Well isn't that title a loaded question? But seriously Who is the best? Who is the best DJ? Best Photographer? Best Videographer? Best Photobooth service? Best Lighting service? Best Cake maker? etc........
Many professionals like to claim they are the best, top rated, industry leader, or an authority of whatever service they are providing. But let's be fair. Since many DJs, lighting services, Photobooths etc all look alike how can you tell them apart? I mean how do you know if they REALLY are the best at what they say they do? Reviews help, but they are based on a buyers experience with that company. How about awards from say Wedding Wire, The knot, BBB, Yelp, Google, even Facebook? Again those are all great but those (like reviews) are based on buyers experiences who leave reviews. When the company gets enough reviews they will get an "award" from the review site acknowleging the accomplishment. it's not to be dismissed, but it should be scrutizined. I mean you could have 20 companies in a 10 mile radius who all get an "award" from that particular review site. So then what? What sets them apart.
Well the problem is that DJs, Photobooths and the like have become a commodity. Everyting looks the same, but the pricing is all over the place and sometimes the most important part (the talent or experience) isn't readily visible. And it's not like you can go to Consumer Reports, Forbes or US News & Worldreport and get the latest report on who the best wedding companies are.
Well what if the company gets awards, says they are the best or even an "Authority" in the business with industry leading technology. Does that help? My answer is not always. Just because they say they are doesn't mean they actually are. They are hoping you think they are. To know for sure look at their website as well as reviews. You can tell from the things they say and their clients say (compared to other companies), if it all matches up if they really are or not. And they can do that without actually saying they are an authority. But if they do say it, they should have a way of backing it up, like a history or statistics of their accomplishements or actually places they've been recognized by a 3rd party source (other than customers votes).
So then who is the best? Well they say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. That being said then the best is whoever you think is the best. A company isn't the best simply becuase they say it is. It isn't the best because The Knot or Wedding Wire says it is. It's the best because YOU think it is, because they are the right fit for you. Listen to our video testimonials and reviews. Each of our clients will often say "DK productions & Lyrical Lens is The Best". And this could be true for other companies as well. So don't get caught up in titles. It doesn't mean anything unless they have something to back it up with.
For centuries it was customary for the groom to not see the bride before the ceremony. It was often thought of as bad luck. After the ceremony the bride and groom would be rushed off to consumate their union. Flash forward a few centuries and the tradition was to take portraits with the family after the ceremony and then walk around to greet their guests during dinner so they could thank them for coming and recieve their gift. Decades later the tradition may have changed again.
The option for a first look has become about 50% Tradition and 50% Trend. Some couples still opt to not see each other until the cermeony while others want to get it out of the way. While we understand and respect tradition there is something to be said for a first look. It has it's benefits:
The first look is generally meant to be an intimate time between the couple. They will see eachother for the first time and it should be special and private moment. Though some couples have allowed their wedding party to be present. In some cases we have even video'd the first look and capture audio of them talking to eachother. The emotions that get captured are timeless and unmatched.
Seeing each other before the cermony allows the photographer to get all your potraits done earlier. Giving you more time to get the photos you may really want.
Getting your portraits done earlier allows the couple to enjoy their cocktail hour that they've paid for. Why should the guests be the only one to enjoy all the food and conversation! This allows you to say hello to all your friends and family as well.
Being able to visit with your guests during cocktail hour also means you have time to sit, relax and enjoy your meals that again you paid for. You'd be amazed at how many couples dont get to eat their meals because they are busy walking around saying hello to their guests.
So while traditions are fun (and we love traditions), your allowed to make new ones. If you still prefer to not see each other till the ceremony well there's no school like the old school. But whatever you decide to do, make it fit your style.
Going along with our theme of fall weddings (Fall Weddings in CT, and Fall Wedding Favor Ideas) I thought it was about time to cover center pieces! Most of these are super easy and inexpensive DIY projects, and perfect for a fall themed wedding.
Love, love, LOVE these Apple Candles! These are the perfect touch for a Connecticut Fall Wedding. Keep it CT by buying local apples as well!
Which centerpiece is your favorite? Have you thought of or seen any other creative fall wedding centerpiece ideas?
The last dance is something that many bride & grooms don't think about as an important part of their reception. Most times the last dance is simply the final dance of the evening. For our bride and grooms, it is a prelude to the grand finale. They want us to close the reception with the same energy and excitement as how we opened it.
Before the reception, we ask our bride & groom if they want a final dance by themselves, all of their guests, or ask them to join in part way through. This is important as it will tell us how to set it up.
First we have the bride & groom come out to the center of the dance floor. Then depending on if guests are joining right away or not we ask them to make a circle around the bride & groom. We set up the song by asking the guests if they've enjoyed themselves and to congratulate the bride & groom before they go on their honeymoon (to whatever the destination is). As the guests are clapping and cheering we start the song. When the song progresses about halfway we then ask them to join hands. If the guests are to join we will invite them to do so, by telling them to give our bride and groom a BIG hug, then to join in on the dance. If they are not to join, we can save the group hug for the end of the song.
