Friday, May 1, 2020

Planning Summer 2020 & Covid19

Friends, it is natural for all of us to want to return to our normal way of life, pre-corona. I strongly encourage those considering celebrations for this summer to follow the guidance of our governor (Ohio). Gatherings of over 10 people are still illegal as of the writing of this post, May 1, 2020. The large gatherings restriction will probably be the last to be eased and I imagine it won't happen until early fall at the soonest.

Planning large gatherings even on private property is not wise at this time, therefore we are not providing price quotes for DJ services for events held at residences for the remainder of the year.

We continue to provide price quotes for events planned to happen later this fall and into 2021 at commercially operated event venues, if of course, the governor allows them. Professionally operated event venues will be expected to follow health and safety protocols to protect workers and guests, carry liability insurance and are accountable to a variety of entities including local health departments.

We want more than anybody to enjoy a time when fun, vibrant celebrations can happen again and happen safely. For now, let's monitor together the gradual re-opening of our economy and follow guidance from healthcare professionals.

If you would like to contact us about your 2021 event or where to get daily updates about Covid19 and state policies, please don't hesitate to call, email or message.

Best wishes for a safe and healthy spring and summer!

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Brides & Grooms, Avoid the Blue Smurf

Hey friends,

In this blog article I want to talk about uplighting, when to use it to enhance your event venue, how much to use and yes even when not to have lighting at all.

Many DJ services offer room uplighting and we are commonly asked about it: What is it? Do we need it? How much does it cost?

Room uplighing typically comes in the form of LED lights that are strategically placed around the perimeter of the venue and usually angled to shine upward on a wall, a curtain or other backdrop. Understand that there are different types of lights that provide a variety of features and effects, so ask your DJ about the type of lights they own and what they can do with them, the various color schemes that can be created, etc. Typically, they need to be plugged into a wall outlet so DJs pay close attention to where in the room they can run power cords without getting in the way of guests. We love venues with many electrical outlets. Lights can also come battery powered which gives your DJ more options but those units tend to cost 3 times what a corded light costs and may be more expensive for you to have. We use a combination of corded and battery powered lights using corded whenever possible and reserving battery operated lights for logistically challenging places in the room.

The goal of this article is not to go into depth about the types of lighting available but to have you think strategically about what you want the room to look like when they're set up. Most people admit that they don't know how many lights are appropriate to have and so they leave that up to their vendor to decide within budget. Many DJ services charge per light so, of course, they don't mind giving you as many as possible for your event if you can afford it. More lights, more money!

I caution you not to overdo the uplighting. A room that is heavy on uplighting sometimes glows with that particular color, which is fine to a point but you don't want to risk a situation where you and your guests end up looking like blue smurfs. You remember those little guys, right? They're cute but, well they're blue...

This is me, blue smurf
The problem is exacerbated when your photographer can't get clean  photos at your reception because they are so polluted with the glow of uplighting. This may not be an issue for you, so if you simply don't care, that's fine, go crazy with uplighting. But if you're paying a considerable amount of money for a professional photographer to take photos of your special day, why make their job harder by paying your DJ to create an overly lit room? I've chatted with a number of photographers about this and some agree that it makes editing photos a chore yet others don't seem to mind. I would simply advise you to have this discussion with both your DJ and your photographer to get some consensus on how much lighting is just right. Some photographers bring additional white lights if they know in advance the room will be dark and enhanced with uplighting. Your DJ can minimize this problem by alternating some of the lights with pure white to offset the effect.  I tell clients that uplighting should be used in moderation to enhance the room's features and complement your color scheme but not to excess - unless of course, you want to look like a blue smurf.

To be fair, part of the magic of uplighting is that it can make a drab looking room look much better. If however, your venue is already very beautiful in a unique way you don't need much additional lighting to make its features stand out. You may not need uplighting at all. In fact, if you overdo the uplighting in an already beautiful room you risk minimizing the features that you want guests to enjoy.

Again, have this chat with your DJ and photographer. Tell your DJ that you want uplighting in moderation to enhance the room but not to overdo it to the point that it looks like a sci-fi movie set.

I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions about uplighting, wedding and event photos and more. Please leave a comment and we'll continue to explore this topic further.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

What To Know About Your Sunday Wedding

We receive a number of inquiries each year from engaged couples who have chosen to have their wedding on a Sunday. And, of course, some of those inquiries turn into booked events in which we are privileged to participate as DJ entertainers.

