The wedding cake smash up

August 19, 2019

The Romans left us with a terrible wedding tradition. Grooms would break a cake of wheat or barley over the bride’s head for good luck. Such aggressiveness! To this day, you still see grooms smashing cake into their lovely wives’ faces.

How awful, as you can see below.

The bride is bleeding. She’s upset, and she’s a mess, so future wedding photographs are ruined, not to mention her wedding gown. Does any of this really seem like a good omen to you?

Public humiliation

How about this bride, do you think she enjoyed the public humiliation of experiencing a wedding cake smash up?

This poor bride whacked her head on the dance floor. In fairness, she instigated the wedding cake smash up, but no bride deserves this type of embarrassment.

Bride’s Pye

The Brits moved away from a wedding cake and towards what they called the Bride’s Pye in the Middle Ages. Check out the recipe from a 1660 recipe called the “Accomplish’t Cook”:

“To make an extraordinary Pie, or a Bride Pye, of Severall Compounds, being several different Pies on one bottom: Provide cocks-stones and combs, or lamb-stones and sweetbreads of veal, a little set in hot water and cut to pieces; also two or three oxe pallets blanched and slic’t, a pint of oysters, sliced dates, a handful of pine kernels, a little quantity of broom-buds pickled, some fine interlarded bacon sliced, nine or ten chestnuts roasted and blanched, season them with the salt, nutmeg, and some large mace, and close it up with some butter.”

[For those of you with less-than-adventurous palates, you should know that cocks and lamb stones are testicles, intended to add an aphrodisiac element to this culinary experience!]

The Bride’s Pye was beautifully decorated and had a ring hidden inside it as a forerunner to the modern bouquet toss. The woman who found the ring in her piece of pie was predicted to be the next woman in line to get married. (Let’s hope she doesn’t choke to death on the ring first!)

Aah, tradition!

If you go with a nice, modern cake-cutting tradition, nix the wedding cake smash up, and keep it clean and simple, like this couple did:

If you are hellbent on the wedding cake smash up, plan it in advance. Do NOT surprise your new spouse. Tip off the photographer in advance so he can be prepared to get a good shot of the event, and use a small serving to minimize the mess.

The cake-cutting is a prime opportunity for a good song. We can suggest some proper ones for the occasion. Give us a call to tell us more about your upcoming celebration at 256-638-3535

The battle for best first dance song

By tom quiner | August 12, 2019

Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect”Spotify has Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect” listed as number three on their list of top wedding songs. Bruno Mars’ “Marry You” comes in at number two, and Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” comes in at number one.

Since we’ve already written about “Thinking Out Loud,” let’s focus on the other two songs.

“Marry You”

Mars co-wrote and recorded “Marry You” in 2010 on his debut album, “Doo-Wops & Hooligans.” Despite the fact that the song wasn’t released as a single, it was still certified platinum three times by Music Canada and two times by the Australian Recording Industry Association.

What a hit! Take a listen …

This video has some 8.7 MILLION views, big time numbers! The fusion of doo-wop and soul elements creates a unique throwback sound that is very danceable.


Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect” was a number one hit in 2017 from his third studio album, “Divide.” In contrast to “Marry You,” “Perfect” is a romantic ballad.

It, too, was and is a big hit. Take a listen …

Over 2 BILLION (that’s with a B!) people have viewed this video!

Let’s face it, people react to the music first. If you want a fast dance for your first dance song, you’ll lean towards Bruno Mars’ “Marry You.”  If you want a nice, slow song dripping with enchantment, you’ll lean towards Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect.”

When it comes to wedding songs, the lyrics are just as important as the melody line and the beat, and in that department, “Marry You” comes up short.

Sample the lyrics

It starts by saying getting married is a dumb thing to do:

“It’s a beautiful night, we’re looking for something dumb to do

Hey baby, I think I wanna marry you

Is it the look in your eyes, or is it this dancing juice

Who cares baby, I think I wanna marry you.”

I’m sure Mr. Mars and his writing team were attempting to be cutesy and poetic. But in light of the fact that married people live longer, healthier, more prosperous lives and that their children fare better than kids raised in unmarried households, the lyrics aren’t all that good a fit for a wedding song.