In either case this sets up two additional opportunities:
1.) A great photo-op for the photographer, and
2.) A grand finale using our confetti cannon.
Both will produce a great picture that you will remember and cherish forever as your special day comes to a close. But the evening is not quite over as we have one final song to play. We suggest picking an upbeat song to close the reception on a high note.
Here are some past requests for the grand finale:
Thks for the Mmrs - Fall Out Boy
Last Dance - Donna Summer or Salena
I've had (the time of my life) - Bill Medley/Jennifer Warnes
Don't Stop Believin' - Journey
Anyway You Want It - Journey
Shipping Up To Boston - Dropkick Murphys
Don't Stop The Music - Rihanna
Have A Nice Day - Bon Jovi
Whatever you choose make it special for you and your guests. I'm sure everyone will appreciate it and leave saying "Thanks for the memories."
Architectual Lighting (or up-lighting) has become such a popular add-on for weddings and special events that a lot of DJs and catering facilities are "trying" to do it. I was recently at such a facility. Unfortunately, the facility's lights had inconsistent color due to missmatched light fixtures and improper settings. Here are some typical mistakes inexperienced companies make:
Some will spend little money on a lot of fixtures thinking it will still look good. The truth is that cheap fixtures are typically not bright enough and becomes a wasted expense to you. As a result, you may also end up with the next scenario.
Too much lighting or lighting placed too close together
Don't take away from the architecture of the room by drowning it in light. Architectual lighting is meant to accent the room by highlighting certain features.
Too little lighting or lighting placed too far apart
Brings attention to the lights and not the structures it's meant to highlight. It could also give the indication the company does not have enough fixtures, or doesn't know what they are doing.gf`
Lighting fixtures that don't match eachother
Each brand of fixtures has it's own color temperature and/or photometrics. If the lighting fixtures aren't the same then the colors displayed may not be exact matches: one fixture may show light blue while another fixture may be more of a violet blue.
To create certain colors, RGB mixing is required: some colors are dimmed while others are brightened to achieve the desired color combination. Lower quality fixtures will show flickering lines that will show up in video.
Pricing by fixture quantity
Probably the greatest disservice a company can do is charge per fixture. Perhaps you have an $800 budget and each fixture costs $80; you'll only have ten light fixtures. Unless your wedding is in a very small room, ten lights aren't enough by almost half! Sometimes we won't know how many fixtures are actually needed until we are there with the room set up.
It's all about balance and getting the best value for your money. I suggest going with a lighting or entertainment company that specializes in up-lighting. When shopping for architectual-lighting, ask the company if they have any photos of a room they did up-lighting in. If they don't have a picture, then ask them to do a mock set up with you at the facility your event will be held at. Finally use a company that charges a flat rate regardless of the number of fixtures. Follow these tips and your guests will ooh and ahh at how beautiful your room looks.
The tossing of the garter and bouquet is a time honored tradition dating back to the Dark Ages. Originally the garter was removed from the bride by witnesses as a sign that the marriage was consummated. Over time the bride was not comfortable with this so she began to toss the garter to distract her guests, giving her and her husband a chance to get away unscathed. This eventually led to the bride tossing the bouquet. Flowers in bloom signified fertility and a right of passage for the next woman to be married. The groom then took the responsibility of throwing the garter.So why are so many brides choosing not to have it at their wedding reception? Perhaps because it has been done the exact same way with the exact same music for the last 20 years. Or is it because they feel there aren't enough single people present to make it worth while? Maybe some feel it has become cheesy while others think it's down right trashy. Whatever the reason, removing the garter and bouquet from the reception may leave a gap in the evening. Hereare the most common reasons why brides choose not to toss the garter and bouquet, and what you can do to make it different:
Too Traditional - Modernize it:
Stay away from the typical songs that were played 20yrs ago. Music like "Oh Yeah" or "The Stripper Song" will kill the moment and definitely make it cheesy.
Ask your DJ to play music that is more reflective of your style, but stay in the moment. Songs like: Red Hot Chili Peppers - Give It Away, En Vogue - Never Gonna Get It, ZZ Top - Legs, Beyonce - Single Ladies, etc...
Cheesy or trashy - Make it simple or different:
Skip the garter removal and/or garter placement. The groom should have the garter in his pocket if he still plans to throw it.
Throw only the bouquet
If you really want to change it up, the bride can toss the garter to the men and/or women like they did in the 14th century. And for fun have the groom throw the bouquet to either as well.
Not a lot of single people - Involve the married couples instead:
First decide if you want to remove the garter or not. If not, the groom should have the garter in his pocket ready to go.
