" and "ROMANCE."

It was really cool to see everyone surround the table and look for their candles! Then, on by one, each person carefully brought their little candle keepsake to their destination table. The line of people was soothing and fun!

Neat idea!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Wedding Music Choice - Set An Atmosphere

Of course, the bride and groom’s song choices outweigh anyone else’s at the wedding. However, it is still very important to try to incorporate lots of music that their guests will enjoy. Think about it for a second. Who wants to put on a wedding where people hate the entertainment!?

The purpose of playing music at all is to set an atmosphere. Therefore, the real logic behind planning your reception music should be to create an atmosphere where people will have fun, rather than expose your guests to music you like.

Throughout the years, wedding receptions have changed. They are vastly becoming the party dancing part of the wedding, while the ceremony holds the classy and more serious peaceful part of the day. Therefore, the trend now for receptions is to be far more upbeat and fun. If this is the atmosphere you want, the possibilities of song choices are endless. However, picking songs that ONLY you like can be a big mistake.

Most bride and grooms want to select songs that are special to them. Sometimes the songs relate to how they first met or the couple’s first date, or perhaps some other memorable event. It is very important, to do this, however, if the whole playlist are “special songs” to the bride and groom, they may not be special to everyone else.

If you want to have a finger on the playlist, as you plan songs for the wedding reception, seek out a second opinion from friends or family. With the internet, you can easily send out emails and get a feeling for what people will like.

If your overall goal really again is to create a fun, dancing atmosphere, you really have to pick songs that people can dance to and songs that people like to dance to. Even if you do not like “dance music,” if your guests do, you will need to pick songs they like to get the atmosphere that you are looking for.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Usually, as a DJ for wedding receptions, I get the linen from the hall and match up my stuff as best as possible. It is funny though. Colors are really changing up.

Remember something borrowed and something blue? At first we only saw hints of one color on a bride. A little color maybe in the hair… A blast of color in jewelry… These accents made a nice touch, while still allowing the bride to wear her traditional white, at a traditional white wedding. However, many different colors have been creeping into the scene more and more, with all the new brights and eccentric patterns just as we see in today’s fashion trends. Just as we see people breaking the norm at many receptions, today’s bride who wishes to buck tradition is throwing the color rules out the window.

Just as brides and grooms are breaking it down on the wedding dance floor in the middle of a slow song all over the internet, today’s independent woman is no longer a follower. She is no longer silent. She doesn’t want to go along with the crowd. She wants to be different. She wants to make her day memorable. Today’s daring bride wears what she wants to wear, and sets a trend.

Out of Albany, NY, but willing to travel, I was the Disc Jockey for a recent wedding in Rochester, NY. At this particular wedding, I was pleasantly shocked to see that each bridesmaid had a different pastel color on, as I was calling the introductions over some Black Eyed Peas. The dresses were, in fact, the same cut and style and matched the vest on each of their individual escorts, but none of the dresses were the same color. White at this one was reserved for the bride, however, I am seeing brides dropping this tradition more and more!

What Will Everyone Think? I read that historically, white wedding dresses weren’t the norm until after Queen Victoria wore a white dress for her wedding. Okay, I am just the DJ, and not any sort of fashion plate, but I can tell you this. Not all brides are following the Queen anymore! Brides who are choosing colored gowns, are doing so for many other different reasons.

Quite often, in a world that sees second marriages as commonplace, for today’s bride who wants color but doesn’t want to be too obvious, I have been seeing washed out and faint colors on the dance floor, mixed into in their traditional white dresses. I have also seen very faint colors, it almost still looks white; almost as if someone washed a bright colored sock in with the gown.

Wedding dresses in the palest of pink or the lightest of blue add color, but aren’t looked at as inappropriate and don’t make the groom look as if he is marrying Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman.

One denominator for color choice has often been selection to match the season. Spring brides are choosing pale pastels, while those marrying in the summer choose deeper shades of similar colors. Those getting married in autumn are choosing yellows, golds and even shades orange, like my friend Pete, who recently got married on Halloween 2009, which fell on a Saturday.

However, from what I hear, it is the daring trend-setting winter bride who often chooses to make the boldest statement. Last winter, I had a bride in a bright red dress, with a red veil to match. (And yes, she looked like she raided Lady Gaga’s VMA closet.

My opinion on this? The wedding is all about the bride. I think the bride looks beautiful with whatever she chooses to wear, as long as she feels good in it and wears it front of a DJ at the reception, rather than a band!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Wedding Magnets : And attractive wedding idea for invitations & party favors!

As a mobile DJ, you see some really neat ideas from time to time, but none have struck me as much so as what I have been seeing more and more of this summer.

With printing capabilities increasing with technology and color printing cartridge advancements, a new trend is definitely hitting the professional wedding industry. This new wedding trend is quickly becoming a magnetic attraction to the guests, because this new trend is magnets with photos.

One new magnet prop is showing up before the wedding. I have seen “Save The Date” magnets sent out to guests to announce their wedding right from the start. These are usually business card size with just the date and the bride and groom’s names on them. They can however be bigger and more elaborate.

