As you may have read in our FAQ section, it has been said that a good rule of thumb is to book your entertainment 6 months ahead of time, when possible.
HOW MUCH TIME DO I REALLY NEED TO BOOK MY DJ OR VENUE? IS SIX MONTHS GOOD ENOUGH?
A Few “Rule Of Thumbs” About Booking Times For A Big Event
With three new venues all on State Street in Albany, there are certainly a lot of options in our area to look at, as far as where to have your wedding. However, that doesn;t mean they will all be available for the date you are hoping for.
Booking your DJ & wedding hall six months ahead of time is a good rule of thumb, but it is not always going to guarantee you will get the exact venue location(s) or the specific DJ that you want. Timing and availability are everything.
Q: IS IT EVER TOO LATE TO CALL? – A: Never! If you have a gig tomorrow and want a DJ last minute, or if your DJ service cancelled on you (those bastards!) …CALL US ASAP! We have covered a number of weddings for slacker DJ’s who canceled with their bride within one day. We actually work well pinch-hitting. We have always pulled off these last-minute bookings with high accolades!
Q: HOW EARLY SHOULD I PLAN TO BOOK A PARTY/EVENT PROFESSIONAL? – A: The bigger the event, the more advance notice you should give. Sometimes, however, even six months ahead won’t guarantee the specific hall, caterer, or DJ that you really want, so do not delay. Always call ASAP, and work out the details later!
Q: WHAT IS CONSIDERED PRIME TIME FOR A PARTY/WEDDING? – A: The most popular dates are Saturday nights, falling on April thru to November. When you select a Saturday for the day of your event, typical 9-to-5 weekday working guests have all of Saturday morning to arrive, and all of Sunday to get home.
Q: SHOULD I BOOK MY PARTY ON A HOLIDAY? – A: We always suggest staying away from booking on holidays. While you may think that choosing a day that many may have off of work may be the way to go, it also can actually reduce guest availability. A Halloween-themed wedding can be very fun, but if it actually falls on the 31st, some parents will take children out to trick-or-treat. Also, keep in mind that people plan for their day offs far in advance.
Q: WHEN SHOULD I BOOK MY VENUE? – A: The smaller the town, the more time you actually need!!! Only about 24 people can book a Saturday night for one particular venue during “Prime Time.” If you really want a good selection, start a full year ahead, or even 18 months.
Q: WHEN SHOULD I BE BOOKING DJs, PHOTOGRAPHERS, WEDDING PROFESSIONALS? – A: While six months ahead is a good rule of thumb for reserving good entertainment, it’s still always crap shoot, when you really want a particular name DJ, band, or photographer. I have found that at the six month ahead point, sometimes we are already booked, sometimes not.
Many Things to Think about On Selecting Your Actual Wedding Calander Date
1) DATE SELECTION – Before booking your DJ, you really should figure out the right calendar date. The safest dates usually fall between spring and fall and are usually Saturday nights so that your guests have Sunday to get back to work, or recover. However, wedding dates in the North East drop off dramatically after Fall. Think about it. Most brides do not want to drop $10,000 on a party where guests could potentially get snowed in. Booking in this time frame of Spring to Fall on a Saturday night means you usually have to pay full price. This is prime time for halls, catering companies, Disc Jockeys and Bands.
Anytime before May 1st and after November 1st is an easy date to get and could save you money in hall/catering due to discounts.
2) STAY AWAY FROM HOLIDAY/SPECIAL DATE COMPETITION – Make sure your date doesn’t conflict with Thanksgiving plans, as you do not want to compete with other plans that your guests may have. Dates that sound good like Halloween, Christmas and New Years or even the Saturday before Veteran’s Day (so people can turn it into a long weekend) may seem like a good plan, but remember, that means your guests may have these dates for something else and will ultimately not make it to your special day. Always check with family members, parents or other significant people so you know that that there are no conflicts.
For example, a Halloween-themed wedding can be fun, but if it actually falls later in the day to eveneing on the 31st, think about how many parents will not come because they want to take their children out to trick-or-treat.
3) CHURCH & HALL AVAILABILITY – In medium and bigger cities like Albany, NY, with six months advance notice, you generally can find something good, but not always the exact hall you are looking for. In smaller towns, you definitely book the church and/or hall first and much earlier than six months. If there is a popular place that you have in mind, it could be difficult to get the prime time which often is 5:30 pm and after on Saturday, during May thru October. Only about 24 people will grab up a Saturday night for any particular spot during this time frame. And if your town is very small with only one or two places that could hold a decent wedding, reports show that some people may start booking it up even a full year ahead of time, or even 18 months.
