George Gershwin is one of the greatest American songwriters ever. His songs are still played at weddings to this day, and yet 3 out of 10 millennials have never heard of him.
Gershwin lived and died in the early part of the 20th century. Songs have changed dramatically since that golden era. The Spanish National Research Council did a pretty amazing study on the subject. They analyzed 464,411 song recordings from 1955 to 2010.
A trend leapt out. Songs became less complex, using fewer chords. The timbral diversity became blander and more homogenized as contemporary songs used a smaller palette of sounds. And songs became louder.
Most hit songs today use a combination of keyboard, drum machine, sampler, and computer software. As a result, songs sound similar.
Even more, producers over the past decade have compressed the dynamic range of pop songs, so the loud and soft parts of a song aren’t much different, which contributes to the sameness of contemporary songs.
You’ll hear how this affects the music at the 13 minute mark in the video below:
Songwriters still write good songs. But the most creative have to contend with modern music producers who don’t want to take chances on anything too creative. They want songwriters to stick to a formula.
Gershwin for Millennials
All of this is prelude to the staggering inventiveness of a George Gershwin song. Although Mr. Gershwin stuck to some formulas of his own, specifically, the 32 bar song structure, it is what he did within that framework that make his songs so dazzling and timeless.
Couples still request his songs at weddings for their first dance. So “Gershwin for Millennials” may be a relevant primer for you on one of America’s musical giants. Perhaps his best known love song is the last song he wrote before he died suddenly at the age of thirty-eight.
“Our Love is Here to Stay”
This song is one of his highest-ranking on Spotify. Listen to Diana Krall and Tony Bennett interpret this classic, with lyrics written by Ira Gershwin, George’s brother:
Here’s Frank Sinatra’s quickie rendition from a 1956 television show. Note the way he uses a cigarette as a prop!
Song lyrics have been dumbed down in recent decades, dropping a full grade level in sophistication according to another study. Ira Gershwin wrote witty, urbane lyrics with clever rhyme schemes. George and Ira made a wonderful team. Ira’s lyrics matched George’s melody to perfection.
It’s been 90 years since Team Gershwin wrote this masterpiece. What a beauty! Perfect for your first dance! Here’s Nat King Cole singing it:
“I’ve Got a Crush on You”
This one is considered a jazz standard. It is so good, the song was used in not one, but two Gershwin Broadway musicals. It’s been covered by all the greats. Here is a particularly lovely cover of the song by Linda Ronstadt:
“The Man I Love”
By contrast, “The Man I Love” was rejected from three Gershwin musicals until it finally found it’s home as a standard in the ‘Great American Songbook.’ Here’s Barbra Streisand singing it:
This song needs to be sung as a torch song. That’s just how Sarah Vaughan does in this recording:
The beauty of a company like DJ Brian Anderson is we can play the version of the song that you like best, whether it’s Lady Gaga’s, Amy Winehouse’s, or Diana Krall’s interpretation of a Gershwin classic. And we can play all of the contemporary classics you love, even if The Spanish National Research Council says they’re pure formula! Your wedding is about you, and we’ll play the music you love. Check us out!
Team Gershwin wrote so many more classic songs, still sung today by music royalty. These songs were written by craftsmen who took pride in creating unique works of music that would withstand the test of time.
Can the same be said about today’s music?
How many bad wedding toasts have you heard? Too many! Long toasts get boring fast, and frankly, most toasts ARE too long. It’s simply hard for an average Joe to pull off a scintillating toast that dazzles your guests. So what do you do? Keep it short by making a one minute wedding toast.
The best toasts have a natural, ad-libbed feel to them, and that’s much easier if you can keep it short. But, as Mark Twain said,
“It usually takes three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.”
So, if you’re willing to take Mr. Twain’s advice and do some preparation, you’ll have wedding guests right in the palm of your hands. But it helps if you have a strategy.
