Studio 817 – Awesome Event Space In the Heart of Downtown Sacramento

This last Saturday, I had the pleasure of working a wedding at a super-chic, intimate venue in downtown Sacramento.Downtown Sacramento Wedding Venue Studio 817

Don’t let its size fool you.  Studio 817 is an incredible little event space for just about any type of event you might care to have.

From the outisde, it looks fairly plain, but once you enter into the space, you see it’s clearly divided into two discrete, usable spaces.

Right when you walk in, you enter into the main lobby area, which serves as the cocktail lounge for weddings, and which could serve any purpose, really, for any other type of event.  There is ample seating around the outer walls, some tall cocktail tables, and a bar area all ready to go.  For our event, they utilized their recommended vendor for bar-tending services – Randy Peters Catering, who always does a fantastic job all around.

Studio 817 Sacramento Cocktail Lounge

Here in the lounge, I placed a single wireless speaker, to provide music and announcements for this room during cocktail hour.

After the ceremony, the guests were invited into the cocktail lounge for beverages while the staff turned over the main banquet room, staging the tables where the ceremony took place immediately before.  This took no time at all, and looked great!

Once you turn right through a sliding barn door into the main banquet room, you initially see the ceremony area with chairs, an aisle, and an arbor.  Perfect for small-to-medium ceremonies.  The ceremony area in this setup is set off from the rest of the room, where the tables are sitting to be moved, by elegant white pipe and drape.

Studio 817 Sacramento Wedding Venue Ceremony

Once the ceremony was over, and the guests invited to the cocktail lounge, quick work was made of turning over the room.  Down came the pipe and drape, and over came the tables for dining.

This opened up the dancefloor area, where I was set up along the back wall.Studio 817 Sacramento Wedding Venue Banquet Hall

You will want to be sure that your DJ is familiar with the acoustics of the room, because the concrete and stucco walls, coupled with the high ceiling make for a real echo-chamber effect that could be problematic if your DJ doesn’t monitor their volume levels or have a firm grasp of proper microphone techniques and usage.  This becomes crucial for the ceremony as well.

Though you can’t really see it from the picture to the right, the dancefloor area is really large, and has plenty of room.  It is offset from the dining side of the room nicely, so that guests who want to hang out and relax can do so while others are dancing the night away!Studio 817 Sacramento Wedding DJ Dancing Dancefloor

A nice feature of this room are the two panel doors that slide up on the front wall, allowing the banquet room to open up into a nice, intimate closed patio just off the front of the building.  This was wonderful once the sun went down and things started to cool down.

In all, Studio 817 is a fantastic little gem, nestled into Downtown Sacramento.  The catering and sales manager Morgan is awesome to work with, and is attentive, and fun.

With plenty of versatility, and a nice public parking lot right off the back of the building, you really can’t go wrong with Studio 817.

Studio 817 Sacramento Wedding Venue

Cute little Donut table, located in the main banquet room.

 

 

Big Band Cocktail & Dinner Party

I take great pride in specializing in Big Band music, and in having one of, if not THE (yeah, who are we kidding – I’m not modest) absolute best collection of Big Band music and Popular Vocal Standards from the 20s through the 50s in the Sacramento area.

This last weekend, I had a wonderful time playing a Big Band themed birthday party at the Delta King on the river, and I’d like to share some of the playlist from that event.  This party, and the venue, both lent themselves well to exploring all of these great musical traditions from an era gone by.

Unfortunately, not all of the selections I played are even available on YouTube, which just speaks to the size and depth of my collection, but I’ve listed those that are below so you can research them yourself, and have fun learning more about these artists and their music.

Also keep in mind that not all of these will be the exact versions present in my library, and in most all cases, the material I have sounds a lot better from a  fidelity standpoint.  We do have to remember, though, that recording technology was in its infancy when these musics were flourishing, and the overall fidelity, as well as the imperfections are just a part of the charm of these selections, and really help to transport you back in time!

Please enjoy these selections, and if you or someone you know are ever looking for a Big Band-themed wedding, or other event, please give me a call.  While you’re at it, call around and let the other folks know you’d love some classic Big Band at your event, and ask them for some examples of what they’d play.  You may (or may not) be surprised to hear them all mention Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and if you’re lucky maybe Benny Goodman or Duke Ellington for good measure.  But Big band is so much more, and has so much more to offer than just the Rat Pack & Michael Buble!

