Spring ’14: Highest Ever

This month features a wedding at the dramatically beautiful but oxygen-deprived Arapahoe Basin Ski Area back in August.  Next month we’ll journey south to some incredible Douglas County wedding venues.

251By “highest ever”, I mean the highest altitude I’ve ever DJed a wedding.  To be exact 11,550 feet above sea level is the elevation of Arapahoe Basin’s Black Mountain Lodge.  This lodge is well known with skiers and is used as a cafeteria / restaurant during ski season.  To be honest, I’ve skied at A-Basin many times and have had many a midday lunch break inside the Black Mountain Lodge, and never really thought of it as a wedding venue.  I guess it’s hard to imagine these things when there is four feet of snow on the ground and sub-zero wind chills.  But no doubt, this is an awesome place to get married.

252Emmy & Grant are certainly the outdoor types.  They enjoy skiing (they had skis as part of their centerpieces), and wanted to show their guests some amazing Colorado scenery.  I’ve known Emmy’s mother Rhonda for many years as she is one of Northern Colorado’s top floral designers (Florals By Rhonda), and the flowers she did for her daughter’s wedding were pretty incredible. After the ceremony on the south-facing deck overlooking the world famous cirque A-Basin is known for (above), guests enjoyed a cocktail hour on the west-facing patio (at left) before moving inside for dinner.  I had music going in all three locations, so it was a busy afternoon.

257Guests arrived and departed the lodge via the nearby chairlift as the lodge was half up the mountain, and the only road up is a two-mile, boulder-strewn 4WD adventure reserved for employees and service vehicles. The reception, which lasted well into the evening (here’s Emmy and her father David enjoying a dance together) was inside thankfully, as it got quite chilly after sunset with rain mixing with snow by the time I was loading out.  Snow was even dusting the higher peaks which is not unusual at this altitude in August.

100_2607The only two weddings that I’ve done recently that come close to this as far as altitude is concerned are Mark & Lindsay’s 2010 wedding on the Vail Wedding Deck (at left) and John & Angela’s 2007 celebration at Winter Park’s Sunspot Lodge (below).  Both are in the 10,600-foot range. At these altitudes, you need to take precautions, such as providing your guests with plenty of bottled water during the ceremony, possibly having an oxygen tank handy for some of the older folks from lower altitudes, and going easy on the alcohol.  Remember one beer at sea level has the effect of two at 5,000 feet and three at 10,000 feet.


Winter ’14: Estes Flood


059 Becky & Beau Sep 14Rebecca & Beau’s wedding at the Stanley Hotel was scheduled for the Saturday after the flood – literally 48 hours after all hell broke loose in Estes Park. Although the Stanley was high and dry, and the waters that flooded downtown had receded, all roads were closed from the east and guests would have had a long 4 hour drive up Trail Ridge Road to get into town that day.  They wisely decided to change venues, and they chose the Magnolia Hotel in Denver, a great boutique hotel a block off the 16th Street Mall.  The staff accommodated the last minute changes, and it turned out to be an amazing evening with guests dancing an hour later than planned.

309 Andrea & KyleTwo weeks later, on the 27th, Andrea & Kyle’s decided to keep their wedding plans intact and have their wedding in Estes Park at Black Canyon / Twin Owls.  They loved the venue so much and truly wanted a Colorado setting, they couldn’t imagine changing plans.  In the week after the flood, the Peak To Peak Highway opened so guests were able to make the drive. Since the majority of guests were coming from Illinois and were planning on spending the entire weekend in Estes anyway, all plans were “a go”.  In the end, almost all their original 100 people on the guest list showed up, enjoyed the changing aspens, and partied like crazy.  What a night!!

331Brandon & Jacque were from New Mexico and planned their entire dream Colorado wedding almost exclusively by e-mail, phone and Skype (the first time I met them face to face was at the ceremony rehearsal the day before the wedding) from their home in Albuquerque.  Ironically, their wedding was also at Black Canyon / Twin Owls just two days after Andrea & Kyle’s.  In the days right after the flood, they decided to move the wedding closer to Denver as they realized most of their guests will be staying in the metro area and didn’t want to worry about road closures and extra driving times.  The Deer Creek Valley Ranch graciously accommodated the couple and although the reception room was a bit of a tight fit, everything went perfectly. At the rehearsal the day before, Jacque gave t-shirts to the families and wedding party (above) that read “Keep Calm & Marry On”, a mantra that was certainly true at most Colorado weddings last month.

