Sep
07
2014
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Social Media Weddings: Yay or Nay?

Selfies, twofies, hashtags, and vines are becoming more and more synonymous with modern wedding culture. I went to a wedding where the minister announced at the ceremony to be sure to include the bride and groom’s custom hashtag when taking photos. What started as a frowned upon trend is now unavoidable, and quite remarkably, an economical and creative way to enhance the bride and groom’s wedding experience. Professional photographers and videographers can only cover so much. Not only do you now have quite literally hundreds of photographers on site, but each of them (aside from your maid of honor’s new weird boyfriend) knows you personally. They know you’ll prefer the instant filter over black and white, and they can anticipate the worm you’re about to throw down when the DJ plays your jam from college. Stickers, emoticons, inside jokes under 140 characters, and even pictures of wedding parties’ best Blue Steel faces as they get ready are flooding digital wedding albums.
My cousin’s wedding had a midday break between the ceremony and reception so a lot of the family went and got ice cream…in our black tie garb. We tagged them in all of our crazy photos – something they would have missed with traditional photography. At NYC wedding I attended, Stephanie March from LAW & ORDER: SVU photo-bombed a few of our pre-wedding pics and wished the couple good luck in a video we made on our phones. It made us feel like we contributed even more to the couple’s day. The actual wedding whizzes by so quickly for the bride and groom that it’s nice for them to search their hashtag and see what all went down behind the scenes.
However, there are some etiquette rules that need to be in place if you want to actually interact with your guests in person, not via text. And, I guarantee no bride wants to look out during the ceremony to see a flood of LED screens instead of her loved ones’ faces. For more on how to tastefully incorporate social media into your wedding click here Social Wedding Season

Written by Alan Waltz Entertainment in: Weddings |
Jul
23
2014
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MYSTERY HONEYMOON ADVENTURE

From Prague to Peru, American couples are more becoming more daring in their honeymooning. The seven day trips to Hawaii have been replaced with month-long excursions to Havana (by way of Canada, of course), sandals have been traded in for hiking boots, and “all-inclusive resorts” may as well be a swear word. Perhaps it’s because we are vacationing less than ever and a honeymoon provides the perfect opportunity to go all out, or the increased popularity of swapping wedding china for travel crowd-funding registries, but the post-wedding vacay has become just as big, if not bigger, than the wedding itself. After ten years of being together with my fiancé, and never having taken a true couple’s vacation (due to budding careers and traveling to two different states every year for the holidays), we decided to make our honeymoon THE event of the decade. So, we set a few simple ground rules:

1. Choose cities in Europe neither one of us has been
2. Whatever we save up, that’s what we use
3. We can’t tell each other where we picked

That’s right. I’m not sure if it’s because we’re romantics or both have degrees in Drama, but we decided to keep our destination spots a secret from each other. I chose the arrival city, he the departure. We were each responsible for booking the flights, hotels, and whatever activities we wanted in our cities. Then (because I like to test my limits against wedding stress) we left several days in the middle COMPLETELY UNPLANNED for us to go wherever we felt in the moment–and somehow get to the final destination city. Our choices would be revealed to each other the morning of the wedding via a gift exchange through our wedding party.

Packing was fun in that we had no idea what we were doing. I had chosen Iceland and secretly tried to get him to pack a sweater without being too revealing. “It’s like LA weather at night,” is the best I gave him. He packed a hoodie (thank God for the vintage stores in Reykjavik because boots cost a bajillion Krona’s). In terms of finances, we each saved up doing everything from a “chore jar” to working overtime. Because we had been living together for the last few years and had wine glasses for every grape in existence, we created a honeymoon registry on www.travelersjoy.com It took three phone calls to convince my mother we didn’t need a third crock pot. There was a brief moment of panic the week before the wedding when my husband’s car broke down – twice – wiping out a very significant chunk of our budget. After many tears we were able to just say, “If all we do is walk around Europe together, that’s enough.”

After months of painful secrecy and hearing how nuts we were from friends and family, our picks were finally revealed on the day of the wedding. My husband sent me wine from his destination city and this video here made with the help of Fiverr. Honeymoon Reveal

I gave him a bottle Icelandic water…everyone agrees he won. The next day we were on a red eye from NYC to Reykjavik, in sandals. We decided to short form blog about our honeymoon on Facebook, which was oddly one of our favorite things to do together. I can’t even properly express the joy of finding free WiFi and then tweeting together under the stars in downtown Dubrovnik. There were a couple nights we spent stressing about our next move, but for the most part having it unplanned kept us present to what we really wanted to do with our time. All of the missteps – like finding out our hotel in Iceland was actually in a different city and the numerous times we exclaimed, “Oh crap that flight went up 50 euros since yesterday!” have already turned into unbeatable memories. Although meeting our AirBnB host in the middle of Montenegro, with our only directions being to “just ask a local to find me”, did make me question my husband’s planning abilities and general sanity.

