The Worst Thing That I’ve Ever Seen at a Wedding

By my count, I’ve performed at over 400 weddings during my DJ career.  In general, weddings are a joyous occasion and an opportunity to see people at their best.  However, I’ve also witnessed some bad things.  Drunken punch-ups?  Sure, there’s been a few of those.  DJs can be lightning rods for abuse, so I’ve been victimized by a mean heckler or twenty.  I’ve even had my equipment broken by a banquet manager who threw it into the elevator so he could go home.  Then there was the time that I discovered a drunk bridesmaid taking a nap in the back hatch of my SUV.

But the ugliest incident of all time happened about five years ago.  At a very respectable banquet hall located in Woodbridge NJ, at some point during the wedding, a substantial number of envelopes (and thousands of dollars in cash) disappeared from the card box.  Yes, a thief at a wedding!  How could anybody stoop so low?  The theft was discovered midway into the reception.  The bride was visibly crushed and never recovered.

The perpetrator was never discovered.  Was it a guest?  The date of a guest?  An employee at the banquet hall?  Was it a crime of opportunity, or fueled by physical needs from a drug addiction?

The lesson to be learned from this debacle is to utilize a sturdy box – for example a solid box with a slot on the top so that guests can’t thumb through the envelopes.  One of our more creative grooms – a commercial fisherman by trade – used a 50 pound lobster trap for a card box.  Also, consider assigning a member of your bridal party to keep an eye on the box throughout the evening.  At the end of the wedding, make sure that the box is safely transported to a secure location. With thousands of dollars in cash on the line, use common sense security precautions to avoid being victimized by a thief.  It’s also worth asking your wedding facility if there are security cameras in the ballroom.

What is the worst thing that you’ve ever seen at a wedding?

 

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Wedding DJ Prices in New Jersey – 2016

Data regarding prices for wedding DJs has historically been scarce.  Many DJ companies do not list pricing information on their websites.  In addition, there are a range of packages to select from.

Wedding advertisers on WeddingWire in setting up their storefronts are now asked the question, “what is the price of your most popular package?”  Companies are not required to describe exactly what this most popular package entails.  For example for wedding DJs, how many hours of service does it cover, what lighting options are included, and how many DJs/Emcees are included in the package?  When answering this optional question on WeddingWire, I based our company’s most popular wedding package price on a five hour package with our intermediate lighting option.

Now, when engaged couples go to WeddingWire to shop for wedding professionals in their geographic market area, this most popular package price is listed with each company’s thumbnail image.  This is public information that any individual visiting www.weddingwire.com can view.

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Here is what shoppers now see on WeddingWire when searching out a Wedding DJ or other Vendor Category in a geographic market – notice a $ figure for “most popular price”

WeddingWire carves up New Jersey into two regions: 1) South Jersey, and 2) North/Central New Jersey.  We decided to examine the data for both regions.  We evaluated the market data for the first two pages of results on WeddingWire from each of South Jersey and North/Central New Jersey, figuring that these companies are generally New Jersey’s most professional DJ services.

Statistics for Wedding DJs in South Jersey

For South Jersey, there were 32 data points.  Numerous companies opted not to provide their most popular package price.

The lowest wedding DJ package price was $800.

The highest wedding DJ package price was $3,000.

The average wedding DJ package price was $1,601.

The median wedding DJ package price was $1,385 (note: the median is a statistical measure that smooths out statistical outliers).

Statistics for Wedding DJs in North/Central Jersey

For North/Central Jersey, there were 41 data points.  Again, numerous companies opted not to provide their most popular package price.

The lowest wedding DJ package price was $1,000.

The highest wedding DJ package price was $3,000 (same as South Jersey).

The average wedding DJ package price was $2,148.

The median wedding DJ package price was $2,000.

Comparison of North/Central versus South Jersey

Wedding DJ package prices for North/Central are clearly higher than South Jersey.  This is not surprising given the higher disposable income of North Jersey with its proximity to the Manhattan economy, and the higher cost of living in North/Central NJ versus South Jersey.  Another theory for the North Jersey premium is that its weddings are more likely to feature event “production” – enhancements like intelligent lighting, uplighting, flatscreen TVs and special effects.