332 Sept 30 EstesAs of early October, repairs to Colorado’s mountain highways are going on almost 24/7.  As of yesterday afternoon, Boulder Canyon opened up to Nederland, shortening the current Estes Park trip by about an hour.  Highway 36 from Lyons to Estes is expected to be mostly repaired by December. Like Estes Park, Rocky Mountain National Park’s roads, businesses and campgrounds should be totally repaired and back to normal by next spring and summer’s tourist season.  In the meantime, we can enjoy the foliage, like this photo taken October 1st just outside the park.

Fall ’13: 10 Questions

I’ve been asked many times what are some questions couples need to ask before they hire a DJ.  Here’s ten that every couple should, at the very least, be thinking about when they are ready to make their decision.

1. Do you have a written money-back guarantee?…. Most DJ contracts protect only the DJ and do little to protect the client.  Read the fine print before sending any money.

dj wedding singer2. What is your MC microphone style?….  Make sure your DJ / MC matches the style you want at your wedding.  Some DJs are very talkative, some say little at all, while others are somewhere in between.  There is a fine line between cheesy and classy.

3.  Can I see a copy of your liability insurance and business license?….  The mobile DJ industry is completely unregulated.  Though it is not a requirement to have either of these documents, finding someone who does shows that the company is at least registered with the state and takes their business seriously.

dj signs4.  Will you use a sign or banner to advertise your company name at my wedding reception?….  I’m not even going to comment on this other than to say I’m amazed that some DJs still do it.  Check out these guys on the left…not one but TWO signs!  At least they’re well-dressed.

5.  What happens if the power goes out?…  After a power failure almost ruined a reception I did a few years ago, I bring a generator to every wedding now. If it can happen at the Super Bowl, it can happen at your wedding.

6.  Is this your full-time job?…  Only 10% of all wedding DJs do this as a full-time career.  This certainly should not be a deal-killer for most couples, but remember, DJs who have a full-time commitment to their wedding clients tend to invest more time in the planning process, and generally return calls and e-mails more promptly.

dj drunk7.  Will you be drinking alcohol or need to take smoking breaks?….  Sounds like a silly question but I wish I had a dollar for every time a wedding guest offered to buy me a drink.  Name one profession (besides possibly a bartender) that drinking is deemed appropriate.  What surprises me is the fact that some guests get a little offended if I politely refuse the drink.  One guest once told me, “Dude, you’re the DJ…you’re supposed to be drinkin’!”  Perception is reality? Maybe I shouldn’t have commented on this one either.

dj tbwre8.  Can you give me any fun, unique ideas that will seperate my reception from the others I’ve attended?… Your DJ should be able to offer you suggestions for fun activities that can be incorporated into your reception from the wedding party introductions through the grand finale. Based on their experience, they should have many unique ideas that will make your wedding an event your guests will never forget.

9.  Can I get in writing who my DJ will be?…  If it is important to you that the DJ you met at your initial consultation is the same one that shows up on wedding day, consider asking for that DJ’s name to be on the contract.  Some companies have a history of substituting DJs at the last minute.  Furthermore, consider asking if your wedding will be the only one they will do that day.  To make up for low prices, some DJs will double-book dates.

dj wires 310.  Is your equipment housed in a professional manner?… Almost all DJs will bring professional sound equipment and thousand of music selections.  Not all, however, have their gear housed in a professional console with all unsightly cords and wires hidden from your guest’s view. This DJ was apparently trying to break the world record for the most miles of electrical cord in a single setup.  Kidding aside, ask to see a photo of their finished product.

Summer ’13: Sunset Photos

Sunset photo cody van pelt goldenIn my 20 years of Colorado weddings, one of the things I’ve noticed is the importance of having a good photographer at the reception.  More importantly, having a photographer that knows about lighting, whether it be natural or man made, is paramount.  Some of the most dramatic wedding photos that I’ve seen have been taken around sunset.  That magical 15 to 30 minutes around the time the sun sets can yield some of the best photos. This amazing shot above by Cody Van Pelt was taken in the foothills of Jefferson County.

Sunset photo Sarah Welch Ellis RanchThis month, I’ve asked a few of Colorado’s top wedding photographers to share their favorite sunset photos as well as suggestions they give their clients to get that once-in-a-lifetime image. Sarah Welch shared this great photo from Ellis Ranch and commented, “I encourage my clients to steal away for a few moments during the reception so we can get a few more amazing shots as well as give them a breather of time to themselves.”

