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Should I go ahead with my wedding during this pandemic?

So weddings are going on as promised.   As a Local Cleveland wedding DJ company we have been actively doing weddings for almost a month now.  The “norm” is no longer the normal….. or is it?

We cannot tell you to go ahead with your wedding as we all know things are changing day by day, state by state, county by county.   We do know that more of our couples are dropping the venues and putting up tents and getting married at their home or a family members property.   This is all well and good, but if you think you can plan a last minute wedding for 100+ people in a tent, your most likely going to be way over your head.. Hire a planner without second guessing it, make sure its a full time planner as they will help you in ways you thought would never be possible.  It will be the best money you will have never saved.

We did an interview with many of our MCs and DJs that have been doing weddings in the field for the past month.. Check out the questions and answers below:

Question: What is the main difference between doing weddings now than last year?

Answer:  1/2 way through the wedding, you would barely know there was a pandemic. It all starts out safe and then that all goes out the window.   So the only true difference is the set up of the dining tables, ceremony chairs and bar.  Everyone is doing things differently, so there is not right and wrong way.

Question: What is the average number of guests you have seen attend?

Answer:  Average number depends on venue size.  Most weddings are at 40-50% of original numbers.

Question: Who’s job is it to keep everyone social distanced? 

Answer: Technically the venue or caterer is responsible for enforcing the rules.   We have seen many caterers and venues try to enforce this at first and then they just don’t have the staff to do what needs to be done to keep this enforced.  A few of our weddings actually pulled the staff off of the floor the last few hours.  As the order reads right now for the state of Ohio, the liquor license/operating license/food license can be suspended if they are caught not enforcing this.

Question: What about photo booths..  what are you doing to keep it safe.

Answer:  We use brand new props so when it comes to the props, when someone uses them, they then go right into the trash..  As for keeping it safe,  for most cases we are bringing rope and stancions and our technicians have been coached on keeping distance in the line, how many go into the photo booth, and mask wearing

Question: I have seen pictures of many weddings where they are wearing their masks, however you say that they are all taking them off later in the night. 

Answer:  110% absolutely.. you may have a few older folks wearing them, but we have yet to see anyone but us and the help wearing them after dinner when dancing starts

Question: I am super worried that no one will dance at my wedding as my hall said they aren’t putting up a dance floor.

Answer:  No worries there.. we always make them clear a spot and with our extremely talented DJs, your guests will be dancing on chairs and tables before the end of the night.. GUARANTEED!

Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have.   info@selectivesound.com

 

 

 

 

Cleveland wedding entertainment review

Recent Cleveland Wedding Entertainment Reviews

Starting The Year Off Right

When it comes to the Cleveland Wedding DJ Business there’s a seasonality-based flow to what our years are like for us. Because of the weather in Northeast Ohio and venue availability, those of us who are in-demand find ourselves very busy with the final planning and celebrations that peak between May and October. November and December cool down with the frequency our teams are performing while our sales team starts to really pick-up with initial meetings. By the end of December, our team is ready to take some time off after another very successful year.

knot Ohio wedding entertainment

When going through our non-critical e-mails at the top of the year, we saw a wedding entertainment review that has since been passed around the office quite a bit. It reflects the experience a groom had at his December wedding as well as a year’s worth of planning with us. His point person and entertainer was Jeremy, Jay R, Rich.

Jay R is the founder of Selective Sound Entertainment. He is just one of the many entertainers that we have and is also likely the humblest one. This review is very glowing of Jay R. because he was the right entertainer for this family. It wasn’t because he’s always the very best for everyone. While this review made him very happy, he didn’t share it with the rest of the team to toot his own horn. Rather, Jay R knows that inspiration at this time of the year is vital to the team. Seeing the results of our shared work is what fuels us to deliver consistent world-class wedding entertainment.

We’re going to share some of Kevin K.’s words with you here as well as a little commentary. Our hope is that it will give you helpful context while planning your own wedding. We think it would be amazing that when your wedding day is done you’ll have similar joyful sentiments that Kevin shared with our team about his experiences.

