Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Wedding Music: Sample Contract for DJ Service

AGREEMENT made this (xx) day of (MONTH) , 199_ , by and between (NAME OF PERSON HIRING ENTERTAINMENT), hereinafter referred to as the Party of the First Part, and (DJ/ENTERTAINMENT), hereinafter referred to as the Party of the Second Part.


NOW THEREFORE, in consideration of the promises and the agreements herein contained and intending to be legally bound hereby, the Parties do agree as follows:

1. The Party of the First Part hereby engages the Party of the Second Part to provide a DJ Service. The service to be performed at (LOCATION OF EVENT) as per the terms contained herein.

2. The Party of the Second Part (DJ/ENTERTAINMENT) hereby agrees to provide a DJ/Music Entertainment Service for the Party of the First Part at the above mentioned location.

3. The said DJ Service shall consist primarily of providing musical entertainment by
means of a recorded music format.

4. The Party of the Second Part (DJ/ENTERTAINMENT) hereby agrees to skillfully and faithfully render his professional services and is at all times to have complete control of his program.

5. The Parties hereby agree that the DJ Service shall be provided and accepted
on the following date. (ENTER DATE OF EVENT)

5a. The Parties hereby agree that the starting time of the engagement shall be _____ AM/PM
and the ending time of the engagement shall be _____ AM/PM.

6. The Party of the First Part in consideration of the DJ/Music Entertainment Service to be rendered by
the Party of the Second Part, and the mutual promises contained herein, herby agrees to pay to the Party of the Second Part the following consideration:

6a. Deposit agreement:

6b. Fee for Additional hours: (specify costs for time per 1/2 hour increments)

6c. Method of payment: (specify details)

THE PARTIES hereto promise to abide by the terms of this agreement and intend to be legally bound thereby.

Party of the First Part: _________________________________ (SEAL)

Party of the Second Part :________DJ/ENTERTAINMENT________ (SEAL)

Wedding Music: The DJ (Part III)

One of the most important positions at a party is behind a pair of turntables or CD players. The success of the dance entertainment depends on him. The DJ.

It's much more than standing there hour after hour playing records, tapes or CDs, and introducing your wedding party.

From the DJ position the mood of the reception is set. Proper ambiance is created for cocktails and dinner. Dancing is controlled. Festivities are announced. Musical pacing and timing is maintained. Requests are handled. Overall audience satisfaction is achieved.

DJs possess varying degrees of experience, music mixing skill, "crowd reading" ability or perception, musical knowledge, and other intangible qualities which define their talent. Take into consideration all these qualifications when making your decision.

The DJ you choose should also have an extensive music library consisting of music for guests of all ages.

He should consult with you prior to the reception and discuss your musical needs.

You should feel totally confident with your entertainment selection.

DJ Attire

Proper attire is subjective. It may be appropriate for a DJ to wear a fashionable shirt and pants. Some may prefer to wear a tuxedo.

If you are not concerned with his attire, simply ask him to wear what he normally wears when performing a wedding reception.

If your event is casual then the DJ should be made aware of your plans. If formal, he should be similarly advised.

A DJ shouldn't charge an extra fee if you would like him to wear a tuxedo.

Overall, the appearance of any performer should be neat and appropriate for your particular event.

Entertainers Drinking on the Job

You may request that entertainers do not engage in the consumption of alcoholic beverages. You may ask their policy on drinking alcoholic beverages and should you prefer them not drink, they should honor your wishes. They should be responsible when performing at your event.

Radio DJs for Weddings

When you book a radio DJ, you're paying for his "personality", not necessarily for his expertise on music programming. It is not a requirement of a radio station that a DJ have any music background whatsoever. The club DJ and mobile party DJ work in a dance environment. His job is dance music as opposed to the radio DJ. Some radio DJs may do a fine job of mixing records and programming music in clubs, but generally speaking they are not suited for clubdates or party "gigs" where dancing is of primary importance.

Wedding Music: The Music (Part II)

This part is concerned with helping you to understand a few important facets of the music presentation that will make your wedding reception a success.

Music comes in all styles. Casual or sophisticated; classical or rock; reggae or jazz; polka or pop. It is played loud or soft and fast or slow. It appeals to young and old. It can make you feel lively or lethargic.

Music subtly augments a cocktail party and enhances dinner guests conversations. It energizes the dance floor continuously for hours.

Music is a common element of everyday life, but for your wedding celebration, the music should be extraordinary.

This section covers several points you should review prior to consulting potential candidates for your entertainment. Some insight will help insure your music will be extraordinary.


Playing a variety of music styles is a big part of programming that will make the dancing segment of your wedding reception a huge success.

Ethnic tunes, oldies, and today's hits should be combined in a cohesive presentation to allow your guests the opportunity to participate in your celebration, and enjoy themselves on the dance floor.

DJs have an advantage over bands in this case because they have a broader selection of musical styles at their disposal.


You may have specific songs which you would like to have played during your reception, and you may prefer to eliminate certain songs or kinds of music.Your special selections and musical wishes should be conveyed to your entertainer well in advance of your wedding day.

When guests request music, remember, it is not possible for a DJ to have every song, or for a band to know every song that could be requested; however, DJs do have greater flexibility in handling requests because they don't have to learn the songs.

People often request songs that do not "fit-in" with your intended programming, or they may request inappropriate songs.Professional entertainers know when it is acceptable to honor requests.

Music Taboos

Some music types and songs are unsuitable to play at wedding receptions. Playing heavy metal or gangsta rap, for example, might upset or displease some of your guests. Also, songs containing objectionable language should not be played.


Whether you book a DJ or a band, you will have someone on hand to MC the festivities. Announcements shouldn't pose a problem for any performer.

Simply write your announcements on a card and give it to the person who is handling the MC duties.

