Super smart questions to ask a wedding venue

January 20, 2020

wedding venue questionsYou’re engaged. Congratulations. As we pointed out in an earlier blogpost, one of the first things you’ll need to do for your Alabama wedding is to line up your wedding venue. Venues book real early, so you’re smart to plan at least twelve months out securing your venue. Here are some super smart wedding venue questions.

Most of these questions are obvious, except that it’s easy to get caught up in the dream of your wedding day at the expense of the practical. So print out this blogpost and take these questions with you:

Wedding vendor questions

  1. Are you available on our date? Duh, obvious question. If they’re not, check to see if they offer discounts for off-season dates, or even for Sunday or Friday weddings.
  2. What is your price, and how many hours does that cover? How much extra does it charge if our party keeps going?
  3. How many guests can your space accommodate? Be sure to factor in the amount of space your DJ or band and dance floor will take up. Give us a call at 256-638-3535 and we’ll give you a very accurate estimate. Your celebration will suffer if you’re packed in like sardines, so be sure to spend some time on this question with potential vendors.
  4. What are deposit details? Be sure to clarify if it is refundable if the unexpected occurs. By the same token, clarify payment terms.
  5. Do you provide changing rooms for the bride, groom, and wedding party?
  6. For outdoor weddings, do you have a back-up plan if the weather is bad?
  7. Does your venue carry liability insurance?
  8. Do you offer an in-house caterer, and if yes, do we have the option of using our own preferred caterer? If I use my own caterer, will they have access to your kitchen?
  9. Do you provide glassware, silverware, tables, chairs, and plates?
  10. Do I have to get alcohol from you, or can I bring my own wine, beer, and champagne?

These wedding venue questions are pretty basic, but you need to know the answers to them to make informed decisions. DJ Brian Anderson has played at just about all of the best venues around, including some little-known gems. Pick up the phone and call us if you’d like some unbiased input: 256-638-3535. We’d love to hear about your wedding plans. In the meantime, check out our wedding services.

Once again, congratulations on your engagement.

How to handle an obnoxious wedding guest

By tom quiner | January 13, 2020

The simplest way to handle an obnoxious wedding guest is don’t invite her. Or him. Sadly, that’s not always possible. You know how family relationships can be! Your parents may insist that you invite ‘cousin Penelope’ even though she is the most obnoxious person you know. Just watch the Saturday Night Live skit below to see what we mean!

Kristen Wiig’s “Penelope” is hysterical. Most of us have been in the same, unpleasant situation as poor Taylor Swift at some point in our life.

Fortunately, most obnoxious wedding guests aren’t going to be as challenging as an SNL character. Nonetheless, you may desire that guests honor certain wedding traditions, standards and protocols, beginning with attire.

Spell out your attire preferences

You have several ways to communicate dress code for your wedding. The more formal your affair, the more formal your invitation should look. Makes sense. State preferences on an enclosure in your invitation, not on the invitation itself, and be direct. Let them know if your affair is formal, semi-formal, business casual, casual or something else.

Use your website and word-of-mouth to spread the word and clarify what you mean by “semi-formal.”

On the day of your wedding itself, the most common issue couples have with attendees is the obnoxious wedding guest who wants to dominate the bride or groom’s (or both!) attention. This can get tricky. You need to be diplomatic.

You have two techniques to control the time demands on you. The easiest is to simply say something like this:

“It is so much fun catching up with you. I look forward do it again when we have more time, but other guests are waiting! You know how that goes! Thanks again for being here. It means a lot to me.”

Try the ‘hand-off’ if you’re desperate

That’s all it takes with most guests. They understand how weddings work. On rare occasion, you’ll encounter a guest who sticks to you like glue and misses all of your cues. In those cases, you need to have an extraction strategy which allows you to gracefully slip away. The best approach is the ‘hand-off.’ Turn to a nearby guest and introduce them your ‘sticky’ guest, mention something they have in common, and move on. Don’t look back.

It might go something like this:

“Mrs. Smith, I have someone you might like to meet. This is my cousin Penelope! Her dad is an attorney at the firm where your God daughter’s great uncle used to be the janitor back in 1977. I bet you two will have a lot of catching up to do! In the meantime, I desperately need to powder my nose!”

Well, I’m being a little silly, but you get the idea.

Hopefully you don’t have a ‘Penelope’ at your Alabama wedding. But if you do, here’s another solution: go with DJ Brian Anderson for your wedding entertainment. We specialize in packing the dance floor and creating fun wedding receptions. The ‘Penelope’ in your life will be so busy dancing, you’ll barely know she’s there!

