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babies at weddings

The definitive guide to babies at weddings

By | Wedding Planning

Get ready for controversy: babies at weddings. Your friendships are about to be tested, but if you’re prepared, you can minimize the damage.

I refer, of course, to that timeless issue of whether or not to let your friends bring their babies to your Maryland or Virginia wedding.

You face two scenarios when it comes to babies at weddings

SCENARIO #1:  The sweet little things alternate between cooing and napping during your ceremony.

SCENARIO #2:  The little monsters scream to high heaven throughout the wedding ceremony.  You have to ask the officiant to repeat the vows a second and a third time before you can hear them over the din.  All of this is captured by your wedding videographer.  Forever.  And we haven’t even gotten to the reception yet!

Whew!

Okay … scenario #1 is the likely outcome.  Scenario #2 seldom happens, meaning infrequently or almost never.

But sometimes it does.

Here’s what to do:  you know your friends with babies.  Are they reasonable when it comes to their kids?  If their baby/infant/toddler gets fussy during the ceremony, will they discreetly step out to avoid disrupting your event?  Or are they the type that believes the world revolves them, their needs, their convenience, and their kids, who by the way, can do no wrong?

If you expect scenario #1, invite away, but if  not, don’t. And if in doubt, simply remember that this is your day, not theirs.

Most people do view marriage as a community celebration

Many brides and grooms love inviting families, complete with their kids.  Wonderful.  But you don’t have to.

Some brides recognize unique situations.  For example, if guests make a trek in from out of town, it may be tough for them to find someone to come in for the weekend to watch the kid(s), especially if a mother is still nursing her baby.

If you’re willing to include children for these reasons, you might want to make arrangements for a side room with childcare in case your guests would rather park their kids than tend to them during either the ceremony or reception.

If you make the decision that you do not want children, do so with this understanding:

  1. It is perfectly just, moral, and practical.
  2. You may have a friend/family member ask for an exception.

When sending out invitations, simply address it to the person who is invited:

Mr. and Mrs. John Smith

or…

Bobbi-Jean Smith & Guest

If kids are welcome, you’ll simply address the invitation as Mr. and Mrs. John Smith & Family.

If babies and kids are not invited, inevitably, your friend, Bobbi-Jean, is going to give you a call with this request:

“Say … you wouldn’t mind if I brought little Clarabelle, would you?”

This is key:  know exactly what you want.

Have a prepared response rehearsed and ready to go.

If you’re willing to make exceptions, then life is simple.  You’ll use Response #1:

RESPONSE #1:  “For you, of course.  Little Clarabelle is such a lovely little doll.  Would you like me to make arrangements for a side room and child care to give you more flexibility during the ceremony and/or reception?”

If you really don’t want babies, infants, or children at your ceremony or reception, you’ll want to use something more along the lines of Response #2:

RESPONSE #2:  “You know, we really looked at this closely with our Wedding Planner.  She really encouraged us to keep the event adults only, and we’re taking her advice.  [But she had a great suggestion.  She said if any of our guests wanted to bring kids, we can make arrangements for a side room and provide a list of reputable child care providers for those parents interested in the service.  Would you like me to forward you the list?]”

If you really don’t want to mess with around with kids, only use the first two sentences above and lop off the section in brackets.

If you have a particularly persistent friend or family member, you know the type who begs:

“Pleeez … couldn’t you make a teeny weeny exception for my sweet little Clarabelle.  She won’t make a peep.  You’ll never know she was there.  Pleeez, pretty pleeeeez”…

… be strong.

Stand your ground.

Calmly and without apology, simply say:

“I understand, Bobbi-Jean, but the answer is no.  We have intentionally planned for an all-adult wedding celebration, and we’re going to stick with our plan.”

You may have a better way to say it.  If yes, think it through and be ready in case you’re put in the uncomfortable situation described above.

Remember, this is YOUR wedding.

Okay, are you ready to sketch out your Philadelphia area event? We’ve got the tools right here. Simply complete the contact form, and we’ll provide the logins which give you full access to all of our tools without obligation.

ugly bridesmaid dresses

Ugly, ugly bridesmaid dresses in movies and TV

By | Gowns

How many women groan when asked to be a bridesmaid?

