I get a giddy when it's time to play a wedding in The City. It bears repeating: when your company is called MOTOR CITY HDJ that means you relish every opportunity to play in Detroit. It's a city rich in history that will eventually go back to "the way it was" when things were safer, business was booming, and people flocked there. So, when Jessica and Nick told me their party would be at historic Cliff Bell's, I couldn't stop grinning.
You've probably passed it a dozen times and didn't realize the hidden gem behind its doors. It was an old jazz club at one point in history and it still serves that purpose from time to time. Now, people host private events and you can still hop in after a game to grab a drink and take in the history. Such a thrill to play here!
Once I got done with my "oos" and "aahhs" it was time to get to business. Both the ceremony and the reception took place at the venue. The ceremony was short and sweet so that we could get right to the party. Dinner was served buffet style and the food was absolutely amazing.
The highlight of the event for me was the conversation I had with Cliff Bell's banquet manager. During the course of casual conversation she mentioned how well the event went and that she wanted to make Motor City HDJ the PREFERRED DJ for Cliff Bell's! That's pretty exciting. They could recommend anyone and they choose to plug me. That's pretty cool stuff!
I'd tell you more about the night but I'd rather you see for yourself. Jessica and Nick: thanks for having me along for this amazing night. It was truly magical to celebrate your big with you in the heart of a city we all love so much. I wish you two the very best in everything!
Here are the special songs from the night:
BRIDAL PARTY INTROS
"Somebody Loves You" - Betty Who
BRIDE/GROOM FIRST DANCE
"Let's Stay Together" - Al Green
"In My Life" - The Beatles
"My Wish" - Rascal Flatts
Here we go...the first double header of the month. They're actually all double headers in May and I couldn't be more thrilled about that!
And what a way to wrap up the second of two weddings for the weekend than by spending time with this awesome couple, Sarah and Justin! They came to me by way of a couple different weddings I played where they were guests. And as it happens, a previous groom I worked with was in attendance at this one! This is what the business is all about.
The reception took place at Mac Ray Harbor in Harrison Township
...right on the breath-taking Lake St. Clair. It was my first time at this venue and I have to say I was impressed with the event space. The venue is close to Selfridge Air Force Base, and depending on the direction you enter from, you get a chance to see part of the base. It's pretty cool.
It was a beautiful day to have a wedding and as an added bonus I was fortunate to work with my pal Jesse Speelman of Jesse Speelman Photography
again. It makes things easier when I can work with someone I've worked with in the past. There's a certain synergy that happens that makes coordination a lot easier for all of us involved. When I work with Jesse, we have that. It's great.
This was a great group of people to party with. Italians always throw a great party, especially when you can get them all to the dance floor to dance to "Che La Luna Mezzo Mare."
That was a blast to watch, too. The bride and groom couldn't be more pleasant to work with and their guests were fun and down to earth.
Congrats to my new friends, The Yaks!
Here's the special music from the event:BRIDAL PARTY INTROS
"Yakety Yak" - The CoastersBRIDE/GROOM FIRST DANCE
"Thinking Out Loud" - Ed SheeranDADDY/DAUGHTER DANCE
"I Loved Her First" - HeartlandMOTHER/SON DANCE
"A Mother's Song" - T. CarterBOUQUET TOSS
"Call Me Maybe" - Carly Rae JepsenGARTER TOSS
"Standing on a Corner" - Dean Martin
I love playing a wedding for my friends and family of North Ridge Church. It will always have that vibe of friendship and even though I'm doing what I love, working at it, I know that I'm surrounded by some of my biggest fans and supporters. So, with that out of the way, this was another one of those amazing experiences for me.
Jaylee and Kevin came to me back when she was working for my dad in Plymouth. And thanks to Facebook, we got things started on the right track. The Facebook messages started flowing and the next thing you know, we're booking a wedding.
It started as just playing the reception, but when they asked me to provide sound for the ceremony in the park...in Plymouth...which is gorgeous...I said YES!
