Archive for the Weddings! Category

The DJ’s Daughter

Posted in Weddings! with tags , , , , , , , , on November 8, 2010 by djscottshirley

A recent FaceBook post from our friends at the Adolphus Hotel brought back a great memory.

As Thanksgiving approached 21 years ago, I was the DJ for a wedding at the Adolphus, the day after my first daughter Lauren was born. I hated leaving her and Mom behind, but Party Machine duty called.

The couple’s first dance song was “The Bluest Eyes in Texas.” I could not hold back tears, since I had just seen the bluest eyes in Texas when I met my firstborn child! Only a father could understand that feeling.

This summer The Party Machine did a large wedding with a full crew at the Adolphus, and my daughter, by then a 20-year-old Film student at TCU, worked with me as a camera operator and video editor.

The Party Machine crew at the Adolphus. Lauren is the girl with the bluest eyes in Texas.

Tomorrow Lauren turns 21 – “all growed up,” and the bluest eyes in Texas are haunting me tonight! We have much to be thankful for.

Party Machine Photographer of the Month

Posted in Party Machine Sports, Professionalism, Texas Aggie Weddings, Weddings! on October 22, 2010 by djscottshirley

I love to work with experienced professionals. It makes all the difference for a smooth flowing, hassle-free celebration. And a great photographer ranks right beside great entertainment for a successful event.

Scott’s Party Machine Standard for Photography:

Anybody is capable of taking a good picture. All of us take a good picture occasionally, especially now that everyone has camera phones. As an old cowboy friend says, “A blind hog will stumble on an acorn from time to time.” A professional photographer should always get good pictures, never missing a shot. But a truly great photographer needs to go beyond mere technical proficiency. After working with lots of them for nearly 35 years, I have found the top photographers have two special traits: First, an artistic “eye” for the great shot, but perhaps more important is a pleasant demeanor with a fun personality, who is enjoyable to work with. Style is really secondary. An experienced professional can adjust the style to your preference.

“What difference does it make, as long as the pictures are good?”

The answer is ALL the difference in the world! I have worked with a few “Nazi” photographers who were so unpleasant, people would hide to avoid having their picture taken! I have done weddings where the Bride sent the photographer home early, because they were upsetting her guests. I have seen photographers start fights with wedding coordinators. The nightmare scenario is the photographer who disappears after the event, along with your memories. I had this happen with a client 4 years ago, who used a “friend of a friend” that looked professional, but turned out, to her horror, to be a crook.

Great Photographers are not costly, they are Valuable!

With this Blog post, I would like to kick off a tradition of recognizing my fellow vendors who are truly outstanding at their craft. Sort of a “Party Machine Seal of Approval” for wedding and event professionals.

Drumroll, please! And the winner is: Kristin Greenlee!

Bookmark her website and “friend” her on Facebook. There is a link to her Blog that I heartily recommend for both good reading, and seeing some mighty impressive images. Better still, call her at 817-683-6838. Great photographers tend to get booked quickly for the most popular dates.

I had the privilege of working with Kristin last year for a wedding at the Petroleum Club of Fort Worth. It was a joyous, fun-filled celebration, with some specially planned Party Machine “showbiz” moments for their Grand Entrance and their spotlight dances. Groom Jeff was a Texas Aggie, and bride Katy graduated from Texas Tech. Jeff is a football coach and they are both big sports fans, so we played up the rivalry to create some memorable moments.

Katy and Jeff made their Grand Entrance with NFL theme music, passed the football, and did a Touchdown Celebration!

Imagine my surprise when, while searching for something totally un-related, I stumbled onto Kristen’s Blog post about Jeff and Katy’s wedding! I remembered how much fun that was, and the humorous moments, but OMG! When I saw Kristin’s pictures, it was as though I could hear their voices. She not only captured the mood of the celebration, but also the personalities of her subjects. Scroll down the pictures in her Blog post, to see what I mean when I say “an artistic eye for the great shot.”

Perhaps my favorite moments at Jeff and Katy’s wedding came about as the result of a strange coincidence. About 30 of Jeff’s family and friends from Chicagoland had taken a bus tour of Fort Worth, and were late returning, so I had to “stall for time” in my role as Master of Ceremonies. Jeff had a Chicago Bears groom’s cake, and half the guests were fans of “Da Bears,” so…I asked that every time they heard the word “Chicago,” everyone there – even the staff – should yell, “DA BEARS!” And they all did.

I love a happy bride!

