5 Unique Wedding Favor Ideas

Weddings are special due to the fact that two people are joining their lives together, but they are also special because of a unique group of people—the guests!  Guests make it a point to make your day extra special, and wedding favors have become a fun way to thank guests for being a part of your wedding celebration.

The trick to giving a great wedding favor is to make it something fun, something special, and something that your guests will actually enjoy!  Many of us have received a favor as we exited a wedding, only to find it rolling around in our backseat weeks later.  The best favors are fun, useful, and thoughtful.  Here are five unique ideas that involve all three of these adjectives.

The Candy Bar
The best way to prevent your favor from being banished to the backseat or the bottom of a purse?  Give something edible.  And who doesn’t love candy?  Candy bars are typically set up on a table on the way out of a reception space and include large glass containers filled with different types of candies or other sweets.  Guests use small cellophane bags and scoops to create their own mixture of candy to take home and enjoy on the car ride home and well into the next day.  Make your candy bar personal by adding favorite candy of the bride and groom or color coordinate the candy to the colors utilized in the wedding.  For an extra special touch, use stickers with your names or monogram to seal the bags closed

Frame It
From the single gal, to the married mommy, to the dancing grandpa, everyone loves pictures, which means everyone loves and uses frames.  Frames come in countless shapes, sizes and colors, so you can’t go wrong with these memory holders.  Though some couples opt for personalized frames with their names or wedding date printed on the frame, your guests will likely get more use out of a favor without your name scrawled across it.  Nonetheless, they will still think of you each and every time they look at their frame.  This is a great favor option for couples who are considering having a photobooth at their wedding, or for those who want to do individual reserved seating.  The frame favor can double as a place card holder!

Think local
Every city has a few special and unique spots scattered about.  Perhaps it’s a bakery with cookies to die for or a local brewery that is unmatched by any others.  Maybe you are thinking about a destination wedding in a place with a well known specialty fruit.  Think about sharing some of these local favorites with your guests, especially if you have lots of guests coming in from out of town.  What better way to introduce them to the city than with a local favor?  For Chicagoans, this might mean a personal sized serving of Garrett’s Popcorn or a cookie iced with the Cubs logo.

Candles
These lovely lights and scent sharers have become recent favorites in wedding favors.  They are pretty, available in bulk, and easy to individually wrap.  However, take this popular favor to the next level with three things.  First, make it a scent most people like.  Just because a certain summer scent is on sale, doesn’t mean all of your guests will like it.  So, try to get a somewhat universal, but above all, a pleasant scent.  If you utilized a scent during your wedding, use that same scent to remind guests of your special day.  Second, even if the candle is already in a votive holder, wrap it in a something pretty so that guests can distinguish it from a candle being used for décor.  Tulle is a great wrapping option, and using tulle in your wedding colors will give it a personal touch.  Lastly, use a ribbon or tie of some sort to attach a quick note to your guests.  “Thanks for lighting up our night,” or “May the light of love shine for you tonight” are both fun options to keep with the candle theme.

Carts, Trucks, or Stands
Maybe the favors so far aren’t quite for you; maybe you want something a little bit more “outside the box.”  Think about giving your guests a tasty treat just after they’ve exited the reception site.  Take guests back to their childhood with an ice cream truck or snow cone stand outside of the reception site.  Not one with a sweet tooth?  Take a note from the city of Chicago and find a local vendor serving Chicago dogs or hot pretzels.  It’s a fun detail that will be sure to leave your guests with sweet taste in their mouth!

For additional ideas, visit the Music By Design Wedding Store.

Ceremony Music Tips

All About Ceremony Music
Hiring Your DJ to Play During Your Ceremony Makes Sense and Saves Money. A string quartet will run you between $300 and $500 per hour. Your DJ will charge you between $100 and $300 to run your ceremony.

When it comes to planning your wedding, a lot of attention is paid to the reception part of the day, but there’s also quite a bit to be considered when it comes to the ceremony itself.  One key question you may be asking yourself is, “Who will be providing the music for the ceremony?”  If you are having your ceremony at the same site as your reception, chances are your DJ will gladly provide music of your choice for your ceremony for considerably less (or at no charge) than it would cost to hire a string quartet or other musicians.

