Ipods Kill Two More Weddings

Ipod weddings are simply disastrous.  I spent some time up in North Carolina where I was witness to not one, not two, but three beach weddings. Yes, three weddings.  Two of which decided to go the Ipod route and both of those weddings were disastrous from an audio perspective, but Wedding 3 opted for a ceremony guitarist and live DJ through a PA and it went flawlessly.  I understand the desire for brides to cut corners and save money on their weddings, but the beach brings additional elements that people just don’t understand and seem to be oblivious to.

The first thing to know about a beach wedding is that it’s the one place in the world that can be loud and relaxing at the same time.  You will almost never use those two words in the same sentence and the beach is the only place where it certainly rings true.  The waves crashing on the beach can be very loud, very relaxing, but also create an audio nightmare.

Wedding One
The bride decided to use an Ipod and instead of a PA to patch it through, she used one of those bedside units that you put your Ipod into and set on your nightstand for your listening pleasure.  She expected to bring that to a beach and have a crowd of 50 people hear it over the crashing waves and also the additional element of playing it against the wind.   Yes, that happened.  I watched it.   To make matters worse, the bride gave the responsibility of running it to someone who had no idea how to operate an Ipod.  As you can imagine, it went badly and the rest of the ceremony went without music.  The death of wedding number one. Beautiful couple, nice as can be, but I’m sure she would want you to learn from her bad experience.

Wedding Two
For Wedding Two, a hired DJ who goes by the name of a farm animal thought enough to make sure that there was a PA for the Ipod to play through.  However, it stopped working mere minutes before the ceremony was to start, but then magically started working again seconds before the wedding party proceeded down the beach path.   There were 3 songs to play during the ceremony entrances; one for the parents/grandparents, one for the bridal party, and one for the bride.

Once the Ipod started working again, the DJ began the song for the parents/grandparents entrance, but neither he (or the wedding planner) accounted for the fact that a couple of the grandparents had to trudge through 15 feet of soft white sand with canes and walkers to get to their seats.  So as their song came to an end, the bridal party song began to play before the grandparents were even seated.  The DJ then proceeded to holler (no joke) up to the bride on the dune to ask what he should do and the bride hollered back (no joke) that he should play the parent song again.  The DJ clicked the back button once which then started to play the bridal party song from the beginning again (and not the parent song which was the track before it).  Three seconds in, the DJ realized it was still the bridal party song and, yet again, clicked the back button only one time which again started the bridal party track over.  He then realized that he must click the button twice and on that third try, the parents song started again.  Less than 10 seconds later, the parents and grandparents were all seated.  And there was yet one more instance as the wedding came to a close and the newly married bride and groom walked back down the aisle…to the bridal party entrance song.  The death of wedding #2.

Forget The Ipods
When I first heard the ramblings of wedding DJ’s and bands discussing how bad Ipod weddings were, your first gut reaction is to assume monetary reasons.  And while that may be true, I personally watched 2 out of 3 weddings die a very painful and embarrassing death at the hands of Ipods and quickly realized that out of all of the corners you can cut, this should not be one of them.  Most people will say to themselves, “Oh, but I’ll make sure that the person running it knows what they’re doing.” and I can guarantee that little to almost no thought was put into the music at the first two weddings I attended.   People who opt for an Ipod wedding not only expect to save money, but also time in their wedding planning when the exact opposite is true.  If you opt for an Ipod wedding, expect the worst, because it’s much better to have a band or DJ thinking about the music and not you as the bride.  While there was a DJ involved in the second wedding, his utter lack of professionalism created an audio fiasco and great embarrassment for the bride.

If you’re a bride planning a wedding, please opt for a wedding DJ or band instead of an Ipod.  There are ALWAYS mistakes that happen and it’s just a matter of how noticeable they are. And if you hire a DJ, find out what he/she will be doing for each moment of the event and how they’ll be doing it. A professional wedding DJ will know how to handle a difficult situation as it occurs and won’t need to involve you or your guests in doing their job.  Just stay away from Ipods in your weddings, because they are simply an awful choice.  This is your big day, so don’t leave it in the hands of technology that’s designed for personal use.

