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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wedding Music: Options, Options, Options!

As you begin planning your wedding, the question of music will come up very quickly. Music sets the mood for your wedding, and definitely sets the tone for your reception. This article is not going to touch on song choices or music styles, but will talk about how the music you choose will be played.

Live Music
There is nothing more beautiful than a harpist playing “Here Comes the Bride” as your walk down the aisle! Or what about a live band at your reception playing the latest hits? In my opinion, live music adds a special something to your festivities. When considering this, think about the fact that hiring live musicians can be more expensive than using recorded music. Multiple piece bands have to ensure each band member is paid for the event, especially if they are foregoing a club gig (including tips) to play at your wedding. If they do not charge a specific fee, wedding soloists and accompanists for your ceremony should be given an honorarium for their services (which many times includes attending your wedding rehearsal).

Hiring a DJ
A DJ can be the life of the party, getting everyone engaged, or can ruin the mood of a reception (anyone remember the YouTube video of the drunk DJ?). Disc Jockeys are an excellent option to provide recorded music for both your ceremony and reception. They can also serve as your Master of Ceremonies for your reception, making sure everything flows as it should throughout the evening (along with your planner of course). DJs can also provide lighting to help transform your reception space into a party atmosphere. Make sure your DJ has wedding experience (there is a difference between DJ’ing in a club and for a reception).

Whether hiring live musicians or a DJ, you will need to ensure your music and song choices are given to them ahead of time. Don’t forget to share with them what music you do not want played.

Using an iPod or CD
If your budget is limited, an iPod is a great way to provide music for your ceremony as well as reception. If you decide to go this route, there are several things to consider: (1) There must be someone to operate the iPod, especially for your ceremony. If the processional is taking longer than anticipated, someone will need to repeat the song until the processional is done. And you never want there to be a lull in the music for your reception, unless it’s time to transition to things like the bouquet toss or dollar dance. (2) Always have a plan B. What if your iPod breaks, or what is the CD is scratched? Always have a backup just in case something happens. (3) Make sure you have more than enough songs. Repeating songs is not a good thing for a reception (think about when you’ve been at a party or club, and you hear the same song every 30 minutes…no good, right?). There should be enough songs loaded to last the entire evening. Although you are saving money with this option, this choice is very labor-intensive!

Your Planning Assignment
Choose wisely the manner in which your music will be presented at your wedding. It can make your break your special day!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Using Technology in Planning Your Wedding

Technology can be used in many ways to plan a wedding. We are able to documents details, plan seating arrangements, and keep up with vendor meetings, on our laptops, desktops and mobile devices. This article will share with you some (and remind you of others) ways to use technology to make wedding planning easier.

Wedding Websites
Wedding websites are a great way to inform your guests of all the details of your wedding, from how you met to where you plan to go on your honeymoon. If you are tired to answering the question “Where are you registered?” point people to your website! This is also a great way to get a last minute message to all of your friends, such as a change in location for your rehearsal dinner. Sites such as http://www.theknot.com/ or http://www.weddingwire.com/ offer free websites that can be built in minutes.

Wedding Podcast Network
Do you like listening to podcasts as you’re working out or driving? Check out the Wedding Podcast Network (http://www.weddingpodcastnetwork.com/), which has topics including travel, beauty and exercise tips, and conversations with wedding professionals. There is even something for MOBs (mothers of the bride).

Smartphone Apps
Smartphones , such as the Blackberry and iPhone are what many brides are using to plan their weddings and organize their lives (as a user of a smartphone, I cannot imagine life without it!). Check out apps such as “Wedding Organizer”, “Wedding Checklist”, and “iBridal Gowns” to assist you in keeping it all together!

Are there special people who are unable to travel to your wedding, but you still want them to share in the festivities? Check out www.ustream.tv to see what production services they have available. Also, check with your videographer to see if they can provide this service.

Slide Shows
This is not a new idea, but one I really love! Many couples, with the help of their photographer or videographer, run a slide show of their childhood, vacation and other pictures of themselves for their guests to view during dinner. It’s a great way to for people to see how you have progressed as individuals, and how you’ve grown as a couple. Also, check with your photographer if he/she offers the service of displaying pictures of the wedding at the reception (guests really like this!)

Viewing proofs
Finally, when your big day is over, many photographers give you the option of viewing your proofs via the web. You give your guests your password (after all, you don’t want some stalker looking at your pics online), and they can view proofs and order their prints directly from the photographer. It’s also a much better way to decide on which shots you want to include in your wedding album than a proof book (in my opinion).

Technology can help make wedding planning easier. Take some time to learn more about the options that are available to you, and use them to enhance your planning experience.  Happy Planning!