Best Adele love songs for weddings

By tom quiner | January 6, 2020

Adele burst onto the music scene in 2009 and has never looked back. The 2009 Grammy Awards named her best new artist and best female pop vocal performance. Although she’s known for writing compelling break-up ballads, she knows her way around a love song, too. Let’s take a look at some of the best Adele love songs for weddings.

Remedy

Adele sings that love is the cure for what ails us in life with these sweet lyrics:

But when the pain cuts you deep

When the night keeps you from sleeping

Just look and you will see

That I will be your remedy

When the world seems so cruel

And your heart makes you feel like a fool

I promise you will see

That I will be, I will be your remedy.

Her strong vocals require but piano accompaniment to sell this song. This is a lovely song for you to consider for your first dance song.

Another Brit, Joe Miles, covers Remedy accompanied by piano and guitar:

Sweetest Devotion

Motherhood inspired Adele to write this love song called, “Sweetest Devotion.” The intensity of the lyrics work beautifully for your first dance song:

The sweetest devotion

Hitting me like an explosion

All of my life, I’ve been frozen

The sweetest devotion I’ve known.

One and Only

The best Adele love songs collection has to include “One and Only,” a popular theme in songwriting over the years. Adele tackled the subject when she was 21, an age when the unrelenting urgency to embrace love is overwhelming. Here’s how she says it:

I dare you to let me be your, your one and only

I promise I’m worthy

To hold in your arms

So come on and give me the chance

To prove I am the one who can walk that mile

Until the end starts.

As mentioned above, the idea of being the ‘one and only’ love has inspired songwriters down through the ages. Here’s Sting singing “My One and Only Love” written by Guy Wood and Robert Mellin, published in 1953.

Robert Mellin’s lyrics exude romance:

The very thought of you makes my heart sing

Like an April breeze on the wings of spring

And you appear in all your splendor

My one and only love.

The shadows fall and spread their mystic charms

In the hush of night while you’re in my arms

I feel your lips, so warm and tender

My one and only love.

Not to be outdone, the Gershwin brothers wrote an entire musical called “My One and Only” way, way back in 1927. Here’s the title song performed by Tony Bennett and Diana Krall:

The lyrics feature Ira Gershwin at his rhyming best:

My one and only,

What am I gonna do if you turn me down

When I`m so crazy over you?

I’d be so lonely

Where am I gonna go if you turn me down,

Why blacken all my skies of blue?

I tell you, I’m not asking any miracle

It can be done, it can be done.

I know a clergyman who will grow lyrical

And make us one, and make us one.

So, my one and only,

There isn’t a reason why you should turn me down,

When I’m so crazy over you.

Light. Happy. Impeccably crafted. That’s a Gershwin song! But we’re talking about the best Adele love songs, so let’s hear one more.

Love Song

This song was actually written by an alternative band called The Cure in 1989. Adele covered it in her Adele 21 album. Check out these great lyrics:

Whenever I’m alone with you

You make me feel like I am home again

Whenever I’m alone with you

You make me feel like I am whole again

Whenever I’m alone with you

You make me feel like I am young again

Whenever I’m alone with you

You make me feel like I am fun again.

Here is how The Cure performs “Love Song:”

Here’s the thing about the best Adele love songs. We can play her version or the cover version. If she’s the one covering an older song, we can play her version or the original. And DJ Brian Anderson plays it on the best equipment with clear, controlled sound.

Your first dance song deserves special consideration. We’ll play the song you want, whether it’s sung by Adele, Bruno, Elton, or Lady Gaga. And we make planning easy with our online planning tools for clients. Questions? We love them! Contact us today: 256-638-3535.

Hidden wedding costs that will bust your budget

By tom quiner | December 30, 2019

hidden wedding costsMost engaged couples create a wedding budget, which this blog highly recommends to avoid the stress that can occur when wedding bills come due. But beware the hidden wedding costs that can sneak into the equation and surprise you when you add up all of your expenses.

License fees

Sometimes, it’s just some simple, innocuous items like your marriage license fees. In the scheme of things, they’re not that much, ranging from $70 to $104 in Alabama; $40 to $60 in Ohio; $60 in North Carolina; $82 in Texas; $15 to $40 in Illinois; and about $100 in Tennessee, to give you a few examples.

No big deal, but these small hidden wedding costs add up if you’re not prepared.

Unapproved vendors

Some couples get socked with hidden wedding fees from their venue if they don’t use their approved professionals. The upcharges can really add up, typically going for 20% per vendor. Be sure to ask before signing a contract.

