An elegant evening with Maggie and Brandon

Hello!

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged about my wedding adventures but I had a few big changes in my life over the last year, so my apologies for not bringing you all of my wedding highlights. Fear not though! I’m back and ready to blog.

Over the past 5 years of DJing weddings, I’ve gained the uncanny knack to know which of my weddings are going to make my personal wedding hall of fame. Sometimes it’s the music suggestions the bride and groom bring me, sometimes its the way the dance floor reacts when you play your first song, and sometimes you just know when you sit down to meet with the couple.

In the case of Maggie and Brandon, it was all of the above and then some. Their wedding reception at Allegheny Country Club in Sewickley was one for the ages. As soon as I walked into the reception space I was amazed with the simplistic yet elegant set up of the venue. Just look at how beautiful this space is!

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In the case of this wedding, I was strictly in charge of MC and Dance floor duties for the evening. That left music for cocktail hour and dinner to an awesome guitar and singer duo who absolutely killed it. (I’m frantically looking for their information, and will update this blog once I find it!).

Finally the bride and groom arrived at the venue (in a beautiful Rolls-Royce) and it was time to start the proceedings. The bride and groom kicked things off with a first dance to the Beach Boys “God Only Knows”. Which was then followed up with parent dances (to the Way you look tonight by Tony Bennett) and a barrage of speeches over an awesome dinner.

Then it was time for me to open up the dance floor…

When I met with my bride she told me in advance that her family weren’t the dancing type, and that I shouldn’t worry if the dance floor isn’t busy. So i’m sure you can imagine my surprise when within the first minute of the evening, my dance floor looked like this:

And the dance floor was packed like that for the rest of the night!!! The bride and grooms selections included a mix of motown, classic rock, hip-hop, top 40 and throwbacks. I even managed to sneak a few country classics in there as well.

However the night was far from over, as the bride and groom treated guests to an amazing fireworks display right outside of their venue. This was my first time coordinating a soundtrack for a fireworks show, but I must say it went off without a hitch. Check out the highlight provided below:

Afterwards, guests were re-energized with a “Kegs and Eggs” breakfast buffet, and the dancing continue late into the evening.

Maggie and Brandon’s choice of venue, flow of events, and surprise events kept guests energized all night! It was a great example of keeping guests engaged throughout the night! It was a pleasure playing for their guests and keeping the dance floor packed (despite supposedly not being big dancers… I don’t know if I believe that though!).

Congrats on your wedding Maggie and Brandon, and thank you for allowing me to be part of the day!

Coming Home for a wedding with Travis and Kristen

I always enjoy returning to Butler, PA for weddings, as it never fails that I get a chance to catch up with friends or folks I knew when I was growing up.  This week's wedding was a return home and a chance to be part of an awesome evening with newlyweds Travis and Kristen.

The reception was held at Butler's Vagabond's hall, the venue is one of the most professional, and easy to work with venues as a DJ.  Melissa and her staff are nothing but professional and work tirelessly to make sure guests have an amazing experience.  Check out the pictures below to see some shots of the venue!

The bride and groom had an awesome taste in music, which really created a very warm welcoming environment for the guests.  Selections for the cocktail hour included a mixture of classic rock, country music, as well as some folk and indie selections.  The wide variety made sure that guests young and old heard something they enjoyed.

After a wonderful barbecue dinner, the party moved straight to the dance floor with guests dancing the night away.  The bride and groom's decision to omit events like the garter toss allowed for more time on the dance floor.  It was a good decision, as the dance floor stayed packed the entire night.  As with a lot of my weddings recently, the dance floor soundtrack included a wide variety of pop, hip-hop, classic rock, classic wedding songs, EDM, and country music.

A unique event for me was seeing one of the guests at the wedding play the spoons to Alabama's "Mountain Music" I've had beatboxers, and singers, but never a spoon player.  Unfortunately, for me, I was unable to capture video of the spoon playing, however I did get capture some video of the guests dancing along!

Finally the night concluded with a patriotic sparkler send off to Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA".  It was a wonderful end, to a wonderful evening.  Thanks again to Travis, Kristen, and all of their families and friends for allowing me to be part of their big day, and best wishes for a happy marriage!

-J.Ski

A Party in the Garden with Ashley and Jacob

Another weekend has passed, which means it's time for another wedding blog!  This week, I had the pleasure of heading out to the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden to celebrate the wedding of Ashley and Jacob.

As one one would expect, this wedding was an outdoor event with a beautiful venue.  The bride and groom chose to have an outdoor ceremony, as well as an outdoor dinner service.  However, thankfully for this DJ, the dance floor was housed inside a small rustic space which protected guests from the 90 degree+ weather outside.  Check out some awesome pictures of the ceremony site, and the dinner seating

After a beautiful ceremony, guests were treated to an outdoor cocktail hour.  For both cocktail hour and dinner, the Bride and Groom chose a wide variety of Rat Pack classics as well as some music from more recent crooners.  These timeless music selection added to an extremely elegant venue space.