The lyrics crash and burn when the whole marriage notion is apparently fueled by a guy who is sloshed on tequila:

“Who cares if we’re trashed

Got a pocket full of cash we can blow

Shots of Patron

And it’s on girl.”

Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect” actually talks about love (a word that doesn’t appear in Mars’ song):

“I found a love for me

Darling just dive right in

And follow my lead

Well I found a girl beautiful and sweet

I never knew you were the someone waiting for me

‘Cause we were just kids when we fell in love.”

Words matter, especially at a wedding celebration.  That’s why you spend so much time burnishing your wedding vows.

Consider song lyrics just as carefully when you select your first dance song. In the battle for first dance songs, you have some extraordinary options. Check our music database to find the perfect song for your first dance.

Finding a wedding officiant

By tom quiner | August 5, 2019

wedding officiantYou need to find a good wedding officiant for your upcoming wedding. It’s not a last minute decision, either. You need to line one up a good one at least eight months in advance of the big day.

Church weddings aren’t as popular

The process isn’t as straight forward as it used to be, simply because Millennials aren’t as religious as their predecessors. That means they are less likely to have a church affiliation, the traditional source of wedding officiating.

In 1986, the number of people in the 18 to 29 year age range who had no  religious affiliation was but ten percent. By 2016, the number had nearly quadrupled to 39%.

Nonetheless, most Millennials believe in God, according to the Pew Research Center. Fifty percent believe in God with absolute certainty; and another 21% believe in God with a fair amount of certainty.

Make sure your wedding officiant is legal

So when it comes time to find your wedding officiant, you need to decide if it is going to be a religious ceremony. If you attend church or a synagogue, your search may be easy.

If you don’t have a church, like so many Millennials, and prefer a more secular ceremony, you can select from a pool of non-affiliated officiants. But be sure they are credentialed. Every state has their own unique marriage laws, as you can see at this link.

Even more, ask potential officiants if they complete the paperwork to file your marriage license, and if they understand all legal aspects associated with making your wedding official.

Then you can move to the more practical concerns, such as are they available on your date, and again, are they properly credentialed for your specific location.

Follow that up with questions about the depth of their experience. How many weddings have they done? Ask for references and check them out.

Yes, you’ll want to ask about other practical things, such as their attire, fees, and rehearsal availability. Even more, explore the ways they can work with you to customize your ceremony. How flexible are they when it comes to the vows and the flow of the ceremony? How long will their ceremonies take? And do they provide a detailed contract for you to review?

But most of all, confirm that they can legally perform your ceremony.

Should you use ‘first look wedding photos’ on your wedding day?

By tom quiner | July 29, 2019
first look wedding photos


Wedding photography is a wildly creative art form. As we’ve written before, you can find wedding photographers who have honed their own unique style that goes beyond the traditional. First look wedding photos qualify as one of the hottest trends in recent years.

Sometimes it’s simply the first look a bride gets of herself after hair and make up are done, and she dons her gown.

First look photos bend tradition

But sometimes first look wedding photos bend tradition by capturing the first look a dad, a mom, bridesmaids, or even the groom gets of a beautiful bride BEFORE the ceremony begins! Shocking! Not for the superstitious!

On the other hand, it allows those photographers who are true artists to capture the sublime, simply because the setting is more private.

These are the photographs you will remember forever, as you can see above. U.K. photographer, Fiona Walsh, captured the father/daughter bond in a simply priceless photo.

The key to successful first look wedding photos is to leave plenty of time for them, at least an hour before the ceremony. Once the ceremony begins, your life becomes a whirl, so this quiet time alone with your betrothed is golden, and the perfect set-up to a first look photo.

Be forewarned: first look photo sessions aren’t for everyone. Brides Magazine asked recent brides what they thought. Some loved them while others really disliked the entire concept.

First look photo advantages

An advantage: when you get great photos before the ceremony, it reduces the number needed afterwards so you can get to your reception sooner.