Their minds go something like this:

“I know she’s going to make me wear an ugly bridesmaid dress that costs me a fortune.  How can I possibly get out of this?  Please, God, do something!  I need help!”

In order to counter the stigma associated with ugly bridesmaids dresses, some brides have resorted to making a pledge to potential bridesmaids, something like this, as I saw on a bridesmaid’s joke card:

“I promise to find the perfect shade of mauve for you to wear, and I promise you will never wear the dress again.  I promise an open bar.  Wanna be my bridesmaid?”

The video below is great fun.  You’ll enjoy the progression of ugly bridesmaids dresses over the years in movies and TV.

Here was my ‘favorite’ ugly bridesmaid dress

Actually, out of all the ugly bridesmaid dresses in this video, my favorite is the one right at the beginning. You know, the one with Jennifer Aniston from the television show, “Friends.”

Here’s my suggestion.  If you don’t want your friends or family members to groan when you ask them to be your bridesmaid, check out this article in Elle Magazine: “20 bridesmaid dresses they’ll actually wear again.” They’ll breathe a sigh of relief knowing you’re watching out for their best interests!

Once you’ve got your gown selected, it’s time to get serious about the entertainment for your event. Check us out right now, because popular dates book ridiculously fast.

top ten songs for your first dance

Top Ten Classic Songs for Your First Dance

By | Dance

Two singular moments define your Montgomery County wedding day:  your vows and your first dance. Here’s our top ten songs for your first dance.

Your first dance is a magical moment in your life.  You’ll never forget it.  The song you select for us to play should be personal, meaningful, and nice and slow.

Song lyrics are especially important in a first dance.  Romance is the most popular theme.  From our experience, a number of songs leap out as the most popular over the years.  They are timeless.  We can play them by the original artist, which is most popular, or by any artist who ever covered the song.

Here’s our top ten songs for your first dance to get you started.  Whatever you select, we’ll have it … or we’ll get it!

Here are our top ten songs for your first dance:

TOP FIRST DANCE SONG #10

A Thousand Years:  What a huge hit from the movie, “Twilight:  Breaking Dawn”  in 2011.  This song by Christina Perri has been viewed on YouTube a half a billion times.  That’s billion with a ‘B’!

TOP FIRST DANCE SONG #9

Amazed:  Most of the songs listed on this page have been field tested at weddings for half a century or more.  Lonestar released this hit in 1999, and it’s a real winner for a first dance song.

TOP FIRST DANCE SONG #8

Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You:  “You’re just too good to be true, can’t take my eyes off of you.”  Even though this song was #2 on the Billboard charts way back in 1967, everyone knows those wonderful words.  Perfect for a first dance!  Even though this was a huge hit for Frank Valli and the Four Seasons, it has been covered by hundreds of major artists.  Take your pick!  We’ll play it for you!

TOP FIRST DANCE SONG #7

I Only Have Eyes for You:  The sign of a good song is one that is a hit from one generation to the next.  This is one of those songs.  Written by Harry Warren and Al Dubin, it was a #2 hit in 1934; a #11 hit for The Flamingos in 1959; and a #1 hit for Art Garfunkel in 1975 in the UK.  The Flamingos version was ranked as the #157th greatest all-time song hit by Rolling Stone Magazine.  Like some of the other songs listed here, it features a memorable opening line:  “Are the stars out tonight?  I don’t know if it’s cloudy or bright.  Cuz I only have eyes for you, dear.”

TOP FIRST DANCE SONG #6

Can’t Help Falling in Love (with you):  One word is all that is necessary:  Elvis.

TOP FIRST DANCE SONG #5

Everything:  Michael Bublé gets away from his usual big band treatment of songs with this totally catchy, guitar driven love song.  Great melody.  Fun, romantic lyrics.  Looking for a lovely, happy song that you don’t want to end?  Then “Everything” is for you.  What a great way to launch your new life!

