Bridal Buds WeddingWire Blog

Category: Wedding DJ

How To Hire A DJ That’s Right For You

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Guest Post by: Marc Sense, Integral DJs

Photo Courtesy of: Tonhya Kae Photography

Out of all the wedding vendors couples book, the most challenging and arguably most important one is the DJ. You can judge a venue by its visual aesthetics or a photographer by their images, but what criteria can you use to find the best DJ for you? Here’s how to qualify a DJ, who fits both your needs and has the ability to execute your vision:

1. Mixing – Blending songs consistently and tastefully together while transitioning between different eras and genres of music. It requires technical skill, deep-music knowledge, and the intangible ability to read a crowd.

  • Why – This is the most important factor for keeping your family and friends on the dance floor all night long. It will be the difference between guests forgetting your wedding or having lifelong memories they’ll talk about forever.
  • How – Does the DJ have a mix that you can listen to? Can you see them perform live at an event? If yes, your ear will be able to distinguish their skill level and tell you if they’re the right fit. If the answer is no, take them off of the list.

2. Service/Organization – Ensuring that every need of a couple is met in a timely fashion and accounting for every detail ahead of time.

  • Why – The level of service is a barometer of how invested a DJ is to your event and should make that planning process as easy as possible. Organization ultimately leads to either a botched or well-executed event.
  • How – What is your online interaction like? Does the DJ understand your vision and communicate swiftly or is it like pulling teeth? An in-person meeting will give you a a chance to assess this and ask the DJ how they prepare for an event.

3. Hosting/MCing – Guiding an audience through an event with down-to-earth announcements. Creating a natural flow keeps things moving so people are always engaged.

  • Why – Family and friends invested their time and money to experience and witness every aspect of your wedding. The last thing you want is some guy blabbing on the mic and annoying everyone.
  • How – Again, an in-person meeting immediately reveals their verbal communication and listening skills. Or you can always see them perform live at an event.

4. Equipment – Having professional microphones, sound system, lighting, and gear.

  • Why – The most common problem is microphone feedback, which can ruin a ceremony or heartfelt speech. It doesn’t matter how incredible a mix is if it’s distorted or hits a volume ceiling.
  • How – Simply ask for a list of equipment then cross reference it online. The cost of the equipment typically correlates with its reliability and performance – the higher the better. If a DJ uses Technics 1200 turntables or Pioneer CDJ 1000s, that’s a sign they are serious about their mixing. If lighting is a priority then find out what options they have available.

5. Experience – The repetition of doing a variety of events.

  • Why – A DJ who is well versed in both the pressure of party rocking at a club and the detail required for weddings should be well equipped to make sure you have the time of your life.
  • How – Find out their gig history and actually verify its accuracy.

After you have done the research and interviews, take a step back and consider what’s most important to you. Set aside any preconceived ideas about price because investing in the DJ will ensure that all of the hard-earned money you’re spending in other departments doesn’t go to waste. A wedding only happens once and you should hire the right person that can create the unforgettable experience you’ve always dreamed of.

Marc Sense | Founder, Integral DJs

Marc Sense is the founder of Integral DJs based in Seattle, WA and Washington, DC. He has over 10+ years of experience performing at clubs across the country and concerts featuring the likes of Snoop Dogg, The Roots, and Macklemore. His team recently won WeddingWire’s Couples’ Choice Award 2014.
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Rock the Walk: Creative Ceremony Music

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Guest Post by: Marc Sense, Integral DJs

Photo: RMN Photography

Brides have been walking down the aisle to Richard Wagner’s “Bridal Chorus” for over 164 years in the Western world.

What began in the 19th century primarily in church settings has quickly fallen in favor for new flavors and an old-fashioned twist on contemporary music.

A majority of couples now choose songs that more accurately reflect their personalities than the time-honored tradition of “Here Comes The Bride.”

Recessional music (after the couple is officially married) also has taken an equal importance to processional music (what the officiant, parents, wedding party, and couple walk down the aisle to).