Here’s the breakdown of this brilliant wedding entertainment review:

Jay R is a 10 because I literally can’t think of anything I’d change about our experience.

We know that if you go into your wedding day with the right mindset, you’re almost certain to have a good time. That means you have trust and confidence that everyone helping to make your vision real will do just that. The secret to having clients often say “I can’t think of anything I’d change” is a simple one…we listen! The reason they think everything happened just the way they wanted is because they helped define what success looks like and we followed that playbook. It’s the result of never performing in a cookie cutter style.

Some things we especially liked: – Jay R was extremely responsive via all forms of communication.

This is a point of pride for us and something that we think speaks to our actual work on the day of your wedding. We listen, respond, and are accommodating in all points concerning your wedding. It’s not just a performance attitude, it’s our way. We think our clients deserve that level of respect because those working on your event are in the world of hospitality. There is a right way and a wrong way with very little gray area when it comes to service.

Jay R was perfectly accommodating of our requests, but he was also real with us (in a way that was polite yet clear) about the things that, in his experience, typically ‘work’ for weddings — something we newbies really appreciated. 

finger pointing to happy emoji due to great wedding entertainment review

This makes us so happy! It’s such a fine line with what we do. We’re service professionals. This means our place is to create the vision you desire. However, we must also be up front with you about the realities of your vision. Service is on one side and professional is on the other. If you don’t understand where we come from with that, it might seem like we’re being negative or not supportive of your ideas. Kevin got it right here, though. When you pay true professionals, you get their council, recommendations, and honesty. With decades of experience, we hope everyone understands that you can benefit greatly from hearing our perspective.

 

It was such a relief to have Jay R for our ceremony, which went perfectly; his mic-jobs (two lapel mics, one on a stand) were perfect and discreet – True to his word, Jay R vamped one of our processional songs with a smooth cross-fade that probably zero people noticed.

Kevin admits to being a newbie but he’s pretty savvy! We know our clients are smart, pay attention, and know what they want. It doesn’t matter that they’ve never hired a DJ before. It’s likely they’ve been paying attention to what matter the most to them with entertainment and sound for years. He also brings up another important aspect of what we offer – ceremony sound. As much as you can’t wait to have your meal and get on the dance floor, the vows are what we’re really here for. To have sound issues that exclude anyone from that special moment would be beyond disappointing. We take microphone placement, testing, and connections very seriously.

Jay R didn’t just care about getting his own job done and getting outta there; he seemed to have all vendors’ itineraries in his head at once — he was essentially our point man for the entire evening, for all things, not just music (and in that way, he partly helped us to plan the wedding!).

This is exactly how we define what an Emcee does. A DJ plays music. Making in the moment decisions between what’s been asked and what’s resonating with a crowd makes a DJ great. They also make sure everyone is having a good time. An Emcee can have these skills as well in addition to a host of other responsibilities. Exactly what Kevin stated in his review is what our Emcees focus on. We make sure there is cohesion with all wedding professionals so that you don’t have to micro-manage your big day.

The extent to which Jay R interacted with the crowd was just right — I wouldn’t have asked for any more or any less.

Jay R interacted with Kevin’s crowd uniquely. Meaning, he acts differently at every wedding he performs at. Nothing is cookie cutter when it comes to being a great DJ and Emcee. There isn’t a right and a wrong way to engage a wedding dance floor because it’s more art than science. A great Cleveland Wedding DJ uses the planning process to get to know the couple’s preferences. Then, he weighs that against the emotional responses he sees from the crowd as they react to music and engagement. It’s a balance between listening skills and experience which turns into muscle memory. It’s all the things an iPod can’t do!

One of our favorite things: we made a lot of Play-If-Possible song requests that probably weren’t very wedding-friendly (e.g. the full studio version of Richard Harris’s ‘MacArthur Park’), but Jay R managed to play a truly amazing percentage of them, and all at the perfect moments

wedding lighting Ohio Deep cuts, niche artists, and non-dance friendly music are frustrating to a lot of wedding entertainers…but not us! We make sure we’re all on the same page. Meaning that our main goal is making sure the most amount of people at your wedding are enjoying the music. Now that doesn’t mean there isn’t ways to introduce them to some of your favorites. That’s why we have lists of “Must Play”, “Never Play” (where the Chicken Dance often ends up), and “Play If Possible”.

