Make Your Wedding a Highlight

S3E3: Your Highlight Wedding

August 25, 2021 DJ Josh Woeckener Season 3 Episode 3
Make Your Wedding a Highlight
S3E3: Your Highlight Wedding
Show Notes Transcript

Josh typically has a guest on the podcast, but you might wonder, "What's a Highlight Wedding look like from his perspective?" or "What could my Highlight Wedding look like?" Well, Josh provides answers to BOTH those questions today. Follow along as he shares all of the day-of prep and the moments that your Highlight Wedding might include while providing tips on ways to make your Wedding a night that you as a couple, along with your guests, will remember for years to come!

Make sure to click that subscribe button, so you don't miss an episode. And if you haven't left a review, Josh would appreciate it! He might even read it on a future podcast! To reach Josh, email him at  [email protected].

The intro and outro for this Highlight Weddings & Events Podcast were both edited and produced by DropHouse Voiceover Production Studio and Tony Tee Neto, Voiceover Artist & Audio Producer. For more info on branding elements, editing, and post-production services, visit http://drophouse.com.

The song used for the intro and outro for this episode is Crush by https://audiohub.com License: CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)  

[00:00:00] Josh Woeckener: This is season three, episode three of Make Your Wedding a Highlight. My name is Josh Woeckener, owner of Highlight Weddings and Events. And today I'm going to share with you what your highlight wedding might look like. 

[00:00:11] Tony "Tee" Neto: If you're getting ready to or already in the process of planning your wedding, you've come to the right place. DJ Josh, owner of highlight weddings and events, interviews other local 30A wedding pros to offer insight about how to make your wedding a highlight. 

[00:00:30] Josh Woeckener: Well, hello everyone. Thanks for checking out the podcast. Again, my name is Josh Woeckener, owner of Highlight Weddings and Events. And you may be wondering what does a highlight wedding look like from DJ Josh's perspective?

Well, listener, I'm glad you asked. Today, I'll start describing what a typical day looks like getting ready for a wedding. And then, I'll walk you through the different moments that often make up a highlight wedding. Before I get to the wedding venue, let's just start with the start of my day. 

The first thing I do is I head to my gym, and I make sure to get some good stretching in. This helps me warm up for the day properly. I also don't want to have to deal with any tightness or soreness that might be lingering from the previous day. Plus it just feels good to start the day off like that. 

After I knock that out. I head off to Panera to grab my usual hazelnut coffee with half and half. It's my daily go-to. Stretching and coffee are usually how I start every morning before I begin work. And it's nice to have the same kind of routine. I've found that keeping things consistent is just a good way to add normalcy to your day. 

Once I pick up my coffee, I had to the storage unit to load up the gear I'll need for the highlight wedding. I have speaker configurations for anywhere from 50 to 300 guests. In addition to reception sound, I also usually provide ceremony sound as well, which includes a wireless battery powered speaker. Since a lot of wedding ceremonies that take place at venues locally are done outside, power isn't always easily accessible. So it's nice to have that flexibility of not having to plug in for power.

In addition to reception sound, I also bring dance effect lighting, at a minimum, because of the drastic difference between having it and not having it. Sometimes couples add on uplighting, which is great for venues that are indoors with white walls or are incorporating pipe and draping in their decor for the light to play off of.

 Now that everything is loaded up, it's time to do last minute prep. I take care of all of the songs the couples requested for their ceremony, cocktail hour and reception days in advance. But I just like to make sure that everything is good to go. The last thing I want to run into is discovering that a song isn't in the right place or wasn't transferred over like I thought. It never hurts to double check that kind of stuff, especially the most important songs for the day.

Next up is printing out the timeline. I like to have multiple copies of it so that I can give it to the banquet captain and even the photographer or videographer. That way we are all on the same page. As the reception unfolds, sometimes you have to deviate from the timeline just because things happen. But having the different moments on the timeline makes it so that they aren't missed. And if the entire wedding event team: myself as the DJ, the coordinator, the photographer and videographer, as well as the catering staff, know what is expected the more seamless the flow of the wedding will be. 