TOP FIRST DANCE SONG #4

Unforgettable:  Unforgettable, that’s what you are, Unforgettable, though near or far, Like a song of love that clings to me, How the thought of you does things to me, Never before has someone been more Unforgettable in every way.”  The only thing more perfect than these lyrics for your first dance are the exquisite vocals of Natalie and Nat King Cole.  This song is truly unforgettable on any list of top ten songs for your first dance.

TOP FIRST DANCE SONG #3

At Last:  What passion!  What romance!  DJs all over the country tell me how often brides request this song for the first dance.  The Etta James version from 1960 with its sweeping orchestration is the first choice of brides.  But you can’t go wrong with Beyoncé’s cover either.  The rich melody for this song was written by the ubiquitous Harry Warren, who also wrote “I Only Have Eyes for You,” mentioned elsewhere in this blogpost.

TOP FIRST DANCE SONG #2

The Way You Look Tonight:   What an irresistible combination:  Frank Sinatra and lyrics like these, written by Dorothy Fields:  Some day, when I’m awfully low, When the world is cold, I will feel a glow just thinking of you, And the way you look tonight.”  Throw in Nelson Riddle’s swinging arrangement and you have yourself a first dance moment you will relive with sweet dreams on your fiftieth wedding anniversary.  It’s that good of a song, and you’re that great of a couple.  Want to slow it down a bit?  Go with Michael Bublé’s version.  Mellow.  Lovely.  Absolutely wonderful.

TOP FIRST DANCE SONG #1

As Time Goes By:  This song is truly timeless, no matter how much time goes by.  Although it was written in 1931, it became a big hit in 1942 when it was sung in the film, “Casablanca.”  The American Film Institute ranked it the #2 all-time song from a movie.  There are some great covers of this song, including lush versions by Frank Sinatra and Peggy Lee.  Everyone knows and loves the opening lyrics:  “You must remember this, a kiss is still a kiss, a sigh is still a sigh.  The fundamental things apply as time goes by.”

Have fun with these top ten songs for your first dance.  We’ll make your first dance as magical as you ever dreamed it would be with romantic lighting and the professional MCing  the sets the stage … for you.

Incredible chocolate chip cookie recipe

Incredible Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe builds strong marriages!

By | Recipes

You’re engaged. Do you want to build a joyous, strong marriage that is the envy of your friends?  Then learn how to bake the best chocolate chip cookie in the world for your wife with this incredible chocolate chip cookie recipe!

What woman doesn’t love chocolate? And a man who cooks for his wife is irresistible. Homemade cookies say love. They say “I want to spoil you.”

You think I’m kidding?   I’m not.  Who doesn’t love the deliriously delicious experience of taking a bite from a hot, gooey chocolate chip cookie right out of the oven!  Your inflamed taste buds delight in the sheer sensory experience of its heavenly taste.

Men, I encourage you to take the lead in building this super strong marriage by learning how to make this magical cookie.  Don’t worry, I’m going to tell you exactly how.

This recipe is incredible.  You’re going to love it.  And just imagine the reaction you’re going to get when you give the love of your life a cookie you made with your own hands, just for her.

This recipe will make your marriage stronger.   Don’t believe me?  Well, try this recipe and follow my advice.  You’ll see.

Here’s Your Incredible Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe:

Gather your ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need:

√ 2  cups + 2 tbls of all-purpose flour

√ 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

√ 1/2 teaspoon table salt

√ 12 tablespoons (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temp

√ 1/2 cup granulated sugar

√ 1 cup brown sugar

√ 2 teaspoons real vanilla extract

√ 1 large egg plus one egg yolk

√ 1.5 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

√ 1/2 tsp  of cinnamon

√ generous pinch of cayenne pepper

Follow these steps

Step One:  Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Step Two:  This is key –> Melt the butter, but then let it cool back to room temperature.

Step Three:  Whisk flour, baking soda, salt, cayenne, and cinnamon in a small bowl, set aside.

Step Four:  Mix  butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar by hand. Mix in whole egg, yolk,  and vanilla extract until well combined.  Stir in flour mixture.   Stir in chocolate chips.  Drop by scant quarter cup onto parchment lined  baking sheets 2 inches apart.

Step Five:  Bake for 15 -18 minutes or until they just start to brown on the edges and don’t look gooey in the center.  Turn the sheets front to back half way through cooking time. Don’t overcook!   Cool completely on baking sheets.