This is the moment I found out my husband’s destination spot

Bridal Party

Erin Stegeman

Written by Alan Waltz Entertainment in: Weddings |
Jun
21
2014
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A Wedding Nightmare

It’s a week before your destination wedding. Between finishing up stressful work projects and reordering place cards for those last minute RSVP’s (and their guests you never invited), you’ve scheduled time for a you — a massage, a much-needed hair cut, and some down time with your fiancé to take in this monumental transition. After all, you know as it gets closer to your wedding, you’re going to reach an emotional level equal to that of a 7 year-old girl who just came off a Halloween candy bender. Then suddenly, just days before the big day, the reception venue EMAILS you that your dream space is no longer available due to an oversight on their end.

THE APOCALYPSE IS HERE.

A glitch in communication has suddenly turned you and your fiancé (and of course, your mother) instaNuts and left your wedding guests without a space to shake their groove thang. Did I mention this was a destination wedding with a rather large timezone difference?

So what do you do?

IBR (Initial Bride Response):

Hulk Out. You saved up your Bridezilla points back when your maid of honor told you her flight arrives an hour before the rehearsal, and you just calmly nodded and smiled. You deserve a meltdown. YELL at the venue. It’s not completely out of line. You can rant on their Twitter, craft an insult-ladened email to the management, and demand free stuff. Get those bride tears a flowin’ when they only offer a $100 food voucher in exchange for the thousands of dollars spent and hours inconvenienced finding a new space. Dust off your letterhead and write to corporate. Threaten to take this matter to BuzzFeed and the Huffington Post, and when you’re left with nothing except a migraine AND the flu, just pout and cancel the wedding. If it’s not perfect, it’s not happening.

Or…

Breathe. Go to your spa appointments anyway. Grab your bridesmaids and see a movie (preferably something with Channing Tatum). Instead of hurling insults on Facebook and Twitter, ask for help. You can even ask the vendor to call spaces on your behalf. Contact anyone you may know who lives in your destination city, even if it’s your florist. Just be direct and honest about what you need and when you need it by. It’s amazing how relatively simple it is to divert a crisis. Within 36 hours, my fiancé and I had a new venue complete with a VIP lounge and complimentary bottles of champagne. We actually saved time and money because this new place already had everything set up. It was better than our original plan! Any leftover legalities we decided to handle post-wedding, when we were in a calmer space.

That’s how wedding planning goes — we hit snags and we think we are being led offtrack when it’s actually to something even better. So, embrace those wedding nightmares with some grace (OK a little tantrum won’t hurt), and remember, nothing can come between the love you and your fiance have for each other.

Erin Stegeman
erinstegeman
Married June 14th, 2014

Written by Alan Waltz Entertainment in: Weddings |
May
21
2014
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Marriage is work!

At this year’s Oscar Awards, Ben Affleck winning the Oscar was made even more noteworthy by the fact that he referred to his marriage to Jennifer Garner as “work”, and, of course, the tabloids went wild. But, Jennifer Garner recently responded to those comments, saying that she understood what he was saying and actually took it as a compliment.
While it might seem strange to call a marriage work, it does take work to make a marriage work. At the end of the day, you chose to share your lives together for a reason, and if you choose to stick to those vows-until death do us part-then you do take with it all the changes and curveballs that life throws at you along the way. You can’t expect that, if you’re lucky enough to have several decades together, neither of you is going to change or that some challenges won’t arise. So, you do have to work at a marriage, but it’s certainly worth it.
Want to share your tips for a successful marriage? Comment on our Facebook page or Tweet us!
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Written by Alan Waltz Entertainment in: Corporate |
Mar
01
2013
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Who To Invite To Your Wedding?

Deciding who to invite to your wedding is notoriously stressful because everyone will have a different opinion. And it’s not just who to invite, but how to invite. If you’ve been following our Facebook and Twitter feeds, you’ll have seen a number of stories about invitation etiquette and who you are entitled to avoid inviting to your wedding.  It sounds harsh, but an informally worded invitation can lead to you sharing your special day with friends of ex-coworkers, someone your great-aunt vaguely knows, and hordes of misbehaved children that belong to your third cousin twice removed.   