This is also when I start saying the couples names. I want to do my best to internalize whose big day it is. I make sure that whoever is part of each of the moments is noted on the timeline as well. But I've found that verbalizing them just helps me remember them better. The worst thing that can happen is if I say someone's name wrong. Or refer to someone incorrectly. I never want that to happen. 

Once I confirm everything is good to go, it's time to get my reception outfit together. For setup and ceremony sound, I'll wear a black polo and either black or dark blue jeans. Since ceremonies tend to be outside and Florida can often be pretty warm. Okay. It gets really hot here. I don't want to sweat through what I'm planning on wearing for the reception.

 For the reception, I try to stay away from all black, unless that fits the colors and the attire of what guests will be wearing. I truly want to look like I am part of the wedding and not over or under dressed. My wife used to work at Express, so I have a plethora of different colored shirts, as well as suits that range from Navy to light and dark gray. I love adding the pops of color that the bride has picked in my wardrobe. It's just fun. But I always make sure to get approval from my wife about what I'm thinking of wearing. Let's just say some of my initial ideas don't look quite as good as I think they do. She definitely keeps me looking sharp and I absolutely appreciate that.

Once I'm dressed in my setup outfit, my reception outfit is pressed and ready to go, I'm ready to go. I always try to arrive at least three hours before the ceremony prelude. This allows me plenty of time to get the reception setup done and looking wedding ready in case any of the guests happen to pop in to check out the space before the ceremony.

Setup time is at the most about an hour and a half, but I really don't like having to rush and scramble to get things done. Usually everything is working as it should, but this affords me the extra time in case something is not quite working like it's supposed to. Since I only commit to one wedding a day, I am able to give everything the attention it deserves. 

Now that everything looks sharp, I make sure to snap a few socials for stories that I post later. And maybe a video walkthrough, too. No later than 30 minutes before a ceremony prelude, I arrive at the ceremony site to make sure I have the right levels for the music that will be playing as well as the mics for the officiant and the groom. The last bit of prep is to mic the officiant and groom. I like to use two wireless lapel mics just in case one doesn't work, but I also mic up the groom so that the bride can be heard during the ceremony. 

As the guests start to arrive, the prelude music begins to play. Sometimes it's like having a mini reunion, especially after what we went through in 2020. Some guests haven't seen each other in a long time. The excitement in getting together again is one of those secret moments that, as a wedding professional, I feel privileged to observe. 

Now I'm going to describe what your highlight wedding might look like. 

Your groom arrives. He's usually accompanied by the officiant with his groomsmen followed by your bridesmaids. Once they're in place, your reveal happens. This is another cool wedding moment. You don't know how your forever person is going to react when he sees you down the aisle. He might calmly smile. He could slightly tear up. He may even bawl. But in that moment, he knows his life has changed and everything is perfect. As you walk down the aisle with your dad, all your guests standing, this is the moment where your wedding becomes your wedding. 

As the ceremony starts, there's always the choice to either repeat after the officiant for your vows or read ones you've written. Full disclosure: my wife and I wrote ours. Now you don't have to memorize them. You'll have them written in front of you, and oftentimes the officiant will get them from you both, so you don't have to carry them. And in my opinion, it just helps to further personalize your day. There's something special about saying words that you've written that just means so much more. 

This is not to discredit any couples who decide that writing your own vows just isn't something that makes sense for them. But I will say this, you might see it as a little scary or uncomfortable, but that feeling when you're open and vulnerable, there's just a magic to it that you won't know unless you go for it.

The officiant pronounced you both as husband and wife, and now you make your way down the aisle. For your recessional song, consider having it cued at a certain point in the song, especially if the beginning isn't quite as upbeat as another part of the song. 