So when you’re ready, let me know!  I’d love to help you Jump, Jive & Wail your way through an awesome event and dance party!

Without further ado, let’s get started with our list!

Nat King Cole – Straighten Up And Fly Right

Duke Ellington And His Orchestra – Take The ”A” Train

Kay Starr – If I Could Be With You (One Hour Tonight)

Patti Page – Let Me Call You Sweetheart

Count Basie – Swingin’ the Blues

Frank Foster – Lust For Life

Andrews Sisters – Rum And Coca Cola

Johnny Mercer – Ac-cent-tchu-ate The Positive

Clyde McCoy – Sugar Blues

Ethel Merman – I Got Rhythm

Louis Prima – Jump, Jive, An’ Wail

The Six & Seven-Eighths String Band Of New Orleans – Clarinet Marmalade

Rosemary Clooney – Mambo Italiano

Bobby Darin – Beyond The Sea

Les Paul & Mary Ford – How High the Moon

Fats Waller – Alligator Crawl

Art Kassel & His Kassels In The Air Orch. – Bell-Bottom Trousers

Louis Armstrong and the Duke Ellington Orchestra – It Don’t Mean a Thing (if it Ain’t Got That Swing)

Betty Hutton – Doctor, Lawyer, Indian Chief

Fletcher Henderson and His Orchestra – Hotter Than ‘Ell

Les Brown & His Band of Renown – Leap Frog

Billie & De De Pierce Ft. Emile Barnes – Lonesome Road

Benny Goodman – Somebody Stole My Gal

Benny Carter – Black Bottom

Edmond Hall – It Had To Be You

Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong – A Fine Romance

Johnny Hodges – Something To Pay Your Foot To

Charlie Barnet – Cherokee

Dizzy Gillespie – Autumn Leaves

Benny Goodman – Let’s Dance

Blue Barron – Ida, Sweet as Apple Cider (The Three Blue Notes voc.)

Frank Sinatra – The Best Is Yet To Come

Ella Fitzgerald – Let’s Do It (Let’s Fall in Love)

Errol Garner – Red Sails In The Sunset

Count Basie – Tickle Toe

Benny Goodman – Down South Camp Meeting

Charly Barnet – Skyliner

Billie Holiday – Lover Come Back to Me

Glenn Miller – Begin the Beguine

Barney Bigard – Sugar

Emile Barnes & Lawrence Tocca W Billie Pierce – Shake It & Break It

Count Basie – April In Paris

Benny Goodman – Body & Soul

Benny Carter – I’m In The Mood For Swing

Buck Clayton – Way Down Yonder In New Orleans

Nat King Cole – L.O.V.E.

 

Get Hip With Sacramento Mobile Photo Booths!

Photo booths have been a staple of Northern California weddings for several years now.

They can be a great way to get wedding guests involved and interacting throughout your celebration. With many photo booth vendors also offering highly-customized photo templates, and photo-album options in conjunction with their services, they offer an added layer of sentimentality & value by providing both you and your guests with incredible keepsakes.

And let’s face it – when else are you going to get a photo of your grandma and your best man together, wrapped in a pink feather boa, wearing mustaches?

Fortunately for brides and grooms looking to spice up their wedding celebrations with something fun, hip, and different, several Northern California companies are taking the novelty of photo booths to a whole new level with the idea of the motorized, mobile photo booth.  Utilizing vintage vehicles & trailers, these options are the perfect compliment to a rustic, vintage, or kitschy wedding!

Check out these great new options, and be sure to tell them Justin from Sounds To Go sent you!

The Photo Bug

From Temple Photography and Photo Booth, we have a 1967 VW Beetle. Small enough and maneuverable enough to work it’s way into a prime spot at just about any outdoor (and some indoor!) events, this fun booth is super-groovy for sure. The front seats come out after arrival, making way for a fun, fully-immersive photo booth experience.

ThePhotoboothBug.com

The Photo Booth Bug, by Temple Photography & Photo Booth

The Photo Booth Bug, by Temple Photography & Photo Booth

The Booth Bus

Meet Georgia.  She’s a 1970 VW travel bus/camper who has racked up many awesome memories she call’s her own.  Now, after many years of “roughing it,” she’s ready to help you make your own memories at your special event!