Another advantage: it creates a special opportunity to capture a tender photo of a dad as he sees his daughter a last time before he gives her away in marriage.

But for traditionalists, nothing beats saving the first look for the ceremony. It’s your call. Ask your wedding photographers what they think.

When it comes time for your reception, you’ll shift from a mindset focused on your ‘first look’ to one directed towards your ‘first dance.’ What a moment! DJ Brian Anderson will make it special with the perfect song of your choice played on clear, controlled equipment, and announced with professional flair by a wedding entertainment specialist.

We love questions. Make your first call to DJ Brian Anderson at 256-638-3535 to learn everything you need to know about creating the wedding of your dreams, but were afraid to ask!

Is a cash bar tacky at a wedding?

By tom quiner | July 22, 2019

cash barAccording to The Knot, the average couple spends $2365 on booze at their wedding. That’s a chunk of change! So what will your guests think if you go with a cash bar to save money?

For starters, very few weddings feature cash bars any more. The Knot tells us only 8% of weddings used them in 2017, down from ten percent just two years earlier.

The reason the vast majority of couples prefer a hosted bar over a cash bar is weddings are a big deal. Your guests have already made a financial investment by just being there when you consider travel and gift. A cash bar doesn’t sit well with most guests.

“Horribly offensive!”

Glamour magazine asked their readers for their opinion on the subject. Here was a typical response:

“I believe it is horribly offensive to offer a cash bar at your wedding. Let’s put all the cards on the table and be honest here: People go to weddings expecting an open bar. There are countless memes supporting that as well! The bottom line is, offering a dry wedding—as in, no bar—is fine assuming it’s a religious reason, but a cash bar is tacky and I hate it.”

In fairness, a recent bride reacted differently:

“I confessed my worry to a guest mid-reception and she said, ‘Christina, we came to celebrate your love—not drink for free. That made me feel so much better, and I would hope that my guests’ attitudes would be everyone’s attitudes when it comes to a cash bar.”

And if you offer a cash bar, guests drink less when they have to pay for it. You’re less likely to have people get sloshed, so a cash bar isn’t completely crazy.

Your options

You do have options if your budget is tight:

  • Reduce the size of your guest list so you can provide a hosted bar instead of a cash bar.
  • Limit your offerings to beer and wine, which cost less than spirits.
  • If you really want cocktails available, it’s not uncommon to ask your guests to pay for them while you provide beer and wine at the open bar.
  • Offer an open bar part of the time to allow guests to have a couple of drinks, and then make it a cash bar later in the evening.
  • Make it a dry wedding.

If yours’ is a black tie wedding, you really want a hosted bar. Be aware, though that these formal affairs typically cost more in terms of booze, $3970 on average, according to The Knot.

If you decide to limit offerings to just beer and wine, and there is nothing wrong with that, the average budget for alcohol drops to $1325.

For the record, when it comes to packing your dance floor, DJ Brian Anderson is a pro whether your guests have been drinking or not! Your wedding is about you, and that’s how we approach each celebration. Get ready to party!

The Wedding March was good enough for Queen Victoria. How about you?

By tom quiner | July 15, 2019

The Wedding MarchThe great classical composer, Felix Mendelssohn, composed the Wedding March in C major in 1842. Today it is known as THE ‘classic’ wedding recessional song. Its triumphant melody never ceases to move wedding guests as a newly married couple march to their destiny, guided by love.

Interestingly, Mendelssohn composed the piece as a music setting for William Shakespeare’s play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

However, the piece became wedding gold when it was selected to be played at the royal wedding of Victoria and Prince Frederick of Prussia on January 25th, 1858.

A typical modern wedding is likely to feature a piano version, which sounds like this:

If you have a good organ and organist, it sounds like this:

Pretty awesome! Want to take it to the next level? How about if you have an entire symphony orchestra play it! Listen to the Russian Philharmonic’s treatment of this masterpiece:

If your budget can’t handle a symphony orchestra, perhaps it can handle a string quartet:

Although you know DJ Brian Anderson as a dance-floor-packing wedding DJ company for your Alabama wedding reception, we can provide ceremony music for couples who want to hear exactly the music they want for their big day.

