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.

Edit this entry.

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.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

“Mazel Tov" - breaking a glass at Jewish wedding reception

In the Black Eyed Peas smash hit single, “I Gotta Feeling,” we hear the words, “Mazel Tov.” Even if you have no Jewish background, you probably can guess that this term is associated with celebration. This term, however, is the same term used with “The Breaking Glass Jewish Wedding Tradition.”

The breaking of the drinking glass occurs at the end of the Jewish wedding ceremony when the groom stomps down on a glass to crush it, and thereafter the guests shout, “Mazel Tov!” Have you ever wondered where the breaking glass Jewish wedding tradition comes from and what it means?

There are many explanations of why we do this and where the actual Jewish wedding tradition came from. Here are a few of the most popular explanations:

Superstition: A loud noise is thought to drive away evil spirits that may slow down the celebration.

Consummation of Marriage: A breaking of the glass represents symbolically the virginal bride giving herself to the groom and the consummation of the marriage.

Fragility: The glass symbolizes the love of the bride and groom and breaking the glass shows how this love is fragile, so it must be cared for that it not be broken.

Broken World: A reminder that although this couple came together as a strong single union, the world as a whole is broken and needs mending done, together.

Foreverness: A broken Jewish wedding glass is forever changed, likewise, the couple are forever changed by the marriage and take on a new form.

Many Children: Be Fruitful. A hope that your happiness will be as plentiful as the shards of glass…or that your children will be as plentiful as the shards of glass.
Sadness/Joy: A reminder that even in times of great joy that there is sadness. That life will bring sadness as well as joy.

So which do you choose? Couples should choose the interpretation that resonates with them and this will make that part of your ceremony more meaningful. Many couples like to include a brief explanation in their wedding program that describes which interpretation they have chosen and what it means to them.

Any glass may be used for the Jewish wedding glass, although most couples choose a special glass, perhaps colored glass. Make certain the glass you choose is not too thick. (Remember, it needs to be easily broken when stepped on!) It is typically wrapped in a cloth napkin to avoid dangerous flying glass shards. Sometimes it is enclosed in a pre-made cloth bag.

Monday, May 17, 2010


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 to consider when hiring a DJ for your event:

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. Do they consider themself a classy DJ service, or a fun and crazy DJ service?

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.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Wedding theme - The Cinderella Fairy Tale

Every bride pictures the day they are to be married as being the perfect-ending of a fairy tail, when they are very young. If you want your big wedding to be a fairy tale come true, why not consider putting just the right theme to it? If you want to set an atmosphere of fantasy, enchantment and fun, then maybe a Cinderella wedding could be just for you!

If you really want the groom to buy into the helping of planning your wedding, you should really add a theme. From experience, adding any type of theme can really get your Prince Charming to buy into the whole party planning process, as many grooms do not really buy into the planning side. Add a theme, however, and the creative juices start to flow!

So first, you have to do your homework. If you think that a Cinderella theme could work for your wedding, then make sure you re-watch the movie Cinderella, itself. You will see from watching the movie a number of things that can really add to the overall feel.

First off, Cinderella is from a kingdom and the messengers use scrolls. You can send your invitations out with that scroll feel, and also even create something like this for your guest book. Since you want your guests to really know that they are attending a fairy tale wedding, a nice glass slipper or something from the film should be printed as a background of clip art on the invitations. If you can, also try sealing your envelopes with a royal wax seal.

The official colors for the reception should include ivory, light pinks and white. These colors should be used for flowers, linen, and even the clothing. To get that ballroom feel, the bride should shoot for a bell-shaped gown, when possible, if it compliments her body well. She should try to match the style of Cinderella, of course, from Disney, as this is the image that is well-known. The groom should look at black tuxedos with tails.

Props are everything and will really sell your theme, no matter what it may be. In this case, props should include, glass slippers, pumpkins and perhaps long red carpets. (At the ceremony, you may even want to have the ring bearer carry the ring inside a glass slipper or pumpkin!)

