Working as a Team at your Reception

Our approach at A Special Event DJ and Photo Booth is to work in unison with each of the vendors at your event. We know, as the person with the Microphone, guests, family members, and vendors look at the DJ as the “Conductor” for the evening. What does this mean to ASE DJ? It means we are in constant communication with vendors, guests and family members throughout the evening. For instance, we don’t go find the Officiant to bless the food before we check with the Caterer to make sure they are ready to serve. We don’t announce the cake cutting ceremony until we verify there is a knife available to cut the cake. We don’t announce the First Dance for the bride and groom prior to making sure the Photog and Video teams are ready for action. This helps everyone to relax and enjoy the moment  while we conduct the orchestra. How much do we charge for this service? We don’t, its included in the Wedding DJ package.  Last weekend here are some of the venues and partners we ran into:

Scottish Rite Venue, Des Moines

Noah’s Event Center, in Omaha

EastBank, Cedar Rapids

Rollins Mansion, Des Moines

The District Venue, Ankeny

The River Center, Des Moines

The World Food Prize, Des Moines

Whitney Warne, Photog

Red Acre Barn, Prole

Allison Knox, Photog

Red Door, Photog

South Slope Community Center

Amanda Larine Martin, Photo


Top 5 Wedding Decor Trends for 2015 – How to use lighting for a greater impact.

When planning an event, many people look to the advice of Mindy Weiss, a full-service wedding planner who has built a successful wedding brand and contributed to many books, events, product lines, and wedding specials. Also known for working with many celebrities and as “The wedding planner extraordinaire”, she predicts 5 of 2015’s wedding décor trends as:

(Source: 5 hottest wedding trends for 2015)



This beautiful Asian inspired porcelain painting style lends itself to all types of décor, including wedding décor. Translating easily to fabric, stationary, and wardrobe this trend is sophisticated and worldly.





Whether using the classic blue and white, or engaging more modern color palettes such as gold and black, red and gold, or subtle cream and gold this trend is sure to make a big impact in your wedding theme and vision.



Using bold colored up lighting to accent the color palette you are working with will add drama and draw the eye towards this beautiful pattern throughout the room

Color Blocking

Don’t be afraid to use bold and bright colors if this fits your personality. With a turn to deep, jewel toned hues in fashion and décor trends this is a fresh way to put a modern stamp on your event.

The use of up lighting in jewel tones, or in soft candle light will accent this style and help make your design cohesive.

Classic Romance & Lace

Lace isn’t just for the dress these days! Dropping touches of this beautiful and versatile fabric all over your event, pairing with soft florals and up lighting translates to traditional glamour.

With LED technology, up lighting can be set to an array of different romantic colors from soft pinks and blues to soft whites & ambers.

 Watercolor Ombre 

A great tip when choosing this style, is to stick to one color palette, using all colors from the deepest hues to the lightest. This simple way of theming your décor is a great way to bring lots of color into your design. Up lighting can also be set to mirror your ombre color palette by dialing in different shades of your chosen color. Whether opting for a big effect and highlighting this tool by grouping lights together or spreading across the room and spotlighting different areas of interest, lighting can give you a big effect at a very cost effective price point.


Green Living Wall


Bringing the outside in, is a trend that is here to stay. Creating a living wall, using beautiful greenery in centerpieces & bouquets as a focus instead of an accent, and keeping décor fresh and simple are a few ways to theme your event in nature.





In this type of design, keeping your lighting soft and simple will help to draw attention to the beauty of nature, or you can add drama with bold colorful lighting accents. Either option helps to showcase this inspired décor choice.









In weddings these days, there are no “hard & fast rules”, which makes it easy to design your wedding to reflect you as a couple. Remember to enjoy the process, develop a game plan (& stick to it), and try not to “sweat the small stuff”.

Call or email today to find out how ASE DJ & Photo Booth can help you develop the best use for up lighting at your event! Included in all of our DJ packages, we know it is a great value in wedding decor for any venue!tim@aspecialeventdj.com515.971.5482

Blog courtesy of:

Missi Bryan

President ASE DJ & Photo Booth

Certified Wedding Planner

Graduation Party Photo Booths are fun for all!



DSC_2961-1As you know, Graduation is just around the corner! As a parent, we all want what is best for our children, especially when celebrating our graduate’s accomplishments. If you are a parent of a current high school senior, it’s likely that you’ve considered beginning a checklist for that special day. Whether this is your first, second, or third child graduating, it can still seem like a challenging process. As you sit and question yourself what food you will be serving? How much? How many guests will there be? What beverages should we serve? And so on… You should also question yourself how you plan to remember this memorable day. Do you want to throw an unforgettable graduation party for your hard working, accomplished graduate?