Thorough communication and the sharing of mutual expectations, we ensure there’s a win/win for every wedding reception.

Jay R was immediately responsive to the movements (as it were) of the dance floor; he’d start a song and, if it wasn’t catching, smoothly beat-match it with another song and move on.

Honestly, Kevin is one of those clients who really pays attention to these details and we love it. He’s describing something most guests wouldn’t articulate this accurately but they’d instantly know when it wasn’t right. Our Cleveland Wedding DJ’s have honed skills over years of experiences with diverse crowds. What he’s describing is exactly what went down but most guests just knew they had a good time.

To top it all off, Jay R has a cheerful personality and a great sense of humor!

The secret to this one is loving what you do. There’s a level of stress involved with performing that never goes away regardless of how many engagements you’ve had as an entertainer. You only get one shot to make a wedding go well and there’s many variables. With all that, we know we have the privilege of doing what we love. Getting to do the thing you enjoy and are good at makes the whole process more fun for everyone. We’re definitely glad that adds something extra for our clients.

A few of our (older…) wedding guests mentioned that the music volume was just a touch loud, but I thought it was perfect, considering the event (and I have sensitive hearing!).

Ha! Well, we’ll take the constructive feedback! That’s what a wedding entertainment review is for, right? There’s a lot of subjectivity when it comes to entertainment. We do our best to please the most amount of people as we can but people are all built differently. Consider this feedback when you are working on your seating charts.

 

All in all, this is one of our favorite reviews because it articulates so many of the areas we believe are vitally important for a successful wedding reception. Contact us today if you’d like to have an experience like this. Nothing would make us happier than to read your positive wedding entertainment review of our work!

Click here if you would like to read Kevin Kane’s wedding entertainment review in its entirety.

Reception hall for wedding at Sapphire Creek Winery in Cleveland Ohio

Cleveland Venue Spotlight – Sapphire Creek

Chagrin Falls Winery & Gardens

In 2016, our region can claim to have the Napa Valley venue experience it has never had. Sapphire Creek Winery & Gardens takes the scenic beauty of Chagrin Falls and gives it a vineyard spin due to the design concepts of The Ohio Valley Group. This venue is part of a 10 acre footprint and features a 11,000 square foot building that serves as a restaurant and event venue. This venue offers event clients a lot of different space options as they have multiple rooms each with their own unique charm.

Larger Weddings

Their Oak Room has a feature which we know wedding clients are always looking for: a wall of windows. This is the best way to embrace the outside while inside and is something you seldom see hotels able to offer. This space accomodates for 170 guest and can grow bigger still by adding on their Brix Tasting Room. The tasting room space has even more windows which feature the surrounding woodlands. The subtlest amount of uplights can be utilized to accent these rooms to coordinate your colors and play into all the architectural strengths. Depending on the time of year, The Pavilion at Sapphire Creek offers an outdoor space ideal for 130 or less guests. A stone fireplace and the venue’s Edison lights (one of our favorite looks) make this feel like an outdoor villa.

Smaller Weddings

We think Sapphire Creek is about as ideal as you can get when it comes to smaller weddings. Intimate groups are very popular with our more mature couples especially who know what they want and are focused more on tight knit groups. Scale of guests doesn’t have to mean you have any compromises though and this venue has spectacular spaces appropriate for groups of 50 or less. The Cellar Lounge has everything you’d want from a spot featuring a celebration of wine including a wooden wall, fireplaces, Edison lights and proximity to a wine cellar with 5,000 bottles. The venue also offers weddings the chance to use their Loft which is located above the trees over Sapphire Creek. This is the perfect oasis for bridal parties pre-ceremony or reception.

