Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2015 - A Great Year To Get Married

Well, it's that time again.  Hopefully you've had a wonderful Christmas and big plans for the new year.  Maybe you got engaged over the holidays.  If so, now is the time to get your planning under way.  2015 is an easy year to remember and it will surely help all the men remember their anniversary year!

With the new year, I've added some great new offerings...

The open-air photo booth will be available starting in March.  This is done red carpet style with red velvet ropes and a shimmering backdrop for photos.  There are many options available with this.  You can choose the traditional photo strips (2x6 with multiple images) or a single 4x6 image with a simple logo super imposed over one corner of the photo.  You can even special order a custom backdrop with logo (or monogram) of your choice!

This will similar to the image below:

Another new feature will be our charging station.  This will be a value-added FREE addition to ALL wedding packages.  Others charge up to $100 for this service - we give it to you FREE!  Your guests will never have to worry about missing a picture of the first dance.

And lastly, I'm putting together a special event.  In the past, I've been harsh on bridal shows, typically because of the high cost to vendors and the fact that someone (usually a production company) is getting rich off of the show.

I'm pleased to announce that I'm putting together a not-for-profit bridal show with Chemung Hills (Howell, MI) on Sunday, February 15th.  Further details will be announced in the coming weeks.  Cost for vendors is very minimal (just enough to cover a little advertising to get the word out) and cost to guests will also be very low (to cover the venue's expenses: cleaning, staff, ect.).

Bridal consultations are always free and I'm currently setting up meetings for anyone interested.  I have 6 meetings already scheduled in the upcoming weeks, so be sure to contact me soon to reserve your date!

Happy wedding planning and here's to a great year!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Holidays are coming!

I still have 3 more weddings on my calendar this month,
but the Holidays are coming up soon...

There's still a few dates available. DJ, Photo Booth and Game Show Night available! Put an end to the boring corporate Holiday Party - Call now to reserve your date! 517-404-0418




Sunday, August 17, 2014

Venue Review: Barn Weddings (all over Michigan)

I had an inquiry recently from a client who saw one of my reviews and asked if I could suggest a few locations for barn weddings.  I emailed him some info, but realized this would be a good topic to cover for those interested in doing a "country" or "barn" wedding.  Many of these are locations I've been to in the past, so with that being said, here's a short list of  country or "barn wedding" locations.

There are far more than I have listed, but many of them don't do this on a regular basis and have little to no information available online.

I've done a few events at Three Cedar Farms.  It's a bit rustic and would require guests to use the stairs, but it's a nice location and very fall festive.


Cobblestone Farm in Ann Arbor is a bit more elegant and has a ramp to allow guest easier access to the barn.  I've also done a few events here, including an outdoor ceremony.

Ellis Barn in Oakland County is a historical barn and was relocated from Clarkston.  I've done one wedding here and the upstairs area was where they held the ceremony.


And finally, Red Tail Farm is one I have not been to yet, but I have a wedding booked there in October.

Omega Farms is a working farm in Williamston.  If you don't mind the BYO everything, then this spot may be perfect for you.  It turned out to be a really nice location.  There isn't any wedding information, but if you look on their calendar, they are still doing weddings occasionally.

Lazy J Ranch in Milford is OK, but I would make sure you get EVERYTHING in writing and don't let them offer to do square dancing unless you're alright with them taking up a lot of your precious dance time and watching a lot of guests leave early.  See my review here.

Lastly, check out this link which has good information from a few I've never heard of.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Venue Review: Genesys Banquet Center, Grand Blanc, MI

Sometimes I get tempted to post a review right away because of the way an event turned out.  I realize that's not always a good idea and sometimes you just have to let a few weeks pass before you talk about it again.

That is certainly the case with a wedding I did at Genesys Banquet Center back in June.

Upon arrival, I noticed that the dance floor was completely surrounded by tables, none of them planned for my use.  The second thing I noticed was the abundance of extra space in the room.  The manager then instructed me to setup in front of one of the exits which is a fire code violation.  This also meant that I would be nearly 25 feet from the dance floor and  have to project sound directly through two of the tables placed in front of me.  I asked nicely, if they would relocate the two tables so that they wouldn't be placed in front of me (PLENTY of room to do this by the way) and she stated "No". 

(During Setup - You can see how much extra space is available)

I asked several more times to no avail.  When guests began to arrive, I made sure to approach everyone trying to sit at those two tables and let them know about the hall's refusal to cooperate.  I certainly didn't want to be the one to blame for blasting music right at them.  This wasn't the couple's choice either, it's simply how they do things at this hall.

As you can see from the picture above, lighting doesn't look as good from a distance either.  It was a challenge to get people to dance the whole night.  The speakers were too far from the dance floor, the lighting wasn't up to my standards and I was placed too far away to have any interaction with the guests.

To make matters worse, one of the staff members came up to me and said that the DJ in the next room over had walked out on their party!  She asked me if I knew anyone that could come up and finish the night off for them, but being 8 PM and nearly an hour from home, I couldn't help them.

