Posts Tagged ‘wedding reception


Stitely Soundboard: Jewish Weddings

The Stitely Orchestra has done several Jewish events in the last few months and all of them have been phenomenal dance parties. I love how people come to celebrate and jump on the dance floor as they are entering the room before the bride and groom are even announced. Most Jewish weddings follow the format that we in Chicago call an “East Coast” style wedding. That’s where people dance as soon as the bride and groom are introduced into the room and also dance between dinner courses.

The challenge in leading a band for an “East Coast” style wedding is the tight relationship needed between the catering manager, photographer, planner and band leader.  There are timing issues that are much more detailed and need to be coordinated with catering as the guests are invited up to dance, and later seated to eat the next course. It’s critical that the leader of the band owns the success of the whole event. It involves more than just playing great music. For instance, last week it was time to bring up the Grandfather for the blessing and the Motzi (bread) wasn’t anywhere to be found. Most band leaders would have introduced the people without even noticing, but I looked for the Motzi, and before making the announcement, asked why it wasn’t there only to find out that the bride’s Aunt was supposed to bring it but didn’t. I went into the kitchen and asked for the biggest roll they had and a cloth napkin. Within 90 seconds we were good to go and everything went off without a hitch. It’s all the little details being handled that make a complex evening go flawlessly and we are committed to doing exactly that.

As the salad was being served, we started playing what was planned as background music but BAM, the dance floor filled up. That’s the kind of situation where you go with the moment and let an event go in the direction it wants to go. It ended up being non-stop dancing all night except while the guests were eating their entree. It’s parties like this that are so much fun for us and for everyone else involved. The best part for me is when all the players involved are committed to making everything work and know how to keep a positive energy going no matter what happens.



Official Opinions: Hipster Wedding 101

If someone were to ask me what plans I have for my future, marriage would not be a definite.  I was never one of those little girls who day-dreamed about her wedding since the moment she turned eight.  I also never played the “wedding game” with my friends, dressing up in our mothers’ high heels and draping pillow cases over our heads.  Despite this fact, since starting my internship and working with wedding clients each day, I have found myself fantasizing more and more about how my wedding would play out.  What would my dress look like?  Maybe a vintage Grecian inspired frock?  What will my color scheme be?  I’m thinking a warm marigold… Should I have lotus flowers or wild orchids?  And what song will I choose as my first dance? “Hold You In My Arms” by Ray LaMontagne, or maybe ”Love Will Come Through” by Travis?  No wait! “You and I” by Ingrid Michaelson?

So…these brief trips of daydreaming have led me to start searching weddings on the Internet.  I recently stumbled across this article, and if I do end up getting married, this is how I would do it!

There’s a new trend happening these days within the urban hipster culture…Throwing a Hipster Wedding!  The tradition of the wedding day stays pretty much the same, but the journey getting there is oh so indie.  In this article featured on flavorwire, we are informed of a 5-step easy process on how to throw the most unique hipster wedding ever!  And I’d have to say, my favorite step is number 5.  If my wedding video looked like these do, I would watch it every day!



A sample wedding invitation designed by Rudi de Wet

Alternative wedding cake ideas! Photo by 1000 Layer Cake


Official Opinions: Would You Like Fries with that Lifetime Commitment?

For those of you looking for the next sign of the apocalypse, here it is: Hong Kong McDonalds locations are now booking requests to hold wedding receptions at their restaurants. Starting on January 1, 2011, you can say “I do” while Super Sizing your #7 value meal at the same time. Now, as a fan of the Big Mac, McDonalds is of course one of the five main food groups on the college student’s food pyramid, I’d be extremely intrigued if asked to attend a wedding reception at one of these locations. The intrigue does not come solely from the choice of location, but how the typical wedding reception activities would occur. I’m going to break the occasion down into four parts of a normal wedding reception and give you an idea of what I think would happen with the dinner, the toast, the cake cutting and the dancing.


