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!
- 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!):
- Is Lighting Necessary???
With all the new and different add-ons and upgrades that have come about in the last several years, lighting still remains one of the most popular and almost like the “old faithful” of wedding add-ons. A lot of the banquet halls we play at have even added some form of lighting to their facility. Some have added uplighting, some added moving heads, and some both. So if you’re getting married at a hall that includes them then this question is kind of a moot point for you. But if your hall does not have lighting, is lighting necessary? Do you need to have lighting? Now in my personal opinion, I love having lighting packages added as they definitely add a little something extra to any event. But…it’s not my wedding or event so it’s not up to me. So my response to that questions is always: Do you want lighting? If yes, then yes you need lighting. If you want some form of lighting then obviously it fits in with your vision for the day. If you are not sure, well then my response would be to help the couple see the different options and how they would enhance their room. At that point then you would either see that lighting would add a little extra pop to your event, or maybe you wouldn’t. And there are those couples that do not want any kind of lighting for their celebration. Now I know some DJs will read this and completely disagree, and I’ve heard couples that have met with other DJs and they’ve been told that they NEED to have lighting. Well what if the couple has chosen a hall specifically based on it’s character or it’s charm and they feel lighting would take away from that? Who are we to tell them they are wrong just to make a few extra bucks? So as with anything with your wedding planning, or any other type of event, when you wonder if you need to have something, first ask your self if you actually want it…and you’ll have your answer.
It’s crazy to think that it’s been about 2 whole years since my wedding…like…how did time go so fast!!! As fast as time went with the wedding planning I feel like the 2 years since have gone even faster. I feel that being married for 2 years now qualifies me as an expert on marriage and wedding planning (I hope my wife agrees) so just wanted to share some tips leading up to you big day:
-It’s never too early to start planning your wedding (assuming you’re already engaged). I get asked that question a lot, as to when is a good time to book certain things, and my response is always “as soon as you find someone or something you like, DO IT!” The farther out you book, the greater the availability so you’ll be able to compare services, and you’ll also be able to save money.
-Just remember, it’s “your” wedding. It’s not one of your sibling’s, it’s not your parent’s, and it not any of your friends…it’s 100% yours and your fiance’s. People like to be very opinionated, which is fine to a certain extent, but don’t let anyone try and force their ideas on you if they don’t jive with your vision for your big day. CAVEAT TO PARENTS: A lot of parents like to help out financially with their child’s wedding, and that’s awesome and so generous. But please keep in mind that what you are paying for is still the wedding of your child and you are helping them to achieve THEIR dream wedding. So if their ideas and choices differ from your own, that’s 100% OK.
-Most importantly, and I can’t stress this enough: never, EVER lose sight of why you are getting married. Along the way there will be a bunch of meetings with vendors and choices you have to make and an argument or two may pop up. Wedding planning can be stressful. But at the end of the day and the end of it all, never forget that what you are doing is planning the celebration of the moment you and the person you can’t live without are joined in holy matrimony. When you and your new spouse are on that dance floor and sharing your first dance as a married couple, trust me when I say that absolutely nothing else will matter in that moment. So cherish it, soak it up and take it all in, and enjoy every single second of it!
- Yes you should have a photo booth…
Over the years, wedding trends are constantly changing. First it was lights, then came screens and sometime within the last few years, photo booths joined the club. I’ll be honest, I thought wedding photo booths would be a fad and die out after a couple of years. But our photo booth bookings only seem to get stronger with each passing year. People absolutely @#$%ing love these things!!!
One of the best things about weddings is that each and every couple have a special and unique vision for their big day. Sure there may be some similarities, but overall each wedding is different. Not every couple feels the need to have a photo booth, some just may downright hate them. And that’s fine. But to those couples who are considering having one, you absolutely should. And not just for you, but mostly for your guests. At your wedding, there will be 3 kinds of people: people who are there to dance, people who need a little coercing to dance (that’s where we come in), and people that wouldn’t dance if you paid them. The last group is where the photo booth comes in. Outside of dancing your @$$ off, there’s only so much to do at a wedding and having a photo booth for your guests just gives those non dancers something else to enjoy! If you’re worried about it taking people away from the dance floor just consider this: we are a DJ company…it’s our job to make people dance as much as humanly possible…if photo booths in any way made this harder we wouldn’t offer them Plus have you seen some of the photos people will take in there? Add a photo booth to 5 hours of open bar and not only is your scrapbook highly entertaining, but you will more than likely have a significant amount of blackmail material!