Lots of laughter at that celebration, and Kristen captured all the memories. That is what a great photographer does.

And it seems she has good taste in Wedding MC Entertainment, as well!

Monday, Monday! So Good To Me!

Posted in Weddings! on October 19, 2010 by djscottshirley

At Party Machine Celebrations we are frequently asked about ways to reduce the cost of a nice wedding. The single biggest factor is simple: choose an “off” day to host your event.

Just as airlines and vacation resorts offer peak and off-peak pricing, experienced wedding vendors do also. it’s simple supply and demand, as there are not enough Saturdays in the spring and summer to go around. As of mid-October, I have already turned away seven client inquiries for May 7. But there are plenty of January dates open, and attractive discounts available from many vendors.

Yesterday I did my first-ever Monday Noon wedding, outdoors at Lost Oak Winery in Burleson. Matt and Rose chose the day partly to save money, and it was not only an excellent plan, but turned out to be a fantastic celebration at a beautiful place.

Monday is normally a day for bookkeeping and office activities for an entertainment professional, but yesterday was different. I had an early morning meeting with a new wedding client for a Summer wedding, then left to MC for Matt and Rose. The stark contrast: Matt and Rose had a celebration that cost only 10% of the big summer wedding!

Granted, there are other major factors affecting cost difference: the summer wedding will have more guests and a larger sound system, elaborate lighting, special programming, full-service videography, and 4 staff persons. But all things being equal, a simple Monday daytime wedding would still be HALF the cost.

And the Monday wedding was great! A beautiful fall Texas day, comfortable with a nice breeze. Guests sat under a covered pavilion, but the dance floor was the sunny end of a patio, and it could not have been any nicer. And, yes, people laughed and danced and had a great time, even in the middle of the day! It was sort of fun to feel like you were ditching work to go to a fun party. We even joked about returning to the office on Tuesday with a tan, and telling co-workers it was from dancing at a wedding.

Monday mid-day dancing beats a good day at work!

Many are unwilling to abandon a Saturday date, just to save cost, often fearing that guests will not come because it’s not convenient. While this can hold true for other events, your wedding is special and unique, and your loved ones WILL show up, no matter when you have it! Plenty of people might have to miss a Saturday date also – sometimes because they must attend multiple weddings. If you plan it, they will come – most of them, anyway, no matter what day you choose.

Standing firm on a date can not only cost more, but can lead to other problems. All of the top vendors get booked up early, and staff is spread thin on the popular dates. This often leaves temp workers or the “B-Team” in charge of your event, and can be disastrous, especially with entertainment. Many people pay too much for a cheesy, amateur hobby DJ for a Saturday in June, when they could easily afford the Party Machine for an off-peak day – and we all know that it’s the entertainment that will make-or-break any celebration.

Matt and Rose had a western theme that was both down-home casual, yet elegant. They made their getaway by motorcycle, down a service path in the grape vineyard, as the Party Machine music? Yes, you “Heard It Through the Grapevine.” Every guest will remember this wedding celebration! It doesn’t have to be costly to be unique, memorable, and FUN.

Do you know someone planning a wedding on a budget? (Don’t we all?) Call me at Party Machine Celebrations at 817-294-9539, and don’t assume you can’t afford experienced professional entertainment! We have numerous cost-saving solutions and ideas, and will always work with your budget.

Froggy Went A-Courtin’

Posted in College Traditions, Let them eat cake!, Party Machine Sports, Weddings!, Weird Things at Parties with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 2, 2010 by djscottshirley

When I was asked to MC for the wedding reception of Robyn Hughes to Anthony Butorac, past President of the “HyperFrogs” fan club at Texas Christian University, I knew to expect a fun event. After setting the date and contracting with the Party Machine and their other vendors, Robyn and Anthony were disappointed to learn that their beloved Horned Frogs would be playing football on their wedding day! In fact, kickoff was scheduled for the same time their ceremony was to begin.

The current HyperFrogs leader was among the guests, and was not pleased about missing the game for a wedding. But it was too late to make changes, and this group was not about to punt! To provide some perspective for those unfamiliar with Horned Frog football, TCU had just won a conference championship after the best season since the 1930s last year, so to say that enthusiasm was running high would be an understatement.

Anthony's Groom's Cake featured the most unique mascot in college sports, the TCU Horned Frog.