Sunset photo Adore ShannonShannon Scholtes with Adore Photography noted, “It is important to plan ahead.  Since the beautiful colors fade very quickly you want to make sure that time for the sunset photos has been scheduled so you are not in the middle of reception events at the perfect sunset time.”  She took this dramatic photo at Mary’s Lake Lodge in Estes Park.

Sunset photo Craig Vollmer FCCCCraig Vollmer shared this photo from one of my personal favorite Fort Collins Country Club weddings from 2012 and suggested this DIY tip, “If you want to create your own sunset image with the sun shining through, take a light reading of the sky from around the edge of the sun and put your camera on manual.  Close down your f-stop one or two stops.  This gives your sky an even more dramatic look.  Make sure your flash or off camera strobe is synced so you are lit correctly…or just hire me and I will make it all happen for you.”  Craig’s second option certainly seems like you’d have a much higher success rate, especially if you are like me and don’t know the difference between an f-stop and a flash.

sunset photo nicole nichols blackstone cc auroraFinally, Denver’s own Nicole Nicols added, “For me, it’s not so much about capturing the colors of the sunset, but the amazing light it can create.  One of the first things you learn in Photography 101 is to have the sun at your back and avoid shooting into the light. I’ve always liked to break the rules a bit.  The bright white setting sun and it’s rainbow glare (seen in the bottom right of her image) breaks the traditional rules of photography but the dramatic mystical landscape looks amazing for the artistic wedding photographs I like to create.”

sunset photo ken sandberg westin downtown denverJust to prove that you don’t have to have the classic outdoor nature setting to get an awesome sunset photo, check out this image from Ken Sandberg taken at the Westin in downtown Denver. Thanks again to these amazing visual artists for sharing a bit of their knowledge on my blog.  It’s always a pleasure to work with you all.  As an added bonus, I’ve included a timetable of sunset times for Northern Colorado below to help you plan the perfect sunset time.  You can also customize your own timetable for any date or location from the link on my website’s “Resources” page.  Finally, always let your DJ know if you are planning a sunset shot so they can plan the reception’s activities accordingly.

January 10th (4:51)…20th (5:02)…31st (5:17)

February 10th (5:29)…20th (5:41)…28th (5:51)

March 10th (6:00)…20th (7:12 MDT)…31st (7:24)

April 10th (7:34)…20th (7:44)…30th (7:55)

May 10th (8:05)…20th (8:15)…31st (8:24)

June 10th (8:30)…20th (8:34)…30th (8:35)

July 10th (8:32)…20th (8:27)…31st (8:18)

August 10th (8:05)…20th (7:51)…31st (7:34)

September 10th (7:18)…20th (7:01)…30th (6:45)

October 10th (6:29)…20th (6:13)…31st (5:58)

November 10th (4:46 MST)…20th (4:39)…30th (4:34)

December 10th (4:33)…20th (4:36)…31st (4:34)

Spring ’13: Wedding 20/20

images[3]Two weeks ago, the long-running ABC TV show 20/20 ran a special called “Wedding Confidential”. This one-hour program featured matrimonial mishaps, tips from the pros, unique love stories, and many other featurettes to coincide with January being the top month for wedding planning across the country. I found most of the stories were entertaining and at times, a bit shocking – like the couple who had never kissed before they were pronounced husband and wife on wedding day, or the bride that faked having cancer so she could get her groom to love her more (I’m not making this stuff up).

What I didn’t find too entertaining was the piece they called “Wedding Markup”. The basic premise was that wedding vendors intentionally mark up prices just because it’s a wedding as opposed to some other type of party. They claim that most florists, DJs, photographers, and cake decorators inflate prices just because these clients have more money to spend – after all, the average wedding budget is supposedly $27,000.  ABC claims that many wedding vendors treat couples like “human ATMs” and they even mentioned something called the “Mercedes Syndrome” where some merchants will base their rates on what car the bride and groom drive up in.

ABC went as far as to go undercover and call DJs about their rates. They’d call once for a wedding and again for a 40th birthday party on the same date. Of the 13 DJs they called, 10 quoted a higher price for the wedding. On average, the price was 46% higher for the wedding quote versus the birthday party quote. The problem was they really didn’t investigate WHY those DJs charged more. They spent 10 minutes on an earlier segment about a testosterone-filled Long Island groomzilla but they couldn’t ask a few more questions on this matter?!?  I felt ABC dropped the ball big time.

images[11]Back when I used to DJ all types of events, I spent far less time planning and preparing for a birthday party than I did a wedding, and my prices reflected that. I didn’t feel comfortable treating a bride and groom’s big day the same as I would a birthday party. When I made the switch to 100% weddings in 2008, I did so because I wanted to give my wedding clients 100% of my attention and time, not to mention the fact that there are plenty of DJs in my area that specialize in these other types of non-wedding events and do a great job at them.

