Archive for international wedding DJ

Wedding Savings Tip: Don’t Rule Out Private Clubs

Posted in Professionalism, Weddings! with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 21, 2012 by djscottshirley

I am often asked about how to save money on weddings. I will be posting a series of money-saving tips for brides in the coming weeks, so be sure to bookmark this site.

We have already addressed one of the best ways to cut costs: hold the wedding on a less popular date, and have it in the daytime. Prime Saturdays in April, May, June, and October always cost more than a weekday in January. Your family and friends will show up no matter when you have it – “If you host it, they will come.”

One idea that many people don’t consider is choosing a private club for your reception venue. It seems counter-intuitive – private clubs evoke an image of being expensive – but many of my wedding clients have saved hundreds and even thousands of dollars by holding their reception at a Country Club.

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Unlike hotels and stand-alone banquet halls, private clubs are often not-for-profit organizations. Banquet rooms are available to members free of charge, and the only cost is for food and drink service. Furniture and even linens are often included.

Compare this to the breakdown of costs from a typical hotel. Hotels charge for room rental, food service on a per-person basis, and beverage service. Some will charge for outside furniture or linen rentals, and for security guards, charges that are often included at the private clubs.

The bottom line total is often less at the private club!

But I’m not a member!

Some are intimidated by the “private” image of private clubs. The truth is that many of them welcome the general public as banquet customers, and even advertise their availability. It is not uncommon to see a Country Club, Yacht Club or downtown City Club advertise in wedding magazines and bridal shows these days.

Some clubs, mainly the older established ones, will require a Member-Sponsor. Many get around this by having a list of members who are willing to sponsor non-member banquets. If a club makes money from an outside banquet, it helps them keep lower dues and fees for their members.

Another consideration is the fact that most major private clubs have “Reciprocity.” If you have a family member who belongs to the local Yacht Club, for instance, he would be granted member privileges at many of the Country Clubs in the area.

Private clubs are generally well-staffed with experienced food and beverage people. Many have a reputation for outstanding food, a great view, or a magnificent staircase for a bouquet toss.

At Party Machine Celebrations, we have worked with major clubs for years, know the facilities well, and can always help save you money.

35 Things Learned in 35 Years # 23

Posted in 35 Things Learned in 35 Years with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 5, 2011 by djscottshirley

23) Listen for the Squawks!

I love to fly. I have friends who are pilots, and have flown with them in small planes on numerous occasions. Today’s lesson was learned from pilots, but has served me well in the entertainment business.

The aircraft must be maintained 100 percent.

Every time a plane takes flight, it has to be perfect from a safety standpoint. 100% safe; if it’s only 98%, the plane must stay on the ground. A little thing like a loose connection could cause a tragic accident. So a pre-flight safety check must be performed before each and every take-off.

And every pilot keeps a “Squawk list.” If he notices an unusual noise or vibration, or that a light bulb is burned out on an instrument, he writes it on the list. Each item that needs attention is called a “squawk.”

And every squawk must be investigated and repaired, before the plane flies again.

This is a great way to maintain anything. With sound, lighting, and video systems, there are many little things that could go wrong. One bad cable could spoil a presentation. So we began tracking “squawks” at Party Machine Celebrations.

Failure to fix squawks can lead to disaster!

By keeping equipment impeccably maintained, and replacing gear as technology improves, we are able to maintain our perfect 100% service record: we have never had an event that started late, or was delayed by a technical malfunction. Never.

In 35 years, we have certainly experienced technical difficulties! But because of redundant systems, the show always goes on, without a delay.

But we don’t have many technical problems, because paying attention to the squawks prevents them from happening in the first place.

It’s part of “the Party Machine Difference.”

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.

35 Things Learned in 35 Years: #1

Posted in 35 Things Learned in 35 Years with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 1, 2010 by djscottshirley

1) Always have a “Plan B”

And Plan C and Plan D. Murphy’s Law can be a real threat. Cars will break down, people will get sick, equipment will malfunction. It is foolish to operate with the attitude that nothing will ever go wrong. By having a contingency plan in place, when things go wrong, Plan B can be implemented quickly, before anyone even notices.

We owe our perfect service record to the Backup Plan!

By having contingency plans for hardware, software, transportation, staffing and music, Party Machine Celebrations has maintained a perfect record: ALL events start on time, and NO event has ever been delayed by equipment malfunction.