TheBoothBus.com

The Booth Bus. Plenty of charm, ready to roll!

The Booth Bus. Plenty of charm, ready to roll!

Lucy

From OurDIYLove, we have Lucy, a 10′ 1961 Field & Stream trailer.

Totally hip, retro-vibe with awesome backdrops, and plenty of room for some rustic/vintage merriment and camaraderie.

Get the group shot!

OurDIYLove.com

Lucy brings vintage photo fun to you!

Lucy brings vintage photo fun to you!

Subwoofers. To Woof, or Not to Woof?

Hint:  It’s never REALLY a question!

One of the biggest misconceptions among DJs is that you “only need” subwoofers for larger crowds or bigger rooms.

That’s just not true. At all.Sacramento Wedding DJ.  Sounds To Go DJ Service.

Music is recorded on a spectrum of frequencies. From high to low. Everyone knows this.

Every speaker cabinet has both an upper, and lower limit to the frequencies they can reproduce. The “tops,” or speakers DJs use are no different.

Without subwoofers, specifically designed to reproduce the lower frequencies in the program material, the resulting sound is weak, thin, and hollow. Of course, modern day speaker cabinets sound great, and many do a respectable job of reproducing a limited amount of low end, but they can still only go so far.

DJs who try to run modern dance music without the benefit of dedicated subwoofers are often the ones you hear so many complaints about when it comes to sound. Because their sound lacks low end extension, and has no real body, they’re forced to crank the volume a lot higher than they should have to to fill the area they are in. The result is simply LOOUUUUDD, shrieky, distorted, and still WEAK sound. In addition to sounding terrible, and causing ear fatigue for everyone around them, they’re also placing a ton of unneeded strain on their speakers and amps. When the sound starts to get distorted, they even run the risk of damaging or blowing their speakers and amps!

Having the low-end extension offered by dedicated subwoofer enclosures becomes especially critical at events outdoors, which an ever-increasing number of wedding receptions here in Northern California generally are.  The sound disperses way faster in these outdoor settings, and higher levels are generally required to cover the same amount of people in the same amount of space because of this rapid dispersion.

These outdoor receptions and events are often attended by sound restrictions or ordinances because the location is in either a residential area, an uneven, mountainous setting where sound will echo, or is out in the middle of a large, flat area, where the sound simply travels farther.  In these cases, the initial gut instinct says that having “more bass” would be undesirable.  Here again though, the truth of the matter is counter-intuitive.  We have to remember what we said before.  Providing warmer, fuller sound, concentrated right when and where you need it means you don’t have to turn up your sound system AS A WHOLE as loud as you otherwise would!

The result?  Less echo, less sound travel, fewer grumpy neighbors, no 10:55 PM visits from local law enforcement, and so on.

Ask your potential DJs how many subs they typically bring to events. If they say “none,” that their tops “don’t need them,” or that your event or room “isn’t big enough to need them,” keep looking.

Having subwoofers at your small to medium event ISN’T “overkill,” and doesn’t mean it’s going to be “too loud” or have “too much bass.”  On the contrary, it simply means warmer, fuller sound at more reasonable volume levels all night.  If your event has music, even for background, there is a TON of benefit to having a nice, full sounding sound spectrum, and no downside whatsoever.

And yes… It also means the ability to THUMP when the time is right!

For your truly professional DJ service provider, the question is never “do we need subs?” but is rather “how many do we need?”

Get The Group Shot!

Wedding Guest Group Shot.  Photo by, and courtesy of, Emily Heizer Photography

Wedding Guest Group Shot. Photo by, and courtesy of, Emily Heizer Photography

 

A group shot with all of your wedding guests is a great keepsake, and can be one of the most memorable photographs your photographer captures on your wedding day.

The trick is…

When to do it.  Just like everything else at a wedding, there are tons of variables at play that go into determining the best time for your group shot.  Things like time of day, venue type and layout, and other factors all come into play.

The main consideration is that, if possible, you do it at a time when all of your guests are still present (i.e. don’t wait until later in the reception!) and they are all still in the same general area already so gathering everyone together isn’t like herding cats.  :)

There are a few times during the course of a typical wedding that lend themselves nicely to this shot.

