Busy June Wedding Season

This was a double wedding weekend as many in the Summer months are. The photographer for the shots to follow is Kari Dawson. She’s from Shelby, MI area. Her site is http://www.karidawsonblog.com .

This wedding at the Dearborn Inn had 380 people at it. I don’t “do” too many of that size but when I do I am reminded of just how much energy resides in a crowd of that size. These people danced the night away. It never ended (until it did) and as usual I probably slighted the slow dancers. I played about 6 slow dances the entire night because I never like to upset the balance of a packed and jamming dance floor. Requests were minimal from the guests which can be a good sign that I’m playing exactly what they’re into. The bride did have a pretty packed list of tunes for the dance window and I am thankful she chose well. Like many clients these days oldies to them are 80’s and 90’s. It would seem the hottest “chick tune” and it’s been so for some time is Wannabe by the Spice Girls. The weekend after this wedding the hottest tune overall that drew the most crowd response was “Party Up” by DMX. Ya’ll gonna make me lose my mind up in here up in there… you know the one.

Anyway, this wedding had it all. They stopped at nothing to make the already beautiful Dearborn Inn even more so with high end linens, chair covers, centerpieces etc.. Pics are below – enjoy.

dbilongshot 2grlzjune 2dance

Dearborn Inn 2017 Renovation – Dearborn Inn Ballrooms Michigan

The video shares it all other than of course how 5 star the staff is. I’ve been working the Dearborn Inn now for 20 years and they really do a great job of keeping it beautiful and hiring staff that sticks around and cares about your experience as a guest. As a dj who considers multiple dynamics when working a venue one of the things I appreciate about the Dearborn Inn is it’s physical location. Though it’s only minutes from downtown Dearborn, it is still off the beaten path. It’s away from stores and shopping malls and neon signs ! It sits in a historic campus with nearby Greenfield Village & Henry Ford Historic Properties. It just feels unique. That’s one of those things people without the experience or understanding of a wedding reception can’t see. That isolation creates a comfortable less hectic vibe. It just feels better when places are off the beaten path and this hotel surely is. So, all you’ll need now is the right dj to amplify your opportunity for a great event.

Noah’s Event Venue – Center Auburn Hills, MI Wedding Tour

Noah’s Event Venue is in Auburn Hills Michigan. It’s a tree filled suburb and as you’ll see in this video it’s beautiful. In this video tour of the facility I’ll show you all the various areas I walked in to give you an idea what it might be like for your wedding reception or company party. I even show you the bathrooms !! This is a perfect way for brides out of state to see venues in Michigan that I’ve been a dj at.

First, I thought overall it was a really nice place. If I had any pushback it was more the way it felt. It’s almost too perfect. It made it feel a little cold. BUT that is my opinion AND it WOULD NOT necessarily keep me from booking it. If I was “Noah”, I might add a fireplace or dial down the modern a smidge. You decide for yourself. You’ll see in the video it’s surrounded by greenery but the drive up is an office park type of setting. After 5pm though it’s a ghost town. I love the fact it was extremely buttoned up on the tech side. So for example as a dj I was able to plug into the house audio while in the chapel for the ceremony. No need to bring in speakers. The MOD (manager on duty) was a whip and handled every detail really well and quickly. Catering will be your biggest challenge and I’d highly recommend using the company/s they refer. They have a small “sort of” kitchen from what I could see and it forced the caterers to get resourceful using other rooms as needed. It is also my impression that they do not have stoves so whomever you hire for the food be sure it’s a pro. ALSO they are big on Thursday wedding receptions. So am I !! I love Thursday Weddings. Let’s have more of them. People need a reason to party in the middle of the week too.


Oh and lest I overlook this on the written part of this post — their ceremony set up would be hard to trump. Watch the video and see why.

If you need a guy that’s been there done than in the dj realm – look me up. I make brides happy they chose me. Michigan Wedding DJ // Thanks for checking out my website – http://www.michigan-wedding-dj.com

Iroquois Club in Bloomfield Hills, MI – Wedding Reception

Even though I’ve deejayed at the nicest venues in the state I have never had the pleasure of working a party here at the Iroquois CLub. What I really liked too is that it’s only 10 minutes from my house in Royal Oak. So — first off it’s pretty darn centtrally located for friends coming from the northern burbs and south down Woodward in Detroit itself. And as most of us know 696 connects all those metro Detroit Suburbs to the east and the west really well. NEXT — the food was excellent which probably wasn’t hurt by the A1 presentation of the food. The staff was friendly and the facility was spotless. I’d say only that groups below 100 will fit best. I can’t recall their max capacity but when the wait staff member told me I could only imagine how crowded that would have been. As a dj I thought it had a great layout to keep people interested and dancing all night long. With that said I give this place 2 thumbs up on all fronts – food, facility, staff and danceability.

