Archive for Texas Aggie Weddings

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.

Image

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.

Not Only Big, But Talented!

Posted in Texas Aggie Weddings, Weddings!, Weird Things at Parties with tags , , , , , , , on February 23, 2010 by djscottshirley

One of my favorite events in recent memory was Bill and DeeDee Whittle’s wedding at the Petroleum Club of Fort Worth. Loyal Blog readers may remember DeeDee for being child number 18 out of 20 siblings in the Jack Joachim family.

Not only was this family big, but there was plenty of talent to go around on both sides, and the wedding guests were the beneficiaries.

I introduced Bill and DeeDee as they made their Grand Entrance to thunderous applause, and walked onto the dance floor. But instead of beginning their first dance, DeeDee grabbed a microphone and sang “Wedding Bell Blues” with custom lyrics to her new husband Bill.

We specialize in doing unique Grand Entrances when we introduce the wedding party, but it’s rare to have a singing bride. And there was an issue with the song, because the woman singing is sad that Bill refuses to marry her. DeeDee re-wrote the lyrics to say, “So Glad You Married Me, Bill,” and I made her an edited background track with vocals removed. This bit of showbiz prep was well worth the effort. DeeDee (whose given name is Mary, but she says she didn’t find out until she was 12) has a magnificent voice, and belted it out with style and grace.

The reception events continued as planned, and after dinner it was Bill’s turn to entertain. He sings in the Sentimental Journey quartet, and the other three singers were all present, so…

Rocky Willett, H J Schmidt, Doug Williamson, and Bill Whittle

Bill jokingly refers to the quartet as “The Four Stages of Male Pattern Baldness,” and they sang the old doo-wop hit Blue Moon, also with modified lyrics. The harmony of barbershop singing required two men to keep repeating the two-note background chorus, which came out, “DeeDee, DeeDee, DeeDee.” The result was hilarious.

As their performance ended, a young boy came up to them with a request written on a napkin. H J said he wasn’t sure if they knew “Low” by Flo-Rida, but I did, so we kicked off the dancing and Shawty got low, low, low, low…and DeeDee showed ’em how it’s done.

But we’re still not done with this talented family, and the next generation got to strut their stuff when DeeDee’s son Joséph showed his Michael Jackson impression. You just have to see it:

That is DeeDee’s other son Mathias who tries to swipe the credit card. The two brothers are roommates at Texas A & M, and avoided discussing football after the Aggies got whooped earlier on the wedding day, but they seemed to enjoy themselves anyway. Special thanks to “Video Keith” Mathis for this footage, who also produced their photo montage.

I look forward to more fun events with this family!

My Favorite Father and Daughter Dance

Posted in Texas Aggie Weddings, Weddings! with tags on December 29, 2009 by djscottshirley

When Shalane Bellinghausen was planning her wedding to Tom Hammerle, she knew she wanted their celebration to be different. At Party Machine Celebrations we have always believed “Different is Good.” These Texas Aggies understood the importance of tradition, and also about celebrating with style, wit and humor.

It’s been trendy in recent years to stage a choreographed first dance with a romantic song, that is interrupted by “technical difficulties” (carefully staged, of course) and then breaks into a medley of fast popular song and dance. The couple pulls off some flashy dance moves, and it’s obvious that it was planned.

By the time Interrupted First Dances flashed onto YouTube and the Today Show, we had been creating them for years.

And as trends become the norm, their uniqueness starts to wear off. What was once different is now the same as the other non-conformists.

Shalane and Tom witnessed some Party Machine showbiz at the wedding of Lauren and Drew Ray, when Lauren and her father, Scott Shaw, broke into “Stayin’ Alive” from Saturday Night Fever during their Father-Daughter dance. It’s funnier when it’s unexpected, especially if Dad can act a little in addition to his terpsichorean skills.

Shalane knew this would be hilarious with her father, Chuck Bellinghausen, who is nearly two feet taller than she is. And she had the perfect song in mind.

Here is Shalane’s Father-Daughter Dance at City Club of Fort Worth:

Since Tom was a soldier soon to be deployed, this was in keeping with their theme. The entire routine was pre-recorded, and they got a rehearsal copy and practiced it a few times.

Simple! And despite the frivolity, they made it look rather elegant.