Clean up and breakdown fees

Speaking of venues, is yours’ a full-service venue? If it’s not, you might get stuck with extra fees for clean up and break down. Be vigilant. Review your contract and be sure these fees are included.

Extra service fees

Here’s a scenario for you to consider:  Suppose you select a very cool venue, and you bring in your own wine and cake, but the venue’s staff has to serve the wine and cut the cake. They may charge you an extra service fee because you’re creating extra work for their staff.

Simply cover it all upfront, or you could be faced with an unexpected and hefty extra fee.

Taxes & gratuities included?

By the same token, be sure taxes and gratuities are all included in your agreements. Otherwise, you may have to take out a second mortgage to pay them all!

Extra equipment rental?

If you go with a band, be sure to spell out the size of your venue. If you’ve got a big wedding in a big hall, the band may need to rent extra equipment to handle the sound reinforcement requirements.

But if you go with us, you don’t have to worry about it, because we probably have all the equipment you’ll ever need … and more. In the unlikely event more is needed, we’ll tell you upfront. You never have to worry about hidden wedding costs with DJ Brian Anderson.

In fact, need some entertainment budget numbers right now? Simply call us @ 256-638-3535. We love pricing questions! Or simply complete this form today.

More Broadway love songs for your first dance

By tom quiner | December 23, 2019

Broadway love songBroadway has produced a plethora of passionate love songs over the decades. But you’ve got to carefully review the lyrics, because not every Broadway love song works for your first dance.

For example, the epic “If I Loved You” from Carousel is an endearing love song with a melody that soars and touches the soul. But the qualifying word, “if”, in the title disqualifies it from consideration. There is no ‘if’ when it comes to your love affair!

Or take another Rodger’s & Hammerstein standard, “Something Wonderful” from “The King and I.” The lyric is sweet …

This is a man who thinks with his heart,

His heart is not always wise.

This is a man who stumbles and falls,

But this is a man who tries …

… but do want a song that suggests your new husband isn’t ‘wise’? Your call!

Some Enchanted Evening

On the other hand, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s iconic “Some Enchanted Evening” is perfect for your first dance song with Hammerstein’s timeless lyrics:

Some enchanted evening, someone may be laughing,

You may hear her laughing across a crowded room,

And night after night, as strange as it seems,

The sound of her laughter will sing in your dreams.

Here’s the version from the awarding winning movie, “South Pacific”:

The Temptations covered the song with an entirely different spin:

Which do you prefer? DJ Brian Anderson can play whichever version you prefer, and there are many, many more!

Somewhere

“The West Side Story” is loaded with great love songs with music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Steven Sondheim. Bernstein borrowed a phrase from Beethoven’s Emperor Piano Concerto to set up the song, “Somewhere.” Sondheim’s lyrics are touching:

There’s a place for us

A time and a place for us

Hold my hand and we’re half way there

Hold my hand and I’ll take you there

Somehow

Someday

Somewhere.

Here it is from the movie of the musical:

The American Film Institute considers this to be the 20th best all time song from the movies.

Here is an incredible duet of “Somewhere” with Barbra Streisand and Josh Groban. How would you like to dance to this song?

Cheek to Cheek

If you’re a fan of the ‘Great American Songbook,’ you may love Irving Berlin’s classic song, “Cheek to Cheek,” from the 1935 Hollwood musical, “Top Hat.”

These are happy, bouncy lyrics:

Heaven, I’m in heaven,

And my heart beats so that I can hardly speak

And I seem to find the happiness I seek

When we’re out together dancing, cheek to cheek.

Here’s Fred Astaire singing it to Ginger Rogers in the original movie:

For a more contemporary take, here’s Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett crooning this classic song together:

A good Broadway love song is something special, because it needs to convey a story with immediate impact to its audience. The question is, which song tells your love story best?

Whichever song you select for your first wedding dance, DJ Brian Anderson can play the version of your choice on clear, top end equipment, enhanced with artistic decor lighting. We’ll create the mood and the sound perfect for your love story.

Best Broadway songs for your first dance

By tom quiner | December 16, 2019

This blog loves to write about the great songs you can consider for your first dance. There are so many options. We’ve written about contemporary and classic songs couples request for their first dance. Today’s blog considers some of the best Broadway songs for your wedding reception first dance.

In light of the phenomenal success of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “The Phantom of the Opera,” it’s not surprising that its pivotal love song is often requested.

“All I Ask of You” is a soaring tribute to love, each lyric dripping with passion:

Say you love me every waking moment

Turn my head with talk of summertime

Say you need me with you now and always

Promise me that all you say is true

That’s all I ask of you.

