08March

The Importance of Your Floor Plan

The Most Overlooked Detail of Your Wedding Reception

The Importance of Your Floor Plan
One of the most over looked details when planning your wedding reception is the floor plan.  More than likely you will spend several months figuring out your seating chart which can be stressful at times because you know that Aunt Carrol doesn't get along with Uncle Phil so you're constantly making special seating arrangements.  But before the RSVPs come back to your house lets make sure you have the best floor plan for your reception. 

FLOOR PLAN TIP #1 - LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION

The floor plan is typically discussed with your Venue Manager once you have locked in your date with a down payment for your dream venue.  The majority of the Venue Managers that we have personally worked with already have great layout plans for your reception and have placed the entertainment in the proper location.  However there are some Venue Managers out there that do not see your overall floor plan from our perspective.  They are typically more concerned with the catering staff being able to serve your guests or they have been setting their venue up the same way for decades because "that's just how we do things around here".   The location of your DJ is often overlooked or is placed "out of the way" against a far wall away from the dance floor.  Even if you hired the best wedding DJ placing him out of the way will significantly impact your wedding reception.  

The perfect floor plan for your wedding reception, has the DJ setup centered on the dance floor without any tables in between the dance floor and the DJ's speakers.  Once the open dancing begins, the music will be significantly louder than during cocktail hour and the dinner portion.  Placing your DJ on your floor plan centered on the dance floor will ensure that the proper volume level for your dancing guests is achieved.  The dance floor is also the focal point of the room where all of your special moments will take place.  Your DJ plays a key role in the creation of all of your special moments, which is why having your DJ as close to the dance floor as possible is a great idea.

Below you will find an example of an improper floor plan (provided by Mick from Elite British  DJ), which has the DJ located away from the dance floor.  As you can see from the diagram once the open dancing begins the DJ will have to play the music louder in order to reach the proper volume level for your dancing guests.  

Some of your guests may want to catch up with family members and remain seated during the open dancing portion.  If they are seated at a table in between the dance floor and the DJ's speakers, in this case Tables 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12 they will not be able to carry on a conversation together during the open dancing portion of your reception.  This may cause some of your guests to leave your big day earlier than expected.


FLOOR PLAN TIP #2 - SIZE MATTERS

Now that we have your DJ in the correct location on your floor plan there is one more detail that needs to be addressed.  The size of your dance floor.  This is another minor detail that often gets overlooked.  Let's face it when it comes to dancing there are some of us that need a little help from Jack Daniels and may be feel intimidated by dancing in front of everyone.  A great way to ensure all of your guests feel comfortable with dancing in front of people is making your dance floor smaller.  This will cause your dance floor to become more inviting to all of your guests especially when they see everyone dancing.  

Now if you're asking yourself what is the perfect size?  We do not have an exact answer because it solely depends on the amount of people on your guest list and the available space at your Venue.  We can however give you a real world example of what we would consider a improper and proper dance floor size.

In 2012 we provided the entertainment for a wedding reception with a guest list of approximately 225 people at a local venue.  When we arrived to start our setup we were very surprised by the layout plan.  The picture below was taken behind the head table and in front of where we had to setup.  As you can see this is an example of an improper floor plan and too large of a dance floor.  Check out the distance between the table and their guests... and not to mention the last few rows of tables all the way in the back do you think they will be able to see let along hear what's going on?

When meeting with your Venue Manager it is very important to ask if they have any examples of previous floor plans.  Typically you will see examples of floor plans that are just on paper.  By asking for photos you can get a better feel for what your floor plan will truly look like.  If you are wondering why the Venue setup the floor plan as shown in the picture above... We were told "That's how we always setup our wedding receptions".  Don't let the lack of creativity and laziness of your Venue's staff potentially impact the overall success of your wedding reception.

When we were approached in 2013 for a wedding reception at the same Venue we made sure that we shared our pictures with them.  After viewing our photos, It was very obvious that a new setup plan would need to be followed.  Especially since this wedding was about the same size as the other wedding.  Check out the picture below and see what we came up with for their floor plan.

As you can see this picture represents the best floor plan and is an example of a proper dance floor size given the number of guests and the amount of available room.  You can definitely see the difference when compared to the first picture.  Having the tables wrap around the dance floor in more of a 'U' shape not only makes the area smaller but now is a more inviting space.

FLOOR PLAN TIP #3 - SEATING CHART

When determining where your guests will be seated we recommend not placing your elderly guests directly in front of the speakers.  A lot of people think that your elderly guests should be directly up front so they can see everything.  Once open dancing starts the music will be the loudest and if you place your elderly guests closest to the speakers there is a good chance that the music will be "too loud".  By using a horseshoe style setup as shown above you can move your elderly guests away from the speakers.  Since all of the special moments will occur in the center of the horseshoe your elderly guest will be able to see everything.  If your layout plan has the dance floor in the center with your tables on two opposite sides, we recommend placing your elderly guests as far away from the DJs speakers as possible but still on the dance floor.

