wedding

  • A Great Sound System: The Key to a Flawless Wedding Ceremony!

    Your guests are taking time out of their lives--and often also traveling great distances--to share your wedding day. You should make sure that they are able to clearly hear the ceremony take place.

    With all our services, we strive to do things the right way--even if the right way isn't the cheapest. Our ceremony sound package is no exception.  

    Wireless lapel microphone
    Our ceremony sound package utilizes a high quality wireless lapel microphone with a large-area pickup pattern. Your guests will be able to hear the officiant--and every word of your wedding vows to each other will be crystal clear.

    Microphones on stands for readers or vocalists
    Whether you have someone read scripture, a poem, or share their vocal talents, it won't add much to the ceremony if the guests can't hear them. We provide microphones on stands as necessary to accommodate the specifics of your ceremony--and make sure everyone is heard!

    Amplification for live musicians
    If you choose to have live musicians provide some or all of your ceremony music, we can provide amplification through our sound system to enhance their performance. No matter the instrumentation, we will work with your musicians to provide them input into our system, or mic their instruments. We've worked with harps, string quartets, brass and woodwind ensembles, piano/keyboard players, guitars, and more!

    A complete second sound system
    We use dedicated equipment for all ceremony packages. This makes us more expensive than some providers, however provides significant technical and logistical advantages. Because the ceremony system is completely separate, the reception system is completely set up and ready to go for a smooth, immediate transition. Background music will be playing inside the reception venue as soon as your ceremony concludes. Using two systems also allows much better opportunity to test and adjust each sound system for its intended purpose--which is hugely important in avoiding microphone feedback and other problems.

    Prelude music starting 30 minutes before ceremony
    All ceremony-related equipment will be completely set up a minimum of 30 minutes before your scheduled start time. Unless you have live musicians playing the prelude, we will provide background music as guests are arriving and being seated.

    Experienced DJ attendant
    While we strive to be hidden in our role of a wedding ceremony, we do a lot to ensure everything goes smoothly. We have mute controls on all microphones--so your officiant or reader won’t have to remember to turn their microphone on or off. Any microphone not in use will be muted--which reduces the opportunity for screeching feedback or unnecessary wind noise. In addition, keeping microphones muted until they're needed allows private communication among your wedding party--if the officiant is instructing you prior to walking down the aisle or during a sand ceremony, your guests won't hear every comment. We are always monitoring and adjusting volumes to ensure optimal volume for your guests to hear what is taking place. On the music side, we are prepared to adjust songs longer or shorter as necessary. If your flower girl and ring bearer take some coaxing before they proceed, we're ready to keep the music playing until they make it to the front. If your wedding party walks down the aisle quicker than in rehearsal, we'll fade out and avoid the awkward waiting as everyone stands at the front waiting for the song to finish.
  • How Do You Decide What Songs to Play?

    One question a lot of potential clients ask us is how we decide what songs to play. It's a very valid question, as music selection is one of the most important roles a DJ plays--especially when it comes time for dancing. We don't have any hard or fast rules on when or how we'll play specific songs, but we have developed some degree of strategy.