Give the names of the wedding party and family members to be introduced to the "announcer" prior to the wedding day. This gives the MC a chance to learn difficult pronunciations. If there is an unusual sounding name on your list, spell it out phonetically or call to clarify its correct pronunciation.


Bands may take 3 or 4 breaks during a reception. They could be 15 to 20 minutes in length. Bands might play recorded music during these times.DJs do not take breaks. Continuous music is played during the reception with only brief interruptions to conduct special festivities like a cake cutting ceremony or special introductions.

Sound Levels

Music volume should be kept at an appropriate level so it doesn't "interfere" with the event.Throughout all segments of the reception, cocktail hour, dinner and dancing, the music should add to, or help create the proper atmosphere.During dinner the music should be loud enough to fill in any "dead" air that may occur while people are enjoying their meal.The music level shouldn't be so loud that it is distracting when you are engaged in congratulatory conversation.As the event progresses towards the dancing portion of the event, the volume should increase. The increase should be mainly concentrated on the dance floor. This will add to the excitement of the party. The volume increase should not take away from the enjoyment of any guest as it moves to the foreground. Some people may prefer conversation over dancing. They should be able to find quieter areas away from the dance floor.

Sound System

A moderate size sound system can provide plenty of quality sound for our reception. Depending on the number of guests invited and function room size, sound systems can be customized. If you are planning an unusually large wedding, or perhaps a reception at a sizeable outdoor facility, additional sound reinforcement for a band or DJ may be required. Obtaining extra equipment should not be a problem, though it may mean a slightly higher entertainment fee.

Lighting Systems

Unlike nightclubs, discotheques or live entertainment venues, it isn't necessary for the entertainment playing your wedding reception to be equipped with an elaborate light show.Excessive lighting can be distracting. Some effects are disturbing and annoying to older guests. For example, strobe lights can trigger epileptic seizures; therefore, all guests would have to be warned that this effect was going to be used prior to the event.Lighting effects can also add significantly to the entertainment cost.

Wedding Music: Taking Care of Business (Part I)

Before you ever hear one song at your ceremony or reception, there are decisions and choices that must be made regarding entertainment. Should you have a band or DJ? Guitarist or pianist during cocktails? What's your entertainment budget? How do you pay the entertainer?

Knowing the right questions to ask when interviewing potential entertainment sources will give you the information you need to make the correct entertainment choices and decisions.

By having a contract you will have peace of mind when that one key element of your big day has been finalized. You'll rest assured knowing that your reception music is in good hands. Here are some general topics that should be given consideration before you sign an entertainment contract.

Band or DJ?

Bands are no longer the only choice for dance music at a wedding reception. DJs have become as widely accepted as bands in providing musical entertainment for these special occasions. In some areas DJs are even more popular than bands.

Bands create a certain "feel" that cannot be reproduced identically by DJs. Likewise, DJs create their own unique atmosphere that can't be duplicated by bands.

However, there are several advantages in hiring a DJ for a wedding reception. Here's a light-hearted look at some of those advantages.

Top 10 Reasons To Book a DJ

  1. Any song, any artist
  2. All music styles
  3. More efficient stage area
  4. DJ can play dinner, cocktail and dance music
  5. No breaks
  6. Better volume control
  7. Greater musical value
  8. Two words, "Electric Slide"
  9. DJ can please more guests
  10. Only one mouth to feed

Whatever your choice, band or DJ, you should feel confident that you will have a professional musical presentation for listening and dancing for your guests.

The Spin On DJ Agencies

A DJ "agency/service" is primarily in the marketing business. Their foremost concern is "booking a gig", regardless of talent availability. Generally speaking, they are an employment agency, not a talent agency.

The person who owns or manages the "agency" is responsible for advertising, marketing, telemarketing, buying and servicing equipment, updating the music library and finally, recruiting and training part-time disc jockeys. As you can see, "agencies" generate large operating expenses.

"Agency's" fees can run $200-$500 or more, for a 4 hour reception. With all the expense the "agency" incurs, perhaps you're not getting the "talent" for which you're paying. Keep in mind, that when you employ an "agency" the actual DJ working your reception is usually paid an hourly rate, receiving no more than $15.00 an hour.

With the value you place on your entertainment and the price you're paying for that service, you deserve the best--an accomplished professional.

Indoors or Outdoors

Usually wedding ceremonies and receptions are held indoors. Many are now being held at outdoor gardens and other out-of-doors locations.

If you plan to have an outdoor ceremony, cocktail hour or reception, be sure to tell any entertainer who may be performing that particular outdoor segment.

Make arrangements to have suitable cover over the stage or DJ area in case of inclement weather.

Make sure an adequate number of electrical outlets are available for the band, DJ, or any other performer. Check with your entertainer to establish how many outlets are needed.

The Contract

The first thing you should do after selecting your entertainment is secure a contract from the individual or company.

This will insure that you get what you want from the entertainment. It should be written in plain, easy to understand language and contain the following terms:

  • Date
  • Times (Start/Finish)
  • Location
  • Price
  • Overtime Policy & Fee
  • Deposit Policy & Amount
  • Cancellation Policy
  • Travel Fee (if any)

Let's look in greater detail at some of these points.

Prices or Fees

Prices will vary from band to band or from DJ to DJ.

When making your selection consider experience, reputation, availability, professionalism and style.

With bands, also consider the number of members or size of the group. Band prices are as low as a few hundred dollars and can range upward as high as you like. DJ fees start as low as $60 and also can cost $1000 or more.


Overtime is the extra time you would like your entertainment to perform beyond the contracted time.

This may be appropriate should you require additional music due to "late-running" ceremonies, or because a great party is in progress and you'd like it to continue.

Know beforehand if the entertainment is available for overtime and how much it will cost. This should be included in the contract.

