Below are Kris’s most recent blog posts. Click on the title to be taken to the full post where you can comment and share with friends!
- How many songs should you select for your reception?
So your big day is rapidly approaching, and you have around 3-6 months to go until your wedding reception. You and your fiance decide now would be a good time to sit down and come up with a playlist for the night. But there’s only one problem: you have absolutely no idea how many songs to choose!! The good, or bad news (depending upon your perspective), is that there really isn’t a wrong answer. If you decide to go ahead and select every single song for the night, and then some in some cases, that’s great! If you decide to leave the musical selection mostly up to your DJ, that’s great too. Obviously there are pros and cons to either end of that spectrum. Should you decide to select the vast majority of music for the night, it will make your DJ’s job a little easier in that they will have a more limited selection of music to choose from. The downside can be if some of the music selected isn’t necessarily the best dance music. At that point it would fall on your DJ’s shoulders to politely express that. I’ve personally gotten an excel spreadsheet with all the music picked out for the wedding as well as the times they wanted each song played. The list was filled with some very cool music but not exactly music that would make people want to get up and dance. I explained that to him and he felt that the guests would ultimately want to dance to it and asked me to stick to the list, so naturally I said no problem. Come wedding night, we had a hard time filling the dance floor with the songs selected so the bride told me to just throw on some stuff that I felt would work better and we ended up turning the night around. The other side would be getting really no input from the bride and groom. Sure it gives the DJ total freedom to do what he feels would work best, but we don’t know the guests like the bride and groom do so in a way we are flying blind. As with most things, the happy medium is the happy place. I usually say come up with a list of 15-20 songs that 100% must be played. Then if there are still some requests that aren’t quite as important, give that to your DJ as a guideline for the rest of the night. Some of the stuff on there may be awesome and we will definitely play it, but we also may have some other ideas based on those selections.
- Bringing Boston VS New York to the dance floor!
Yankees vs Red Sox…Rangers vs Bruins…Knicks vs Celtics…Giants vs Patriots…the Boston/New York rivalry in sports dates all the way back to the days of Babe Ruth. But instead of professional sports, this past weekend we brought it to the dance floor (although in a much less heated setting)…
Ryan & Sarah got married this past Saturday at the “One & Only” Westmount Country Club and I had the honor of being their DJ and MC for the night. I didn’t get to meet with them face to face prior to the wedding but we did chat a few times and they were such a great couple and so easy to work with. For their first dance they chose an incredibly appropriate song called “Sara Smile” by Hall & Oates…and it was something our Sarah was doing all night. as we had a jamming dance floor with an amazing crowd.
About a week or so before the wedding they emailed me with an idea: Ryan’s family was mostly from Boston while Sarah’s was more local from NJ/NY. So they thought it would be a cool idea to have a dance/sing off between the two groups to some area appropriate music. For Boston, we had Shipping Up To Boston, Dirty Water, Centerfold, and of course Sweet Caroline plus a few others. For the NY/NJ contingent, we used New York State of Mind, Dancing In The Dark, It’s My Life, and New York, New York by Frank Sinatra. None of us were totally sure how this would go over but it honestly couldn’t have been better. We had two side of the dance floor absolutely packed with the faithful from that area and they were absolutely going crazy each time their song was played. It was definitely one of the better ways I’ve seen to personalize a wedding and leave a memory they won’t soon forget.
- This is YOUR* Moment (*by ‘your’ we mean ‘not ours’)
This past Saturday I had the honor and pleasure of celebrating with Donielle & Rachel as they celebrated their wedding and began their new life together. We had a beautiful ceremony right on the beach in Asbury Park follow by an awesome reception at McLoone’s Supper Club. It was an amazing evening and you could feel the excitement and love in the air, but it was one that just 3 weeks before I wasn’t even set to be a part of.
