Walk on the Wedding Wild Side with Lou Reed

When it came to bucking styles and starting controversial new musical trends, Lou Reed was an artist that you could always count on to follow his own style and not kowtow to mainstream trends. While it never made him a radio pop star, in his life Lou Reed was likely one of the most influential American musicians for the avant-garde over the past century. His recent death marks the end of an era in our country’s rock history.

Famous for his aggressive musical and personal style, Reed found his earliest successes with the Velvet Underground. Located in New York City, playing most at the famed Andy Warhol Factory, the group gained appeal with fans because of Reed’s expressive lyrics, which he accompanied perfectly on guitar. The Velvet Underground became the new voice of the city with explicit lyrics and subject matter that earlier rock acts shied away from.

“Sweet Jane” is one classic Velvet Underground song that shows why the group’s sound was so successful. Reed’s lyrics in this song are narrative, but the way he delivers his vocals add an entire level of cynicism to the story. Fans love to join in on the chorus of this song, where Reed screams the title repeatedly in a high tenor.

For a lighter, more conversational tone, “Walk on the Wild Side” is a poignant song and one of Reed’s greatest all-time hits. Some controversies in the lyrics of this track kept it from seeing major radio play since being released, but it’s an incredibly familiar track that has introduced many to the sounds of Lou Reed. Oftentimes, “Walk on the Wild Side” can be heard at weddings, bringing people of all ages to the dance floor where they groove to the sounds of mystical New York.

Although Reed himself was never as famous as other contemporaries, like the Beatles or Bob Dylan, he was just as influential, if not more so to generations of alternative musicians. As this CBSNews.com article implies, Reed’s influence was often inversely proportional to his commercial success. “The first Velvet Underground record sold 30,000 copies in the first five years,” said renowned music producer Brian Eno, as quoted in the CBSNews.com article. “I think everyone who bought one of those 30,000 copies started a band!”

Even if he may not get much airplay during weddings, A Special Event DJ wants to take a moment to salute one of America’s most groundbreaking talents in rock music. If you want to add some interesting indie or alternative rock selections to your next party, give us a call to see what options we have available for you!

*Video courtesy of d1sintegration


When Looking for Music to Dance to

Approaching the day of your wedding is a happy time, but there certainly are a lot of things to decide upon before walking down the aisle. Maybe you’ve already picked the color scheme, scheduled the caterer and sent out the invitations. There are dozens of other little details that are important but easy to overlook. Of these is the selection of the song marking the first dance of the newlywed couple.

The first dance is a truly magical time where a room of a few hundred well-wishers can look on and see the happy couple enjoying their special moment alone in front of everyone. For many, it’s easy to think of a romantic song to play at this point, or maybe a track that’s more upbeat or has a funny connection with the couple.

A good DJ will have plenty of material for a bride and groom to select from. An experienced disk jockey will also be able to suggest many track ideas based on what the couple is looking for.

There are tons of choices out there when looking for music to dance to, especially when looking for a slow, romantic ballad. Some popular choices along these lines include “Here And Now” by Luther Vandross, or “When a Man Loves a Woman” by Percy Sledge. Contemporary songs from Michael Buble, Jason Mraz and even Adele are also often picked by couples who want a song that’s a little more recent. Still, some couples go for a slightly more tongue-in-cheek approach, selecting a song like Duran Duran’s “Hungry Like the Wolf” or Barry White’s “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love Baby.”

The musical landscape is always changing, and people’s tastes in music can be pretty fickle. Don’t let the search for your first dance song create a stressful situation. Couples in Iowa and Illinois are encouraged to contact A Special Event DJ if they need to schedule a DJ or if they need a quick consultation on our available music.