Weddings and Ipods Don’t Mix

ipod-weddingsOk, I’m about over it.  I’ve heard multiple suggestions on multiple budget wedding tip articles (even including ones posted here) about various ways to cut corners during the wedding ceremony.  And ALL of them, not just some of them, but ALL of them put the wedding music on the list as things you should cut corners on.  And ALL of them threw out the suggestion of using an Ipod instead of a band or DJ.  Let me tell you how bad of an idea that is on all accounts.

While I’m sure there are some stories of success using this method, they are few and far between and their expectations were very low to start with.   As a professional vocalist and also the owner of a Georgia DJ company, you probably would guess that I’m very biased and shouldn’t even be allowed to talk about it, but let’s get real.  Nothing can match the personal touch of a wedding band or wedding DJ when it comes to managing the flow and feel of the wedding reception.

There’s a great video posted on Youtube that is the perfect reason as to why this is a bad idea.  You can watch it here.  Now granted, this wedding is primarily a disaster from the beginning because there was apparently no rehearsal or planning with a dash of total disorganization. But the use of the Ipod run by friends and family as your MC’s/sound/videographers, etc is just a bad idea.  Bands and DJ’s handle most of the announcing, music, and everything is thought out in advance.

Do you really want to take the chance of your cousin starting up “Shook Me All Night Long” during the Daddy/Daughter dance?  If you want memories that last a lifetime, that’s definitely the way to do it.   You can find affordable DJ’s (and even bands) for under a grand without even looking hard.   Now granted, you take a chance if you get too low on your pricing, but doing your homework and using directories of wedding vendors will give you multiple options. I’m sure there are dozens of horror stories from Ipod weddings and I can insure you that you do not want to be one of them.

Please share your disaster (or even success stories) here for all to see.

10 Tips For Weddings on a Budget

Mr. Christopher hitting the web waves with some great wedding advice to help with your wedding planning.  I’ve perused the web for you and dug up all of the lists that I could find on budget weddings.  Nowadays the wallet is tight and as a father of not one, not two, but THREE girls, I can tell you, I’ll be trying to find ways to cut corners in every way possible.  So I scraped together the 10 best tips out of all gazillion that were out there.  Here are the most common money saving ideas.

1. wedding-flowersHome Grown – Almost all of the lists made reference to picking a local florist.  Not only picking a local florist, but to be wary of what types of flowers you’re picking.  Getting a dark orchid at under a dollar piece instead of that Egyptian Tiger Lilly kissed by the pharaoh’s daughter at $10 a stem is a big way to save money on something that unfortunately is going to die within a week.

Cool tip: Pick up a bag of white play sand for about $10 at your hardware store and bury any arrangements that you want to keep in the sand for a few days which will naturally dry the bouquets.  They maintain their color, never die,  and you can then use them in art projects, frame them, put in a baggie for memories, or whatever you’d like to do with them.

2. Play That Funky Music – Another popular tip referred to bands and DJ’s.  Most of the lists suggested that you ditch the DJ or band and just make some mix CD’s to play.  The truth about this is that you can really kill the vibe of the reception if your mix CD is cranking Michael Bolton when your guests are ready to rock.  So ditching the DJ is fine, but if you can have that tech savvy music lover in your family (and there’s always one) manning the CD player, you can alleviate some of that awkwardness that comes from bad music placement.

Cool Tip: You can buy a CD mixer for dirt cheap on Ebay (under $50 and super easy to use) that will connect two CD players so that your family member running the CD’s can fade from one song on one CD player to the other so that there’s no awkwardness while they take one CD out of the player to replace it with another.  Dead air sucks.

3. wedding-cupcakeLet Them Eat Cake (or not) – Bakeries that specialize in wedding cakes will drain your wallet dry depending on how big you’d like your cake to be.  Independent bakeries might even be able to make nice two tiered cake for a fraction of the cost.  Many brides refuse to cut this corner, but shop around and especially small local bakeries.

