Rachel and Xavier’s Ballroom Blitz

The Wedding Reception

As a wedding DJ in Richmond, I love working closely with clients on their music selection. Crafting the perfect wedding reception playlist is (as one of my DJs observed when shadowing one of Bunn DJ Company’s best DJs) like creating a symphony.

Because all tastes are different a wedding DJ needs to work with the bride and groom to get a sense of what they and their guests like. Bunn DJ Company in Richmond (and the other offices) offer an amazing online wedding planning system which helps clients craft the perfect wedding playlist.

So you can imagine my surprise when I looked at Rachel and Xavier’s music planner to find they had selected…..three songs. Now I’m confident in my DJ abilities and can read a crowd but going in cold to a 225 person wedding, that’s a test!

The Introductions

For their introductions they had at least selected a few songs, including Wang Chung’s hit from the 80s Everybody Have Fun Tonight, AND as a surprise, for the Maid of Honor and Best Man’s entrance the bride asked me to play a song off of the groom’s hip hop album he made in college, the expression on his face was priceless!

The cocktail hour at the Westin Richmond was held in the hall outside the ballroom, and the mother of the bride pulled me aside and said she couldn’t wait for the dance part of the wedding reception to start – that’s always a good sign for a wedding DJ!

I had put together a great mix of jazz standards (Sinatra, Dean Martin, etc) and Motown hits for dinner. I was happy with my selections but absolutely delighted when couples were on the dance floor during dinner ! Nothing makes a DJ more excited then having wedding guests  dancing early.

The bride had booked me until midnight and the bar was open until late so there are too many amazing moments to write about.

Highlights From The Evening:

  • The dance floor and all clear space near it being taken up by guest jumping around and dancing for the ENTIRE length of the Hora Medley – all 7 minutes of it!
  • Seeing the bride’s mother dancing ON TOP OF HER CHAIR at her table!
  • Getting to see Xavier and Rachel cut their cake with a sword, and not just any sword but her grandfather’s sword from when he was in the Navy!
  • Watching people of all ages dance to everything from The Temptations to Prince, and Bruno Mars and Justin Bieber to Salt ’n’ Pepa.

The team I worked with that evening were awesome, Karla Crisp from Petals and Lace Events did a killer job co-ordinating the night and Paige Stevens Photography (aside from cracking me up) did a stellar job of being everyone at once to capture the great moments from the evening.

This wedding was one for the books and was a reminder of how much I love my job here in Virginia as a wedding DJ!

Rebecca and Scott Survive The Storm!

Being a wedding DJ based in Richmond means I get to work all kinds of venues. I’ve been a DJ for a barn wedding, I’ve gotten to DJ a vineyard wedding in Charlottesville, and DJ a historic hotel wedding in downtown Richmond. When I arrived to DJ for Rebecca and Scott who were having their wedding reception at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden I didn’t know what nature had in store!

The Ceremony

Their plan was to get married on the lawn at the Lewis Ginter Bloemendaal House, and the weather seemed fine as everyone finished setting up. Literally 5 minutes before the wedding ceremony was due to start clouds rolled in and the wedding guests rushed under the dinner tent as it began to hail!

The staff rushed to move the chairs under cover and as it began to hail harder they said their vows under the tent. A storm wasn’t going to stop this Richmond wedding!

The Reception

My DJ table had been set up on the porch which had a greenhouse style roof. I noticed with alarm as the rain and hail got even harder that my gear was set up right near an overflowing roof gutter!! With some help I moved to a drier section and decided rain nor hail was going to keep Rebecca, Scott and their guests from having music!

As a wedding DJ you have to be prepared to make things work, so I reached into my bag for supplies and taped an umbrella to my speaker! My main DJ setup was covered so I plugged in my iPad and let it roll! The couple had requested New Orleans style jazz for happy hour and despite the rain the mood lightened once the music hit.

Then The Lightning Started

At an outdoor wedding at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden it’s policy to move guests to shelter if there is a lighting storm – using my best MC skills I encouraged everyone to move inside as the staff decided what to do. It was decided to move dinner inside, so I moved my equipment into the house and we were able to do the welcome and toasts before dinner started.

The weather cleared after 30 minutes so I moved my equipment back outside and things were back on track! Despite the weather adding some interruptions everyone was happy to be outside and we got the dance floor moving! Being a wedding DJ is always eventful and even dealing with a hail storm, I still love what I do!

