Archive for ethnic wedding DJ

“And They Will Throw Rice at Your Wedding”

Posted in Texas Aggie Weddings, Weddings! with tags , , , , , on April 24, 2012 by djscottshirley

I write a lot about traditions. I have posted about ethnic traditions, school traditions, family traditions, yachting traditions, and weird traditions.

At Texas A & M University, the big joke is that if you do it twice, it’s a tradition. Their Traditions Council has recorded the origins of some of their long-standing traditions. But the origin of many traditions is often lost to the mists of time.

Do you remember the last time anyone threw rice at a wedding?

Newlyweds were once pelted with rice when they left. Now birdseed seems to be the weapon of choice.


It was the tradition for many years for guests to throw rice as the Bride and Groom made their honeymoon getaway. The origin for this is vague, but it is supposed to symbolize wishing prosperity and fertility to the newlywed couple. In other cultures, guests might throw dates or figs.

In America we stopped throwing rice, in favor of birdseed, due to fear of harming birds. Seems the birds would eat the dry grains of rice, which would expand in their stomachs, ultimately causing the poor bird to explode. Everyone now “knows” this, and it is simply not PC to throw rice any longer.

Turns out it’s all nonsense.

Why aren’t there stories about exploding birds? Because it doesn’t happen.

Pigeon shrapnel!

I always suspected this. I recall driving through the rice fields of south Louisiana and seeing that they were filled with birds. Some were eating the crawfish and other critters in the flooded rice paddies, but many birds were eating rice. And we never once saw a bird explode.

Our culture is so pre-programmed to believe that any story that gets repeated enough must be true. So it became universal practice to use birdseed instead of rice. The past few decades have seen couples running through bubbles, rose petals, and sparklers as well.

There are some practical reasons to favor birdseed. Rice can be hazardous to walk on, and a bear to clean up. Many venues banned rice for these reasons…but it had nothing to do with exploding pigeons. And so far no one has exposed a conspiracy by bird seed companies to promote their product this way.

I recently heard of a hazardous birdseed story. Someone purchased birdseed for a wedding that was specially treated to keep squirrels from eating it. After showering the bride and groom with it, they developed a painful burning and itching, as did many guests who came in contact with the seeds. Turns out the active ingredient was capsaicin, extracted from chili peppers. That was a hot wedding!

So now that the truth is out, will we see a return to the rice throwing tradition?

We now have special "Designer Wedding Rice"

There are new, improved rice products being marketed for weddings that are supposed to be safer and easy to clean. Some is even heart-shaped! And it won’t make birds explode – just as regular rice won’t.

Weird Ethnic Traditions, Part 1

Posted in Weddings!, Weird Things at Parties with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 1, 2010 by djscottshirley

One response to “What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever seen at a wedding?” This was the big question at the Southwest Entertainer’s Conference a few years ago.

I did a Peruvian wedding, and saw for the first time an Afro-Peruvian dance they call “the Alcatraz.” The bride had a napkin tucked into the sash of her gown, such that it resembled a tail. As she danced, a man followed behind her with a lighted candle, trying to light the napkin on fire. The bride’s goal was to shake her booty so fast that he couldn’t light her fire.

Here is a comical attempt at the Alcatraz I found on YouTube, using a Bic lighter.

I wonder if the classic Doors song “Light My Fire” was inspired by a Peruvian wedding?

Thirty-five years of the Party Machine has taught me to never assume I have seen everything! Somewhere, there is always something else that’s just plain weird.

My Big Fun Jewish Wedding

Posted in Jewish Funnies, Weddings! with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 1, 2010 by djscottshirley

We recently had the opportunity to provide entertainment for a great fun wedding for Isaac and Adriana Watemberg. The Party Machine provided Ceremony Sound, Multimedia Entertainment for the reception, colorful Up-Lighting, Dance Lighting, Videography, and Your Name In Lights. It was an amazing event, that we nicknamed “My Big Fun Jewish Wedding.”

DJ Scott with Isaac and Adriana Watemberg

The ceremony was held outdoors at the Four Seasons Resort in Irving. It was a traditional Jewish ceremony under a chuppah with two Rabbis and a Cantor, and Adriana entered and circled the groom seven times. Later they shared wine and Isaac stomped the wineglass.

The guests then moved indoors for a cocktail hour in the lobby, where a string ensemble played classical music. There were guests in attendance from 17 different countries and five continents!

The guests proceeded into a Ballroom bathed in colored light, with the dance floor in the center beneath a canopy. Isaac and Adriana had their names projected on the wall above their cake table. It was breathtaking!

I welcomed the guests and introduced the Wedding Party, and implored the guests to make a “joyful noise” as Isaac and Adriana made their Grand Entrance. They responded with enthusiasm, and the newlyweds moved straight in to their First Dance.

The Rabbi then gave the blessing over the chollah (bread) and the staff began serving. During dinner the guests viewed an animated photo montage, followed by highlights of the ceremony, and the first dance, that was almost like seeing an instant replay. Since part of this had just happened, it was impressive – a big thanks to Keith Mathis for his outstanding on-site video editing. Nobody does it better!

Next we played the Newlywed Game, then kicked off the dancing with a traditional Hora. Check out this video clip, courtesy of Brandon Steward, who was running our lighting systems that night:

During the Newlywed Game, Isaac learned that his wife was peaking at his answers as our Wedding Party Live cameras were showing the game on the Big Screen, giving Adriana an advantage. When I showed Isaac that his new bride could see his answers, we all had a good laugh.

All manner of dancing and silliness ensued, and a grand time was had by all.

Mazel Tov! I look forward to many more Big Fun Jewish Weddings.