A photo booth is all it takes to provide your guests with a fun filled evening and memories to last a lifetime. Not only will you hear laughter coming from children, but from grandparents too! A memory book with pictures and notes of congratulations and advice for your graduate is a memento to look back at for years. Fun props add to the fun for guests of all ages! Make your child’s graduation party a day or night to remember by booking with A Special Event DJ today. You’ll be sure to have the neighbors talking about how fantastic your child’s graduation party was for weeks!



creat memories

Blog courtesy of Megan Nefzger

Photos courtesy of Meythayler Photography, and A Photo{graphy}

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How to Make Your Wedding Viral

Our last post listed our top picks for hot first dance songs this wedding season. However, what you do with the song of your choice is nearly as important as the song itself. We’re seeing more and more elaborately choreographed first dances – often including bridal parties – go viral. And it’s a beautiful, silly trend that often pays homage to the preferences of the couple.

But, as with most things, the “why” is perhaps a more important consideration than the “what.” Whether you and your partner are going to take private dance lessons, ask your bridal party to join in, or just wing it, that decision should be determined by what message you’re trying to send to your friends and loved ones.

If you love Dirty Dancing, then go for a rendition of the final scene. If you and your friends and family have a Michael Jackson obsession, why not go all out and do your own rendition of Thriller?

While the trend is for elaborate group first dances, first dances started with formal balls. The emperor or king would announce the start of an event by taking the first dance. In lieu of nobility, the host/hostess would start the festivities instead. Eventually, the tradition evolved into a moment to highlight the newly wedded couple.

Make your first dance one to remember – whether traditional or jazzed up. Contact A Special Event DJ today: we’ll pick the music, and you can pick out the dancing shoes.


The Best Wedding Songs for Spring/Summer 2014

Some couples just don’t have a song. Or they have twenty songs. And even if you do “have a song,” do you really want to use it for your wedding? Is it going to tell your guests anything significant about what makes your relationships yours? We’ve put together a list of the best wedding songs for 2014 that are not only beautiful, but perfect for beginning to help your guests understand exactly what’s put you and your partner in the center of that floor for you first dance as a married couple.

“All of Me” by John Legend is all over the internet and the radio waves right now. However, if the lyrics don’t already stand alone as a piece of what makes this an amazing first dance song, maybe the history will. Legend performed it as a tribute to his wife at his own wedding in September 2013.

“Safe and Sound” by Capital Cities is about as far from a tradition wedding song as you can get. With its upbeat, almost parade-like melody, it makes guests listen to the lyrics (You could be my luck/Even if the sky is falling down/I know that we’ll be safe and sound) even harder.

Beyonce’s surprise release album took the world by storm. We’re predicting that “XO” is going to be the new “Don’t Stop Believing” ““ it’s a night ender.

“Treasure” by Bruno Mars is not a first dance for the faint of heart. With gorgeous lyrics and a beat that’s made to turn up to, if your partner and you want to wow a crowd with a choreographed first dance that also has some phenomenally moving lyrics, put this at the top of your list.

John Mayer’s been a fixture at weddings for years. But his joint release with Katy Perry, “Who You Love” is just sickeningly perfect for a first dance. It’s a sweet anthem of dedication written at your partner and for anyone watching your union.

For more ideas on a first dance song and to make sure you’re sending a message that works for your day, contact A Special Event DJ today.     



Good Event Lighting is a Must

The worst thing to feel as an event planner is any sense of disappointment over your choice in venue. Just the fact that you’ve booked a location capable of holding your guests is a pretty good accomplishment. However, some people get discouraged once they drop down to their third or fourth choice.

We’ve discussed how up lighting can add a flash of pizzazz to any wedding reception before here on the Special Event DJ blog. But event organizers of all kinds can benefit from the interesting designs that interior and exterior lighting can provide. LEDs and various other lighting devices can be utilized with DMX controls to create a unique experience for guests.

Up lighting designs can take a drab place and turn it into an exciting setting resembling more of a nightclub or a luxurious hotel. Think about how lighting has been an important element of the best events or entertainment facilities you’ve ever visited. As this blog post published by Event will show you, lighting may be an even more important aspect to consider than venue when planning an event.

Unattractive elements of an interior space can be mitigated through effective lighting design by putting more focus on more aesthetically pleasing features of a space. Colored LED lighting can also help add to your selected color scheme and apply it in interesting ways to your dinner and reception. Whether you’re planning a conference, a dance, a holiday event or a private party, lighting can add the perfect touch of color to titillate your guests.

A Special Event DJ is well suited to handle weddings as well as many other events. When you need a professional service that gives you a wide degree of services to help your event, including lighting, audio and more, call us. We serve the area of Indianola, IA.


Have Fun in a Wedding Photo Booth!

100518_055929Weddings are beautiful, solemn, silly, emotional and joyful events. The planning process doesn’t always mirror that. There’s so much to take care of and so many options for not only the appearance of the event, but also what your guests are going to eat, drink, and actually do at the reception that planning a wedding can get pretty anxiety inducing pretty quickly.