FLOOR PLAN TIP #4 - COORDINATION

It is very important to share your layout plan with your entertainment vendor before finalizing everything.  We typically go over your plan during one of our meetings together.  That way we can provide feedback to ensure that your plan works the best with our capabilities and to ensure the greatest potential of having everything run smoothly on your wedding date.  

We have the capabilities to provide wireless speakers in Venues that are large in order to distribute the sound evenly.  If your Venue is large this is an important question to ask your entertainment vendor.  If they do not have a plan or have the technological capabilities to provide sound in large venues,  in order to have your guests way in the back hear everything that's up front they will have to turn up the speakers above normal level.  This will cause your guests in the front few rows to complain that it's too loud.  After spending all that hard work on your plan and following our tips above it's very important to match your venues size with the proper entertainment vendor.

FLOOR PLAN TIPS - CONCLUSION

We hope you found these floor planning tips helpful and enjoyed reading this article.  Remember when determining the location of your entertainment vendor it is very important to not place tables in between their setup and the dance floor.  To ensure that your dance floor is more welcoming and inviting reduce it's size where applicable.  Place your elderly guests as far away from the entertainment vendors setup as possible.  Last but not least, coordinate your plan with your entertainment vendor to ensure that everyone is on the same page. 

18February

How To Not Ruin Your Wedding

The Importance of The DJ Setup

How To Not Ruin Your Wedding
Welcome everyone to our weekly wedding reception planning tip.  This week's tip well help you select a professional entertainment vendor who will not ruin your wedding reception.  An often overlooked area when selecting the perfect DJ is their setup.  I am not talking about what gear they have (a topic for another day), I am specifically referring to how they present their equipment at your wedding reception.

Let's say you have everything crossed off your list... you have the fancy country club, the perfect wedding dress, the prettiest flowers, all the invitations are in the mail, but you still have one thing left - book the DJ.  So you go out and get a bunch of quotes and since you already over spent on everything else, you decide I am just going to get a cheap DJ, besides I have everything else and all he does is just play music.... WRONG!

Your DJ not only plays a tremendous role in the overall success of your wedding reception, but his equipment and how he sets everything else will be in the background of your wedding pictures.  It doesn't matter if you rented out Carnegie Hall, if you hired an amatuer DJ with his orange extension cords and half assed wires going all over the place, you just devalued your Venue.  There is nothing your photographer can do when your DJ has a horrible looking setup.  It's like having that expensive super stretch Limo and piling all your friends inside and then one of your friends cuts the cheese - guess what your Limo is going to stink really bad!  

So unless you are willing to see for the rest of your life the amateur DJ's promotional sign or organge extension cords in your wedding photos, you need to make sure you hire a professional.  Here is a very simple way of making sure your DJ does not ruin your wedding reception.  We totally understand that everyone has a budget.  And to date no one has ever contacted us and stated they have unlimited money and they want everything.  However, when making your entertainment vendor decision you should have cuts before even looking at the prices.  In other words you should be prequalifying your entertainment vendors.

One of the ways you can make your first round of cuts is view their facebook, website, or anywhere else that shows their event coverage photos.  DJs love showing off their equipment so I can almost garuntee that they will have photos of how they setup for events.  You want to make sure that their setup looks very neat and organized.  Not something that looks like they barely setup in time.  (Chances are that's a pretty accurate assumption).  Having everything neat and organized speaks volumes on how their company conducts business.  You can also see the overall appearance of their setup and make your own first impression.  You can also notice if your DJ hangs a tacky sign up promoting his services, which we personally feel should not be allowed at any wedding reception.  If your a professional DJ and you rock the crowd, you don't need a billboard telling people where to find you.

Below you will find a few examples of our setups and what to look for when booking your professional DJ.  Wire management or hiding/securing the wires and cords is very important not only to clean up the setup but for overall safety of your guests.  With wires and cords hanging all over the place and tangled on the floor, it wouldn't take much for someone to trip or worse cause something to fall.  The overall appearance should flow with the rest of the room and not be an eye sore or a billboard.  Our standard setup package consists of two speakers, one subwoofer, two 9' towers and two moving head lights.  Combined with our uplighting package, we feel that this is the perfect amount of sound and lighting for your wedding reception.




So remember, before comparing prices make your first round of cuts and prequalify your entertainment vendors with this week's wedding reception planning tip.  Thank you so much for stopping by this week, we hope you found this tip to be very helpful.  If you have any questions please let us know.  