The venue will also play a good hand in getting the Cinderella feel across. A ballroom with chandeliers and fancy drapery and wall hangings would be the perfect setting for your Cinderella wedding reception theme and your fairy tale coming true. Locally Glen Sanders mansion, might be nice, or any place that has a cascading staircase for a grand entrance, too!

For that added magical feel, you should use glitter everywhere you can. Table tops with tinsel pieces would be great and you have to make pumpkin couches your centerpieces. Also, small magic wands with stars on the tips provided as party favors would make for some fun pictures, as well. Also, if your budget allows, you may want to shoot for a giant ice statue of a slipper to add to the night.
The possibilities are endless!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Wedding Reception - guest seating

I have noticed that the one big “no-no” for seating is putting the old people near the DJ. They hate it and will constantly ask you to turn the music down, even if they are half deaf. Did you think about this? Are you then really all ready to write the seating arrangement for your wedding reception? Sounds like an easy task – BUT IT AIN’T! Family politics, friendship issues, and other divorces… There are a million reasons why you shouldn’t put some people together.

Here’s how to go about making an effective seating plan:

Seat the Bridal Party First
Decide where you want the bride, groom, and the bridal party to sit, first, and then the rest of the tables can make sense. Do you want the whole party sitting together? Or do you want the bride and groom to sit at a table by themselves, with the bridal party members scattered among the rest of the guests? Dates of bridal party members will need to be seated with other guests, but it is nice when they can be near their loved ones.

Seat the Parents and Close Family
Next, lay out the tables for your families. Usually, Table #1 is for the bride’s family and Table #2 is reserved for the groom’s. These tables are for parents, grandparents, siblings, and other immediate relatives. Be careful: if you leave someone out who believes they belong at this main table, there will be hurt feelings. If you have divorced parents, stepparents, or anyone else in the immediate family who do not want to be seated together, consider using multiple tables.

Get Help!
Don’t try to do the entire seating chart all by yourself. Make out a rough draft and pass it around your family, first. It’s actually even better if you can enlist one person from each side of the family, like the two mothers or perhaps a couple of siblings. Family members will know who needs to be seated where and together, and who needs to be seated on opposite sides of the room!

Put Families Together
Take your index cards and make little piles of families. If you have small groups of families who are friends with the bride, you may want to combine them other small family groups of the groom’s to encourage mingling. If you do this, try to choose families that seem similar in interests.

Put Random Friends, Coworkers, Neighbors, and Others Together
Take your index cards and make little piles of friendship groups. Keep these people together. To encourage mingling, seat small groups of friends together that seem compatible. Do the same thing with groups of coworkers, neighbors, people you know from a particular organization, and anyone else who knows each other as a group.

Kid Tables
Making kid tables is always an option. This could be risky, but also could work out best in many situations, depending on who the children are. If you have lots of children who are mature enough to sit alone, consider creating a special children’s table. Try to group kids together who are in the same age group. Depending on the age of the children, you can put some activities on the children’s table for them to complete.

Tables for Singles
Like to match-make? Weddings are great places for singles to meet, so place singles at tables together. When making tables full of singles, try to make sure everyone present knows at least one other person so they won’t feel totally on the spot.

Those are the big things to remember. Also, it goes without saying to use your judgement. Keep ex spouses or ex boyfriend/girlfriends apart and people who actively dislike each other. You want positive interactions so don’t mix people with highly different political opinions or religious beliefs.

If you have guests who are rude, silly, and obnoxious, you may want to seat them together, rather than subject a few of these bad seeds to each table. That way there is just one rude table, and you are not spreading the nonsense everywhere.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Top 10 List of Alternative Wedding Reception Ideas

Lately, the traditions involved in Wedding Receptions are changing to meet the demands of a new generation. They are no longer the boring slow-dance packed night with cake-cutting and garter toss as the main attractions. They are morphing into more elaborate customized events with lots of energy and surprises to mirror the bride and groom’s character.