So just as we're doing their first dance, the overhead speakers come on and start blasting rap with foul language.  They apparently decided to plug in an ipod to the speakers, but didn't bother turning off the speakers in our room.  This completely ruined their first dance and we had to stop and I had to hunt down someone from the staff to fix the issue.  This took nearly 10 minutes!

In addition to all these issues, the food was sub-par and the service was just as bad.

I wouldn't recommend Genesys Banquet Center to anyone.  You could do better without trying in your own home.  Their refusal to accommodate a simple request when there was no reason not to, the fact that they willing violate fire code, destroying a couple's first dance, poor service and lack luster food is enough to steer clear of this place.

I felt bad for the couple and even with all the chaos, they still thanked me and tipped me at the end of the night.  I'm glad they realized that I did the best I could with the circumstances.

On the bright side, they had a beautiful ceremony on a picture perfect day.

Not every wedding day goes according to plan, but I promise that I will ALWAYS do everything in my power and more to make it the best day possible.  I believe the customer comes first and I'll help you with your planning and offer suggestions to eliminate issues like this.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Venue Review: YOUR OWN BACKYARD (everything you need to know about outdoor events)

This week's review is more of a guide to outdoor weddings and a list of what works and what doesn't.  With that being said, I do about 20 outdoor events each year.  Some are big elaborate weddings and some are just small school functions.  The pictures are from various events.

Things to keep in mind...

A wedding reception is really a party for your guests.  While you certainly the focus of the event, you want your guests to enjoy themselves and leave saying that was one of the best events they've ever attended.

You'll want to keep weather in mind since you'll be outdoors.  If you've selected a summer date, chances are you're safe without the need for heaters.  You'll definitely want to provide cover for everyone so a tent is pretty much a requirement.  Even if it doesn't rain, it will provide a shaded area for your guests.  If you know the temperature is going to be in the 90's or hotter, you may want to consider renting some industrial sized fans to keep your guests cool. 

Remember, if you're guests don't feel comfortable, that may give them reason to leave.

A good bathroom is a necessity.  If you don't want 100+ people trampling through your home, you may want to rent a porta-potty or a bathroom on wheels.  If you choose the porta-potty, be sure to get one with a sink and soap dispenser (and also a led light for night time use).


The sun will go down eventually and while there will be plenty of lights on the dance floor, those that aren't dancing won't want to sit in the dark.  There are many options for lighting.  Many guests line the edge of the tent with white Christmas lights (which provides a nice soft ambience, but not much brightness).  Most tents are white because it doesn't attract heat and looks clean.  That giant white canvas inside the tent is just begging for a splash of color.  That's where I can help out with up lighting.  I've even done logos and monograms, which adds a nice touch.  If you're interested in having this for your event, just ask me.  Here's some of the recent events I've done...


One of the most important things to remember is to keep your DJ on a separate circuit from heaters, air conditioner, coffee pots or anything that has a heavy power draw.  I tell this to all my outdoor clients and I cannot stress this enough.  Don't assume that it will be OK to have the DJ and the coffee pot on the same circuit.  I had an issue recently.  We knew it was an issue before the night even started because the circuit breaker kept switching off and it wasn't corrected the way I advised.  The power went out during the first dance and there was nothing I could do.

Other things to consider...

There are several types of dance floors you can rent.  Steer clear of the plastic or rubber 1x1 squares.  They aren't made for grass and don't stay together very well.  You're better off getting the 3x3 wood squares that are heavier and less likely to move.  Be sure to leave enough room for your DJ to setup inside the tent (about 4-5 feet from the edge of the tent).  The dance floor also works best in the center of the tent as opposed to being at one end and having to project sound long distance.  The image on the left is the 1x1 plastic floor, the right is the 3x3 wood floor.


Be prepared to hold the ceremony in the tent if weather related circumstances require it.  If you should need ceremony music and/or microphones, I can help with that, just ask.

Make sure you've got somewhere for all your guests to park.  Many of my outdoor weddings have been in the country so parking hasn't been a big issue.
If you have questions about anything, it's best to ask someone.  Whether it's your caterer about food related things or myself when it comes to lighting, sound and placement.  I've been doing this for 14 years and I've done a LOT of outdoor weddings in that time.  I hope this post helps you out a bit! 

I'll leave you with some pictures from the grad party I did just last night.  There was a zero chance of rain so we opted to setup in the most most ideal spot for sound projection and usability of the photo booth.  This was a beautiful home in Brighton and most of the guests stayed close to the house even though they had a tent further out in the yard.

Until Next Sunday - Happy Wedding Planning!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Venue Review: Coyote Preserve & Golf Club

Coyote Preserve & Golf Club is tucked away off of the US23 service drive between Center Rd and White Lake Rd.  You can see the entrance from US23.  The entrance winds back a few miles through a nice private subdivision and leads to the clubhouse.  The building is very nice and even the chairs are elegant enough that covers might actually detract from the look of the venue.  The room was decorated beautifully in splashes of yellow and grey.  I had never been here before this event, but Anthony and Renae picked a beautiful location for their reception.