Do it at the wrong time, or at some random time during the night, and just getting everyone together and setting up the shot can take a good half-an hour out of your already precious and limited dancing and visiting time.

Let’s do it right!

Since your DJ/MC is most likely the person you’re looking to to help you come up with a nice, smooth-flowing reception timeline, look to them to help determine (with your photographer!) the time and place that makes the most sense for this shot, and for any other shot (think Sunset Shots) that could potentially take time away from your celebration or grind it to a halt if not thoughtfully planned.

Experience, communication, and a team-player attitude are all essential to the success of your wedding day!

The Bouquet Toss – History, Song Suggestions & Alternatives

Jacob & Rebekah Macias, 9.2.12, Flower Farm, Loomis, CA. Photo by, and courtesy of, Chris Shepard Photography (www.shepard-photography.com)  Videography by Phillip Alan Films (phillipalanfilms.com)

Jacob & Rebekah Macias, 9.2.12, Flower Farm, Loomis, CA. Photo by, and courtesy of, Chris Shepard Photography (www.shepard-photography.com) Videography by Phillip Alan Films (phillipalanfilms.com) Custom Monogram option shown – Ask for details!

First, some history

Why do we do it, and where did it come from?  The tossing of the bridal bouquet is a custom with roots in England.  It was believed to be a way for the bride to pass along her good fortune to others.  Bridal guests would try to tear away pieces of the bride’s clothing and flowers in order to obtain this fortune.  In an attempt to get away from this tearing of her gown, the bride would toss her bouquet into the crowd.  As tradition has it, the single lady who catches the bouquet has received the bride’s fortune and will be next in line to marry.

To toss, or not to toss?

For many modern brides, this is the question.  No wedding tradition needs to be adhered to steadfastly, and you should never feel pressured to include anything you aren’t excited about in your wedding day.  If a certain tradition has significance for you, or you just like it because it’s FUN, then include it in your celebration!

The bouquet toss is one of the traditional elements that is familiar to most of us.

Many contemporary brides love this tradition, and it’s almost always a high-energy focal-point when it is included.  It’s becoming quite common though, for brides to either choose an alternative to the traditional bouquet toss, or to opt out of it altogether.

What else can we do?

Many things can be done instead of the traditional tossing of the bouquet.  Here are just a few fun ideas:

  • Presentation.  Present the bouquet to someone special.  Work with your MC to include a short message letting folks know who you’re presenting your bouquet to, and why.
    • Your mom, mother-in-law, grandmother
    • Recently engaged friend
    • Someone celebrating a recent or near birthday, anniversary, etc.
    • Longest married couple
    • Your sister(s).  Use multiple bouquets as-needed
    • Anyone, for any reason you like!
  • Alternatives.  Instead of tossing a bouquet, you can toss other fun items instead.
    • Teddy Toss.  If there are a good number of young children present, you can do a “Teddy Toss” instead. Have the children gather together in the usual formation, and toss a small-to-medium sized stuffed animal.  This is a huge crowd favorite, and is a great way to include children in the celebration.  Can be done in addition to the traditional bouquet toss as well!
    • Glow Sticks.  Toss a home-made “bouquet” of glow sticks to be passed out by whoever catches it.  Great way to get the party started on the dancefloor once the lights go down!

Song Suggestions

Want some fun song ideas for your bouquet toss?  Here are the Top 50 most popular choices from the last year!