If you are considering going beyond the contracted time, discuss it with your entertainment to allow them an opportunity to program the music accordingly. Waiting until the last minute may make it difficult to regain the momentum your party had just 15 minutes earlier.

Be sure the reception facility can accommodate your overtime request if plans change during the reception.


"Off-hours" are times like 3:00 until 7:00 p.m. or 4:00 until 8:00 p.m.

Some bands or DJ's prefer to book 2 engagements per day. For example: Reception "A" is from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. allowing the entertainment an opportunity to also play engagement "B" from 7:00 to 11:00 p.m. If an "off-hours" reception is booked, the entertainment cannot accept a second engagement on that day.

If you are planning a mid-afternoon reception, check with your entertainment to ensure that this doesn't create a conflict with another engagement.

Ask if there is any price difference for an "off-hours" performance.

Travel Fee

It is not unreasonable for entertainers to charge an additional fee for traveling outside a "local" area.

This might apply for distances over 20 or 30 miles. Fees may be charged by distance or by actual time traveled.

If you choose entertainment that is not based in your "local" area, inquire about the amount and whether or not a travel charge is included in the price.


Most entertainers require a deposit when signing a contract for an engagement. Deposits may range in amounts from 20% to 50% of the total entertainment fee.

The contract should specify under what circumstances you might forfeit the deposit.The deposit should be fully refundable if the entertainer is unable to perform.


Sometimes unforeseen circumstances can force the cancellation of a wedding.

You should not lose any part of your deposit because of natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, flooding or other similar occurrences.

If you are compelled to cancel your wedding for personal reasons, you may forfeit all or part of your deposit. In some cases you may be responsible for the entire entertainment fee.

Give ample notice to your entertainment if you must cancel your reception. In such cases professionals will be willing to work with you. If the entertainment is forced to cancel for a reason beyond their control, they should be responsible for making sure entertainment is "covered" by an equally acceptable replacement if possible. You should be given sufficient notice of any such changes.

Final Payment

Final payment for musical services may be paid any time before the end of the reception, or immediately upon its conclusion. The method of payment (check/cash) should be agreed upon prior to the engagement.


When your entertainment contract is signed with a band or a DJ, you should have a great sense of satisfaction knowing that this major task in preparing for your wedding day is complete.

Wedding Make-Up Tips

On your Wedding Day, all eyes will be on you. You want to make sure every inch is worthy of close-up attention! Here are some great tips on how to look your absolute best, and how to avoid some common make-up mistakes!


    Give nature a helping hand by starting a basic skin care program at least 2 to 3 months prior to your wedding. Follow a morning and evening regimen of cleansing, freshening
    and moisturizing. Daily care primes your face for the sheer, natural make-up look brides love!


    Use the tricks of the beauty trade to accentuate, enhance, and define your features. The right make-up will compliment any face shape and complexion, regardless of facial
    contours or bone structure. Minor imperfections and blemishes may be neatly corrected by using a concealer. The catchword is "experiment" prior to your wedding date.


    Undoubtedly, this is one of the happiest moments of your life and you may shed a few tears of joy. The last thing you want is for your make-up to leave your face before you leave the altar.


    For the ultimate in kissable lips, select a lipstick rich in moisturizers and emollients. Line first, then use a brush to apply color. Re-apply periodically for staying power. You may want to try a touch of gloss for shine, but avoid frosted lipstick.


    Foundation gives a smooth, even-toned finish as it guards your skin against the elements. Do not select a foundation shade to match the back of your hand. Instead, select
    one that closely blends along the jaw line. Apply with fingertips or a make-up sponge using sweeping strokes and blending well, especially along the jaw line and hairline.


    Powder sets make-up and provides a matte finish. It also helps control oil and reduce shine. Always select powder in the shade closest to your natural skin tone. Pressed powder is portable so you can use it throughout the day to pat away shine. Shake applicator after each use to prevent powder glaze and oil build-up.


    Color is the variable that adds sparkle to your bridal look. To harmonize, simply choose make-up and wardrobe attire with a single undertone, either vibrantly cool or radiantly warm. Make sure you harmonize lip color, cheek color, and nail color.


    Blusher should provide a soft glow and never look streaked or blotchy. For sheer and even application, use a blusher brush and begin applying at the base of the hairline near the ear. Blend forward using up and down, feathery strokes. Wherever you lay the applicator first is where the most color will be deposited. Lightly dust face powder over blusher to soften the tone.


    A woman's fragrance is her most intimate trademark. It is an invisible characteristic that makes a lasting impression on other people's senses. Be careful not to overdo your fragrance -- it shouldn't arrive before you do! The scents you select can either be silent and
    suggestive, feverish and magical, or romantic and sensual. For long-lasting fragrance, employ a "layering" technique by using several products with the same scent.
    Start with shower gel, then use body lotion or cream, dusting powder and finally cologne or perfume.


    Beautiful skin care isn't just something you buy -- it's something you learn. A professional make-up consultant won't just sell you make-up, but teach you life long skin care through personal instruction. Learning the right beauty regimen customized for your skin type,
    complimented by proper make-up application, will guarantee you'll look your loveliest on your Wedding Day and everyday!

Smart Diamond Buying

Thinking of buying a diamond engagement or wedding ring, but worried you don't know enough?

According the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) -- the world's foremost gemological authority -- buying the diamond of your dreams should be worry free if you follow three basic
steps: Choose a professional jeweler, learn about the 4C's of diamond quality and value, and for the ultimate peace of mind, ask for a diamond grading report.

STEP 1: Choose a qualified jeweler.

The jewelry industry is built upon integrity, and a jeweler's reputation is one of his/her most valuable assets. The other is expert gemological knowledge. Choose your jeweler as you would choose any other professional. Check a jeweler’s qualifications, look for affiliations with industry groups and professional associations, and note how long the jeweler has been in business.