Photo Opportunities

Scenic outdoor backdrops for wedding photos are very in demand in Northeast Ohio. We end up seeing the same spots used time and time again. They end up being either far away from the reception, which can cause timing issues, or so in-demand that there are multiple couples on any given Saturday fighting to use the same spot. Sometimes it’s both of those issues! Sapphire Creek is so wonderful because they can give you these vignettes all on the grounds of the property. Oak and Beech trees frame the great lawn which can give wedding photographers a lot of options. This area can even be incorporated into your event’s space options. The gardens and main terrace show off that this venue was created by owners who are also exterior designers. Your photographers will have a blast coming up with iconic shots of you and your guests here.

Selective Sound at Sapphire Creek

We had the honor of providing a number of entertainment and audio services for both the ceremony and reception of Chuck and Shireen on July 7, 2018. The day kicked with two cultural family traditions within the overall celebration of the couple’s commitment to each other. Both and American and Persian ceremony took place at the venue which was enhanced by our ceremony audio support. What followed was a 7 hour reception that offered a variety of entertainment for the guests.

Chuck and Shireen share our love of live music. Therefore, they included a quartet of musicians for one segment of the day in addition to an acoustic guitarist. Spacing out sections of the day with different types of sounds makes the transitions more defined and natural. Our MC and DJ team included a mix of music for everyone including a really fun and upbeat Persian cake cutting song (which is something everyone should see some time!). Soon after that, the Swenson’s food truck came by the close the evening out. It truely was a combination of elements unique to this couple.

Our founder, Jeremy Rich was on hand and had a lot of compliments after seeing this venue in action. “You could tell they have a very dedicated staff that truly cares about every guest at the wedding”. Jay R said, “What a beautiful venue!”, “It’s obvious it was built with weddings and receptions in mind.” and “Glad I had a chance to try their amazing food and equally impressive presentation.”

If you’re looking for a venue for your next event that embraces nature, wine, and the wood and stone aesthetic of a vineyard, you really owe it to yourself to look into Sapphire Creek.

Check out these incredible photos from the wedding by our friends Making The Moment.

 

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Picture of figurines dancing with an ipod

Why Professionals Never Recommend DJ -ing Your Own Wedding

The Consequences of DIY

Ever since the iPod was released, blogs and wedding magazines  have posted DIY, money saving wedding tips. They are 100% correct that creating an iTunes playlist is less expensive than paying for a professional DJ. However, they really miss the point of why experienced wedding DJ’s are hired in the first place. If all you want is background sounds, articles like this one are correct. Just borrow equipment from generous friends (if you’re that lucky to have ones with speakers and wiring), queue up your playlist, press play and walk away. We are not disparaging that option.

We always want to do our due diligence when it comes to educating couples on the consequences of certain decisions. As long as your are armed with information, you can decide where your priorities are for each aspect of your wedding.  With that said, it’s hard for us to choke back the passion we have for wedding entertainment! We work hard to provide a lot of value for what we do and believe entertainment is a significant part of a wedding reception. To help us educate more objectively, we’ve asked a few of our favorite Cleveland wedding professionals to weigh in on this topic.

Covesa Gragg, Owner

Covesa Kelly Events 

Hire an experienced Cleveland DJ

An experienced wedding DJ is worth every penny

Q: What would be your biggest fear if you found out the couple at the wedding you were working on decided to try to DJ their own wedding?

A: Timing. Do they have enough music for the duration? Is the music family friendly? Do they have all AV and technical components necessary to play the music?

Q: Have you ever been to a wedding without professional entertainment that ran just as smooth as when pros are there?

A: No

Q: How do DJs compliment, enhance, and collaborate with what you do at a wedding?

A: They help keep the energy high. They keep guests informed of what’s going on. They can help bridge the gaps if things are off track (catering, waiting for bridal party etc)

Q: What would you want couples to know if they were considering an ipod playlist instead of a professional DJ for their wedding?

A: You’ve spent all this money, just hire the DJ. It’s just not worth the risk.


Sara Fouts, Staff Photographer

Making the Moment

Be sure your Cleveland DJ is experienced with weddings

There is a difference between a DJ and an experienced wedding DJ

Q: What would be your biggest fear if you found out the couple at the wedding you were working on decided to try to DJ their own wedding?