Live music is beautiful, but when you are on a budget, prerecorded high-quality digital versions are just as effective.  Your DJ will also have the microphones needed for your officiant and any readings you may have during your ceremony.

In terms of the music, you have unlimited options.  Some couples prefer traditional music and others prefer more contemporary options that reflect their personal taste.

The following are some examples in Ceremony Music Tips:


Traditional

Canon in D
Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring
Ave Maria
The Four Seasons: Spring
Lohengrin: Bridal Chorus
Midsummer’s Night Dream: Wedding March

Contemporary

Storybook Love from the movie “The Princess Bride”
When I’m Sixty-Four: The Beatles
Over the Rainbow: Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwoʻole
All I Want Is You: U2
Lovers in Japan: Coldplay
Lucky: Jason Mraz
Into The Mystic: Van Morrison

For a great mix of traditional meets contemporary, look into the Vitamin String Quartet.  They perform classic string versions of music for hundreds of artists – from The Beatles to Guns ‘N’ Roses.

Also, be sure to check out Fred Benedetti for some great instrumental guitar selections.

To make your ceremony easier to envision, the following is a sample of a timeline including notes where a special song is typically played.

Ceremony Timeline

Guests arriving and seated by ushers (ushers distributing programs) Prelude music playing

Ceremony begins

1. Groom and officiant processional Select a Song
2. Grandparents then parents processional (Select a song – usually same song as number 1)
3. The parents will light the candles (if you decide on a unity candle)
4. Bridal party processional Select a Song
5. Bride’s processional Select a Song
6. Bride and groom give flowers to the parents (optional) Select a Song
7. Readings (this is not as popular these days)
8. Vows
9. Unity candle or sand ceremony Select a Song
10. Bride and groom recessional Select a Song

All About Bridal Showers

As the bride, you won’t be planning your own bridal shower, but it helps to have an idea of what to expect (especially if your maid of honor is slow on the draw).

Read on for everything you need to know about bridal showers…

What Is It

Traditionally, a bridal shower is an opportunity for your close female friends and relatives to “shower” you with items you’ll need to make a new home and enter into marriage.  In fact, bridal showers are really the only wedding related event explicitly centered on gift giving.  Like many events and customs surrounding weddings, the rules for bridal showers have bended a bit.  Guest lists often include male attendants, and gifts don’t necessarily have to consist of hand towels and kitchen appliances.

When Is It

Showers typically take place a few weeks or months before the wedding but can really occur any time that’s convenient for the group to gather.  If you have a lot of long distance bridesmaids, they may choose to plan the shower and bachelorette party over the same day or weekend.

Who Hosts

Your maid- or matron-of-honor traditionally plans and hosts the bridal shower, enlisting the help and input of the other bridesmaids.  It’s typically viewed as impolite and self-serving for your close family members (mom and sis) to host the bridal shower, since it’s a gift giving event.  The etiquette around this has relaxed somewhat, however, especially if your maid-of-honor and other bridesmaids live far away and are unable to host.

Who’s Invited

The guest list includes all your bridesmaids, your mom, sister(s), and other family members, as well as your fiancé’s close female relatives.  Other friends and even co-workers may attend.  As couples showers are becoming more popular, spouses and the groom’s attendants are also joining in the fun.  Really, the only rule pertaining to the shower guest list is that everyone invited to the shower must also receive a wedding invitation.  (etiquette says: if they’re important enough to attend the shower – and bring a gift – then they’re important enough to attend the main event). Make sure to consult with your shower hostess before she sends the invites to make sure your guest lists match.

Where Is It

The style of the party will usually dictate the location, so feel free to have your maids get creative with the shower venue.  Here are some ideas:  a tea room, a garden, a park, a backyard, a friend’s house, any restaurant or function space.

What Happens – Bridal Shower Games

Since bridal showers center on gift giving, you’ll usually open your gifts surrounded by your guests.  One bridesmaid will keep track of who gave what to help you with thank-yous after the event.  Another shower custom is the mock “bouquet,” which the bridesmaids will create out of the package ribbons and bows for you to carry down the aisle at the wedding rehearsal.  Planned activities and games are a traditional shower staple, but don’t feel restricted to the typical “pin the tail on the groom” or “toilet paper wedding dress.”  You can find a list of bridal shower games here. Other requisite shower activities include – eating, laughing, and a little female bonding.