The ceremony was officiated by a great friend of Motor City HDJ, the wonderful Kevin Winningham. He always does an amazing job at keeping the nuptials centered on the One thing that matters most and I always love watching him work. If you're reading this post, are getting married, and need someone genuine to see you off as husband and wife, I can put you in touch with Kevin. He's amazing.
After the ceremony, there was a good amount of time to transition to the reception venue: the Livonia Elks Club
. I was very impressed with the event space. I set up the night before so there wasn't a ton of rushing around on wedding day. After the rehearsal on Thursday, I was joined by the wedding party and parents and we turned the Elks Club in to an absolutely gorgeous event space.
It was great to see all of my North Ridge family there that night. The icing on the cake? They let me use fog. It always makes a DJ happy when he can see his lights as they fill the room. :) Oh...I can't forget about the disco ball at the venue. I mean, c'mon...it's a disco ball.
Thank you, Jaylee and Kevin, for inviting me and Motor City HDJ along to share your special day with you. I'm honored that you asked me and I'm thrilled that I got to watch you start your journey together as husband and wife.
Here's the special music playlist:BRIDAL PARTY INTROS
"I'm a Believer" - SmashmouthBRIDE/GROOM FIRST DANCE
"All About Us (feat. Owl City)" - He Is WeDADDY/DAUGHTER DANCE
"Cinderella" - Steven Curtis ChapmanMOTHER/SON DANCE
"My Wish" - Rascal FlattsBRIDAL PARTY DANCE
"Smile" - Uncle KrackerBOUQUET TOSS
"Where Dem Girls At" - David GuettaGARTER TOSS
"You Sexy Thing" - Hot Chocolate
After a few weeks off, I headed back to Cobblestone Farm and Museum in Ann Arbor to play for Holly & John and their families and friends. Holly came to me by way of the company my stepmom Ginny used to work for.
It was an unseasonably gorgeous day for an April in Michigan. The weather was absolutely perfect for these two. It's the kind of day you hope for when it comes time for a wedding.
And to make this day even better for me (and to showcase the power of the referral) I was able to spend some time with a future bride and groom at this event. Pretty cool when it works out like this! That's really why I love what I do.
This was my second time DJing from the loft on the second level of this venue. It provides a great vantage point for the dance floor and lets the bride and groom utilize every square foot of their event space.
The crowd was on point all night long! They didn't stop dancing once. At one point we went outside to light Chinese lanterns and once we came back in, it's like the party never stopped. Such a great group!
Check out the special music we used for this event:
BRIDAL PARTY INTRODUCTIONS
"Marry You" - Bruno Mars
BRIDE & GROOM FIRST DANCE
"Thinking Out Loud" - Ed Sheeran
"Butterfly Kisses" - Bob Carlisle
"The Perfect Fan" - Backstreet Boys
BRIDAL PARTY DANCE
"You've Got a Friend in Me" - Randy Newman
"Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)" - Beyonce
"Leave Your Hat On" - Joe Cocker
LAST SONG OF THE NIGHT
"Better Man" - James Morrison
The final event of March brought me back to one of my favorite places to play in and around Metro Detroit: The Henry Ford.
This wonderful couple found me via WeddingWire and I'm glad they did. The feedback from other brides and grooms just like them helped point them in the absolute right direction. From the very beginning, I knew we would be a great match as client/vendor.
The vision of this event was one of elegance. I was THRILLED when the bride asked to incorporate uplighting in to the night. Since most all events at the Henry Ford are held in the central part of the museum, I had a wonderful time lighting the columns that create the space. Stephanie wanted purple, so I gave her space a beautiful purple hue.
Our bride and groom also utilized the projector and screen service that Motor City HDJ offers. Right after dinner and before the special dances, the groom shared a slideshow that he had put together showcasing their love story. For the rest of the night, it featured a slideshow with memories from day one until today. It was a nice touch!