Want a symphony playing the Wedding March? No problem! And we provide top of the line sound reinforcement to ensure every spoken word and lovely note of music is clearly heard with balanced volume.

As a side note, there is a well-done PBS drama based on Queen Victoria’s mother, also a Queen Victoria. Here is the wedding scene featuring music written by contemporary British composer, Martin Phipps. You hear but two words repeated: gloriana and alleluia.

The music conveys drama and heft. But is it joyful enough? What do you think?

How a wedding ceremony works

By tom quiner | July 8, 2019

anatomy of a wedding ceremonyReligion, customs, and style will mold your wedding ceremony. Nonetheless, most ceremonies feature fairly typical elements. Let’s look at the anatomy of a wedding ceremony.

The Anatomy of a Wedding Ceremony

Prelude music: Nice, soft music is typically played while your guests are seated. Many couples hire live musicians to play romantic, classical music. A growing number use a DJ (like us) for higher quality sound and greater flexibility in the music played.

Pre-processional ceremony: This is when the mothers are seated. It’s nice to play special music for this tender moment.

The procession: Bridesmaids process in to lovely music, followed by the bride, often times to her own music. Again, a DJ gives you more flexibility in the music you’re able to play at such a dramatic moment in your life.

Opening remarks by the officiant: He/she welcomes the audience and tells why people have gathered.

Officiant addresses you: His/her words depend on whether the ceremony is religious or not. The officiant will remind you of the magnitude of the vows you will soon make and the responsibilities it entails. He/she may broaden the remarks to include the witnesses present and their role in providing support to you and your betrothed in years to come.

The vows:  What a pivotal a moment in your life! Traditional couples may use traditional vows. A growing number write their own.

Exchange of rings: Couples traditionally say, “With this ring, I thee wed.”

The pronouncement of the union: The deed is done! Tradition has it that the officiant says, “I now pronounce you …”

The kiss: Everyone is united in this grand moment. Savor it.

Closing remarks: The officiant brings the ceremony to a close and cues the final music.

The recessional: Grand music plays while you exit. This is a triumphant moment, and the music should express it.

You may use additional elements

Needless to say, additional elements are often used depending on the religious nature of your ceremony. But the bare-bone elements above are almost always present whether a ceremony is religious or secular.

You’ll note that music plays a key role in your ceremony, just as it does in your wedding reception. DJ Brian Anderson provides a full range of ceremony music as well as dance-floor packing reception music.

Far too many churches, halls, and outdoor locations have inadequate sound reinforcement for a ceremony when hearing the spoken word and beautiful music is so imperative. With us, you have no worries, because our sound is crystal clear with exactly the perfect amount of amplification.

Regardless of the anatomy of your wedding ceremony, you can count on us for the perfect sound.

Tighten up your wedding celebration with a joint wedding toast.

By tom quiner | July 1, 2019

joint wedding toastWedding celebrations soar to new heights when graced with dazzling toasts. Sadly, most toasters are inexperienced and their efforts sputter. Some weddings suffer because they allow too many toasts. A good way to tighten up your upcoming celebration is to utilize a joint wedding toast.

Let’s say you want your best man and maid of honor to each make a toast. But suppose one of your mothers and one of your fathers also wants to make a toast. That may be too many.  You risk disrupting the flow of your party, especially if toasts ramble on too long and bore your guests to death.

Energize your wedding reception

A joint wedding toast is a unique way to energize your wedding reception and condense remarks into a more entertaining narrative.

This approach really takes the pressure of shy toasters, because they have another toaster up there with them providing support.

Joint wedding toasts work great when two toasters can tell stories that overlap, for example, a couple of siblings who grew up with the bride or groom. Or a mom and dad who can share a great story about raising their son or daughter.

Tell your toasters to follow these guidelines:

  • Keep it short and sweet.  It is important to get to the point and make people smile.  A few minutes is all you need.
  • Be careful with humor.  Avoid the risque.  Under no circumstances should you embarrass the person being toasted.
  • Practice.  At the very least, jot down a brief outline of what you want to say.  If you’re prone to nervousness, you might want to script your toast and time it.

