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!
- 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:
I find myself having random thoughts a lot, sometimes directly related to weddings, sometimes just music, but always completely random so I thought it would be cool to express them in this forum so here goes:
Often times, DJs will refer to the music at your wedding or any other type of celebration as the “soundtrack” for your day. Your first dance is the soundtrack for that most romantic of moments. And quite possibly your intro music would be the soundtrack you would choose if you had music whenever you walked about in daily life. The reason I mention this is over the weekend, my wife and I watch a few of the X-Men movies since we just had a nice relaxing weekend and wanted something nice and mindless to watch. Not including “Logan” (which btw was absolutely f***ing amazing and everyone should see immediately if not sooner and multiple times), the two most recent X-Men films had two very similar but also very distinct scenes involving Evan Peters’ character Quicksilver. His mutation was super speed and thus everything around him would move at a snail’s pace while he was seemingly moving at a normal to high speed rate. In both scenes, he manipulates what’s happening around him in order to save the lives of the people he is with, or what should be pretty serious moments. But both of the songs used while he is doing this make those scenes so much more memorable and add a bit of levity. Just goes to show how music can have such a powerful impact on a moment and mood:
- Love Wins…Always
After reading Mike’s recent blog about how Elite is and always has been not only LGBTQ supportive but friendly, it got me thinking about some of my own experiences celebrating with same sex couples and there was one particular wedding that immediately crossed my mind:
I got to DJ for Megan and Tricia back on January 25 of 2014 and they had their wedding at Doolan’s Shore Club in Spring Lake. And I had the pleasure of being a part of their whole day, from their ceremony up until the very end of the night. One of the coolest parts of their ceremony was the “unity” part. Some couples choose to light a candle, some choose to pour sand…Tricia and Megan choose to personalize it a little more: they each had their favorite beer and poured a sip into one pint glass and drank from it lol. I actually asked Danielle, my wife and fiance at the time, if we could do that because I thought it was so cool!!! The rest of the night was awesome and it was a great party but there was one particular moment that I will never forget…
Same sex marriage had been legalized in New Jersey only 3 months before Megan and Tricia got married so they were among the first couples to be able to legally marry here. At one point during their first dance, the two of them broke down and began crying, and I don’t mean tears, I mean almost openly sobbing. And I don’t say that as a negative thing…I don’t know exactly what they were thinking but I told my wife after their wedding that I’m sure the gravity of the moment just overtook them. Here they were, in the arms of the love of their life, celebrating the happiest day of their lives, which for most of their lives was a moment they probably thought would never happen. I tried to really grasp what that would be like and I couldn’t imagine someone telling me that after my wife and I fell in love that it would be illegal for us to get married. It was just such an amazing moment to be a part of, one I’ll never forget, and one that I’m truly so honored to have been a part of.
- Grace & Joe #MENDEingTogether
One of the things that can get lost sometimes in the craziness of wedding planning is the actual reason you are doing this planning: so you can marry the love of your life! So a lot of times, couples sometimes find planning stressful and not a lot of fun…I don’t think I’m going out on a limb when I say this, but that was NOT Grace and Joe!
I actually met Grace at a bridal show about a year ago so I already had a solid rapport with her, but I didn’t get to meet Joe until we did our month-before meeting to go over details. It didn’t take long to realize that their night would be a blast. They celebrated their wedding at the Pleasantdale Chateau which made the perfect backdrop for their night.
They decided to ad a personal touch and have some fun with their bridal party introductions and gave each couple the theme song from certain movies and TV shows. We used everything from The Sopranos theme to Raiders of The Lost Ark, Seinfeld to Game of Thrones, and the list goes on. When the moment arrived for their grand introduction, being Star Wars fans and apparently having succumbed to the “dark side of the force” lol, Grace and Joe made their entrance to the Imperial March. You could just see from their faces they were loving every moment of it.
From there, we got the guests dancing immediately after the first dance and parents dances and we didn’t stop until the clock struck midnight!
- “And now for the moment you’ve all been waiting for…”
If you were to ask couples what the most important part of their big day is, I’m sure you will get several different responses. Some will say the actual ceremony…some will say the moment they first see each other…and some will say their first dance. One of the answers that I’m sure will also be pretty common is the moment they’re introduced to the reception and the bridal party introductions. All of these are great answers and there really isn’t a wrong answer, but as a DJ and MC, for me I feel that the introductions are the most important of the night. Obviously it’s important because it’s technically the couple’s grand introduction. After the ceremony, it’s the first time they are presented as a married couple. But I feel, and I’m sure some other DJs would agree, that bridal party introductions set the tone for the rest of the night. While you want to stick to the elegance and formality of that particular part, at the end of the day you want to also make sure the guests know that the reason they are gathered is to celebrate! I think that’s one of the strong points of our staff members, they know when to turn things up. Below are some examples of some of our staff members knocking intros out of the park…
- What Makes Our Private Showcase Different…
As any couple who has gone through a full calendar year of wedding planning knows, January through March is prime time as it pertains to bridal shows. Partially because there aren’t as many weddings this time of year, and it’s also partly because a lot of couples get engages around the holiday season. If you are familiar with some of our mantras at Elite, you know this is one of them: Don’t take our word for it. We always encourage and invite brides and grooms to come check us out any time we do a live showcase. Every so often, we include a private showcase on our calendar. I always tell couples that I meet that other than being a guest at a wedding we are performing at, these are the absolute BEST way to get a feel for what we do. So that begs the question, what makes the private show so different from a normal bridal show:
- The first thing that makes our private show different is that it’s just that, private. So many brides and grooms attend the normal wedding expos and they might as well have the word OVERWHELMED tattooed on their faces. At our private showcases, the only vendor you will see is Elite- our DJ, photography, and videography. That’s it
- Being that the show is just us, it’s a much more intimate setting and allows us the chance to show you literally everything we offer and can do for our couples on their wedding day
- While we don’t make couples hang out with us for hours on end, we are not constrained by a time slot so we can go into much greater detail about certain portions of your big day.
