“The Question” by DJ Bernard from Australia

You wouldn’t walk into restaurant, and ask “How much for a meal?” and expect a definitive answer. Not without adding some more detail to the request. “We’d like to bring 20 people to your restaurant for dinner on Feb 14th, what would that cost us?” is better, but still won’t give the restaurant the ability to work up a bill for you. There are more details to take into consideration, What Items from the menu will be chosen? Will you ask for an entree and/or desert? If so how many of the guests will indulge? Coffee? Alcohol? A private room or the main dining area? The list can be quite comprehensive before the final amount is settled upon. Yes, some restaurants will offer pre-determined packages, with set prices to make this process easier. But it will come at some cost to the personalisation of the dining experience.

Now what has this got to do with the View from behind the decks? Let me reword those questions above, quoted from emails I’ve received this week.

“How much for a DJ?” thats it, that’s all she wrote, literally. Now, this is not the regular way that people ask for a quote from me, but it has happened.

“We are getting married on Feb 14th at XYZ Restaurant and would like you to DJ, what will that cost us?” is another example, of a recent quote request.

The entertainment at your wedding is not, SHOULD NOT, be a prepackaged fast food Burger, Fries and a Soft drink. There is a world of gastronomic delights waiting for you on the buffet of ambiance. Customised entries, love stories, dancing on clouds, mood lighting, MCing duties, memorable moments, personal touches, creative garter and bouquet events are just some of the thousands of options that can be brought to the table.

So next time you, or some one you know is looking for a service provider, give them some real detail or better yet, give them some of your time, so they can give you some detail. Together the Bride & Groom and the right Wedding Entertainment Specialist, can create a feast for the senses.

Wedding Entertainment Specialists no longer just slap a CD on the barbie. Bon appetit.

If you want more, check out my website www.partysounds.com.au or tweet @PerthWeddingDJ

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By Dave Hastings, National President of the Canadian Professional Disc Jockey Association

What do you do when the Bride and Groom say that they’re thinking about speeches between courses during dinner? Do you go with it – or – recommend against it? This is a topic that I discuss with every wedding couple I have the honor of entertaining.

Although some people have an issue with doing their speeches back to back once dessert and coffee have been served because it “seems to take so long”, if your speeches are properly presented, this shouldn’t be a problem. (From an entertainment prospective, there are all sorts of things you can do from your end to enhance this experience.)

Personally, I’m against this idea – and here’s why:

The “Long Talker” – If someone decides to ramble on instead of respecting the audience by pre-preparing their speech in advance and sticking to it – the entire meal experience suffers because the quality of the food goes down hill if it’s served when it’s not at its prime.

People don’t pay attention – When someone is speaking, I consider it disrespectful to the speaker when people chit-chat through their speech! Public speaking is the world’s greatest fear, so why would you make this process harder on them by setting up your speech-makers to work in a situation where people aren’t providing their un-divided attention?

Maybe I’m a little old school, but come on, where are peoples’ manners today?? The next time I hear someone yell “Can you pass the salt?” across a table – loud enough for the entire room to hear when someone’s at the microphone – I might have to injure them severely…

It doesn’t take “less time”. Some are under the impression that you get through the combination of the meal and speeches faster if you do speeches between courses. In my experience, I’ve seen it take up to 30 percent longer.

When people speak back to back, the second person will self-edit their content if the person who just spoke said what they were going to say. (When it comes to the story about Uncle George and the Elephant – once is more than enough.)
By eliminating the repetitive portions that cause the guests to “tune out”, what is being said is listened to with a greater level of attention – improving the entire experience.

If you give people the time to forget what was said by putting a course between speakers, this natural process drops dramatically.

People don’t mind listening to good speeches.

If your clients want to make this more fun – present the idea of doing musical introductions. If you ever wonder why there is no “dead air” once someone is introduced at an awards show? It’s because nothing drives a speech-makers anxiety level up faster than the time between when the hands stop clapping – and they finally start to speak. (This also enhances your value to you customers.)

The more relaxed the speaker is when they get to the mic – the more people listen.
Remind your clients to tell the speakers that they don’t have to fill air – they just have to make sure that they say what they are “honestly” feeling. Honest, sincere speeches get much more attention that something taken off the internet. It doesn’t have to be long – it just has to be from their heart – and prepared in advance.