A professional jeweler will explain the 4C's of diamond quality and value and encourage you to compare diamonds to suit your price range. Your jeweler will also explain that the key to a diamond's value is its rarity. Rarity is determined by a diamond's unique characteristics. That is why a small stone of exceptional clarity and brilliance may be more valuable than a larger stone of lower quality.

STEP 2: Learn the 4C's

The 4C's -- Carat weight, Clarity, Color and Cut -- are the criteria used by the jewelry industry to determine the quality and value of a diamond. From the diamond cutting centers in New York, Antwerp and Tel Aviv, to the family-owned jewelry retailer, the 4C's are the universal language that transcends all dialects.

Here is a brief overview:

Carat Weight: Diamonds are weighed using metric carats (ct.). A carat weighs about the same as a small paper clip. Just as a dollar is divided into 100 pennies, a carat is divided into 100 "points". This means that a diamond of 50 points weighs .5 carats. But two diamonds of equal weight can have very different values depending on their clarity, color and cut.

Clarity: Most diamonds contain unique birthmarks called "inclusions" (internal) and "blemishes" (external). The fewer the birthmarks, the rarer the diamond -- and rarity translates to cost. Using the GIA diamond grading system, a clarity grade is assigned ranging from flawless (f) to stones with more prominent imperfections (I3).

Color: Colorless diamonds are extremely rare and highly valued. Most are nearly colorless with yellow or brown tints. The GIA diamond grading system's color scale begins at D (colorless) and ends at Z (light yellow or brown). A professional jeweler will demonstrate the subtle differences between color grades.

Cut: Don't confuse cut with shape. While there are lots of different shapes, from round brilliant to hearts, pears, and marquise, cut has to do with proportions. A master diamond cutter will cut a diamond's proportions to reflect the most light. The well-cut diamond uses light to create brilliance, sparkle and flashes of fire.

STEP 3: Ask for a diamond grading report.

Increasingly, professional jewelers provide independent diamond grading reports with their fine diamonds. Ask about a diamond grading report when considering a purchase. A professional jeweler can arrange to have your diamond independently graded -- to provide the ultimate peace of mind.

Diamond inscription is the latest romantic trend. Prove your undying love by writing it in stone. Our store has been doing a great deal of laser inscribing. In the new trend, a micro laser beam is used to engrave a personal message on the edge (girdle) of a diamond weighing one-quarter carat or more. Invisible to the naked eye, an inscription can be easily read under magnification and provides the ultimate in consumer confidence. This service is available through most local jewelers.

Buying a diamond is a very special experience. Your attraction to the stone's beauty, combined with knowledge of the three basic steps, can help you shop with confidence.

The Perfect Honeymoon Vacation: Hawaii, Caribbean Islands, Sandals Resort, Greece, Cruising?

How exciting …He just popped the question, you accepted. Congratulations…

The next few months will be very busy making all sorts of arrangements and decisions for that special day. One of the major decisions is "WHERE TO HONEYMOON" and how to go about making sure your vacation is hassle free.

Your Honeymoon is the first step in your new life together. It is more than a pleasant trip to pretty places. It's a chance to come down to earth gently from the rush of the wedding and to discover again what it is like to be very privately and simply in love.

Whether you want a perfect hideaway in the beautiful Caribbean or Hawaii, one of the many wonderfully romantic ships to spoil you, an irresistible adventure in the South Pacific where you won't see the same old faces, or an active resort vacation golfing, playing tennis, sailing,
skiing, dancing- let a professional travel consultant help you make the right decision. Here are a few tips to consider.

If possible, give yourselves at least a 6-month lead for sitting down with your travel professional. Decide ahead of time as to the type of vacation you prefer and don't be afraid to ask questions or discuss any ideas you may have. A good travel agent will listen and will also help steer you in the right direction if you have trouble making up your mind.

Arrange your vacation time with your employer prior to making a final commitment. Try to avoid traveling on weekends, as airfares tend to be higher than midweek, plus giving
yourselves some "breathing time" between the wedding and going back to work.

And now for the big decision, where to honeymoon?

Hawaii - for lovers, Hawaii is paradise with wonderous resorts, unparralled beauty and as much or as little activity as anyone could desire. In Hawaii, romance is in the air- and on land and sea too. Guided tours, sunset cruises, kayak adventures, helicopter tours and horseback rides all exert magnetic appeal. Give yourselves at least 10 days and visit one or two islands at the most unless you have more time. The most popular islands are Kauai and Maui. Resort packages including flights and car rentals are plentiful. Just make sure you take plenty of spending money along, as you will want to participate in many activities. Your travel agent will offer suggestions about hotels that cater to honeymooners with complimentary room upgrades and champagne upon arrival.

Caribbean Islands - Picture an infinite blue sea meeting a pristine beach. Hear the rhythmic roll of the tide and melodic chime of a steel drum. Can you see yourselves in the Caribbean? Each island destination offers its unique enchantment and flavor. For example, Aruba reveals a distinctly Dutch charm with windmills and pastel-hued houses, while snorkeling, windsurfing and diving is a must in the Cayman Islands with it famous coral-encrusted walls and private
lure. Puerto Rico offers a mix of native color and sophistication. Explore Barbados with its old time plantation houses and new time music or unwind on the island of St. Lucia combining
the charm of old-world England with West Indies Style. Antigua, with its yacht-filled harbors, is the island to visit for quiet sophistication and miles of beach. So stop fantasizing and make your Caribbean honeymoon memorable.

