How to reduce your wedding budget by twenty percent

June 10, 2019

reduce wedding budgetIf money is an issue (and it usually is!) when planning your budget, there is one easy way to reduce your wedding budget: reduce the size of your guest list. If you need to cut your wedding budget twenty percent, cut your guest list by the same amount.

According to The Knot, the typical couple spends about 45% of their budget on their wedding venue, which typically includes food and booze. Reduce your wedding guest list by twenty percent and you have that many fewer people to feed and buy drinks for. Your savings are dramatic.

Granted, you can reduce the wedding reception price tag in other ways depending on the season and even day of the week you plan your affair. But ultimately, costs are driven by how many people you invite.

The best way to handle the guest list is to mail invites in two stages. Stage one targets your “A List,” those close family and friends you wouldn’t dream of excluding.

Typically, ten to twenty percent of invitees send their regrets and can’t attend, which allows you to consider who from your “B List” you can invite.

If you’re looking for some practical formulas on how to whittle down your B List, consider the following:

How to cut your ‘B List’

Make it an adults only affair. This is most practical for evening weddings. Be aware that if you start making exceptions and allow a couple or two to bring a baby or some kids, you do open up a Pandora’s Box, so consider this strategy carefully. As we pointed out in an earlier blogpost, inviting kids to a wedding reception can be a dicey proposition.

Don’t invite coworkers. Let’s face it, people switch jobs more than ever these days. Workers you may be tight with today may be totally out of your life tomorrow. When asked about your wedding plans by your associates, simply lay it out that due to budgetary constraints you’re planning an intimate family affair with no coworkers. Period.

Don’t invite anyone you haven’t spoken to in the past one-thousand days. You can’t be all that close if you haven’t. Time to make the tough cuts to manage your budget!

Don’t allow guests to bring dates. Yes, you’ll bump into some sensitivities on this one. Obviously, it’s different if an invitee is married, engaged, or co-habitating. This is tough. You’ll have people who won’t want to attend without a date.  Guess what: that helps you reduce your guest list!

When funds are tight, you’ve got to cut somewhere, right? If this seems all too painful, there is another practical way to save money: go with a wedding DJ like DJ Brian Anderson instead of a band. A great wedding show band can cost over $5,000.00!

According to The Knot, that saves couples about $3000 on average! Think how many more guests you can invite! And with us, you get more than ‘just’ dance-floor-packing entertainment, decor lighting, and photo booth, you get a professional MC who quarterbacks your celebration with flair and impeccable timing. Get ready to party with DJ Brian Anderson!

“Thinking out Loud”

By tom quiner | June 3, 2019

thinking out loud

Streamed 500 million times!

Ed Sheeran’s #1 hit, “Thinking Out Loud,” has been streamed over Spotify 500 MILLION times! Incredible. Written in 2014 by Mr. Sheeran and Amy Wadge, it is so wildly popular that Spotify claims it the #1 first dance song for weddings.

The song is so good that it has been covered a ton of times by artists like Tori Kelly. This is simply beautiful:

Poetic lyrics

This romantic ballad honors the tradition that love is everlasting with poetic lyrics like these:

So baby now

Take me into your loving arms

Kiss me under the light of a thousand stars

Oh darling, place your head on my beating heart

I’m thinking out loud

That maybe we found love right where we are.

A country version

American country star, Dylan Scott, covered “Thinking Out Loud” with a bold piano accompaniment:

You know a song is good when so many top artists cover it. Boyce Avenue, the pop band from Florida, covered it in this guitar-driven rendition:

The original version by Ed Sheeran

And then there is the original version by the great man himself, Ed Sheeran, as you can hear (and see) in the official video below:

For the record, you don’t have to dance like Ed during your first dance! With a nice slow first dance song like “Thinking Out Loud,” you can get by with a simple box-step.