How in the world do they set up a usable system for this part of the night? There is no way that having everyone line up to order would work. Think about it. Do the bride and groom go first? How do you organize the rest of the line? Don’t even think about custom ordering that double cheeseburger with no onions because, first of all, you know they won’t get it right, and it certainly wouldn’t be worth waiting in line again for them to correct it. Your Uncle Allen is bound to get irritated the longer he goes without food, so he’ll probably just get in his car and use the drive-thru. Basically you’re looking at a disaster with the line set up.

What else can one do then? Buffet-style dinner. Those Chicken McNuggets have never looked classier than they do resting in that sterling silver chafing dish. Cut down on line time and keep Uncle Allen happy with a limitless supply of McRibs. Brilliant move.


What better place for the toast than to stand behind the counter and blast it through the mic on the cash register? It says, “I love you and your spouse so much that I want the fry cook in the back to know it.” Classy. Actually, use the opportunity to send some love to the fry cook as well. He worked hard to provide the wedding party with enough calories to nourish a third world country.

Cake Cutting

Oh the possibilities. You think I want to see a traditional wedding cake at a reception held in a McDonalds? Hell no. Get me all the apple pies you’ve got and stick them together with some of that delicious soft serve ice cream. While you’re at it, throw some hot fudge on top of it too. I didn’t show up to see some gourmet creation by a bakery. I’m at a McDonalds. Let’s keep our expectations realistic here. Enjoy cutting through that with the free plastic knife.

(On a side note, during my most recent visit to McDonalds I noticed that the apple pies were advertised as “50 cents!” with “2 for $1” right below it. Can someone please explain to me where the added value in the “2 for $1” is found?)


By this part of the night, it’s become obvious that the newlywed couple really didn’t think this event through. The line to the bathroom has become longer than the Great Wall that’s protecting the country, Uncle Allen’s gone into cardiac arrest due to consuming more McRibs than any person ever should, and now people want to bust a move and work off some of those fries, but there isn’t enough room for even a soloist to fit in the restaurant. Instead, the band is found playing into the “Place Your Order Here” microphone in the drive-thru, and that’s being broadcast over the speakers in the dining area. At least make sure the band’s from Stitely Entertainment so you know you’re getting a quality performance.

With “Sweet Caroline” sounding like it’s being played through a tin can, you somehow manage to squeeze in between the tables and dance with that special someone. She may have some McDonalds BBQ sauce on her face, but are you really going to display high standards at this point of the night? Once the band takes their 15 minute break, sit down, grab a McFlurry, and take in the surroundings. It’s surely an event that you won’t soon forget.

In closing, I’d like to suggest a couple of other places that would be ridiculous to have a wedding reception in:

White Castle–They already take reservations for Valentine’s Day. Why not take it a step further?

Bob Evans–Get hitched “down on the farm.”

Olive Garden–Nothing says true love like unlimited breadsticks. They’ll probably write a terribly cheesy commercial about it afterward too.

If ever invited to any of these wedding receptions, please do me a favor and attend them. It’s too ridiculous of an occasion to pass up. Have a most excellent day.



Official opinions: What’s Our Song?

“I look around turn the radio down,
He says, “baby is something wrong?”
I say, “nothing.
I was just thinking
How we don’t have a song.”
And he says,
“Our song is the slam of screen doors,
Sneaking out late tapping on your window.”

These lyrics from Taylor Swift’s “Our Song” address a situation that many women may experience in a relationship, especially when picking music for their wedding and reception.

Music selection is an essential part of planning any event. For a newly-wed couple choosing a song for the first dance of the rest of their lives together is even more crucial. With all the music in the world, it can be overwhelming to choose that one perfect song for that special moment. You want a song that:

  • Fits the moment
  • Is unique to you and your spouse
  • You can play for the rest of your life and never tire of hearing it

Some couples decide to use a traditional first dance song, and some couples fortunately already have an “our song.” However, there are those people who identify with the Taylor Swift song and don’t have a special song in mind. (Unfortunately, the sounds of slamming screen doors and sneaking out late aren’t going to translate into a cool song for your wedding reception, so the song in itself doesn’t give much guidance.)