Here’s a quick tip from Tom Haibeck, the author of “The Wedding M.C.”. (If you haven’t read his books – do yourself a favor and go buy them – they’re worth their weight in gold!)
If your clients are worried about what might “come up unexpectedly” during speeches, simply recommend to them that they tell everyone who is going to speak that their speech must be sent to you in writing a minimum of 14 days before the event.

This benefits both your client – and the event in the following ways:

A. It gives the Bride and Groom gives the chance to review the speeches in order to eliminate the potential of inappropriate content negatively affecting the event. If you can help them dodge this bullet, they’ll love you for it…

B. You take the pressure off of the Bride and Groom. If they can deflect the whole speech editing/content issue off on to you – it takes the pressure off of them. They’ll love you even more for it…

C. You get a chance to see what’s being said – giving you the opportunity to possibly work with the speaker to enhance their presentation. Your speaker will love you for it, and so will the audience because they’ll want to listen.

D. It makes sure that everyone comes prepared. If people are forced to actually put some work into their speech, the time line is respected, and the content improves.
If someone starts off their speech with “I didn’t prepare anything so I’m just going to speak from my heart”, a doorway of potential issues has just been wedged wide open at the event that sometimes can be hard to close.
This is where your “Long Talkers” often come from.

If you keep them on time – they’ll recommend you because of it.

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Choosing your Location

As you begin to embark on the journey to your wedding day, there will be many decisions you will need to make and many suppliers to consider. The best piece of advice I can give you is to “Get Professional Help”! That being said, many brides and their families will still want to do most of the selection of whom and what will be at their wedding. I will be publishing a series of articles on what to do and how to do it as it relates to some of the key things of a successful wedding and reception.

When brides and grooms start looking for wedding venues, too often they fall in love with the beauty of the place and sign a contract before they take the time to look at the practical aspect of their needs. But unless the place is so magical that you’re willing to plan your whole event around it, you should not choose your wedding venue until you’ve decided approximately how many guests you’re inviting and the size of your budget. You’ll also need to decide if you want to have your ceremony and reception at different locations, or if you want an all-in-one wedding venue.

Over the past few years, the traditions have changed. There was a time when almost all wedding occurred in a church. The reception, if any, may have been in the church basement or possibly at an outside location. Today, many couples are choosing to have their wedding and reception at the same facility. It makes sense, because guests do not have to travel between locations, and many young couples today are not members of a church congregation. Once you have made this decision, you will need to start researching and interviewing different wedding venues. Here are some items to keep in mind and some questions you may want to ask during your interviews.
You will want to book your venue anywhere from six to eighteen months before your actual selected wedding date, as the popular venues tend to fill up quickly. If you have your heart set on having your wedding at a particular facility, in addition to booking it early, you will want to keep your wedding date flexible.
You need to make a tentative guest list early and only consider venues that can comfortably handle the number of guests you think you may have. If you think you may have 160 guests, do not get a venue that sits only up to 150, hoping that some people don’t show up. It is never a good situation to have more guests than available seating.
It is also important to establish your overall budget early in your planning stage. Establish what portion of your budget will be devoted to the location. Keep in mind that a single location will generally be more economical unless you can use your church for free. Be sure to ask if certain days, like a Thursday or Sunday, offer a reduced rate. When you decide on a venue, make sure to find out when deposits and payments are due. A deposit to hold the date will be required and virtually all venues require full payment at least thirty days in advance of the wedding date.
Find out what items are included in the price. Some venues offer tables, linens, chairs and, even, decorations, while other venues offer only the space that you will need to fill. Be sure to find out if a set-up or clean-up fee is included in the price, as well as the hours before and after the wedding needed to do so.
If you and your partner have a particular type of food you want served, ask the venue if they require in-house catering or if they allow outside caterers. If the catering is in-house, is this a factor in the price?
Should you decide on an outdoor ceremony and reception, make sure you have a backup plan in case of bad weather. Ask about changing rooms for the bride, bridesmaids and groomsmen.
If you plan on serving alcohol, find out what types of rules or restrictions are in place at the facility. Some venues allow you to bring in your own liquor, while others make you use their own in-house bar and bartender. If you provide your own alcohol, plan on purchasing liquor liability insurance for your event.
Depending on the location of your venue, you may need to discuss the parking situation. Some venues may offer valet parking while others offer adequate-sized parking lots for all of your guests.

