Category Archives: Tip Jar

10 Tips When Hiring a DJ for Your Wedding or Event

When hiring a DJ for your wedding or special event, be sure to do your homework.  Ask the right questions and check their references.  If you have the opportunity, attend a public performance or at least check out their video highlights.  Needless to say, the DJ can make, or break your special event, so choose wisely.  Here are some great tips to help you choose the right DJ for your next event.

1.  Planning:  A professional DJ will help plan your wedding or event.  From the timeline toDownload your free copy of the Ultimate Wedding Checklist now! music requests and all of the special moments in between.  Remember the old saying; “Failure to plan is a plan to fail“.  Small items are often overlooked and can cause serious problems later on. Lean on the expert advice of a professional DJ to ensure success.

2.  Experience:  Make sure that he or she is not a “newbie”.  You don’t want your event to  be a training session.  A seasoned professional will have the knowledge and foresight to overcome potential problems and deliver a  memorable performance.

3.  Appearance:  Does the DJ represent your style?  Does he or she match your event?  Appearance & personality are key components to successfully connecting with your guests.

4.  Availability:  In addition to booking the date, a good DJ should give you personalized attention.  Your DJ should be available for consultations and be easy to reach via email, phone, text, etc.

Elan, Jeremy, Amberlie5. Focus:   The focus of your event is you.  Your event is not just another stop on the DJ’s personal world tour.  A professional DJ knows that he or she is not the star of the show, but rather an enhancement to the overall success of the event.  The music should be tailored to you and your guests, not the DJ’s personal favorites.  Be careful, some DJ’s are limelight hogs.  The style, energy, volume and activities should all be customized to your wishes.

6.  Interaction:  A good DJ will know how to read and react to a crowd.  He or she will know when to play the right music to keep your guests dancing and to appropriately interact with your guests.   There is a science to “cooking up” the ideal social atmosphere and a professional DJ will know many different “recipes for fun”.

Jeremy-Microphone-BW-250px7.  Voice:  Make sure your DJ is good on the microphone when making announcements.  He or she should have a clear voice and be able to capture the attention of your guests.  Additionally, their personality should compliment yours.  After all, they are a representation of you during the event.

8.  Equipment:  Ask your DJ about their gear.  Most DJ’s will be eager to brag about the quality of their equipment.  You don’t need to understand all of the technical jargon, but pay attention to the level of passion as they describe their components.  Beware if they don’t seem too proud, it probably means that their gear is inadequate.  You deserve a reliable sound & lighting system for your event.

9.  Volume:  Make sure your DJ understands appropriate volume.  In addition to performing at a level that is comfortable for your guests, there are laws regarding noise.  In San Luis Obispo County the law prohibits noise disturbances between 10pm-7am.  The maximum noise level for short-term operation of mobile equipment is 85dbA at the property line (dbA is a measurement of sound pressure level).  A professional DJ should be aware of these laws and should be able to make suggestions for minimizing potential disturbances while maximizing sound effectiveness.

10.  Licensed & Insured:  Professional DJ companies are licensed and insured.  They will be happy to provide you with copies of their policy (Many venues require this now anyways).  Additionally, you might inquire about any other professional organizations that they belong to.  Memberships in reputable organizations are a good sign that you’ve found a real pro!

Hiring the right DJ can make all the difference.  It could be the single most important aspect in the overall success of your event… and you deserve to have a great celebration!

10 Thoughtful Ideas for Bridesmaids

It is a great honor to be a part of the wedding party.  It is also a responsibility to take seriously.  Have fun with it and get creative.  The Bride will be very thankful!  Here are some thoughtful ideas for all of you bridesmaids out there.

  1. Take responsibility for the welcome bag for the out-of-town guests.
  2. Have a girls night and help stuff envelopes with save the date cards and the wedding invitations.
  3. Offer to help assemble wedding favors.
  4.  If the rehearsal dinner is a casual affair, arrange the centerpieces for the table.
  5.  Help ward off the pre-wedding jitters by taking the bride out for a movie or a play.
  6.  At the wedding reception keep the bride’s drink filled. She will have a hard time getting to the bar.
  7. Offer to collect the cake topper, champagne flutes and other keepsake elements that have been used during the wedding.
  8. Have snacks and beverages waiting for the newlyweds when they check in to their hotel room.  More times than not the bride and groom don’t eat much at their own wedding.
  9. A honeymoon bag filled with sunscreen, Visine, toothbrushes, romantic items, etc.
  10. When the newlyweds return from their honeymoon, have their refrigerator stocked with food & drinks.