Top 10 Questions for Photo Booth Package

Top 10 Questions you Should Ask before Selecting a Photo Booth:

  • What do I get in your 5 hour package? https://aspecialeventdj.com/photo-booth-rental/
  • Do you have props? Yes, and the variety is ever changing as we replenish weekly.
  • About how many guests per hour/Pictures per hour do you normally see at an average event? Max is 40 groups per hour, translates to 400 guests per hour.
  • Are the pictures high quality? Yes, very high quality, all of our booths have a Canon Rebel SLRS Digital Camera.
  • Is the booth high quality? Yes, constructed to withstand weekly use and we run weekly maintenance to insure continued high quality results.
  • Since I have the photo booth for 4 hours and my reception is 6 hours, how will you get in and out without being disruptive? We set up prior to your guests arrival and quietly tear down when the 4 hours is up (additional charges may apply)
  • Is the booth easy to operate for my guests? Yes, and our Photo Booth Operator will answer any questions they may have to insure their experience is fun and positive.
  • How many booths do you operate? Right now we have 5 booths but they are becoming so popular, we may be expanding to more booths.
  • Is your group professional, will my guests be impressed? Yes, we dress and act appropriate for all events.
  • Do you have an Agreement I need to sign? Yes, our Agreement is very simple. You Agree to hire us, we agree to bring our booth and let your guests create fun memories of your reception.
  • How much is your deposit? Our Photo Booth price is $895 for four hours and we require a $100 deposit, the remaining balance is due 7 days prior to the event.

Kanye West, Kazakhstan and Your Wedding

If you had the money, would you pay a musician $3 million to play at your wedding? You probably just had a mild heart attack and with good reason; that is a hefty sum to pay for one performer, no matter who he or she is. I mean, we all have bills to pay ““ student loans, mortgage, rent, credit cards etc. ““ so for most of us, $3 million is a ludicrous amount. That, however, didn’t stop Kazakhstani President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

He paid hip-hop superstar Kanye West $3 million to appear at his grandson’s wedding. He performed a number of songs including “Can’t Tell Me Nothing.” While the grandson was overjoyed, Kanye is facing international criticism for appearing at the wedding. Kazakhstan has a history of human rights abuse. Clearly, that didn’t come up in conversation between Kanye and the Kazakhstani President.

If you’re a fan of Kanye West and his music, but can’t afford his $3 million price tag, you can still enjoy the sweet sounds of Yeezus at your wedding at a much, much lower fee; you just have to coordinate with your DJ. The relationship between you and your wedding DJ should be an organic collaboration, a back and forth, where the two of you come up with the song list of you and your partner’s wildest fantasies. Nothing is stopping you from having a song list featuring Sinatra, ABBA and Kanye. Remember, this is your special day. If a song doesn’t please your ears, it shouldn’t be played at your wedding.

This is what makes a DJ so important to a wedding’s success, especially the DJs at A Special Event DJ. While a DJ can come up with a song list, it’s important you help him or her PLAN that song list. Wedding music is like wet clay; you’re the potter, so shape it! If you want it to look like Kanye West, it will look like Kanye West! If you’re in the Iowa or Illinois area and looking for a wedding entertainment, give us a call! We can guarantee you our price tag isn’t $3 million!

Source: http://www.theguardian.com/music/2013/sep/02/kanye-west-gig-kazakhstan


Ten Popular First Dance Wedding Songs

Choosing a first dance song for your wedding can prove to be a challenging undertaking for many brides and grooms. While some couples may have a “song”, others have the task of going through their music library and finding a song that best represents their relationship.

Whether you choose a classic song like Etta James’ “At Last”, Nat King Cole’s “L-O-V-E”, or a more recent song like Train’s “Marry Me” or Michael Buble’s “Everything”, the options are endless. Over the years, these songs and countless other songs have become popular first dance songs.

Here is a list of our ten favorite first dance songs:

Etta James’ “At Last”

Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling In Love”

Michael Buble’s “Everything”

K-Ci & JoJo “All My Life”

Brad Paisley’s “Then”

Train’s “Marry Me”

“Endless Love” performed by Mariah Carey and Luther Vandross

Celine Dion’s “Because You Loved Me”

Joe Cocker’s “You Are So Beautiful”

Nat King Cole’s “L-O-V-E”

What is your favorite wedding song of all time? Share with us some of your favorite first dance songs! If you are planning a wedding in Iowa or Illinois, contact A Special Event DJ for all your sound and lighting needs!

Enhance Your Wedding Reception With Customized Up Lighting

Brides constantly look for ways to enhance their wedding reception.  One of the newest trends to hit the reception areas includes adding up lighting to create a unique ambiance. UpPaletine, IL DJ Services and Photo Booth Rental lighting maximizes your decoration dollars and helps you create a memorable event. LED up lighting is vivid, customizable and creates a perfect, “look and feel”.  They add drama, romance and even a special sparkle to your décor.