Cool Tip: Great cake ideas like tiered cupcakes or Twinkies is also extremely memorable and very popular. Tres chic.  Whatever that means.

4. Do Me a FavorWedding favors don’t have to be expensive. There are great places online that offer inexpensive wedding favors like GetMarried.com.  Some people also make their own if your artistically inclined and if you have the time.

5. Invitations – While a lot of brides are even willing to print out their own wedding invitations, you might want to look at some of the online companies out there that offer printing services.  A lot of them do not have the overhead that some of larger brick and mortar companies and they can print massive amounts of invitations for dirt cheap.  Once you figure in the cost of paper, ink, and envelopes, you might as well have someone else do the work.

6. Friday Night Lights – This was listed on a few lists.  Most weddings are on Saturdays and that’s why churches and venues charge extremely higher rates.  They know that it may be easier to get your friends in relatives in town on a weekend then say, a Friday.  But you’d be shocked at just how drastic the price difference is if you were to book your wedding on a weekday instead.   If your attendees know about it with good advance notice, you’ll not only save tons of cash, but also greatly open up your options for venues.  The time of day also has a big impact on what you’ll spend. Plan it around dinner and you’re feeding your guests dinner.  If that’s the plan, then…

7. bbqMini Menu – If dinner is on your plan of events for your guests, keep the menu limited.  This applies to rehearsal dinners as well.  Keeping the selection simple will normally keep your catering costs down.  Some lists even suggested a friendly backyard barbecue for the rehearsal dinner which is an excellent idea. Being able to just relax and let the guys do the cooking is inexpensive and relaxing because you’re home.  Just make sure you get some relatives to commit to helping you clean up afterward.

8. Drinky Drinky – Open bars guarantee that people will come.  It will also guarantee that you will get slammed with a hefty bill at the end of the night.   Alcohol makes the costs skyrocket, so doing without will make a huge difference.  You can get inventive with non-alcoholic specialty drinks like the “sprite/sherbet punch in a bowl” phenomenon.  You can also make sure that your guests aren’t driving their children home while under the influence.  If you simply must have alcohol at your wedding, keep it beer and wine.  Decorate large bins filled with ice offering a selection of brew, red wine, white wine, etc.   Hard liquor is a definite no unless they bring their own.

9. Dress for Success
For the Bride: Wedding dresses are so ridiculously expensive and especially ones that are custom made.  Many brides find great deals on the clearance rack and some are even finding their dress for the big day at department stores.  With stores like Target getting into the wedding dress business, finding that beautiful wedding gown may be only a hundred bucks away and nobody will be the wiser.   If everyone thinks you look gorgeous and like a million bucks, what in the world does it matter?  Especially when it will end up in a box in the attic and stored for years after only being worn once.

For the Groom – Let’s face it. 95% of grooms go to a tux rental store to get there tuxes for the big day. Make sure you prowl the online coupon sites for huge deep discounts on tux deals.  They are all clamoring for your business and will undercut their competition by leaps and bounds to get your dollar.

10. Involve the Family – You probably have multiple family members that can help in some form or fashion and save you hundreds if not thousands.  Got a uncle who drives a taxi?  Have him do the chauffeur duties.  Paying him $100 for the night will save you tons of cash.  Got a teen who’s an MP3 player junkie?  You got your DJ!  Just like you, your family members are cutting corners too.  Instead of requesting wedding gifts, ask for their help in whatever their specialty may be.  You may be surprised if you send out an email to ask them how they can help and find hidden talents that you never knew existed.

wedding-planningAs always, some brides just refuse to cut corners and have dreamed of their wedding day since they were children and they have a vision as to how to plan their wedding.   Hopefully these tips will save you big bucks and also help with your wedding planning.  If you’d like more great wedding advice, be sure to tune into WeTV on Saturdays to watch Get Married  or visit their website online at http://www.getmarried.com for everything from wedding planning tips, wedding invitations, wedding favors and gifts, real wedding videos from couples just like you for inspiration and so much more!