- Emily & Jeff 4.29.17
I’m sure most DJ’s can attest to this, but a lot of times early on in the planning process you can get a feel for what a particular wedding will be like. It’s not necessarily based on the music, although that helps, but it’s a combo of that along with the couple’s personalities and certain “je ne sais quoi”. When we did our traditional month before meeting, Jeff unfortunately couldn’t make it, but I had the pleasure of sitting down with Emily and her mother Lisa. About 37 seconds in I knew this would be an awesome wedding.
Emily and Jeff chose the River House in Brielle as the backdrop for their celebration. It’s a gorgeous facility right on the Manasquan River so even if you don’t attend a wedding there I HIGHLY recommend stopping by for dinner one night over the summer, totally worth it. A few weeks ago, Emily had mentioned to me an idea that they had for their introduction. Everyone came out to “Fireball” by Pitbull, so her thinking was to have everyone get a shot of sed Fireball. Then after they were introduced, Emily & Jeff would get their own shot as well. They walked back through the arch way and toasted everyone on their way back through (we cued the music up to where Pitbull is saying “We’re taking it, we’re taking it, we’re taking it down…“), each couple doing a show as they toasted the newlyweds, finishing up with Emily & Jeff toasting with the parents. From there, the chorus kicked back in and we had 20 people on the dance floor setting the tone for an unforgettable night!
So I know I mentioned earlier how you sometimes get a feel for how an event will go well before it starts, but ultimately it’s still just a feeling and you don’t actually know until you get there. Well, in this case my feeling was dead on. This was just such an awesome and fun night from start to finish. We had some great photo montages during the 3 spotlight dances early in the night, some uplighting to help add a little pop to the room, and a packed dance floor LITERALLY from the very beginning of the night until the last note of “Wagon Wheel” hit. So to Emily & Jeff I say not only congrats again but thank you so much for allowing me to be a part of your special day. I hope you had a safe flight to Puerto Rico and enjoy every second of your honeymoon there and Aruba!
Here’s just a handful of some of the incredible shots that Carrie & Jay Roberts of Elite Digital Images captured on their day!
- “We’re using a family friend…”
Those five words almost always evoke the same response when heard by a wedding professional: your hand hits your forehead and you shake your head. It’s a common hurdle almost all wedding professionals will encounter at some point in your life. You try to sell them on the benefits of using your multi award winning, multi-banquet hall recommended, a thousands-times-over reviewed company…but the couple decides to use a family friend instead. Partly due to familiarity I’m sure, but mostly to save money. But is that really the best reason to use them? Don’t get me wrong, I had friends serve as almost all of my wedding vendors, but they were all also wedding professionals. That was their job. So if your family friend does what they are hired to do for your wedding as a full time gig and not just something fun on the side for extra money, then that’s awesome. But I used to work with a girl, before I started at Elite, and one of her closest friends was a club Dj and was quite good at what he did. So she hired him for her wedding since he was a family friend. But DJing a wedding and DJing a club are two very different animals. You might be able to stick a wedding DJ in a club and have varied levels of success, but stick a club DJ in a wedding and it’s bound to not go well. And for her it didn’t. I understand the appeal of wanting to hire a family friend who DJs or photographs on the side in order to save money and because you know them…but do they know weddings? Wouldn’t you be better served hiring a professional, spending a little a more money to have peace of mind and allow your friend to just enjoy the night??
- PUT YOUR #&^$@$ PHONE AWAY!!!
So some of you may have noticed our post on Facebook this week with the picture below, but I felt it was also deserving of its own blog post. Now to look at it at first glance you notice that people are standing and look genuinely excited to see the bride. You may also notice the setting they have chosen is absolutely gorgeous. The vaulted ceiling combined with the aisle covered in flower petals makes for great scenery. But what’s what thing you can’t see? The bride. The single most important person on this day (sorry grooms, but it’s true). The moment a bride first walks down an aisle with her beamingly proud father is one of the true money shots for photographers. But unfortunately this one was ruined by no less than 3 people. Firstly the person who decided to position themselves basically on top of the professional photographer so that what I can assume is their camera strap hangs down half the photo. The second is the woman in front of her who is holding her cellphone up to make sure she gets the perfect shot. And worst of all is the woman who is holding what equates to a handheld computer and is completely blocking any shot of the bride’s face. Now I understand that people like to be involved and want to get their own photos of a couple’s big day. But that is exactly what the bride and groom PAID a professional to do. Chances are the photos you are taking are not going to be anywhere near the quality of the professional photographer so why risk ruining their perfect shot and cost the couple what should be one of the most memorable shots of their day? Oh and did I mention that you are ruining the photos of the only person there that is being paid to take them? So next time you are a guest at a wedding ceremony or reception or both, keep your phone to yourself. Try being in the moment with the happy couple, that will be far more memorable than any photo you could possibly capture.