A: While I would understand why someone would choose to try to DJ their own wedding, my biggest concern would be the extra stress the couple would experience with someone who isn’t familiar with DJing weddings. I would also be concerned that the DJ wouldn’t be experienced in communicating with the photographer. There have been multiple occasions where we told the DJ (who was a friend helping out the couple) we were leaving the room to use the restroom. Because they were inexperienced, they initiated events anyways and we weren’t present to capture them.

Q: Have you ever been to a wedding without professional entertainment that ran just as smooth as when pros are there?

A: No

Q: How do DJs compliment, enhance, and collaborate with what you do at a wedding?

A: DJs allow us as photographers to set-up for reception events at appropriate times. They ensure we are present and ready to capture events before they begin. To me, ensuring that the photographer is present and ready to capture before an event begins is a factor that separates professional DJs from non-professional DJs. DJs also help us have more fun! They do so much more than play music.  They read the crowd’s energy and direct it through an entertaining flow that enhances everyone’s experience at your event. We love working with DJs who love their job!


Riki Schmigel, Catering Sales Manager

A Taste of Excellence

Your Cleveland DJ plays the key role of timing during the wedding reception

The DJ plays the key role of timing during the reception

Q: What would be your biggest fear if you found out the couple at the wedding you were working on decided to try to DJ their own wedding?

A: Technical malfunctions that disrupt the flow/schedule of the evening. There also wouldn’t be a master of ceremonies to help keep things moving. i.e. transition from cocktails to dinner, speeches, cake cutting.

Q: Have you ever been to a wedding without professional entertainment that ran just as smooth as when pros are there?

A: I have catered very casual weddings that DIY their music and it has been a beautiful occasion. Typically the more traditional things like The Grand Introduction and Dances do not take place at these events.

Q: How do DJs compliment, enhance, and collaborate with what you do at a wedding?

A: DJs help to keep the timing of the event for us. This is important because we cook our food on-site and rely heavily on a timeline to time our meals.

Q: What would you want couples to know if they were considering an ipod playlist instead of a professional DJ for their wedding?

A: DJs help inspire guests to dance and be involved with the important activities of a wedding – for example cutting the cake. Sometimes without some energetic encouragement you won’t have people dancing at the wedding.


Robert Drago, Photographer

RAD  (Photography)

Wedding DJ's produce the feel of the reception

The DJ can make the reception exciting or drab; make sure they are experienced!

Q: What would be your biggest fear if you found out the couple at the wedding you were working on decided to try to DJ their own wedding?

A: As a photographer, I look forward to the reception because I know it’s taken care of and I can sit back and do my job. A large percentage of my job is coordinating and organizing throughout the day. However, when the reception starts, it’s the DJ’s show. So if I were to photograph a wedding without a trained DJ I would be very nervous and anxious about how the evening will go.

Q: Have you ever been to a wedding without professional entertainment that ran just as smooth as when pros are there?

A: Fortunately, in the last 15 years, I can only think of two occasions that a couple decided not to have a DJ. Both very small events. In both occasions, the timeline for the reception did not go smoothly and there were things missed throughout the night.

Q: How do DJs compliment, enhance, and collaborate with what you do at a wedding?

A: DJ’s are the wedding coordinators of receptions. The amount of time that is put into a reception schedule should never be overlooked. The entire feel of the reception is produced by the DJ. Every event is elevated when you have someone with experience. It can really bring the party to the next level.

Q: What would you want couples to know if they were considering an ipod playlist instead of a professional DJ for their wedding?

A: Do you like having a party with dead air and awkward silence? If so, fire up that iPod and enjoy your evening.


Diana Elizabeth, Floral Designer

Diana Elizabeth Designs 

Cleveland wedding professionals highly recommend using a DJ

Wedding professionals highly recommend using a DJ

Q: What would be your biggest fear if you found out the couple at the wedding you were working on decided to try to DJ their own wedding?

A: It would not be as smooth as they planned.

Q: Have you ever been to a wedding without professional entertainment that ran just as smooth as when pros are there?

A: Yes I have and it was confusing. The dinner music was not right and then their laptop shut down mid reception. They had to reboot and there was dead silence for a few minutes. TRUE STORY!

Q: How do DJs compliment, enhance, and collaborate with what you do at a wedding?