First, keep in mind that the purpose of a wedding toast is to honor the wedding couple. Emotion matters. The best toasts make your guests laugh and cry. Far too many of a best man THINK they’re funny, when in fact he’s not.
So the simplest strategy to giving a beautiful one minute wedding toast is to simply use sincerity. For example:
“Have you ever wondered what the meaning of life is? You know, I’m not much of a philosopher, but I think the answer is that life has meaning, and the meaning is all about love.
Our life should be all about loving. That’s exactly why [groom’s name] and [bride’s name]’s marriage inspires me so much. Their kind of love is more than just a feeling, it’s an action. They’ve shown me, and I’d guess you, too, that love is all about giving. I see how they give of their time, their treasure, and their talent to help others, and it makes me want to be a better man.
For those of you who think the world is going to hell, I have some good news: the world is about to get a whole lot better with the marriage of these two kind, wonderful human beings. I am honored to call them both friends. Together, let us lift our glasses in a toast to Mr. and Mrs. [last name].”
You CAN pack a lot of punch in a one minute wedding toast.
There’s another reason to keep toasts short. It leaves more time for dancing! With DJ Brian Anderson providing entertainment at your wedding celebration, you will enjoy a packed dance floor all night long. Learn more today without obligation. Call us anytime at 256-638-3535 to discuss your celebration!
What kind of person are you? You have a unique opportunity to express the essence of who you are during your wedding vows. These few minutes define the rest of your life. Consider them carefully. For inspiration, let’s soak in some beautiful expressions of the language of love found in literature.
William Shakespeare expresses the depth of love succinctly in this passage from “Romeo & Juliet:”
“My bounty is as boundless as the sea,
My love as deep; the more I give to thee,
The more I have, for both are infinite.”
The Velveteen Rabbit
Do you remember that great book from your childhood, “The Velveteen Rabbit?” The author, Margery Williams, eloquently expresses the timelessness of true love:
“You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out, and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”
Idea from a Saint
Most couples reading this blogpost have a religious element in their wedding ceremony. The 14th century mystic, St. Catherine of Siena, offers this thought-provoker:
“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.”
Here’s a passionate passage from “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho:
“When he looked into her eyes, he learned the most important part of the language that all the world spoke — the language that everyone on Earth was capable of understanding in their heart. It was love. Something older than humanity, more ancient than the desert. What the boy felt at that moment was that he was in the presence of the only woman in his life, and that, with no need for words, she recognized the same thing. Because when you know the language, it’s easy to understand that someone in the world awaits you, whether it’s in the middle of the desert or in some great city. And when two such people encounter each other, the past and the future become unimportant. There is only that moment, and the incredible certainty that everything under the sun has been written by one hand only. It is the hand that evokes love, and creates a twin soul for every person in the world. Without such love, one’s dreams would have no meaning.”
Ultimately, your wedding vows express your lifetime commitment to your betrothed. How in the world can you express something so profound in such a short period of time? The language of love doesn’t need a lot of words, but it certainly needs the words that are right.
Tap into the ideas of history’s best writers for inspiration as you write the words that change everything in your life.
Watch the video above as the couple makes their vows [at the 1:13 and 2:44 mark] in their own, unique voice. Lovely!
When the emotion of your ceremony begins to subside, you’ll be ready to party! That’s where DJ Brian Anderson comes in. We offer customized entertainment for your wedding reception.
The cinema is a treasure trove of great music for soon-to-be married couples. Last week, we considered some of the most romantic music written by the legendary Italian composer, Ennio Morricone. This week, let’s broaden our scope and consider the best movie soundtrack songs for wedding ceremonies written by other great film composers.
“The Feather Theme”
Alan Silvestri wrote a simply exquisite piece called “The Feather Theme” for “Forest Gump,” starring Tom Hanks. (You can download a free copy of the sheet music for your piano player at MuseScore.com.) Mr. Silvestri has scored the music for a number of films in the Marvel Universe. He wrote the scores for the “Back to the Future” movies series. And he received an Academy Award nomination for the “Forest Gump” film score. Listen to this tender tune as a piano solo:
Imagine processing into your ceremony to music this beautiful!