In terms of invitations, the old ways are the best.  The formal invitation is much less open to interpretation than an email, and as long as your response card doesn’t contain a “can I let you know later?” option, you’ll know exactly who is coming and who they are bringing. 
 
But what happens when the bride and groom can’t agree on a guest, like in this question posed to Glamour magazine? While a potentially difficult situation, as long as the two of you communicate, there’s no hurdle you can’t cross together.
 
Who Do I Invite?

Written by Alan Waltz Entertainment in: Weddings |
Feb
10
2013
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Valentine’s Day Love

With love in the air this week for Valentine’s Day and with over six million couples estimated to get engaged on Thursday, we wanted to share an article with you to get you in the mood but also to remember to show your partner/spouse/girlfriend/boyfriend/friend you love them any and every day of the year.

Give Love Not Gifts

It’s not about flashing the cash…it’s about love and how you choose to show it, and that shouldn’t just be celebrated one day out of the year.

For those couples about to get engaged, welcome to the sometimes crazy but wonderful world of marriage. For all who are celebrating, “love is all you need.”

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Written by Alan Waltz Entertainment in: Weddings |
Jan
27
2013
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Could your mobile device replace your wedding DJ? A Bride’s Perspective

The Big Cons Of Not Hiring A DJ

There was an interesting post on the website The Offbeat Bride just the other day about using Spotify or other online music services in place of hiring a DJ for your wedding. Now, I’m all about saving a buck and yes, I do think I have fabulous taste in music, but when it comes to my special day, I don’t want to think about any technological malfunctions; whether I’ve got the clean or explicit versions downloaded (because when I stream music, I want the original versions, thank you very much, but I don’t want to have to worry about the younger ears in my family hearing some inappropriate language during the wedding reception); or wondering if my friend is going to get the music cues right. What if they play “Pour Some Sugar on Me” instead of “What a Wonderful World” for the first dance (epic fail!)?
I know when we were planning our wedding, getting the right DJ was a huge part of our reception plans. I wanted a good selection of music, I wanted to dance with my friends and husband, and I wanted things to run smoothly. I made sure to meet with the DJ to get a sense of whether or not I liked them and whether or not they could provide the music I wanted, and I felt confident and comfortable that they would do what I asked and not take attention away from me and husband, because, let’s be honest here, it’s OUR day, not the DJ’s.
I think that, in reading this article, sure, she comes up with a potentially viable solution if you don’t want to hire a DJ. Would I choose that option? Absolutely not. I do think that there are major pitfalls around this, most notably putting the pressure on a friend or sibling or distant family cousin to be in charge of handling the music playlist and following your cues. How do you even know when everything is “supposed” to happen during your reception? If we didn’t have the DJ, I wouldn’t know what we were doing when. You have to be greeting your guests, getting photos taken, hopefully getting a chance to eat and have a drink, have your first dance, have the wedding party dance, dances with your parents, cut the cake…I needed someone to essentially tell me what to do and when on my wedding day (I haven’t been married before; I needed someone to tell me how it all worked!), and that person was the DJ. He made things run smoothly and kept everyone entertained. I don’t see how a non-professional could do the same. I know, for me, creating a playlist and then handing it off to a friend and putting all that pressure on them to get it right would not be the right way to go; I’d likely lose a friend, and I’d be stressed the whole time that they’d screw something up. Sheesh…I’m getting stressed just thinking about this.
Surely, it makes sense to go to a professional who can discuss your musical tastes with you, plan the reception out in advance, and when it comes time for your reception, you can just go with the flow and enjoy yourself. Weddings are stressful enough; the last thing you need to do is to create more stress for yourself. Leave it to a professional, and enjoy yourself.

Written by Alissa Robinson

Written by Alan Waltz Entertainment in: Weddings |
Jan
26
2013
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Online Reviews, the positive and the negative.

When hiring a DJ for your wedding, it’s easy to check out local business review websites, such as Yelp or InsiderPages.  These kinds of websites can be a helpful way of discovering what options there are in your area, but be careful about putting too much stock in the user reviews you find there, because you never know if it’s someone with a personal beef or if it’s someone who actually works for the company!
It’s nearly impossible to determine the accuracy of the reviews, whether positive or negative. It’s extremely easy for anonymous contributors to post false and misleading reviews, and extremely difficult for small business owners to challenge the validity of such reviews.
To put it simply, you must find out who is the right DJ for you, and the only way to do that is to speak directly to the DJ in question, either by phone or in person.  If the DJ company is hesitant in connecting you with the actual DJ they plan on providing for your event, then maybe you should start thinking about using another DJ company; I mean, what are they trying to hide?  The best DJ is always the DJ that understands your needs – if you and your prospective DJ strike up a rapport, then the chances are they’ll have a good rapport with your dancefloor -  and that is something that you’ll never discover from reading user reviews. 

