My Third Time Officiating a Wedding

Just over a year ago I officiated my very first wedding.  Kim and Charlie, friends of my wife, were getting married and they knew I was “newly ordained” so they asked me if I could marry them.   Then in October I had the chance to officiate Jay and Marrisa‘s wedding down in Mexico.  Each time I sent the bride and groom some questions about themselves and how they met and fell in love and then I scripted the ceremony based around their answers.  I’ve DJed enough weddings 11165256_969290069748018_2596357784077122066_nthrough the years and seen too many ceremonies where there is nothing personalized for the bride and groom, so I figure if I’m going to officiate a wedding for friends I better make it all about them.

So last week Kris Abrahamsen married Danielle Mascio  and I had the honor once again to officiate.  I didn’t start with any template but once again I had Kris and Danielle answer some questions and then we put together the ceremony as a team.  Similar to the first two, I got tons of great feedback afterwards and I know Kris and Danielle were thrilled with how everything turned out.  There were some funny moments during the ceremony (I find laughter can break the ice especially when people are overly nervous or emotional like during a wedding) although we stayed 10154913_969289066414785_2648355059934131810_nrespectful to the importance of the ceremony.  And as I did the first two times, I asked Kris and Danielle to write and deliver their own vows.  And they both did.  Magically!  These words, in my opinion, are so much more powerful than the canned “I ____, take you ____, to be my lawfully wedded wife.”  When a couple has to think about what they want to say to their spouse-to-be in that moment, beautiful things come out.  And then when they can deliver those words on their own for their family and friends to hear, it becomes a Wow! moment.  Indeed in the Same Day Edit that Endless Wave Studios produced for Kris and Danielle they use some of Danielle’s powerful words and it’s the highlight of the video.

To Kris and Danielle I say my most heartfelt congratulations and thank you for giving me the chance to have such an important role on your day.  Love you both!

 

May’s New Music by Corey Fox

Brides and grooms think each other are beautiful. They dress the part, and they say the right words. And then they come to dance! What great words to sing along and dance to – You’re So Beautiful by The Empire Cast! Do I have to mention Empire is one of the biggest TV shows right now?!
Fun by Pitbull featuring Chris Brown. Yes, Pitbull is still giving us hits! We are all about fun, and especially dancing! Join us for this one on the dance floor.
The dance floor is where we love to be. The song Tonight Belongs To U! by Jeremih featuring Flo Rida, is a hot new dance song! Ripe for summer parties, it is fast and upbeat with a simple singable chorus.

One love, Corey

Marshall’s Picks May 2015

Top 10 Wedding Requests:

1.      Journey                      -       Don’t Stop Believin’
2.      Cupid                         -       CupidShuffle
3.      Pharrell Williams    -       Happy
4.      Black Eyed Peas       -       I Gotta Feeling
5.      V.I.C.                          -       Wobble
6.      Neil Diamond           -       Sweet Caroline
7.      Bon Jovi                     -       Livin’ On A Prayer
8.      AC/DC                       –      Shook Me All Night Long
9.      Van Morrison           –      Brown Eyed Girl
10.     DJ Casper                 -       Cha Cha Slide

Top 10 New Party Songs:

1.      Fetty Wap    -       Trap Queen

2.      Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars         -       Uptown Funk!