Ideas & Trends

Incorporating a theme can make planning a bridal shower easier and more fun, so if you have something in mind, feel free to consult with your maid-of-honor or bridesmaids.  Remember, the bridal shower doesn’t necessarily have to be a girly tea party.  If you’re not that type of girl, there are tons of options for themes based on your interests, whatever they may be – reading, gardening, outdoor activities, volunteerism, you name it.

source:elegala.com

Wedding Show Tips

The following wedding show tips will help your experience.
1. Make a list of what services you are looking for. Do you have a DJ yet? If not, put that on the list…etc.

2. Print out labels with your name, phone #, email address, and wedding date! (If you have room add your address also.) Many of the booths have drawings for prizes. They have forms to fill out to register for the drawing. By printing out labels you can just stick that to the vendors form and then get to the important stuff…checking out the vendors products and/or services! I’ve noticed some people just print out paper with their info on but labels are better as you can stick them onto the vendors form. If you don’t want to print out your own check out online companies like Vista Print where you can often get some printed for free!

3. Check out the wedding show website to see what vendors will be there. If you need a photographer then check out all the photographers that will be there. If you need a cake…do the same.

4. Decide what you’re looking for in the vendors you still need. For example, with your DJ, do you want an interactive DJ that plays games and dances with the guests or one directs and coordinates your event in a more professional way? Do you want a photographer that provides you with albums or do you just want a full resolution disk of your photos to do what you want with? Make a list of what you are looking for and questions you want to ask them.

5. Once you see what vendors will be there, check their websites. By doing this you can get a preview of their work and get an idea if it’s a vendor you’d like to work with. Add the vendors you’re interested in to your list of services needed.

At the show

1. Bring with you the list of services needed and vendors you’re interested in as well as your labels. Also bring a notepad and pen to take notes.

2. Bring a camera to take pictures of any ideas you want to incorporate into your wedding.

3. Bring your checkbook. Many vendors offer specials if you book while at the show. However, don’t book a vendor just because of a show special. If you have any doubts about them…wait until your consultation.

4. Bring your mom or a friend whose opinion you trust. Plus, as a bonus, they can help you carry things!

5. Register when you get to the show and be sure to grab the map or program they provide so you can locate the vendors you’re interested in.

6. Take notes! You will probably meet with multiple vendors offering the same services so be sure to take notes so you remember who you like and why. And be sure to ask the questions you listed before the show.

After the show

1. Pull out the brochures and/or business cards from the vendors you liked.

2. Call or email those vendors to set up consultations so you can see more of their work and so you can get to know them to make sure your personalities “click”!

source: bridaltweet.com

Rehearsal Dinner Etiquette

Rehearsal Dinner Etiquette

Everything you need to know to plan a rehearsal dinner, the prelude to the main event…

The rehearsal dinner sets the stage for the entire wedding weekend and is often the first opportunity for family members and guests to meet and greet.  Like a calm before the storm, it’s usually relaxed and intimate, allowing the bride and groom to unwind with their closest friends and family before the whirlwind of the main event.

What Is It

The rehearsal dinner is a celebratory meal after, you guessed it, the ceremony rehearsal.  It can be a formal dinner party, a backyard barbeque, or a seaside clambake. Regardless of style – it almost always involved a meal of some kind.

When Is It

The rehearsal dinner usually occurs right after the rehearsal, which is almost always the afternoon or evening before the wedding.

Who Hosts

The groom’s parents traditionally host and pay for the rehearsal dinner.  Nowadays, however, planning and hosting weddings – and all the events surrounding them – is often a group effort.  During your initial wedding budget talks with all contributing parties – you’ll need to discuss and determine plans for hosting the rehearsal dinner.

Who’s Invited

The guest list typically includes the wedding party, immediate family, and the officiant.  Some couples choose to invite out-of-town guests as well, but if you have a far flung guest list, inviting them all may be impractical.

Where Is It

For convenience reasons, the rehearsal dinner should take place close to the wedding location; however, the choice of venue type is pretty open.  Restaurants are always a popular option, yet more and more couples are starting to get just as creative with their rehearsal dinner venues as they are their wedding venues.  Mansions, museums, parks, gardens, backyards – you name it – it can host a rehearsal dinner.

