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.