Thanks to Caroline Lima Photography for being an awesome vendor to work with, as well as the staff at Lewis Ginter

DJing Erin and Aaron’s Motown Style Wedding

As a wedding DJ, when a bride says “…hey, we’ve got a theme we’re going for”, I wonder how creative it’s going to get. I couldn’t believe my luck when she said it would be a 50’s and 60’s Motown and girl group themed wedding reception here in Richmond. I grew up listening to that kind of music and was really looking forward to digging deep for some great tunes to DJ.

The Wedding Ceremony

Erin and Aaron got married in downtown Richmond at Historic Tredegar right in front of the big grey doors. Despite steady rain for the previous two days straight the sun had come out and wedding guests were chatting happily as I began to DJ a prelude set of slower oldies, such as the Drifters, Everly Brothers and Santo & Johnny. The wedding ceremony was a quick one and as I cranked up “All Day and All Of The Night” by the Kinks, Erin and Aaron came down the aisle under a flurry of small fuzzy pom pom balls – it was awesome!

The Reception

I can’t recall a more chill wedding couple to DJ for than Erin and Aaron – they chose to avoid any introductions, didn’t call attention to their cake cutting and passed on some of the traditional wedding activities like a bouquet toss. Erin and her stepmom almost brought the house down when they danced to the always epic “Purple Rain” by Prince – this wedding DJ was smiling from ear to ear.

As a wedding DJ you need to be able to dig deep – Erin really knew her stuff and when we started off with the original version of “Iko Iko” by the Dixie Cups and the dance floor began to fill I knew it would be a fun wedding crowd to DJ for in downtown Richmond!

For a DJ such as myself it’s thrilling to see all ages of people on the floor, and I got to sneak in some Justin Timberlake and Bruno Mars among the Countours, Little Richard, Temptations and Supremes tracks.

My favorite moment however came at the end the night when I played the brides’ request for Blink 182’s “All The Small Things” – the wedding party knew every word and so I decided to follow that up with the Fallout Boy sing a long “Sugar, We’re Going Down” and the video I took barely did it justice !

Needless to say I love when my DJ intuition pays off and seeing the wedding party bouncing right in front of the DJ booth!

I had a great time working with the amazing team at Events by Elizabeth Palmer, Plain With Sprinkles Events had a hand in the design and Photography by Donna May captured some great moments from the night.

How To Dress Appropriately For A Wedding

Have you ever wondered how to dress appropriately for a Wedding? Have you ever asked yourself what is “formal”, “smart casual”, “casual”..etc.?  This will answer all your questions whether you are a guest, Groomsman, plus one or family member, we have you covered.

Infographic by T.M.Lewin, English experts in dressing smart for any occasion. 

wedding dress code guide

 

Sarah and Ben’s Virginia Riverside Wedding

When I arrived at Ben’s parent’s property in Sandy Point, Virginia to DJ Ben & Sarah’s wedding ceremony and reception I couldn’t believe how gorgeous the property was. The wedding would be held on the banks of the Potomac River – and what a day for it!

The Wedding Ceremony

It was a beautifully sunny but slightly windy day in the Northern Neck of Virginia. A rustic wooden platform backed by a hand made cross decorated with flowers was set up a stone’s throw from Virginia’s Potomac River. The couple had left all of the ceremony music up to me – which can be a challenge, but one I love as a DJ! As guests arrived I was DJing a mix of classical favorites and classical guitar and piano covers of modern songs, like this amazing version of Sam Smith’s ‘Stay With Me’.

When it came time for Sarah and her father to walk down the aisle my DJ instinct said Boyce Avenue’s version of the very popular Christina Perri song ‘A Thousand Years’ would be the right song – a compliment from the wedding planner after the ceremony proved my DJ instinct correct! Pastor Roger McGee led the ceremony and as it began the wind suddenly ceased and all of the guests could hear every word, the timing was perfect! When the ceremony ended Sarah’s aunt led the guests in a recital of the Lord’s Prayer. As they walked down the aisle as man and wife, I brought up the energy by playing the instrumental version of Bruno Mars’ song ‘Just The Way You Are

The bridal party remained by the river as Photos From The Harty from Washington DC took pictures. I used my ceremony speaker to direct a mix of standards and motown for cocktail hour music towards the bridal party’s photo shoot and began to DJ another cocktail hour playlist at the reception tent.

The Reception

Sarah and Ben were one of the more laid back couples I’ve had the pleasure of DJing for. Even better was that I was paired up with Marylee Marmer and the incredible staff of Marylee Marmer Events. Having a very professional local Virginia wedding planner made my day as a wedding DJ even easier.

Sarah was nice enough to let her dad pick half of her reception songs and left the rest up to me. The newly married couple made their grand entrance to Tim McGraw’s ‘She’s My Kind of Rain’. They had their first dance to his hit ‘My Best Friend’.

