Looking to really save yourself some money on your wedding and still have it come off great? It can happen if you plan everything correctly.
A recent affordable wedding I DJ’ed at South Schenectady Fire House Banquet went perfectly and was classy, to boot. The hall is new, super clean, has all the facilities you need and a full kitchen. It also comes complete with the tables and chairs needed for about 100 people. And, most importantly, they allow for outside catering (this is key).
The bride and groom had to quickly put their special day together, due to a life threatening health situation with a family member. They wanted their loved one to be able to attend and didn’t have a whole lot of time to save.
HOW TO BOOK A GREAT WEDDING (HALL & FOOD) FOR ABOUT $1,000!
Here is what they did:
1) They contacted and rented the South Schenectady Fire House, and was able to rent the hall for $300. This was a great place to have the wedding because, across the street is a fabulous Italian restaurant called Canali’s.
2) They then had Canalis Restaurant (at 126 Mariaville Rd, Schenectady, NY) provide the catering, just the food as a pick up order for 100 people or so. The food bill came to under $700.
3) Next, during the cocktail hour, someone went over and picked up the food. Then, they served dinner buffet style.
4) They did their own bartending (beer and wine).
5) They cleaned up the hall themselves.
Now mind you, they did not have anyone serve the food, but the quality was as good if not better than many of the big name wedding halls in the area.
What can we learn from this?
If you can find a hall that lets you bring in your own catering, you can save a whole lot!!! What you are typically paying for at an expensive wedding hall is serving, clean up and facilities. Finding a nice place like The South Schenectady Firehouse with a great restaurant nearby that will cooperate with time is a game changer!
THE ALBANY HILTON aka CROWNE PLAZA IS A GOOD PLACE FOR A WEDDING
Over the weekend, I had the pleasure of being able to DJ for Liz & Chris at The Hotel Albany, (now called The Albany Hilton) on 40 Lodge Street Albany, NY. (They have been coming for years to Villa Valenti Pub, a place I have been a disc jockey at for karaoke for a long time, and subsequently, they knew what they were getting into by booking me!)
LOCATION – You know a place must be good when it is busy, right? There were five other events in the hotel on this particular Saturday. It was very busy. There were two school functions, some kind of brunch, and a class reunion right next door to our spot at the main dining hall. While the very busy nature of the hotel does say that they a name to consider when looking for a venue conveniently located at the foot of Albany with easy access to 787, there was one problem during cocktail hour for this particular event; the busy swimming pool.
COCKTAIL HOUR – The cocktail hour was scheduled to take place outside the main dining hall, in this case, for an hour and a half. However, with all the people around and school functions, the swimming pool on the floor below us was packed more than I have ever seen in, being a DJ in the Albany, New york area for 13 years.
The way the hotel is set up is kind of like a mall where the cocktail hour takes place, in that you can look down and see the floor below. Honestly, the other times I have provided the mobile disc jockey wedding reception services as DJ Kenny Casanova at the Crowne Plaze, the swimming pool below had never played a factor, auditorily. This time, however, it sounded like The YMCA, and the village people were nowhere to be found.
(NOTE – since the Hilton took over the hotel, they have put up windows to reduce swimmingd sounds. Great move!)
Liz, the bride, has really been fun and supported us for quite sometime at our other gigs, so we wanted to make this day the best we could for her. Therefore, we set up, free of charge without discussion, to “drown out the swimmers below” – pardon the pun.
It worked for the most part. The other event coordinator at the class reunion came over a few times to ask us to turn down the acoustic music, and tunes we were playing, as not to bother the guest next door at the other party. But we managed to find a happy medium to mask the pool party splashing and it seemed to work.
One good thing about the class reunion as a neighbor, the guests were able to swipe different Hors’ Dourves free of charge off the other party!
STAFF – Everything else went off without a hitch. The staff is great to work with and made everything go really smooth, despite the fact that the event coordinator of this wedding was replaced somewhere in the middle of the reception, due to scheduling conflicts. The hotel also helped out immediately during set-up with a wiring issue and their AV guy went above and beyond to keep things professional and clean, with no visual eyesore factor to the guests.
The wait staff was friendly and helpful, and also very fast and efficient in serving all the guest. Some venues take too much time up, cutting into the dance portion of the night. This was not the case.
FOOD / DRINK – The hot Hors’ Dourves were really good. The dinner food was just average; not great, not terrible. This party was more about the drinking anyhow… and the bartenders did do a great job keeping the glasses filled with minimal wait.
In the end, a pretty good time was had by all, as many of the guests wanted the party to be extended. One good thing about booking at The Albany Hilton is that when the wedding reception is over, they have a great in house bar that stays open very late to move your after party to.
All in all, this event was my first one under the new Hilton owned Hotel Albany name. In the end, it proved to still be a great location being only a minute off of 787 in downtown Albany, with good employees, decent service and average/mediocre food.