If you need some help with your music – let me (DJ Dan Nichols) know. http://www.michigan-wedding-dj.com

Michigan Wedding at Addison Oaks With a Hot Cocoa Bar

As a wedding dj in Michigan with over 1000 events to my credit, once in a while I see something I’ve never seen before. It happens that at this December wedding at Addison Oaks in Leonard, MI the bride and groom had a Hot Cocoa Bar. It also happens in typical Michigan fashion that the weather was near 60 degrees that day. BUT… it was a super reception in spite of the fact the hot cocoa bar didn’t see a twenty degree day and considerable patronage. Below are some pictures of one of my favorite venues – Addison Oaks. You’ll see the hot water, various flavorings, the ever so important Swiss Miss Cocoa and a super presentation.

Southeast Michigan Addison Oaks Estate Wedding Reception Hot Chocolate BarHot Cocoa Bar at Weddinghot cocoa bar at Addison Oaks Wedding Reception in MichiganSwiss Miss Instant Cocoa at Wedding Reception
long shot of Addison Oaks Wedding Reception


Don’t Just Hire a DJ for Your Company Party

boring holiday party party ideas

A Veteran DJ’s Perspective on Holiday Company Parties. Some of you know me – some don’t. I’ve been a mobile dj doing namely higher end wedding receptions for over 24 years. Actually — ok it’s been 25. So, I’ve done lots of corporate stuff. Personally I’ve deejayed over 300 corporate parties in my career. It’s no record but I share it to provide some credibility to my forthcoming opinion. Here it is…
Hiring a DJ only year after year for your corporate party is lame. AND I’ll have you know I’ve done some crazy fun “dance party” company parties but they are the exception to the rule. I’ve actually told clients to hire a different dj for their holiday party because I was beginning to think the employees blamed me for their 5 hours of boredom. Here are some things I know to be true. Sure, there are exceptions but for the most part it’s right on.

1) Keep company employee parties short and sweet and move on. I think holiday parties should be 3 hours – 4 at most. I am sure someone will weigh in and tell me that their company parties rock and go until the wee hours of the morning and to that I say good for you. But for the rest of you — you know exactly what I mean.

2) Use name tags. It’s embarrassing for both parties when you don’t know that lady in the front office and you inevitably bump into her at your annual holiday party with your wife or girlfriend. Also, if you do have an entertainer he or she can personalize the party making it a much better experience when he uses names.

3) Depending on the dynamics don’t force people to sit for dinner. Have a strolling buffet and allow people to pick and choose what they want to eat and how much. Assigned seating usually sends a lousy message putting the higher ups together and dividing the ranks once again.

4) NOTHING is more awkward than having to dance in front of a bunch of people you work with during the week. Serving more weddings than corporates I can tell you that even “family” struggles with it a bit sometime let alone strangers from different parts of the company in front of a boss or manager they may or may not even like.

5) Consider NOT Containing people to a specific close quartered room. It’s one reason I think parties with something to “do” make more sense. Rent a bowling alley, paintball warehouse, go paint somewhere or have someone bring in crafts. Have something for people to do. Maybe divide up your groups so various divisions can do something together. Maybe the guys in service would rather go play paintball than do a craft. Maybe the front office would rather go see a movie and get dinner afterward than go golfing?

You just really need to put your “self” in the shoes of the people that work within your company. Having an obligatory annual event to display your gratitude feels like what it is. Think it through to show you really care.

There are so many more things I can point out but the items above stand out for me. This past weekend I did two company holiday parties. I had the great fortune of being at 2 different venues and peering in on several events. All of them either hired a dj or a musician. They were half empty within 30 minutes of the dinner ending and totally cleared out on average 90 minutes prior to the scheduled end time. “My” parties however went the full scheduled time. One went 4.5 hours and the other 6. Why? Well… and this isn’t a direct pitch for my services. It’s a pitch for doing something to keep it interesting and to keep people from feeling like running for the door after 15 minutes of small talk. Small talk mostly sucks let’s be honest.