Take Sky Full Of Stars by Coldplay for example. It starts with the main cords and leads into Chris Martin's vocals, but the real high energy part isn't until about the one minute and twenty second mark. This is another way to make your wedding your own by picking a specific point in a song that either fits the energy you want, or is just meaningful to you both. At this time, you and your immediate family will start getting pictures taken. 

The rest of your guests, aside from the bridal party, will be invited to transition to the cocktail hour area. Once those moments are captured, your family's join the guests, and then it is just you and your bridal party, getting the rest of the memories that you want to remember from after the ceremony. And maybe some really awesome sunset shots as well.

I'll either already have cocktail hour sound set up, or I can bring over the ceremony sound speaker to provide cocktail hour music. This is especially beneficial if cocktail hour is in a location that also doesn't have great access to power. While your guests are enjoying cocktail hour, this is when I change into my reception attire. It gives me the opportunity to cool down and look fresh for the rest of the festivities. Even though it's called cocktail hour. It's not always an hour. It's usually enough time for your photographer to get all the shots they need. 

At about 15 minutes before the grand entrance, your guests will transition to where the reception is being held. 

The grand entrance.

This moment sets the tone for your night. If you have a bridal party, you should absolutely incorporate them into your grand entrance. They're going to be the most invested in you having a great time and having them as a part of the grand entrance will help boost the excitement for your guests. With each person or couple that enters the reception, your guests will get louder, meaning that they will be the most loud when you enter. 

Before I go onto the rest of the reception, there are a few different ways to go about formatting it in terms of the flow of the night. You can go from the grand entrance to the first dance to the father-daughter, and mother-son dances, and then dinner. You could also go from grand entrance to first dance to dinner and holding the other two formal dances until after dinner. Or you can go from grand entrance right into dinner. I personally think that grand entrance, first dance, father-daughter dance, mother-son dance, and then dinner flows the best, but there's no wrong or right way to make your wedding your wedding. As long as I know what to expect, I can make it my own. 

Now before dinner something that's a great moment to incorporate is inviting someone important to you both, perhaps one of your fathers, to do a welcome toast. It's a great way to allow them the honor of being one of the first people to greet your guests and also express gratitude for your guests being a part of your day. 

You and your guests now get to enjoy the delicious food you've selected as well as the company of those seated at their tables. Make sure you eat before you mingle and greet your guests. As the bride, the last time you ate may have been when or before you were getting your hair and makeup done. And that's a long time to not eat. Plus the food's going to be delicious. You might as well enjoy it.

 As everyone is finishing their meal. The next event that usually occurs is the toasts. The reason this fits well here is those that are giving toasts will have finished their meal already, since they're typically in the bridal party or close family members to you both. As a wedding professional and someone who has been to many weddings: please, do not open the mic for toasting. I have been in a wedding where an open mic toast went well, but I have also been to weddings where it did not go well, and it ended up killing the vibe of the night. Don't risk it. If you want to do an open mic toast, feel free to do that during your rehearsal dinner. It's a more relaxed environment and there's not a whole bunch of things that are happening in that time. 

When you open the mic, you don't know who's going to accept the invitation. It could be just the people that you want to give a toast, but it also could be someone that you absolutely do not want to speak in public during your big day. Also, once you open the floor to anyone, you can't really cut it off. And the longer toasts are given, the more likely others will want to say something as well.

I've found that the sweet spot for the number of toasts is roughly four to five. After that, the moment starts to feel long, and your guests may begin to get bored and not really pay attention anymore. Also keep in mind, it's the last moment that most guests will distinctly remember before dancing starts both because of the blur of dancing, but also because if you're having alcohol at your wedding, most people will be consuming it. 

Whenever you've selected the people you would like to give toasts, make sure they know that you want them to give a toast. While it's tradition for at least the best man and the maid or matron of honor to give a toast, it never hurts to tell them you want them to give a toast at your wedding. 