With so many options, it can be a challenge to pick the perfect song. Having played everything from Hall & Oates to Passion Pit to the Jaws soundtrack, here are a few useful tips for selecting ceremony music:

  1. Pick something that you like – the wedding is your celebration, so why not let the music reflect that? An incredible song will set the tone for the ceremony and dictate the emotions you and your guests feel. With the exception of maybe death metal and techno, any genre is perfectly acceptable as long as it has a happy vibe.
  2. Cover versions – they’re rapidly gaining momentum as groups like Vitamin String Quartet and The Piano Guys offer classic renditions of modern music. VSQ has done full album tributes to the likes of Coldplay to Lady Gaga. Everyone from your grandparents to nieces and nephews will be able to relate to that. In the digital age, many songs also have instrumental versions, which contain all of the original elements except the vocals.
  3. Song edits – as more music editing tools are readily available, it’s easier to customize songs. If the intro to a track is too long and drawn out, have the DJ trim that part or start the song from a certain time point. It’s also possible to loop and restart a short song to accommodate a bigger wedding party.
  4. Don’t try and time your steps to the music – just don’t; it’s impossible. Couples literally have stumbled down the aisle trying to time things just right. Let the DJ start and fade out the music at the appropriate time while you enjoy the moment worry-free.
  5. Make the recessional fun – the more upbeat the better. Even though you’ll probably have a grand entrance later, think of this as your very first introduction as a married couple. What do you want to people to remember? It could be anthemic and/or beautiful just like Bruno Mars’s “Marry You.”

Gone are the old days of playing the same standard songs. Use your wedding ceremony as an opportunity to create an incredible experience that is personal to you and your significant other.

Marc Sense | Founder, Integral DJs

Marc Sense is the founder of Integral DJs based in Seattle, WA and Washington, DC. He has over 10+ years of experience performing at clubs across the country and concerts featuring the likes of Snoop Dogg, The Roots, and Macklemore. His team recently won WeddingWire’s Couples’ Choice Award 2014.
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Wedding Games. Games?

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Yes, Games.

In several previous posts I have promised to write about incorporating games into your wedding celebration. I know that the idea of playing a game is frowned upon by many brides and professionals alike, just as I used to feel the same. Words such as tacky, corny or cheesy came to mind when I’d think of playing a game at a wedding reception. It was not until recently that I had the opportunity to work with Megan and Matthias, that my perception has changed. Matthias, his family and friends are from Germany and it was very important to him and Megan to incorporate some German traditions into their celebration. As German tradition has it, games were played. Their wedding was held at one of New Jersey’s most Magnificent wedding venues, Mallard Island Yacht Club. There is nothing cheesy about this place and yet playing a game was a highlight of the reception. Cheers for Matthias and Megan for bringing a little German tradition to America and thank you for opening my eyes to the possibilities.

Before I spouted my thoughts here I was compelled to do a little research about German weddings, paying close attention to the “games”. I think that part of the issue I used to have with the idea of playing games is the term games. The truth is that the term is used loosely to describe activities, fun events or symbolic ceremonies that are traditional in many parts of the world. Just as the Chinese have a Tea Ceremony, Jewish weddings usually involve the Hora, German weddings have games. In many countries it is traditional to play games. Germans have taken the idea of games and included some “games” that are near pranks such as setting multiple alarm clocks in the bridal suite or taking apart the bed in the bridal suite. You have to smile when you think of these stunts. However, the less mischievous games for all to enjoy seemed more relevant to my research.

www.runonsentence.com

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Do You Dance? Will You Dance? Please, Will You Dance?

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When sitting in a consultation with a couple to discuss their entertainment needs for their big day, there are a lot of questions I ask in order to better understand the scope of what is needed and desired to make their wedding perfect. For me and my team, every wedding is different, from the approach, the music, the equipment, logistics, the list goes on. One of my first questions is “How important is dancing at your reception?” Most couples express that dancing is important… and usually very important. Assuming that dancing is important, I generally follow with either direct or indirect questions to discover whether the group of guests will be a dancing crowd. Although I don’t typically allow the “anticipated amount of effort required to get people to dance” to influence the cost of my services, it certainly is taken into consideration when planning and preparing. There are dozens of factors that contribute to guests’ participation in dancing, but very few impact the success of a dance party as much as the Bride and Groom’s presence on the dance floor. I call it a dance party, because I am well aware and I completely respect that not everyone wants a dance party. For you, I have given a few creative ideas below. For those of you who weigh the success of your wedding reception heavily on whether people dance, the message here is very important to you. Ask yourself the question that I ask my couples during our consultation, “Do you like to Dance?” Don’t mistake this question for “Are you a good Dancer?” If you’re answer to the question is “No, not really.. I don’t like to dance”, then answer these questions, “Do you plan to dance at your reception?” and/or “Will you (please) dance at your reception?” This last question puts me back on track with my message.