3.      Nicki Minaj feat. Drake & Lil Wayne     -       TruffleButter

4.      Pitbull feat. Ne-Yo       -       Time Of Our Lives

5.      Chris Brown & Tyga         -       Ayo

6.      Maroon 5                   -       Sugar

7.      Omarion feat. Chris Brown & Jhene Aiko  -       Post To Be

8.      Natalie La Rose feat. Jeremih      -       Somebody

9.      Tove Lo          -       Talking Body

10.     Jason Derulo               -       Want To Want Me

Corey’s New Music Report – April 2015

I-Need-Your-Love-feat.-Mohombi-Faydee-Costi-SingleIt may not reach “It Wasn’t Me” status, but the new Shaggy song is lovelier. “I Need Your Love” has a nice beat and content! It is totally infectious and easy to sing along with!  It could be a summer anthem as the weather heats up.
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She may be a one hit wonder with this pop tune, but Katy Tiz has definitely put out a great song! “Whistle While You Work ItKaty-Tiz-Whistle-While-You-Work-Itis positive lyrically and quite catchy!  This is a happy-go-lucky dance number.
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“Want To Want Me” by Jason Derulo, is one of those songs that sneaks up on you. After nodding your head along to the beat, the chorus reminds you of the Cheap Trick song of similar name. I’ve been using it after toasts!
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“Electric Love” by BORNS, is not a dance song. What it is however, is a wonderful song about how love feels! Definitely love playing this song and singing along to it!
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“Bills” by Lunchmoney Lewis, may not talk of love or dancing, but it is amazing! It makes You feel like dancing. We all have bills and thus we can relate. What better way to forget about them than dancing the night away!
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Another old school influenced song, “Juicy Wiggle“, comes from Redfoo of LMFAO. It’s not Shots or Sexy And I Know It, but a great pop formula of catchy chorus and silliness could make make this the next What Did The Fox Say?!

One love, Corey

Diana & Robert 3/21/15

As a DJ, Entertainer and a spectator of major life events, I have had the privilege of watching children baptized in the start of their lives, milestone birthdays like sweet 16′s, 50th birthdays, wedding anniversaries, holiday parties and every other reason for gather and celebration you can imagine. This is the first time in my years as an Elite Entertainer that I was so amazed by a group of people at one gathering that I wanted to write about it as soon as I got home. I want these memories to be as purely and accurately accounted as possible because they were all just so spectacular.

Diana and Robert Gorbe were the perfect match for each other. Robert was excited from the moment he saw his beautiful bride walk down the isle at the Crystal Point Yacht Club. Diana and I had been in contact earlier in the day as she wanted to ensure that everything was going to be perfect, much like her husband. She too looked ecstatic over the sight of a room full of family friends and loved ones. After exchanging vows and kiss to seal their marriage, we took the party upstairs and never looked back! The whole crowd was hooting and hollering as The bridal party danced their way in to Dynamite by Taio Cruz, or when Joshua, Diana’s son cut a rug like no other to Uptown Funk! Nothing captured the love that these two shared however, any better than when they shared their first dance as husband and wife to the tune of “I Only Have Eyes For You“. After toasts and first course, you could feel the anticipation building until Joshua, the ring bearer couldn’t take it any more and began dancing to anything that we played! His infectious dance moves really got the party rolling and set the tone for what was a jam packed evening full of Michael Jackson, Bruno Mars, Paradise By The Dashboard Light, and many other classic rock n roll songs!

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 12.28.06 PMThe three moments to me that let me know that I had done a successful job in exceeding their expectations as an Elite Entertainer were as follows: When we opened up our first round of dancing for the evening, Diana looked at me as a packed dance floor was appearing in front of her and mouthed to me from across the room “Oh my God! This is amazing!” Second, was when Rob approached me after dinner and said that I had worn him out, and that I am “A pro, who had better make this a profession for life, because this is amazing”. Finally, was when Diana and Rob together shared their overly gracious praise, that they were receiving compliments throughout the course of the evening on how this was the best wedding many of the guests had ever been to. I wish Rob and Diana all the best, and as the picture shows……..well, see for yourself!

Elite Earns The First Ever Weddi Award For Receiving The Most Reviews in 2014 from Wedding Wire

Elite Entertainment's Weddi Award - Copy

Elite Entertainment’s Weddi Award

It’s been hard to write about this moment till now because quite frankly I’ve been on Cloud Nine and I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to verbalize just how I felt about receiving this recognition.  It’s the culmination of a lot of different things and ultimately I needed to write this blog so I could thank everyone involved.  We received 245 reviews last year on WeddingWire which is what earned us the award.  WeddingWire recognized the leader in every category (venue, photographer, DJ etc) throughout the country but of those, Elite received the most reviews! By the way the 245 reviews represents almost 40% of the couples we had the pleasure of working for in 2014.  That’s a lot of weddings and lot of writing!

First and foremost I have to start where I so often do, and give THANKS to my incredible staff of DJs.  Every weekend we load up our vehicles and hit the roads to entertain at some pretty awesome events.  We leave our families for the day and spend that time doing what we LOVE – spinning music and creating memories.  It’s hard work but we also have a passion for it.  And when it’s all said and done and the party is over and we’ve loaded our gear back into our vehicles and headed home, I’ve asked my staff to be diligent about one more thing:  following up with their clients and asking for a review on WeddingWire.  Some will call and make the request, some will send an email.  But it takes the effort of asking to produce the numbers we have.  And for all of that (the great DJing, the leaving the family on the weekends and the follow up) I send my sincere gratitude.

Secondly, I want to THANK our great brides and grooms.  I know from firsthand experience that everyone wants a review these days.  I flew to Las Vegas recently and when I got checked in at the hotel I looked at my emails.  I already had 3 requests to “Rate My Experience.”  United Airlines wanted to know how the flight went, Expedia wanted to know what I thought of the hotel and the hotel wanted me to rate my “Check-In Experience.” (whatever that meant.)  I ignored all 3 requests because none of my experiences were so outstanding that I wanted to take the time to review them.  And I think that’s where we are as a society.  Review requests come in all the time.  Most people, like myself, will take the time to offer a review if we’re blown away by the experience (either amazingly impressed or incredibly disappointed.)  And I fully expect that from our brides and grooms.  If we haven’t exceeded every expectation you had before the wedding, don’t bother clicking on WeddingWire.  But if we lived up to your highest hopes and helped you throw the party you always imagined, then please try to find a few minutes in your busy day to tell the world about it.  In 2014, that happened a lot.  245 times to be exact.

With Sonny Ganguly and Matt Kaufman of WeddingWire

With Sonny Ganguly and Matt Kaufman of WeddingWire

And finally, I should also tip my cap and say thanks to WeddingWire.  They created this incredible portal where brides and grooms can talk about their real-life experiences with their wedding vendors.  Some professionals are afraid of review sites because they can expose your “soft white underbelly.”  I often hear the push back posited as “what if my competition wants to get on there and pose as a past client and bash me.”  WeddingWire actually has a fix for that.  If someone posts something negative you can ask them to prove they had a contract with you (and if they can’t the review comes down.)  But when I hear someone say this I immediately think to myself “what’s your real fear?”  Maybe it’s that you don’t exceed your clients expectations and you’re afraid of a platform like WeddingWire (or The Knot or Yelp!) where it’s all about the truth.  I don’t have that fear.  I’m confident my DJs live up to or transcend our reputation every weekend and so I’m grateful for a place like WeddingWire where past clients can tell future clients about their experience.  WeddingWire has created that and now, with these Weddi Awards they’ve also created a way to recognize the vendors who put in the most effort.

When Sonny Ganguly (Chief Marketing Officer for Wedding Wire) brought me to the stage to accept the award he gave me a nice introduction (made me sound like a super star, in fact, which was too nice!)  But I wish he had focused more on Elite Entertainment.  I personally did 40 weddings in 2014 so clearly those 254 reviews didn’t come just from my clients (although I did have the highest percentage of reviews – for the 3rd straight year!).  Those 245 reviews came from every one of my DJs and of course the couples who took the time to write us a review.  It was a total group effort and one that I am incredibly proud of.

March 2015 Podcast Mixed by Dominic Sestito

 

Many clients and friends over the years have told me to record my sets and put them up for everyone. So I decided the first of the month I will search the billboard 100 find some popular songs (even if I don’t like them) and dig up so kool mixes so you can practice your sweet dance moves.

Corey Fox’s New Music Report – February 2015

Walk-the-Moon-Shut-Up-Dance-2014-1200x1200It’s time to “Shut Up And Dance“! A great song by Walk The Moon. This is definitely a party song, saying it in the chorus … dance with me! Dancing is the main theme of the party, and of course that’s what we’re doing.

 

Another new song to add into our latest parties comes from Maroon 5. Sugar, is wonderfully sweet! Maroon-5-SugarYes please! It’s one of those catchy pop tunes i’m sure ladies will bop along with! And where the girls go, the fellas follow (straight to our packed dance floors)!
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Trouble, by Iggy Azalea featuring Jennifer Hudson, is another women’s anthem. It’s a hip hop pop dance tune that i’m sure will be sung by many!
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One love, Corey

February 2015 Podcast Mixed By Dominic Sestito

 

Many clients and friends over the years have told me to record my sets and put them up for everyone. So I decided the first of the month I will search the billboard 100 find some popular songs (even if I don’t like them) and dig up so kool mixes so you can practice your sweet dance moves.

Mike Walter Gets Published in The Today Paper

Recently our owner (and resident writer) Mike Walter had an article published in The Today Paper.   The article is entitled “You’re Engaged!  Now What?” and offers some good advice for couples who are recently engaged and just beginning the process of planning their weddings.   In case you don’t live in Eatontown, Tinton Falls or Ocean Township (where this publication arrives monthly to just about every door step), here’s a copy of Mike’s article.

 

Today Paper - You're Engaged 2015 - Copy

Kris A’s Best of 2014

So kind of piggybacking off Mike Walter’s recent blog, I sat back and thought of some of my favorite songs of 2014. Now these weren’t necessarily songs that came out this past year but these were some of the more successful songs that I found worked the best at my weddings:

 “I Want You Back” by the Jackson 5 - something about that ultra short piano riff in the very beginning dropping into the bass line that gets me

“Danza Kuduro” by Don Omar - this to me is one of those songs that if it doesn’t make you get up out of your seats, nothing will

“Tricky” by Run DMC - ya gotta love a song that does the emceeing for you when right before the chorus initially drops you hear “HERE WE GO”

“I Love It” by Icona Pop ft. Charlie XCX - if your goal is to have everybody with their hands up and singing along and really into a song, look no further

“Turn Down For What” by DJ Snake ft. Lil Jon - definitely the song to turn things up a notch, and turn them down for what

And last but not least…

“Then (Piano Mix)” by Brad Paisley - obviously this is a great slow song and it’s not that I had any great success at an event or events with it, it’s mostly that it’s my wedding song and I wanted to include it ;)

Dominic Sestito – January 2015 – Podcast

Many clients and friends over the years have told me to record my sets and put them up for everyone. So I decided the first of the month I will search the billboard 100 find some popular songs (even if I don’t like them) and dig up so kool mixes so you can practice your sweet dance moves.

 

 

Corey Fox’s New Music Report – January 2015

The end of the party. The big bang.  I’ve noticed over the years that that’s what most brides and grooms want for the end of their party.  To go out on a high note!

pitbull-ne-yo-time-of-our-lives-music-mondayPitbull & Ne-Yo have my current favorite “end of the night song”: “Time Of Our Lives.“  I’ve been using it with great success for a few weeks now! Pitbull knows how to party. One could even say “he is the party”! Love him or not, he is responsible for plenty of “party” jams.
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Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk” is a masterpiece, featuring Bruno Mars on vocals (hence the reason almost everyone asks for Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk”)  The slower tempo of this song keeps it out of my rotation for Bruno-Mars-and-Mark-Ronson-Take-Uptown-Funk-to-The-Streets“last songs”. “Uptown Funk” has been a better floor opener or transition song for me.  Bruno Mars has also been a consistent pop hit maker in recent years. A lot of his songs are a great choice for dancing.
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“Wrapped Up”, the new song by Olly Murs, has HIT woven throughout the 3 minutes! It is an infectious tune of love, ripe for dancing and singing along! This is definitely Pop gold!
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And finally, if “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran isn’t the first dance song at a wedding, then I think it should at least be played during dinner. It is truly a gem of a song. Ed Sheeran is quite a soulful songwriter and it shows in this song. Its simplicity is its magic – less is more!
Ed Sheeran

Ed Sheeran

BREAKING: Elite Awarded for Excellence Again

Last year around this time I wrote a very jaded blog about how it seemed everyone in the wedding industry had won the Wedding Wire Couple’s Choice Award.  This year, I’ll try not to be so jaded.WeddingWireReviews

But I can’t guarantee anything.

First things first:  I am extremely proud of my staff (and myself) for all the great reviews we received last year.  We went from 640 reviews last year at this time to 900 today.  But more importantly we maintained a perfect 5.0 average.  If anyone ever tells you a company can’t provide quality and quantity at the same time, you let them know Elite does it year in and year out.  So I tip my cap to my hard working staff and I thank the brides and grooms who take the time to go on Wedding Wire after their big day to give us a review.  Our couples (just like everyone else) are busy and I’m sure they have better things to do.  But they loved us so much they went out of their way to offer a review and that means a lot.

Here’s the blatant truth about this award though:  There no longer seems to be any criteria for getting this award.   Over 200 DJs in New Jersey alone were given the Couple’s Choice.  7 years ago when Wedding Wire first began giving this out (it was called The Bride’s Choice back then) there were 20 DJs in New Jersey who received it. That’s quite a jump in just seven years.  So while I am proud of getting the recognition I also feel like the only way to make it mean much is to say this:

Elite has received the Award all 7 years it’s been presented.

That’s the exclusive part.  By my count only 11 companies in the state of New Jersey can say that.  Which means we have figured out a way to combine quality, quantity AND longevity.  And if you’re looking for someone to entertain your family and friends at your wedding, aren’t those traits a pretty good place to start?  They prove we do a great job, we’ve been doing a great job for years and years AND we’ve got the size and strength to be doing this for years to come.

 

My Favorites of 2014

So kind of piggybacking off Mike Walter’s recent blog, I sat back and thought of some of my favorite songs of 2014. Now these weren’t necessarily songs that came out this past year but these were some of the more successful songs that I found worked the best at my weddings:

 “I Want You Back” by the Jackson 5 – something about that ultra short piano riff in the very beginning dropping into the bass line that gets me

“Danza Kuduro” by Don Omar – this to me is one of those songs that if it doesn’t make you get up out of your seats, nothing will

“Tricky” by Run DMC – ya gotta love a song that does the emceeing for you when right before the chorus initially drops you hear “HERE WE GO”

“I Love It” by Icona Pop ft. Charlie XCX – if your goal is to have everybody with their hands up and singing along and really into a song, look no further

“Turn Down For What” by DJ Snake ft. Lil Jon – definitely the song to turn things up a notch, and turn them down for what

And last but not least…

“Then (Piano Mix)” by Brad Paisley – obviously this is a great slow song and it’s not that I had any great success at an event or events with it, it’s mostly that it’s my wedding song and I wanted to include it ;)

My Favorite Event Songs of 2014

Mike Walter MixingHere’s my list of favorite songs from this past year.  I’ve restricted this list to new songs from 2014 and just songs that I used often this year at parties.  None of my personal favorites (like Hozier’s “Take Me To Church” or anything off the Prince releases) made the list.

This was a great year for new music, especially because, after a number of years where most of the new dance music was in the 120-130 beats per minute range (what I would call traditional dance music tempo) this year the biggest dance floor fillers came from all over the BPM map.  While that makes mixing more challenging, it also makes programming more fun.  And dancers feel it.  Just like running on a flat surface mile after mile can get tedious, dancing to a similar beat can get monotonous.  But with new songs that ranged from the low 100s to over 180 beats per minute, dancers and party-goers were able to change up their dance moves often.  And we (the DJs) were able to get more creative with our mixes.

So here we go.  In no particular order, let’s celebrate the year that was in new music:

“Happy” by Pharrell Williams – For me the year began with this song and it has stayed in my playlist throughout.  It’s got all the traits of a song that will be with us for a long time: up-tempo with an infectious rhythm, positive lyrics and Pharrell’s awesome singing.

“Turn Down For What” – DJ Snake featuring  Lil Jon – My first event of 2014 was a holiday party with a lot of 20 year olds.  They asked me for this song and it made the dance floor erupt.  Since then, it’s been a staple for me.  I played it at almost every event in 2014.  It’s a low beat song (100 BPMs) but it packs more energy with those amazing crescendos and wall-shaking drops than anything else that came out in 2014.

“Talk Dirty to Me” Jason Derulo – I have to admit the first time I got a request for this I thought they were talking about the Poison song (I am a product of the 80s.)  But this song quickly became a regular for me and it worked almost every time I dropped it in.

“All of Me” by John Legend – Simply one of the most beautiful love songs I have ever heard.  I feel like this one is going to be a staple for many years to come and probably a popular first dance too.  It’s a timeless classic.

“This Is How We Roll” – Florida Georgia Line f. Luke Bryan  – I love songs that don’t fit into a specific genre.  This is a great sing-along song that’s part country and part hip-hop.  I played this one often this year and always got a good reaction.

“Let It Go” by Idina Menzel – Ok, I don’t have kids so I’m not as sick of this song as many parents are.  But I have an indelible memory from this past year that helps this song make my list.  I was DJing a wedding with our plasma package and there were a number of kids there.  So I played this song (with the video on the screens) during salad.  The children came out to the dance floor and watched the video and sang along at the top of their lungs and danced around too.  It was an awesome moment and one I won’t ever forget.  (plus, I feel bad for Idina Menzel that John Travolta mispronounced her name at the Oscars so I had to get this one on my list).

“Stay With Me” – Sam Smith - This is a beautiful ballad with a soaring chorus that almost feels like a church hymn.  And that voice!  Wow.

“Shake It Off” Taylor Swift – Swift’s new album is called 1989 and she certainly channels that uptempo 80s sound in this song.  Whatever dance moves you had for the Toni Basil song “Mickey” will work perfectly for this song.  I know some DJs try to avoid this because it’s a bit cheesy but when I see the smiles it puts on people’s faces I say “Haters gonna hate hate hate.”

“Beachin’” – Jake Owen – Being so close to the shore we do our share of beach events and so we’re always looking for a song that fits that theme.  When this came out I knew right away it would work.  This song is an ode to white sand, tan lines and sipping Coronas.  If that doesn’t make you smile, check your pulse.

“All About That Bass” Meghan Trainor – The first time I heard this song I knew it was going to be a big hit and I’d be using it at parties.  It’s a fun song with an even funnier video.  And any song that empowers women to celebrate their curves is okay with me.

“Fancy” Iggy Azalea featuring Charlie XCX – Who would have guessed that a white rapper from Australia would have one of the biggest hip-hop songs of the year?  But that’s the kind of year 2014 was.  Hits came from anywhere and everywhere.  This one filled my dance floor all year with a chorus that everyone wanted to sing along to.

“Uptown Funk”  – Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars -  This is a late comer to the list since I only started playing it in December.  I think it’ll stick around though and could be one of the biggest songs of 2015.  Being a Prince fan, I think they have captured the essence of funk in this song.  And like “All About That Bass,” it’s got one of the best videos of the year too.

Mike and Kylie Have a Very Special Wedding at The Jumping Brook Country Club

Mike and Kylie got married at The Jumping Brook Country Club on a beautiful (yet chilly) November day.  We were booked to do the ceremony music as well as to play for the reception which is something we are seeing more and more. Mike and Kylie Picture1

I loved working with this couple.  I don’t know what it was about them but something just clicked when we met and we got along great.  I was so thrilled to be their DJ and when the night was over and the whole thing was a huge success I was really very happy.

Another thing I loved about Mike and Kylie’s wedding was the team of professionals they had assembled for the day.  I always love working at The Jumping Brook.   Ron is such an awesome banquet manager and the maître d Meghan was very easy and flexible to work with.  Mike and Kylie had hired Susan from Something Blue Wedding Photography to shoot pictures throughout the day.  Susan and her second shooter KiaMarie are super cool and fun to work with.  Plus Susan’s husband Mark was manning the photo booth so it was a family affair! They also had Jennifer from Sands of Time Video Productions shooting video.  She must have a ton of footage because the camera was rolling all night long.  And helping to coordinate everything was Rachael from Glass Slipper Weddings and Events.

The pictures in this blog are just a handful of the great shots that Susan and Kia got.  For a better sampling check out the Facebook album they made for Mike and Kylie.  And while you’re there make sure you “Like” Something Blue Photography.

Mike and Kylie’s wedding ceremony was at The Jumping Brook and they had a good friend of theirs, Josh, officiate for them.  This is something I am seeing more and more.  It is so easy to become “ordained” online now so many couples are asking a friend to step in and fill this role.  It often makes the ceremony much more personal and it definitely did on Saturday night.  Josh is a teacher so he is no stranger to public speaking.  He was smooth and funny and the ceremony was great.  Plus Mike and Kylie had picked a very unique recessional song: The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Hard to Concentrate.”  I had never heard this song before but it was perfect, with lMike and Kylie Picture2yrics like: ”All I want is for you to be happy and take this moment to make you my family.”

Mike and Kylie had also selected a very cool first dance song: Dave Matthews “You and Me.”  When I first heard that song years ago I knew it would be a great wedding song.  The lyrics are perfect and there are just so many huge Dave Matthews fans.  Kylie told me she loves that song, in fact their cake topper was the title of the song (how perfect!)

Once the party got going I was in my glory.  The dance floor was packed all night.  Mike and Kylie had upgraded their package with us to include our intelligent lights and up-lighting.  These were great Mike and Kylie Picture3enhancements that made the room look awesome and added a ton of energy once the dancing got going.  They picked out a bunch of great songs and I was able to play every one of them, including their grand finale which was Garth Brook’s “Friends in Low Places.” 

My congratulations to this very special couple!

 

 

 

Mike and Kylie Picture4

Tips for Selecting the Perfect Music for Your Wedding Ceremony

ceremony5Your wedding ceremony has come to an end.  You’ve shared your vows, exchanged your rings and even kissed for the first time as husband and wife.  The next sound you hear will be your recessional song.  This is the last song of the ceremony and, in many ways, the first song of the celebration.  Especially if you are getting married at the same location of your reception, you and your guests will go immediately from the ceremony to your cocktail hour.  And so the recessional song is the hinge.  It will be the first song you hear as a married couple.  And it will be the beginning of your party.

At Elite Entertainment we play the music at over 200 wedding ceremonies every year.  Currently almost 40%  of our weddings include ceremony music.  And that number just keeps growing.  More and more brides and grooms are getting married outside of a traditional church or temple and so we get the opportunity to work even closer with our couples, crafting not only the reception music but the songs that will be played before and during the ceremony.  We enjoy this process.  The ceremony is the true beginning of your married life and so for many reasons it is the most important part of the wedding day.

The songs that are played before the ceremony are called “Prelude Music.”  Traditionally, we played classical music although nowadays many couples want a more modern approach.  We can play some New Age, contemporary instrumentals and/or some classical renditions of modern songs like those produced by “The Vitamin String Quartet.”  We emphasize to our clients not to stress over these selections.  We’ll provide a nice mix for you that will be volume appropriate and set a beautiful and romantic tone for the ceremony.  Plus, you won’t be there to hear any of it so there’s no point in playing your favorites.

The ceremony officially begins with one or two processional songs.  Usually it’s two songs, one for the bridesmaids to walk down the aisle, and then the song for the bride’s entrance (some couples will just have us play the same song throughout, especially if they have a small bridal party).  Again, the processional songs used to be classical pieces, and they still can be.  Pachelbel’s Cannon and Wagner’s Here Comes the Bride are still common selections. (BTW we have tons of versions of “Here Comes the Bride”, everything from traditional church organ sounding to strings to a very cool steel drum version which is perfect for beach weddings.)  But more and more we are seeing brides who want to come down the aisle to something more modern.  For example, in recent years Train’s “Marry Me” (with that great opening line “Forever can never be long enough for me”) has been requested a lot.  We’ve also used some of the instrumental tracks from The Twilight movies (like “Bella’s Lullabye”)  This is a very special moment, obviously, so we encourage our couple’s to personalize it with a song that is meaningful to them.  And it doesn’t have to be a slow song although that moment is very elegant and serene so an up-tempo song might seem out of place.ceremony6

During the ceremony, we are sometimes asked to play a background song if there is a candle lighting ceremony or Hawaiian Sand Ceremony.  We recommend a light instrumental piece for this because the song is often on for less than a minute.  It’s just an elegant little filler.

Which brings us back to that recessional song.  Again, we encourage the couples we work with to give this selection some thought.  We hope you can personalize that moment with a song or an artist that is meaningful to you.  And unlike the processional, tempo is unimportant here.  In fact, we recommend something mid-tempo or even a faster beat.  If you are sticking with tradition and want to use a classical piece, Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March” (another song we have plenty of versions of) or Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” are just two of the many great choices we can recommend.  But so many couples break tradition here and go with something more modern and fun.

We’ve played hundreds of different selections as recessional songs so making a list is hard and will never be all-inclusive but these are just a few of the great songs we can recommend:

Remember, designing the music for your wedding ceremony is something we enjoy doing at Elite Entertainment.  We like the collaborative effort of your ideas and our experience combining to make the perfect list.  That moment should be perfect.  So let’s work on it together.

The Other Side of Wedding Planning Part 2

10499607_10152312471523495_4089520617262206396_oSo it’s been just over a year since I’ve written about this, and I’ve learned one thing: as stressful as it may seem, wedding planning is fun. Aside from all the financial aspects and decision making, at the end of the day you’re ultimately planning the day that you get to marry your best friend..love of your life…partner in crime…you get the drift. Now I’m sure not everyone feels this way, but if there’s one aspect of planning I’m sure everyone can agree is fun is the music selections. Now this ranges everywhere from music for dancing to background music to intro music to the all important first dance.

I recently sat down with a couple who was telling me that they wanted to use John Legend’s “All Of Me” for their first dance but were unsure they were going to because the bride’s parents felt it was too slow or wasn’t good enough. Now I’m all for making sure your guests have a great time and will gladly listen to their input for when it comes to the party portion of the evening. But when it comes to your first dance, it’s exactly that: YOURS. No one else’s. If you find a song you like or that has meaning to you (by you I mean both bride & groom), it shouldn’t matter what anyone else thinks (sorry moms and dads). That 3-4 minutes in time is all about the married couple and is the culmination of their journey together. Plus it’s probably the only 3-4 minutes they’ll have to themselves all day so let them enjoy it as much as possible. On top of that, how in the blue h@!! is All Of Me not a good first dance?!?!

When it comes to picking your song for your grand introduction (you can read a little more about that in a recent blog Mike Walter wrote), one of the things my fiancé and I both wanted was for it to not only be fun and upbeat but also something timeless. By timeless I mean not looking back in 25 years and thinking “Man why did we walk out to that?!?!”. I also feel it’s important for it to make sense lyrically…somewhat. It doesn’t have to actually be perfect from that sense but just could make sense for the grand intro of a bride and groom. We discussed it quite a bit and came up with something that we feel meets all those requirements and are really happy with it. As Mike mentions in his blog, it needs a little editing to get the timing right but ultimately it’s going to make a great intro for us. I’m not going to post the song but if you’d like to give a listen, click here :)

Picking The Perfect Song For Your Grand Introduction

I met with a couple recently to discuss music for their wedding.  They asked me if they could be introduced to the George Harrison song “I’ve Got My Mind Set on You.”  My immediate answer was “of course!”  We pride ourselves on great customer service and so if one of my brides and grooms has a specific vision for that moment, I’ll make it work.

So then we listened to the song together.  It has all the elements of what I would consider a great song for a grand introduction.  It’s upbeat and the lyrics are happy and positive.  Plus, it’s one of those songs that everyone knows.  As soon as the drums start people recognize it and will sing along to the chorus.

IntroductionThen we listened further.  The main challenge was that the original version starts with a quick 4 bars (4 x 4 in terms of musical structure) and Harrison starts singing even before the end of that fourth bar.  In other words there is less than 6 seconds of drum beat before the vocal starts.  As an MC, I prefer a little more of a “musical bed” – usually something in the 15-20 second range.  But no worries, I was able to loop the beginning of the song, giving me extra drum beats to use as back ground music so I could introduce the bride and groom and then Harrison would sing (my looped version is here on my Soundcloud page)  The end result: The bride and groom got exactly what they wanted and their grand introduction was not only a huge hit but it was personalized just for them.

And that’s the point of this blog.  Some couples have no real idea of what songs they want to use for their introductions.  And that’s fine.  We will help you select the right songs to enhance the moment.  Because that’s all that music is doing: adding energy and excitement to the introductions.  That’s why we recommend something upbeat (although if you want to walk into something mellower, you’ll probably hear us say the same thing: “of course!”)  As MCs we also want to use the beginning of the song as a musical bed and then try to time it so as we say the names of the bride and groom there’s a great lyric or musical transition which will raise the energy even higher.  Some songs fit perfectly that way (an old school classic example of this is 2 Unlimited’s song “Get Ready For This – where as an MC we just timed it out so we were saying the couple’s name at :16 where the vocal starts) and some, like the Harrison song, need to be tweaked or edited by us. Another example with a more modern song is the Tiesto remix of John Legend’s “All of Me.”   The energy in this remix is great AND the lyrics in the chorus are perfect.  However, the instrumentation in the beginning is too long and then the song (like most songs) starts with a verse.  But again, no worries.  I made a quick Introduction2edit and have used this song many times recently (there’s an example right here in this video clip.  Skip to :38 and you’ll hear this couple’s grand introduction.)

So again, whether you already have a specific song in mind or not, we at Elite can help you make this moment special.  If you’re looking for suggestions we have plenty to offer.  We’ll probably narrow things down by asking you what kind of music you love (rock, dance, oldies etc) and then we’ll play you some suggestions.  But, if you have a song that you’ve been dreaming about being introduced to, just let us know.  If it works without an edit, great.  But if we need to tweak it, we can do that too.  Our ultimate goal is to make your grand introduction an unforgettable moment.  It often sets the tone for a great party!