Sunday weddings may provide couples with options they ordinarily wouldn't have. Many wedding vendors; venues, caterers, photographers, etc. offer discounts for events that happen on Sundays as there are fewer of them happening.  Saturday evenings are typically in high demand and experienced professionals don't have trouble booking them well in advance. So, for financial reasons alone, a Sunday might be a good idea.

Sunday weddings seem to be ideal for DIY couples who plan to implement at least some of the event themselves or with the help of family members and friends.  They may provide food for their reception or do their own decorating and it seems (although I could be wrong) that venues, caterers and other professionals tend to be more understanding of couples who want more direct involvement on a Sunday. I guess, what I'm saying is that many Sunday weddings tend to be less formal than most Saturday evening weddings and for those people who are more comfortable planning a casual celebration, Sundays are perfect for them.

A brief word of caution - many popular sporting events happen on Sunday.  This blog article is being written just hours before the Super Bowl. So unless you want your wedding to compete against the attention of a major sporting event, check a calendar to be sure your wedding is happening on a day free of such potential conflict.

My main suggestion to couples planning a Sunday wedding is to get the timing right.  By this I mean, start early and end early. I say this because many inquiries we receive initially ask for DJ entertainment during a typical Saturday evening timeline, say 6PM to midnight.  I can share with you as an observer of many Sunday events, most people will not stay till midnight on a Sunday.

We have been programmed since childhood to use Sundays as a day to prepare for the coming week, right? We do laundry, complete homework, run errands, etc. just so we can be ready for the coming week and most of all, Sundays are for getting to bed early.  The following day is after all a work day for adults or a school day for the kids. Asking people to disregard their psychological and physical programming is a tall order. I have observed the tendency of guests to want to leave early even if the celebration is full of energy and moving full steam ahead. There seems to be an internal clock inside some people that says, ok time to go home, even if that means leaving at 9PM.

Some people plan their Sunday wedding on a three day holiday weekend such as Labor Day weekend, thinking that their guests have the next day off, so they'll be able to stay later. There is some degree of truth to this and you might be able to go to 11PM on a holiday Sunday.  Still, many people listen to their internal clock and leave early even though they could stay longer.

My recommendation is to use your Sunday wedding as a 4 or 5 hour afternoon celebration:

2PM to 7PM or 3PM to 8PM

Or, if you desire an evening celebration:

4PM to 9PM or 5PM to 10PM

I have DJ'd wedding receptions on Sundays that successfully went late (meaning almost everyone stayed to the end) but they are rare. I believe you and your guests will be better served if you plan your Sunday wedding with the appreciation of how we are programmed. More people will stay the entire time to celebrate with you if you simply plan to start a little earlier and end a little earlier than a typical Saturday night reception.

I look forward to your thoughts and input on this topic. As always best wishes on your special day!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Cleveland’s Own My Life DJ Service Wins a WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Award® 2016

North Olmsted, OH  January 7, 2016 – WeddingWire, a leading global online wedding marketplace, named My Life DJ Service as a winner of the prestigious WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Awards® 2016 for Wedding DJ in northeast Ohio! 

The WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Awards® 2016 recognizes the top five percent of wedding professionals in the WeddingWire Network who demonstrate excellence in quality, service, responsiveness and professionalism. The esteemed awards are given to the top local wedding vendors in more than 20 service categories based on their professional achievements from the previous year. 

While many industry award winners are selected by the host organization, the WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Awards® winners are determined solely based on reviews from real newlyweds. Award-winning vendors are distinguished for the quality, quantity, consistency and timeliness of the reviews they have received from their past clients. 

“We are thrilled to celebrate such a high-caliber, committed group of professionals for the Couples’ Choice Awards’® eighth year,” said Timothy Chi, CEO, WeddingWire. “We are proud to continue to serve as the industry leader, with over 2.5 million consumer and peer reviews, and feature award-winning merchants...” 

As a Couples’ Choice Awards® winner, My Life DJ Service is highlighted within the WeddingWire Network, which is comprised of more than 400,000 wedding professionals globally. 

We are proud to be one of the top wedding DJ services in northeast Ohio in the WeddingWire Network. We would like to thank our past clients for taking the time to review our business on WeddingWire. We value all of our clients and truly appreciate the positive feedback that helped us earn the WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Awards® 2016. 