Depending on what type of wedding you have, what colors you like and what matches your wedding party, the up lighting can be custom created to give you an extra look all the guests will be sure to remember.

The reception hall or banquet area is one of the most memorable parts of any wedding.  It’s one of the first things people notice.  The look of the area, the lighting, the unique décor that adorns the curtains, tables and dance floor make a huge impression.  Up lighting only enhances those areas.  It’s extremely versatile and amazing how many different looks and designs can be created.  The best part is, brides are open to taking the risk and trying something new and different.

Brides are more willing to invest in ambiance. Our vivid Up Lights are adjustable to match the colors of your wedding and will enhance the ambiance of your night. We already use LED up lighting to light up our DJ system.  You can take advantage of the same look at your next wedding.  We’ll work with you to pick the right colors and create the perfect ambiance.

The Perks of Hiring a Wedding DJ vs. a Live Band

DJ Music ServicePlanning a wedding can be one of the most exciting, yet hectic times of a couple’s relationship. Creating the guest list, sending out invitations, and choosing the perfect wedding attire, are just a few of the decisions that must be made; and the music choice plays a major role in creating the type of atmosphere desired. Choosing between a live band or a DJ, may not seem as important as many of the other items on a wedding to-do list, however, choosing the right type of music can either make a wedding reception a fun and memorable candidate for a YouTube video, or easily forgettable.

However, there are pros and cons to hiring any form of musical entertainment, there are many reasons why hiring a DJ, as opposed to a live band, may be preferable. Often live bands tend to have a very specific musical personality, they may specialize in pop, oldies, rock and roll, or R&B; but most DJs come with a large and diverse collection of music. DJs can also change genres and themes at just the push of a button. You may want to begin your reception with some quiet romantic mood music, but then choose to crank up the party during cocktail hours. A live band can certainly start the reception with a few slow songs and then transition into dance tunes, but not with the amount of options that are available to a DJ, who now has access to a whole world wide web of music. It is much simpler for a DJ to spontaneously switch musical styles upon request, than it is for a band to switch to a new set list of songs.

A Special Event knows that after so much care and detail has been put into the planning of this most special day, a bride and groom deserve to relax and party with their guests, without worrying about whether or not the music will be current, diverse, and appropriate for the crowd.

Here is a summary of some of the perks that come with hiring a wedding DJ:

–Many bands specialize in a certain genre of music, a DJ offers a large variety of different genres and has the ability to go back and forth between the genres very quickly.

–It is much easier to make song requests when you have a DJ.  A band may know a wide variety of songs, but DJs use modern technology that gives them access to just about any song that has been recorded within the last few decades. This also eliminates the chances of an off-key singer ruining your favorite song.

–If space and time is an issue, hiring a DJ instead of a live band can solve that problem. DJs have much less equipment to deal with, which makes for an  easier set-up and break-down at the end of the event.

–Last, but certainly not the least of wedding concerns, is the budget. Wedding DJs can also be a lot less stressful on the wallet; unless the DJ is a famous celebrity, it is usually more economical to pay one person, than it is to pay a 5 piece band.

Putting Together a Winter Wedding Mix

As the snow starts to fall, the thoughts of a glistening winter wedding with ice, falling snow and shades of blue and silver start to adorn wedding banquets and receptions.  A winter wedding can be a great experience, providing a warm or inviting gathering from the cold harsh realities of the weather outside. A winter wedding music mix from the DJ will add a complimentary feel to the wedding, but treading the line of cheesy or to “themey” is tough to do.

Mixing genres and styles is the key, but interspersing a nice winter themed song is a great way to get people in the right mood. You still want to have people up and dancing, so mixing in other songs keeps people warm and excited, but every once in a while you can slow it down and add to the wintery chill.

Here’s a couple songs we love during winter weddings.
Zooey Deschanel and Leon Redbone (Baby It’s Cold Outside):

It’s probably best known for it’s appearance in the holiday movie, “Elf” staring Will Farrell. It has a nice little tempo with a great-intertwined vocal duet. People of all ages love getting up and dancing with a special someone when this song comes on.