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A Unique Idea for Save the Date and Invitations

When planning for a wedding, brides want something unique and individualized for their wedding announcements . With numbers of guests that can easily reach a minimum of 100, wedding items such as souvenirs, place cards, thank you cards and wedding invitations can add a lot to the cost of the wedding. Brides want to have a personal and memorable touch for their weddings and they can express these touches in wedding invitations and/or save the date cards. Wedding invitations can set the mood and theme of the wedding. Something that is different and unique is to utilize a custom created postcard, greeting card or brochure style save the date mailer.

For a wedding invitation and save the date mailer to truly stand out, customized images can create a spectacular impression if the image is a photograph of an out of town wedding venue, a romantic honeymoon destination and include photos of the bride and groom. Full color photographic quality printing with options for glossy or matte finish help set the mood and enhance the design of the invitation or card. The cost of this is surprisingly affordable and you can send out as many as you want without adding to your production costs.

AUE Graphics (www.auegraphics.com) can assist you with a design that will enable a bride to fully express her desire to create that one of a kind design wedding invitation for the once in lifetime, all-important event of her life.

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Wish Upon A Wedding – Granting Terminally Ill People a Great Wedding!

Wish Upon A WeddingWe are pleased to announce that DJ Alan Dodson and An Unforgettable Event have volunteered our services to Wish Upon A Wedding. http://wishuponawedding.org/

Check out this organization and get involved. They have partnered with one of our business partners, Get Married Magazine! www.getmarried.com

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Rehearsal Tips – How to Conduct a Proper Rehearsal at the Venue

1. Rehearsals generally start out a little backward. Normally a rehearsal will start with everyone standing at the altar so the bridal party knows the order they will stand in during the ceremony and know who their partner will be for the recessional. It is a good idea to place a small piece of tape in the place each person will stand to keep things even.

2. Next everyone practices walking out. The bride and groom will go first and it is customary to let them go the whole way down the aisle before the maid of honor and best man start down the aisle. It is important for each couple to wait until the couples in front of them are at least half way down the aisle before starting so the photographer has enough time to get each bridal couple. If the couples come down right behind each other the photographer will only get a clear shot of the couple in front. The ushers or groomsmen will need to remember to walk back in to escort out the mothers and then the grandparents. The bride’s mom is escorted out first then the groom’s mother and the fathers walk behind. Occasionally the fathers will escort the mothers out instead of the ushers.

3. If you’re having a receiving line then everyone will line up in the back in the order they will stand. Some receiving lines only include the couple while others have the couple and their parents. If there is enough room you can also include the bridal party. If you don’t want a receiving line you’ll need to hide somewhere out of sight of the guests or you’ll have one whether you want one or not.

4. Now it’s time to practice the processional. The bridesmaids will line up at the back of the church while the groomsmen go behind the altar with the minister. Before any of the bridal party walk in the grandparents and mothers will be escorted in by ushers. First the grandparents, grooms side first then the brides. Then the mothers are escorted in, grooms mother first and then the bride’s mother. If there is a unity candle this is when the mothers will go up and light the two side candles. It is important at this time to assign who will be walking the mothers or on the wedding day there will be confusion. Next it’s time for the minister, groom and groomsmen to walk in. None of the bridesmaids should walk in until all of the groomsmen have walked in and are settled into place. It is common for the first bridesmaid to get nervous and start too early. By the time the photographer is done shooting the men and turns around to get the first bridesmaid, she is already up the aisle and the photographer can’t capture her. So wait until the men are completely in place. Next the bridesmaids will come in and they should space themselves so one is at least half way up the aisle before the next one starts. This gives the photographer time to catch each girl. They also need to remember to walk slowly and should practice it that way the night of the rehearsal or they will walk too fast on the wedding day. The flower girl and ring bearer will come in just before the bride. Once they are completely up the aisle and in place then it’s time for the bride and her father. When you come down the aisle don’t look at the photographer, you should be looking at your groom. You did go through a lot of trouble not to see each other before the ceremony so you should be looking at each other and nowhere else.

5. You’re finally at the altar. It’s time for your dad to give you away. Make sure he gives you a kiss or a hug before he leaves. So many fathers just walk away and that’s a lost opportunity for a wonderful photo shot. If the minister will allow it you should face each other so that everyone in the crowd and your photographer can see you and not your backs. You may want to practice putting your rings on each other so you do it in a way that it can be seen. When you say your vows look at each other. So many couples look at the minister. Remember, you’re not marrying the minister, look at each other. It is also wonderful if you hold hands and be affectionate with each other during the ceremony. These are some of the best images from the ceremony. If at all possible try to arrange it that you go around the table that the unity candle is located on so your family (and photographer) can see your faces as you light it together. Most couples walk up and completely block it with their backs.