To learn more about the Couples’ Choice Awards®, please visit 

About WeddingWire, Inc.
WeddingWire, Inc. is the leading global online marketplace connecting consumers with event and creative professionals. Operating within a $200 billion industry, WeddingWire, Inc. hosts 10 million monthly unique users across its mobile and web platforms. Consumers are able to read over 2.5 million vendor reviews and search, compare and book from a database of over 400,000 businesses. Globally, it provides these businesses the technology they need to serve their clients through advertising, marketing and business management tools such as websites, payment processing, invoicing and contracts. Founded in 2007, the WeddingWire portfolio of sites serves couples and businesses across 14 countries in North America, Latin America and Europe, making it the worldwide leader in weddings with brands including,, and more. The company employs more than 650 and maintains global headquarters in Washington, DC and international headquarters in Barcelona, Spain.

Click here if you want to learn more about our DJ service or receive a price quote for your upcoming event!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Event Pros, What To Accomplish During The Off Season

We are sometimes asked, what do event professionals do during the off season?  The answer is that we continue to stay busy but in different ways.

This post is really meant for our colleagues in the event and wedding industries but it may also be of interest to the broader population including brides and grooms, event planners and others in the field, so here we go!..

In northeast Ohio, where we operate, the busy season for us starts in late April and continues strong right to the end of the year.  Our slower season is January, February and March, although we still typically have a number of events to fulfill.

First let's acknowledge that for serious event pros, our busy season takes a lot out of us. We're constantly on the go, traveling from one event to the other, conducting planning meetings with clients, setting up, performing and taking down equipment, etc.  It's a long busy marathon that doesn't seem to end but when it does, we're truly exhausted. And I can say this because I've been in the industry for over 25 years now, the older one gets the more it seems to take its toll.

A funny thing happens, however, when we finally do enter our slow time of the year. After a couple of weeks of recovery in the way of sleep, rest, and maybe a short vacation, we begin to get antsy for the business again, don't we?  We begin to get excited about the coming year and we try to prepare in the best way possible.

Here are some important tasks for event professionals to accomplish during the off season:

Respond to inquiries and book events - Many bookings for the year happen during the down time, so we're actually really quite busy responding to inquiries, answering questions, meeting with prospective clients and generating contracts. The goal here, of course, is to fill up our calendar for the upcoming year!

Review your pricing strategy - If you are going to change your prices, now is the time to do it.  Are you adding new packages and prices?  How will this affect your marketing strategy?

Review your marketing strategy - If you are going to change your marketing strategy, make these changes while you can before things get busy again.  Does your website need an update?  Are you going to do more or less paid online marketing?  What kind of traditional marketing will you do, if any?  Review your print material, are these documents still accurate?

Prepare for the upcoming tax season - Consult your tax preparer, issue tax related documents to employees and contracted workers.  Gather and organize receipts, copies of contracts, etc.  Make changes in your book keeping routines if you need to in order to have a smoother year ahead.

Repair or upgrade equipment - The field is tough on equipment.  During the year you have probably noticed a need to repair or purchase new equipment.  Perhaps you finished the last few weeks by using your back-up stuff because something was dropped or broken but you really don't want to start the new season with back-up equipment.  Be sure everything works perfectly going out of the gate!

Communicate with your insurance broker - Annually, make or update a written list of equipment inventory (as detailed as possible) and send it off to your insurance broker.  Savvy event pros will also include photos for good measure.  You want to be sure they know what kind of stuff you own and how much it all costs.

Communicate with your lawyer - Send your lawyer a brief email describing any new services or assets that you've added recently or intend to add to your business.  For example make sure he or she knows how many people you employ, describe your services, especially anything new you are adding.  It would also be a good idea to have your lawyer do a review of the language in your contract.

Communicate with staff members - It's important to communicate with employees and others who help you operate your business in order to share with them your strategy for the upcoming year.  What will be expected of them?  How will their respective roles change?  Are you adding products or services?  Will training be necessary to learn about new equipment, software, etc.  Be sure everyone is on the same page about what you want the business to accomplish when things speed up again.

Back up files - You should be doing frequent, periodic back-ups of electronic files during the year but at least annually, be sure to have a back-up system in place.

Prepare for bridal fairs - If you participate in bridal fairs and other such gatherings you know how much work is involved in setting up a booth or table, preparing marketing materials, etc.  Be ready with these items so that you can concentrate on being with guests and prospective clients and not running around at the last minute!

Get serious about your health - Many people begin their new year's resolutions during the off season and this is a good time to get serious about your health.  As an entrepreneur, your health is an asset of the business.  When asked about their biggest fears, self employed people will often say staying healthy is always a big concern.  They know that if they should get sick or injured, their business could suffer affecting their ability to make a living.  So now is a good time to establish diet, exercise and sleep habits to promote better health for the whole year 'round.