A successful joint wedding toast really requires an outline to coordinate who speaks when, and how their experiences with the couple overlap.

Here is an example on how a joint wedding toast might flow:

BEST MAN: Ladies and gentlemen, friends and family, my name is Allen Williams [Best Man’s name]. I have the honor of being Nick’s [Groom’s Name]’s best man.

I met Nick in college because of our mutual love of basketball. I’d like to think I taught him everything he knows about getting the ball through the hoop, but if you’ve ever seen either of us on the basketball court, you know that’s not totally true.

Coincidentally, the maid of honor at this illustrious affair also knows a thing or two about basketball. May introduce to you the lovely Susie Jones (maid of honor’s name).

MAID OF HONOR: Thank-you, Allen. Our beautiful bride tonight, Mary Sue Anderson, is my very best friend. As fate would have it, basketball seemed to have brought us together, too, so Allen and I thought it makes sense for us to combine our wedding toasts into one.

I played intramural basketball at college where I met Mary. We were both guards on the same team. We just clicked, beginning on the basketball court, where we terrorized the opposition. Credit goes to Mary for being an unselfish player, always looking for the open player to pass to for the quick basket. It’s that unselfishness that drew me to her. I have witnessed how she lives every aspect of her life that way. Mary is a total giver. She makes me and everyone she encounters feel better just being in her presence.

BEST MAN: You know, she sounds a lot like her new husband, except that business about Mary’s passing skills during a game of hoops. When it came to Nick and me, fans at our games never, ever fell asleep, because they were afraid of getting hit by a pass!

On the other hand, Nick was tenacious on the court and never gave up. Remember that game where we came back from ten down? Nick hit a jumper at the buzzer to pull off a great win.

He was just as tenacious in his pursuit of Mary. He knew she was a winner the first time he met her. And you know what, Nick is a winner. He’s a man of integrity and honor. We live in times that have a need for those virtues more than ever.

This relationship is truly a slam dunk!

MAID OF HONOR: I agree, Nick models those virtues and is the perfect match for my friend, Mary Sue Anderson.

TOGETHER: Would you all join us in raising your glass to honor Mr. and Mrs. Nick Smith. Theirs’ is a relationship born on a basketball court and made in heaven! Cheers!

To recap, if you have a very shy toaster, or if you have too many people you feel compelled to make a toast, consider a joint wedding toast to save time and make for a livelier experience.


Think outside the box for your wedding procession song

By tom quiner | June 24, 2019

You can’t go wrong with Pachebel’s Canon or Vivaldi’s Spring for walking down the aisle. We’ve suggested a number of other delightful classics in previous blogposts. On the other hand, suppose you want to be a little different? What about Leonard Cohen’s rock classic, “Hallelujah”? And for an additional twist, how about the a cappella group Pentatonix’s take on this classic?

Take a listen:

Cohen’s lyrics are mysterious, laced with biblical references without really being religious. Some call it the ultimate secular hymn. The joyful repetition of the word ‘hallelujah’ certainly creates a celebratory mystique for walking down the aisle. Something for you to consider.

The Canadian Mr. Cohen wrote the song in 1984. Although not an immediate hit, the song’s popularity grew over time and has been covered by over 300 recording artists.

Another Cohen song may be perfect for your first dance song

He followed up Hallelujah with an extraordinary love song, also written in 1984, that might be perfect for your first dance song at your wedding reception: “Dance me to the end of love.”  The song has several layers of meaning to it, but for purposes of a first dance song, it’s all about growing old together, as the lyrics reveal:

Dance me to the wedding now, dance me on and on

Dance me very tenderly and dance me very long

We’re both of us beneath our love, we’re both of us above

Dance me to the end of love

Dance me to the end of love.

The song is very danceable, as it emulates the style of a traditional Greek folk dance, known as a ‘hasapiko.’ The instrumentation is defined by violin and accordion and brought to life with Cohen’s inimitable smoky vocals.