At my events they arrived to an hour of cocktail music (no – not just Christmas music) followed by roughly an hour of dinner. And before the dessert was even dropped I had them pumped up doing a let’s make a deal bit “anyone with a green pen”, “anyone with a concert ticket”, “what about a pink cell phone case”? AND to keep the interest up I went immediately into “Give me two teams of 6 each – let’s play the feud”. I engineered the fun, I programmed it into the night. I didn’t rely on the guests possibly wanting to dance that night. After several games of Family Feud Style gaming, involving every single person in the room, I then did a cameo of “Minute To Win It Style Gaming”. By the time the games were over everyone had received a prize or 2 and I could truly sense they enjoyed their evening. It was perfect. People could hang close, change teams, hide in the back, laugh about silly answers and more. It created a conversation piece. When that show was over I thanked everyone for participating and closed a up with a few songs to end the night.
The next night was almost exactly the same except after everyone had played the games we went into 2 hours of dancing. So whether they left or not (and not one did during the game play) it remained consistently interesting, they had the opportunity to enjoy themselves. For this crowd the Family Feud Style Game Show was the perfect primer to get them dancing. The stage had “literally” been set for a fun follow up. They “got” that I was a guy interested in them having a good time and they obliged by packing the dance floor after. With that said… even if they hadn’t danced the night was still one hell of a success. They got a lot of laughs. they drank and ate – AND this was good!! No GREAT !!
So, deejaying can be a nice feature of your company holiday party but for everyone’s sake don’t make it the only thing.
Do something different – GameShowGuy.com

Somebody Please Stop Playing That Crappy Music

Frustrated from boring dinner and cocktail music?Honestly as a wedding dj I am not one to pass judgement on music per se’… In fact I don’t call any music “crap”. I just think it’s often easy to play something richer and more provocative. I want music to do what music can do – make people feel. It happens that as a wedding dj with over 1000 Michigan Weddings to my credit, I’ve played “easy” and I’ve played thoughtful. Thoughtful is way cooler. It takes a little extra effort on my part to make the music experience better. To illustrate what I mean, I recall 23 years ago walking down the halls at a banquet facility and hearing wedding receptions with a 6pm start using the same cd and roughly on the same exact song track. I’m not kidding. It’s not that Kenny G was bad – it was simply that the dj’s were playing to the lowest common denominator. They did what was super easy. They threw on a cd that many people thought was pretty good and let it play. No real consideration for how to make it better. Things haven’t changed much either. People, no matter the occupation generally speaking play to a level of “good”. As I see it — good is the enemy of great. NOW… don’t get me wrong. When the dancing starts in all candor I play my share of wedding classics BECAUSE — I know they fill a floor better than the more obscure stuff. UNLESS… UNLESS a crowd is willing to go somewhere different with me. Some crowds will – most won’t. Both crowds are fine – are take either one as long as the floor is hopping.

So, with that being said — why should I play a bunch of music during cocktail and dinner that really isn’t relevant to anyone in the room short of maybe Grandma and Grandpa. I’m 47 years old and I know friends of mine of the same age that have daughters getting married. Sure, at 47-55 years old, we know some Sinatra and sure – maybe even some Kenny G but that wasn’t the music our memories were infused with. For me I remember the greatest summer of my life was 2 summers out of high school and Guns N Roses’ “Sweet Child of Mine” was the tune I was wakeboarding to. I remember the late 70’s with Pink Floyd, The Who, The Stones and the stuff my dad listened to like Elvis, Anne Murray, Barry Manilow and yes… even the Village People. Sure my parents influenced my musical likes and dislikes – didn’t yours? Van Halen, AC/DC, Joan Jett, REM, The Cranberries – all that 80’s stuff is well etched in the recesses of my mind. Truth is, your parents might be older than me but I’ll bet they’re more like “Rolling Stones older” than they are Billie Holiday, Dean Martin or Louis Armstrong older.

So, here is my point. When booking your wedding dj have the conversation about cocktail and dinner music. Share what I am sharing here. (or of course you could just book me) It makes me think… in June I’ve got an event at St. Andrews in Detroit. For me, I knew why they chose the venue — an independent dj with years of experience can connect dots like that because they meet you one on one. So, this client likes the whole Detroit thing. They want to show it off to friends and especially out of town family and what better way than renting St. Andrews. Some really amazing musicians came out of and played St. Andrew decades back. I took it upon myself while talking on the phone to first and foremost make sure that it was the Nostalgia that had them booking there. After booking them, I asked if they might want me to share a bit about the venue with the guests just before dinner gets served so the guests can truly feel the history at that venue. I then asked if they’d be cool with me playing some music from those artists during dinner. NOT loudly, not obnoxiously but using it to further set the stage for a great evening. So sure I could have just played some dinner or cocktail standards but then they wouldn’t have squeezed every single drop of their intention out of that venue. It would have been music in St. Andrews, not musicians that actually played at St. Andrews (and “The Shelter” below).