The bottom line is…most wedding vendors invest much more time preparing to service a wedding than they do for any other kind of event they are hired for. Yes, there are unscrupulous business owners out there looking to extract every dollar they can from a couple’s budget, but I’ve encountered very few in my years as a wedding professional. If anything, the opposite is more common: vendor charges a low price, then realizes how much time is involved to pull it off in the weeks leading up to wedding day, and then they cut corners. Any DJ (or other wedding vendor for that matter) that charges the same price for a birthday party as they do a wedding, is doing the bride and groom a huge disservice. Weddings deserve more time, caring, and preparation than any other type of event. So the next time you contact a wedding vendor for a price quote, ask if they have a higher price for weddings…and don’t be upset if they say “YES!” Unless you want them to invest the same amount of time on your wedding as they would a 40th birthday party.

001On a lighter, less controversial note, I attended the annual Estes Park WinterFest last weekend. The three day winter carnival is held at the fairgrounds and features live music, an Irish ceilidh dance, craft fair, beer and wine tasting, and a huge chili cook-off hosted by local restaurants and businesses. I helped out at the Estes Park Wedding Association booth handing out chili. We didn’t win but we sure had fun. Co-helpers Meghan Russell from Visual Poetry and Hillary Hanson from Wild Basin Lodge dug out some old bridesmaid dresses for a bit of a wedding costume contest. It was Halloween all over again!

Winter ’13: Year In Review

Happy New Year!  2013 is finally here. 2012 is now history, but what a year it was.  The economy is finally ramping up again and brides and grooms all over Colorado were getting married at rates not seen in years.  From all indications, most local wedding professionals I’ve spoken with noted that they were hired for more weddings in 2012 than 2011.  There were even five new Colorado wedding venues that opened up in 2012.  This is good news for couples as they have more and more choices of venues to host their big day.

008 Abby & Andrew with Ron

photo courtesy of Rachel Olsen Photography

As far as trends go, I’ve noticed a few things were different this year at my weddings.  Color-wise, purple / eggplant was huge in 2012!  I normally match my tie color with the couple’s wedding color and I lost count how many times I wore my purple tie this year.  Maybe it was just a coincidence.  Signature drinks were huge, too.  In case you don’t know what that is, it’s when the bride and groom come up with their own customized specialty drink (generally an alcoholic one), usually in their wedding color, give it a cute moniker highlighting their last name, and make it available at the bar all night long.  One of the more memorable drink names from this past summer was called the Slater Slammer.  I don’t drink, but I heard it was delicious!  Finally, photo booths were huge as well (see my September blog).

Jason Mraz I Won't Give UpMusic-wise, there was lots to party to in 2012.  My #1 request overall was Cupid’s “Cupid Shuffle”, a perennial dance floor favorite.  The #1 “new song” request was Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” followed closely by K-Pop superstar Psy’s international hit “Gangnam Style”, who’s video just surpassed the record-breaking one billion views mark on You Tube.  Pretty amazing for a song that is sung 95% in Korean.  Couples had plenty of new love songs to choose from for their first dance selection.  Jason Mraz’s “I Won’t Give Up” was by far the most popular followed by country newcomers Hunter Hayes’ “Wanted” and Scotty McCreery’s “I Love You This Big”.  Check out the official 2012 Mobile Beat Top 200 party songs compiled by DJs across the nation.

038As I normally do after the wedding season ends, my wife and I took a vacation in December.  This time, we went to the Bahamas.  While there, I picked up some new Bahamian music I’ll use at an island-themed wedding I have coming up in June.  We also visited the #1 wedding location in the Bahamas, The Atlantis Resort just outside Nassau.  This place was impressive, to say the least.  Acres and acres of manicured grounds, award-winning beaches, three ceremony locations, plus a huge indoor convention center with a massive casino and an aquarium where you can swim with sharks (hmmm…maybe next time, or never).  We even ran into a couple that had just gotten married.  I have no idea who they were, but they insisted I take their picture.  Nice dress, BTW.

Fall ’12: Denim & Diamonds

November is well known for being the start of the wedding “off-season” in Colorado.  With the additional free time I have, I usually plan on attending two or three wedding or DJ conferences between November and March.  It’s a great time to pick up some new tips, learn from the leaders in the wedding industry, and recharge the batteries after a super busy wedding season that this year featured 24 consecutive weekends of weddings.