Well, I hope these suggestions are helpful.  Please let me know of other tasks to accomplish during the slow season that I may have forgotten to list.  I will add them in future updates to the article.  Best wishes for a successful year!

Click here if you want to learn more about our DJ service or receive a price quote for your upcoming event!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

So You're Engaged, Now What?

You'd be surprised at how many people ask advice of their wedding DJ about all aspects of the wedding.  Brides and grooms know that an experienced DJ has witnessed hundreds of wedding ceremonies and receptions, so we should have some value to provide, right?

So many newly engaged couples tell us that they don't know where to begin.  In other words, they don't even know how to start thinking about their wedding day.  That's the goal of this blog post, to help you develop a strategy for how to think about your wedding.  And, the best part of this suggestion is that it involves going out on a date!

If you're newly engaged, you've probably been dating for a while now.. So, going on a date to develop a strategy for wedding planning should be easy for you and even fun.  Your very first task is to develop a value structure for your wedding day.  I don't mean value in the sense of money, although it will ultimately help determine your budget.  I mean, value as in priorities.

Plan a date for just you and your fiancĂ©.  No one else is permitted at this point to join you in your discussion.  Ideally, plan a date where you and your fiance can have a relatively uninterrupted, focused discussion about your wedding day, dinner at your favorite restaurant, a walk in the park or something like that.  The goal of your discussion is to prioritize the elements of your wedding day experience.  When you think about your wedding day, what's most important to you?  Is the setting most important because you desire a rustic outdoor experience?  Or, is the food most important?  What about entertainment? Try to have agreement between the two of you as to the top three or four priorities.  Here are a some questions in no particular order to help you get there:

  • Is it important to you to have your wedding during a particular season (for those who live in areas that enjoy seasonal changes). Do you envision a spring wedding or a fall wedding?
  • Do you prefer a small gathering or a large gathering?
  • What words would you use to describe the type of experience you want to have?  Describe your wedding in just one or two words, for example - elegant, festive, informal, casual, traditional or other such description.
  • Is it important to you to be married in a church or will you want a secular ceremony elsewhere?
  • Is the venue or physical setting important to you?  For example, do you want an indoor experience or an outdoor experience?
  • When thinking about what you want guests to remember most about your wedding day, what are they? Delicious food?  Great entertainment? Beautiful floral arrangements?

There are many more questions along these lines, of course, but you see where we're going here.  By the time your date is over, you should have an agreed consensus about the top three or four priorities for your wedding day.  It should be such that if you can guarantee that these top priorities are fulfilled, you will enjoy the wedding of your dreams and everything else is really secondary.

Why is this exercise important for you to do?
  • It will give you and your fiancĂ© a shared idea for what you want to happen.  You'll both be on the same page for the most important decisions that are yet to come.
  • Others will give you a ton of unsolicited advice that will throw you off your game if you don't have your top priorities already lined up.  Now you'll be able to reply to well intentioned advisors by simply saying, thanks for your ideas but we've already discussed it and we're going with an outdoor wedding.
  • Your priority list will help you figure out your budget.  Be willing to pay a little more for those things that you've given top priority and be ok with spending less on low priority items.
  • You'll be better able to describe to your hired wedding vendors and professionals exactly the type of experience you want them to help you create. They will appreciate your thoughtfulness and candor.
  • Knowing your top priorities will help you put together a step by step action plan.  What to put in place first, who to call and when, etc. 
After your date, you should have a wedding day priority statement that summarizes your vision for the perfect wedding day.  Here are a few examples:
  • We want our wedding day to be a casual gathering of a small group of family and friends to happen on an early fall day at a rustic venue.  It's important that the food be out of this world!  We'll have a DJ play background music but if no one dances, that's ok because we're not really about the dancing anyway.
  • We want our wedding day to be an elegant gathering of about 300 guests in an urban setting overlooking the skyline of the city.  Music and dancing is key to our celebration!  We'll have a florist provide minimal decor to add to the venue's charm.
  • We want our wedding day to be a festive gathering of about 150 guests to happen on an early summer day at an outdoor venue under a tent.  Great food is a must!  Amazing floral arrangements will highlight the garden feel of the venue.  We'll have a small jazz band play background music during the reception.
This exercise will only work if you both understand that your initial goal is NOT to plan every detail of your wedding day in one sitting.  It just isn't a realistic goal and you'll both end up very frustrated if you try to do it.  The goal of your date is simply to agree on the top three or four wedding day priorities.  Once you have your agreed priorities in place, you can then bring trusted friends and advisors into the discussion to help with the details.  You'll find that if you begin your wedding planning activities by identifying top priorities first, everything else will fall into place pretty nicely.

