Michael Lauren Weddings DJ Services of Kansas City

DJ/MC + PHOTO BOOTH + LIGHTING

Customized Wedding Entertainment  in Kansas City

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Wedding Trends; What's right for you?

Fads and trends come and go, and choosing what's right for your wedding reception is an important decision.  I've been DJing in Kansas City for several years, and have seen quite a wide array of ideas implemented into events.   From the anniversary dance to the newlywed game, what is "new" and "unique" one month, is "stereotypical" and "passe'" the next.  So staying fresh and helping couples keep their wedding day special and engaging is a creative challenge that I really enjoy.  

I've never shied away from breaking barriers.  But I've always been careful to make sure that the way I integrate these ideas into a wedding reception never come across as cheesy or forced.  Sometimes it's as simple as taking a classic event, such as the bouquet toss, and making it better.  This is the case with most of the special events at your reception.  They shouldn't be avoided.  But they most definitely should be improved upon.  The end result should always add positively to the event.  In the end, the delicate balance of keeping your celebration current and fresh, but still retaining familiarity that will help your guests connect is very important.  

For a free consultation to discuss how we can customize your perfect wedding reception, please call me at 816-200-1492.  (michael@michaellaurenweddings.com)

 

 

 

 

A wedding on the plaza.

Plush Productions: Kansas City's Proposal Planner

The expectations of an elaborate marriage proposal have never been higher. Reality television, YouTube, and Pinterest have brought real-life proposals up front and center to every woman. They get to experience the girl’s emotion right there with them, as if it was their own proposal. And now, they are waiting for their chance to have a breathtaking, shaking with excitement, falling at the knees proposal of their own.

Now, as you can imagine, the men are feeling the pressure. How can their proposal be more personable, more imaginative, and more romantic than the next guys? How can he create a proposal so perfect that it wouldn’t make sense for anyone else? A truly unique moment that’s story will be told a million times during the engagement and for years to come? Ya, that’s pressure!

Luckily, there is someone here to help out the GUYS!

Meet our friend, Britney Beach, the owner of Plush Productions, a wedding planning firm in Kansas City. Her extensive experience planning special events over the past six years has made her the expert in the industry. In her hands, any couple can be trusted to have a flawless event. Recently, she added Proposal Planning to her services, and has become a man’s best friend when it comes to planning the moment to pop the question.

Her process begins with a consultation with the groom-to-be to learn more about the relationship and ideas for the proposal. She will then create the idea platform, assemble the ideal team of vendors, and execute the day-of activities behind the scenes. The best part- the guy gets to be the hero for creating such a magical and memorable proposal!

Out-of-town proposals are also her specialty as she will call and coordinate with the resort or hotel to ensure that everything is perfect when you arrive.

If you are planning to propose, or know of someone who is, you cannot go wrong by getting in touch with Britney. She offers complimentary consultations… a great starting point to begin planning your breathtaking, shaking with excitement, falling at the knees proposal!

Britney Beach of Plush Productions

Britney Beach of Plush Productions

How Much Should You Spend?

"How much?"

That's a fair question.  As excited couples start planning their wedding, they often work out a budget .  It's the smart thing to do.  But there are a few extremely important details that need to be in place before that question is asked.

It's like walking into a jewelry store and asking for a price before explaining what it is that you are looking for.

How does the store give you accurate pricing until they know what you want?  Would a smart consumer make their decision on pricing only, without even considering what is being offered?

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The same thing applies when searching for a DJ.  For instance, some people keep a pair of old speakers in their basement and DJ as a hobby in their spare time.  While other DJ's devote large amounts of time to plan, direct, and create engaging and amazing events.   

How do you compare the two using pricing as the sole factor when you aren't comparing two similar products or services?

It's interesting to note a recent survey conducted that asked brides about their wedding experience.  What was their experience after planning their own wedding? In other words, if they got to do it all over again, what would be their priority in planning the best wedding reception possible?

Here are the general results from the study conducted by St Louis Bride magazine:


1. 72% of all brides say they would have spent more time choosing their reception entertainment.

2. Almost 100% say they would have spent more of their budget on the entertainment.

3. Brides say that during wedding planning, their highest priority was their attire, followed by the reception site and caterer – reception entertainment is among the least of their priorities.

4. Within one week after their reception, 78% of Brides say they would have made the entertainment their highest priority!

5. When asked 81% of guests say the thing they remember most about a wedding is the entertainment.

6. 65% of all couples that chose a band to entertain at their wedding, said, if they had it to do over again, they would have chosen a disc jockey.

7. Based on the survey statistics above, assuming a $10,000 food/drink minimum you’ll spend a minimum of $1500 on gratuity at 15%.

Unhappy bride

These statistics are telling.  People are spending on average over $20,000 on their wedding.  Yet what people are remembering isn't the food, or the table arrangements, or even the flowers.  It's the entertainment!  But most couples only invest around 5% of their budget on it, which often leads to serious regrets. Yikes!  