By: Nina Hamilton-Wilber

Tips for a Successful Cocktail Hour

By: Nina Hamilton-Wilber

Cocktail Hour

The cocktail hour of your wedding may not be at the top of your planning agenda, but for many guests, those 60-plus minutes spent sipping drinks and nibbling on small bites are crucial to the success of your event. This hour sets the tone and warms guests up for your reception. It is a chance for them to visit with friends, family and new faces. Coctails


Create a nice open layout with some low seating along with high top tables. Adding unique touches to your lounge seating such as pillows with your monogram or sweet love quotes can really add to the décor. Another fun idea is to have custom coasters with trivia questions about the couple. Floral can be simple. Smaller floral arrangements will be a sweet touch. Ask your floral designer about the possibility of using the extras to fill in. Floating floral blossoms and candles can go a long way and are quite beautiful.


Wine & CheeseHave glasses of wine, champagne, beer and/or non-alcoholic refreshments ready when guest enter, whether served by tray or set out on a table.  It will help keep the congestion to a minimum at the bar. Your bartender will thank you. Don’t offer too much. Keeping it simple can help if you are on a budget. If you are serving spirits, use middle of the road brands of vodka, whiskey, gin and tequila. Creating a beautiful bar can play a big part in the décor of your wedding.


Your guests will be ready for a snack. Little bites with lots of flavor and easy to eat. Eliminating utensils will make it easier for your guests to drink and eat at the same time if they are mingling. Having passed Hors d’oeuvres as well as food stations will keep the crowding to a minimum. Personalize this hour with a signature cocktail. Something refreshing and colorful can be a wonderful touch. Choosing a cocktail that color coordinates and giving it a special name can make quite an impact.cocktail food


Don’t forget to entertain your guests!! Music and lighting can set the tone for the rest of the evening. Choose music that everyone will enjoy. Instrumental jazz is best for setting a classy, elegant mood and the absence of song lyrics is more suitable for guest conversations.  Mood lighting can add so much to your event and it is most often overlooked.



Lighting Your Event

By: Nina Hamilton-Wilber

The Importance of Lighting Your Event


Once you have decided the type of event you would like to have, it’s time to develop a room layout. It is important to include all the tables, stage, dance floor, video projection area, bars and buffet tables.

Buffets, centerpieces, floral arrangements and bars:

Spots are used to light centerpieces, floral arrangements, buffets and, occasionally, bars. Remember that if you are spending from $100 to $500 for a centerpiece, they certainly should be seen.  Make sure they are lit properly.Pink & Gold Wash

Wash the room in color:

Color adds instant ambiance.  The purpose of the room wash is to ensure that guests can see each other and look great, and the food looks appetizing. The room should never be too dark, yet nothing is worse than going to an event that uses house lighting on at 100 percent. With wash lighting women look beautiful, guys look handsome, food looks scrumptious, the glass sparkles and the room has a warm glow that makes guests feel comfortable.

 Light the walls and ceiling:

A room or tent can be completely transformed using a wash of color(s) on the walls and/or on the ceilings.  Projecting a pattern or logo on the wall, ceiling or dance-floor is a fun way to really personalize your event.

Lasor Light Show

 Light the dance floor:

We believe dance floor lighting is one of the most important aspects of lighting. A properly lit dance floor will invite your guests to join in the celebration and have some fun!  Party lights are a true mood enhancement, and a real party starter. 

Exterior lighting:Lasor & Haze

Exterior lighting is becoming more noticeable. Today, many public buildings and structures are incorporating lighting to illuminate their surfaces at night. To make a great impression on arriving and departing guests, nothing has a more dramatic effect than lighting the outside of the venue, tent, walkway or the grounds of a house that your event is taking place.

14 Tips For A Successful Home Wedding

By: Nina Hamilton-Wilber

A “Home-Sweet-Home” Wedding

The comfort & convenience of a backyard wedding canGarden Centerpiece be a wonderful, budget-friendly experience.  If your thinking of hosting your celebration at home, then keep these things in mind when planning: Continue reading

The Welcome Gift Bag

Welcome Gift Bag

Local “specialty” gift items are best!

By: Nina Hamilton-Wilber


When having a destination wedding, or if your guests are coming from out of town, show your appreciation with a “Welcome Gift Bag”.  Here are a few great ideas of items to include. Continue reading

Should You Hire a DJ or a Band?

DJ vs. BandIt is often said, “The entertainer can make or break an event”. So true! The success of your celebration depends upon many different factors, from the venue, to the weather, to the selection of food and beverages, and more. Providing quality entertainment is a crucial component to the overall success of your occasion. Think about some of the memorable events that you’ve attended in the past. Typically, the parties that you remember featured remarkable (or dreadful) entertainers. Ensure that your guests remember your event favorably by choosing your entertainment wisely. Never underestimate the value of professional entertainment and the impact that it can have on your guests. Whether you’re planning a backyard BBQ, a corporate party, or the wedding of your dreams, there are many viable entertainment options available for your consideration. For the sake of this article, we’ll focus on the two most popular choices; a professional DJ, or a live band. (All due respect is given to clowns, magicians, belly-dancers and the plethora of talented, alternative entertainers that have been omitted from this discussion.)

The following 5 questions should aid your decision… Continue reading