    Wedding Song Selection Strategy
    • During cocktail hour and dinner we focus on playing upbeat, classy background music. We want people to be tapping their toes--not falling asleep as they are bored to death by "Elevator Music Hits Vol 3" or a Kenny G album on repeat. We give our clients the opportunity to provide some input into what they want, but in general we do a lot of big band and crooners (such as Glenn Miller, Ella Fitzgerald, and Frank Sinatra) as well as more modern artists with an upbeat but laid-back style (Jack Johnson, John Mayer, Norah Jones, and Harry Connick, Jr.)
    • When the dance starts we normally start with older music at the beginning and work toward newer. Often older guests won't stay for the entire reception so they appreciate hearing a few songs from their era earlier--whereas the younger generation often want another drink or two before they start dancing anyway.
    • Guest demographics--and what people are dancing to--play a large role in determining what we play at a wedding. If the majority of guests are 20-25, we're probably not going to play a bunch of Patsy Cline--and will likely get into newer music fairly early in the evening. Likewise, if almost everyone is 40+, we aren't going to play Lil Wayne or T.I. unless it's specifically requested.
    • When a song gets people on the floor, we try to play a few more of a similar style. If something isn't working, the next song will likely be a different musical genre.
    • Slow songs are inserted every few songs to give guests a chance to catch their breath, and to break up sets of dance music. With picky crowds (which is to say not many people are dancing, or guests will come out for one song then immediately leave the floor) we often play shorter dance music sets with more slow songs.
    Prom/Homecoming/School Dance/College Party Song Selection Strategy
    • Typically for these types of events we work off a more limited playlist--which is to say songs that are popular now, songs that were recently popular AND are good dance tunes, and what we refer to as "Party Classics". Party classics refers to older songs that pretty much everyone who listens to music will recognize--songs like You Shook Me All Night Long by AC/DC, Love Shack by B-52s, Cotton Eye Joe, Hey Ya by Outkast, etc.
    • For schools we focus much more on song transitions and building energy through each set, using beatmixing whenever possible to seamlessly blend from one song into another.
    • Much like our dinner music strategy for weddings, we try to keep things upbeat. As much as possible, we play uptempo pop and dance music. We try to find dance remixes of popular rap songs. After all, it's called a dance--not a "grind".
    • Again, we use periodic slow songs to break up our sets of dance music--typically for most school dances the dance sets will be longer and there will be fewer slow songs than at a wedding, but it all depends on the flow of the night and what people are dancing to.
    A Word Regarding Requests...
    • In almost all cases we accept--and encourage--student/guest requests during the event.
    • The order we receive requests is not the order we play them. We treat requests as suggestions and try to integrate them into our sets where it makes sense--but we're not going to kill a packed dance floor with an obscure '70s pop song just because one person wants to hear it NOW.
    • We do not have a song book or list for people to look at--we think song ideas that come from memory are more likely to be playable. The common scenario is that someone looking at a song book sees a song and says "I haven't heard that in FOREVER--let's request that." In many cases there's a reason they haven't heard it in forever--because it's not well known, or isn't a very good dance song.
    • If someone wants to make a request but doesn't know exactly what they want, we will work with them to find something from their desired artist, era, or style by suggesting something that we think will go over well based on past experience.
    The Trump Card
    • In all cases, the wishes of the client--whether that be the bride and groom or a school--take precedence over anything else. It is ultimately your event, and you have the final say in what is and isn't to be played.
    • If something is on the Do Not Play list, we won't play it unless it's cleared with you first--even if it's requested.
  • Kids & Weddings

    Unsure whether or not you are going to invite children to your wedding ceremony or reception? Keeping kids entertained at an event for adults can sometimes be a challenge - here are some things to consider along with some activities and solutions that you can implement to ensure that the children in attendance have just as good of a time as the rest of your guests.

    Things to consider:
    • Does your budget and venue make inviting everyone and their children a possibility?
    • Can your caterer provide kid-friendly menu choices?
    • Be sure to visit with the children in attendance as well as your other guests. If you are having a kids’ room, spend a few minutes there with them. This will show them that they are still part of your reception.
    • Infants will probably spend their time with their parents. Toddlers to about 10 or 12 years old would be more inclined to participate in kids’ activities.
     
    Activities/Solutions:
    Kids Buffet- Be sure to ask your caterer if they can include kid-friendly food options such as chicken tenders, macaroni and cheese, and fruit juice. Having kid-friendly food available throughout the night can help keep the kids occupied and help avoid crankiness due to hunger. Avoid chocolate--that can create a mess if it gets dropped or melts somewhere other than in your mouth.
    Kids Activity Table- Designate a table to be just for kids and have things for them to do, including coloring, simple brain teasers, and other fun activities. You can also make a bag of activities for each child (this can be their wedding favor) to take home. This table can help keep them entertained during the toasts and formal dances. One fun activity is to ask the kids to draw pictures of the wedding couple – they can be lots of fun to look at and make a great addition to a scrapbook.
    Kids Room- When you book the reception space, see if there is a separate room that you can use where you can set up games and activities for the children that will be attending. If not, you can designate a corner of the room to be the kid’s area. A separate area or room will probably require someone designated to oversee the activities. A good rule of thumb is if you are going to have a kids’ room it is a good idea to plan on having one sitter for each five toddlers and one sitter for each ten older children. If you have some older children that are babysitting age they might be prime candidates.

