Wedding Receptions That Rock! The Book

Book coverI must say that it’s a pretty exciting day for me professionally. I’ve been a Wedding DJ for over twenty years (and I’ve been on the radio for over thirty). But now…I am officially an author.

People had been telling me for several years that I should write a book about planning wedding receptions, so that I could share my knowledge with brides and grooms. Well, I did it and I’m very proud of the final product.

Wedding Receptions That Rock! is for anyone planning a wedding reception, but can also be a great resource for DJ’s who are just getting into the business and want to learn some tricks of the trade. Get your copy of the book here:

Paperback
Kindle 
Nook

If you do not have a Kindle or Nook, you can get a free app for your smartphone, tablet, or iPad.

The cool part is that those are actually my clients (Katie and Dave Orsburn) on the cover of the book. This amazing photo was taken by Jeff and Julie Photography and I love it because it captures the energy and excitement that I talk about in the book.

What’s next for me? Well, in addition to the weddings that I will continue DJ’ing for my amazing clients (I love my job!), I am now writing another book, but this time it is fiction (a romantic comedy). Of course, the story will have a happy ending. :)

Wedding DJ Interview

I was honored that Oren Arieli from AwesomeShot Studios asked to interview me about the DJ business. Here’s the video.

Wedding Ceremony with Personality

One of the things I often tell my clients is to infuse their personalities into the wedding ceremony. It doesn’t have to be so serious and so formal. Have some fun. Show your personalities. Try using some cool music you love instead the usual classical music or traditional church organ. Do something different or unique that stands out. Wedding ceremonies can sometimes be boring for the guests, so make it fun! (laughter is the best). The day will be much more memorable for you and your guests. Here is a great example.

Advice: Pictures During The Reception

For most couples, the majority of their pictures with the family and bridal party are taken directly after the ceremony while the guests are enjoying the cocktail-appetizer hour. However, some photographers like to take the Bride and Groom away from the reception to snap a few photos or to capture a sunset shot. This is okay but please be aware of the time and don’t stay away too long. Remember, your guests want to have a great time and party with YOU. If they don’t see you, they may assume that you have left and that the reception is ending soon. This kills the energy in the room and people will start to leave. This can be easily avoided. Simply schedule the majority of your family and bridal party photos before your grand entrance. Always let your DJ know ahead of time if you are going to leave the reception area for photos so that he can plan something to entertain the guests while you are gone. Remember: Your wedding reception is going to fly by very quickly. Make sure that you are there to enjoy it!

The Father-Daughter Dance

It is a very special moment in a wedding reception when the Bride dances with her Father. I get asked pretty frequently what are some good songs specifically for that occasion. Here are some of the most popular songs:

I Loved Her First – Heartland
Cinderella – Steven Curtis Chapman
Find Your Wings – Mark Harris *
Butterfly Kisses – Bob Carlisle
Daddy’s Little Girl – Al Martino or Mills Brothers
My Girl – Temptations
The Men in My Little Girl’s Life – Various Artists
Turn Around – Various Artists
Isn’t She Lovely – Stevie Wonder
Daughters – John Mayer (not easy to dance to)
Times Of Your Life – Paul Anka
Because You Loved Me – Celine Dion *
Find Your Wings – Mark Harris *
Wind Beneath My Wings – Bette Midler *
Unforgettable – Nat King Cole *
What a Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong *
Through The Years – Kenny Rogers *
The Way You Look Tonight – Frank Sinatra *
Can You Feel The Love Tonight – Elton John *
Have I Told You Lately – Rod Stewart /Van Morrison *
Hero – Mariah Carey *
Child of Mine- Carol King *
The Greatest Love Of All – Whitney Houston *
In My Life – The Beatles *
Blessed – Elton John *
You Are The Sunshine Of My Life – Stevie Wonder *
What a Wonderful World/Somewhere Over The Rainbow – Israel Kamakawowo’ole *
Kind And Generous (Thank You) – Natalie Merchant *

* denotes song can also be used for Groom-Mother Dance or Both

Advice: Dimming The Lights

Many venues think it is very romantic to dim the lights once the dancing starts. Others think that people won’t dance if the lights are too bright. (Wrong!) Don’t get me wrong, dimming the lights a little is okay. Some people take it to the extreme though. I was at a venue just a few weeks ago where the person in charge dimmed them so low that we could barely see each other. It felt like a cheesy dive-lounge. I was waiting for some Frank Sinatra impersonator to pop out and start singing.

Personally, when I dance with my girlfriend, I want to be able to see her face! The sad part is, the video and photographer’s work usually suffers because they have to use those bright flashes and lights that blind and annoy everyone. And who pays the ultimate price? You do! You will see shadows and more in your photos and video. I usually have to go and tell someone to turn the lights back up. Make sure you tell the person in charge of your reception at the facility ahead of time not to dim the lights too low at your reception. You will be glad you did. (And so will your photographer and videographer)

The Floor Plan

Want more energy and fun at your reception? Put the DJ directly in front of the dance floor! It’s that simple! I’ve done some weddings where they have put tables directly in front of me and my speakers, stuck me all the way in the corner, or even worse, behind a curtain! (see posting: I Can DJ Blind-folded) As a Master of Ceremonies, it is very important that I can see the majority of the people in the room to welcome them, gain their trust, and to engage them. That’s part of the process of creating and building energy. (difficult to do if they can’t even see me!)

I realize in some cases, it’s just not possible to have the DJ in front of the dance floor due to the shape of the room or the number of tables. If you have to put tables in front of the DJ or his speakers, make sure the guests at those tables are younger. The last thing we all want is for grandpa’s earpiece to explode. Have fun!

The Garter

I love sharing with my clients ways to create more fun at their wedding receptions because that’s what it’s all about! Here’s one: If the Groom is into sports, have him wrap the garter around a football, baseball, or mini-basketball before he throws it. It’s super-fun for the guys. This is a great example from Julie and Josh’s Reception using a rugby ball. Watch the reaction from the guests as well.