If you want to host a wedding reception that screams you, consider this top 10 list:

1. Show up in style:
If the wedding ceremony and reception take place at different venues, providing guests with transportation that meets the feel you want for the party. A limo, or crazy hummer ride can set the tone. Recently, I did a wedding reception in Fonda, NY, a big parachuting town, in an old airplane hanger that was decked out in a German/Swiss theme. I played polkas and yodel music to start, while they served beer a brauts for the cocktail hour. When it came time for the introductions of the bridal party, I hit the Mission Impossible theme and had everyone look up in the air. People marveled at the party parachuting down to join the festivities.

2. Wedding Cup Cakes:
While you may absolutely love the idea of a classy cream cheese carrot cake, Uncle Charlie may absolutely HATE IT. That doesn’t mean you have to be unselfish and not have carrot cake, it only means you have to think outside of the box. In this case, why not try WEDDING CUPCAKES. You tier up a wedding cake display with many different types of cup cakes, in displayed in the shape of a traditional wedding cake. Everyone, including you and Uncle Charlie is now happy.

3. The First Dance:
Many bride and grooms have dropped the 100% serious tone to the first dance, opting for 50% slow and 50% ridiculous. Rascal Flatts “My Wish” plays just past the first chorus, when Sir Mix A Lot belts out his love for big butts. This is quickly becoming more regular than not, with the added touch of elaborate choreographed moves.

4. Video Game Time?!?
Believe it or not, interactive video game competitions are a new trend. Having a later hour set aside for popular competitions like Guitar Hero or Rock Band is a smart and hip way to add another memorable element of fun to your wedding reception. I have seen digital projectors come into play at night-time tent weddings on the ceiling where a massive screen is created for the game play to unfold.

5. SAY CHEESE! Wedding Photo booths:
Guests will love to jump in and snap silly photos, for great additions to your wedding photo album. Have you seen this yet? Wedding photo booths are quickly becoming a new tradition at modern wedding receptions. It also helps to pass the time when the photographer runs late and the people are waiting t=for the grand entrance of the wedding party.

6. Funky Snack Attack:
Candy tables, ice cream bars, your favorite trail mix… There are no rules to what you can serve anymore. If you think the snack is cheap, but something everyone will appreciate, you can use a variety of containers (think martini glasses) to add that special decorative touch. On the Fourth of July, 2009, I did a great Pakistani-American Wedding, where all kinds of great Pakistani curry-laden dishes where set in tandem next to the groom’s favorite American chow, you guess it, PIZZA. The pizza was served on elegant silver platters under a heat light, like a prime rib carving roast!

7. Karaoke Hour
Want fun! Add karaoke! This can be really awesome in the right party, but be careful. Place this activity late, if not last, in the event and limit people’s participation, or else it could be come a karaoke concert!)

8. Digital Slide Show Projection
Collect up as many pictures that you can of the bride and groom growing up, then add shots of them together now. (You can go right to Walmart with the old shots and scan them to disc for a couple of bucks!) Next, with the wonders of modern technology, a power point slide show can then be created with ease. The power point can run continuously while the guests eat, or can play once as a scheduled activity set to music. Maybe you even know someone who can work photoshop, to make you a funny one like this slideshow for Ben and Joanna, who by the way got married at an aquarium!

9. Reception Themes
A themed wedding reception is a great way to let your personalities shine. I have done weddings with many different themes including Heavy Metal, Hawaiian luau, Ethnic-specific, and even Vegas.

10. Hey, Mister DJ!
Great bands rock, but are sometimes limited to only a few sounds that may not be everyone’s cup of tea. A good DJ, however, can be like the weather in New England and change on an instant. At most wedding receptions, your DJ is the life of the party and can shuffle requests and the wishes of the bride & groom to keep EVERYONE happy. I happen to know a real good one, if you are looking!