What Happens

Rehearsal dinners are well-suited for toasting (and roasting), since speakers may feel more comfortable in a more intimate environment.  As the traditional host, the father of the groom usually speaks to welcome guests.  The best man, maid of honor, bridesmaids, or really anyone else may offer a toast.  The bride and groom can also use this opportunity to distribute their attendant gifts and thank their families and guests.

Ideas and Trends

More and more couples are opting for casual rehearsal dinners, especially when the wedding is particularly elegant.  Brides and grooms who want to relax and enjoy themselves before the main event find an unbuttoned affair particularly enticing, causing clambakes, crawfish boils and barbeques to become popular.  Other couples are centering the dinner around a fun activity such as a boat cruise, wine tasting, casino night, mini golf – even bowling.

Regardless, try to plan a rehearsal dinner that’s a contrast to the wedding, so your guests aren’t thinking “been there, done that,” by the time your reception starts.

source: elegala.com

Save The Date Cards: A Brides Guide

Although save-the-dates are not absolutely necessary, these cards have increased in popularity with the rise of destination weddings and modern guest lists spread over the country. Since they are a relatively modern concept, no real rules apply – a fact which sometimes causes confusion for brides when planning their wedding stationery. We’ve sorted through the information that’s out there to bring you the real ins and outs concerning save-the-dates…

Who Needs Save the Date Cards?

If your guest list includes a number of out-of-towners or if your wedding takes place during a holiday or other peak time, you are a prime candidate for save-the-dates. Since invitations don’t go out until 6-8 weeks before the big day, save-the-dates are the perfect way to give wedding guests a preliminary heads up so they can begin making travel arrangements. These days, however, more and more brides send these cards regardless of the time and location of their wedding. Why? Save-the-dates provide a fun opportunity to get the word out and foreshadow the style of your big event!

Save the Dates – Rules & Etiquette

Again, few rules apply. The only information you must include is your names and the wedding date, although we suggest including location information as well so wedding guests can begin their travel plans. Aim to send save-the-date cards soon after you secure your date and venue, or about 6 months prior to your wedding. Remember, everyone who receives a save-the-date also receives an invitation, so have your guest list finalized prior to sending them. Although formal replies are not required, you can get preliminary attendance estimates through word-of-mouth.

Save the Date Trends & Ideas

These cards will be the first impression of your wedding festivities, so take advantage of this opportunity to build excitement amongst your wedding guests. If you already know the colors and/or theme of your wedding, now’s your chance to provide a sneak peak. Or try including a favorite love poem or quote that symbolizes your relationship. Here are some of our favorite ideas and trends:

  • Use vibrant colors that will “pop” as soon as guests open the envelope.
  • Incorporate graphics that correspond with the season and/or location of your event. If you are planning a fall wedding try including colorful leaves, or include seashells for a wedding on the water.
  • If the timing is right, turn your save-the-date cards into holiday greetings. Incorporate your engagement photo or another photo taken shortly after the proposal.
  • Who says they have to be printed stationery? Set yours apart by turning them into scrolls, pens, stickers, magnets or a creative calendar-marker.

Wording Samples for Save the Dates

The content of your save-the-dates should be short, sweet, and to the point – providing a basic who, what, where, and when. There is no standard wording; they can be as formal or as whimsical as you’d like. In any case, make sure to include “Formal invitation to follow” somewhere on the card.

Here is the basic layout for the save-the-date cards:


Save the Date: [bride & groom’s name] are getting married on [wedding date] in [city, state]

Here are some other wording samples you might want to consider:
Traditional:
Please save the date:
May 4, 2006 for the wedding of
Mike & Ansley in Charleston, South Carolina

Fun & cutesy:
We’re Tying The Knot!
Justin popped the question, and Katie said yes.
Please join us on October 2, 2006
Orange County, California

For a destination wedding:
Please join us in paradise on June 17, 2006
when Lisa & Jay say “I Do”
in Maui, Hawaii

Source: Elegala.com

Attending a Wedding Reception as a Guest: A DJ’s Perspective

Attending a Wedding Reception as a Guest: A DJ’s Perspective

As a professional DJ with Music By Design, Ltd., my calendar is booked between now and the end of the year with wedding receptions.  Every weekend is different, fun and exciting.  I have the opportunity to play music customized to each couple’s taste, observe family traditions, and orchestrate the evening and deliver a memorable and enjoyable event for everyone involved.