When You Should Make a choices on Booking Entertainment
When Should You Book Your Wedding DJ in Albany NY?
1) BOOKING DJs & BANDs – Unless in the rare occasion you have planned the DJ first having one favorite absolutely in mind, usually the hall is booked first. Once you have reception and ceremony locations booked solid, you should go ahead book the entertainment.
From my experience, allowing for six months advance notice isn’t bad when booking a DJ service that has multiple DJs available, but it is a a roll of the dice when you are specifically trying to book one particular DJ name from one particular entertainment company for your wedding.
I find that at the six month point mark, 50 percent of the time I am already booked when a bride is requesting me by name.
2) BOOKING PHOTOGRAPHERS – Using the same rules as above with booking the DJ, from my experience, six months advance notice isn’t horrible when booking a photography, but it is a crap shoot when you are specifically trying to book one particular photographer by name for your special day.
3) BOOKING PRIME TIME SLOTS – For entertainment booking like Disc Jockeys and bands during the prime time season of spring to fall on a Saturday night, the early birds start planning in the fall for next early spring or summer and they usually get who they want. People who wait until after the new year sometimes grab who they want, but it doesn’t always work out that way.
If you are looking at a Friday or a Sunday party and/or in the ealry spring or later in fall, less booking advance time maybe needed. (You also can often save some good money as well. Make sure and ask for a discount as halls and entertainment companies often will give you something for filling empty spots or time slots that don’t fall into the prime time category!)
Place cards…. They are the little folded business-card-looking thingies with the guests’ names directing them to their assigned table. At a recent wedding that I was the DJ for the bride and groom decided to go a different route, as discussed in another one of my recent blogs Themed Place Cards at http://thedjservice.com/2010/07/themed-alternatives-to-wedding-place-cards/.
At this reception, they decided to trade in the paper for fire. They used little tea lights in votive candle holders with the printed names on each one. It was really cool to see everyone surround the table and look for their candles! Then, on by one, each person carefully brought their little candle keepsake to their destination table.
When purchasing the following materials, it is very important to use tealights in place of the actual votive candles that often come with the holders. Using actual candles will result in the outside to hot to the touch. Tealights will getting warm but will not be uncomfortable to hold as the guests bring the place card alternative back to their table.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR DIY CANDLE PLACE CARDS
MATERIALS NEEDED: Tealights /tea light candles (enough for each couple), Plain glass votive holder (Candle holder cups), light -medium weight transparent vellum (thin paper is best), Laser printer, double-sided tape roll;
1) Get the proper measurements…. Measure the votive candle holders to determine the height and length around the cup. Make a template of the shape of your label. Note that even the most plain votive holders will have a slight curvature, so expect the template to be in an arch-like shape.
2) Set up the template… Set up Microsoft Word or PhotoShop so that you can space your guests names and your actual table numbers the right distance. You can probably get about three templates to a page with room to spare.
3) Print out the sheets… Use the template you made in step one to cut the right shape out of the larger sheets of vellum. Organize the labels, as you set them aside after printing.
4) Open shop… Set up a big workstation with all your materials at a table and make sure to enlist help. Even one extra person will cut your time in half, or more! Wrap each printed label around the votive and trim accordingly. Depending on your printer, you make need to be careful that the ink is dry, and you do not smudge the names during this process. When the label is lined up correctly, it will lay out smooth and flat. Apply the double-sided tape and put aside.
5) Quality control… Keep all the candles in front of you. This will allow for an overall consistent appearance of the candles and give also it you a preview of what they will look like all lined up at the wedding.
Make sure to light candles no more than 30 minutes before your guests come to pick them up to ensure long lasting light.
Last year was a rough one. The holidays are finally behind us now. We have opened our presents, made our returns, made our resolutions and probably already broke them. A bunch of celebrities died. A bunch of Hatchimals didn’t hatch. BUt we made it through all of that, somehow regardless.
Now it is time to get back to reality. For some of us, the big wedding is only around the corner and waiting to plan because it could bring some headaches is a bad idea.
I too often hesitate to do something that can be stressful. Hell, sometimes I sit in the parking lot of the gym and fiddle with my phone, because I know the gym is going to hurt a little. However, if we take this approach with planning a wedding, it could impact the success of your wedding in the long run.
IT IS TIME TO PLAN YOUR WEDDING NOW!