Just 16 days before the wedding, Rachel called here mentioning she was looking for a DJ for her wedding on August 26th. My response was “of 2018?” and she just no and kind of laughed. She then proceeded to tell me that her DJ cancelled on them only 20 minutes before she called us. Before going any further I told her I was so sorry to hear but assured we had the date open and would love to help. The numbers worked and the stars aligned and I was able to share in this beautiful couple’s special day. In talking with not only Rachel but also the awesome staff at McLoone’s (Vicki & Samantha), I found out what had happened with the other DJ and why they cancelled. In short, their DJ needed the day to be more about themself than the actual couple getting married. I was told by the staff that this DJ needed to be front and center on the stage (the brides wanted to have their cupcakes on there as well so this wouldn’t have worked). Donielle and Rachel also added an A/V package through McLoone’s (they have their own TVs as well as sound system). The DJ told the staff there that they needed to bring their own speakers and would set up their own TVs in front of the ones already stationed there. I could go on and on but clearly the word “accomodate” is not presently in their vocabulary. So this DJ reached out to Rachel & Donielle and told them that they “were offended” they were even asked to use and work with the equipment at the hall and that they did not feel comfortable doing the wedding anymore.
So during our phone conversations, Rachel would ask certain questions and felt that she had to preface them with “I hope this is ok” or I hope this doesn’t offend you”. I told her that there was literally nothing she could request me to do (within reason of course) that would bother or offend me and that I would be willing to work with her and do whatever she needed. If she needed me to use the equipment there, great…just means less stuff to carry. If she wanted me to share a stage with a table of cupcakes, that’s fine…just less travel distance for my assistant David to get one lol. As DJ’s we should do everything in our power to make a couple’s big day as amazing as possible, but also do what we can to make things as easy as possible too. So if that means stepping out of your comfort zone, or, heaven forbid, going above and beyond to do what your couple wants, you do it. That day is about the couple, not you, and never forget that it’s your honor to be there and it’s not their honor to have you.
- Value VS Price: A tale as old as time…
So I wrote a blog touching on this topic not to long ago, but after a recent correspondence with a prospective couple I felt compelled to write another one. This is more of a rant. I’m not in the business of bashing other companies so I’ll leave names out of it but here goes:
We had received an inquiry for a wedding for a Saturday in October of next year, prime wedding season. I sent over our pricing and after a few back and forth emails about just some questions about our packages, the bride said she was looking around and would be in touch. I followed up with her about a week later to see if she had any questions. At that point, she mentioned that she knew someone who DJ’d on the side and was willing to offer her a certain package that included 2 DJs, ceremony music, uplighting, dance floor lighting, and a photo booth for a price that was over $1000 less than ours (it was basically 2/3rds the cost of the same package here). So naturally she asked if we would price match or come close to that. I mentioned that we wouldn’t be able to offer any discounts yet as that is a prime Saturday in October, and that we don’t price match. The main reason is we know the value of our entertainment and although our price may be higher, the value is even higher even when compared with such a low price. I didn’t hear back for a few days so when I reached out again she mentioned she found a company that was willing to match her friend who did this on the side…She found a full time company that was willing to price match (and I can’t stress this enough) THE PRICE OF SOMEONE WHO BASICALLY DOES THIS AS A HOBBY.
On the surface, this girl was able to save a ton of money…but at what cost? I’m not trying to put Elite on a pedestal because I know there are several other great entertainment companies that would never do this, but what does that say about this particular company? They are basically throwing a number out and if you take the bait, that’s great. But obviously they know the true worth of the services they provide. When it comes to your wedding, you don’t get a do-over...you can’t go back and do everything all over again if your DJ doesn’t deliver. Isn’t it worth it to spend a little more on a company that you know will deliver excellence on your big day? And the only reason you would have for wanting a do-over is so you can experience all that amazement one more time?
I understand money is always a factor, and while $1000 is nothing to sneeze at, it’s not really life changing money. People remember 2 things: if the food was really good or really bad, and how much fun they had. Two scenarios for you: 1. you spend $25,000 on your wedding and your DJ is horrible and basically ruins the celebration; 2. you spend $26,000 and you spend the extra money to ensure your DJ will give you the wedding of your dreams and they absolutely give you the best day of your life…which would you choose????
- Bethany & Matt (& Baby Behen)
This past weekend I had the pleasure of celebrating with an amazing couple on their wedding. Bethany & Matt got married on Saturday at the Toms River Yacht Club, right on the Toms River. It was supposed to rain all day but we ended up getting some blue skies just before the ceremony started. They had a great cocktail hour on the terrace before moving inside for the “main event” of the night. They danced their first dance to the acoustic of version of “Latch” by Sam Smith. What followed was some great food and an awesome crowd that danced the night away. Basically all the ingredients were there for an awesome night. But what made the day and night even more special was the fact that Matt & Bethany are expecting their first child, a daughter later this year. I so vividly remember my first dance with my wife and it was absolutely perfect and I will never forget it. She’s pregnant now with our first child due the end of October. I can’t speak for Matt, but I know that if I not only got to share a first dance with my wife but also (kinda) with our first child, it would truly make for an even more special moment. I’m so glad I got to celebrate with this awesome couple and truly wish nothing but the best for them and their brand new family!