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a wedding as a member of the bridal party.  The couple was using a DJ who was working as an independent contractor for a large DJ company based in Naperville.  Clearly, the couple did not know the DJ was an independent contractor – most DJ ‘booking agents’ lie about that part.  Because of Music By Design’s attention to detail and commitment to stellar customer service, I was eager to see how this DJ would perform.  Needless to say, I was observing with a critical eye and ear.

The first thing that struck me was that the DJ was not prepared with the proper equipment to run the audio for the couples’ video montage, even though the couple had made arrangements for with DJ company in advance.  Fortunately, Music By Design’s office was not very far away and I drove to get the proper equipment.  Since the DJ was not accountable for the quality of service (he is an independent contractor), there was obviously a communication breakdown between the couple, the company (booking agent), and the actual DJ.

The next thing that I found unsettling was that he had the wrong bridal party introduction music cued up.  Luckily, I clarified with him moments before he was going to begin and had him change the song to the bride and groom’s selection.  In some cases, perhaps the introduction music is not a big deal, but in this instance the groom was a big Chicago White Sox fan and wanted the party to come out to ACDC’s “Thunderstruck.”  Any other song would have fallen short of his expectations for this big moment.

Next, there was an issue with the dinner music.  When a Music By Design DJ plays dinner music, we hand select songs based on the musical taste of the couple and their guests.  We remain at the DJ booth and actively select music to accommodate the bride and groom.  This DJ put on Michael Buble and let it play through – even allowing the songs to loop (play the same song over and over).  I am not knocking Michael Buble, I think he’s great, but I would have mixed it up with various artists.  To put music on “loop” is cheating the guests and the couple and leads people to wonder, “Why not just plug in an iPod?”.  When a couple is spending over $1,000 for a DJ, they deserve a DJ that is going to “actively DJ” the entire night.

Next, there was an issue with the first dances.  The bride and groom’s dance went smoothly as did the father-daughter dance, but when the DJ played the mother-son song, he began to replay the bride and groom’s song.  Not only was it embarrassing to have to stop the dance and have the groom walk to the DJ booth, but then the DJ did not have the custom song that the groom had requested.  As far as I am concerned, that is completely unacceptable.  How is it possible to not have the mother-son dance? That is what happens when independent contractors are invovled.

At this point, I wanted to try to let go, have a few cocktails and enjoy myself.  After all, it’s not often that I get to party and dance at a wedding.  So, the dance floor opened up around 9:15 p.m. and I put on my dancing shoes.  I was determined to have a good time no matter what and I did, but, I know for a fact that the bride and groom submitted a detailed list of must play songs and I was not hearing any of those songs.  What I was hearing was a very cookie cutter, run of the mill, been-there-done-that, stale list of traditional wedding reception songs.  Oh, we heard, “We are Family”, “Celebration”, “YMCA”, “Shout”… you probably know them just as well as I do.  Now, there’s nothing wrong with these songs.  I am not trying to sound like a pretentious music snob.  I am simply noting that this bride and groom requested specific songs and not many of them were played until the groom spoke with the DJ. All they got was the same cookie cutter wedding music as another couple got the weekend before that, and the weekend before that, and so on.   There was nothing unique about the music selections…even though the bride and groom were told they can choose their music.    Did people dance and have fun?  Yes, they did.  Did I hear people comment that the DJ wasn’t very good?  Yes, I did.

Bottom line: Always know what you are getting if you book a company using independent contractors. Also, learn how to identify a company that uses independent contractors (most of these DJ companies ‘booking agents’ try to hide it).  Chances are, they are accustomed to playing the same music week in and week out and will not go above and beyond in terms of customer service.