Sandals Resort - Sandals is a diverse collection of 10 of the most idyllic resorts on earth, created exclusively for couples in love on four of the Caribbean's most exotic islands. At every Sandals, a spirit of island hospitality is in the air, complimented by an ever- smiley staff that
takes great pride in sensing your every desire. Sandals is a private world where one price covers the best of everything- including the most luxurious rooms and suites, all you can eat and drink, exclusive amenities like watersports and the most spectacular views the Caribbean has to offer.

Greece is a paradise for honeymooners. The crystal clear water of the Aegean and the Ionian seas, the romance of Santorini, the white washed homes of Mykonos, the breathtaking
beauty of the Greek Isles combined with fun loving people and history makes Greece a popular destination.

Cruising - what is your vision of luxury travel? Spacious, well-appointed accommodations with a balcony overlooking the ocean? Your choice of a vast array of daytime diversions ranging from shopping, fitness classes and spa services to scuba instruction, swimming and lounging
by the pool? Gourmet cuisine complemented by an expensive wine list, served in an atmosphere where your every need and whim is tended to? Exciting nightly entertainment, including Broadway-style shows, piano bars, disco dancing or casino gambling? Now imagine experiencing all of these things and more. Cruise vacations afford you the opportunity to surround yourselves in luxury each and every moment while also exporting exotic ports of calls. The best thing about cruising is that all expenses are paid in advance except for drinks, shore excursions and gratuities.

These are but a few ideas to get you excited… but many destinations like Tahiti, Disney World or Pocono's, are at your fingertips. All you need now is a way to figure out how you go about paying for your "dream vacation".

Decide on a honeymoon budget including spending money and meals (if not included in the package). Compare all-inclusive vacations versus other packages. Book early so you have
plenty of time to make decisions as well as get your first choice in hotel accommodations and airlines. Finally, take advantage of a travel agency's Bridal Registry. This allows friends and relatives to purchase gift certificates for the bride and groom to be applied toward the balance
of the honeymoon.

Have fun… but most important, relax and enjoy the experience…

Tips For Planning Your Dream Honeymoon

Coordinating your wedding takes months of planning. You will be asked to make more decisions than you ever imagined.

The "perfect" honeymoon is different for every bride and groom. A professional travel agent will be able to answer questions, offer suggestions and make reservations, but he or she will be of much more help to you and your mate if you have made some basic decisions first. The following are some things to consider prior to meeting with a travel agent to plan your honeymoon.

Length of the Honeymoon:

  • Determine how long your vacation itself will last.

  • Then, when calculating your vacation time from your employment, leave yourself a few extra days for unexpected days you might need off. Remember that you will need
    time during the last few weeks before the wedding to finalize some plans with caterers and florists, etc.

  • If at all possible, leave one day between the wedding date and your departure date to allow you to organize yourself and visit with out-of-town guests.

  • When you return from your honeymoon, it may be advantageous to leave an extra day prior to returning to work to unpack and get "back to reality."

The Pace and Style of Honeymoon:

Do you envision an adventurous honeymoon or relaxing carefree honeymoon? Have you and your fiancé each shared your "dream" vacation with each other? Since many honeymooners have never taken an extended vacation together, it's important to discuss your vision of your
perfect honeymoon. Below are some examples of some popular honeymoons and what to expect.

  • Cruising: For the more adventurous, a cruise is typically a faster paced honeymoon. You experience several islands in one week. A cruise is considered a semi-all-inclusive vacation. 90% of your vacation is paid for prior to departing. All meals and activities are included in the cost of the cruise.

  • The only expenses you'll pay on the cruise are drinks, shore excursions (what you do when the ship is docked), and gratuities.

  • Hawaii: We recommend a minimum of 10 days on the islands, and one-day when you return to adjust to the time difference. This is for the adventurous, as you will most likely visit several islands. Breakfast is often included with many hotels, but lunch and dinner
    is at your expense. There are a limited number of options to have your meals paid in advance. Honeymooners going to Hawaii need to budget for meals and excursions on
    the islands. Discuss your budget with your travel agent to determine the best options for you.

  • Walt Disney World: Disney has always appealed to adults as much as kids. It is easy to get to, and has numerous options to suit any honeymoon taste and budget.You can plan for three days to two weeks at Disney.

  • Caribbean Islands: Perhaps the most popular destination for honeymooners from the Northeast.Each island is very unique. Sitting down with a travel agent will help you determine which island has what you’re looking for. You should be aware that hurricane season is from late summer through the fall.

  • Sandals Resorts: Sandals are our favorite. They offer 10 unique resorts on four Caribbean islands. Everything is included, from top shelf alcohol, meals, snacks, water-skiing, snorkeling, volleyball, and lots more. They will even resort certify you to SCUBA and bring you out every day. You have access to no less than 6 gourmet restaurants at each resort. No tipping is allowed, so you really do not need to worry about money during your entire stay. It is the ultimate in stress free vacations. To match yourself up with the right resort for you, set up an appointment to meet with a Certified Sandals Representative.

The Budget for your Honeymoon:

Decide on the total amount you are willing to spend on the honeymoon. Include what you are planning to spend on meals and spending money. This will allow you to more accurately compare the cost of all-inclusive vacations, semi-all-inclusive vacations and non-inclusive vacations.

Consider enrolling in a travel agency's Bridal Registry. This allows guests to purchase gift certificates for the bride and groom to be applied toward the balance of the honeymoon.

Guide To A Beautiful Face On Your Wedding Day

All brides are beautiful. The glow of love and the excitement of this special day combine to insure that.

But there's a lot more to it! Let's not forget the hairdresser, the makeup artist, the perfect shade of "wedding day" lipstick, the manicure, the massage and the facials . . . well, you get the idea. Today's brides go all out in their efforts to make their wedding day absolutely perfect. How you appear both in photographs and in the memories of those in attendance should never be underestimated. Many eyes will be upon you. It goes without saying that you'll want to look radiant as you take your vows. When you view your photographs, and show them in years to come, the beauty of those moments will live on forever.