Do you want to make a statement for your first dance? This is a song that pulls people in, as you can hear below:

For a jazzier twist, you might want to consider American chanteuse Madeleine Peyroux’s version over the legendary Canadian’s:

Whatever your preference, DJ Brian Anderson can provide whatever version of your wedding procession song or reception first dance song you like best. If your budget can’t afford Pentatonix to sing your wedding procession song, we may be a much better fit for your budget. Hallelujah, let the celebration begin!



Top Elton John love songs for weddings

By tom quiner | June 17, 2019

top Elton John love songsElton John is back! Actually, Elton has never been gone. His four decade career continues to roll, especially with the release of the recent “Rocketman” biopic. As one of the most prolific songwriters of his generation, it seems fitting to look at the top Elton John love songs for weddings.

Not all Elton love songs work for weddings

Elton has written a ton of love songs, but not all are a good fit for weddings, like his little-known “Sweetheart on Parade.” On the other hand, he has crafted an eclectic playlist of unique love songs that capture the sweetness and complexity of love.

Elton’s earlier love songs tend towards the sweet; but the older ones become more complex. Here are this blogger’s top ten Elton John love songs for weddings:

Blue Eyes

Perfect for the guy marrying a gal with blue eyes! Are you marrying a ‘brown-eyed girl’? Better check out Van Morrison’s song by the same name!

This features a sophisticated melody by the great Sir Elton, enhanced by a simple, haunting lyric by Gary Osborne.


“I believe in love it’s all we got.”

This 1995 hit is all about love, as the lyric reveals, but it’s a little unrelenting at nearly five minutes in length.

Come Down in Time

This is a sweet song, one of Elton’s earlier efforts from his 1970 Tumbleweed Connection album:

Love Song

Here’s another very romantic love song from the Tumbleweed Connection album, the only one of this list Elton didn’t actually write. That honor belongs to Leslie Duncan.


Looking for a more uptempo Elton love song? Check out “Please,” from Elton’s 1995 “Made in England” album. It features a strong, very danceable, backbeat.

Michelle’s Song

Looking for a real throwback? This is a tender love song from the 1971 “Friends” album, featured in the movie by the same name.

Something About the Way You Look Tonight

The song features romantic lyrics by Bernie Taupin overlayed with a somewhat tedious melody by Elton:

“And I can’t explain

But it’s something about the way you look tonight

Takes my breath away

It’s that feeling I get about you, deep inside

And I can’t describe

But it’s something about the way you look tonight

Takes my breath away

The way you look tonight.”

This 1997 song was a big hit for Elton and Bernie, but not everyone loved it, best epitomized by a blogger named Alfred Soto who called it Elton’s ‘worst’ love song:

“As stately and mildly pompous as an an old aunt dressed up for Christmas dinner, “Something” offers not a single surprising lyric or chord development, and Elton sings somnolently too, overcome by the love that, in the chorus’ melodic downshift, takes his breath away.”

Setting Mr. Soto’s criticism aside, the song sold a boatload of records (in an era before downloads!).

The One

Another great lyric by Bernie Taupin and a sophisticated melody by Sir Elton:

“And all I ever needed was the one

Like freedom fields, where wild horses run

When stars collide like you and I

No shadows block the sun

You’re all I’ve ever needed

Baby, you’re the one”

Your Song

This is Elton and Bernie’s signature song, memorable because of a fantastic melody and sweet lyrics penned by the-then seventeen year old Bernie Taupin:

“And you can tell everybody this is your song

It may be quite simple but now that it’s done

I hope you don’t mind

I hope you don’t mind

That I put down in words

How wonderful life is while you’re in the world.”

Here is Elton singing it with Taron Egerton who portrayed him in the movie, “Rocketman:”

Can You Feel the Love Tonight?

Elton roared back to the top of the heap with his 1994 monster hit musical, “Lion King.” One of the biggest hits was “Can You Feel the Love Tonight,” with lyrics penned by Tim Rice of “Jesus Christ Superstar” fame. Picture your first dance to this song!

When it comes time for your first dance, DJ Brian Anderson will play your favorite Elton song on the best equipment around in a venue that basks in the glow of our awesome decor lighting.