Of course, you can take the “Feather Theme” to the next level when you add in the orchestration from the film. Listen:
The string section adds such emotional depth to this music. Remember, if your budget can’t handle an orchestra, it’s very much within your reach if you simply hire us to play your ceremony music on our cutting edge equipment.
“Theme from The Holiday”
Do you remember a movie that came out in 2006 called “The Holiday?” This romcom starred Jack Black, Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, and Jude Law in a movie perfect for date night. Academy Award winning composer, Han Zimmer, added a lovely soundtrack, which included the theme song. Take a listen to a piano solo of the piece:
Beautiful. Be aware, though, that the middle section can be challenging to play for rank and file piano players. When you add in the full orchestra from the film score, the result is pure magic:
Listen to the passion that kicks in at the 64 second mark. Your guests will not only leap to their feet upon your entrance, they’ll have to fight being carried off to heaven by the music! This is a theme song that says, “love conquers all.” DJ Brian Anderson can provide this music and fade it out at exactly the right time.
Let’s look at one more movie soundtrack song for wedding ceremonies. Howard Shore composed a highly regarded set of music for the Lord of the Rings movies with a Celtic feel to it, titled, “Concerning Hobbits.”
Here’s how it will sound in the hands of a good pianist:
But let’s suppose you’d like a violin cover of the piece along with the backing of a full orchestra. You can have it! Here it is:
Think outside the box as you plan your ceremony music. Pachebel, Bach, and Mozart are always winners. But so are Silvestri, Zimmer, and Shore … along with other cinema composing luminaries.
If you think your wedding ceremony music deserves the full treatment, you can have it at a price you can afford with DJ Brian Anderson. Our equipment ensures your music sounds crystal clear and beautiful, whether your ceremony takes place indoors or out. And if you think we’re good at wedding ceremonies, you ought to see us at wedding receptions!
Call for details and to check on available dates without obligation: 256-638-3535.
Movie soundtracks are the new classical music. Some of the most innovative movie composers around are masters of the symphonic idiom. Some great movie wedding songs have emerged from the movie genre that you might want to consider for your wedding ceremony.
Let’s focus on a single master of the form, the great Italian composer, Ennio Morricone. Mr. Morricone is a gifted composer of romantic melodies, a talent common among Italy’s finest composers.
I recently attended a wedding where the bride made her entrance to a beautiful piece of music he composed in 1986 for the movie, “The Mission.” The song is called “Gabriel’s Oboe.” Here’s how it sounds as a piano solo, which is what I heard at the wedding I attended:
Very nice. Now listen to it as you heard it in the movie soundtrack:
It totally blows the piano solo away. The oboe and orchestra add an emotional depth that will make your entrance transcend time. Most weddings can afford a good piano player, but few can afford an orchestra. So what do you do? Simply ask us. DJ Brian Anderson has an entire orchestra at our beck and call, because we’re DJs. Yes, you can make your entrance to music that beautiful through the miracle of a high-end recording played on clear, cutting edge equipment.
Love Theme from Cinema Paradiso
If possible, Mr. Morricone outdid himself in 1990 with the love theme from the Academy Award winning film, “Cinema Paradiso.” Imagine processing into your wedding celebration to this rich melody and orchestration:
Now watch a romantic scene from Cinema Paradiso defined by this lovely piece of music:
This prolific composer has written film scores for a who’s who of cinema’s great directors, from Quentin Tarantino to Sergio Leone. He’s famous for edgy sound tracks that break new ground. You’ll hear an innovative fusion of the human voice with symphonic sounds in his film scores. And yet his romantic melodies go beyond those produced by his contemporaries. That’s why wedding couples should explore his rich song book.