Last month’s  “Denim And Diamonds In Denver” conference was put on by the Association of Bridal Consultants (ABC).  They are an international organization of not only bridal consultants and planners, but also other wedding professionals like photographers, caterers, and DJs.  It’s a great group that I’ve had the honor of being a part of for more than a decade.

ABC’s annual conference is held in a different city every year.  Last year it was Baltimore, this year was Denver, and next year will be Palm Beach, Florida.  This year’s venue was the downtown Grand Hyatt and was attended by 288 wedding professionals from all over the United States and seven countries.  Dallas-based celebrity wedding planner Donnie Brown was the keynote speaker and the always entertaining Hazel Miller Band rocked the house at the black-tie dinner on opening night.

The highlight for me was leading a group of conference attendees on a 6-hour tour of Estes Park wedding venues.  These wedding planners traveled from 11 states and four countries to attend the conference and go on this tour.  It was my first gig as a tour guide, but since most of my weddings are in Estes Park, I was very familiar with the town and the venues.  First, we stopped at Della Terra for an amazing buffet breakfast prepared by owner Pam Amelang and her staff.  Then it was on to Twin Owls Steakhouse and the Black Canyon Inn for a tour of their dual-venue facility (everyone loved the view from the ceremony site!).  We then drove to the “haunted” Stanley Hotel where catering manager Carrie Carter graciously showed everyone around, let us peak into one of the historic rooms, and took our group photo on the famous stairs in the lobby (if you look closely, it looks like a ghost joined us at the top of the stairs!).  After stopping at the Crags Lodge for the Estes Park Bridal Show, we finished the tour at the Estes Park Resort on the shore of Lake Estes.  Special thanks to Sandy Paul from Jubilations Catering for preparing lunch for us before we headed back to Denver.

The entire tour was funded by the Estes Park Wedding Association, another amazing group of wedding professionals I’ve been a part of for more than five years.  I’m looking forward to spotlighting this great group in one of my 2013 blogs.  Until then, happy holidays!

Summer ’12: Photo Booth Fun

Certainly the latest craze in wedding reception entertainment is the photo booth.  This is a recent phenomenon that has been getting more and more popular during the last few years.  This year, I would estimate that close to half the wedding receptions I am hired for, the bride and groom have added a photo booth to the reception entertainment.

There is a wide range in photo booth options.  Some photo booths are simply a cloth backdrop and a photographer.  Some are self-serve kiosks where guests can sit and take their photo with a minimal of props.  The best ones, however, include a photo booth operator to help guests and lots of fun costumes, props, and hats that everyone can try on and really get into party mode. Guests get to take home their photos as a momento of the reception.  One of the more unique options I’ve seen this past summer was when the guests got two copies of the photos – one they could keep and the other went into a scrapbook the bride and groom kept with all the wacky, fun photos their guests took – a more unique and fun version of the ‘old-school’ wedding guestbook.

Two photo booth operators that I have worked with many times are Neil Carlberg and Justin Garcia.  Neil (photo above) specializes in his huge variety of costumes – probably the largest in the state.  Aside from being a good friend of mine for many years, he is a veteran wedding professional. Justin’s company, Redfox Photo Booth features an incredibly beautiful wood booth (photo at left) that he made himself and would blend into any natural surrounding.  It almost looks as if he built it especially for use in many of the popular Estes Park wedding venues (like Della Terra in the photo).

I’m often asked if photo booths take away from the amount of dancing that happens at a wedding reception.  My answer is yes and no.  The key is where the photo booth is set up.  If it’s set up far away from the dance floor, outside, or in another room, the answer is yes.  In this case, you may wind up having two seperate parties going on: the dancing party and the photo booth party.  You can actually make the two compliment each other by having them fairly close together, or at least in the same room.  The energy that is created on the dance floor will enhance the photo booth experience, and vice versa. I suggested to Shane & Kelli (photo above) to set up their photo booth near the dance floor and the results were terrific. Some guests even brought the props and costumes out onto the dance floor for even more fun!

During our planning meetings, we will discuss floor plan options at your venue, and I can recommend optimal locations for photo booth placement if you decide to have one.   As I’ve always said, it’s all about location, location, location.