Based on the median figure, the average wedding DJ package price is 44% higher in North Jersey.  Based on the average figure, it is 34% higher.

Interestingly, the average pricing data corroborates well with data from The Knot that we examined in 2014.  Specifically, the average North/Central NJ bride spent $2,046 on their wedding DJ while the average South Jersey bride spent $1,272.  To read the full article describing the Knot data, click here.

Limitations of the Data

There are perhaps 5,000 mobile DJs competing for the 45,000 or so weddings that take place in New Jersey each year.  This universe is much larger than the 73 companies used in our calculations.  This broader universe includes a fair share of one man operations and part-timers who most likely offer lower pricing.  Thus, the true average and median price of “the most popular wedding DJ package” in New Jersey is lower than the statistics that we calculated.

As previously mentioned, the “most popular wedding DJ package” is not an apples to apples to comparison, as the specifics of these packages will vary from company to company.

Yet, for professional DJ companies, the statistics shown above present a fair picture of market prices for the competition.  DJs would be wise to check out the WeddingWire price sheet to see how their prices compare to the competition’s.  If you’ve always wondered what your competitors charge, now you have the opportunity to learn the answer!

A Word of Caution to Consumers

As we’ve always recommended in the past, do not base your hiring decisions on the least expensive vendor.  The wedding DJ service is a specialized service and NOT a commodity.  You are well-advised to hire the best wedding DJ that you can afford given your budget.  Entertainment can make or break your once-in-a-lifetime celebration!  For more insights into wedding DJ pricing and consumer tips, check out our book “The Bride’s Guide to Selecting the Perfect Wedding DJ” – available on Amazon.com.

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The Disco Love Wedding Cocktail Hour (Volume 2)

Disco was a staple of American music and culture during the 1970s.  Disco peaked in the late 70s and subsequently experienced a backlash. DJs and dancers love disco music for its groovy, danceable essence.  Many club-goers embraced disco music for its amorous themes. Another characteristic of disco music is its lush orchestrations – including instruments like violins, and sound effects like hand claps and disco lasers.

Mike Bacon, aka DJ Iron Mike, has compiled a delightful “Disco Love” cocktail hour playlist in a second installment to “Disco Love – Volume 1.”  Enjoy the music immediately below Mike’s playlist on the embedded Spotify player.

Ambient DJ continues its tradition of selecting a signature drink for each wedding cocktail hour playlist. To match the colorful flamboyance of the disco era, we’ve selected the Singapore Sling.  Learn how to mix one by clicking here.

The Disco Love Wedding Cocktail Hour (Volume 2) – Compiled by DJ Iron Mike

  1. Ain’t Nothin’ Wrong – K.C. & The Sunshine Band
  2. You Make Me Feel Like Dancing – Leo Sayer
  3. Best of My Love – The Emotions
  4. You Sexy Thing – Hot Chocolate
  5. Lady (You Bring Me Up) – The Commodores
  6. Heaven Must Be Missing an Angel – Tavares
  7. I Love to Love – Tina Charles
  8. After the Dance – Marvin Gaye
  9. If I Can’t Have You – Yvonne Ellman
  10. Lady Marmalade – Labelle
  11. Galaxy – War
  12. Relight My Fire – Dan Hartman
  13. I Just Want to Be Your Everything – Andy Gibb
  14. You and I – Earth Wind and Fire
  15. He’s the Greatest Dancer – Sister Sledge
  16. It’s Ecstasy When You Lay Down Next to Me – Barry White
  17. Looking Up to You – Michael Wycoff
  18. I Love the Nightlife – Alicia Bridges
  19. The More I Get, The More I Want – Teddy Pendergrass
  20. Come to Me – France Joli

Disco Love Cocktail Hour (Volume 2) (Compiled by DJ Iron Mike)

Disco Love Cocktail Hour (Volume 1) (Compiled by DJ Gregg Ambient)

About Ambient DJ Service

Ambient DJ Service is an award-winning mobile DJ entertainment company specializing in weddings and based in Central NJ.   Connect with us online at www.ambientdj.com

To view our 2016 Wedding Music Master Class, click here

Wedding_Music_Master_Class_2016_Sarah_Michael

Late Summer 2016 Dance Playlist

Summer 2016 is nearly over, and boy it’s been a hot one here in our company’s home base of Central New Jersey!  In this blog, Ambient DJ music mixologist Gregg Ambient shares his top dance floor picks of the new season.  Take them for a spin on your dance floor without delay!  Enjoy the music on the Spotify player immediately following the list.