However, there’s no need to worry about keeping guests happy and busy if you get a photo booth. There are some huge benefits to using a photo booth that can make your wedding reception memorable and save you money.

Everyone’s been to a wedding where there’s an incredibly awkward waiting period while the wedding party takes photos and the guests wait to start the party at the venue. Lose the awkwardness by inviting guests to put on sombreros or boas and let loose in the photo booth while you get your professional pre-reception photos taken.

lebeau 02Pinterest is clogged with adorable, but costly wedding favors. Send your guests home with favors that not only remind them of your commitment, but also help capture the day from their perspective by sending out thank-yous with custom pictures from the booth.

From toddlers to great grandparents, there’s no one that can turn down a silly selfie. Entertainment that crosses age barriers is harder to find than you would think photo booths solve that problem. And the props that come along with it will engage all personality types, from the most proper to the jester of your loved ones.

A Special Event DJ not only offers music services and up lighting for weddings and reception in the Des Moines and Chicago areas, but now also offers photo booth rentals. Call us today to make your wedding a standout!



What is a DJ?

Wedding DJs IllinoisThe hardware of the disk jockey has changed dramatically in the last two decades. Analog turntables fueled by crates of records have gradually given way to midi controllers and laptops. While a few DJs have stalwartly refused to abandon the tools and traditions of the past, many others have embraced the versatility and accessibility of the new music making machines of the digital age.

This rapid and profound paradigm shift, the sort of which happens only once in a while in popular music, has inspired a heated debate among musicians and fans as to what exactly constitutes a DJ. Moreover, what makes a DJ a good DJ. So-called push button DJs have been alternately praised and ridiculed by their peers for their new approach to the craft.

Ideally, a DJ is an active participant within an audience, and as such they are expected to act and react to the energy and mood of the crowd. Does the somewhat more hands-off technique of these new digital age DJ’s detract from this intimacy, or should we judge a DJ’s merit based on the content of their beats alone? To think that we might find definitive answers to these questions in the near future would be downright audacious of us as critics. What we can address, however, is that ethereal connection with an audience that all DJs strive for, regardless of the equipment at hand.

It might happen at your cousin’s wedding reception. It might happen in the delirious heat of a summer block party, or in the smokey light of some dank hole in the wall venue on the other side of town. That moment of religious exaltation, of cathartic release when the perfect track is dropped at the perfect moment. Innumerable variables fall into place in just the right order and a minute and seventeen seconds of bliss is born. This is all we can really hope for from our DJ hosts. That minute and seventeen seconds when we forget that we think that we don’t like to dance. So why not go easy on the DJ, and try to look past the LED lit gadgets they swapped for the old Audio-Technica? We might as well stick around and hope for another minute and seventeen.

If you have any questions about DJs or wedding music, contact the professionals at A Special Event DJ.


In 2014, Turn Your Wedding or Event Into New Year’s Rockin’ Eve

It’s hard to imagine any nation partying as hard as America does year in and year out. With a well-supported entertainment industry that equals billions of dollars in commerce each year, our ability to enjoy ourselves and have a good time is second to none the world over. Annual events like the Academy Awards, the Super Bowl and the Fourth of July are just a few examples of how we get together as a country to just enjoy a fun time.

This time of year, when the holiday season is in full force, is ripe with these kinds of events. Large throngs of people can easily be found in city centers and communities coming together to celebrate the season together, especially at New Years. This is one of the biggest party nights of the year, when people come together to toast the passing year and ring in the New Year, hopefully with a loved one.

Times Square is a major destination for this holiday, and every year dozens of celebrities and entertainment acts take to these streets of Manhattan to deliver a sensational experience. Producers work hard to craft an all-star lineup for these events, and as Rolling Stone reports in this article, this year’s version of the holiday celebration will feature famous music acts, young and old alike.

Say what you want about her style, but Miley Cyrus has been turning a lot of heads this year and getting plenty of views, making her a hot commodity in the entertainment world. This year’s edition of New Year’s Rockin’ Eve will feature this pop star at 11:40 PM, with an appearance by Billy Joel scheduled to follow at 12:05 AM, just after the ball drops. Other major and popular entertainers, like Macklemore and Blondie, are also filling out the schedule for the evening on the ABC Network.

Wouldn’t it be great if every event had the star power of a New Year’s Rockin’ Eve? You may not be able to sign up Billy Joel for a private performance, but the next best thing is to hire a music DJ service that will make you feel like a rock star at any event. A Special Event DJ specializes in weddings, but we’ll jazz up any party with our fantastic music and entertainment options, including our photo booth! We serve weddings and events in Illinois and Iowa.

*Video courtesy of BlondieMusicOfficial