Watch and listen to it from the popular movie:

“Beauty and the Beast,” the title song from the smash Broadway musical of the same name, offers a more tender approach to the subject of love:

For a magical first dance song, how can you beat a song about a magic carpet ride? That’s what “A Whole New World” is all about, the magic of love and the adventure that awaits you on the threshold of marriage:

The thing about the best Broadway love songs is their timelessness. Take “You Were Meant for Me” from “Singin’ in the Rain.” It’s just as relevant today as it was yesterday, or will be tomorrow. The song was written in 1929, yet it was still being sung in 1952 by Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds:

Here’s a more contemporary approach to the song, recorded by Sting in 1998:

I’ve barely scratched the surface. Whatever song, whichever version, DJ Brian Anderson can play it on the best equipment with clear, controlled sound. And we’ll light your first dance to create the romantic mood perfect for the song and couple.

Music for your unity candle ceremony

By tom quiner | December 9, 2019

unity candleThe unity candle ceremony is a late 20th century American innovation. Following the exchange of vows and rings, the bride and groom light a larger, “unity,” candle with two smaller tapers, symbolizing the unity of two lives and two families.

Some trace the origin of the tradition to an early 1980s television soap opera. Whatever.

You’ll see the ceremony take place in both religious and secular ceremonies. The Catholic Church is a stickler when it comes to wedding liturgies, but most allow the unity candle ceremony. Writing in CatholicPhilly.com, Fr. Kenneth Doyle states:

“The lighting of a unity candle is not a part of the official Catholic wedding ceremony — i.e., it is not included in the Vatican-approved rite of marriage. However, I am not aware of any Vatican prohibition of this “add-on,” and most parishes allow it, should the couple desire it.”

Whether your wedding rite is secular or religious, this ceremony lends itself to a musical opportunity. In religious settings, an Ave Maria is popular.

Here is a contemporary “Ave Maria” by Beyoncé:

Here is an operatic version by the iconic Renée Fleming, sung just the way Franz Schubert wrote it:

Celine Dion popularized a beautiful song called “The Prayer,” perfect for the unity candle ceremony:

They lyrics are something of a secular hymn, and work well in either non-religious or religious ceremonies:

“I pray you’ll be our eyes

And watch us where we go

And help us to be wise

In times when we don’t know

Let this be our prayer

When we lose our way

Lead us to a place

Guide us with your grace

To a place where we’ll be safe.”

The ubiquitous Ed Sheeran wrote another hit song which lends itself to a wedding ceremony called “Perfect Ceremony.” The song is an operatic take on his song, “Perfect.” It features tender lyrics like these which go well with your unity candle ceremony:

“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

Not knowing what it was

I will not give you up this time

But darling, just kiss me slow, your heart is all I own

And in your eyes you’re holding mine.”

Take a listen:

Too many wedding venues have poor sound reinforcement. And outdoor ceremonies can be worse. That’s why you may want us to provide the clear, controlled sound you need for your ceremony. Your vows will be heard. And we can play the exact music you select for your wedding procession and unity candle ceremony.

When it’s time for your reception, DJ Brian Anderson offers the legendary mix of entertainment that packs dance floors all night long. Whether it’s DJ entertainment, photo booths, or decor lighting, we offer the complete entertainment package to make your celebration one for the ages.

Marriage is a good investment

By tom quiner | December 2, 2019

Marriage makes you richerMarriage makes you richer. No matter where you live, government data shows marriage is a good financial move. The Journal of Sociology explains:

What impact do marriage and divorce have on wealth? US data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY79), which tracks individuals in their 20s, 30s and early 40s, show that over time single respondents slowly increase their net worth. Married respondents experience per person net worth increases of 77 percent over single respondents. Additionally, their wealth increases on average 16 percent for each year of marriage. Divorced respondents’ wealth starts falling four years before divorce and they experience an average wealth drop of 77 percent. While in percentage terms divorce hurts women more than men, the absolute difference is relatively small in the US.

So as you plan your wedding, you can do so knowing that your investment in your wedding celebration will be money well spent!

The Knot tells us that the average couple in the U.S. spends $33,931 on their wedding. But let’s put that number in perspective. The number varies wildly depending upon where you live. Here’s a sampling of the average cost of a wedding guest by state according to ValuePenguin:

Alabama $137

California (Bay Area) $282

Illinois (Chicago) $351

North Carolina $199

Ohio (Cincinnati) $145

Ohio (Columbus) $153

Tennessee $159

Let’s face it, you’re getting married because you’re in love. And love is worth celebrating, whether your wedding costs you $15,000 or $50,000. But it’s kind of nice knowing that, according to the experts, your wealth is about to start increasing by 16% a year! Yes, your wedding budget is worth every penny.