Spring ’12: The Rehearsal

Not to be confused with the rehearsal dinner, the ceremony rehearsal is one of most important parts of the wedding planning process.  Like the rehearsal dinner, it generally takes place the day before the wedding.  It’s a great time for the family and wedding party to meet each other, if they haven’t done so already.  The main reason for doing a ceremony rehearsal, however, is to familiarize everyone with the ceremony script and procedure, where the wedding party stands during the ceremony, how the wedding party will walk down the aisle, and where the parents and other VIPs will be sitting.  Rehearsals generally last about an hour although I’ve seen them completed in as little as 20 minutes.

It’s imperative that your officiant attend the rehearsal.  Having your officiant there to answer any questions that may arise is invaluable.  I am amazed, though, at the number of rehearsals that take place without the officiant present.  One of the reasons is that many officiants charge an extra fee to attend the rehearsal.  It may cost a bit more to have him or her there, but it will be money well spent. Having your officiant at the rehearsal will make everything run smoother on wedding day and will put everyone at ease knowing what to expect.

If your DJ will be providing music and microphones for your ceremony, it’s important that they attend the rehearsal as well.  For a DJ, knowing the music cues and how people will be walking down the aisle is very important.  In addition, I use the rehearsal to introduce myself to the wedding party and parents and to let them know about their upcoming toasts and spotlight dances at the reception the following day.  I also review the ceremony transcript with the officiant so I know exactly where the songs need to start.

Winter ’12: V Day at 12K

I’ve always been amazed at how few weddings I’ve been hired for on Valentine’s Day.  Since starting Ron Michaels Weddings in 1993, I’ve only had 3 weddings on V-Day.  I recently looked back on my 19 years of weddings in Colorado and found that February is the least popular month to get married with only 21 weddings total (June has been my most popular month with 139).  Think about that for a minute.  For those couples that bravely chose one of the coldest, snowiest months of the year to tie the knot, just 3 out of 21 of them chose what is supposedly the most romantic day of the entire year – Valentine’s Day!  I guess this will remain one of the great matrimonial mysteries of our time, or at least in my mind it will.

Couples gather at the top of Chair 2 as officiant Harry Heilman starts the wedding ceremony

Undeterred by this apparant lack of love for Valentines nuptuals, I made the two hour drive up to Loveland Ski Area on February 14th.  Every year on Valentine’s Day at high noon, dozens of couples take the #2 Chair Lift up to the top of the mountain to get married and renew their vows in the rarified Rocky Mountain air at 12,050 feet above sea level atop the Continental Divide.

Couples gather at the base lodge for a “Best Dressed Contest”.

Jill and I celebrated our 10th anniversary last month, so we decided to join in on the fun and renew our vows as well.  After a thankfully short (it was 12 degrees and snowing sideways) non-denominational ceremony officiated by Harry Heilman, everyone skied down to the lodge to warm up and partake in a fun reception hosted by the resort complete with wedding cake, sparkling cider, and yes, even a DJ…(no, it wasn’t me…remember, I don’t get weddings on Valentine’s Day).  What a great way to spend a Tuesday afternoon – skiing fresh powder and eating wedding cake.

Fall ’11: Year In Review

The year’s first wedding was Nick & Michelle’s on January 7th on Long Island.

Another fun year of weddings begins!  2011 is now history.  I’d like to thank all the couples who trusted me with the important task of programming the music, keeping their guests informed and updated, and coordinating their reception details during 2011.  It was a blast.  Special thanks also go to the incredible venues and other wedding professionals that I worked with throughout the year. Thank you for your referrals and continued support.

Looking back on 2011, the three most requested songs at weddings nationwide as compiled by DJI (a software company that tracks wedding DJ requests around the nation) were: #1 > The Black Eyed Peas’ “I Gotta Feeling”, #2 > Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing”, and #3 > Cupid’s “The Cupid Shuffle”.  As far as new releases were concerned,  LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem” was tops, followed by Pink’s “Raise Your Glass”, and Train’s “Marry Me”.  “Marry Me” was also the top first dance song of the year.  You may love or hate these songs, but the bottom line is, they kept the dance floors full in 2011.  The entire Top 200 listing of the most requested songs can be found on my website’s “Resources” page.

Looking ahead to 2012, here are a few of my wedding predictions.  Purple will continue to be the most popular color.  The uplighting fad may have peaked.  Signature drinks will be all the rage.  Theme weddings will have a resurgence.  Black-tie was hot last year, and it will continue to be very popular this year.  Food “stations” will soon overtake traditional buffets.   After-parties will continue to gain in popularity.  Destination weddings will continue to be at an all-time high (I’m already working with more out of state couples for 2012 as I was in all of 2011 combined!!).

OK…my crystal ball is now shut off.  Happy New Year!