Much of this comes from poor advice from bridal magazines telling brides to set aside 5-10 percent of their budget for "music".  Unfortunately, many brides think that a "DJ" and "music" are interchangeable terms.  But music cannot direct the flow of your reception, or coordinate it.  Music is simply one of the tools that a professional DJ uses to create a great event.

Still, that's not to say you should go and spend your hard-earned money on the most expensive DJ and think you're covered.  But it does show that you should reevaluate the importance of quality entertainment at your wedding reception, and that selecting the right DJ should be a higher priority than many assume.  An experienced DJ will be able to help you to create the perfect atmosphere for your celebration, promoting a good flow from beginning to end, and will help keep your guests both engaged and entertained.

So what are you looking for?

In this day and age, there is a huge range in what DJ services offer.  And you'll find pricing can vary widely.  When considering your DJ, ask yourself the following:

  • Is the DJ concerned about my needs, and willing to adapt to create the event that I want?
  • Are they professional in appearance, and do I feel confident that they will provide a reliable, stress-free service?
  • Have previous couples used their services with positive results? Hint: Look at review.
  • Do they show that they are willing to invest time in advance to make sure my vision is achieved for my wedding day?
  • After getting to know the DJ, do I feel confident that they can create an elegant, romantic, seamless, and incredibly fun reception for me and my guests?

If these questions matter to you, then you should seriously look at where you are investing your resources, and what really will make the greatest impact on the success of your reception.  Your wedding day should not be an experiment.  

Photo by Solar Photography

Photo by Solar Photography

My advice?

  • Avoid the DJ's who focus on "4 hour packages".  This is an indication as to their level of commitment to your wedding day.  If they can't be bothered to spend more than 4 hours on one of the most important days of your life, then they can't guarantee a personalized stress-free event.  
  • Look for a service that actually wants to get to know you, and will take the time to work with you in person to create an event that is tailored for you and your guests.
  • If a DJ doesn't even ask to meet with you or discuss the details of your event before discussing pricing, then they might not be focused on your specific needs.  Avoid them.  You could become the victim of a cookie-cutter wedding reception.
  • Look for a DJ who is staying up to date on current trends, and belongs to associations designed to educate and raise the bar in the industry.  You might pay a little more for their experience and dedication, but it will be more than worth it on your wedding day.  

To summarize, understand the value, and know what you're getting for the money.  When you find the DJ that makes sense for your wedding reception, there is the possibility that the price might be a little higher than you had anticipated.  

But consider that in reality their rate might be less than the gratuity you are paying for food.  And remember, in the end it's not about paying more for your wedding. It's about where you're investing your money that makes the difference.

Knowing this in advance, you can move your entertainment higher up on your list and budget accordingly, not spending a penny more  than you would have originally, but exponentially increasing the satisfaction of you and your guests!

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Do you need a DJ, or something more?

So what's in a name?  You're looking for a DJ for your wedding, right?


According to an online dictionary, a DJ by definition is someone who makes announcements and plays recorded music. You'll find a variety of skill levels that match this criteria.  The title is used for all types of entertainers, from club DJs with great mixing skills, to guys who just push play or make a few announcements at a wedding.  Regardless, when we think of a DJ, we instantly think of someone playing music.

Music is a critical part of a successful reception.  I won't take anything away from a skilled artist who can mix and create a playlist that will keep your dance floor full.  But is that all you need for a successful reception?

Music

My experience in the industry has led me to believe that far more is involved in creating a great overall event than just a preset play list.  Otherwise, Spotify and Itunes would have you covered.  

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A truly successful reception involves planning and preparation in advance.  From the order of events,  to finding the best way to seamlessly segue each event together, while engaging your guests, keeping them entertained, and catering to everybody young and old.  The entertainment starts, not when people get on the dance floor halfway through the night, but as soon as your first guest sets foot in the venue.

For your wedding, you need someone who can direct, entertain, and captivate.  And you need that person to also know how to DJ, and do it well.  This is where an Entertainment Director comes in. This is someone who can provide the full scope of what an amazing wedding reception demands.

Are we talking about someone who will steal the show?

Far from it.  You need someone that gets to know you well enough that they don't have to.  A skilled Entertainment Director will be familiar enough with you and your guests, and will have devoted enough time to pre-planning, that he will be able to orchestrate seamless event that puts you and your friends at the center of your celebration.

If the only thing good about your reception is the music, will your reception really have seen it's full potential?  If you have someone just make "announcements", will your guests feel engaged throughout the night?   The reason why so many couples who are planning their reception start their search out looking for "music" is because the industry does little to educate them on what they really need to have a great event.  But the reality is that you'll want a service that includes more.