Main Theme from Once Upon a Time in the West
Listen to the main theme from the 1968 classic, “Once Upon a Time in the West.”
What majesty, which is the word that should define a bride’s wedding entrance. Morricone breaks the mold in this piece by handing off the wordless melody to the vocal stylings of soprano, Susana Gigacci. You’ll use the first three minutes of this piece at most.
Simply put, great movie wedding songs like those composed by Ennio Morricone add an emotional heft that magnify the beauty of your wedding ceremony.
DJ Brian Anderson knows that local wedding musicians aren’t always able to do justice to music this sophisticated. In fairness, they’re trying to match the beauty of an orchestra with a single instrument or two. We can be the game changers you’re looking for. We can bring the nobility of an entire orchestra to your wedding ceremony at an affordable price.
Your wedding ceremony should be defined by beauty, and that includes beautiful music. Whether it’s Morricone or Mozart, we can provide exactly the music you request. And our professional equipment is so good, so clear, and so controlled, that the music will sound awesome in any venue, indoors or outdoors.
And when it’s time for your wedding reception, we’ve got all the entertainment you’ve ever dreamed of! If you want to take your Alabama wedding ceremony AND your wedding reception to the next level, call DJ Brian Anderson: 256-638-3535.
What does the Mayo Clinic and the Catholic Church have in common? They both recommend pre-marriage counseling before you get married. If you’re not religious, keep reading because this applies to you, too.
Even Psychology Today says pre-marriage counseling is beneficial:
“Studies reveal that premarital counseling is an effective tool to use as you begin your married life. Researchers have discovered that it is a helpful way to improve your communication and conflict management skills while increasing your overall relationship quality and satisfaction. Couples who engage in premarital counseling have a more realistic view of marriage and a deeper level of commitment to each other. These couples reported having an easier adjustment to married life than those who didn’t participate in premarital counseling.”
Pre-marriage counseling covers ten areas
The Mayo Clinic identified ten key areas where pre-marriage counseling is worth its weight in gold:
√ Beliefs and values
√ Roles in marriage
√ Affection and sex
√ Desire to have children
√ Family relationships
√ Dealing with anger
√ Time spent together
Beware financial stress
In particular, financial 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 anticipating and avoiding problems through pre-marriage counseling.
Every single marriage is unique, but common issues define marital hot spots. One is the way you’re able to resolve conflict. Every couple fights at some point. If your fighting devolves into a ‘you against your spouse’ scenario, you’ve got a problem. On the other hand, if you view each other as being on the same team, conflict is more easily resolved.
How do you do that? By learning to communicate collaboratively, not adversarially. And those are teachable skills available through competent pre-marriage counseling.
The Catholic Church requires couples to take pre-marriage counseling through courses called Pre-Cana. Since many of these couples are of an inter-faith variety, the courses help to draw couples together by addressing subjects that can be sources of conflict down the road, including:
√ Conflict resolution skills
Check with your local diocese for details.
Prevent disagreement before it happens
For non religious couples, pre-marriage counseling can enrich relationships by teaching you things about your future spouse you didn’t know. According to clinical sexologist, Dawn Michael Ph. D:
“It is important to see how they respond in a situation where they are feeling threatened or not understood so that we can learn from it and try to prevent some of the disagreement before it happens and minimize the more heated arguments that lasts for hours, days or weeks.”
According to the Mayo Clinic, look for licensed therapists known as marriage and family therapists for your pre-marriage counseling. They typically have postgraduate degrees. Many are credentialed through the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, and their website can help you find the right counselor for you.
Your Alabama marriage is worth preserving. Pre-marriage counseling makes your journey easier by getting you launched in a healthier, happier pathway. Congratulations and good luck!
[DJ Brian Anderson offers invaluable pre-wedding planning advice to ensure your entertainment is perfect. Check us out without obligation.]
Every wedding is different. Most, though, share common elements, so planning a wedding timeline is pretty predictable.