- Weathering the storm…
This spring, I’m currently taking MicroEconomics as I work towards my Associates and eventual Bachelors degree in Finance. One of the topics we covered was short run vs long run and how a lot of companies will make a profit in the short run but not in the long run. One of the reasons for this is the eventual entry and exit of companies over the long run. And it got me thinking as to just how many companies there now are in the DJ business and just in the Monmouth county area alone. Everytime we do a bridal show it seems like there is a new company that we have never heard of with a booth set up. I’m sure a lot of them are even offering extremely and even overly competitive pricing just to generate business for themselves. But call me old fashioned…give me the company that has been around for a while yet still kicks @$$ everytime they perform. We are now into our 27th year of business and have had to weather quite a storm of new companies popping up all over our area. At our meeting last night, we just recognized Tom Monaco & Chris Monaco as they are celebrating their 20th year with Elite. That kind of experience and loyalty is something you don’t really see anymore. This month marks my 14th year here and it blows my mind sometimes to think about just how long that is, yet doesn’t feel anywhere near that long! I know sometimes “new and shiny” is the way to go, but give me tried, true and reliable any day of the week.
- Weekend Recap 4/1
One of the things I find funniest about this industry is how random yet cyclical where exactly I’m working can be. I feel like I go through spurts where I’m either really close or pretty far. Right now I’m in the middle of a block of weddings that are not exactly around the corner from me. That’s in no way a complaint, I actually enjoy traveling to new halls and places that I’ve never worked at, but just an observation.
This past weekend, Thomas Williams and I travelled out to Blue Bell, Pennsylvania to Blue Bell Country Club as we celebrated with Ralph & Nathalie on their big day. (side note: for as much as I enjoy traveling to new and different reception locations, I’m obsessed with and love playing golf and everytime I work on a golf course a little piece of my soul is broken…but I digress). I’ve actually know Ralph for a number of years. Jeff Kaufman, one of my closest friends and now fiance to my wife’s best friend Aubri Fouts, is a good friend of Ralph so we have actually hung out a few times. Before the wedding started, I actually asked Jeff how he thought the night would go and he told me that he saw this wedding definitely being a 9 out of 10 (my wedding being a 10 of 10 so none will ever reach that lol). You could definitely feel the energy in the room for the introductions, but being in Pennsylvania, it wouldn’t be until after the main courses that I would find out that he could not have been more right. This was the epitome of a party crowd. Nathalie’s family is Spanish so in addition to the commerical and classic hits I played, we sprinkled in a good amount of reggaeton as well as some merengues and bachatas and we had that dance floor absolutely slammed all night long.
Congrats again to the new Mr. & Mrs. Ernst and I hope you guys have an amazing time on your honeymoon to Bali!!!
- Weekend Recap 3/24 & 3/25
It seems every year that the middle to the end of March is always the unofficial end of the wedding off-season for me as I’ve now performed at as many weddings in the last 3 weekends as I have the first 2+ months! This past weekend, I flew the Elite banner (figuratively) all the way up to the far reaches of North Jersey…ok that was a little dramatic but we were up there so here’s a quick recap of my 2 amazing celebrations:
On Friday night, we celebrated with Nicole & Jonathen at the stately grounds of Skylands Manor, right in the heart of the state botanical gardens. Although I feel like I had been there in high school (having grown up in Bergen county), it was my first time playing there and it is really a beautiful setting for a wedding. They had just redone the ballroom and they did a magnificent job as it felt new and modern and was gorgeous. It was a stark contrast to the rest of the building, not in a negative way at all, as when you first walk in you feel more like you are in Hogwarts than you are in a building in New Jersey. Nicole & Jonathen and about 100 of their closest friends and family made for an amazing crowd and everyone had an amazing time all the way up to the final note of their final song, “Take Me Home” by Phil Collins
Saturday night, I flew solo up to Indian Trail Club in Franklin Lakes. I had played at a few other locations with the word “Club” in their name in the North Jersey area so I was expecting more of a rustic setting but it was the opposite and definitely a hall befitting of a Franklin Lakes zip code. This place was absolutely stunning and was located on a small lake to give it that waterfront feel. I had only met with Eileen and Rob through FaceTime to do the preplanning but upon meeting them face to face for the first time, I knew we were in for a great night. It was another amazing evening of dancing and celebrating only solidified for me when Eileen’s mother approached me with an hour to go to hug me and just tell me “thank you” and that everything had been amazing and they couldn’t have been happier!
