Music for your unity candle ceremony

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, 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!

How a lopsided wedding budget can spoil your celebration

By tom quiner | November 11, 2019

balanced wedding budgetHow would you like to attend a wedding where the bride wears a $33,931 wedding gown? But there are no flowers. No ceremony music. No wedding reception. No dancing. No food. No cake. No photography. No invitations. No honeymoon. Nothing, because she blew her entire wedding budget on the gown? What a bore.

According to The Knot, the average 2018 wedding couple nationally spent $33,931 on their wedding. (According to Value Penguin, the average Alabama wedding couple spends $19,203.) One key to a successful wedding is a balanced wedding budget.

In reality, an average bride spends a little less than 4% of her budget on the gown compared to 45% on the cost of the reception venue.

One key to a balanced wedding budget is the entertainment.

According The Knot, entertainment and music takes up a smidge less than ten percent of a typical wedding budget, but it provides ninety percent of the fun! In other words, a small part of your budget, has a disproportionate impact on the success of your event. That’s why you should never scrimp on the entertainment.

And again, according to The Knot, an awesome DJ company (like us) costs you less than a third of a typical wedding band.

Not only does DJ Brian Anderson provide the customized music that packs your dance floor, we also provide gorgeous decor lighting and crazy fun photo booths.

Your balanced wedding budget begins with a smart choice on the entertainment. That’s why you should make DJ Brian Anderson your first call: 256-638-3535.

The most romantic first dance song

By tom quiner | November 5, 2019

romantic first dance songThe Knot lists John Legend’s “All of Me” as the most romantic first dance song around, perfect for your first wedding dance song.

“All of me” became Legend’s first #1 hit when it was released on 2013. He dedicated the song to his wife, television personality and Sports Illustrated swimsuit model, Chrissie Teigen.

More people have listened to the song on YouTube than live in the entire United States. We’re talking 360 million! Take a listen as Legend accompanies the song with a lone piano:

The lyrics drip with romance:

‘Cause all of me

Loves all of you

Love your curves and all your edges

All your perfect imperfections

Give your all to me

I’ll give my all to you

You’re my end and my beginning

Even when I lose I’m winning

‘Cause I give you all, all of me

And you give me all, all of you.

As is the case with popular songs, other great artists step forward to cover it, like Pentatonix, vocalist, Scott Hoying:

For a female touch, Tiffany Alvord offers up her own romantic cover:

Another ‘All of Me’ romantic first dance song

For a completely different twist, perhaps you’d like a more swingin’ arrangement of “All of me.” But that means you need an entirely different song. So check out Michael Bublé’s cover of the “All of Me” song written by Gerald Marks and Seymour Simons way back in 1931:

This song became a jazz standard, perhaps covered most famously by Frank Sinatra:

Your first dance deserves special consideration. This is your day, your style, your romance, your wedding celebration. The song defines the moment. DJ Brian Anderson can play the song and the version you want to hear, whether it’s Legend, Sinatra, or Bublé.

Check out our availability. Once you lock in your date, we’ll unlock our state-of-the-art planning tools. Our clients love them. Questions? Give us a call right now: 256-638-3535.

Banquet halls decline in popularity when it comes to wedding venues

By tom quiner | October 28, 2019

Alabama's finest wedding DJThe Knot surveys wedding trends each year. Their 2018 survey found that  couples are getting increasingly creative in searching for cool wedding venues, at the expense of banquet halls.

As recently as 2009, banquet halls represented 29% of all venues according to surveyed couples. But by 2017, the number dropped to fifteen percent, which is still the most popular wedding venue.

However, more rural wedding venues are on the rise, as you can see in the most recent survey results below:

Banquet Hall: 17%

Farm/Barn/Ranch: 15%

Historical Building/Home: 14%

Hotel/Resort: 12%

Country Club: 10%

Conference/Event Center: 9%

Backyard/Private Garden: 8%

Restaurant: 7%

Hotel: 8%

Resort: 5%

Lake/Lake House/Cabin: 4%

Winery/Vineyard: 4%

Beach/Beach House: 4%

Family/Friend’s Home: 4%

Museum/Gallery: 3%

Park: 3%

Religious Institution: 3%

Urban Loft/Rooftop: 3%

Bed and Breakfast: 2%

Public Garden: 2%

Boat/Yacht: 1%

University/College: 1%

Legal Institution (City Hall): 0%

Wedding venues are typically your biggest wedding expense. The nation average is $15,163, according to the Knot.