Some crowds (I use this term loosely to describe the overall group of guests at any particular reception) are fine getting on the dance floor without any coaxing or help from anyone… put on some good music and set ‘em loose. On the other end of the spectrum, their are some crowds that make me wonder if I am being punked because they are so insistent on sitting in their chairs rather than dancing. There are probably 10 different levels between these two described. All of these crowds have at least one thing in common… they love to see the bride and groom dancing and celebrating! The reception is a celebration, and dancing delivers one of those universal messages or celebration! The guests at your wedding want to see you celebrate and they usually want to do it with you! If dancing is how you want your guests to celebrate… you’re going to have to celebrate with them… which means your going to have to to dance too.

This doesn’t mean you have to be the first one on the dance floor nor does it mean you need to be there the entire reception. Being the host and/or the guests of honor, you have many people to socialize with and many aspect of your wedding to enjoy, most of which will take you from dancing. You should try early to get on the dance floor a little bit and continue to get out there more and more as the reception progresses. I recommend discussing this with your entertainment, giving them the opportunity to program the music in a manner that is reflective of your vision.

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Accompany Your Irish Dream Wedding

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Irish-Wedding-Songs-Music
If you are having your wedding around the middle of March, you are likely aware of that special day for the Irish that occurs on the 17th, St Patrick’s Day. Actually, if you are reading this, you may have chosen your wedding date around St Patrick’s Day because you have a little Irish in ya’. Regardless of why your wedding is near the holiday, you may want to consider incorporating a little irish music to make those guests that are Irish, feel a little more at home. I’ll break this into three parts… the bride that is herself irish and really wants the Irish theme to be obvious, the bride who thinks it would be cool to take her guests on a little irish journey once or twice throughout the day, and the reluctant bride who is only having Irish music because her long lost aunt insists.

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Valentine’s Day Sing-a-long

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As Valentine’s day approaches, I thought it might be nice to share an old idea that would be very complimentary to a reception being held on the weekend in which Valentine’s Day falls. This ‘activity’ could be incorporated in any reception, but it seems very appropriate for this time of year.

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You might be familiar with the old tradition of tapping your glass with a utensil at your place setting in order to persuade the bride and groom to publicly proclaim their affection with a kiss. Usually, the clinking is instigated by a couple of guests and is infectiously contributed to by the majority of the guests at the celebration. Often, a bride and groom will hold off on the kiss until nearly everyone picks up on the action and the clinking becomes loud enough to take over the party for the moment. In lue of using silverware and china, often a tiny bell in placed on the table for guests to use to make the couple smooch. (I’ve seen many variations of the bell, which can be a fun way to add a special touch to the table settings). The following idea is a replacement for the glass clinking or noise making.

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American Pie Wedding with the USC Marching Band

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Sometimes, life imitates art or vice versa…..Case and point, Carl & Anna’s wedding over the summer.

Carl met Anna while they were both members of the USC marching band. Hence, the movie, America Pie trilogy with Jason Bigg’s character and Alyson Hannigan’s character and the whole sub plot revolving around the marching band.

It was an absolute treat for me and many of the guests to be entertained by the band. There were about 10 members and they performed for about 15 minutes. Funny thing, there was a large number of UCLA grads in the house too. A few jabs and corky comments by the UCLA guests, such as, “Hey look, the USC JV and community college band is here”……lol

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Lighting Logistics for Outdoor Weddings

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Lighting for outdoor weddings can create some slight logistic concern. Many outdoor locations lack sufficient power for a “good volume” of decor lights.  Furthermore, with your DJ, band and so on….You will absolutely need “generator/s”.

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Meet the Aces: Jack Hou

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Today we introduce our newest WeddingAce, Jack Hou.  Jack is a DJ/Lighting Designer from LA. After attending the weddings of many friends, Jack decided that there was room in the wedding industry for him. Taking a unique approach by incorporating lighting design, Jack is more than just a DJ.

Keep reading to learn more about Jack and check back later this week for Jack’s first WeddingAces post!

Wedding Aces: What is the name of your business?

Jack Hou: TMMPRO (The Music Man Productions)

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Evolution of the Wedding Dance – caught on video

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Now, I am going to share something very exciting with you. But I just wished that this could have been documented by a professional videographer with clean audio, which could have been captured from the DJ’s mixer. This is the mistake that you do not want to make!!! Your wedding day is very unique so I hope that you will have a professional to document the day, specially if you are organizing entertainment like this. I hope you enjoy this video and I wish you success with planning a special first dance for your guests.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QujA8YYgTWU[/youtube]

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