So, in closing know this. You’re not going to get this kind of service from someone that doesn’t get why it matters in the first place. You’ll get it from a pro that knows how important it is to pull people into an event, not just have them at the event. You’re not going to get this kind of service when the dj doesn’t really know you. Weddings are pricey, hire a great wedding dj, compromise elsewhere. And if you have to ask your guy to do these things then it’s highly unlikely he really gets why you want this to begin with. Not every facility has the history St. Andrews has and honestly sharing a venues history isn’t the norm but playing music that matters sure should be.

oh… just in case you wondered this is a cut from the email I sent my bride and groom shortly after booking them.


Hi, ————

Would you want me to possibly share the significance of St. Andrews – MAYBE this blurb?

“The building we’re in, Saint Andrew‘s Hall is a Detroit music venue and concert hall. Formerly the meeting place for the Saint Andrew‘s Society of Detroit but never a church,[1] the building is now a host of live bands and “Notorious” DJs..

Since 1980, St. Andrews has been bringing trendsetting music to Detroit — St. Andrews has hosted famous acts during the ’80s and ’90s, such as Iggy Pop, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, The Verve, Nirvana, R.E.M. and Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Underneath US, is a venue called “The Shelter”. it hosts various live music acts and DJs. and is best known for being one of the first stages Eminem performed.”

I was just thinking this through — wouldn’t it be cool to share that just after the toasts/prayer and then play a tune or 2 from each of those acts mentioned above during dinner?? Just a thought.



Michigan Wedding DJ


2015 March Michigan Wedding DJ Post

After 24 years in this business I can say that the 20 year old that shows up with his laptop doesn’t get the following. It’s:
1) Not about the DJ – it’s about the family and friends having a great time with the bride and groom. Of course the dj is a part of the whole system but not the only part. It’s a symbiotic relationship. It’s a dance with the “whole”.
2) It’s about serving a client beyond the music. A good dj mixes great music. A great dj does the same but he or she also mixes the entire evening. It’s about good flow from the first guest arriving to the last dance of the night.
3) It’s about sensing where a group is at energetically and going there to serve them. You’ve gotta match their rhythms as a dj. You can lead them somewhere but you can’t force them to go. A good dj feels the crowd in the way a great chef brings all the ingredients together irregardless of what the recipe says – it is a state of flow. 

I’ll be posting again soon. Possibly in a week. I want to tackle more in depth the whole dinner music discussion. I’m on a mission to make that part of the evening part of the party too. Not loud but fun.

Classic Movie Themed Wedding Reception in Michigan

Remember, I am not a professional wedding photographer. Nowhere near so… these were done with my I-Phone and rough lighting conditions. OK… so onto the Classic Movie Themed Wedding I deejayed at last week at Weber’s Inn in Ann Arbor, MI.

The first thing guests saw when they walked in was their seating chart and “name card” table. The were not assigned to a number but instead to a “movie” named table. And the name cards were little movie tickets. It seems they made them on their inkjet – so it was easy pleasy and probably saved them a few bucks.


The tables then had the corresponding movie poster so guests knew where to sit. This was a standard size 8 1/2 x 11 inch sheet of paper printed with the movie image/title. Also, they had a gift bag loaded with candy and animal crackers with a circus vibe. I don’t know that the circus thing matched with the movie thing but somehow the couple made it work because of how they were. They were just sort of roll with it cool and easy to be with. In fact, the groomsmen all wore (dads too) green converse hi tops and they not only looked comfy but they added an ease to the evening.

Here is a closeup of the name card table with the “little” multi colored name cards for each wedding guest. Again, as movie tickets. Also is a shot off the Larger Display Seating Chart Board that had all the movies on them. Buffet & Dancing – I thought it was kind of cool because it was so old school looking.


Guests that arrived also had the option to drop a little ticket into the “pop corn bucket” with a few kind words for the bride and groom. This was all home brewed. It took some thought and consideration but it was doable from the kitchen table.


To continue their back in time vibe, they rented an old fashioned looking photo booth. The upside is it printed modern and gave them a nice keepsake.


AND… they danced all night, even breaking out a hora!







I’ve dj’d at over 1000 weddings in my 23 years as a top ranked wedding dj in Michigan. And on occasion I see something different and this one was pretty cool. (BTW – not top ranked just by me, but by WeddingWire and Knot magazine)

Memory Wedding Wine Bottle

I thought this was a neat idea as well. Basically the bride and groom were to bury this bottle or store in in a cool dark and dry place. Then, on their 25th wedding anniversary they were to open it up and celebrate OR… they’d make a pledge and if times ever got really bad they’d not only open the bottle but they’d read the love notes they wrote to each other sharing how they felt about each other in the “Now”. I liked it because it had an old school element and nothing is cooler than a time capsule. Below is one like they had from Amazon.