1   Beyonce   Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)
2   Lauper, Cyndi   Girls Just Want To Have Fun
3   Guetta, David Feat. Flo Rida & Nicki Minaj   Where Them Girls At
4   Weather Girls   It’s Raining Men
5   Benatar, Pat   Hit Me With Your Best Shot
6   Twain, Shania   Man! I Feel Like A Woman!
7   Little Big Town   Little White Church
8   Ludacris Feat. Mystikal   Move B***H
9   Spice Girls   Wannabe
10   Beyonce   Run The World (Girls)
11   Furtado, Nelly   Maneater
12   Buble, Michael   Haven’t Met You Yet
13   Kool & The Gang   Ladies Night
14   No Doubt   Just A Girl
15   Blondie   One Way Or Another
16   Kelis   Milkshake
17   Jepsen, Carly Rae   Call Me Maybe
18   Beastie Boys   Girls
19   Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, Mya & Pink, Christina   Lady Marmalade
20   Jackson, Michael   P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)
21   Queen   Another One Bites The Dust
22   Orbison, Roy   Oh, Pretty Woman
23   Rihanna   Only Girl (In The World)
24   Bryan, Luke   Country Girl (Shake It For Me)
25   Mcbride, Martina   This One’s For The Girls
26   Survivor   Eye Of The Tiger
27   Beastie Boys   Hey Ladies
28   Stefani, Gwen   Hollaback Girl
29   Destiny’s Child   Independent Women Part 1
30   West, Kanye Feat. Jamie Foxx   Gold Digger
31   Fergie   Clumsy
32   Hilson, Keri   Pretty Girl Rock
33   Valentine, Brooke Feat. Big Boi & Lil’ Jon   Girlfight
34   Jones, Tom   She’s A Lady
35   Motley Crue   Girls, Girls, Girls
36   Springfield, Dusty   Wishin’ And Hopin’
37   Hendrix, Jimi   Foxey Lady
38   Mars, Bruno   Marry You
39   Ross, Diana & The Supremes   You Can’t Hurry Love
40   Benatar, Pat   Love Is A Battlefield
41   Keys, Alicia   Girl On Fire
42   Perry, Katy   California Gurls
43   702   Where My Girls At?
44   Beyonce   Diva
45   Beyonce   Love On Top
46   Fergie Feat. Ludacris   Glamorous
47   Gomez, Selena   Come & Get It
48   Def Leppard   Pour Some Sugar On Me
49   Dixie Cups   Chapel Of Love
50   Kravitz, Lenny   American Woman

 

Fun Wedding Pro Tip – Be a Part of the Action!

Understandably, you’ll want to spend time mingling, talking, and catching up with your guests in addition to dancing.

Keep in mind though that guests, and your wedding party, will tend to congregate around you during your reception.  That’s not a bad thing.  After all, it IS about YOU!

Just remember though…  If the groom spends all night at the cigar bar (or just the BAR bar), where will all the guys be?  And, wherever the bride goes, an entourage is sure to follow!

Staying in the action during your reception will keep the majority of your guests involved too! Of course that doesn’t mean you have to dance all night, but staying in the general area of the dance-floor will help make sure no one (especially you) misses all those great highlights and special moments on the floor!

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Receptions: How long is too long?

Wedding receptions should go out with a BANG, not a fizzle!

Here’s a great article that talks about the potential pitfalls of an overly-long reception.

Aside from the reasons mentioned, there are other reasons a reception shouldn’t go too long.

Every couple wants their wedding to be memorable, but we have to be sure the celebration is memorable for all the right reasons.

A professional DJ/MC will work with you to plan a timeline and an event flow that has a very distinct beginning, middle, and END that is memorable and powerful for as many of your guests as possible.  A powerful, high-energy ending can’t be had if many or most of your guests have already decided to pack it in for the night.

Think about it… Do you want your guests to leave tired and sweaty on a high note, wanting more after a high energy ending, or do you want folks to trickle out over time, letting everything end with a fizzle?

When you think about it that way, partying “all through the night” at your reception might not sound as appealing as it once did.

Most local venues sell packages that go until 11pm or 12am.  Because we’re making such a huge investment in the venue itself, there’s a huge temptation to use it all and try to keep the party going until the very last minute “because we paid for it.”  But planning to end a bit earlier – an hour for example – can make all the difference in the world.

It’ll let your friends and family who have to help you clean up get done a bit sooner, and hey… It’ll give you a few minutes to change, breathe, and regroup before you have to head out to that AWESOME AFTER PARTY you’ve got scheduled!

How much is “long enough?”

Four hours is the optimal length for a wedding reception that includes a cocktail hour, dinner, and dancing.  This also allows enough time for the traditional wedding elements like special dances, tosses, etc.

What can make it longer?

There are things that can make having a longer reception nice, ideal, or even necessary.

Certain ethnic and religious celebrations typically have longer wedding ceremonies and receptions that are structured differently, and that have different elements.