Here’s an example:

Here’s another example:

Written by Alan Waltz Entertainment in: Weddings |
Dec
19
2012
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Budgeting For You’re Wedding, Ugh!

Times are tough, and everyone is feeling the pinch, particularly if you are now facing the cost of a wedding. But, what are some ways to cut costs (and still have the day of your dreams)?
Think about the most important parts of your wedding day (and the lead-up to your wedding) and what you might be able to scale back on or eliminate altogether. Prioritize what’s most important to you if you’re looking to keep to a budget:
Is where you hold the reception the most important, or could you find a smaller, non-traditional space (or even a different room in your dream venue. It’s amazing how just a different room in a venue could be hundreds or thousands of dollars cheaper!)?
Is your dress the most important, or could you find a vintage dress, one on eBay, or one from last year?
Is your wedding cake the most important, or could a friend who’s a dab hand at baking create one for you?
As an entertainment company, we know how important it is to factor a DJ into your wedding budget. In some areas, you don’t have much choice, but in the Bay Area, you’ve got a lot of DJs to choose from. Some may be cheaper, but that doesn’t necessarily guarantee you the reception you’re hoping for. “Budget DJs” are less likely to be reliable and may very well end up cancelling at the last minute if they get a better paying job. Remember Ileana? Do you really want to take a chance on your reception being ruined by an amateur? Talk with us about how Alan Waltz Entertainment can fit into your budget. We have packages for everyones price point.
Want some great tips on slashing the wedding budget? Here’s a great Resource

Dec
15
2012
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Wedding Planning: A Brides Perspective

It’s said that planning a wedding is one of the most stressful life experiences that anyone can have. [I have photographic evidence of this fact-in our wedding photos, my husband has a patch of white hair in his beard; a patch that, post-wedding, would grow out and go away!]
Take some deep breaths. You may have just gotten engaged or are a few months’ in to your wedding preparations, and you’re stressing. You and your fiancé want a small, intimate wedding, while your parents or his parents are wanting to invite everyone and their friends that you’ve known since you were a baby. Literally. The whole town might be turning up if your parents have their way. You have a particular color scheme in mind, and your sister or best friend isn’t feeling the bridesmaid dress color, but it complements your wedding gown, of course it’s the right color! Everyone has multiple opinions, and everyone wants things their own way.
So many women I know that are engaged and planning their weddings talk about how stressed they are, and the majority of it is down to the fact that your wedding day isn’t just about you and your fiancé. It should be, but it’s not entirely. It’s a big day for your parents, too, particularly if they’re helping you pay for the ceremony (or paying for all of it), and that means that you’re going to have to make some compromising to keep yourself (and everyone else) sane.
Could you compromise on the venue so that it can be slightly bigger than what you had envisioned but not big enough to fit the whole town? Could you have the rehearsal dinner at your house if you’d prefer something more intimate, rather than having it at a restaurant? The main thing is that you have to know what things you’re willing to compromise on. If you want a horse and carriage, and you have always been set on a horse and carriage, and you know that you will always regret not having a horse and carriage, even though your parents are trying to dissuade you with thoughts of smelly horses, hold your ground. While it’s not a battleground, you have to pick your battles, especially if, as I mentioned, your parents are going the traditional route and paying.
And if they are paying, if you are hoping for having your wedding at the fanciest hotel in town, and it’s just out of your parents’ budget, is there a way that you can compromise on this? Can you and your fiancé chip in for this, if it is the venue of your dreams, or can you maybe find a nice b&b to hold it at instead?
It’s supposed to be a happy event, so try and not let the stress get to be too much. Just keep the conversation between you and your fiancé going and keep checking in on what you can do without, if it’s due to budget or your parents’ or future in-laws’ wishes, and make some compromises. The fact that the two of you have decided to spend the rest of your lives together is the most important thing, and some of the smaller details will feel irrelevant when you think about what the day is truly about.
Reduce wedding planning stress and compromise. Believe me, you’ll be a lot happier when you do.

Alissa Juvan
Married October 23, 2004.

Written by Alan Waltz Entertainment in: Weddings | Tags: , ,

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