When your first dance is done, watch us pack the dance floor for a non-stop celebration of your big day. And the beauty of DJ entertainment like we provide is we can play any version of a great song you prefer, whether it’s Tori Kelly, Dylan Scott, Boyce Avenue, or Ed Sheeran’s interpretation.

Even more, we can bathe your venue and dance floor with festive decor lighting. And for even more fun, we can bring a Photo Booth for the ultimate in wedding entertainment fun. Just thinking out loud, I think DJ Brian Anderson is a good fit for your wedding celebration! Learn more today without obligation,

How much does a wedding cake cost?

By tom quiner | May 28, 2019

A wedding cake can be a work of art, a gleaming monument to the beauty of your love. Or it can crash and burn, immortalized in YouTube infamy for eternity (see video above). The first question most couples have is: how much does a wedding cake cost?

According a survey of 12,000 recently married couples by The Knot, the average wedding cake cost is $540.

Two out of three couples went with professional cake designers/bakers. But the rest either went with an amateur baker or simply didn’t have a cake at all.

Bakers price wedding cakes by the slice. Typical slices range from $1.50 to $12 each. Since slices tend to be overly generous, budget-conscience couples frequently serve half-slices. Not a bad idea, since we see so much uneaten cake at wedding receptions.

So if you’re going to invite three-hundred guests, maybe you can go with 150 slices. Talk with your baker to see what’s right for your affair.

Back to the video above. Wedding cake disasters abound on YouTube. As funny as they may seem when it’s a stranger’s wedding, it is disruptive and humiliating when it’s your own. That’s why it pays to go with an experienced, professional wedding cake baker/decorator. They know how to design beautiful cakes that don’t collapse at an inopportune moment.

One more thing: don’t smash a piece of cake into your beloved’s face. Tacky. Conduct your cake cutting with class!

Speaking of class, DJ Brian Anderson provides the classy wedding entertainment you’ve been hearing about. And when the cake-cutting is done, watch us pack the dance floor with customized entertainment calibrated to your good taste.

Financial advice for newlyweds

By tom quiner | May 20, 2019

financial advice for newlywedsFinancial stress can rip a marriage to shreds. It’s the second leading cause of divorce according to marriage.com. Although finances aren’t sexy, you can turn them into your marriage’s ally by following some sound advice.

Set a budget

You and your spouse may have different spending and investing habits. If not addressed, they can lead to friction points in your marriage. A budget creates discipline and predictability for your household. You’ll manage critical monthly costs, such as housing, groceries, utilities, and transportation, more efficiently while building a good credit score. Just as important, a jointly conceived budget allows you to spend discretionary funds more intentionally and with respect for your spouse. Lay the foundation for a sound marriage by creating a budget.

You’ll find some free or inexpensive budgeting apps online. Here is a good resource.

Set some goals

What do you want to do with your money? Your marriage works better when you work together as a team towards your jointly conceived financial goals. For most of us, resources are limited. But for goal-oriented couples operating on a budget, home ownership, retirement, and vacation dreams are within reach.

Financial planners typically advise you to save 15% of your income towards retirement. For some couples, that isn’t enough. For others with school loans and credit card debt, maybe that’s too aggressive.

The point is: set some goals. You have a tremendous financial advantage over your single peers, according to debt.com. Only 29% of singles say they feel financially secure compared to 43% of married couples. According to debt.com, married couples enjoy economies of scale that make a buck go farther. So don’t squander this wonderful benefit of marriage. Discuss your goals and create a budget.

Create a will

In the case of the death of one of the spouses, a will can simplify the grieving process by removing one key stressor. According to fidelity.com  it can also reduce your tax exposure:

“Estate laws vary from state to state, but in the absence of a will, surviving spouses without children typically retain only between one-third and one-half of the deceased’s estate. You and your spouse should contact your attorney for more information, and create wills as soon as possible. Be sure to review them every three to five years to make sure they address your changing circumstances.”

DJ Brian Anderson loves weddings and loves to blog on fun wedding topics. Today’s blog may not be as fun as planning your wedding entertainment, but it offers practical advice for a prosperous future.