Magnets can also be used for the invitations themselves. If you look up on keywords “magnets”+”Weddings” you will see that many specialty printers are now offering some really cool magnetic stock for invitations. Companies like,, and are all just the tip of the iceberg for companies that are beginning to specialize off of this growing new idea. They have some great stock images to pick from, as well as cool ideas for customization.

At the reception itself, many people are now opting to make the magnet-making process itself as part of the fun and towards the provision of wedding favors. Photo Magnet creation actually becomes an activity. An additional photographer can be hired with on site capability and the proper equipment to provide refrigerator magnets as party favors to the bride and groom and/or all your guests with their images on the magnets.

At a recent Albany, NY wedding I played music at, the magnet photographer set up a photo shoot area in a corner complete with lighting and a backdrop. Couples and friends alike could then go over for the shoot and immediately, within seconds, have a decorative portrait of the participants in hand. The magnets can either then be set aside for the bride and groom, or kept as a favor!

The possibilities are endless!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


The LOST finale was well worth waiting for. I very much enjoyed the purgatory spin on the glimpses of the alternate timeline we looked at during the final season. The mythological backdrop direction answers all the questions that smart viewers should have still had, without coming right out and saying it.

This final Lost episode was perfect, if you were a watcher of the show on a regular basis, which most haters of the finale clearly were not. Therefore, in my opinion, those who didn’t like it are probably most likely ones who didn’t really watch the show and probably just jumped on for the finale. These are the mainstreamers who really should have no say, as they do not have the full story arch in mind when they attempt to critique it.

All the important stuff was covered. The original of the isle was the only thing left a mystery, and that is totaly fine. Would it have been better if someone came out and said, “Oh the island was a space ship,” or, “Oh the island was cursed place and the gate to hell,” ??? The show was clearly science fiction. No explanation is necessary, and to do so would discredit the charm of the story.

The other timeline is season 6 where the plane had never crashed was clearly purgatory. Whether it was all in Jack’s head until the spirits met up in the church, or a collective spirit world awaiting the afterlife, it didn’t matter.

For the non-thinkers, Christian Shepard (Jack's father) came right out and explained it. Everything on the island was real. You can't get more clear than that.

My overall thought on LOST as a whole is it clearly had a start, a middle, and an end. It was a great show that continued to make you think, even in the last episode.

QUESTION: How many other shows today make you think? How many other shows on television command their viewers to create theories and try to answer mysteries within it like LOST did? ANSWER: Very few. Today’s television has evolved into mindless crap like reality shows and competitive crap like American idol that involve very little thinking to watch, so little they are mindless.

I thank LOST for six years of daring to provide a show for the thinkers, and not a show that spelled everything out in black and white, to the mindless viewers who wouldn’t like it anyhow.

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Friday, May 21, 2010

Tips on Wedding Tips - Gratuity

Quite often I get the uncomfortable question from curious brides and grooms about tipping. I always say the same thing. “It is optional at weddings. A tip for any service is appreciated, but usually not at all expected. Just tip if you were really really happy with your outcome.”

I did a little looking around on the net to see what other people say about wedding gratuity. I have read that for the most part, I am right; tips are a voluntary thing, and you should really use your discretion. So, how do you make the decision?

First, you may want to find out from your vendors if, at all, tipping is allowed. There are many services, caterers for one, that include the gratuity for their staff directly in their quoted price, so they sometimes actually discourage tipping. In this economy, be sure not to double tip!

Giving wedding professionals and vendors a tip is completely up to the couple, how happy they are and how much they can afford. There is no percentage, if any, as you see expected by restaurants.

All tips should be given in cash. If the person serving you is an employee of the company, their tip should be in a separate envelope, so that the business doesn’t try to absorb it.

Tips should be given just before the party ends. That way you can judge how much to give, according to the job they did for you.


Limousine Drivers - 10-15% of the limousine bill, given at the end of his/her service.

Valet Parking Attendants – 50 cents to $1.00 per car, is about right.

Disc Jockey – When your guests compliment the reception later, remember it was the DJ that had created a big part of the fun stuff. While it is not expected, if there is one DJ, $50-100.00, isn’t totally unheard of. If you have two DJs, some people give each person $50.00 in separate envelopes. It’s really up to you, as, again, there is no need to tip at all.

Photographer / Videographers - The tip is optional. Usually if they own the photography business, no tip is necessary. If they are employees, $50.00 goes to the main photographer and who splits in with any assistant.

The Wait staff – Usually the tip is worked into the quote. If the tip is not in the contract, a 15% of the total catering bill is tipped.

Bartenders - 10% of the total liquor bill is normal, if you are not allowing your guests to tip.

Ceremony Musicians - $5-10/hr per person.

Wedding Officiate - Usually you do not tip.. You pay the said amount, and offer a donation to the church, if you wish to offer more for their help.

Hopefully, you have a jist about what to do, if you feel the need to tip. Again, the amounts above are only examples and are not written in stone.