Some venues have nice ‘bones,’ but they may not have the sound reinforcement needed to pull off a successful wedding celebration. That’s where DJ Brian Anderson comes in. We provide cutting edge sound and lighting equipment, as well as the best DJ and MC services. Music is controlled and clear to create a fabulous experience for you and your guests.

And our decor lighting can even transform a barn into a palace.

Looking for a cool venue? Check with us. We’ve worked in a wide swath of diverse wedding venues. We probably know of some gems you’ve never even heard of.

Call today at 256-638-3535.

Cole Porter for Millennials

By tom quiner | October 21, 2019
Cole Porter for Millennials

Katharine McPhee sings Cole Porter

Cole Porter transformed music in America by writing smart, witty, and totally catchy songs for theater and popular culture. And yet he is even less known among millennials than George Gershwin, who we wrote about last week. Millennials should get to know this giant, because he wrote love songs still requested at weddings today.

Unlike George Gershwin, who relied on his brother for song lyrics, Cole Porter wrote both the music and the words. Born in Peru, Indiana, his small-town midwest upbringing was an unassuming start in life for a man who created such sophisticated music, often embellished with daring lyrics for his day.

“Let’s Do It”

Okay, so if you’re thinking about a catchy love song for your first dance on your wedding day, Cole Porter for Millennials’ first song to consider is his impish, “Let’s Do It.”  Porter loved double entendres, and this blogger will let you read into these lyrics what you’d like:

“Birds do it, bees do it

Even educated fleas do it

Let’s do it, let’s fall in love

In Spain, the best upper sets do it

Lithuanians and Letts do it

Let’s do it, let’s fall in love.”

Here’s Alanis Morissette singing it in the movie biopic of Cole Porter’s life, “Delovely:”

Here’s a punk rock take on the same song by Joan Jett and Paul Westerberg:

For your wedding, you can’t go wrong with Ella Fitzgerald’s light, jazzy interpretation of this classic song:

“I’ve Got You Under My Skin”

A Cole Porter song can work at both fast and slow tempos. One of Frank Sinatra’s most famous songs is “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” with a classic arrangement by Nelson Riddle:

What do you with a Cole Porter song this well done? How do you ever top it?

Diana Krall had an idea. She knew that no one could make that song swing better than Ol’ Blue Eyes, so she performs it the exact opposite: nice and slow. Experience a fabulous cover song performed by an artist at the top of her game. Which version do you like best?

“Night and Day”

Perhaps Cole Porter’s top hit was “Night and Day.” Check out the smoldering sophistication of these lyrics:

Night and day

Under the hide of me

There’s an oh such a hungry

Yearnin’ burnin’ inside of me

And it’s torment won’t be through

‘Til you let me spend my life

Making love to you

Day and night

Night and day

Pretty daring stuff for a song written in 1932, even though tame by today’s standards! American Idol runner-up (2006) Katharine McPhee recorded an especially sultry version of this song. Imagine dancing to this for your first dance:

Cole Porter for Millennials begins with DJ Brian Anderson!

Few contemporary song writers even attempt to craft such perfectly structured songs anymore. A Cole Porter song is impeccable from the first verse to the last stanza. Every note and every syllable seem to belong together.

One of today’s top songwriters is Ed Sheeran. He’s written a mountain of very fine songs. But if you dissect the lyrics, you’ll note that words and music aren’t the seamless work of art like a Cole Porter song. In Ed Sheeran’s defense, neither are Elton John’s, or Billy Joel’s, or even Bob Dylan’s, and all of these guys write great songs!

Cole Porter simply lived in a different era. He was then, and remains today, one of a kind. If you’re planning your Alabama wedding, take a little time to check out more of his classic songs. DJ Brian Anderson can play them on state of the art equipment while packing the dance floor all night long! Let’s start a conversation. Tell us more about your upcoming event.

Gershwin for Millennials

By tom quiner | October 14, 2019
Gershwin for Millennials

Linda Ronstadt sings a Gershwin classic

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.

“Embraceable You”

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 to give a one minute wedding toast (and why you should!)

By tom quiner | October 7, 2019

one minute wedding toastHow 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 he’s 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!