The last thing you want is to be nervous or worried about your personal look as you walk down the aisle. That should be the least of your concerns as you bask in the glow of all the attention. That is why you should think about all of the important details, beforehand. Good makeup
artists and hair stylists book early, sometimes up to a year in advance, so don't delay confirming this all-important element of your perfectly planned day. Some brides choose to use the services of a salon, while many prefer to find hair and makeup artists who will come to them. I recommend taking the time to create a Beauty Plan for the months preceding your wedding.


First of all, create a Beauty Schedule and stick to it. It will pay off immensely! After you've gotten engaged and set the date, it's time to make all of your arrangements, including plans for your hair and makeup. Run, don't walk to your chosen hairdresser. The average engagement period is 10 months to a year long, and that's how much time you may need to get your hair to the right length in time for your wedding. If you let it grow, you will have more options as to how you can style it, and you can always cut it later.

Now is also the time to begin a skincare routine. Find a good product line and stick to it.

Makeup artists can be Fairy God Mothers when it comes to improving your appearance, but having great skin will make the application even better! A good skincare routine will really pay off and you may even want to consider scheduling regular facials. Also,begin to implement a
regular manicure program. Everyone will be looking at your fabulous ring and your hands!

You should also begin an exercise program, which can help reduce stress.

Within a few months, you will have chosen a dress and headpiece. Be sure to show your hairdresser sketches or photos so that you both can start planning exactly how you will wear your hair. See your hairdresser once a month for a trim or conditioning treatment. This will keep hair shiny and healthy, and allow you build a good rapport with your stylist.

Three to six months before the wedding, interview and book a makeup artist and have a practice consultation. There is a cost for their time and expertise, but will be worth it in the long run. Any questions that you have at will be answered at that time to alleviate your concerns.

Discuss whether or not you will be tanning. Everything changes with a tan and it is not always recommended. Some brides began tanning a few weeks before the big event only to regret it. Beware! I have seen major skin eruptions as a result of this. You would be much better off allowing a makeup artist to give you a “faux” tan from her “magic bag!” No one will know the difference and your skin will be safe and sound.

Two months before, the most important thing to do is to concentrate on your skin. If you have a tendency to break out over stress or lack of sleep, continue with your facial program, and try eliminating coffee. Drinking eight glasses of water a day for the next two months will
do wonders for your complexion and your overall health.

Schedule a trial appointment with your hairdresser and bring along your veil or any hair accessories that you will be wearing.

One month before the big day, schedule another appointment, this time with both your hairdresser and your makeup artist together. Have your photographer or a member of your bridal party take pictures. Photographs will tell a different story than your mirror will, and
will help you to visualize the final outcome of how you will look.

Two weeks before If you color your hair, now is the time to color. This will give you plenty of time for corrections, should you need them. Have your last trim now or at the beginning of next week. Nothing major should be done to your hair, but do try to fit in a deep conditioning
treatment. Also: have your last facial.

The week of your wedding:

Monday: Confirm appointments with your hairstylist and makeup artist. Buy any cosmetics or skin care products that you will need for your honeymoon.

Tuesday: Have all of your waxing done: eyebrows, bikini line, lip line and legs.

Wednesday: Have your deep conditioning treatment done to your hair.

Thursday: Relax at a Day Spa with a massage or exfoliating salt rub.

Friday: Schedule your manicure (pale pink or French) and pedicure. Be sure to purchase the polish you will be wearing for touch ups. Why take a chance?

Night Before: Stick to your regular skincare routine. Don't try any last minute beauty masks right now - you could break out. Another massage would be heavenly if you can fit it in. Why not? You are totally worth it! Most of all...get a really good night's sleep!

Wedding Day: Sleep as late as you can and eat a good lunch packed with protein and carbs. Many brides don't really eat much at the wedding.

If you condition your hair, it might be too limp to work with. Check with your hairdresser for any last minute hair care instructions.

In the event that you shed a few tears of happiness, subdue puffiness and redness with an icepack or washcloth soaked in cold milk. Schedule your hair and makeup team to arrive at the same time, about 2pm for a 7 o'clock wedding, with photographs at 5pm.

Your hair should be done first but the makeup artist could start on your face if/when your hair is in rollers. If you're having photographs taken before the ceremony, make sure to leave time for freshening up before you walk down the aisle.

Special Makeup Do & Don'ts for the Bride To Be

A modern bride should look like herself, but can appear slightly more glamorous with sophisticated makeup. There are wonderful products on the market that will give you
that “special glow” when applied expertly. You don't want to pile on lots of makeup on your wedding day, nor will you want to go "au natural"!

Remember the photos! It takes professional expertise to achieve a look that is right for the camera and for you. You may spend thousands of dollars on a dress and all the accoutrements for your wedding, but remember, the all important focal point is you! So remember how
important your hair and makeup will be.

  • An absolute must is a compact oil-control powder. When you are anxious, even dry skin can produce sebum (oil) and shine will show up terribly in your photos.

  • Romantic pastel shades are best for a bride wearing ivory or white, but many brides make the mistake of wearing a shade of lipstick that is too pale. If a photographer or makeup artist advises you that your lipstick is too dark, or too light, you must trust their advice. They truly mean well and want you to be at your best. When you look great, it makes them look good as well! You may be used to a certain shade of lipstick, but allow the experts to guide you and you will not be disappointed with the results.

  • Waterproof mascara is key! Never apply mascara to the lower lashes. Apply more mascara in the middle and less at the ends on top lashes. Dab at tears gently and quickly so as to not to smear mascara or concealer.

  • Makeup should be applied in light layers, buffing the layers together to become one smooth surface. This will make for a flawless look. Quality brushes will work best for blending and your makeup will last well into the night!