Congratulations on your new life together.

Toasting etiquette has evolved

By tom quiner | May 13, 2019

toasting etiquetteHow times have changed! We came across an old etiquette guide from the 19th century called Dunbar’s Complete Handbook of Etiquette. In that era, toasting etiquette didn’t allow women to make toasts.

Here’s an excerpt:

Before the ‘healths’ (toasts) are drunk, the wedding cake should be cut and handed round.

The order of the healths is as follows:

The oldest friend of the family proposes the health of the bride and bridegroom.

The bridegroom returns thanks for himself and wife, and proposes the health of the bridesmaids.

The “best man” returns thanks for the bridesmaids.

The same old friend, or another, proposes the health of the bride’s parents.

The father of the bride returns thanks, and proposes the health of the bridegroom’s parents.

The bridegroom’s father returns thanks.

Toasting etiquette has evolved. Today, it is inclusive. The maid of honor and the bride might each make a toast. Here’s the key: it’s your call. You decide who you want to make toasts. Inform them in advance of your invitation to make a wedding toast. Let them know how long their toast should run.

DJ Brian Anderson recommends that they keep it concise, perhaps a few minutes or so.

How do you give a good toast? We’ve written some informative blogposts on the subject. Here are a few for you to review:

The two essential wedding toast ingredients

Read this wedding toast script

How to avoid wedding toast disasters

All-male toasting is so yesterday! Modern toasting etiquette is so much better. But do you know what never goes out of style? A well-written, well-delivered toast. So we highly recommend you share our blogposts above with those you’ve chosen to make a toast at your wedding.

And when that time comes, our MC will introduce your toasters with professional flair!

The four most iconic wedding gowns of the past century

By tom quiner | May 6, 2019

Let’s turn the clock back to the four most talked about weddings of the past one-hundred years. These weddings were notable for the celebrity and the elegance of each couple and the iconic wedding gowns worn by the brides.

Kate Middleton

iconic wedding gownsCatherine (Kate) Middleton married Prince William on April 29th, 2011 wearing a gown designed by Sarah Burton of the luxury fashion house, Alexander McQueen. The gown incorporates exquisite detail to combine tradition and modernity, and although an official price for the gown was never announced, some reports peg the cost at £250,000 ($400,000). The Duchess of Cambridge looks simply exquisite, doesn’t she!

Princess Diana

iconic wedding gowns

Before the late Princess of Wales achieved tabloid notoriety, she and Prince Charles tied the knot in 1981 in a fairy tale wedding. Her designers, David and Elizabeth Emanuel, said the dress “had to be something that was going to go down in history.” What do you think? Did they succeed?

The ivory silk taffeta and antique lace gown sported a 25 foot train and 153 yard tulle veil. Whew! The price tag? £151,000!

Princess Grace of Monoco

iconic wedding gownsGrace Kelly was an Academy Award winning actress who fell in love with Prince Rainier III of Monoco. Talk about a fairy tale romance! The two tied the knot in April of 1956 in an event attended by Hollywood royalty as well as international royalty.

Interestingly, Sara Middleton’s gown emulated the elegance created by Princess Grace’s Hollywood designer, Helen Rose. In all, this gown used 400 yards of fabric and cost $8,000 (about $68,000 in today’s dollars).

Thirty million people watched the wedding via emerging television technology. Like Princess Diana, Princess Grace tragically died in a car accident.

Jacqueline Kennedy

iconic wedding gownsThe Kennedy dynasty of the 20th century were American political royalty. And socialite Jacqueline Lee Bouvier conducted herself with aristocratic aplomb. Her marriage to Senator John F. Kennedy on September 12, 1953 appeared to be a match made in heaven.

Known for her fashion sense, Jackie went with a bouffant wedding gown that required 50 feet of ivory silk taffeta.