As the final toast is given, the next moment is usually the cake cut. This is a great opportunity to start getting your guests moving and out of their seats, so I usually invite them to watch as you cut the cake. Afterward, we would either transition into the formal dances that haven't been done or go right into opening the dance floor. 

Now, there are two formalities that I haven't touched on yet: the bouquet toss and the garter removal, garter toss. Those can either be done in conjunction with the cake cut, later in the night, or not at all. Some couples are opting to nix them because they don't have a lot of single friends or it's just not a priority to them to have those moments at their wedding. But whether or not you incorporate them is completely up to you. Ultimately, no one is going to be like, "Hey, you didn't do that thing. Why didn't you do that thing?" As long as the wedding flows smoothly and it's what you want, that's all that matters at this point.

 We're at the part of your wedding where your guests get to celebrate the start of your life together. It's important that you provide a framework for me as the DJ to create the right vibe. I don't need absolutely all the songs that you would like played for the entire night in advance, but 10 to 20 must play songs does provide a foundation for me to build off of, to make your night your night. And if there are any slow dance songs you want incorporated, those are great to request, too. After the dance floor is initially opened up, some of your guests may not come back onto the dance floor unless there is a slow dance song played. Oh. And just like giving me songs, you and your guests will want to hear, make sure you mention the songs you DO NOT want to hear. You can even specify artists that you don't want to hear. 

There is so much good dance music that eliminating a song or an artist isn't going to kill the dance set. 

Not a fan of line dances? They don't have to be used. Don't really like Michael Jackson? He won't make an appearance. I actually did have a couple who didn't want to hear Michael Jackson played, and I was incredibly thankful that they let me know beforehand. 

As your wedding comes to a close, there are a few more elements to discuss: the last dance with your guests, the last dance as a couple, and the grand exit. 

The last dance with your guests should be something you all vibe with. It doesn't have to be a super high energy track in the sense of using a song that's over the top, but it should be something that will punctuate the night perfectly for you. You could go with higher energy tracks like I Gotta Feeling by Black Eyed Peas, or Don't Stop Believin' by Journey, or even a meaningful sing along like Piano Man by Billy Joel, which is definitely not a fist pumping track or just a slow dance song. You'll know what will fit with your guests the best.

 Once that song concludes, as your guests are making their way for the grand exit, this is the perfect opportunity to end your reception just as you started it with you two dancing by yourselves. Your guests will need time to make their way to where the exit is going to happen. And it's just a cool opportunity to share a moment for just the two of you as you take in everything that your day has been. 

Speaking of the grand exit. Do one. Even if you can't have sparklers, even if you don't have your photographer there anymore, do it. It's a great way to end the night and not having one just feels like an anti-climactic ending to your wedding. If there isn't a grand exit, there's just a weird tension of what to do next, especially when the lights come on and the staff at the venue is beginning to clean up and tear down. With the grand exit, there's a continuing trajectory to the end of the night to wherever the after party will be at if you have one. 

As you and your guests venture on to the after party celebration, I begin the task of breaking down all the equipment, loading it up in my car, and heading home. But before I get home, I make it a point to stop at my gym again and do some more stretching. It's a great way for me to wind down. And I also feel a ton better the next day, since I spend nearly all of the wedding day on my feet. And then I make sure to kiss my wife before I go to bed. 

And that's what your highlight wedding might look like.

If you're interested in inquiring to see if I'm available on your date, feel free to check out my website at highlightweddingsandevents.com and submit an inquiry there. Or you can just email me directly at [email protected] 

As always, here's to all of you who are planning your weddings and here's to making your wedding a highlight! 

[00:17:56] Tony "Tee" Neto: Thanks for stopping by and checking out the podcast. If you like what you've heard, please subscribe and leave a review. It'll help other couples just like you. Find it for more resources, including our helpful blog check highlightweddingsandevents.com [highlightweddingsandevents.com]and make your wedding a highlight!