A: Vibe

Q: What would you want couples to know if they were considering an ipod playlist instead of a professional DJ for their wedding?

A: I just wouldn’t recommend it.


So there you have it. Five experienced wedding professionals who have seen it all with very similar answers. In short, you CAN DJ your own wedding with an ipod or iPhone. It is possible. You can also act as your own plumber, electrician, or even doctor but…you probably don’t. The reason is that when a professional is hired, you get the results you want without regret. As long as you know what you’re getting yourself into, the decision is all yours!

If DJing your own wedding sounds stressful, then perhaps an Emcee is the way to go. We have an Emcee who will make sure your event runs smoothly. Skip the stress…email an experienced DJ who will ensure you get the wedding of your dreams!

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Man looking bored at holiday office party

Plan Your Cleveland Christmas Party Before The Holidays

 Don’t Skimp On The Spirit This Year!

We’ve been around awhile and we think there are many misunderstandings around having a holiday party. That said, we understand your hesitation when considering to plan early, enhance what you’ve always done, or even host one in the first place. There’s great anxiety surrounding the holidays for many businesses and this might feel like one you can avoid. Well, we’re here to offer you a different perspective so you can fully realize what a holiday party could do for your team.

“We Don’t Need a Holiday Party”

Office chair with balloons tied to it at Cleveland holiday party

Balloons are nice but music and a DJ is much more fun!

Prior to 2008, it was a given that businesses had holiday parties. The common belief was that canceling the party would send a negative message to your team. Then the economy tanked and HR had a decision to make: lay off an employee(s) or have a party…which was worse for morale? Ten years later, the economy has rebounded and many people in HR subscribe to the idea we are in “The War For Talent“, meaning it’s never been harder to find and retain vital team members.

Now, couple that with millennials craving experiences over tangible things. Their higher likelihood to switch jobs if not emotionally fulfilled and the emphasis on culture being at the forefront of many talent acquisition strategies…holiday parties make a lot more sense. Your HR budget is always better spent on retention of good talent than searching for new hires and capping the year off with a Christmas party that celebrates your victories should be part of that puzzle.

 

“Planning a Holiday Party is Too Stressful”

Man stressed because he waited until the last minute to plan his Cleveland holiday party

Don’t wait until the last minute to plan your party!

Actually, we totally understand this one! We have a holiday party for our staff along with our sister companies.  It is a lot more work than anyone will give you credit for. Our stress comes from the same place our clients’s stress is based – last minute planning.

For us, we know we have the important things like entertainment, a venue, and the organizational items at hand. Therefore, we don’t prepare as far as any other business should. Things like picking up the ice, coordinating with catering, etc. always sneak up on us! For your business, having to meet with and vet service providers makes it much more difficult. Our advice? Plan early and use professionals who have years of experience…making them very dependable.

Instead of cold sweats from thinking about planning your office party immediately after you’ve eaten your turkey dinner, plan ahead! The summer is the perfect time to hire the essential people for Christmas. This way, you’ll get the chance to work with better people before they book up.  You will also be able to take your time with other details you know will crop up.

“We Just Need a Basic Office Party”

Picture of lady stressed out about party planning

Holiday party planning in CLeveland doesn’t have to be stressful. Pick up the phone and let us help!

For many, holiday office parties are chips, eggnog, and a Christmas tree. That’s enough, right? Well, if you’re looking to break down barriers between departments, create lasting positive memories between your company and team members you’ll need more than snacks! Holiday parties are a fantastic way to let your valued employees blow off steam and have fun for a change. A lot has been said lately about the inclusion of alcohol at company events and it makes sense. In an increasingly litigious and post #MeToo era, using alcohol as a shortcut to team building and fun isn’t the best idea.

We offer game shows (because gaming culture has never been more prevalent), inclusive entertainment, and even photo opportunities and videography options.  These things make the positive memories created at a holiday party a lasting effect. Bottom line, we have options to make your party everything you need it to be. You don’t pay minimum wage…why are you planning a minimum holiday party?

 

Want to hear more about what we can do for you now before the big rush? Email us today!