In other places throughout this blog, I posted information that encouraged you to plan six months or more ahead of time to book your DJ, and up to a full year ahead of time to secure your hall/catering service. That means if you are planning on getting married in the prime time availability slots; summer on a Saturday might, you really need to start moving now!
Yoda once said, “There is only do, or do not.”
If you wait until the last minute, you may have to settle for something you do not really want for your special day. Last week in the Albany NY area, we already had days with about 3 to 5 wedding inquiries, speaking with anxious, but prepared brides looking to secure particular dates. They could be competing for day with a location that you have in the back of your head, or a vendor that would fit you perfectly.
Even with four DJ’s at TheDJService.com, we have already seen conflicts on dates and may have to turn a few couples away. There are only so many good companies servicing the Albany & Troy, Saratoga Springs & Schenectady NY area. Get a move on it!
If you start planning now and you will be all good! Just pick up the phone and call.
A month ago in Albany, NY, I was the wedding disc jockey for a younger Lithuanian couple, proud of their roots. They were good people, so I can understand why their guests wanted to shower them with money, but something at this wedding was different. These cash gifts were not in card-form at the gift table, but rather people showering the dance floor …with coins!
As the first dance came to an end, the wedding party rushed to pour tons of silver dollars, quarters, and smaller coins, all around the dance floor corners. When the newlyweds finally made their exit, the guests frantically moved in to pick up the coins to fill a tall glass vase on the head table. Eventually, a lucky guest held the specially marked coin in the air and demanded his dance with the bride.
I since learned that the Lithuanian love coin wedding tradition originated from a 1500’s Lithuanian town legend that would later resurface as a fad in the 1800’s. Here is what our Disc Jockeys at TheDJservice.com could find about the original story that transformed into the wedding tradition we have today:
THE LITHUANIAN LOVE COIN LEGEND: In a small Lithuanian village in the 1500’s, a young man did not have enough money to buy his girlfriend an engagement ring. With the country involved in one of the many Muscovite–Lithuanian Wars, most men didn’t have much money and had to be creative. What this man chose to do to profess his undying love, was to provide his bride-to-be with a personalized gift. He took a coin and spent many hours cleaning it, sanding it, and overall, turning it into a piece of beautiful art. When he finished, one side now had a beautiful dove and both of their initials. When he presented this treasure to his lady and proposed, she of course said “yes.” But the ceremony was, unfortunately, not to happen anytime soon. Soon after the proposal, the man was drafted off to war and would not able to first marry his true love for another ten years.
In the meantime, she waited. As a symbol of their love, she treasured the coin and kissed it every night before bed, awaiting his return. One night, however, thieves broke into her house and stole her very few valuables and also put the coin in a bag. The girl awoke the next morning and was heartbroken.
After ten years, the man finally returned to his home town as a hero. His bride-to-be had waited eagerly and was very elated with his return, but very sad to confess the loss of the coin he had made for her. The man comforted her and decided to waste no more time. They planned their wedding for the weekend. The next day, the entire village passed word of the news. Come the weekend, the whole town came to what was supposed to be a small wedding ceremony to show thanks to the man who fought so bravely for them for many years.
The guests felt badly, however, when no rings were exchanged during the ceremony. They realized that the couple had no money. They learned that the wife had recently been robbed and decided to do something about it. Between the ceremony and the reception, the villagers ran home. When they returned to the reception hall, they brought with them lots of great food and presents to show thanks to their war hero.
As tradition, the couple entered the reception hall last. They drank wine and ate salt and bread to symbolize joy, tears, and work; the three main elements of a life together. Then they were surprised with an even better feast from the thankful guests. During dinner, word got out that the bride’s belongings and their precious love coin had been stolen less than a year before the groom’s return. When the first dance began, the villagers emptied their pockets and purses in merriment onto the floor, as gifts to start the home the new husband and wife.
As the guests collected the money for the couple in a flower vase, a curious thing happened. The original love coin was, in fact, found. It had been re-circulated and passed around the village and ended up in one of the guest’s pockets! The coin was happily returned to the couple who danced with it’s finder in celebration. As the story goes, they lived happily ever after.
THE LITHUANIAN LOVE COIN WEDDING TRADITION LIVES ON: Today, some Lithuanians re-live this beautiful love story, in memory of this couple and the good people of the village. The guests bring loads of silver dollars, half dollars and quarters to weddings and throw them all over the dance floor. One of the coins is marked with bride and groom’s initials. At the end of the first dance, the wedding party collect all of the coins for the newly weds and fill a clear vase, and the lucky person who finds the “love coin” gets a special dance immediately with either the bride or groom for their find.