    Some ideas of things you may want to include:

    • Kid’s books for story time, coloring supplies (if you supply markers, only use washable markers and don’t use any paints), stuffed animals, toys, a tea party, construction paper and other supplies for arts and crafts(such as pipe cleaners, glue, and rhinestones), a TV and DVD player and board games.
    • Karaoke is another possibility - we have a self-contained rental system that goes for $110 per night including the TV monitor and has a lot of popular kid’s sing-a-long songs.
    • http://www.discoveryeducation.com/teachers/ has resources for creating your own puzzles and brain teasers.
    Hire Help- If you know someone that is great with kids or a few high school students that have babysitting experience, you may want to consider hiring them to watch and play with the children. Be sure to talk with them about how much they charge, and make sure that you don’t designate an already invited guest to “work” at your event (although the teenage child of an invited guest might leap at the chance to make a few extra bucks). Include this information along with the wedding invitations. Provide your guests with information about the sitters and let them know that they can contact you with any concerns.
    Unexpected Guests- If you plan on not having children at your wedding or reception but they are brought along anyway, be sure you are prepared. Bring along coloring books, paper and crayons just in case, and consider having a table that can be used as a kids’ table in your reception hall. Consider having a kids only dance portion at your reception. Parents and Grandparents will love watching their kids jump and dance around to a song or two. Have a couple adults or a few members of the wedding party dance with the kids. This will help them get into the music.
    DisposableCameras– As the Master of Ceremonies, we will ask the children to help make your wedding day even more memorable by capturing all the little moments the professional photographer might miss. Depending on your interest level, we can also designate them as “paparazzi” and have them rush in to take pictures when you enter the reception (we would tell them it would be a surprise) and could also call out paparazzi moments later in the reception to encourage them to participate and help document things.
    Interactive Songs–Examples of great interactive songs for everyone include the Chicken Dance, the Hokey Pokey, the Twist, YMCA, Shout, Grease, Stayin' Alive (from Saturday Night Fever), the Cha-Cha Slide, a Conga line, and other easy follow-along songs. We don't normally do a lot of dance teaching at weddings, however if you expect a lot of kids it is certainly something we can prepare. We can also make up some simple dance moves to go with songs from popular Disney movies and other songs kids would know if you let us know ahead of time.
    Sing-a-long Songs - We have a 2-CD set with several dozen kids sing-a-long songs (like you learn in elementary music). Another option is doing karaoke in conjunction with the dance or doing a kids-only karaoke in another area, such as a kids’ room. The sing-a-long might work better for kids because then you won't have to worry about fighting over microphones, dropping them on the floor, etc.
    Non-Dance Games - We have done a game that is a cross between musical chairs and a scavenger hunt at events in the past to great success. This game works well for both children and adults. Everyone who wants to participate brings a chair out to the dance floor and then we have several items they go out into the room to get. Each time a chair is removed, so the last person back is out of the game. For kids, we come up with a positive spin--like making them cheerleaders or helping those still in the game--to have a less negative connotation.
    Outdoor Activities–If your wedding is during the summer, the sun will set late enough for there to be plenty of time for some outside activities. If it is OK with the venue you can buy a bucket of sidewalk chalk and turn the kids loose outside. Or, if you have a babysitter or other supervisor games like red light/green light, duck duck goose, mother may I, etc. are lots of fun. If you are planning on outside games for the kids, advising parents to bring play clothes to change into after the ceremony is over will be a huge help.
    Piñata - Kids love piñatas. A piñata can be a great addition to the kids’ room or a break from the dancing in the main area. If you are plannig to have a piñata, make sure that there is a place to hang it at your venue.
    Prop Hats / Inflatables- We have all sorts of inflatable instruments (guitar, trumpet, sax, keyboard, bongo, etc.) that are great for kids to play along with the music. The hat side of the equation is primarily YMCA hats (sailor, construction, cowboy, Indian headdress, police) however we also have some other neon and polka-dot selections.  
  • Maid of Honor and Best Man Guide

    As the maid of honor or best man, you have been selected by the bride and groom to have a special role at their wedding. This role is important during both the ceremony and the reception. There are many things you can do to ensure that their day is extraordinary, and here are a few tips to help you along the way:

      Reception Entrance
    Generally, your master of ceremonies will introduce the bridal party as you enter the reception. Parents and grandparents are normally introduced from their seats, then ushers are announced as they enter, followed by the bridal party, and finally the bride and groom. The bridal party normally enters with the best man and maid/matron of honor right before the bride and groom enter. The master of ceremonies will make sure everyone is in the right order before announcing you, however it is helpful for you to have some understanding of how this will work and keep the rest of the bridal party organized in one place so we don’t have to chase anyone down.