I connected with new vendor friends and even ran in to old ones! The photographer was Nicole of Nicole Haley Photography
. Her second shooter Britt of Bam Photography
happens to be the aforementioned old friend of Motor City HDJ. Such a pleasure working with these two! Another new connection was with Eric and his crew over at Zara Creative
(an awesome videographer.) I've only seen the wedding trailer from the night so far, but these guys do amazing work!
This was also the first event to feature the American Audio CPX-12 active-powered loudspeakers. I promise to always keep my equipment updated and fresh and these bad lads did an amazing job rocking The Henry Ford until 1 AM.
And here's how the music shook down (literally):BRIDAL PARTY INTRODUCTIONS
"Happy" - Pharrell WilliamsBRIDE & GROOM FIRST DANCE
"Just the Way You Are" - Anthem LightsDADDY/DAUGHTER DANCE
"My Girl" - The TemptationsMOTHER/SON DANCE
"Because You Loved Me" - Celine DionLAST SONG OF THE NIGHT
"Don't Stop Believing" - Journey
Congratulations to these two and thanks for having me along!
It's always great to reunite with friends.
My pal Krissi connected with me on Facebook to help run the show for her annual charity event "Spotlight on a Cure." It's a talent show-style event with silent auction, raffle, and live auction items. All of this happens to raise money for the Huntington's Disease Society of America. When Krissi asked me to DJ the event, I absolutely had to be involved! A little backstory: Krissi and I used to work at Quicken Loans together back in the day (which was a Wednesday.)
The evening of fun took place at one of Metro-Detroit's hidden gems: The Lafayette Grande Banquet Facility in Pontiac, MI. It was my first time here and I didn't event know it was there! It's tucked away on a side street but I tell you what: more people need to have events here.
It's very art deco and looks like it came straight out of The Great Gatsby. It's an absolutely gorgeous venue with rich history and beautiful architecture. Even the elevator is original with the double gate system and all! I can't speak highly enough of this place. Seriously. If you're reading this and you're still looking for a venue, give this place a look.
I provided background music during acts and provided sound for the folks involved in the talent show part of the program. It was a nice change of pace from the intensity of wedding season.
Thank you, Krissi and crew for having me along!
I would encourage everyone to consider making a monetary donation to this amazing cause. I will be back next year (if they have me) and I can tell you that Huntington's Disease needs a cure!
I can't think of a better way to spend the Sunday afternoon after a wedding than with a surprise birthday party!
Karen & Russ found me through my pal Stacie. And hey: what's up with all these referrals lately? ;) Definitely not complaining. Well, Lisa turned 50. It's a huge milestone and all of her family and friends showed up to party with her for this special occasion. The party was held at the Hellenic Cultural Center in Westland, MI
. This was my first time playing this venue and I was BEYOND IMPRESSED. Lauren Matthews and her staff here took great care of me and the guests. You couldn't ask for a better group of people. I will be pushing this venue hard in 2015. If you're looking to book an event on this side of town, call up the Hellenic Cultural Center.
And as an added bonus, our party planners brought their own Sunday concoction. Best part of my job? When the party organizers share their liquid love with me. :)
Thanks for having me along and happy birthday again to my new friend Lisa!
One month later, to the day, I am back at one of my favorite spots to play: Waldenwoods Resort & Conference Center in Hartland, MI
For this event, I have to thank my good pals Darcie & Steve for hooking me up with this event. I played their wedding (get this) AT WALDENWOODS a few years ago. How ironic! Well, our groom for the event happens to be related to Darcie, so that made things a little easier here. The best part of this though? We had 6 weeks to get this thing together.
Bride Melanie came to me on Facebook to let me know what she needed. She was very organized from the start which helped us in this short period of time.
I was involved in both the ceremony and reception planning. Normally, the Waldenwoods space is setup for a reception. This was unique because the ceremony was on one side of the room and the reception area was setup on the other. Good use of the space!
The exchange of vows was short and sweet. It was a smaller crowd altogether for this event which made for an intimate setting.
Once dinner was over, the bride and groom shared a dance and we were off to the dancing.