- Probably one of the best things is getting the chance to meet our staff. At a regular bridal show, since there are usually a couple of performances and a fashion show, there really isn’t an opportunity to chat with some of our staff. At our private show, not only do you get to see each of our DJs perform, but you have the opportunity to chat with them one on one after the showcase to find out if they’re a good fit.
- While we don’t give away free honeymoons, we do offer some “show exclusive” discounts to anyone who comes and reserves that night (that’s a not so well kept secret)
Don’t get me wrong, if you are unable to attend one of our private showcases then coming to a bridal expo where we perform is the next best thing. But if those make you feel like a deer in headlights, if you want to see EVERYTHING Elite can do and offer, if you want the chance to meet our DJs AND possibly save some money…then joining us at one of our private shows is the way to go!
PS – We usually have an open bar for you as well
- How to select the right DJ company…
Wedding planning can be quite overwhelming at times, especially when it comes to choosing things like the site for the reception or your entertainment. We 100% encourage couples to do as much research as possible and find the company that makes you the most comfortable and is the best fit. If you’re unsure of what to look for, here are some questions you can ask to help narrow down your options:
Are they a full-time company, with an office location and full-time office staff?
Are you able to see them perform live?
Are they recommended by your hall?
Can they show you work they have done in you room?
Are they reviewed online? How many times? How often? and How well are they rated?
How long have then been in business?
Do they have insurance?
Do you get to choose your DJ or do they assign someone to your event? Can you meet with that person before reserving them?
Do they have one-on-one planning with your specific DJ?
Do they offer on line planning with access to 60,000+ songs?
Are they willing to break the mold of a typical wedding to make your affair unique?
But most importantly are you getting a great VALUE for what you are spending. Everyone knows why Mercedes-Benz is a better value then a, well you can fill in your own answer here… LOL… The point is the service industry is the same way, you get what you pay for!
- Starting off 2017 with a bang…
It seems that the majority of people I know were quite happy to see the calendar turn from 2016 to 2017, for a number of reasons. So I was hoping that my first wedding of the year would set a tone for the rest of the year that it would be an amazing one…thankfully, my hopes were fulfilled. Justin & Alexia got married the first Friday of 2017, January 6th, at the Palace in Somerset Park, one of the best halls in the state and one of my favorite places to work. I didn’t get the chance to sit down with them until a week before the wedding as they were traveling in from Minnesota, but it didn’t take long to realize this would be an amazing night.
They started out the night dancing their first dance to a great outside the box song called “Better Today” by Paul Coffey. They had choreographed a dance to it but had to make a slight adjustment to the ending. They had planned on doing a type of lift for the grand finale, but when they rehearsed it they had the slightest tearing sound in Alexia’s dress so decided to end with a dip and a kiss which ended up being a perfect cap to the song.
After that it was party time and we had no problem packing their dance floor as soon as toasts were over and kept them that way until the last note was played. Congratulations to the new Mr. & Mrs. Fedje and I hope you’re enjoying your honeymoon in Maui. Aloha!!
- Chris & Monica’s Amazing NYE EVE Celebration
For me, 2016 was another great year of celebrating with some absolutely amazing couples. My final wedding was this past Friday, December 30th, “New Year’s Eve” Eve. Like most DJs, I was hoping to end the year with a bang and go out on a high note. Monica & Chris live in Boston so I didn’t have the pleasure of meeting with them in person before the wedding, but we were able to Facetime to go over the details and everything. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I was going to have the perfect wedding to finish my DJ year.
Monica & Chris chose The Palace in Somerset as their wedding venue, and having worked there dozens of times, I knew they were in great hands as it’s one of the premier halls in New Jersey. They entered the ballroom down the grand staircase in The Palace ballroom for the first time as man and wife to “Marry You” by Bruno Mars. For their first dance, they had taken some lessons and did a choreographed dance to a very cool and out of the box song called “Still Falling For You” by Ellie Goulding. After that, Monica danced with her father Gerhard to “My Girl” by The Temptations, and then Chris with his mother Teresa to “The Prayer” by Andrea Bocelli and Celine Dion. During that particular danced, I was able to snap a quick photo of an awesome moment where Monica was arm-in-arm with her parents and Chris’s father as they look on…exactly the kind of moment weddings are all about.
After the formalities, we had no trouble packing the dance floor as you could tell everyone was so excited for Monica & Chris. The guests danced all night long and we literally had the dance floor jumping well before dinner was served. After dinner, they wanted to make sure they got photos with all of their guests. Instead of going table to table, their photographer Drew did something a little different: he had me play the theme from Mission: Impossible and would have each table come to the dance floor and meet the happy couple for a quick photo. The overall process not only went much quicker than I expected, but all the guests seemed to enjoy the hustle involved and it became quite entertaining.
As the night began to wind down and we approached the final few songs of the night, I was sad to have such a great night come to an end but was much more happy and honored to have been a part of it. For the final song of the night, Monica & Chris chose “Don’t Stop Believin‘” by Journey which was the perfect way to end what amounted to a perfect evening.