Marriage makes you richer in every aspect of your life, including your pocket book. Not bad!

Speaking of your pocket book and wedding budgets, your single best investment is DJ entertainment provided by DJ Brian Anderson. Entertainment makes the event. The Knot says entertainment only accounts for ten percent of a budget, but it provides 90% of the fun!

If you’d like to better understand how marriage makes you richer, talk to your financial advisor. But if you want to know how entertainment makes your event richer, start with this website. Then call us: 256-638-3535.

Congratulations on your upcoming wedding!

Make ‘em cry and you’ve given a great wedding toast!

By tom quiner | November 25, 2019

The best wedding toasts make your audience laugh and cry. Here’s the rub: it’s harder to make people laugh than cry. Not everything is funny. So Owen Wilson’s advice to Rachel McAdams in “The Wedding Crashers” (above) is spot-on: speak from the heart, make e’m cry, and your wedding toast will be a winner. Let’s explore some great movie wedding toasts for more toasting wisdom.

The Rachel McAdams character tried to be funny in the clip above, but her jokes fell about as flat as a Kansas plain from a scene in The Wizard of Oz.

McAdams regained the momentum when she turned tender, borrowing Wilson’s slick line:

“Someone once told me that true love is the soul’s recognizing of its counterpoint in another.”

In the scene above, Hugh Grant tries humor with great initial success, but takes it a step too far before making certain audience members uncomfortable. Like McAdams, he regains his footing with this line:

“I am, as ever, in bewildered awe of anyone who makes this kind of commitment that Angus and Laura have made today.”

You’ll never go wrong with tenderness.

Adam Sandler does just that in a classic scene form The Wedding Singer with this line:

“I think we all know that when you fall in love, the emptiness kind of drifts away because you find something to live for, each other.”

Again, it’s easier to connect with your audience with tenderness.

However, sometimes, humor and tenderness unite to create a memorable toast, such as the dad’s toast from the epic film, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.”

This movie wedding toast is very funny, and yet it tugs at the heart. Well done.

One of the best movie toasts ever comes in the movie, “About Time.”  British actor, Bill Nighy, delivers this dry, tender toast in 67 seconds, but you’ll never forget it:

Make note that a toast does not have to be long to be brilliant. In fact, just the opposite.

Let these classic movie wedding toasts inspire you next time you’re giving a toast.

And when the toasting is over, it’s time for the dancing.  That’s where we come in.  For packed dance floors at your wedding celebration, simply start a conversation with us. It’s easy: 256-638-3535.

Stevie Wonder’s classic first dance song

By tom quiner | November 18, 2019

Stevie Wonder's classic first dance songStevie Wonder released his best-selling album, “Songs in the Key of Life,” in 1976. He jammed 21 songs into the album which explored a wide variety of musical genres. One track from the album, “As,” is a popular wedding song. In fact, The Knot lists it #2  on their list of classic first dance songs.

Sheer exuberance describes these lovely lyrics:

As around the sun the earth know she’s revolving

And the rose buds know to bloom in early May

Just as hate know love’s the cure

You can rest your mind assure

That I’ll be loving you always.

“As” was an international hit.

‘As’ is the case with any great song, “As” has been covered by a unique mix of artists. Sister Sledge immediately covered the song just a year after Wonder released the song. Listen to their soulful interpretation:

George Michael and Mary Blige had a bigger hit

George Michael and Mary Blige released their cover of “As” in 1999 that was actually a bigger hit in Great Britain than Wonder had with the song. Watch this lively music video of their version:

“Songs in the Key of Life” reached #1 on the Billboard charts for thirteen consecutive weeks, a massive hit! The Grammy Awards honored it as the album of the year. Rolling Stone magazine ranked it as #57 on their list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

As good a song as ‘As’ is, four other singles from the same album outsold it, including:

Another Star (#2 on the Club Play Singles List)

I Wish (#1 on the Pop and Black Singles Lists)

Sir Duke (#1 on the Pop and Black Singles Lists)

Isn’t She Lovely (#23 on the Adult Contemporary List)

Nonetheless, the iconic original version of Stevie Wonder’s classic first dance song still resonates at weddings to this day:

So the question is: which version is right for your first dance? Regardless of the song or the artist, that’s where DJ Brian Anderson makes a difference. We can play the version of your special song that you love most.

A proper wedding celebration requires customization, because each romance is unique. We’ll help you plan custom entertainment with planning tools that make the entire process AS easy as dancing to your favorite song!