I'm used to events going until midnight, so it was nice that this event ended at 10 PM. And just because the crowd was smaller didn't meant we didn't have fun. If there were rug out there, it would have gotten cut up quickly!
Congratulations again, Melanie and Tony! Thank you for letting me share in your special day!
Here's another event by way of referral. And this is the best type of referral because it came straight from me playing at a different event.
If you've read this blog any, you may remember me talking about my friends Taryn & Kevin
(click the link if you want to catch up on the story real quick.) They helped start my September weddings last year. Taryn's friend Jenn happened to be the matron of honor in the wedding. We weren't even halfway through with Taryn and Kevin's event when Jenn said, "YOU HAVE TO PLAY FOR US!" This huge grin hit me and soon, we were talking details of their upcoming event...which was today.
Jenn and Mike never got a party. They decided to get married and got busy with life. So, they had a party and I got to come along for the fun.
The party was at 1 Under Craft Beer & Eats in Livonia, MI
. Good thing, too. 10 minute ride from the house? Yes, please. If you're from around here you've probably been to 1 Under's bar downstairs. Well, they have an absolutely gorgeous event space upstairs, too. It's been renovated recently and it's stunning. The staff is great, the food is awesome, and the service is wonderful. I would recommend it to anyone looking to throw a party in this area.
I got to sit down with Jenn & Mike a couple times to talk about plans for this party. It wasn't until the second time that I learned of a special daddy/daughter dance mix we would be doing.
I enjoyed this event because it wasn't a typical wedding. Don't misunderstand: I LOVE WEDDINGS. But sometimes it's a nice change of pace to get an event that doesn't involve a lot of details and stress. This was cool breeze compared to some events I've done in the past.
After a short and sweet renewal ceremony, the party was on. And it was a great party! I was bummed that the night had to end.
Jenn and Mike: I'm so thrilled that you got your party and I'm even more thrilled that you graciously invited me along for the fun. I wish your family the best for the future!
Now on to the special music:BRIDE/GROOM DANCE
"I Only Have Eyes For You" - The FlamingosDADDY/DAUGHTER DANCESpecial mix you can listen to here.MOTHER/SON DANCE
"Loves Me Like a Rock" - Paul SimonBRIDAL PARTY/SPOUSES DANCE
"With a Little Help From My Friends" - Joe Cocker
It's rare that I get to weddings on significant calendar days of the year. At this point in my career I think New Year's Eve is really it.
So I was absolutely delighted when my pal Ben asked me to play a Valentine's Day wedding for he and his lovely bride Amy.
And it was another North Ridge family wedding. I don't think you can understand how excited I get to play events from my North Ridge family. It's an honor, a privilege, and a load of fun!
Amy & Ben chose to have their reception at the Great Lakes Culinary Center in Southfield, MI
. I apologize in advance to any other event venue that may be reading this, but GLCC has THE BEST meal of any venue I've ever played. You would expect that from a place that trains people how to cook. It was absolute torture to have to get there early to set up the gear. Imagine, 2 hours of being subjected to the smell of garlic and a sundry spices...and not being able to eat it! I digress. :)
I was among friends today. The spirit of love was in the air and it was comforting to know that my second event of the year would be spent with people that I've grown to love over the years.
I even made new friends. I had the pleasure of working alongside the husband/wife team of Heather & Kevin Autry of Ignited Photography
. These two were an absolute blast and I can't wait to meet up with them again.
The event was simple, elegant, and perfect (to say the least.) As a bonus, I was able to get in a few moments of dancing my own face off with my pals Drew, Jordan, and Monica in the mix. Crazy kids.
Here are the special songs Amy and Ben danced to:BRIDAL PARTY INTRODUCTIONS
"This is Love" - For King & CountryBRIDE & GROOM FIRST DANCE
"Thinking Out Loud" - Ed SheeranDADDY/DAUGHTER DANCE
"Once in Love With Amy" - Frank SinatraMOTHER/SON DANCE
"Mr. Blue Sky" - ELO