You should plan your wedding timeline accordingly.
Hire wedding planner
Color themes and design
Hire the fun and memory maker vendors early, including the entertainment. Remember, popular dates book fast!
Shop for dress
Block out rooms for guests
Set up gift registry
Rehearsal dinner venue
Hire ceremony musicians
Order rental items
Book guest transportation
Book couple’s transportation
Final tasting with caterer
Hair/make up trial
Guest favors/gift bags
Meet officiant/invite to rehearsal dinner
Start wedding invitations
Send out rehearsal dinner invites
First dress fitting
Pick up marriage license
Buy wedding party gifts
Floral mock up
Firm up music selections with DJ
Song selections for ceremony musicians
Pay vendors in full
Create seating chart
Order or make place cards
Final venue walk through
Break in wedding shoes
Is this wedding timeline rigid? Not really, but it is a helpful guideline.
For example, wedding couples surveyed after the wedding tend to regret underspending on services that provide the fun (like the DJ) and the memories. Sometimes, they wait too long, and the good ones are gone.
The cake cutting ceremony at your wedding is significant. It’s the first act bride and groom do together as a married couple. Such an auspicious event demands a fabulous wedding cake-cutting song.
Let me tell you, there are some greats one from which to choose!
“How Sweet it Is (to be loved by you)”
The obvious approach is to pick a song about the sweetness of the moment. It doesn’t get much better than James Taylor’s cover of “How Sweet It Is (to be loved by you).”
The lyrics blend with the moment perfectly.
I want to stop (stop) and thank you, baby
I just want to stop and thank you, baby, hey now
How sweet it is to be loved by you, oh, baby
How sweet it is to be loved by you, yes it is.
Take a listen …
In case that’s not sweet enough, you can always go with the Archie’s “Sugar Sugar.” These lyrics are so sweet, they may give you a cavity:
Sugar, ah honey honey
You are my candy girl
And you got me wanting you
Honey, ah sugar sugar
You are my candy girl
And you’ve got me wanting you.
Check it out:
“Today Was a Fairy Tale”
Taylor Swift has a nice top ten song written in 2010 that works beautifully for the cake cutting: “Today Was a Fairy Tale:”
The lyrics revel in a magical day:
Today was a fairytale
You were the prince
I used to be a damsel in distress
You took me by the hand and you picked me up at six
Today was a fairytale.
“When I’m 64”
For a different approach, consider the Beatles, “When I’m 64.” It’s a song about lovers growing old together, a perfect fit for couples at the beginning of their journey together:
When I get older losing my hair
Many years from now
Will you still be sending me a Valentine
Birthday greetings bottle of wine
If I’d been out till quarter to three
Would you lock the door
Will you still need me, will you still feed me
When I’m sixty-four
You’ll be older too
And if you say the word
I could stay with you.
Here’s a remastered cut of the song from the Sergeant Peppers’ album with Paul McCartney on lead vocals:
A year before the Beatles recorded “When I’m 64,” Nat King Cole recorded a catchy hit simply called, “Love.” This is a delightful song for your cake-cutting ceremony.
Listen to the great lyrics (by Milt Gabler):
L is for the way you look at me
O is for the only one I see
V is very, very extraordinary
E is even more than anyone that you adore can
Love is all that I can give to you
Love is more than just a game for two
Two in love can make it
Take my heart and please don’t break it
Love was made for me and you.
For a ‘sweet’ country song, you can’t go wrong with Keith Urban’s “Sweet Thing:”
Sweet thing. The moon is high and the night is young
Come on and meet me
In the backyard under the Cottonwood tree, it’s a good thing
Am I’m wishin’. Ah c’mon sweet thing.
DJ Brian Anderson loves a good song, and we love weddings. Your cake cutting is another beautiful opportunity to unite a milestone in your life with the perfect song for the occasion. You name the song, we’ve got it … and more!
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?
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.
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!)
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.
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.
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.