- Does day of the week matter?
Since the dawn of the “social calendar”, Saturday night has pretty much been the most popular day for a large social event. Most people do not have work that day, and even more people do not have work the following day. This still hold true as it pertains to weddings. Over the last few years, Friday night weddings have definitely become more popular with Sunday weddings still a distant third place. But does it actually matter which day you choose? Will your wedding really be better if you have a Saturday wedding vs a Sunday afternoon or (and this has become more popular as well) a weeknight wedding? I’m sure most DJs will agree that they have done Saturday night weddings that were decent “parties” and also have done some during broad daylight on a Sunday that have been absolutely incredible. So what’s the formula? What’s the difference? Well, having amazing entertainment, like Elite :), is a good place to start, but the crowd, meaning your guests, play an equally important part in the success of the wedding. If you have a group of people who are just absolutely ecstatic for you and can’t wait to celebrate, it really went matter when or where the reception take place. They’re going to celebrate regardless. One of the other big factors to consider is how important the reception location is. If you find a hall that you absolutely love that’s out of your price range but it’s “the one”, why not go for a discounted date? Thursday night weddings are actually becoming quite common at some halls in our area. Also, what if there’s a specific day of the year that has meaning to you and you would like to get married on it but it falls on a Monday? Why not stick with that date? Sometimes that kind of outside the box thinking leads to the most memorable and amazing of nights.
- How Big Should Your Bridal Party Be?
Having been DJing for over 14 years, I’ve seen bridal parties of all different sizes. Some weddings keep it simple and have just a maid of honor and a best man. Some weddings like to get crazy and have over 20 people in their wedding party. And some just forego the whole thing and their wedding party is literally them and their parents. So there really is no right answer and there are obviously pros and cons to either end of the spectrum. The pic above is from my own wedding and as you can see we had a large bridal party of 10 groomsmen and 7 bridesmaids (answer to another question is YES it’s perfectly acceptable to not have even numbers). Having a larger size bridal party can definitely increase the fun factor. Our party bus, along with Dominic and Sarina’s from a few years back (they had 19 people) were such a blast and were a great way to get amped before the reception started. But having that many people can also create headaches with dress fittings or other scheduling conflicts. Going with the smaller bridal party will negate some of those headaches but will also leave a little bit of the “good crazy” out of the day. Obviously only you know best who you would want to be such a big part of your special day. But don’t feel obligated to include anyone or afraid to leave certain people out for fear that it may hurt their feelings or offend anyone. This day is about YOU and it should be exactly how YOU want it to be.
- *Peace of mind included at no charge
So I felt compelled to write this blog after a phone call I received just before leaving for the night last night. A young lady, who is a bridesmaid in her friend’s wedding, called here last night looking for a DJ for September 23rd of this year. Obviously she knows it’s very last minute, but it’s because the original DJ cancelled on them about 20 minutes before she reached out to us. I looked up the date and we still had some amazing DJs available, so the first thing I said was to tell her friend not to worry as we would definitely be able to help her out. I went over our pricing, which was right in line with what they had budgeted, so she told me she would talk with the bride and call us back. It wasn’t but 20 minutes later that she called back to book everything. Before getting off the phone with her, I asked her not to tell me who the DJ was but rather why it was that they cancelled. She told me that the DJ was a “friend” of the family, and more specifically of the father of the bride. Apparently there was some form of friction between the 2 and now the DJ was magically unable to do the wedding anymore. I didn’t get into much more detail than that, but I’m going to assume she was using her dad’s friend because she received some kind of deal from him. It was also probably more a verbal or handshake agreement. That’s why although the money saving aspect is great, wouldn’t it be better to spend a little more and have that peace of mind that you won’t have to worry about issues like that?