One aspect of this wedding that stood apart was a giant cookie table (see below).  For those of you not familiar with the tradition, a cookie table is a Pittsburgh tradition which involves a large amount of cookies that can be nibbled on, and enjoyed throughout the night.  What set this cookie table apart is that all of the cookies were supplied by the Brides father.  Even the cake was a giant cookie made by the father of the bride!

If you think you might need additional coverage for your cookie table, feel free to check out the baker's working, and offerings here.

After dinner, the bride and groom shared dances with their parents, with the Bride choosing a mix of Jimmy Buffet songs, complete with lei's and sunglasses.  The groom and his mother chose a the song "Forever Young" by Joan Baez which complemented the outdoor garden setting of the wedding nicely.

After all the formalities were finished, it was finally time to open up the dance floor!  Ashley and Jacob's friends and family weren't shy about requests, and asked for a wide variety of classic rock, country, and pop.  In between requests, I also through in a mix of top 40, 90's throwbacks and even a little hip hop and EDM to keep the guests out on the dance floor.  Despite the heat, Ashley and Jacob's friends and family were determined to leave it out on the dance floor, and they didn't disappoint!

Finally, the end of the night came, with Ashley and Jacob choosing to close out their wedding with the song "Take me Home Tonight" by Eddie Money.  

Once again, thanks to Ashley and Jacob, and all of their friends and family for an awesome day!  Best wishes to the bride and groom for a long, happy and healthy marriage!

See you next time!

-J.Ski

A Record Breaking Day with Anastasia and Jason

This week's wedding took me to The Casino at Lakemont Park in Altoona, Pennsylvania to celebrate Anastasia and Jason's wedding.  This was a record breaking wedding for me, as this was the biggest wedding i've Dj'd to date, with over 400 guests!

The venue was well prepared for the event, with a large ballroom, and a balcony which also held several guests.  I wish I could describe how beautiful the flowers and decor were, however I think it's best to show you with pictures!

You'll also notice in some of the pictures that the bride and groom chose to accent their room with uplighting provided by yours truly.  I think it really makes the room pop!

Finally the bridal party arrived, and the evening was underway with introductions of the bridal party, Anastasia and Jason's first dance as husband and wife, and the cake cutting.  (If you missed it, check out the photos above for a picture of the cake!)

For dinner service the bride and groom chose a mix of music including everything from pop, country, motown, crooners, and more.  Even though there were a large amount of guests, I'm sure everyone heard something they liked!

After dinner, I experienced my first pig trough dance.  This dance is a Polish tradition in which an unmarried older sibling (In this case the groom's brother) must break a pig trough on the dance floor to bring good luck to the bride and groom.  The event was an awesome way to get people out of their chairs and ready for the dance floor!

Another highlight of the evening was the dollar dance.  With such a large number of guests, it was an amazing sight to see everyone dancing around the bride!  

The rest of the night was spent dancing the night away.  The bride and groom's guest's kept the dance floor packed all night, which made this wedding an absolute blast to DJ!  Throughout the evening several genres of music were played including hip-hop, polka, rock, country, EDM, pop, and more.

Thanks so much to Anastasia, Jason, their families and guests!  I had an absolute blast DJing your big day.  Congratulations and best wishes for a long, happy marriage!!!

-J.Ski

Meeting with your DJ to discuss the big day

The big day is almost here, all of the contracts have been signed, the plans are in motion, and only a few loose ends are left to tie up...

Usually, it's at about this time that your DJ may reach out to you to have a final consultation about the big day.  Chances are, that you still may not have made a lot of considerations when it comes to the soundtrack for your big day.  However, following these tips can help you get the most out of your final consultation with you DJ, and may ultimately help your day run smoother.

1. Schedule Appropriately

Believe it or not, this may help you more than you think.  While some bride and grooms know every detail of their wedding inside and out from day 1, a lot of folks make significant changes to their wedding over the course of their engagement.  To avoid making too many changes, and potentially confusing yourself, or your DJ, try to schedule your final consultation a month to two weeks before the wedding.  This will give your DJ ample time to prepare the appropriate materials, while helping you to focus in on the important details without making several changes which maybe hard to keep track of.

2. Establish your timeline

Before meeting with your DJ, it may be extremely helpful for you to draw up your timeline for the evening.  This will give you and your a DJ a rough sketch which you can then discuss, and detail during your meeting.  Additionally, this will help you to identify places where you may have to provide some suggestions for music.  A great example of this is when the cake is being cut.  Most couples want to have a cake cutting, but often don't have a song in mind to be played during it.  

For those who may not be sure of what a wedding timeline looks like, check out the small sample below:

4:00 PM-Cocktail Hour (Crooners, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin etc.)