Other things that can make having 5 or even 6 hours necessary might include having a larger guest list – say 200 or more people – that will need to go through buffet service for dinner, and/or dinners that include more than one or two courses.  More time will be needed for these situations, and others as well.

What’s the usual?

My clients average 5.5 hours of wedding day coverage for their wedding ceremony and reception.

This includes half-an-hour for Prelude music before the ceremony, half-an-hour for the ceremony itself, and 4 to 4.5 hours for the reception. This is the perfect length for a nicely-paced, smooth-flowing wedding celebration full of awesome memories!

Father Daughter Dance Suggestions

A bride’s dance with her father is most often one of the most emotional highlights of any wedding reception.  It is symbolic of so much, and finding the right song to represent your relationship and express those sentiments can be a challenge.

Fortunately, there are many songs that work wonderfully for these dances.  Some of the most common and popular are listed below, but this is by no means an exhaustive list.  See if any of them speak to you, and your relationship with the FIRST man in your life.

For a special bonus, scroll down to see the NEWEST great song that is PERFECT for this dance!

Father-Daughter Dance Suggestions

I Loved Her First – Heartland
My Little Girl – Tim McGraw
My Girl – Temptations
Butterfly Kisses – Bob Carlisle
What A Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong
My Wish – Rascall Flatts
Cinderella – Steven Curtis Chapman
The Way You Look Tonight – Frank Sinatra
Unforgettable – Natalie Cole With Nat King Cole
Father And Daughter – Paul Simon
In My Life – Beatles
Isn’t She Lovely – Stevie Wonder
Because You Loved Me (Theme From Up Close And Personal) – Celine Dion
It Won’t Be Like This For Long – Darius Rucker
Stealing Cinderella – Chuck Wicks
Over The Rainbow – Iz
Wonderful Tonight – Eric Clapton
Daughters – John Mayer
Dance With My Father – Luther Vandross
I Hope You Dance – Lee Ann Womack
Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel) – Billy Joel
Daddy’s Little Girl – Al Martino
Walk With You – Edwin Mccain
Have I Told You Lately – Rod Stewart
The Way You Look Tonight (From Father Of The Bride) – Steve Tyrell
Daughter – Loudon Wainwright Iii
Stand By Me – Ben E. King
Landslide – Fleetwood Mac
There You’ll Be – Faith Hill
I’ll Always Be Your Baby – Natalie Grant
You Raise Me Up – Josh Groban
How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) – James Taylor
You Are So Beautiful – Joe Cocker
He Didn’t Have To Be – Brad Paisley
Through The Years – Kenny Rogers
Forever Young – Rod Stewart
You Are The Sunshine Of My Life – Stevie Wonder
Then They Do – Trace Adkins
In My Daughter’s Eyes – Martina Mcbride
Brown Eyed Girl – Van Morrison
You’ve Got A Friend – James Taylor
Daddy’s Hands – Holly Dunn
Kind & Generous – Natalie Merchant
Wind Beneath My Wings – Bette Midler
Into The Mystic – Van Morrison
Hero – Mariah Carey
The Best Day – Taylor Swift
Tough Little Boys – Gary Allan
Find Your Wings – Mark Harris

Who else can I dance with?

It’s not at all uncommon, because of a loss in the family, or simply because of family dynamics for example, for a bride to share a special spotlight dance with someone other than, or in addition to, her father.

Brothers, grandfathers, and stepfathers – all play very powerful roles in our lives, and all are wonderful candidates for relationships that can be acknowledged and celebrated with a spotlight dance.  Many of the suggestions above will fit these types of relationships as well.

Just remember that there’s no limit to the number of important folks you can spotlight during your wedding day celebration, and the ways to include and spotlight them are endless as well.

If you’d like more ideas or suggestions, please let me know.

I’d love to help!

The Newest!

The songs above are all tried & true classics, but every now and then, a new song comes along that is perfect for sharing with your father.

Released in 2013, “Daddy Dance With Me” by Krystal Keith is JUST NOW starting to make it’s way into the wedding arena.  If you’re looking for a beautiful track with a nice sentiment that will keep everyone on their toes and isn’t the same-ol’-same-ol’, this might be right up your alley!  I ALWAYS get folks asking me who this is whenever I play it!