If you choose to handle your own makeup we surely hope that these tips and instructions will be of help to you. Keep in mind that no matter how talented you are with your daily makeup routine, it will be different on your wedding day. A makeup professional has the experience
to make you look your best, and to take the pressure off of you! So, Cinderella, I hope that you've enjoyed this advice. May all of your wishes come true!

Finding the right DJ for YOU on your wedding day

Since the wedding day is often viewed as one of the most important days in a person's life, it should come as no surprise that choosing the entertainment is also very important.

Jockeys -- each with their own style and objectives. The key is determining the right one for you.

So what's the easiest and most effective way to determine the DJ that you would be happy with at your wedding reception?

Advanced Planning: The more elaborate the celebration, the further in advance you should plan. Based on the Weddings that I did recently, I found most brides and grooms were able to secure their first choice of DJ at least a year and a half in advance. The popularity of the month and day of the week that you choose is a factor. The popular months of May through October, may be tougher than the slower months of November through April.

If you are flexible with dates and times of your reception, chances are increased that your prospective DJ will be available. This is especially true if you are open to a Friday night or Sunday reception. Keep in mind that it is perfectly acceptable to inquire if the DJ you want
is available for your desired dates, BEFORE committing yourself to a specified time at a reception location. (This will also allow more choices for other services as well).

Know Your Needs and Wants: Choosing a DJ based on your needs and expectations will help ensure satisfaction. Consider these factors;

  • What qualities are you looking for from your DJ?

  • Is there one DJ service that has a reputation for a certain style or professionalism you like?

  • Do they offer you the opportunity to meet with your DJ in person before the event, or before booking?

  • Do they have a wide variety of music in a particular category you want?

  • Does the DJ fit your budget? Or maybe you're looking for a DJ service with certain side services, such as live entertainment, music for the ceremony, or dance giveaway packages, etc

Forming your foundation creates process of elimination.

The Selection Process: After determining what you are looking for from a DJ service, let the shopping begin. The best way to book your DJ is based on "word of mouth." Ask friends and relatives. It is always helpful to get ideas from people you know and trust. Also, Bridal Guides, Web sites, and Bridal shows can be useful tools.

Here are some key questions to ask:

  • Do they specialize in weddings? If they do wedding receptions, what is their experience? (This is a very easy way to limit your DJ selection, since one DJ service may only play at bars and nightclubs, while another may do private parties.)

  • Find out WHO your DJ would be if you decided upon their service. I have heard of brides and grooms who were disappointed when an employee or contractor showed up for their wedding reception.

  • Get CURRENT wedding references from that DJ. Don't be afraid to call these references! This is the best shopping tool if you are not familiar with the service.

  • Make sure your DJ or DJ's dress in tuxedos when appropriate.

  • Ask about back up equipment in case the system in use fails. Also inquire about back up DJ's in case an emergency situation prevents your entertainer to be present on your special day.

  • Look for the little things that set them apart from others: Does the DJ present him/herself in a professional manner by phone? Are they returning your phone calls or e-mails promptly? How impressive is the literature that they send to you? Are they willing to meet with you upon your request before booking? If you do meet with them, how was their overall presentation?

Helpful Hints: Some of you may want to see your prospective DJ at a wedding reception before committing. This is understandable. However, it is important to respect a DJ service that declines to offer this opportunity. This would be imposing on someone else’s private celebration. In addition, no two celebrations are exactly the same. The DJ may be tailoring the function you are previewing to a format requested for that particular party. This may not be the same requests and style you would have at your party. However, if this is important to you, ask to listen behind closed doors at a wedding reception if possible. This may help to determine sound quality, or to hear how the DJ projects himself or herself on the microphone.

A great alternative to this approach is also inquiring if a DJ can provide video footage of past weddings. Whether it's a demo video or an entire footage of an entire wedding reception, it will provide a visual idea, along with sound, for you to review. Of course, you do need to expect that
any DJ service offering this tool will be selecting what they feel is their best footage.

In closing, your selection should be based on what DJ you feel completely comfortable with, from the polices and attributes they have to offer, to their personal character. A DJ's services name can represent a certain image that you are looking for, but remember that it will be the
actual individual or individuals that will determine the outcome of your special celebration. Thus the slogan lives, "the DJ can make or break a party!"

Choosing your Bridal Shop

You deserve to have expert, personalized attention to every detail of your bridal attire. Therefore, it is wise to do business with a reputable, full service bridal retailer.

Things to look for when selecting your bridal shop:

  • Reputation: Ask friends for referrals.

  • Cleanliness: Is the store clean with bridal gowns in protective covers?

  • Courteous service: Are the bridal consultants ready with a pleasing smile and professional advice to help you select the perfect dress?

  • Ordering policy: Be sure your gown can be special ordered in your size and color preference. If buying a gown from the rack, be sure the gown is in perfect condition and will be altered properly.

  • Alterations: Be sure professional, qualified seamstresses are available to alter your gown. Realize that even the most perfect gown will not be perfect if alterations are not done properly. Be willing to pay for these expert alterations. Qualified seamstresses are hard to find and worth every bit of their time!

  • Accessories: These are the finishing touches. You’ll want the headpiece that was handmade to match your gown, the gloves in the matching color, beautiful bridal shoes, and gorgeous bridal jewelry.

Here are some questions you may want to ask:

  • Will my gown be custom ordered?

  • How long will it take for my gown to come in?

  • Will you store my gown free of charge until my wedding,
    and professionally hand press it before it is to be
    picked up?

  • How long will it take to order my bridesmaids dresses?

  • Are expert alterations available? How much should
    I expect to pay for this service?