We also provided a photo booth for this wedding, which was a huge hit.  The bridal party was so excited, they used it before their grand entrance!

The food was excellent and gets a big thumbs up for presentation!  I haven't seen a fruit display this nice, since I was on a cruise ten years ago.

Unfortunately, the weather didn't cooperate prior to dinner and it was pouring down for about an hour.  On the bright side (pun intended), the sun came out afterwards and the photographer was able to get them out quickly and get all their photos done in just 30 minutes!  The golf course has numerous photo-perfect areas for pictures.  I saw a few of the pictures that were taken and they were amazing!

The Dipzinski's had a wonderful day and were a pleasure to work for!  The guests were all very polite and really enjoyed dancing the night away.


Here's some video f
rom the last song of the night.  Feel free to add my page on Facebook!

Due to next week being the 4th of July, there will be no venue review.

Have a great holiday and stay safe!

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Truth Behind Wedding Articles Like This One...

Consumer Reports published this article and it was brought to my attention recently on a DJ forum that I belong to.  There were dozens of comments, in just the first hour, from DJs all over the country and the consensus is the same... much of this is BAD advice.  That's not just coming from me, but as of this posting, 57 other DJ companies around the country have commented and have requirements similar to mine.

The bullet points Consumer Reports listed are as follows, I've added comments below in red and green.

  • Try to use a known provider of wedding-related goods and services. Get recommendations from friends and relatives, if possible.

    This is true and a good idea! You should also try to meet with the DJ or the owner if possible. In some cases (companies with multiple DJs) it isn't always possible to meet your DJ, but the owner should be willing to sit down and talk with you.
  • Check out the company. Obtain at least three references. Look for a report at the Better Business Bureau, and use a Web search with the company or individual's name and such terms as "reviews" and "complaints."

    Bad idea.  Did you know the BBB is a PAID SERVICE?  I didn't either until I received a call from them last year stating that I had a "AAA" rating with them and that they would be happy to publish my info on their site - for $450 A YEAR!  So apparently you CAN buy your way to the top.
    Better advice: look on wedding sites such as The Knot, WeddingWire and more.  Even most of these have a pay-for-placement option so be sure you're getting honest opinions.  One of my clients pointed this out to me and I had no idea it existed.  I was pleasantly surprised to see what my clients had to say.  It's published by The Knot, but is strictly feedback from clients.  The Wedding Channel
  • Read contracts thoroughly before signing. Be sure any times and dates are included and are correct. Find out what the cancellation policy is. You never know who might get cold feet.

    Good idea!  Always read what your signing.  I do it myself.  Everything in my contract has been generated by situations that have occurred over time that I need to protect myself from.
  • When leaving a deposit or making a payment, use a credit card instead of cash, check, or debit card. That way, if there are any shenanigans or a company disappears overnight, you can ask your card issuer for a chargeback. Never pay in full ahead of time.

    WRONG!  Out of all the DJs on our forum, almost every one of them requires payment in full two weeks (or more for some of them) in advance.  As business owners, we have all gotten burned by bad checks, failure to pay and in some cases, legal repercussions.  This isn't a hobby for a professional.  It's a business and businesses have expenses like insurance, fuel, vehicle costs, equipment, supplies, advertising, media, taxes and more.
    If you've done as suggested in bullet point one and (green comment below)
    two, you'll have no problems.
  • As an extra precaution, double check with the providers a few days before the wedding that everything is ready to go and that there are no complications. Verify dates and times.

    Good idea, but I take it a step further and I call the client a few days prior to make sure there are no last minute changes and to answer any questions.
  • If you think you've been scammed or otherwise victimized, file a complaint with your state or local consumer protection agency and the Better Business Bureau.

    This one isn't bad advice but I'm not sure how much luck you'll have with it.  The CPA may be helpful, but I've had issues with companies before and the BBB does nothing to help.
    Here's the link to the full article:

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Venue Review - Indian Springs Metropark, White Lake, MI

Hidden North of M-59 in White Lake, is a modern, elegant, educational and fun location that most would overlook for their wedding.  Indian Springs Metropark offers a lot to see and do in addition to their beautiful hall that seats about 200.

While there is a lot of glass on two sides of the room, the natural wood ceiling and wall really benefit from up lighting.  I also did the monogram for them.  This is a perfect example of how a little extra lighting can really transform the look of your event! The top picture was taken with my phone (which is why it's darker) and the two under it were taken with my DSLR and are more accurate to the brightness and color.

 The in house caterer is Kosch Catering and they do a great job.  The wedding I did had a time change and dinner was moved up 45 minutes and they easily accommodated it.  The staff was friendly, efficient and very helpful.  The food was well above average and if I had to rate this meal I'd say 4/5 (near perfect).

I highly recommend this venue for weddings as your guests will appreciate it as much as you will.



 Venue Reviews by The DJ Guy - EVERY Sunday at noon!