Archive for wedding

Equal Time for Okies

Posted in College Traditions, Let them eat cake!, Weddings! with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 10, 2010 by djscottshirley

Everyone’s getting into the act!

It’s safe to say there has been a Groom’s Cake for every major university.

Here is an entry for all you Oklahoma fans:

Sooners want in on the college cake trend too!

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.

The Biggest Mistake Brides Make

Posted in Professionalism, Weddings! with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 15, 2010 by djscottshirley

We are a nation of shoppers. We are bombarded by advertising wherever we look, and are always hunting for the bigger and better deal. Entire TV networks exist just for shopping, along with eBay, Amazon, and a jillion other online shopping sites.

Technology allows us to shop 24/7 if we want to!

Most of us have gotten burned a time or two, by a product that did not live up to expectations, mis-representation, poor customer service, or even outright fraud.

In recent years it seems the laws against false advertising have been relaxed, along with other consumer protections. Caveat emptor applies more than ever.

So we are on guard, and tend to be a bit apprehensive as consumers; distrustful, even.

Planning your wedding, even under the best conditions, is stressful. For most brides, it is the biggest event you will ever plan, with the biggest budget.

So price matters.

The biggest mistake brides make is to ask about only price when choosing vendors. Party Machine Celebrations gets requests by e-mail daily, asking for prices, but without needed information such as the date, time, place, number of guests, or even the services wanted – and they don’t provide a callback phone number.

It’s as though they view DJ and MC service as a generic product where all providers are the same, and the only difference is price. Marketers call this a parity product. But nothing could be further from the truth! It is a talent-based service, and the talent and the services provided vary widely – and that is what brides need to know in order to compare value.

Some brides shop for Entertainment like they shop for milk!

It seems some brides are collecting a list of prices, and will only call to talk to the cheapest vendors.

This is a HUGE mistake, especially where talent is a factor. Such brides limit their choices to the vendors with the least experience by doing this, and experience is everything where weddings are concerned.

Entertainment is what “Makes or Breaks” the celebration! For better or worse, 80% of wedding guests say the entertainment is what they remember most.

The low bidder tends to be part-time, un-licensed and uninsured, with old used equipment from a pawn shop. Perhaps worst of all, with their minimal price, they tend to have a minimal approach to everything – no backup gear, no contingency plan for staffing or transportation, and no clue how to coordinate a reception.

But what is ironic about brides not wanting to call on the phone, is that, when hiring a Master of Ceremonies, don’t you want to hear how his voice sounds? This person will be hosting your big celebration – pick up the phone, call him and see how he sounds!

“But we have a tight budget!” I completely understand! Everyone does, and it’s very important to set and follow a realistic budget. (Many brides fail to do this.) Experienced professional wedding vendors will always work with brides to stay within a budget.

But looking for the lowest bidder for wedding services can often lead to disaster. We hear horror stories from brides all the time about bad vendors, and it’s always the low bidder. This is doubly true about entertainment vendors.

There is an old joke about an astronaut returning from space. In his final radio communication from Ground Control before the re-entry blackout, he is told to say a prayer, because he is riding in a tiny vehicle made up of 3 million component parts, “every one of them built by the lowest bidder.”

Early astronauts risked their lives in spacecraft built by the lowest bidder.

The lowest price is only a good deal when the products are the same – comparing apples to apples. I buy gasoline and most grocery items at the lowest cost I can find. For a wedding, perhaps tablecloths might fall into that category, but the reputation for service and reliability of the rental company can be critical.

It is almost always a disaster to choose an entertainer by price!

Brides call my office everyday and ask, “How much is it for ‘just a DJ’?” I have to tell them I really don’t know, because “just a DJ” is not the right thing to have for a wedding, and we never provide “just a DJ.”

Weddings are unique, once-in-your-life events that should be personalized to reflect the style and personality of the bride and groom and their families. An experienced, talented Master of Ceremonies who can direct the timeline and control the flow of events is what brides tell us they really want. And they want a reliable professional who knows what to do if Murphy’s Law attacks and something goes awry, so the reception will proceed smoothly, no matter what.

And they want an entertainer who can create a look and feel in the room, coordinating lighting with the decorations, and often providing sound reinforcement for live talent, and audio-visual support for video or a photo montage.

An amateur hobby DJ simply cannot provide that level of service.

A true professional will never be found on “Craig’s List.”

But the real irony is that professional entertainers don’t cost a lot more than the lowest price being advertised on the Internet, when comparing the same service.

Is it worth it? Well, I have over 2,000 clients who believe it is. I am happy to provide their names, with telephone and e-mail addresses, upon request. (We do not publish them online to protect their privacy.)

So, how does a bride avoid making this mistake? Check reputation and references, and pick up the phone and call! Hear what the voice sounds like, that will represent you and your family at the event. Make an appointment to meet your MC. None of these cost you anything. Then make the choice that you feel best about.

You will be surprised by the way top professionals are happy to work within your budget.

Party Machine Celebrations can be reached at 817-294-9539 to schedule an appointment at your convenience, day or night.

Wedding Cake Disaster

Posted in Let them eat cake!, Weddings! with tags , , , , , , , , on January 29, 2010 by djscottshirley

It was going to be a great reception at River Crest Country Club in Fort Worth. The weather was beautiful, providing a great view to the east from the upstairs ballroom.

The House Manager spoke with us as we were setting up our Party Machine sound system. He was shocked by the wedding cake that was just delivered, a bizarre creation of multiple cakes on stilts, connected by plastic stairways, with a cheesy plastic fountain under the center cake. The manager said it was the tackiest cake he had ever seen.

I had seen some exotic cakes before, but this one was truly weird. It was Barbie’s Dream House meets “Chutes and Ladders.”

Nevertheless, the reception went well, and everything was proceeding according to plan – at least until a large woman stumbled backwards into the cake table.

You guessed it: the stairs came a-tumbling down, and the fountain made a huge mess.

The manager happened to be on our stage when it happened, but instead of being upset, he was delighted! He made a quick call on his cellphone, and the staff had the mess cleared away before many people noticed. And a beautiful cake suddenly appeared in place of the bizarre Stairway to Heaven cake.

Sometimes a disaster can be a blessing in disguise.

There’s no accounting for taste – but it can be improved!

For funny bad taste, visit the Tacky Weddings website.

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.

I Say A Little Prayer For You…

Posted in Weddings! with tags , , , , on April 2, 2009 by djscottshirley

It was a beautiful day for a garden wedding, especially at Chandor Gardens, which were in full bloom for Andrea and Kevin’s event.

They recited their vows in front of the garden pond, and as they were declared husband and wife, the fountains erupted in a dramatic display. They ran down the grassy “aisle” as I played Natalie Cole’s “This Will Be An Everlasting Love.”

Mr and Mrs Kevin Bleeker!  photo by Susan McKinney

Mr and Mrs Kevin Bleeker! photo by Susan McKinney

In a word, it was…Perfect.

The guests ambled to the reception area, and photographer Susan McKinney took some amazing pictures in the gardens as guests enjoyed passed hors d’oeuvres. When the wedding party returned and it was time for dinner to be served, I went to deliver a wireless microphone for the invocation…but the minister was gone.

As Andrea’s mother began to show signs of anxiety, I assured her that this was no problem, that I would be happy to deliver the invocation. Her response was a combination of surprise and relief: “Oh could you do that? That would be great!”

So I said the prayer, and dinner was served, and all went according to plan.

Still, I felt somewhat disturbed that anyone would be surprised that a wedding MC could say a prayer! The fact is, lots of people should have been able to step up and say a prayer, but a professional entertainer should be prepared to do whatever it takes.

Amen.