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.
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.
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)
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.
I’ve been the dj at a lot of Michigan Wedding Receptions and ceremonies. I’ve seen a lot of neat idea and I really liked this one. It was a picture of the bride and groom “as a puzzle”. Guests were simply asked to take a piece of the puzzle out of the picture and sign the back. The piece was then placed in a nearby basket (see pic). The idea being they’d put it together on their 25th anniversary or sooner if they needed a reminder of how they once were. It was neat. My only thought was that the puzzle would have to be sandwiched into a clear 2 sided frame with a hook on each side. So then the picture and the guest’s comments could both be viewed. Anyway, it was neat!
Not much went undone at this event in Rochester, MI in August of 2012. I’ve been the dj at over 1000 events in my 22 years of service to brides and grooms. Not only was I the musical entertainment but so was a 19 piece orchestra and an acapella group Capital Green from MSU – the bride’s Alma Mater and a group she had formerly sung with. The acapella group performed “We Are Young” arranged by Selama Scarlett with the solo by Walter (last name I forgot — this is all from memory). Even after being the dj at so many events here in Michigan and in Florida where I learned my skills from Johnny the DJ (I love you Johnny) there are still some you walk into and get a bit nervous knowing so much is riding on your skill set. Anyway, I could go on with the accolades but a picture may do a better job of it. Sam Sarkas was the photographer as you can see on the pic below.
Since this is a section I call what I liked – I’d have to say everything — it really was a wedding that set the benchmark for elegance.
As the dj, call it ego and it is but the one thing that really came clear to me was the reinforcement that bands, though they may be great musicians and these guys were, are not necessarily as concerned with event flow like a detail oriented dj. I really had to take control behind the scenes to keep things moving because the band and the sound guys had more interest in checking there email and getting their full 15 minute (or whatever 20) breaks than in serving the client with a seamless evening. I am sure the event looked seamless but only because I was aware enough to take control and pick up where they left off. It’s the role of emcee AND music guy that makes a dj great and they are equally important. So if you’re hiring a band be sure to wrangle in an experienced dj to take control and be an extra set of eyes and ears on your team.
Michigan Wedding DJ – Dan Nichols of Royal Oak, MI
It was a beautiful day in Troy, MI as Tony and Christy got married in Dearborn, MI and partied at Petruzello’s in Troy.
Location – Petruzello’s in Troy, MI Bride & Groom – both soon to be doctors and unbeknownst to them I dj’d for 2 of their guests last year in Ann Arbor. Anna and Joe. Anna met them in medical school. Anyway, Tony and Christy were super cool, super polite and personable and just great people to be with. Apples don’t fall far from the tree as their friends and family were just as great to work with. Facility – well it’s Petruzello’s – The Location is superb and the facility is really well managed with Frank and ma man… Michael! It was well lit as well. Advanced Lighting and Sound tweaked it out with some lights that complimented what Petruzello’s already had. I liked especially the under the table (head table and cake table) lighting. I always think that’s a cool effect. Even if it’s all you light. Different – they did a nautical theme and had tropical colors in the room, a palm tree gobo on the floor and complimentary colors to give it that Caribbean Jimmy Buffett feel (yeah, I trademarked that description). Timing – Traffic that day was hellacious all over metro Detroit. I am glad I leave with a ton of extra time for such setbacks because even the surface sideroads were bad. So, they were about 25 minutes late getting there. Between Michael (the banquet manager) and I we bumped some things around and worked it out with the kitchen and staff. Bride was a little stressed over it but I kept reminding her to relax, this was her day. That’s why one should hire wedding pros – we know how to make things smooth no matter what goes down. Party Favors – They donated “favor funds” to a needy cause. Music – because of the island themed reception, she wanted reggae and steel band. After being a dj on the Infinity and Ovation Yachts for over a decade, i was well prepared for this music and have to tell you — it was super. It put people into a bright happy mood. Steel band is soothing and it fit with their style. She also had about 25 songs she new she wanted with everything from Rod Stewart to Flo-Rida, Usher and Eric Clapton for her dad. The great thing is the songs were super choices and really didn’t limit my ability as a dj. I should say the choices didn;t handicap me – they were fitting for the crowd as well as the bride and groom. All in all I think the steel band music made me really re-think what i do as a dj. I already know the dj sets the rhythm and pace of the evening but I was re-reminded how being just a bit different can really impact the flavor of an evening. I heard a guy on his cell phone telling whoever that “yeah, they got this whole laid back island thing going with the music and decor, it’s really cool”. Hiring the right dj is everything to making your Michigan Wedding Reception be all it can be.