I hope you found this wedding planning tip helpful.  Enjoy your date and please leave comments or suggestions for others in the comment section.  Best wishes!

Click here if you want to learn more about our DJ service or receive a price quote for your upcoming event!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Tips for Visiting Guests at Your Reception

Almost all of our clients, brides and grooms, share with us early in the planning process that one of their concerns is a slow moving reception.  They tell us they've been guests at other wedding receptions and they've experienced confusion about what's happening next, boredom, and a general - when will this party start - anxiety.  They don't want a slow moving, disjointed flow, or lack of flow, to their own reception.

One thing that often slows down the flow of the reception is when the bride and groom attempts to visit each table of guests, typically during dinner or toward the end of dinner.  Ironically, they are sometimes the reason for the very slowdown that they didn't want to happen in the first place. This is because most people do not know how to "butterfly" around a room.  If you've ever noticed a butterfly in a garden, you'll see that it quickly bounces from one flower to the next, not staying in any one place for very long.  For us humans, this is a learned skill that only priests and politicians have mastered.  It's precisely because their main goal when floating through a room is to say hello, be noticed, welcome guests and then move on.  It's not to engage in any type of drawn out reminiscing or storytelling.  It's not that they don't enjoy reminiscing or storytelling, it's just that they know this isn't the right time for it, if they want to honor and acknowledge all guests.

Brides and grooms, let's do a little math.  If you have 200 guests in a room and they are sitting at 25 tables of eight guests per table - how long will it take you to visit all tables if you spend just 3 minutes at each table?  The answer, a whopping one hour and 15 minutes!  What's happening during this time?  The DJ or band can't get the dancefloor going because traditionally, the first dance belongs to the bride and the groom.  I can tell you that this is one of the most frustrating points in the evening for DJs.  We often feel stuck because we know guests are getting antsy for the dancing to begin, yet we need
Two minutes at each table!
to wait for the bride and groom to finish their butterflying.

This blog article is not meant to talk you out of butterflying, although there are other options that we can cover in another post.  The purpose of this article is to give you a few easy tips to be an awesome butterfly!

1) Understand your goal is to thank and welcome guests, not to engage in storytelling.  Storytelling takes time and you can't control the duration of the story if you're not the one telling the story.  Many of your guests know that you're on a schedule but some have no idea about your reception timeline and will immediately begin to share a story about their recent vacation to Alaska.

2) Keep moving.  It's difficult to pin you down if you're physically moving.  Do the slow walk but don't stop for very long.  If you do stop, make it for just a few seconds to give someone a hug or shake hands.  Move on.

3) Stay together.  Have you ever heard the saying, divide and conquer?  This is true with couples who butterfly a room.  If you get separated, you'll never be able to visit all tables as a couple and you'll literally lose each other at your own reception.  Hold hands while you visit each table.

4) Blame the DJ.  I give my clients permission to use me as an excuse for moving on to the next table.  If you feel caught in the grips of a storyteller, simply say John, I want to hear more but our DJ has us on a tight schedule.  Or, Jenny let's get together to talk more, our DJ needs us soon to cut our cake, have our first dance, or whatever is next.  They'll understand and you won't seem rude about leaving on your own accord.

5) Two minutes or less.  Trust me, you will lose all sense of time on your wedding day.  So, try to keep under 90 seconds to two minutes or less at each table.  That will keep you to about 45 minutes, which is manageable and won't kill the flow of your reception.

Some clients suggest that they will eat their dinner quickly, knowing they'll be first served.  That will give them time to visit guests while guests are eating and thus not impede the timing of the reception.  This can certainly work as a time strategy but if you stop to think about it, do you really want to rush your dinner on your wedding day?  After a long day, you'll be hungry and need a brief rest.  Think about your dinner as half-time for your wedding day.  I think it's better to relax for a bit, enjoy your dinner and be an effective butterfly later.

I hope these butterfly tips help you to keep a fun exciting flow to your wedding reception.  If you have other strategies, please share them with us and our readers in the comment section.  Best wishes!

Click here if you want to learn more about our DJ service or receive a price quote for your upcoming event!