Now here’s what’s interesting about the story. Jackie’s wedding dress was destroyed just ten days before her wedding day when the studio it was in flooded. They called upon African-American designer, Ann Lowe, to “whip something together” at the last minute, and the result is the beautiful gown pictured above. The cost? Five-hundred dollars is all!

Which of these iconic wedding gowns do you like best?

For iconic wedding entertainment, your choice is very simple: DJ Brian Anderson. We know how to pack the dance floor. Your guests will remember that even more than your iconic wedding gown!

How sweet it is when you experience the perfect first dance song!

By tom quiner | April 29, 2019

perfect first dance songThe song doesn’t determine the perfect first dance song. The artist who performs the song ultimately determines this state of perfection. That’s why two out of three couples prefer a DJ to a band on their wedding day. A company like ours can play the version that best suits you.

How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)

Take Marvin Gaye’s classic song from 1964, “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You,” which one critic described as a “radiant pop confection.” Listen to Gaye’s interpretation of the song:

The song reached number three on Billboard Magazine’s R & B charts in 1965. A decade later, James Taylor covered the song in his imitable soft rock style, which a Rolling Stone music critic, Bud Scoppa, characterized as “a relaxed rendition” of Gaye’s masterpiece. Here’s how Taylor covered it:

This is the version that came in #17 on The Knot’s list of “50 Classic First Dance Songs.”

The tempo falls comfortably between fast and slow, allowing you to easily dance to it about any way you’d like.

A soulful approach

The Temptations took a more soulful approach to the tune:

Perhaps you prefer a female vocalist. British singer, Katie Melua has an infectious, pop take on the song, complete with a robust brass section backing her:

Silky smooth, Michael Bublé, weighs in with his uptempo take on this classic, backed by a kick-butt big band:

You deserve the perfect first dance song, because it is the focal point of your wedding reception. DJ Brian Anderson can play whatever version of your song you want, and even more, we can customize the music for your entire reception to make your wedding celebration uniquely you.

How sweet it is!

Modernize the traditional receiving line

By Brian Anderson | April 22, 2019

traditional receiving lineIt takes about a half hour to move one-hundred of your wedding guests through a traditional receiving line. That’s assuming your line includes the couple and their parents only. Add in the rest of your wedding party and it’ll take forever!

Receiving lines matter.  It’s your opportunity to greet your guests and thank them for attending your wedding celebration.

If your guest list is large, you may want to modernize the traditional receiving line to open up more time for celebrating and less time standing around in line.

You should explore a couple of smart alternative approaches we’re seeing more of. One idea is ridiculously simple. Instead of processing out of the church or venue at the conclusion of your ceremony, the couple dismisses guests row-by-row.

This affords you the opportunity to connect with everyone in a rather efficient manner. Guests don’t want to linger, since they know you have rows of other guests chomping at the bit to greet you. And, guests can sit and relax until you get to their row, which is especially nice for older guests.

If parents want to be in the receiving line, this idea won’t work. On the other hand, parents can make it a point to make the rounds during the cocktail hour or before dinner to connect with friends and family they would have greeted in the receiving line.

This leads to another contemporary alternative to the traditional receiving line. Some couples forgo the receiving line completely and make it a point to systematically ‘work the crowd’ during the cocktail hour, or immediately before dinner, which works especially well if you’re going with a buffet line.

These approaches can open up more time to celebrate, and wedding celebrations really come alive when the entertainment is customized to your tastes. Guess what? That’s what we do! Check us out without obligation.

Pitfalls of an outdoor wedding

By Brian Anderson | April 15, 2019

outdoor weddingWho doesn’t love an outdoor wedding? There was the one that took place overlooking the Tennessee River at Lake Guntersville State Park. The look of the wedding was magical. The view is stunningly beautiful!  Its one of my most favorite venues to entertain at and I perform many events there!

And then there was the one on the beach in Gulf Shores. The magnificence of the setting was breathtaking! Yes, who doesn’t love an outdoor wedding?