Food – baked chicken, beef, potatoes, pasta – well Petruzello’s always does a super job with their food. It wouldn;t be a diet my cardiologist would recommend on a daily basis but then again if you want tasty find me a meal that would? I really liked the salad actually. It was a huge family style bowl with plenty for guests seeking seconds. Cocktail hour – guests were greeted with a pink martini ala the island theme. Music was very much the same as dinner with the reggae stuff and steel band as well as Jimmy Cliff, Steel Pulse, Buffett, Marley, Lucky Brown (Michigan Reggae Guy) and a few others.
Michigan Wedding DJ – “The Most Professional DJ in Michigan” 248-648-1669
I recently did a wedding at Royal Park Hotel in Rochester Michigan and the bride said she didn’t want to do the usual flower “thing”. So, she ordered the coolest custom crystal centerpieces I’d ever seen. They even had numbers engraved on one of the pieces. She then had just a few bouquets on the head table. I will tell you it was beautiful AND Green — by not being green. It might give you the inspiration to go green on your wedding day by not going green!!!
Here is what one looks like and with all the candle light refracting off these crystals it only made it look better. You will notice this crystal centerpiece is cut into a diamond like shape which once again totally fits the day for a bride with a jones for both different and elegant.
Just an Update – I have these for rent if you can’t find them. I thought they were so neat I tracked them down and forked out the dough so my cousin could use them at her wedding. Call me at 248-648-1669 I can UPS them to you. You will pay in full and get a refund for 1/2 the total when they are returned on time. They are 4″ in diameter (across) and rent for $15 each. I have 25 of them numbered 1-25. If you add some other smaller crystal glass pieces and place the numbered crystal glass centerpiece amongst them it will indeed look superb!
It’s been a while since I’ve posted an update and I have a few events I want to share with you. Well, this wedding reception on New Years Eve in the “D” was pretty darn cool. The bride and groom were totally cool and were actually referred to me by wedding coordinator Misty Trompeter of Bells & Bliss . She said “Dan, i just think you guys would be a good fit.” Well she was right.
I’d have to tell you that one of the greatest things about this reception besides the dancing was the food. Here we are at this very high end event venue and in each corner of the room were food stations. Station 1 had the busiest of all food offerings. They had tacos — not off the shelf standard Ortega variety taco shells but real mexican village style with nacho chips that were out of this world. In fact I need to contact the chef to find out where he got them. Corner number 2 with the second busiest station had stir fry with peanut and soy sauce to lay over the great chicken, shrimp and rice. Station number 3 was a pasta bar and the least busy station was I think prime rib and turkey. I am telling you people were getting 3rds and 4ths as I played music with Detroit Roots per the bride’s and groom’s request. Because I couldn’t help myself I threw out some cool salsa and merengue music into the mix (must have been those tacos) including Ray Barretto and Grover Washington. So their you have it – the food really stood out because they took the leap and went for it. Don’t get me wrong most of the food I eat in this industry is excellent but this was “excellenter” (I love adding er to words).
In addition they did this evening in a strolling fashion. What that means is there is no real assigned seating, stations open up and people are free to go anywhere in the room. AND it also allows anyone at anytime to get up and start dancing. This is not always a good thing though for a number of reasons but it worked out fine at this Detroit Michigan Wedding Reception with Michigan Wedding DJ – yours truly. Musically we were all over the board but the younger generation was doing most of the voting with their bodies so there was a decent dose of hip-hop both old and new sprinkled in with their more classic motown requests.
OH… one more thing they did right was to give me some direction on what they were after musically but also they made sure it was ultimately up to me to do what was necessary to get people out dancing.
I’ve seen versions of this at other weddings in Michigan, pieces of this, but not done like this. How is that for a funky description. They simply grabbed photographs of places they have been together. They then labeled the tables with that destination and their wedding guests sat accordingly. The picture of the “board” pretty much answers any questions you may have about it. This looks like it was done at a place like Kinko’s wherein it was layed out on poster board and then copied so it would be all smooth and finished nicely. It could also be done I am sure in an art program with a large file output. Anyway, I thought it was pretty cool so I figured I’d pass it on to you. The event was at Addison Oaks Sunday, September 27th, 2009.
It reminds me of another client I dj’d for last year. They had a surfboard with their pictures grafted right onto the board. Guests then signed their names on it. I tried to track down the vendor on this but had no luck. They simply emailed the pictures and the guy wrapped and glossed the whole board. It was cool. I will try to locate the client for an answer on this.