11February

Hire Professionals

Hire Professionals
Hello everyone and welcome to another Wedding Reception Planning Tip.  This week's tip was inspired by a recent phone call meeting that we had with a Bride-to-Be that we met at the Susquehanna Valley Mall Bridal Show.   We always ask have you ever been to a wedding reception that you saw something and said to yourself "Not at my wedding!".  Her reply sent chills up our spine and made us feel awkward, and we weren't even there!  Last year she attended a wedding where the hired entertainment lost the Bride and Groom's first dance.  Not only did they misplace the song but then they announced to the entire room that their first dance was lost!  How does this happen!

Put yourself in the Bride's shoes and you will realize just how important our services are for your Wedding Reception.  The DJ in this instance was not prepared or did not have a backup plan in mind.  This could have definitely been avoided with proper planning.

We use a dropbox account to ensure that all of your special songs are played on the day of your wedding reception.  The dropbox account is free and allows us to share the songs with you, so you can listen to the exact version which will be played at your wedding reception.  We have your special songs backed up on our iPad and online, as well as on our MacBook.  

You have to keep a watchful eye out for amateur DJ companies who boast how many years they have been in business.  They might be using the same technology for the 90s which increases the chance of "technical difficulties".  Unless you are well in tuned with the entertainment scene you probably have no idea what is industry standard and what is considered way outdated.  The best way to determine if your potential entertainment vendor is prepared for the worst case scenario is by calling them and asking "What is your backup plan if suddenly you can not find my first dance song?"  Any professional DJ should be able to reply to this in a split second without hesitation.  If there's any length of pause in the conversation this is a huge red flag!  The reason why you ask them directly rather than in an email is you don't want to give them a chance to figure out a plan - any professional already has one in place.  This is yet another inside tip for you all that you won't find in your Bridal Magazines.

Thank you once again for stopping by and hope that this tip helps you select the perfect entertainment vendor for your wedding reception.  You do want this video to be your reception... enjoy!

WEDDING DJ RUINS FIRST DANCE VIDEO
04February

Bouquet Toss?

Should I Toss My Bouquet?

Bouquet Toss?

 

This weeks wedding reception planning tip has to do with your bouquet.  All of our Brides-to-Be receive a detailed wedding planner from us that goes over all the ways Uranko Productions can customize your wedding reception.  One of the sections of the planner has to do with the Bouquet Toss.  

First lets jump back in our time machines to the year 2005.  Many of you that will be reading this blog may not even have graduated high school yet, but I can almost guarantee that you have attended an older sister's or friend's wedding reception.  The bouquet toss was as common as the cake cutting 10 years ago.  However we noticed a change and we believe is a change for the better.

What does the Bouquet Toss really mean to everyone?  Well as a single male guest at your wedding reception you now gave me an inside tip on which ladies I can pursue for the rest of the evening.  For the married men in the audience we are just hoping for an all out chick fight to ensue the moment you launch those flowers into the air.  Ok, you're probably right, the single guys are hoping for the same thing as well!  What about the ladies that attend your wedding reception...  And here is where we convince our new Brides-to-Be to not toss those beautiful flowers into the air.   The majority of girls that attend your wedding reception that are single although are extremely happy for you, hate the fact that they are not married or engaged.  Most of them get all worked up and think to themselves I hope they don't have a bouquet toss because I don't want the whole room to know I am not married.  Let's face it, the bouquet toss is nothing more than calling out all of your single friends and saying I am married and you are not, so let's get you out in the middle of the dance floor and let everyone know that you're not married.  

Another situation that can come about is what if one of your friends recently went through a divorce and you are the only one that knows.. But when you start calling out the single girls in the crowd and you announce her name now she is even more embarrassed.  I can almost guarantee her night is over after your toss.  I also know that girls that attend your wedding reception who bring their boyfriend are more than likely not to leave their seat and participate in the Toss.  Why you might ask...  Well in her mind if she catches the bouquet she will have some random dude up her dress which will definitely lead to a fight with her current boyfriend.  Chances are she has a better likelihood of marriage sitting in her seat rather than catching flowers.  And the last point about why having a bouquet toss creates an awkward moment is what if the Junior Bridesmaid catches the bouquet?  Think about it.  So now you have an inside tip on why when you announce the Bouquet Toss nobody leaves their seat.

Out of all of the 2014 wedding we produced only two decided to have the Bouquet Toss which in the end is totally alright with us.  It is our professional respobsibility to share with you all of the options that we have.  We network with wedding entertainment companies from all over the Nation and we want your wedding to represent the best of everything.  We always will support our Brides-to-Be decisions and wishes, after all it is your Day.  For the 90% of the weddings that we produced in 2014 who wanted a more modern reception here is what we recommended them to do instead of the Bouquet Toss.