Having DJ’d for almost 14 years now, I’ve had the honor of working with couples that I actually knew on a personal level outside of just wedding planning, some incredibly well and some just in name. But one thing that does, for me anyway, is it ratchets the pressure level up a notch or two. I always go out with the intention of throwing the best celebration I possibly can, but having people there that you know just adds that one extra butterfly in your stomach.
This past Saturday, I got to celebrate with Shayna & Bill, the brand new Mr. & Mrs. Marra, at the Crystal Point in Point Pleasant. Bill’s sister, Krissi, is one of my closest friends, and I’ve known Bill for several years but only met Shayna when we did the planning. So knowing Bill through Krissi and having all of their family there, that extra tick of nervousness definitely kicked in a bit. But it really didn’t take long at all for it to go away. We had the dance floor packed as soon as we opened it and it stayed that way until the final note of Don’t Stop Believin’ came through my speakers. Between Shayna’s grandfather performing the ceremony to Bill’s mother’s heartfelt toast at the reception, you could feel the love and energy in the room all night and I was just so glad I got to be a part of it.
- Michelle & John party ’til the sun goes down????
This past weekend , I had the extreme honor of celebrating with such an amazing couple, the brand new Mr. & Mrs. John & Michelle Furey, at Sterling Gardens in Matawan. I met with them when they came to our office in September and we immediately clicked. They decided to hold their wedding reception from 2-6pm so they could hope a late flight and get a jump start on their honeymoon lol. I know a lot of DJs would think “ugh a daytime wedding”, but this was just further proof that that stigma is so wrong. From the moment we opened the doors to the reception until the final sparkler sendoff at the end, this was the epitome of the word celebration. Michelle, John and all their guests had the dance floor absolutely going crazy the entire day! There was just so much happiness and emotion filling the ballroom that it was one of those weddings you wish could’ve gone for another 4 hours. Just before their reception ended, Michelle & John did a sparkler sendoff with Somewhere Over The Rainbow as the soundtrack for it, a perfect way to send them off on their honeymoon to Hawaii with a quick stop in Disneyland…paint this DJ jealous!!! Congrats you two, can’t wait to hear all about it!
Photos courtesy of Carrie & Lynn from Elite Digital Images:
- Afternoon vs Nighttime Weddings
If you were to take a poll of engaged couples, couples in general, or just anyone who has ever given thought to their wedding, and you asked them, “What day/time would you want to have your reception?”, the overwhelming majority would first say Saturday night followed by Friday night and then probably Sunday night. You would have a hard time finding anyone that would want to get married while the sun is still high in the sky. There is such a stigma that afternoon weddings can be “rough” and “no one will dance or drink that much” (drinking always helps ease people’s dancing fears) that I would be less that 1% of people would want an afternoon wedding. But I think that stigma needs to be put to bed.
I had absolute honor of celebrating with 2 amazing couples in the last 6 months who had their weddings begin and end before 6pm, one was even on a Sunday that wasn’t Labor/Memorial Day weekend. I think one of the biggest keys to any reception is the crowd. If you have a room full of people who are genuinely happy for the married couple, you mix that in with a professional DJ/MC and you would have a wildly successful celebration if it took place on a Monday at 9am! Another cool thing about having an afternoon reception is it then gives you the rest of the night to either relax with your new spouse or continue the celebration somewhere in a more casual or relaxed setting. One of the couples I celebrated with ended their reception at 6pm so they could leave for their honeymoon that night!
Check out some video from Kate & Jose’s SUNDAY AFTERNOON celebration to see what I mean: