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Entertainment Blog

Jun 26
Pearls of Wisdom

There are many things you can do to create memories at your wedding, this activity is one many of my clients enjoy

 

I'll start by saying this is not my original idea. I'm not sure of its origin but I came across it many years ago in some training material from a colleague of mine, Randy Bartlett based in Sacramento but it also features in Peter Merry's book, "The Best Wedding Reception Ever". Which brings me to a good point, if you see something you like for your wedding, look for ways you can make it even better and more reflective of your personalities. Here is my take on this activity.

There is often time to fill between orders being taken and the entrée's being served or between the entrée and main (and many other points for that matter). This activity can be a great way to fill that time and also provide you with a great personal guestbook.

At a recent wedding I went around each table and asked "who will be responsible for this tables pens?" Duly someone offered or was nominated and I handed over a couple of pens saying "I'll let you know what they are for shortly."

Timing for explaining the activity will vary based on the timeline and flow you require. When the time is right, explain that you would like guests to place their "pearls of wisdom" on how to live a long and happy marriage on the back of their name cards. Let them know what happens next.

Option 1: Have the MC collect the completed cards and sort through them picking ones that go well together and link to speeches or other activities they will be announcing. Have them read selected ones at various times throughout the evening. This works particularly well if you have a talented MC that can create these links and relay the messages with emotion or the appropriate comedic delivery.

Option 2: Have each person at the table share their "pearl" and have the table decided which one will be read out by someone at the table or the MC. In this scenario you need to be confident the chosen wisdom will be fit for the entire audience.

Don't forget to collect all cards whether they are read out or not and place them in an album or scrapbook as a memento.

Other variations on this activity:

  • Have guests come up with names for your first born child
  • Ask guests "What does love mean to you?"
  • Use a blackboard or stiff cardboard with sharpies for them to write on rather than name cards. Have this framed after the wedding.

If you are looking for other entertaining activity ideas please visit our website.

www.theperfectwedding.co.nz

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Mar 08
The Role of Entertainment

How important will the quality of the entertainment be in the overall success of my reception?

 

Understand your priorities

Ask yourself, "What components of my wedding reception are the most important to me?"

Establishing your priorities well in advance will help you allocate your budget where it is most needed to ensure you don't have to skimp on those items that are the most important to you.  We all know this makes sense, however it can be a daunting task. 

One tip is, to picture your reception without various key items such as the flowers, cake or entertainment.  This can help clarify which components will have the most impact on making your celebration one that will fun and memorable.

When my niece got married we put together a list of items they needed to purchase for their wedding.  We then placed each item on its own card and had them arrange the cards in the order of importance to them.  This enabled them to discuss why each item was placed where it was, which made it a lot simpler to determine the order they should book the services they needed and know what would suffer if they overspent.

I've found that venue, photographer and entertainment often end up in the top three.    

Have you have attended any weddings lately?  Think about your experience.  Were they fun and enjoyable or were they boring?  The most expensive weddings can still disappoint if guests are bored or restless and leave straight after the first dance.  Modest or low-budget weddings can still be incredibly memorable if the entertainment is given a high priority.

If entertainment is one of your highest priorities then there are many ways you can trim other areas of your budget without impacting on the entertainment experience.  Can we skip the chair covers and favours and opt for a less expensive meal?  You may even be able to build some entertainment value into that – one couple hired in a pizza oven and had their guests make their own gourmet pizzas.

If entertainment is low on your list then you may only be looking for music, however be careful as entertainment and music are not the same thing. 

The Talent

It is interesting to me that many wedding magazines, books and websites often offer advice on how to hire or do-it-yourself "music" for your wedding.  "Music" is only one tool and may only be a small part of what is needed to provide entertainment at a wedding.

Wedding entertainment includes:

  • The master of ceremonies and how formalities are announced and delivered
  • Transitions, order and flow – see our summer issue 2013/2014 for full details on this
  • Communication with you and others involved in your wedding including parents and other wedding vendors
  • Activities that engage the guests, create energy, feelings and emotion – I'll be sharing one of these in our next issue
  • Personalised memorable moments and surprises that lock in memories for years to come

A quality wedding entertainer is an artist - demonstrating unique skills, talent and professionalism.  Be selective when interviewing your talent and ensure they can deliver the entertainment experience you deserve for your wedding day.  Remember entertainment is not just music. 

www.theperfectwedding.co.nz

Dec 08
Transitions Order and Flow

In the words of Eminem If you had one shot, one opportunity, to seize everything you ever wanted, in one moment, would you capture it, or just let it slip?

 

The bridal party introductions have just concluded. Each member of the wedding party, rocked into the room to a high energy, purposefully selected music clip that reflected their personality and punctuated the personalised introduction. The guests are on their feet as the music transitions into a romantic instrumental. It takes us a second to register that the newlywed's vows are now playing in scripted tempo and alignment with the music. Mum, who managed to hold it together in the ceremony, loses it at this point as a tear rolls down her cheek. Fortunately this was expected so, not only did Dad have a tissue handy, the photographer and videographer were primed to capture this touching emotion. As the vows draw to an end and the music builds the new Mr & Mrs Smith are welcomed into the room to vigorous applause packed with emotion and energy. The guests are on their feet clapping in time to the music, ready to start the party.

And then it happens – that awkward pause as everyone wonders what happens now….

Fortunately Uncle Harry, the MC has it under control as his program shows dinner is served next.  As he makes the announcement he is tapped on the shoulder by the venue coordinator. After a couple of whispered words, he announces "the meal is still about 10 minutes away, talk amongst yourselves and I will let you know when it is ready"

There are so many special moments throughout a wedding. Each ceremony, each tradition, each event needs to seamlessly transition into the next. The order of these will impact on both the flow and ease of transition. Taking your guests through a rollercoaster of emotions utilising all the senses, will ensure memories are locked in and you have them talking about your wedding for years to come.

Planning

Careful planning and scripting will highlight and eliminate potential challenges.  Work with the various service providers to understand their needs, factor this into the schedule and document the roles and requirements for each stage.  Venues will often have a wedding coordinator available, just remember their input is typically from a venues perspective and may not capture all details needed for a successful reception.

Think about the feelings, mood and emotion you want your guests to experience at each point. What will be done to create those? How can you transition into the next, will it be seamless or a strategically designed step change?

The MC is most often the person executing your plan and facilitating the transitions.  It is vital they are part of the planning process, that they know your wishes and are familiar with the detail behind your decisions so they can make informed choices on the day.

Preparation

While your plan is a starting point, assume there will be some unexpected changes on the day.  Contingency plans should be discussed and agreed. For example, if the wedding party arrives at the venue early or the meal is running late will we delay the introductions, or do we have an alternative transition and activity to fill the time?

Share the schedule with all those involved in its delivery and ensure each participant understands their role and responsibility on the day.

The MC should rehearse and refine all announcements and ceremonies they will be presiding over.

Execution

This is one of the most important, and yet often overlooked roles. You need someone to be responsible for carrying out your plan on the day. For example, this will be the person that will check with the kitchen before the introductions take place and invoke any contingency plans when necessary. 

It is traditionally assumed the family MC or another family member will handle this role although these days it is becoming more common for a 'day-of' wedding coordinator, professional MC or other wedding professional to take on this responsibility. Using a professional allows your family member to relax and enjoy the day and means you can tap into the years of experience, skills and talent those professionals have leading to less stress and a better outcomes on your special day.

Unless they are also the MC, their role is generally unseen by guests as they discretely coordinate with all the people involved and ensure everything runs to plan. 

 

Investing time before the wedding day planning the transitions, order and flow will mean you get the reception you want. 

www.theperfectwedding.co.nz

Sep 05
My Wedding Magazine 4th Birthday Celebration

​It was my honour to provide my services lst night at the 4th birthday celebration for My Wedding magazine, held at the fantastic new showroom of First Class Classics.  Their showroom is ideal for corporate events and cocktail functions, so talk to Terry if you have a function coming up.

The new look magazine is stunning and packed full of useful information for couples planning their special day.

It was also great to meet so many of The Wedding Associates some of the premium wedding vendors in New Zealand.  Check out their website to find other vendors you can trust and the substantial discounts available.

Aug 11
Great Receptions Don’t Happen by Chance

Did you know that over seventy percent of brides surveyed after their wedding say they would spend more time choosing their entertainment if they could do it again, and nearly all of them said they'd have allocated a larger slice of their budget to get a better result. Furthermore, over 80% of guests surveyed admitted that the entertainment was the thing they remembered most!

Receptions that will be talked about long after the wedding day require careful choreography. By the time your guests are enjoying that first drink, you'll have spent countless hours organising and planning every last detail. Why then, is the entertainment value so often overlooked, one of the last items couples consider booking and one most couples will try to spend the least amount of money on?

If you really want your celebration to be a success, your guests need to be entertained from the moment they arrive at the ceremony through to the time they leave after the last dance. Music sets the mood and energy level for each stage of the day.  You only have one chance to get it right, so the soundtrack for your wedding must be skilfully crafted and not just left to chance.

A DJ of any note should ask you about your taste in music, in particular songs or tunes that have special meaning. They should also understand the demographic of your guest list and tailor the music accordingly. They will check on the timing and order of events, and perhaps even suggest slight amendments to ensure a smoother flow.

Too many couples hand over the role of MC to a token family member. Unless they're well versed in public speaking, event coordination and the many wedding traditions, this can easily lead to disaster. A good DJ will take the time to get to know you, your story, your journey. They will work with you to ensure a seamless mix of speeches and entertainment, frivolity and seriousness, hilarious tales and poignant readings.

A wedding DJ's job should not be just about the music and your selection of one should be based on their talent and service and definitely not on price.

Aug 11
Setting the Mood

Music can play an important part in setting the mood at various stages during your wedding.

The first thing to consider is what feeling you are trying to achieve during each of the stages.

  • Pre ceremony as your guests are arriving
  • During the ceremony
  • Post ceremony congratulations
  • Photographs
  • Mix and mingle
  • Guest seated in reception venue prior to wedding party arrival
  • Entrance
  • Dinner
  • Dessert
  • Dancing

The list is not all inclusive and will possibly be in different order, but it highlights the need to consider more than just the music at the end of the night.

Generally the mood and tempo increases as the day progresses so guests toes are tapping and they are eager to get onto the dance floor once the formalities are completed.  Having said that, dramatic changes in genre and tempo can create emotional responses during the course of events and can be used to good effect to lock in special memories. 

Think back over your life… Are there certain songs that bring back memories or when you hear a song does it take you back to an event or time in your life?  This is what we want to do with your special day, create memories not only for you, but your guests too.

Aug 11
Do you want Ronald McDonald as your MC?

There are times when a McDonald’s meal is just what you need and other special times when you would willingly pay for a high quality meal with exceptional service.  There is a market for both.

The problems occur when you really want the top quality option but are shopping in the wrong place or when Ronald McDonald tries to sell you that they can provide the same service and quality food as those top class restaurants charging 5 to 10 times more.

The same thing happens in the DJ marketplace, some DJ’s cater for the commodity market and compete on price, some are comfortable in the middle and others cater for the speciality top end service needed for a once in a lifetime event.  What really annoys me is when a DJ catering for the mass market (lets call them Ronald) tries to convince a client that wants the top end service, that they can deliver everything the top end DJ does, only for less investment.  This is sheer fantasy.

No matter how you dress him up, do you really want Ronald McDonald to MC your wedding?

Next time you come across a DJ claiming to be a professional wedding DJ - just check they are not wearing a red wig and big floppy shoes.  By this I mean, find out how much experience they really have delivering high end entertainment at weddings.  Compare their service offering with others.Don’t just book based on what they tell you, actually ring their references.  Seek the opinion of the venue managers that work the receptions (not the sales people), they see lots of entertainers and can give you an unbiased opinion on who can really deliver.

If you would like to find out more about the top end service I offer, check out my website at http://www.theperfectwedding.co.nz .  If you would like the opinion of one of the best venues in South Auckland - contact Steve at Castaways (based at Kariotahi Beach just out of Waiuku) http://www.castaways.co.nz  They cater for over 100 weddings each year and see their share of Ronald’s.

Jun 03
Where to save money on my wedding?

A wedding is not something you have everyday and is a very special event, however in these economic times more and more couples I speak with are looking for tips on how to save some money on their wedding.

My advice has always been the same.   Make a list of your priorities for the day.  

What is most important to you? 

  • Photos look great?
  • I look great?
  • Food is fabulous?
  • Venue is stunning?
  • Guests have a great time?
  • The ceremony is romantic?
  • Relaxed and fun?
  • Flowers are breathtaking?

Make you list, put them in order of priority.  Book and budget for the most important, then make your compromises on the rest.

Unfortunately I sometimes get couples that leave booking the entertainment till last and although their highest priority was for a fun celebration for themselves and their guests, the money has run out and they are having to compromise on the most important service.   

I have a much more comprehensive document on planning a budget for your wedding.  contact me via our website http://www.theperfectwedding.co.nz/contact.htm

May 08
Hearing the ceremony

Is it important that your guests can hear the ceremony?

My take on this is, yes.  You invited the people you care about most to share and witness this special event in your life and that’s exactly what they want to do.  If they can watch but not hear, I feel they miss out on a lot.  

There is another side to this however.  A couple of celebrants I have worked with feel quite strongly that the vows are to be shared between the couple and the only people that need to be able to hear them are the couple and their witnesses.

If you do want your guests to hear then you may need to consider amplification.  This will obviously depend upon the setting and numbers you have attending.  A small group (<40)  in a small church or private garden may enable everyone to hear without any assistance.  As the emotion kicks in, I find many couples tend to talk a lot quieter and on occasion even the witnesses standing relatively close have had trouble hearing.

So if you are considering amplification, what should you look for or consider?

In most settings I would recommend to my clients they use a high quality UHF radio lapel microphone.  Generally I place one on the celebrant and one on the groom.  The one on the celebrant is a uni directional microphone which means it will primarily pickup their voice and not much else.  On the groom, I place an Omni directional microphone.  This will pickup the groom and the bride and if for some reason the celebrants mic failed it could pick them up too.  It is important that professional quality equipment is used to ensure there is no interference, dropouts or hiss.   In windy situations it is vital that wind jammers are used to minimise the wind noise.   Mic placement is important too in order to minimise wind noise, avoid knocking or bumping and also to achieve optimum audio response.   In extreme wind conditions I would recommend moving to a handheld wireless microphone with a large professional wind jammer.

Audio levels should be set so guests can hear comfortably without it sounding loud or obviously amplified.

I have had one celebrant refuse to wear a microphone.  She was adamant she had a loud voice and that the guests would hear.  The couple were very concerned about the 200 guests being able to hear and asked what I could do to ensure this could happen.  The ceremony was being held outdoors in a private kiwi fruit orchid just out of  Waiuku, South Auckland.  There was no negotiating with the celebrant so I installed a boundary microphone on the ground between the bride and groom.   This is something that is often used on stages to pickup actors.  It is very discrete and effective, however can be effected by wind (and overhead aircraft!).   In this situation it really did save the day, as despite her assertions of a loud voice, without the sound reinforcement only about 20% of the guests would have been able to enjoy the service.

An experienced DJ or Audio Visual provider should be able to advise you on the equipment and its placement and use to get optimal results.  If they don’t sound confident or haven’t provided sound reinforcement for a ceremony before, you may want to consider looking elsewhere for support for this part of your day.

If you would like to contact me, checkout our website http://www.theperfectwedding.co.nz

About this blog
Welcome to my entertainment blog.  I hope you find the information here helpful.  Feel free to comment.