Zac Brown Band (Colder Weather):  It’s a popular hit for all of our country fans out there. It’s slow tempo and mixed in violin builds as a wonderful chance for couples and friends to get out on the dance floor for a nice slow song.

Depending on when your wedding falls, you can always mix in a popular Christmas song also.

Planning For The Weather On Your Wedding Day

After Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast a few weeks ago, we thought it would be a great idea to share some planning tips for your wedding to avoid big weather issues and problems.  Planning your wedding takes a lot of time, effort and money to make sure everything you want to happen goes off with as little problems as possible. In Iowa, where weather can be difficult with storms, snow, hail and of course, the possibilities of tornadoes, planning a wedding around weather is a big part of the process.

There are so many things to worry about on the day of the wedding; the last thing you want to worry about is weather or some sort of super storm hitting the area. Let’s see if A Special Event can help plan your wedding around the weather.

1.  Start from the beginning with the date.  Pick your date and location around a time when the weather is statistically better.  The spring is peak tornado season, running March through May.  Spring weddings are great, but avoiding this time might be for the better.

2.  If you’re considering an outdoor ceremony, make sure there is a backup option for an indoor ceremony or a tent the ceremony can be moved to.

3.  Communicating with all the people involved in planning your event is vital.  DJs, photographers, caterers, planners and any other vendors involved in the planning should be communicated with so you don’t lose deposits or have any issues with someone or some aspect of the wedding not showing up.  We always communicate with our clients to make sure the event is still going on in the event of poor weather.

4.  Make sure your gown is safe from the weather. Avoid going outside at all costs if it starts to rain and keep it safe in the event a big storm hits the area.  The last thing you want is a flood to ruin your wedding gown before the wedding.

5.  One of the final tips to consider is staying optimistic about the situation.  In the end if weather does hit, don’t let it ruin your day.  Having a positive outlook and attitude will make it transition a lot easier.  Also, keep your guests alerted to the situation. Let them know they’re safe and if you have relatives coming in from out of town, ensure their safety and keep them comfortable when they get there.

Great Couples, Great Receptions, Great Venues – Real Weddings! (Oct.20, 2012)

We are very blessed to work in an industry that allows us to be part of the “best day” of a couples’ life together!  A Special Event works hard prior to your event to build a working timeline with you so that on your Special Day you can relax and have fun with your guests at your reception!  We specialize in Great Entertainment customized for you.  With almost 10 years of experience executing great events we can help you plan the perfect Reception!

Our system blends in seamlessly with your decor to create the perfect ambiance at your reception!  DJ Dustin expertly lit the dance floor with our innovative speaker covers and lighting for just the right effect at the Andrews/Eichman Wedding this week-end at the Des Moines Izaak Walton League.  Our fun-loving DJ even named the moose he shared space with for the night!  Abby & Kalon had a great night of dancing and having fun with their guests.  What a great memory to look back on over the years!

DJ Zack kept the all guests at the Huettman/Smith Wedding dancing and having fun at the Ramada Tropics on Saturday!  Our innovative lighting draws your guests to the dancefloor when the house lights go down! Our DJs at A Special Event are experts at making sure all of your guests, young and old, are having fun! Dj Zack’s motto is: Relax & have fun-its a wedding!  He makes sure everything from introductions to toasts, to the last dance of the night, flows smoothly – start to finish.

DJ Caleb is an expert with sound!  He blended the existing Hickory Hall system with ours to create the perfect sound and light show for the Kane/Langkamp wedding on Saturday.  Melissa and Andrew had the picture perfect night with their friends and family thanks to DJ Caleb’s perfect execution of A Special Event’s Great Entertainment.

DJ Dylan had everyone on the Dance Floor at the Wilson/Broome Reception at Lotus Moments Event Center in Des Moines!  Matt & Chantelle spent the evening making memories with all of their guests with A Special Event creating  just the right ambiance for the evening.  A Special Event works hard with you in advance of your Special Day to organize your timeline of events so that you can relax and have fun at your reception! Its easy for our DJs to show up, take charge, and have fun, because they have all the details they need on paper to ensure a flawless evening!