ALBANY HILTON aka CROWN PLAZA WEDDING
For more information on using us to be YOUR wedding DJ, call 518-506-3305
TOP 10 LIST FOR BEST WEDDING VENUES IN SARATOGA SPRINGS BY LOCAL DJ
Here is a top 10 list for our very favorite halls in the Saratoga, NY area. We figure, who better than to tell you like it is than a non-biased non-employee who has worked the ins-and-outs of this territory like our disc jockeys. Each has a little information and contact info so that you can check it out to see if it is right for your wedding or special event,
1) Museum of Dance
99 S Broadway in Saratoga Springs, NY – This is my absolute favorite venue. Elegant. Has a separate area for cocktail, a nice area outside for the ceremony and most importantly ALLOWS YOU TO BOOK ANY CATERER YOU WANT! Outside catering means control and SAVINGS POTENTIAL! (518) 584-2225 Website
2) Inn at Saratoga
231 Broadway Street in Saratoga, New York – This is one of my favorite venues for a small wedding. Great outdoor location with a tent for the ceremony and a nice dinning area for about 75-100. (518)583-1890 Website
3) Saratoga Wilton Elks
1 Elks Lane – Saratoga Springs, NY Another one of my personal favorites with awesome patio for the ceremony and nice area for the reception. (518) 584-2585 Website
4) Clifton Park Elks
695 Macelroy Road – Ballston Lake NY 12019. Best kept secret. Multiple locations for ceremony and indoor/outdoor reception options. Website
5) The Edison Club 891 Riverview Road in Rexford NY – Super nice with multiple areas to pick from. Two locations for outside ceremonies, two cocktail areas, and a reception hall with a stage for your entertainment services DJ/band. (518) 399-2393 Website
6) Longfellows 500 Union Ave, Saratoga Springs, NY. This has a great indoor facility for ceremony with a coy fish waterfall. The food is out of this world! (518)587-0108 Website
7) The Saratoga Hilton 534 Broadway of Saratoga Springs, NY – You will agree that it is a great location right on the strip to have your wedding ceremony. Nice big reception hall rooms with partitions so that you can select the perfect size for your perfect night. (518) 693-1004 Website
8) Gideon Putnam Resort and Spa 24 Gideon Putnam Road in Saratoga Springs, NY. This is for, of course, the super high-end wedding location seeker with a very nice observatory fancy glass pane window reception hall. (518) 226-4700 Website
9) The Lodge on Echo Lake 175 Hudson Street in Warrensburg, NY – A tille further up from Saratoga for the person who wants a more secluded wedding. It is a very nature-based nice location with waterfront ceremony capability and reception hall with a very large dance floor. (518) 623-5599 Website
10) Hall Of Springs 108 Ave of The Pines in Saratoga Springs, NY – Perfect location by SPAC for large elegant weddings. Many large columns and can seat 300 guests or more. (518) 583-3003 Website
Are you thinking of throwing a party but have no idea what to do for food? How about a BBQ service that offers WHOLE HOG pig roasts with a cool billiards theme?
They do it all. When I was the DJ for a party they did last year, I was blown away. 3 Ball has the most impressive custom-made smoker, “Smokezilla,” that I ever saw.
3 Ball BBQ menu is also out of this world. Not only do they carry the best in traditional BBQ entrees, but they also have “Global-Cue” categories featuring Brazilian BBQ on skewers and Korean BBQ dishes. I personally couldn’t get enough of their scrumptious seafood gumbo!
ANY SIZE PARTY – If the idea of too much food from a massive HOG isn’t what you are looking for for your smaller backyard BBQ, how about a smaller suckling pig with some other pork platters and sides? They really aim to please.
If you want to book them for a party, check out 3BallBBQ.com, or call 518-522-7102.
A brand new, really nice venue in Albany for your special day.
“I am so happy you were a part of our wedding day at 90! You truly made the night perfect. All I wanted to see was everyone dancing and everyone was! At one moment, I sat and watched and it was amazing that almost every table was up and moving. You did a wonderful job and highly recommend you! I can’t thank you enough for helping us throw an awesome party! Sincerely – Mr and Mrs Lutz”
No the bride wasn’t 90 years old. These are some kind words from a bride whose wedding was my first DJ gig at a really nice venue called 90 State Events in Albany.
Here are some things I took interest in, when doing a gig at The 90 State Events reception hall that I thought I would share with you, in case you are looking for a good place for a wedding in the Albany area.
THE LOOK – With 4,000 square feet of beautiful architecture and fancy 50 foot ceilings, at The 90, brides can accommodate over a 400 guest list!
THE SOUND – The acoustics are surprisingly good for a place built with so much stome! Unlike some other restored banks, this reception venue has a great sound without that gym-like echo, due to noise reduction padding and also a state of the art sound system for your cocktail hour on the mezzanine.
THE FOOD – I had a bit of pulled pork nachos as an appetizer, and some bacon-wrapped sirloin for an entree that couldn’t be beat. The 90’s on-site food service is Mazzone Catering, on of my favorites, who already has been providing the Capital District with over 30 years of experience delivering flawless weddings in Albany.
THE SPACE – As I mentioned before, the cocktail hour is above the head table and the dance floor seen in the picture on the mezzanine. There is also a room up there to hideaway the bridal party, as well as another in the back corner of the main floor. Another neat little party room place is the old-style vault, which is decorated in a must-see style you will love.
THE PARKING – I will admit, it is not easy, as no place downtown really is in Albany, but The 90 does provide valet parking to help out in this department.