Call up the married women and toss the bouquet. Whichever wife catches the bouquet, call up her husband and give him the garter.
If you don't want to toss the bouquet, you can toss the garter instead calling up the married men first. Afterward you can give the bouquet to his wife.
If you choose so, you can then have the husband place the garter on his wife. Ask him how long they've been married, telling them this will bring another x number years of luck. If you don't want them to place the garter, tell them they can have fun on their own.
Anniversary Dance - A great alternative if you don't toss the bouquet:
Invite all the married couples to the dance floor. As the song plays the DJ asks couples to leave by the number of years married.
You can give the bouquet away to the anniversary couple that is the last to be on the dance floor. Present them the bouquet and ask them to give you a few words of wisdom on how they lasted so long.
Two song recommendations would be Alan Jackson - Remember When or Journey - After All These Years
Use these ideas, come up with combinations of your own or something totally different. Whatever you choose to do have fun doing it. In the end all that matters is that you are presenting to your guests who you are.
When people talk about weddings and traditions, sometimes the two words become combined in the wrong order. People can have wedding traditions at their reception, but it doesn't have to be a traditional wedding. However, most people don't know that, so many weddings end early because they are stiff and boring. What makes a traditional wedding? Is it the introductions, the first dance, garter and bouquet, or even the music that is being played? In the 20 years of being a DJ one thing I have always known is the majority of weddings are all the same. The reason is that the formal traditions are constantly being done the same way, and the same music is used for every event. The problem with that is not all bride and grooms are the same. One size does NOT fit all! Over time certain traditions and songs have become synonymous with weddings. The instant someone mentions a wedding several things come to mind: Electric slide, chicken dance, old time rock & roll, and the list goes on. Twenty years ago this may have worked but times have changed, people have changed and new trends have been started. For many, though, the wedding reception is still as formal and traditional now as it was back then. For too long a traditional wedding would find guests sitting down every time the bride and groom were participating in any formal traditions (i.e. garter bouquet, cake cutting). By involving your guests in all aspects of your reception you will find that they will be more comfortable and more appreciative of being able to share in your special day. This is because you are truly making your day unique to fit your personality and anyone who knows you will see this. Hereare some different ways that you can still have a traditional wedding reception without feeling so traditional:
Personalized introductions: Use different music to fit your personality, include specific details about each member of your wedding party
Be creative with any formal traditions: There is no rule that says the cake cutting, garter & bouquet, or your first dance have to be done a certain way.
When it comes to: the intros, cake cutting or garter & bouquet, pick music that fits your taste and style. If you don't have any ideas, ask your DJ.
Don't be afraid to try something new: This will definitely make your reception unique for you and your guests.
Put your personality into your reception: Your guests will feel more comfortable and be more apt to participate in festivities throughout the evening.
Involve your guests in as much of the evening as possible:
Of course all these recommendations are not possible unless you have a DJ/MC capable of providing such services. More importantly as an MC it's not what we say or what we do, but how we say it or how we do it that will have a dramatic impact on your reception. But we'll save that for another topic.
One wedding I had the pleasure of being the DJ at, the bride & groom were really not looking forward to dancing their first dance. First they wanted the song to be cut about halfway through, then they didn't want the song at all but they new they had to have something. It's the first dance after all and the guests will be expecting it.
So the bride & groom came up with a great idea. They asked if we would play only about 30 seconds of their first dance and then cut it out to a faster song they chose. The other DJ I was working with and myself immediately came up with an idea to incorporate theirs. I took their first dance and cut it up into just over 30 seconds which included the first verse and part of the chorus. I added in the sound of a record scratching at the end of the first song and dropped in the actual song they wanted. I then saved this as a new file (ah the wonderful world of computers and editing software). What we ended up with was Enrique Iglesias' Hero that after the line "I will be your hero", scratched out to House of Pains' Jump around. Afterward we invited everyone in the room to join the bride & groom on the dance floor and it was absolutely packed with people doing just that.
The first dance is the prelude to the rest of the reception. It is a wedding tradition since the dawn of weddings, and guests know the dance floor is not open until the bride & groom have had that first dance. So we can't just take out the first dance, but many brides and/or grooms, don't want to be out in front of all their guests while they are the only ones dancing. Traditionally a bride & groom will just have the wedding party join them halfway through the first dance. Well times have changed and so has this.
There are a few new trends that you can incorporate into your first dance if you are looking for something different. One way is very simple. Instead of having your wedding party join you, how about other married couples or even all your guests. Now this works great if you don't want to dance all by yourself , but what if you don't want to dance to a slow song, or even dance at all? We've had several bride & grooms ask us to try to cut or fade the song early so they don't have to dance the entire time. So an alternative is to do what our couple above did by changing the entire style of your first dance all together. The end result was helping the bride & groom create a unique first dance that was representative of who they are and their guests loved it. There are many ways to have a first dance, so find one that works best for you.