      Bridal Party Dance
    Help the bride and groom with song suggestions if they need it and make sure the rest of the bridal party is informed about when the bridal party dance will occur. When the time for the dance is approaching, keep an eye out for those involved and make sure they are present.

      Money Dance
    The concept of the money or dollar dance is that guests pay for the privilege of dancing with the bride and groom. This dance gives the bride and groom a way to spend a few moments with each guest and thank them for coming. The money is often used for the honeymoon or just to give them a little extra cash to start their lives together.
    • Collect money from participating guests on behalf of the bride or groom. Usually the maid of honor collects money for the bride and the best man collects money for the groom.
    • Keep the line moving. If given the opportunity, some guests will dance with the bride or groom for a whole song—which isn’t practical if there are 10 to 20 other people in line. To keep the money dance from dragging on, we recommend sending a guest to cut in after 20 to 30 seconds.
     
    Other Things to Keep in Mind
    • You and the rest of the wedding party help set the mood for the event and other guests will look to you as an example. Your presence on the dance floor will encourage other guests to come out and dance as well.
    • Don’t drink to excess. Especially before your toast, alcohol can do more than just loosen you up—it can lead you to make a not-so-positive impression of yourself or the rest of the wedding party. Have fun, but know your limits.
  • Toasting Tips

    Generally, the best man and maid of honor are each expected to propose a toast to the bride and groom during the reception. We will communicate with you at the reception to determine exactly when and how the toasts will occur. Having seen our fair share of poorly executed toasts, here are some suggestions to help make you look like a rock star.

    Plan - Take time at least a few days before the wedding to think about what you are going to say. You may find it helpful to write your speech out in its entirety, but when you deliver it at the reception try not to read it word-for-word. Instead of a complete script, we recommend making a few notes (an outline or key words) on an index card. You can lay the note card on the table and glance at it as needed to make sure you’re on the right track, and it will sound much more natural. This method allows you to make eye contact with the bride and/or groom, as well as the audience, instead of just looking at a piece of paper for the entire speech.

    Content - What you choose to say is up to you, but here are some things that may help get you started:
    • Start with a brief introduction, making sure to identify your relationship with the bride and groom.
    • Determine whether you are going to give a more touching speech or a more humorous one. Keep this tone in mind as you write your speech.
    • Describe the bride or groom before they met their new spouse, and then how you’ve seen that person change after they met.
    • A quote, story of how the bride and groom first met, or a fond memory of you with one or both of them may also be nice to include.
    • Keep your content PG-rated—there may be children or elderly guests present.
    • Avoid making the bride or groom look bad or mentioning anything that might be embarrassing.
    • Keep your speech light-hearted. Guests want to be entertained—not taught a life lesson.
    • Don’t forget to raise your glass! Often, less experienced toasters get so caught up in the story aspect they trail off and pass the microphone without ever raising their glasses to salute the bride and groom. Decide how you’re going to finish your toast ahead of time—a special wish, recited traditional toast, or blessing of the bride and groom all work well. Raise your glass with a resounding congratulations or cheers, and don't forget to clink glasses and drink to your own toast!

    Delivery- Make sure that everyone can see and hear you as you make your awesome speech.
    • Stand with good posture and hold the microphone at your chin to make sure it picks up your voice so all guests can hear you.
    • Your speech does not have to be long—no longer than three to five minutes or people start to get antsy.
    • Engage your audience by looking out across the room and also at the bride and groom—glance down at your notes only when you need to.
    • If you know you are likely to get emotional during your speech, be prepared with kleenex or a hankerchief.
    • Remember to enjoy the moment and have fun!
     

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(877)357-8383
P.O. Box 1544
Ames, IA 50014
info@stevesmobilemusic.com
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