LOVE COINS – If you are considering doing this tradition at your reception, you can make your very own Lithuanian love coin, buy a hobo nickel, or you can try to find a vintage one with their initials on it. There are many vintage ones on ebay and at: Love Tokens: Engraved Coins.
Man alive! Mother Nature can have a way making, or ruining your special day.
When people plan an outdoor reception, the often do so with the “it would never happen to me” attitiude. However, The past two years, as a wedding DJ, I have seen some pretty rainy outdoor weddings. While an outdoor wedding can be totally awesome, when the weather does not cooperate, it can be a disaster if you do not have some planning, in order.
1. Plan well. While you have to plan ahead and cannot know what the weather will be on a particular date exactly, you can still try for the right season. Plan your outdoor wedding day for a time of the year that averages good weather that is comfortable.
2. Have a Backup Plan. You can’t predict what the weather is going to be. Rather than stress about it, plan for a site which will allow you to move the entire wedding to an inside location easily.
3. Alert your vendors! All of your vendors should know that it is an outdoor wedding. It sounds easy, but often this is forgotten and sometimes certain precautions need to be taken by your professionals to make everything work out well.
4. Dress for the elements. Choose fabrics that ensure comfort on the big day. Think about the later hours of the event as well.
5. Keep your guests’ comfort in mind. Also, make sure to let your guests know that the wedding will be outdoors. Prepare them so that they may dress appropriately.
6. Decorations. Remember, decorations have to brave the elements, and sometimes they may ruin photos, as well. Look for natural or built-in points of beauty for great backdrops and photo opportunities, rather than to try and plot lots of unnecessary decorations.
7. Invest in a good tent. You get what you pay for and you do not want to be dodging downpour streams in the middle of the dance floor. Take no shortcuts when renting a tent, or deal with sunburns and tidal waves.
Some brides remember drawing themselves with veils in crayon in preschool. Others remember practicing a new surname on the back of a a high school notebook. It seems that just about every bride-to-be has dreamed about getting married practically since they were little girls. They all seem to want the same quality; perfection. However, the reality is …dreams do not always unfold into reality.
Perfection. Can it really happen? Yes, but only with the right mindset. The only real way to be happy with your reception is if all the people around you are happy. The big question to ask, therefore, should not be “What do I want?” but rather, “What do I want for my guests?”
By asking this question every time you plan an aspect of your party, you are planning from the guests’ perspective. Planning using the “Big Question” instead of something more selfish and meaningful to only you, will spawn a number of sub-questions that go along with it like, “what do I want my guests to say when they sit down?” and also, “what do I want my guests to say when they walk out the door?”
People say location is everything, but I would argue there is another component to the equation. Demographics. Thinking about who is going to be there before you actually plan, will make your reception “the best wedding of all time.” Different people like different things and you have to have a happy medium of what they will like and what you will like too.
Be a good host and your party will be good. It is just that simple. Realizing that you are trying to accommodate all of your guests’ wishes from a great wedding reception is only the first step. Next, you have to do your research. Your homework is to find what really makes you happy, and also makes every guest attending happy as well.
Think how many weddings happen across America. Because wedding receptions happen everyday everywhere , it is safe to say thousands of reception options have been created and your answers are out there. You just have to find them. Using this planning philosophy can work in every area including food, entertainment, music and even the overall look & layout of the decor.
Be unselfish and be kind. Let’s apply this unselfish planning thinking from the guests’ perspective to one particular aspect of the reception: The Cake. While you may absolutely love the idea of a classy cream cheese carrot cake, Uncle Charlie may absolutely HATE IT. That doesn’t mean you have to be unselfish and not have carrot cake, it only means you have to think outside of the box.
If you really want to be happy, make those around you happy and your happiness will follow. Ask yourself questions from their point of view. What would my guests like to see in a cake? How can I make everyone happy? In this case, why not try WEDDING CUPCAKES. Have you heard of this? You tier up a wedding cake display with many different types of cup cakes, in displayed in the shape of a traditional wedding cake. Everyone, including you and Uncle Charlie is now happy.
I tell my clients that if you really want to have your guests look back at attending “the best wedding ever,” keep them in mind as much as yourselves. Happiness breeds happiness. Playing your favorite songs is important and fine, but remember to always involve some of your guests’ favorite songs as well-even when they might not involve the same types of musical tastes. Find the happy medium, it is out there.