Sarah’s father Tom gave a great welcoming speech followed up by Pastor McGee’s blessing and as the guests were released to eat dinner. I played a dinner mix that was heavy on 50’s and 60’s motown songs with a few standards from Sinatra and Dean Martin.

We opened the dance floor with the parents dances, and then the anniversary dance. The song I chose almost ran out because they had so many couples who had been married over 40 years! Sarah’s father clearly loved to dance as he got down to some classic funk and soul hits and as the night went on and dusk began to fall I shifted into full party mode and had everyone from the bridal party to the mother of the groom out on the dance floor shaking it to Shakira’s ‘Hips Don’t Lie’.

The dance floor got packed and I was getting lots of great requests until I finally had to close out the evening using Pat Benatar’s ‘Hit Me With Your Best Shot’ for the bouquet toss before directing the guests to grab some bubbles as the newly married couple made their way into the night!

Missy & Seal’s Downtown Richmond Wedding

Missy and Justin’s wedding reception took place at the Hilton Downtown Richmond, which is located in a beautifully restored Richmond landmark.  From the start of the cocktail hour I knew this would be a fun group to DJ for on April 8th!

The Cocktail Hour

The cocktail hour was held in a spacious lobby area just outside the ballroom where the main reception would take place. The couple had requested a classy cocktail hour so I stuck mostly with classic standards and crooners like Sinatra and Dean Martin.

The Introductions

Their bridal party entered the ballroom to Avicii’s song “Levels” and every member of the bridal party had a special pose they struck together when the entered! I introduced Justin and Missy to huge applause while “Home” by Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros played and they went straight into their first dance – “More Of You” by Chris Stapleton.  Before the welcome, Missy and her father danced to a custom song edit I created of Bob Carlisle’s ‘Butterfly Kisses’, and Justin danced with his mother to Ellie Goulding’s ‘How Long Will I Love You’.  Missy’s father Steve gave an incredibly heartfelt welcome and a brief blessing before dinner service started. The Hilton Richmond Downtown catered a plated meal and I was given DJs choice for music so I played a mixed of some standards, acoustic indie rock and singer songwriter tunes.

The Dancing

Before the dance floor was opened toasts were done by the two best men, the maid of honor and a bridesmaid. The bride’s father then put on a pair of sunglasses which were being given out, got on the mic and said something like “if you put on these sunglasses no one can see you dancing” – he then had me play “Uptown Funk” and he got the dance party started, and they did not stop! There were even a couple of guests in wheelchairs who were out on the dance floor almost the entire time.

I only stopped the dance party once for the cake cutting, we then did an Anniversary dance to Elvis Presley’s ‘Can’t Help Falling In Love’ with the last couple standing being married for 45 years!

This was such a fun wedding – I love it when the guests are there to dance and party until the very end! I’m sure Julie J Photography got some stellar photos of the wedding and I can’t wait to DJ another wedding at the Hilton Richmond.

 

Drew and Adrienne’s Wedding at Art Works

On November 5th 2016, Drew and Adrienne held their wedding reception at Art Works, an art gallery/studio space located just a few minutes from downtown Richmond. I was really looking forward to getting to DJ in this space since it’s a combination art gallery, active art studio AND hip wedding venue near downtown Richmond.

Drew and Adrienne were one of the more hands off wedding couples I’ve gotten to DJ for in Richmond. They gave me a few music suggestions but left picking almost all of the music to me. They even let me pick their introduction song (Calvin Harris ft Rihanna – This Is What You Came For)!

As the guests arrived I started with some classics and standards (Sinatra, Buble, Harry Connick Jr). Then I mixed in some uptempo singer songwriters like Amos Lee and Andy Grammer.

The Dinner

IK Catering was providing various stations around the wedding reception area (including an amazing looking fruit arrangement) at Art Works.  The guests were mingling between two rooms. During dinner I stayed with the standards and acoustic mix since I could see the older guests nodding heads and tapping feet – a few of them even got up during dinner to dance to some Rat Pack classics!

The Dancing

Before the Father/Daughter and the Mother/Son dances I was asked by Adrienne to invite all fathers/daughters and mothers/sons to join them on the dance floor after the first verse, and it was so cool to see so many of their friends and family getting up and dance with the newly married couple! I’m sure that Jason Jarvis Photography got some really great pictures from that moment.

The Finale

After the toast I opened the dance floor to the Groom’s request of Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl” and spent the remainder of the evening DJing a mix of motown, old school hip hop, a few 80’s and ended to evening with “(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life” by Bill Medley/Jennifer Warnes, from the Dirty Dancing soundtrack.

By Frank Guertler- Owner

Bunn DJ Company- Richmond VA