Wedding Budget Etiquette

Tradition states that the bride’s parents are responsible for fronting the bill for the wedding reception; these days, the bride’s parents, groom’s parents, and the couple themselves all contribute to the wedding pool. That said, it helps to come to the budgeting table prepped with the traditional list of which side pays for what. These conventional “rules” can then be adjusted according to your financial situations:

Wedding Costs Paid by the Bride and/or Bride’s Parents

* Ceremony rental fee
* Bride’s dress and accessories
* Ceremony flowers and décor
* Bouquets for bridesmaids and flower girl
* DJ, Photography, and videography
* Engagement party
* Bridesmaids’ luncheon
* All vendor services for reception, including food, beverages, and décor
* Groom’s ring
* Invitations and stationery
* Transportation for bridal party to and from ceremony and reception

Wedding Costs Paid by the Groom and/or Groom’s Parents

* Marriage license and officiant’s fee
* Groom’s attire
* Bride’s bouquet, boutonnieres for ushers, and corsages for mothers and    grandmothers
* Honeymoon Travel
* Rehearsal dinner
* Bachelors’ dinner
* Both of the bride’s rings

Costs Incurred by the Wedding Attendants

* Their own attire, including shoes and accessories
* Bridal party hosts bridal shower and bachelorette party
* Groom’s party hosts the bachelor party

source: elegala.com

Completing Your Event Timeline

Completing Your Event Timeline

As your wedding day approaches, you are putting the finishing touches on months of planning.  Last month, we gave you some tips on filling out your Music Request List.  This month, we want to provide you some guidance when filling out your Event Timeline.

When it comes to planning the timeline of your reception, most couples get overwhelmed and are not sure what time each event should take place.  “This is my first (and hopefully) only wedding, and I have no idea what to do.” We hear this time and time again from brides.  First of all, breath easy.  Your DJ and your banquet captain are there to help.  We do weddings every weekend and are very familiar with what needs to happen and when so that your event flows smoothly.  Your wedding night should be a time for you to enjoy and not stress about the timing of each item on the list.

You will meet with the banquet captain and discuss your timeline with your DJ prior to your reception, but here is an example of a standard timeline to help point you in the right direction.  Keep in mind, this is your event.  The following is merely a suggestion based on our experience, but in no way is it set in stone.  Your vendors are there to accommodate you and give you and your new spouse the best experience possible. Completing Your Event Timeline.

6:00 pm – Cocktail Hour Begins

6:50 pm – DJ announces that all guests should be seated and all members of the bridal party meet in foyer to lineup for introductions.

7:00 pm – Bridal party introductions

7:05 pm – Bride and groom cut cake

7:10 pm – Best man / maid of honor speeches

7:25 pm – Blessing

7:30 pm – First course served

8:45 pm – Bride and groom’s first dance

8:50 pm – Bride and father dance

8:55 pm – Groom and mother dance

9:00 pm – Dance floor opens to all guests

10:00 pm – Bouquet Toss

10:05 pm – Garter removal

11:30 pm – Last call for alcohol

11:55 pm – Last dance

12:00 pm – Reception ends

Again, the above is an example of a standard timeline, but you may have a few questions as to the timing of each event.

1)      Why cut your cake immediately after being introduced?  Cutting your cake immediately after being introduced is a good idea for several reasons.  First, it allows the banquet hall to remove the cake early and begin slicing it for your guests in time for desert.  Second, you already have the attention of everyone in the room immediately after being introduced.  Therefore, none of your guests will miss that special moment.  Third, the photographer has an opportunity to take your pictures before you begin eating.  The groom may want to remove his jacket and roll up his sleeves for dinner.  Taking the cake cutting pictures early ensures that you still look your best.

2)      How many speeches should we have?  It is traditional to have your maid/matron of honor and best man give a speech.  We suggest that each speech be kept to a maximum of 5 minutes.  By keeping speeches short and sweet, you retain the attention of your guests and assure that dinner is served on time and hot.  It is recommended that all speeches be given before dinner is served.  Having speeches given during food service can be distracting and draws attention away from the individual giving the speech.  Your DJ and banquet hall will be flexible, just make sure you know in advance how many speeches will be given.  Some family members may want to give “surprise” speeches.  Unless previously scheduled or given the green light for surprise speeches from the bride and groom, your DJ will not give the microphone to guests that are not on the speaker schedule.  This ensures that you reception stays on schedule and allows plenty of time for other formalities and dancing.