So, if you don’t have a song that stands out as “our song” or you have too many that are special to you, how do you decide what to use for your first dance? There is no right or wrong way to answer this question. I’d suggest keeping a few things in mind in this special song selection process.

  1. Remember this is YOUR moment. Make sure the song is something that fits your personality, as well as something that you don’t mind dancing to (consider length and tempo). You want it to be enjoyable and comfortable.
  2. Find something that reminds you of good times with your spouse. It’s nice to be able to reminisce about all the times you’ve had together while you’re on the dance floor and randomly over the years to come. Hearing the song later will definitely be a trigger of those special memories.
  3. Don’t worry too much about what your guests will think. If the song you want to choose seems totally out of character for a wedding, but it fits your personality and defines special moments in your relationship, it doesn’t matter if anyone else understands it.

In the end, you should be totally satisfied with your decision, confident that dancing to that tune will only create another wonderful and cherished memory.

Here are 10 songs recently chosen as 1st dance songs at Stitely Entertainment weddings:

“True Companion” – Marc Cohn
“Into the Mystic” – Van Morrison
“God Only Knows” – Beach Boys
“Hold You in My Arms” – Ray LaMontagne
“Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” – Frankie Valli
“Rock With You” – Michael Jackson
“Our Love is Here To Stay” – Frank Sinatra
“Stay With You” – John Legend
“Lucky” – Jason Mraz
“Signed Sealed Delivered” – Stevie Wonder

-Ebonee Tinker, Planning Intern


Official Opinions: What band is that?

It’s probably the most common question I’m asked whenever my speakers are blasting a favorite tune of mine. It’s either that or, “You listen to the weirdest stuff.” It may sound elitist, but I love my taste in music. It’s fun, relatively eclectic and well, my own. I wouldn’t have it any other way.  To give people a better idea of what’s in my music collection, I’ve compiled a short playlist that contains some songs you’ve possibly heard, and others you may not have. Here it goes, in no particular order. (Ok, so I lied. It’s alphabetical by band):

1. Down the Mountain — Annuals

2. Empty Room — Arcade Fire

3. Social Currency — Children Collide

4. Your 8th Birthday– Cloud Cult

5. 14 Arms — Crash Kings

6. Trashcan — Delta Spirit

7. Swim Until You Can’t See Land — Frightened Rabbit

8. Take Your Time (Coming Home) — Fun.

9. I’ve Got Friends — Manchester Orchestra

10. I’m Comin’ Home — Murder by Death

11. Apocalypse Please — Muse

12. Bloodbuzz Ohio — The National

13. Holland, 1945 —  Neutral Milk Hotel

14. Waiting On the Stairs — Pela

15. Hey Sandy — polaris

16. Radio Free Europe — R.E.M.

17. Otherside — Red Hot Chili Peppers

18. Weatherbeaten — The Republic Tigers

19. It’s Only You (Part II) — Salem Al Fakir

20. Way to Fall — Starsailor

21. Everything, All the Time — Styx and the Contemporary Youth Orchestra

22. Chicago — Sufjan Stevens

23. Carry Me Ohio — Sun Kil Moon

24. Walcott — Vampire Weekend

25. From the Stars — White Lies

Well, there you have it. I wouldn’t say that these are my top 25 all-time favorites, instead it’s just a sampling of songs for people searching for something different. If you’re looking for a break from the norm, my hope is that this playlist will help. Have a most excellent weekend.



Official Opinions: Top Wedding Dances

The first dance at your wedding is the perfect time to showcase the personality of you and your new husband/wife. From the song that perfectly describes your relationship to the genre of dance you decide to bust out, the combinations are endless, so let the creativity flow, have fun, and be yourself!