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What to look for in an Entertainment Director

When you start the search for the perfect dress for your big day, what are you looking for?  Do you want it to look like everyone else's?  Are you basing is solely on price? NO! You want to find the perfect dress!  It needs to have a look that's all "you".  It needs to be unique.  You want it tailored so that you not only look fantastic wearing it, but you feel great in it.  And you'll go to great lengths to find the right dress.

Don't demand any less for the rest of your wedding.  Your reception should be tailored just for you.  It should make you feel fantastic!  And you shouldn't have to settle for something, just because you got a "deal".  This is your wedding.  It shouldn't be an experiment.  And there is no excuse NOT to have what you want.

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Where to find a great director for your celebration

There are some really great choices in Kansas City.  My services, Michael Lauren Weddings. offers day-of coordination and pre-planning, along with excellent DJ services in an all-inclusive package called the Designer Wedding Reception.  I would love to have you contact me!  My wife, Crystal, has helped me to create some really great moments for couples over the past 3 years, and we'd love to sit down and discuss some creative possibilities with you for your reception.

But I'm not the only one! As an example, If I'm not available, I'd highly recommend contacting Marc O'Leary or Ron Ruth.  These professionals have set the bar in Kansas City as going far beyond a traditional DJ, and creating some unbelievable receptions as experienced Entertainment Directors.  (Email me for a complete list of trusted wedding professionals I highly recommend at michael@michaellaurenweddings.com)

Whatever direction you take, don't settle for just music and announcements at your reception.  Customize it.  Celebrate it!  Take the time to find the right professionals that will help you to achieve your vision.

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4 Tips To a Better Wedding Reception

As a DJ and event coordinator, I love this time of year.  It’s when I get to start meeting more with my clients to help plan their big day, and to work out all of those fun little details that makes their reception stand out.  Whatever your role in a wedding, whether it be a photographer, a florist, a DJ, or the bride and groom, we all share a common goal.  We want your wedding reception to be the best it can be.

As you start planning your wedding day, you are no doubt excited about what lies ahead.  But the task of putting it all together can seem daunting.  I mean, how many times do you really do this, right?  So what can you do to ensure that you are finding the right vendors for your wedding reception?  After all, you want your fairy tale wedding.  You haven’t dreamed and hoped, scrimped and saved, and picked out the perfect wedding dress for nothing!  As a wedding professional, I not only empathize with your plight,  I’m passionate about helping you to avoid the mistakes so many couples have made in the past, and in sending you on the right path towards a great wedding reception.  Below you’ll find 4 tips that I share with all of my couples.  Enjoy!

TIPS

1.       Decide what’s important to you at your reception, and budget accordingly.  Having a friend take pictures so you could spend the money elsewhere might sound like a great idea at the time.  But be careful.  You only get to do this once and your wedding should not be an experiment.  So hiring a quality photographer should be on the top of your list.  The same can be said for your DJ.   Surveys show that your guests probably won’t remember the table arrangement or even the food.  But they will remember the entertainment.  Remember; it’s not about spending more.  It’s about where you are investing that counts.

2.       Word of mouth is priceless.  Before going online, or flipping through a magazine, ask your married friends what experiences they had with the vendors at their wedding.  Don’t rely solely on a flashy website or a paid advertisement.  It might tell you that they care enough to invest in their business, but it won’t describe their service in the same way that a previous customer can.  Your friends and colleagues will be brutally honest.

3.       Get a recommendation from a vendor you trust.  So you’re off to a good start, and you've already found a great photographer.   Don’t be afraid to ask them who they like to work with.  Wedding professionals have the advantage of working with literally hundreds of other different vendors, and they can help you take a lot of the guess work out of your search.  Generally you’ll find that they’ll give solid recommendations because they’ll want to work with other quality vendors to help make your event the best it can be.

4.       Get personal.  When possible, don’t book a vendor sight unseen. All of the above suggestions won’t help you if you don’t "click" with your vendor.  It’s important to take the time to sit down face-to-face and ask real questions to see if they will be a good fit for you and if they will successfully help you to achieve your vision for your wedding day.  Using a DJ as an example, ask them what their involvement is in helping to create a seamless reception.  Do they provide coordination services or are they simply a music service?  How much input will you have in selecting music and order of events?  Are there any hidden charges to their services?  Getting some face time in with a potential vendor will help you get you the answers you want and give you the confidence you need in choosing the right professional for your reception.

This is equally as important during the planning process.  Request to meet in person whenever possible and make the most out of your wedding professionals experience to help make your wedding day unforgettable.

Using these four tips will go a long way in helping you to make good decisions for your wedding day.  But beyond having a strategy in place, I think it’s equally important to just take a deep breath and remember that it’s supposed to be fun!  Don’t stress over the details, enjoy yourself, and think about starting a journal to track your progress and help keep you organized.  You’ll be building lasting memories, so make the most of the adventure.

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Michael Lauren Weddings is an award winning Kansas City based DJ services specializing in Midwest and destination weddings.  Contact us today at michael@michaellaurenweddings.com  or 816-200-1492.