This is such a beautiful time in your life. Although planning a wedding can be stressful, picking out your wedding dress should be fun! Bring along someone whose opinion you trust, but remember the choice is yours! Consider the professional advice of the staff to help you in finding
that perfect dress and respect their knowledge. Don't be afraid to ask for help in selecting the perfect coordinating bridesmaid's dresses and all your accessories. Have fun, relax and enjoy!

Selecting a Location and Caterer for Your Special Day

Many factors need to be considered when selecting a location for your wedding reception.

It is important to first decide on the style of reception you would like and then determine your total wedding budget. The wishes of both the bride and groom need to be considered, and the blending of your two personalities should be present at the wedding ceremony and reception. There is only one rule that should prevail as you plan your reception ... make it your own!

The Capital District offers many interesting and historic locations that can be rented for your reception. These sites offer you the ability to provide a caterer of your choice. A professional caterer can provide a list of popular scenic and/or historic sites at which to hold your reception.

These "off-premise" locations need to be contracted for by the bride and groom, and this is done directly with each of the locations. When shopping for an off-premise location, it is important to compare the cost of renting the facility, the length of time your rental provides, and if any rental equipment is included. Rental equipment needed for an event includes things such as tables and chairs, linens, china, and glassware, as well as catering equipment such as cook tent and kitchen work tables.

An off-premise location provides the ability to customize your reception and have more control over the individual details of your day, but in most cases is a bit more costly than selecting a reception location that is managed by the caterer. It is very important to select an experienced caterer who can guide you through the details of planning your reception. The off-premise catering locations can usually provide you with a list of caterers who have worked at their facility. It is also suggested to ask for two or three references from each of the caterers you are considering.

The other option available to brides is to select a facility that is owned and operated by a professional catering firm. Throughout the Capital District, Saratoga Springs and Lake George Regions are many fine hotels, restaurants and catering halls, each of which provide a range of services as well as wedding packages. A packaged reception often offers the best value, while at the same time handling many extraneous details such as cake, flowers, place cards, etc. The primary advantage of selecting a facility that provides it's own catering, is the ease of planning for the bride and groom. Most facilities provide a wedding professional who will guide you through the planning of each aspect of your reception.

It is suggested that you begin planning as soon as you become engaged. The prime dates at the most popular locations may begin booking as early as two years in advance. If you can be flexible with your date and do not require a Saturday evening reception, there are great values available to you. Many facilities offer discounted package prices for Friday evening, Saturday afternoon and Sunday receptions. Also, inquire about discounts offered for "same year" receptions . . . value-priced packages for currently available 2000 wedding dates. Terrific savings are also possible on receptions booked in January, February and March. There are definitely benefits of booking an "off-peak" date or time.

Once you have narrowed your selections, it is important to have a face-to-face meeting with the wedding professional at each of the catering or reception facilities you are considering. An essential element in the enjoyment of your wedding reception planning is feeling comfortable with the wedding professional who will guide you through the details of your special day. You will want to select a location, menu, and special details that represent your personal style. Once you have decided what you want, sit back and enjoy. Let the wedding professional create your special day!

Picking Your Wedding Band

As a veteran musician for over 25 years, I have played
literally thousands of weddings. Based on my experiences,
I offer these tips on successfully choosing a band for
your big day:

Get their Promo Kit - The promo kit is
a good indicator of the level of professionalism of the
band. This is their calling card. Pros will have invested
a good amount of time and money in creating this vehicle
of first impression. The kit should contain a quality
recording. Chances are that not everyone involved in the
wedding-planning process (i.e., parents) will be able
to see a live performance, so you'll want to have a good
demo tape (or CD) to play for them. The kit should also
include bios of the band members. You'll know if you're
getting experienced players and who they've worked with
in the past. Most groups already have a reputation in
the area they work.

Go see the band perform live - The best way to
know if you like a band is to see them actually perform.
Videos, tapes and promo kits are great, but the way to
see what you're really getting is to go to a gig. A professional
organization will do periodic showcases for prospective
clients if they do not perform in nightclubs.

Check out their Song List - Make sure you like
the band's basic repertoire. A song list should be made
available to you. Most bands will learn 2 or 3 special
request tunes for you, but make sure you give them plenty
of notice. Choose a band that can cover a wide range of
styles from different time periods, and whatever ethnic
specialty music you need. Your grandparents probably love
40's music and you'll want to make them happy, too.

Details, Details, Details! - Try not to leave
things until the last minute. For instance, I've been
on many jobs where the M.C. (Master of Ceremonies) is
running around trying to find out who's who in the bridal
party, as they're lining up for the procession. A professional
band will send you a form to fill out well in advance
where you can list all of these details. Take care of
it promptly. Things will go much more smoothly for everyone.
Here is a list of other details you'll want to work out

  • Is the band available for overtime? (Also check with
    your banquet / reception facility to find out how late
    you are allowed to stay)

  • The cost per hour of overtime?

  • Basic time table of the event (i.e., when dinner will
    be served, when does the band break, when will the cake
    be cut, etc.)

  • Will the band be fed?

  • Payment method (i.e., cash or check, full payment
    on day of the wedding?)

  • Which traditional or special songs you require (i.e.,
    garter and bouquet, dances with mother and father, cutting
    the cake music, etc.)

  • Can the band incorporate a DJ?

  • Ask that the band remain in full uniform (tuxedos)
    for the duration of the affair. Non-pros have a tendency
    to lose their ties and jackets halfway through the job
    and this looks sloppy.

My best advice is to go with the pros. It takes experience
to successfully run a wedding. You may like the sound
of a band that you hear at a club, but can they keep 100
or more people of different generations entertained for
four or more hours? The most successful weddings I've
played are the ones that have a sense of "rhythmic
flow". This only happens with seasoned professionals.
Use these guidelines and I'm sure the band you choose
will make your celebration one to remember.