Get ready for not just a happy marriage, but a strong marriage! 🙂 In the meantime, check out Starlite Entertainment’s customized wedding entertainment.

customized wedding entertainment

“Love is patient.” Really?!

By | Culture

St. Paul’s much-quoted scripture passage is timeless:

“Love is patient, love is kind…”

On the other hand, if you ever saw the classic 1989 date flick, “When Harry Met Sally,” Harry (Billy Crystal) isn’t so patient, as expressed in the meme above.

Can you blame him?  Love IS wonderful.  So is marriage.  The couples we work with are excited to get the rest of their life started. Especially when it comes to booking customized wedding entertainment! Popular wedding dates really do book fast!

Customized wedding entertainment

So, let Starlite Entertainment help you customize the entertainment to fit your one-of-a-kind wedding celebration.

Do you want the rest of your life to get started as soon as possible? Let’s talk! We offer awesome online planning tools for our clients that is the first step to planning the ‘rest of your life!’ Call right now for pricing and availability: 888-477-4780. Or complete our quick and easy contact form.

Congratulations on this new chapter in your life! We’ll leave you with Billy Crystal’s proposal to Meg Ryan in this final scene from “When Harry Met Sally.”

wedding entertainment budget

How much to spend on wedding entertainment

By | Budget

Memorize this:  no price is a good price IF you aren’t happy with your reception.

Price is meaningless.  Dreams are everything when it comes to your wedding. If you cut corners on your wedding entertainment budget, you may pay a very big price.

Okay, now let’s deal with reality.  I’m guessing you’re like most of the brides in this area:  you’re working on a budget.  Am I right?

Your wedding entertainment budget may be bigger than the last bride we worked with, but it may be less, much less than the next.  Since we live in the real world, most of us do have to consider dollars and cents when it comes to planning a wedding.

So most brides have to find a happy medium when it comes to balancing their wedding entertainment budget.

Surprising wedding entertainment budget facts

The Knot conducted a survey of 18,000 brides across the country.  According to them the average wedding costs $31,213.  But it varies widely depending on where you live.  For example, it’s closer to $19,000 in South Dakota, but it tops $39,000 in San Francisco.

What is pretty consistent, though, is that the average bride invests about 10% of her budget on the entertainment.  And yet entertainment provides 90% of the fun.

We’ve worked with a ton of brides over the years.  If something goes wrong with the dinner or the flowers, it is quickly forgotten IF the guests have fun.

Entertainment makes the event: every time!

That’s where we come in.  Entertainment makes the event.  Any minor glitches you experience with any of your other vendors will quickly fade away once we pack your dance floor.  And we will.

Your guests are hungry to celebrate and honor your marriage.  Entertainment is the key catalyst to ensuring your party maximizes your potential.

This leads me back to the first sentence of this post: no price is a good price IF you aren’t happy with your reception.  This maxim applies to your wedding entertainment more than any other service you book.

Starlite Entertainment is the key

So am I saying that if you book us, the food will taste better?  That the flowers will look fresher?  That the cake will look more magnificent?

No.  It will only seem that way.  And, my friend, perception IS reality.

Here’s the bottom line:  there is one place where you never want to scrimp:  the entertainment.  Entertainment makes the event, and we will make your event extraordinary!

The next step? Check out available dates without obligation.

first dance advice

Read this only if you’re terrified of your first dance

By | Dance

Do you have two left feet? Here’s some sensible first dance advice for Greater Philadelphia area brides.

Does the thought of getting up in front of the world and dancing your first dance as man and wife terrify you? Here’s some first dance advice that will relieve your worries.

You’re not alone, you know. Millions of Americans are afflicted with a bad case of Twoleftfeetitis, sometimes known as Dancefever. It can cause a grown man to break out into a cold sweat, and it’s not pretty.

Are either you or your betrothed afflicted with this malady? Don’t worry, it is curable! Just follow our first dance advice.

You do not need to be a Fred Astaire or a Ginger Rogers to project a shimmering image of elegance on the dance floor. Even more, you do not have to be a Michael Jackson or a Jennifer Lopez to shake your booty with class at the biggest party of your life: your wedding celebration.

