Archive for wedding

Things To Release At A Wedding Ceremony

Posted in Weddings! with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 25, 2012 by djscottshirley

Found this on the Interwebs and had to share it!

Make your wedding memorable!

So, How Big Are Your Speakers?

Posted in Professionalism with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 25, 2012 by djscottshirley

One way to spot an inexperienced amateur DJ or sound man is that they advertise and boast about how BIG their speakers are.

Ludicrous speaker is not exactly “portable!”

Experienced professionals understand that better coverage using numerous smaller speakers works better for most events. Lots of little speakers provides greater control of volume and allows zones of sound.

And bi-amplification – using separate loudspeakers for low frequencies and mid-to-high frequencies – lets the pounding bass notes stay where you want them, (like on a dance floor), without excess volume in conversation areas.

DSP (Digital Signal Processing) can eliminate echos and harsh acoustics in difficult spaces.

There is an art and a science to sound! It’s much more than having the biggest speakers – and much less.

Call Party Machine Celebrations for all your events that could benefit from great sound!

“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.

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.”

35 Things Learned in 35 Years # 22

Posted in 35 Things Learned in 35 Years with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 27, 2010 by djscottshirley

22) Music Has Power!

Music can have an amazing effect on people. It can recall powerful memories. It can create a mood, for relaxation or for celebration. It can stir up deep emotions: feelings of love, or nationalistic feelings of pride.

“Music has charms to soothe a savage breast”

When playwright William Congreve first penned the opening line of The Mourning Bride in 1697, he had no idea we would still be quoting him 300 years later. Nor could he have predicted the massive explosion of different genres of music we enjoy in the 21st century.

In his time there was formal classical music, and there was local folk music. There was no mass communication, no radio, TV nor “the Internets.” There was no means of recording music; in fact, the only way to publish music was the printed page, a technology scarcely 86 years old, at a time when literacy, especially music literacy, was uncommon.

There was Bach and Mozart, Beethoven was a young man, and Brahms, Chopin, and Mahler were not yet born.

He could never foresee the development of American country music, rhythm and blues, jazz, or rock and roll. The rich fusion of African, Caribbean, and Latin music that permeates today’s dance floors was never imagined back then. And who could have predicted hip-hop, even 50 years ago?

Congreve never knew Elvis, the Beatles, nor BeyoncĂ©. He never would have understood the fan following of the Grateful Dead, Phish, Willie Nelson, or Jimmy Buffett’s parrotheads. The concept of George Strait filling an arena with fans on a cold New Year’s Eve, year after year after year, was unimaginable.

And how could you explain Kanye West, the artist formerly and once again known as Prince, or P Diddy to a 17th century man? Or grunge, punk, funk, 80s hair metal, or Lady GaGa? What about Techno, trance, and house music?

Now we turn to music all the time: in our cars, at our desks, while we work and while we play. Digital technology has made music portable and plentiful. Everyone today has an iPod, and can plug in to a unique musical world of his own choosing.

Listening to music of our own choosing is easier today.

We love our music! It’s powerful stuff.

Of course, Party Machine Celebrations has it all.

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.