6. The first kiss. It should be something wonderful, memorable, and should last longer than one second. You may be shy but for this one time let your passion out for each other. You won’t regret it when you see the gorgeous images.

7. Now it’s time to go out again which you’ve already practiced so this time it should be a snap. You should repeat everything at least one more time to make sure everyone understands their job.

8. IMPORTANT: the people last out of the recessional are the first people down the aisle of the processional—except for a few adjustments. Don’t put someone at the end that is too young or shy to be the first person out.

9. Every rehearsal I attend someone always shows up late. It is a good idea to tell everyone a half hour earlier than the actual rehearsal time. If only one person is missing, you should go ahead and start practicing. They will be able to get their part the second time around.

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The Wedding Ring

Rings were used as currency in the Middle East prior to the advent of coinage and were an outward sign of a person’s wealth. In the event of the marriage not turning out okay a woman might have been forced to leave with nothing but the jewelry she wore. This lends a whole new dimension to the saying “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend!” In ancient times the wedding ring was thought to protect the bride from “evil spirits”. Ancient Roman wedding rings were originally made of iron, but later a gold band came to symbolize everlasting love and commitment in marriage. Roman wedding rings were carved with two clasped hands. Very early rings had a carved key through which a woman was thought to be able to open her husband’s heart.

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The Honeymoon

Many of our traditions were born in the days of “Marriage by Capture”. One source says that after “kidnapping” his bride, the groom would take her and go into hiding. By the time the bride’s family tracked them down the bride would probably already be pregnant! A “bride price” would then be negotiated. An earlier source is the early Jewish custom of the bride and groom spending a week together alone immediately after the marriage feast. The earliest reference to this practice is the old testament’s account of Jacob’s marriages to Leah and Rachel.

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The Wedding Gown

The standard, White dress for weddings, really started in Victorian times thanks to Queen Victoria. Before that the bride usually wore her favorite color and used it as her best dress after the wedding. It was also a display of wealth to have a dress you only wear once. People did not have as many changes of clothes as we do now. Dresses had high collars, but party dresses could show a huge amount of chest. It became fashionable to copy Queen Victoria’s wedding. This is still done today. The Victorian bride favored a long veil down her back with a small crown of flowers (Queen Victoria wore orange blossoms.) Battenburg lace became very popular at this time. Before Queen Victoria, Royals always wed in Silver and commoners in blue. Brides of ancient Israel wore blue ribbons on the border of their wedding cloths to denote, love, modesty and fidelity. These are ideals still associated today with that color. Blue is also associated with the purity of the Virgin Mary and is the most popular of all colors. Many were married gowned in it. The something blue is a throwback to this ancient tradition honoring the purity of the bride. Faced with such an enduring biblical and social tradition it is ironic that Queen Victoria’s radical departure from tradition has become the norm. She also did a mean Waltz, by all accounts, which was far more shocking!
Red is the color of “Love and Joy” in China. At one time it was the brides’ favorite color of choice for the wedding garment, candles, guest gift favors and everything that went along with her wedding. In China today, many girls still choose to go by the old traditions of their forefathers.

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The Engagement Ring

The betrothal or engagement ring has for centuries symbolized the promise of a future together, sealed with the giving and accepting of a ring. In the early days of “Marriage by Purchase”, the betrothal ring served two purposes, a partial payment for the bride and as well a symbol of the groom’s good intentions. Rings featuring gem stones were popular in the 18th and 19th centuries. Often, the first letter of the stones within the setting spelled out the name of the giver or a word, such as “dearest” (diamond, emerald, amethyst, ruby, epidote, sapphire, turquoise). There was also a ring known as the “Gimmal Ring”. This three part ring had two clasped hands on it. During the engagement, one part of the ring was worn by the bride, one part by the groom and the third by a witness. It was reunited as the bride’s wedding ring, on the day of their marriage. The tradition of using diamonds in engagement rings, the first choice among brides today, can be traced to Medieval Italy (around 1477), where because of its beauty and its hardness, was chosen to stand for enduring love.

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