You simply need to be you.

3 Steps to a successful first dance

There are three keys to a successful first dance that looks so good that you won’t even mind if it is video taped.

Step One:  Select a slow song that is meaningful to you.

Step Two:  Learn the two step.  It’s the simplest dance for a klutz (no offense) to learn.  Watch the video above, for it quickly presents the timeless simplicity and charm of this basic dance step.  Practice it.  You can learn it quickly.  You’ll have it perfected within a few practice sessions.

Step Three:  Keep it short.  Two to three minutes is good.  This takes a lot of pressure off of you.  Besides, you don’t want your guests to get bored.  In our hands, they’ll be itching to join you on the dance floor in short order!

Music and entertainment makes the event.  We can help you plan the flow of entertainment from beginning to end.  Our MCs know how to make introductions and set up the first dance.  Here’s where wedding parties often break down.  It is absolutely vital to have a seasoned DJ/MC on your team who knows how to transition from your first dance to a packed dance floor.

That’s what we do.  Call us with questions at 888-477-4780, or complete the contact form to check on our availability.

Get ready for your first dance and follow our first dance advice.  It’ll be wonderful!

Looking for a wedding DJ? Learn more about Starlite Entertainment here.

Southeast Pennsylvania wedding planning

How to break the ice at a pre-wedding luncheon

By | Wedding Planning

The scene is tense.

Families come together for a pre-wedding luncheon.  An old girl friend of the groom is there.  Yikes!  This could get pretty uncomfortable.  Fast.

What to do?  Why it is simple:  break into song!

I post below for your viewing pleasure that memorable scene from “My Best Friend’s Wedding” when Rupert Everett does just that.  He starts singing that golden-oldie from the 60s, “I Say  a Little Prayer for You.”

Before you know it, the whole restaurant is singing along!  Aah … if only life were a musical!

Stress-free Southeast Pennsylvania wedding planning

Many brides let the process of planning their wedding stress them out.  I get it.  There are a lot of details to get in place.  We can help you with the entertainment. We’ll take the stress right out of the wedding planning so you can start having fun again. Once you become our client, you’ll have access to our easy to use online planning tools.

In the meantime, take a few minutes to watch this very funny scene starring Julia Roberts.  A good laugh always makes the day better … and less stressful.

[Entertainment makes the difference at wedding receptions. Check out Starlite Entertainment’s packages here.]

Here’s a great script for a wedding toast

By | Uncategorized

Let’s be honest, a lot of people clench up when they have to make a toast. We’ve created a nice wedding toast script to take the heat off at your upcoming Philadelphia area wedding.

Wedding receptions can be especially stressful because the best man and maid of honor often put too much pressure on themselves.  They overcompensate by having an extra drink or two and … well, you know how that can go:  downhill fast.

We can help.

We’ve created a nice wedding toast script.

Obviously, your toasters aren’t going to use this word for word.  But it’ll help them get started.

It’ll channel them in the right direct using the guidelines we wrote about in last week’s blogpost [“How to avoid wedding toast disasters.”]

Ultimately, it takes the heat off since this script lays down some nice parameters for them.  Remember:  the point of this wedding toast script is simply to help them get started.  It is their personal experience with you, and the way that they convey it, that ultimately makes the difference.

Read this wedding toast script and let me know what you think:

[Opening]:

“I am truly honored to toast the marriage of [Bride’s Name] and [Groom’s Name].

I’ve never been one to pay any attention to people who claim that they can predict the future.  But guess what, I’m going to predict the future:  I see a happy, fulfilling married life stretching out before you two, and I could not be happier.

Looking out at this great group of your family and friends who’ve come to witness this watershed event, I can see that they agree with me.

The truth is, I don’t need a crystal ball to know that good things await you in your married life, because I know [Groom’s Name].

[Provide personal anecdote]:

We met when we were in college.  We had nothing in common.  I’m short, he’s tall.  I’m a Packer’s fan; he’s a Cowboys fan.  I’m really good looking.  And he’s … well, he’s even better looking!