Recently there has been a trend of couples posting their fun first dances on Youtube. There are literally hundreds of different videos to view. In order to give you a little inspiration for making your own big day memorable I’ve compiled a few of my favorite first dances. Let me know your favorite first dance clips or better yet, share your own special first dance!

1. I love this dance because of the pure enthusiasm this couple shows. They really went for it! It takes guts to get down to “Baby Got Back” in front of a crowd that most likely includes your grandparents, but this couple pulled it off and really seemed to catch everyone by surprise.

2. OK, so I might be a little biased about this one because Dirty Dancing is one of my favorite movies of all time, but putting that aside this dance is still amazing. The couple follows the movie’s choreography nearly perfectly, and with a little help they even manage to pull off the iconic lift!

3. While this isn’t technically a first dance in the traditional sense, its my all time favorite. This dance down the aisle is so joyous I can’t help but smile each time I watch it. They managed to really capture the feeling of celebration that is so important for a wedding to have. Plus, The Office paid tribute to this video during Jim and Pam’s wedding, so you know it has to be good.

-Laura, Marketing Intern


Official Opinions: My Fair Wedding

Recently I took a trip up to northern Wisconsin in an attempt to have a relaxing weekend out on a lake, soaking up some sun and working on my tan. Unfortunately, the weather did not share my goals for the weekend, so instead I found myself sitting inside on the coach watching TV while the rain poured outside. Throughout the marathon of television I watched that weekend, one particular show caught my attention. The show was called My Fair Wedding with David Tutera. If you haven’t had a chance to catch this program yet, the premise is that a bride, 3 weeks before her wedding, calls in the expertise of celebrity wedding planner David Tutera. The twist is that once he arrives he has the final say on every decision regarding the wedding. I mean EVERY decision, from the dress, to the venue, to the food and music at the reception. He foots the bill of course, which is a luring incentive, but the bride gives up all control over her big day, and doesn’t get to see what David has decided until the day of the wedding.

Aside from being thoroughly entertained by the absurd premise of the show, I was actually really surprised by the results and think brides could really learn a lot from watching Tutera work his wedding magic.

The first lesson to be learned from My Fair Wedding is that any theme can be elegant if done the right way, and there were some pretty crazy ideas on the episodes I watched. For instance, one of the brides was dead set on having a swamp-themed wedding, frogs and all, and David granted her wish. To his credit the event was actually very chic. I bet you never thought you’d hear the words chic and swamp used to describe the same wedding. Unable to use any flowers because the bride was allergic, lots of pretty greens and ivy were used as decorations with water-lily pads used as placeholders at the tables. So, don’t be afraid to bring your own unique personality into planning the theme of your wedding. If a Texas barbecue can be turned into a refined affair as one episode showed, there is no theme to far-out to be elegant.

The next important lesson that can be found in this show is the importance of getting a second opinion. As a bride it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of planning a wedding and begin to get slightly swept away with all your ideas. One episode showcased a bride whose theme included Lady GaGa, Beyonce, Princess, Mardi Gras, and Cajun influences. Tutera centered her wedding around a diva theme, holding the ceremony and reception at a beautiful old theater. Sometimes it’s helpful to talk things out with a wedding planner or good friend to help focus your ideas. The person you choose to confide in might not even need to say anything, just talking out your vision might help you narrow down what you really want the direction of your special day to be.

The thing that surprised me most about this show, aside from the fact that my boyfriend sat through four hours of it, was that the brides were always happy with the outcome. Even though every bride had made the difficult decision to give up all control in regards to her wedding, there wasn’t an unhappy bride in the bunch. Whatever David decided on always ended up being ok because while the dress and flowers are important, what really matters is that you’re getting married. When you’re getting to spend the rest of your life with the person you love, how could everything not turn out perfectly?

Laura, Marketing Intern

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Delivering a mind-blowing musical performance at an event is an art and planning it is a science. Stitely Entertainment has mastered both by planning and executing thousands of events.

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