This is the perfect time to segue, because I’m sure you’re saying to yourself that there is still no guarantee that the DJ will be at the wedding. And while that’s correct, it would take something along the lines of a medical emergency for that to happen. And it just so happened to happen this weekend. One of our veteran DJs had 3 weddings this weekend, and the day prior had a medical issue that basically caused him to lose his vision. Thankfully it’s something that is not permanent, but it wasn’t something fixable overnight. This is really where that whole “peace of mind” thing comes in: not only were we able to staff the weddings, but we were able to fill them with DJs with experience of 14, 17, and 19 years!!! So to use a musical analogy, we really didn’t even skip a beat. I included the photo above because while these stories showcase one of the great reasons why you should book Elite, I still don’t want you to take my word for it…instead take the word of 1518 people who’ve used us for events and the perfect 5.0 rating that we average across those events. Elite is not just our name, it’s what we are.
- Tricia & Dan 7.7.17
One of the coolest feelings you can get as a wedding DJ is when you just know that your couple has 110% faith in you to give them an unforgettable night. Ultimately I think any couple that hires a DJ should feel that way or why hire that person, but sometimes nerves get in the way and that confidence in the DJ doesn’t always come across. Well, with Tricia and Dan I knew that they knew that I knew that they knew…just kidding…I knew they had complete faith in me to throw them an amazing celebration and that’s exactly what they had.
They celebrated their wedding at our home away from home, the English Manor, and the night was perfect, seamless, and perfectly seamless. They began their night entering to “Feel So Close” by Calvin Harris and had their first dance as man and wife to “Everything” by Michael Buble. From there, it was party time. We had the dance floor completely packed as soon as the first course was done and we didn’t unpack it until the final note of “Shout” echoed through my speakers. Thank you Dan & Tricia for not only your faith in me, but for allowing me to be a part of your amazing celebration and have an amazing time in Scotland on the honeymoon!
This past Saturday night, I had the honor of celebrating with Jen Werner & George Cerwinski as they celebrated their new life together as husband and wife at the incredible Sterling Ballroom at the DoubleTree in Tinton Falls. This was actually the 3rd time an Elite entertainer got to celebrate the wedding of a Werner family member: Dan Werner and his wife Lizzie had Jay Thomson in 2012, Ron Werner and his wife Jillian had Mike Walter in 2013, and now it was my turn. I knew I had some big shoes to fill but I was more than ready to rock their party. When I met with Jen & George to discuss their music, they only gave me a handful of some country songs to play and sprinkle throughout the night during the down time. As for the dance music, Jen told me to “just do what Mike did” (no knock on Jay but that was the more recent wedding lol). So I tried to play a good variety of all genres of music throughout the night and the #CertainlyCerwinski wedding was #CertainlyACelebration. You could just feel the love and genuine excitement in the room for Jen & George and we had an amazing evening celebrating with them. Congrats again Jen & George and I hope you are having an absolutely amazing time on your Hawaiian honeymoon…ALOHA!!!!
- The most bang for your buck…
I’m sure everyone would like to have an unlimited budget as it pertains to wedding planning…and, well, life in general. But unfortunately getting married in Cinderella’s castle in Disney World just isn’t in the cards for everyone. But let’s pretend you have your budget for the DJ set, you’ve booked your favorite Elite Entertainer and you have some money left over to spice things up a bit. What should you add? Do you add an uplighting package to give the room a little color and some pop? Or should you add some intelligent lighting to spotlight your special moments and add that club like feel to the dance floor? Or what about some TVs for a montage of your childhood pics and to showcase some photos from the day and show music videos? You ask 10 people you may very well get 10 different answers. But if you’re looking for overall value, and what will enhance not only your experience on your day but also your guests, I would say it’s got to be the photo booth. While the other things I mentioned will enhance the overall atmosphere, having a photo booth will add much more to your guests’ overall enjoyment of the day. Some guests go to weddings to dance the night away, but you have others that wouldn’t dance if you offered them money. Having a photo booth at your wedding just gives those guests, as well as the rug cutters, something else to do that night to experience. If you have ever browsed through a scrapbook from a photo booth after the wedding, it isn’t hard to see just how enjoyable it is for all of the guests that night.
- ALWAYS Have A Plan 1A and 1B
It’s been a moment and day you’ve been dreaming about and planning for as long as you can remember. Finally, the moment has arrived and you’re just a few short hours or moments away from your dream beach or waterfront outdoor ceremony…
But it’s absolutely pouring out.