IDEA #1 - Bouquet Dedication

The Bride dedicates her bouquet to the person whom has influenced her life the most.  She then makes a short speech about them and why they are so deserving of the bouquet.  If this is the Maid or Matron of Honor this works out perfectly to add after she gives the toast.  She will have no idea it is coming and having this event before the food is served will guarantee that you have everyone's attention.  The Groom can also take park in this by giving his Mom a dozen of roses instead of taking the garter off.  Again this can be done right after the Toasts to create a very memorable moment.



IDEA #2 - Oldest Couple

This is our personal favorite.   Through our Wedding Reception Planner we already know who the oldest couple in the room of your Wedding Reception will be.  The way this works is we call all the of the married couples to the dance floor and start a song that everyone dances together.   We then move the couples who have been married together for the shortest amount of time off to the side.  This goes on until we are left with the oldest couple in the room.  We then play their wedding song and invite you and your Groom to dance along side of them.  When the song is over you present them with your bouquet.  This creates a very memorable moment.

Bottom line is it's totally up to you weather or not you want to have a Bouquet Toss at your Wedding Reception.  We wanted to share other options with you all that will definitely create a special moment and work extremely well.  Our ultimate goal at your wedding reception is to create as many memorable moments as possible and eliminate all of the awkward pauses or cheesy moments that plaque normal receptions.  We want you to have the best wedding reception that you have ever attended!  

That's going to do it for this week's Wedding Reception Planning Tip.  If you have any questions please let us know.  
21January

Budgeting for Your Wedding Entertainment

Organizing Your Priorities

Budgeting for Your Wedding Entertainment
Budgeting for Your Wedding Entertainment

As a professional entertainment company it is our responsibility to share all of the information possible about our industry to you as the consumer.  The reason why this is so important is we want you to make the best educated decision possible when selecting your entertainment.  

It is no secret that cost plays a tremendous part in your selection process and is very influential in your overall budget.  No one has ever contacted us and said "Give me everything you have price is no object".  However there are ways that you can maximize your budget in areas that you feel are the most important and the most passionate about.  

We have all of our new clients write down the three most important things you want to remember the most about your wedding reception.  Doesn't matter who you are, where you are from, or more importantly how big your budget is, we always have "We want our guests to have an amazing time and dance all night long" as one of the three most important desires from your wedding reception.  

The next step is to list all of the expenses of your wedding reception and how much you have budgeted for their services.  Take a good look at your list and reorganize your expenses from most expensive to least expensive.  Now here is where it all comes together...  If one of your desires of your wedding reception is to make sure everyone has an amazing time and dances all night long, then you better have entertainment in the top five on your budget list.  If your proposed entertainment budget is towards the bottom of your expense list and for example chair covers with cushions costs more than your entertainment,  what you're really telling us is "We want our guest to see us years after our wedding reception and remember the expensive chair covers and how all the chairs had soft cushions."   Chances are you need to adjust some of your expenses. 

It is very easy to get caught all up in the moment and over spend on items early in your planning process because you have more expendable money in your overall budget.  But if you organize and prioritize your budget your chances of spending way to much money on chairs is eliminated.  Which leaves you more money to spend on vendors that will have a greater impact on the overall success of your day.

I know what you're thinking... But what if I don't have any money left?  We are trying our hardest with articles such as this one, to change the mind set of new brides as they plan their wedding reception.  If you look at all of the major bridal magazines we as entertainers are hardly mentioned at all.  But the truth is your entertainment is one the MOST important vendors to ensure that you're wedding reception is the best you've ever attended.  How do we know this?  Think back to the wedding receptions that you've have attended in the past as a guest.  What did you eat?  How many layers were on the cake?  What did the chair covers look like?  How many flowers were in the center piece?  Chances are unless you were involved in the planning of that wedding you won't be able to answer those questions.  Now on the other hand, did you have a good time?

We believe that how much you spend on something and more importantly how much you know about the item or in this case the service the greater your chances are of having the wedding reception of your dreams.  Let's not look into how much money satisfies or qualifies your chances, instead focus on hiring professionals.  We are professionals for a reason, and chances are we are going to be more expensive than other companies out there.  Sure you may roll the dice, and find a cheap DJ that gives you everything you want and more.  We are not saying they don't exist, but you are risking one of the most important days to one individual that you have met maybe for five minutes at a Bridal Show and just made your decision based on his price.  

Hiring a professional increases your odds that your wedding reception will not only be the best you've ever attended, but will have your guests talking about how much fun they had at your reception, and how they remember dancing the night away!   After all wasn't that one of your top priorities of your wedding reception?  We hope you find this article useful and if you have any questions please let us know.  Stay tuned for more wedding reception tips!
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