Choosing a DJ

September 27, 2007

Most brides rank wedding attire, reception venue and catering as top priorities when wedding planning.  However, when reflecting on thier wedding day,  they wished they had made entertainment a top priority.  Hiring the right DJ is of the utmost importance.  They can make or break your wedding day

Here are some things to consider when choosing a DJ for your  wedding or special event.

     1.  Expect the least amount of service for the least amount of pay.  The best price is not always the best deal.  A Disc Jockey will spend anywhere from 10 to 25 hours planning his/her service for your wedding event.  They will spend time consulting, music purchasing and editing, setting up and tearing down.  Remember, “You get what you pay for.”

     2.  A professional DJ should be prompt in returning your phone calls and emails, as well as willing to meet with you and present you with his/her service.  They should attend the meeting with a list of references, an itinerary of the reception, a contract or agreement to secure the date and be familiar with your type of event.  More importantly you should like the person you meet and they must be the DJ that will work at your wedding.

     3.  When planning your wedding or special event it is important to choose a Disc Jockey that has professional grade equipment.  It is also imperative that they have back up equipment.  Unforeseen events do happen and a professional DJ is always prepared with a Plan B.

     4.  A professional Disc Jockey does not have an office job and then “DJ on the side”.  Make sure that this is their only full time job and that they have an extensive and up to date list of music. It is important that you let the DJ do their job.  Aside from the first dance, some favorite songs that you have to hear,  and music that you do not want played, let the DJ play “to your guests.”  This will insure that the dance floor is full and everyone has a wonderful time.  There will be many guests of all ages at your event and you are hiring a DJ to make sure everyone has a wonderful time.  Also, make sure that your DJ will take requests.

     5.  Lastly, when you have met with a DJ that you like and he/she has demonstrated the before mentioned professional attributes, do not hesitate to hire him/her.  A great DJ will be in demand and your wedding date may be taken if you take to long to sign a contract.  Do not pay more than half the total price of service upon signing the contract with the remaining balance due at the wedding reception.

Hiring a DJ for your wedding is a crucial part of the wedding planning process. Your DJ will act as the Master of Ceremonies; as well as, the sound technician, and the light technician.  They will read the crowd and pick the appropriate music to keep your guests motivated.  A good DJ will work with and coordinate the other service providers at your event.  Following this advice when planning your wedding will ensure that your wedding reception will be memorable for you and your guests. 

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Wedding Etiquette

September 20, 2007

When it comes to wedding planning there are many things to consider.  Brides can and usually do become stressed just thinking about the “right way” to complete the various tasks involved.  For example, what does a bride do when deciding on the wording of  her invitations when her parents are divorced?  Who pays for what when the bride and groom already live together?  From whether or not to have an open bar, to the style of reception, brides can drive themselves crazy trying to please their family, guests and themselves.

In this writing I will address a few issues that can cause brides and their families distress.  Look for future writings about using etiquette when planning your wedding.  First let’s discuss save-the-date cards and invitations.

WEDDING PLANNING: Save-the-date cards 

When beginning your wedding planning consider the out of town guests you plan to invite.  Any out of town guests should receive a save-the-date card. Because your traveling guests will need to make many travel arrangements you will have to send these several months in advance.  You can send information about available hotel accomodations and local areas of interest at a later time.

Keep in mind that these save-the-date cards will be the first impression your guests will have of your wedding day.  For a beach wedding I suggested sending sand dollars calligraphed with the bride and groom’s name and the wedding date.  We placed magnets on the back so their guests would have a constant reminder every time they reached into the refrigerator.  This was a unique idea that garnered lots of compliments.


In my professional opinion, it is NEVER acceptable to send email invitations.  Your guests are worthy of receiving a proper invitation through the U.S. Postal Service.  If your budget is a concern, there are many inexpensive options at party and craft stores, which you can print yourself.

If the bride’s parents are paying for the wedding ceremony and reception  then their names are printed on the invitation.  This is true even if the bride’s parents are divorced or the bride and groom are co-habitating.   If the bride and groom already live together and are paying for their wedding ceremony and reception themselves then their names are printed as the hosts.  

It is courteous to send an invitation to your officiant and a guest, as well as your wedding party.  They do not need to respond.

NEVER, under any circumstances place registry cards in your invitations or suggest “cash only” as gifts.  Your friends and family will get the word out about where you are registered.  If you do not want children to attend you can add “Adult Reception” to the bottom of your reply cards.

When planning your wedding it is imperative to have an accurate guest count.  With that in mind it is perfectly acceptable to call guests who haven’t responded a week past the reply date.  You will need to let your caterer know the exact amount of guests no later than three weeks before your wedding date.

When it comes to wedding planning, keep in mind that it is YOUR day but using common etiquette for certain tasks is essential. 

Buffet or Sit-down?

September 3, 2007

There are many choices when planning your wedding reception and the style of dinner is no exception.  Deciding whether to have a buffet or sit-down dinner is an important decision and there are a few things to consider.

Sit-down dinner receptions are when your guests are seated by assigned tables and the meal is served to them at the table.  They are more formal by nature and under certain circumstances can be more costly than other alternatives.  There are three different styles of sit down dinner receptions. 

The more traditional form of a seated dinner reception is where the full meal is pre-arranged on individual plates before being served to each guest.  The French service is where the food is prepared tableside with two waiters serving each guest.  This type of service can also be where one server holds the platter (with the food already prepared) and the other serves the food to the guests.  The Russian service is where a server brings the platter of food to the table and the guests serve themselves.

The more traditional plated service deminshes the choices the guests have for dinner while the French and Russian service do not.  However, the French and Russian styles of service are more costly because of the amount of service involved.  

The advantages to having a seated dinner wedding reception are that the costs are often comparable to the buffet or food station styles, there isn’t any juggling of plates and glasses, there are no lines for your guests to wait in and there is more control over the timing of the rest of the reception. 

Buffet dinner receptions are where the food is prepared and set out on tables for the guests to serve themselves.  A new spin on the old buffet is to have food stations.  Food stations are just that, different stations of food placed around the wedding reception venue.  Buffets are not always less expensive as more food has to be prepared to accommodate multiple trips.  In addition, buffet lines can be long unless two identical tables are set up.  This could increase the cost due to additional staff and decorations needed for both tables.

Family-Style dinner receptions have the best of both worlds.  Guests don’t have to wait in lines or manipulate their plates as they return to thier table.  Your guests will also have more choices of entrees and side items.  This service is technically a sit-down dinner where the guests are seated and the servers bring platters of prepared food to the table.  The platters are then passed and each guest can select the amount and item they like.  They have the same choices as with a buffet and you won’t have to worry about running out of food.  When they are done the serving dishes can remain on the table for seconds and/or a server will remove the dish for either a “refill” or to clear the table.  The amount of servers needed may be increased when compared to a buffet as you will need approximately one server per two tables. 

Family style dinners don’t have to be casual.  For example, using silver serving dishes and utensils, serving more elegant foods (such as filet mignon – which is pre -sliced therefore saving on costs) and the attire of the servers can add to the formality of the dinner.

When planning your wedding reception consider that both the seated and buffet dinner services have their advantages and disadvantages. Along with the costs involved in wedding planning it is important to consider the enjoyment of your guests.