3)      What if the bride and groom what to give a “welcome speech”?  Oftentimes, the bride and groom are compelled to thank everyone for coming.  Most couples feel that speaking immediately after the other speeches is appropriate, but we recommend waiting until desert to do so.  Why wait?  First of all, it makes for quicker dinner service.  The less speeches given before dinner, the faster the food is served, which makes for happy guests and happy vendors.  Second, and more importantly, it gives you time to soak it all in.  During dinner, you have a chance to look around the room, see all the people that made it out for your special day and think of what you really want to say in your speech.   These speeches are generally brief, but heartfelt.  “We’d like to thank everyone for coming to our reception….thanks to the Smith family for traveling from overseas….thank you to (bride’s family) thank you to (groom’s family)….enjoy the reception….see you on the dance floor.”

4)      We want to have a video montage.  How long should it be and when should we show it?  It has become popular so show a slideshow during the reception.   A slideshow is a nice way to display your love story to your guests and is sure to draw laughter and tears from those who love you the most.  However, a sideshow that is too long can have an adverse affect and cause your guests to lose attention and interest.  We recommend keeping your slideshow between 7-8 minutes long using roughly 100 photos.  A good rule of thumb is 30 pictures of the bride, 30 pictures of the groom and 40 pictures of the bride and groom as a couple.  Selecting one song to be played over each segment provides theme music for each sequence and lends itself well to transitions.  Plan on scheduling your slideshow immediately preceding the speeches or during desert.  If you have a lot of speeches, definitely wait until desert.  Spacing events out gives your guests things to look forward to.  Your DJ will make an announcement prior to starting the slideshow that guests that cannot see the screen may want to move to a spot in the room where they can view the show more easily.

As you fill in your Event Timeline, remember to click “Save My List” as you continue to plan your evening and “Submit My List” when you are done. Your online forms should be submitted 14 days prior to your reception. Your Music By Design DJ will personally call you the week of your event to discuss all of the information you have submitted and answer any questions you may have. Our mission is to have a clear understanding of your expectations and work diligently to exceed them. Please visit our Ceremony Music Planning Guide.

Bouquet Toss – A Modern Spin On Tradition

Weddings are full of traditions, but all brides are not traditional. When it comes to your wedding day, don’t be afraid to alter wedding traditions and add your own personal touch to the day. One such tradition that is making its way out of some wedding receptions is the bouquet toss.

Traditionally, the DJ/MC will make an announcement for all the single ladies in the room to make their way out to the dance floor. If you’ve been to a wedding in the past year, you can guess what song is among the top favorites to get all the single ladies out on the dance floor. The young ladies fill the dance floor; the bride turns her back to the wild pack and, on the count of three, she hurls the bouquet over her shoulder into the hands of a lucky young lady. According to lore, the woman who catches the bouquet is said to be the next to be married.

Sounds like a fairytale, right? Well, the truth is that some brides find this tradition silly and are opting to cut the bouquet ceremony all together. If you find yourself somewhere between traditional and new age, there is a very classy, yet fun, option for you: present your bouquet to the couple that has been married the longest.

Discuss the details with your DJ ahead of time. The preparation is simple, but will prove to be a very memorable moment in your evening. Select a song for an anniversary dance. The song should be over 3 minutes in length and should fit the theme of long lasting love. Consider the following: Remember When, by Alan Jackson; Lucky, by Jason Mraz; or Thank You by Led Zeppelin.

Your DJ will invite all of the married couples out on the dance floor. Periodically, he will eliminate couples from the dance floor, starting with you, the newlyweds. To avoid having everyone abandon the dance floor, quit dancing, and miss the crowning moment, he should say something like, “When I call you, please join the newlyweds on the outer edge of the dance floor.” The goal is to have everyone circle the last remaining couple. He will continue calling out years, “If you have been married for less than 30 years…35 years….40 years…” and so on until the last couple is dancing in the middle of all the married couples.

Your “toss” bouquet should be waiting for you at the DJ’s booth, when you go to retrieve it, let your DJ know how many years the winning couple has been married. Your DJ will recognize the lucky, loving couple as you present them with your bouquet. Tip: You can go the extra mile and add a special bottle of wine to the presentation. At this time, the DJ can invite everyone back to the dance floor to join the winning couple.

If you are less than traditional bride, the bouquet presentation coupled with an anniversary dance is a great way to reinvent the bouquet custom.