But we both had this thing for rock climbing.  I tell you what, if you want to get to know someone, go rock climbing with him.

I don’t know how many times we went out.  It’s a lot.  One time stood out.  We were walking on a precipice some twenty feet above a lake.  We heard some splashing in the water below.  Suddenly, some kid started screaming like I’ve never heard screaming before in my life.  His dog was in the water … and apparently drowning.

Now I thought that God had hard-wired the dog paddle into every dog ever born.  But this one must have been a mutant, because it was going down for the last count.

Before I could even fully process the situation, [Groom’s Name] made a mighty leap into the lake below.  I’ve got to admit, I couldn’t have done it.  But he did.  Within seconds, he had the scared pup in his arms and back onto dry land in minutes.

You should’ve seen that kid’s face.  I’ll never forget it.  I’ll never forget what you did that day.

[Bring bride into the toast]:

Now, imagine what a guy like that would do for a friend.  Even more, imagine what a man like that would do for the woman he loves.

I can attest to the fact, [Bride’s Name], that [Groom’s Name] loves you more than anything … or anyone he’s ever loved in his life.

When he spoke that line in the vows about loving you even in ‘sickness and in health, in good times and in bad,’ well he meant it.

And since I’ve gotten to know you and discover what an incredibly wonderful person you are too, [Bride’s Name], I know you meant those vows every bit as much as [Groom’s Name].  You are a beautiful person on the outside, but even more importantly, on the inside.

Some people would say that it’s destiny that brought you together.  Well, I would suggest God had something to do with it.  Yes, I maintain that the creator of the universe surely pulled some strings to bring you two together, because you are so right for each other.

[Close by telling the audience specifically what they’re supposed to do]:

On this day of celebration, I ask each of you to raise your glass and join me in paying tribute to Mr. and Mrs. [Couple’s Last Name].”

To reiterate, you can’t use this wedding toast script exactly as written. Come up with your own anecdote. Make it warm. Use it to highlight the class, the integrity, and the character of the subject of your toast.

Good luck, and cheers!

[Entertainment makes the difference at wedding receptions. Check out Starlite Entertainment’s services here.]

How to avoid wedding toast disasters

By | Uncategorized

Let me guess:  you’ve got a well-intentioned best man and maid of honor for your Great Philadelphia area wedding.

They know you, they love you, and wedding etiquette calls on them to stand up and toast you at your wedding reception.

Beware.  These beloved friends or family can morph into your worst nightmare.  Don’t let them hijack your wedding reception with an embarrassing, meandering, or never-ending toast.

In fairness, your best man or maid of honor doesn’t want to embarrass you or scandalize your family, but beer and a microphone can be a dangerous combination.  A nice, warm three minute toast can quickly devolve into a dozen minutes of booze-drenched awkwardness if you’re not prepared.

Be prepared.

Avoid wedding toast disasters with these guidelines from Toastmasters International

Provide your event’s toasters with the following guidelines as provided by Toastmasters International to avoid wedding toast disasters:

  1. Keep it short and sweet.  It is important to get to the point and make people smile, because a few minutes is all you need.
  2. Be careful with humor.  Avoid the risque.  Under no circumstances should you embarrass the person being toasted.
  3. Practice.  At the very least, jot down a brief outline of what you want to say.  If you’re prone to nervousness, you might want to script your toast and time it.

Be sure to have them watch the video above. As the bride and groom, this is your party.  I encourage you to say something like this to your toasters:

“Thank-you for being my [best man/maid of honor].  I am so honored to have you share this day with me in such a meaningful way.  I wanted to be sure you knew that we’d like you to make a brief toast after dinner.  You okay with that?  We’d like you to keep it fairly brief, 3 minutes … 4 max, and share something special you see in our relationship and wish us well.  I know I don’t need to say this, but please, nothing off color or embarrassing.”

Be direct.

Really say something like this to be sure everyone’s on the same page, or simply print this page off and hand it your toasters (or share the link with them).

Now, let us all raise a glass to honor this beautiful couple.  May God richly bless your marriage!

[Check back next week for an actual script for a nice wedding toast.  Your best man and maid of honor will love it! In the meantime, check out our wedding services here!]