I remember working with a couple that had planned to have their ceremony on the beach in Asbury, but unfortunately rain forced the ceremony to be held indoors. Unfortunately, this left the bride was in tears. Now don’t get me wrong, I completely understand having a vision for your big day not go as planned. But weather is one of the things that you have absolutely no control over so you should always plan accordingly. And that goes double for those couples getting married in the summer months. Not only do you have rain to worry about, but even if the rain hold off do you really want your guests sitting in 95 degree heat and 80% humidity?
When my wife and I were planning our wedding, we made the decision to have our ceremony indoors no matter what. We got married in the month of May and knew we may have rain to contend with (it didn’t) and possible high temperatures (it wasn’t hot). As nice as an outdoor ceremony may have been, it was one less stress we had to worry about. And our venue had a beautiful indoor space with a beautiful ceremony and background for our vows to take place (thanks Eagle Ridge Golf Club!)
So just a piece of advice: an outdoor ceremony is always great and will provide an amazing backdrop for any ceremony, when mother nature cooperates. But always have a plan 1B, meaning if Mother Nature is being a bit of a b****, choose a location where the indoor space will make for just as nice a setting. One less stressful element to wedding planning is NEVER a bad thing!
- Elite’s Upcoming Private Showcase
It’s been a few months since our last private showcase, so we are more than ready to have an awesome weeknight on the dance floor with some amazing couples. But we are especially excited for this upcoming show because it’s taking place at the recently renovated Channel Club in Monmouth Beach. Fred, Steve and the entire staff at the Channel Club are some of the best in the business. So when we got a sneak peek at what the facility would look like after the renovations, we were so excited for them. So if you’re still looking for a hall and want to experience a night on the dance floor with Elite, come and join us on Wednesday, July 26th at 7:30pm. As always reservations are a must so call us at 732-935-7500 and reserve your spot!
Photos taken from the Channel Club Facebook page:
This past Friday night, I was lucky enough to get to celebrate with Julianna & Bobby on their wedding day. There’s a was a mini-destination wedding of sorts as they had their ceremony and reception at the awesome Sea Shell Resort & Beach Club down in Long Beach Island. I actually got to work there only a few weeks before so I knew we were in for a great night.
I only got to FaceTime with Julie & Bobby before their wedding, but we did a lot of emailing leading up to the day so I was able to develop a great rapport with the happy couple. They were just so easy to work with and their wedding day was a reflection of that. We had a gorgeous ceremony right on the beach. Emily’s grandfather served as the officiant and even thanked the weather gods for cooperating (the forecast looked bleek for a while there). After that we had a cocktail hour filled with some “A-list” country music and then it was time to party.
One of the cool things that the staff at the Shell does is right after the first dance, they actually build in about 20 minutes for the guests to dance and really get the party started on a high note. We immediately packed the dance floor and from there it was smooth sailing. Julie & Bobby actually hired us for an additional hour so I could play some of Julie’s favorite throwbacks of the late 90s and early 2000s. They got down to everything from Britney to the BSB to NSYNC to the Spice Girls. It was such an awesome way to end an awesome night.
- Audrey & Greg 6.3.17
This past Saturday, I got to celebrate with an awesome couple, Audrey & Greg, as they celebrated their wedding day. The weather and sky made Latitudes in Forked River the perfect setting for their celebration. They had a string trio handle musical duties for their ceremony and we took the reigns from there. They chose a classic in “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Elvis as their first dance and from there we got the guests up and rocking until dinner. Once dinner was done, they were treated to some amazing live music courtesy of Audrey’s father Harold and his band. They absolutely rocked the dance floor for the next hour with a great mix of classic rock and some sing alongs. As the sun began to set, like most couples, Audrey and Greg wanted to get that incredible sunset shot. Being at a marina, there were boats everywhere which could’ve made that a little challenging. But literally every single boat owner offered the happy couple the chance to jump up on their boat to get some unobstructed sunset views. It was so cool to see total strangers be so selfless to help make the newlyweds’ day even more special. Once cake was done we got every back on the dance floor and rocking to some current hits before Harold and his band closed out the evening. It was an amazing and unforgettable day and couldn’t be more happy for Audrey and Greg and if you guys see this I hope you’re having an amazing time in the Virgin Islands for your honeymoon and congrats!!!
Here are just a few amazing shots captured by Elite Images (check out some more at Audrey & Greg’s album on the Elite Images Facebook!):