Perhaps the guests! The beautiful wedding ceremony on Lake Guntersville was 95 degrees. There was no shade. The humidity was high enough to wilt a blushing bride’s coiffure faster than you can say “I do!”

Who doesn’t love an outdoor wedding?

Perhaps the bridesmaids! A lovely bridesmaid in her very high heels just couldn’t navigate the sand at the beach wedding and took a nasty spill. But, boy that Gulf of Mexico was beautiful!

Then, there was this time in beautiful downtown Valley Head, Alabama at the Historic Winston Place at a 4:00 pm ceremony that the “4:05” Southern Railways Locomotive came rushing through with horn blasting!

Okay, perhaps I’m being overly hard on outdoor weddings. But I’m a DJ and I’ve seen all of the pros and cons of outdoor weddings on full display over the years. I DO enjoy entertaining outdoor weddings and celebrations!

Outdoor weddings can be spectacular

I do admit that some settings are breathtaking, and when everything goes perfectly, they are truly memorable affairs.

There’s a common weak link, though, when it comes to outdoor weddings: the sound. Guests can’t hear your spoken vows very well. If you have a nice string quartet, for example, the beauty of their music can be overwhelmed by the sounds of nature, whether it’s wind, waves, or whatever.

DJ Brian Anderson can easily shore up your sound with cutting edge equipment that makes your Alabama wedding ceremony easily heard by all guests. We’ll capture your ceremony music on sensitive mics that block out Mother Nature’s background sounds so you only hear the purity of the music.

Or if your budget is tight, we can provide any ceremony music you’d ever want to hear, played on the high end equipment that enhances any outdoor wedding ceremony.

And when the ceremony is done, we offer the dance floor packing entertainment services that transforms an ordinary wedding reception into a celebration for the ages.

Yes, outdoor weddings present challenges as well as opportunity. Whatever you decide is right for your wedding celebration, DJ Brian Anderson can make sure the sound is one less worry you have to deal with.

How to look fantastic in wedding photographs

By Brian Anderson | April 8, 2019

great wedding photographsEvery woman wants great wedding photographs. So what is it exactly that makes wedding photographs great? Let’s face it, it begins with you. If you think that you look great in your photos, chances are you’re going to love your wedding photographs all the more.

This doesn’t discount the ability of your wedding photographer, because good photographers know how to bring out the best in you. But there are some practical things you can work on to make your photographer’s job easier and to look fantastic in your wedding photographs.

Super model Tyra Banks offers some good tips:

  • Extend your neck (see above). Don’t be a “no-neck monster.” No one likes the “double chin” look.
  • Smile with your eyes.
  • Focus your gaze, even if you’re not staring directly into the camera. In other words avoid the aimless gaze which creates blandness. You want intensity!
  • Don’t slouch. Stand erect. Stiffen your spine!
  • Be yourself (as long as you’re not slouching!)
  • Practice your smile. With practice, you know the type of smile that flatters you most. Some prefer an open mouth, toothy smile. Others, a closed mouth smile.
  • Get your teeth whitened. The reason some don’t like open mouth smiles is their teeth. Whitening helps and gives you confidence.
  • Self-conscious? Work on poses where you’re looking away from the camera. If you do, remember the tip above: to focus your eyes on something in your view.
  • Slightly hold your chin up. According to Ms. Banks, it elongates the neck, de-emphasizes large foreheads, and simply flatters you.
  • Bend your knee. It accentuates your femininity, as you can see demonstrated by super model Alessandra Ambrosio (below):

great wedding photographs

  • Emphasize a shoulder. Simply turn your body to the side, but then turn your shoulders toward the camera. This approach narrows your hips in the photo.

These are simple tips that consistently produce great wedding photographs.

Here’s a tip that will produce great wedding entertainment: go with DJ Brian Anderson. Just as a good photographer knows how to bring out the best in his subject, we know how to bring out the most fun in a party. Check us out without obligation. Or give us a call if you’d like some quick pricing info: 256-638-3535.