Saturday, December 28, 2013

Top Picks for 2013-14

These are my top picks for 2013-14. I tried to pick venues from various price ranges to help everyone out.  If there is anything you'd like to see added to this list next year, let me know!

Best Venues

Atrium at the Inn at St. Johns, Plymouth, MI (High budget)
While it may be very pricey, the Inn at St. Johns is my choice for best food, service and overall venue.  There is nothing quite as elegant as this location, but the price is quite staggering.  Food is 5 star all the way.  While I don't have a proper review written, here are some photos:

Webers of Ann Arbor may not be as unique, but the food is excellent and the remodel they did last year makes a world of difference.  Great service food and a classy, but relaxed setting.  Still a bit pricey, but far less than the Inn at St. Johns.


The Howell Opera House, Howell, MI (Medium budget)
For many, this may not even be on your radar as a venue, but the unique setting (brick walls, wood floor, and glass front entrance area) and historical upstairs area, create some excellent photos!  There are a few choices for caterers at this location.  I recommend Gerard's Catering (see below).  Up lighting can do wonders here, as the venue is a blank canvas.  I've done a few reviews, here is the most recent:

And for the budget minded, I have a tie between...
St Agnes of Fowlerville, MI and the American Spirit Center in Brighton, MI
Both are nice venues that can be improved greatly with the addition of up lighting and a few decorations.

Review for St. Agnes:
Review for American Spirit Center:

Best Caterers

Gerard's Catering (Chef Joe) 517-548-1303
I've been told his prices are reasonable and the food is top notch!



Most Unique Venue

Fox Hills (Classic) in Plymouth, MI
The log cabin look, beautiful outdoor scenery (gazebo for ceremonies), top notch service and five star food make this not only a great venue, but my choice for most unique this year.  It's layout is a bit different, but still works quite well for sound and dancing.  Read my review here:

Best Photographer

Starting from the high end...
Bak Photography 734-429-1111
No one brings more to the table than Mark Bak.  His attention to detail and 30+ years experience are unmatched.  He's done Hollywood stars, politicians and professional athletes.

Lindsay Jane Photography (
Lindsay is a pleasure to work with and is reasonably priced.  She did our wedding 8 years ago and gave us exactly what we wanted.

Thanks for checking out my top picks and be sure to call me for all your entertainment needs...
DJ, photo booth and up lighting (517-404-0418) The DJ Guy

Have a great 2014!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Holly Hotel - 5 Star Food and Service with a Catch

The Holly Hotel is a unique historical building in downtown Holly that offers excellent food and service.  So what's the catch?

Because it's a historical building, there are no elevators and the banquet room is on the second floor.  If all your guests are younger (no grandmas and grandpas with walkers or canes) this isn't an issue for you.  For me, it's quite a challenge to take all my equipment up two flights of stairs and back down at the end of the night.  The dance floor is also very small (12 x 12), and is located between two larger rooms, joining them together.

I've been there on at least five various occasions over the last few years.  Two of which took place quite recently.

On November 2nd, Rachel and Tom Wunderlich celebrated their one year anniversary with the wedding reception they didn't get to do the previous year.  It was a Halloween themed reception, with most guests choosing to opt for a more Victorian style of dress.

Rachel is someone I've been acquainted with from my days of DJing Goth/Industrial music at the clubs many years ago and her husband Tom is a perfect match, both of them being very nice people.  They wanted a unique experience for family and guests that included some of the music that I played from the club.  As I rarely get the opportunity to do receptions like this, I was looking forward to it for some time.

I did up lighting for them to set a eerie Halloween mood (the hotel is also rumored to be haunted).  The tables were beautifully decorated to match the theme and even the dinner was customized to match!  It may be hard to read the menu, but I ordered the "vampire steak" which is exactly what I got! (click the pictures to see them in larger detail)

Each table had a jar of candy and each guest was given a "loot" bag.  Guests were encouraged to visit each other's tables and "trick or treat."

It was an amazing evening and fun was had by all.


Two weeks later, I returned for another wedding.

On November 23rd, Shelby and Nick tied the knot at the Holly Hotel.  The reception was held on one side of the room, while the other side had ALL the tables (half of which needed to be moved to the other side), setup for dinner.

Setting up for this event was an absolute nightmare.  I was told the ceremony would start at a certain time and guests were there nearly an hour an a half early.  As there are only one set of stairs and very little room to congregate, most of the guests were in the way while I was trying to load in.  Many, even chatting with friends on the stair case!

To make things worse, chairs had been setup on the dance floor area as well in the are where I would normally setup.  This meant that I would have to setup twice!  This is not a place I recommend to have your ceremony.  While I'm sure the pictures looked great, the chaos that followed was even worse.  I had to wait 45 minutes to relocate my equipment and set everything up properly.  The whole time no music could be played  because they needed the space where I had setup for the ceremony.  The guests were forced out to the hallway by the staircase (an area not big enough for all the guests).

The best way to describe the transformation from ceremony to reception was complete CHAOS!

Aside from the late start to dinner, everything else went very well.  As usual, the food was excellent.

Guests enjoyed themselves and filled the dance floor when the party started after dinner.

Overall, the Holly Hotel is an excellent choice for a unique reception, but I don't recommend having your ceremony there as it's too small and chaotic for both events.  The food is five star all the way and service is top notch.  The stair case can make it difficult for guests, but that's something you'll have to decide on.