Their wedding party was comprised of current TCU students and alumni, and so was the guest list. So I tracked the game online and announced real-time scores throughout the evening, starting as photos were being taken of the wedding party, when we learned that TCU was winning, 7-7. During photos the guests enjoyed cocktails on the new terrace of the beautifully remodeled Belltower Chapel in Fort Worth. Using our exclusive Party Machine wireless speaker systems, we were able to “beam” Robyn’s selection of elegant classical music outside during cocktail hour.

TCU students love beer almost as much as Frog football, so each guest table was named after a unique Beer label. Tables were released to pass through the buffet line by their brand of beer. And the guest favors were folding beer can Koozies with Robyn and Anthony’s special emblem, that matched their Gobo design on the floor:

Anthony and Robyn's monogram was projected in the center of the dance floor.

We were so confidant in TCU’s victory that night, we even scheduled a victory cheer on the written Party Machine event timeline for their reception! The University claims to have the oldest cheer in continuous use in all of college football, which the HyperFrogs, alumni, and current students demonstrated, followed by their Alma Mater:

The script was conveniently written on the back of the beer-label table tents, so that all the guests could read along:

Riff, Ram, Bah, Zoo!
Lickety, lickety, zoo, zoo!
Who wah, Wha Who!
Give ’em hell, TCU!

They don’t write ’em like that anymore.

Another Sports Fan’s Groom’s Cake

Posted in College Traditions, Let them eat cake!, Party Machine Sports, Weddings! on September 20, 2010 by djscottshirley

For Texas Tech Red Raider Fans:

Tech graduates Keith and Catherine Baker had this stadium Groom's Cake at their wedding celebration.

This was a very well-done specimen, that can hold its own against the Texas Aggie Bonfire cake in the Battle of the College Cakes. Guns up!

Double Your Pleasure: Two Brides, No Waiting!

Posted in Weddings! on September 20, 2010 by djscottshirley

It started out to be an ordinary meeting with a bride and her fiancé, until they explained that it would be a shared reception with her sister and her new husband. Two brides, one reception!

Susan and C J Bonczyk, DJ Scott, and Scott and Ashley Orewiler under the palms before departure

Party Machine Celebrations has always specialized in unique and unusual weddings, but this would be a first. Not only was it a double wedding, but it would also take place aboard a boat. I was definitely looking forward to this one!

The Star of Texas on Lake Lewisville

Younger sister Susan planned her ceremony for Thursday, and older sister Ashley was to be married earlier the same day as their floating reception. We planned to double up on everything: two cakes, two wedding parties, two first dances…we even planned our own version of The Newlywed Game with two brides and two grooms. It could get a little redundant, unless…Party Machine creativity to the rescue! Here is how we introduced the sister brides and their grooms:

Thanks to my friend Keith “G” Mathis for this video footage. Movie fans will recognize the music and the fan dance from the White Christmas performance by Rosemary Clooney and Vera Ellen. The big feathered fans were once common on the vaudeville stage, but are extremely difficult to find these days. I got these shipped in from our friends in China. Whatever it takes for a good show!

After the introductions the Star of Texas left the harbor for a nice late-summer tour of Lake Lewisville that included a trip under a beautifully lit bridge. The upper deck became one big packed dance floor, and the energy was fantastic! I noticed that a small boat was creeping along on our Port side with their lights off, so I abruptly stopped the music and had 120 wedding dancers all wave at them and shout “Hello!” The other boat moved on.

We used a few simple Party Machine lighting effects, my favorite one being the ceiling starfield, achieved with a combination of laser and LED lights:

The whole ceiling became a field of stars!

We also had a pair of LED lights with bright red, green, and blue beams, that were apparently a little TOO bright for the Lake Patrol, who came for a visit and asked us to turn them off. It appears they were a hazard to navigation – not for boats, but for planes coming in to land at DFW airport. Another Party Machine first.

The evening sped past in a blink, and the crowd could have easily danced another two hours, but the Star of Texas crew had to call it a night. The captain was grateful that we did not play “I’m On A Boat.” That is in keeping with our “No Cheese” policy.

If you or someone you know is planning a celebration and wants a truly unique and memorable experience, call The Party Machine at 817-294-9539. No one has more experience making weddings unique.

Cool Party Favors

Posted in Weddings! on August 11, 2010 by djscottshirley

Mike and Chelsea Gray had an elegant reception at the beautifully restored T & P Station in Fort Worth. For guest favors they had drink koozies printed with their monogram. They were a big hit on a hot summer day!

At hot summer weddings, the guests love the drink koozies!