5:00 PM-Bridal party Introduction

5:15 PM- Speeches

5:30 PM-Dinner (Jazz)

6:15 PM-Cake Cutting ("Sugar by Maroon 5")

6:30 PM-First Dances

7:00 PM-Open Dancing

8:00 PM-Garter Toss

10:00 PM-Last Dance

3. Don't be afraid to ask your DJ for suggestions

After sketching out your timeline you may find that your not sure on certain music selections or the flow of the evening.  Don't be afraid to ask your DJ for song suggestions, or what they think about your timeline.  Chances are that DJ's may be able to provide some perspective regarding what works best, or what an appropriate song for a given event may be.  After all, a good DJ should be able to make sure your wedding runs smoothly, and plays music which keeps guests excited and engaged throughout the evening.

4. Ask for the DJs notes

After the meeting, if you're anxious about the finer details of your big day, don't ever hesitate to contact your DJ, and ask to see his notes from your meeting.  This will allow you to make sure that the specifications for your big day are accurate, and will also allow you to review and make any changes related to the big day.

Following these steps will lead to a more productive final consultation between you and your DJ, and will allow to remain organized in the end stages of your planning and preparation!

Thanks for reading!

-J.Ski

Dancing all night with Brittanie and Josh

There are some nights as a DJ where you get so wrapped up in the audience, and the music that by the end of the night you've forgotten to take any pictures of videos of the dance floor.  As much as I love to share those pictures and videos, weddings where I have so much fun I forget to take pictures are my absolute favorites!  Brittanie and Josh's wedding was without a doubt one of those nights!!!

The bride and groom opted for a church wedding with a reception at the Doubletree Hotel in Cranberry Township.  The venue was beautiful as seen in the pictures below.  The drop curtain behind the bridal party table with the pink uplighting created an awesome backdrop for the evening, and was even more stunning once the house lights came down, and the dance floor lights came up.

For their cocktail hour, the bride and groom selected a collection of acoustic covers of famous pop songs.  The selections set the tone for the upbeat evening that followed.  After cocktail hour guests were moved into the main ballroom and treated to a delicious dinner.  During dinner a selection of country love songs were played which continued with the upbeat vibe.

After the bride and groom cut their cake (to Maroon 5's Sugar), it was time for first dances, and then finally it was time to open the dance floor...

All I can say is WOW!  Josh and Brittanie's guests were on the floor from the first song of the night (Uptown Funk by Bruno Mars), and stayed there for the next... wait for it....  3 HOURS.  The guests danced the night away to a wide variety of music with hits from the 90s and 2000s being specifically highlighted.  As I mentioned earlier the bride and groom's guests kept so much energy on the dance floor, that I completely forgot to take any video.  I was absolutely blown away by this wedding's dedication to dancing.  Unfortunately the night had to come to an end, and we sent the bride and groom off with "Something Just Like This" by Coldplay and the Chainsmokers.

Once again, a huge thanks to Brittanie and Josh, as well as their families and friends for making the evening so awesome.  Thanks for letting me part of the big day!  Best wishes for a long and happy marriage.

-J.Ski

 

 

A rustic barn wedding with Danielle and Nick!

This weekend, I had the pleasure of traveling out to the absolutely beautiful Five Pines Barn in Irwin, PA for a full day wedding with Danielle and Nick.  The bride and groom had absolutely beautiful weather for the ceremony, and I was there to provide the sound and music for the big day.  Check out some of the amazing photos from their ceremony site!

After the "I do's" were exchanged and said, guests moved to the 1st floor of the barn where they enjoyed a cocktail hour, as well as some excellent hors d'oeuvres.  For cocktail hour music, the bride and groom chose a selection of classic crooners like Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, which we then combined with some upbeat motown selections to keep things classy and upbeat!

The guests then moved upstairs where they were greeted with a rustic reception area (pictures below).  The bridal party was introduced, and after toasts for the evening, the guests were treated to one of the best BBQ wedding dinners i've ever experienced! (I'm still trying to get the name of who catered this dinner, so stay tuned!)

One of the most unique things about this wedding was the way the bride and groom handled their cake cutting.  Rather than traditionally handling their cake cutting, Nick and Danielle had a period before the cake cutting where guests could vote to see who got hit with a piece of cake.  Guests were able to vote by giving money to the person they thought should be hit.  It was a totally unique way to approach a cake cutting.  In the end Nick ended up getting a little more cake then he bargained for, however the guests seemed to thoroughly enjoy the whole process.

Afterwards it was time to open the dance floor.  For the rest of the night the party danced to a mix of top 40, pop, country, and classic rock provided by yours truly.  Highlights of the night included, Living on a prayer by Bon Jovi, and Friends in Low Places by Garth Brooks.  Overall, it was a beautiful night, and I couldn't have been more happy to share it with Nick and Danielle!

Thanks so much for letting me be part of your night, and best wishes for a long and happy marriage!