The Late Summer 2016 Dance Playlist by DJ Gregg Ambient

  1. September (dance remix) – Throttle w/ Earth, Wind & Fire (seasonal selection)
  2. Is This Love (dance remix) – Bob Marley (reggae / dance)
  3. Be Here – Duke Dumont (house)
  4. Let Me Love You – DJ Snake f/ Justin Bieber (dance)
  5. Feel – Mahmut Orhan (take a trip to a Middle Eastern bazaar… quite the exotic track) (dance)
  6. This Girl (Kungs vs Cookin’ on 3 Burners) – Kungs (dance)
  7. Lush Life – Zara Larsson (dance)
  8. Millionaire – Cash Cash & Digital Farm Animals f/ Nelly (performed live at the recent DJ Times DJ Expo in Atlantic City!) (dance)
  9. Cool for The Summer – Demi Lovato (pop/dance)
  10. You & I – Sons of Maria (uses melody of Tracy Chapman’s fast car) (dance)
  11. Do It Right – Martin Solveig (house)
  12. Ale’ Sofi – DJ Cloak Dagger (featured on the latest Buddha Bar installment.. also try the Captain Planet remix) (electronic / lounge)
  13. Closer – Chainsmokers f/ Halsey (dance)
  14. Birthday – Dougie F. (R&B)
  15. Too Good – Drake and Rihanna (R&B)
  16. LUV – Tory Lanez (an interpolation of the hook from Tanto Metro & Devonte’s ‘Everybody Falls In Love’) (R&B)
  17. Broccoli – D.R.A.M. f/  Lil’ Yachty (hip hop)
  18. All the Way Up – Fat Joe w/ French Montana and Remy Ma (hip hop)
  19. For Free – DJ Khaled w/ Drake (hip hop)
  20. Purple Lamborghini – Rick Ross with Skrillex (killer drop!) (trap music)
  21. In Common (Kenny Dope Remix) – Alicia Keys (R&B/house)
  22. Boss – Disclosure (house)
  23. Cheap Thrills – Sia (pop)
  24. Bonbon (Lucas Schreiner remix) – Era Istrefi (pop)
  25. Safari – J Balvin f/ Pharrell Williams, BIA and Sky (Latin/reggaeton
  26. Hasta el Amanecer – Nicky Jam (Latin/reggaeton)
  27. Bailar – Deorro w/ Elvis Crespo (a great EDM / Merengue track)
  28. Sweet Disposition – Temper Trap (throwback)
  29. I Follow Rivers (Magician Remix) – Lykke Li (throwback)
  30. How Do I Let Go – Dennis Ferrer & Friends (throwback)

Mix of the Month

In commemoration of the Summer 2016 Olympics held in Rio, we recorded a Brazilian Mix Sessions mix that can be enjoyed on Mixcloud below:

The Bar Rock Wedding Cocktail Hour

In our latest installment of the Wedding Cocktail Hour series, we focus on bar rock vibes with an emphasis on the music of the 1990s and 2000s.  These are some of the songs that we’ve played out as DJs or enjoyed at the various bars of Central NJ.

We dedicate this playlist to local bartender and entrepreneur Stacy Perlin.  Stacy has developed a tasty line of Bloody Mary mixes that she is currently ramping up distribution on.

Our selected signature drink is a Bloody Mary using “Stacy’s Original Famous Bloody Mary Mix” which is available in three variations:  Original, Extra Hot, and Smoked Bacon.  For ordering information, connect with Stacy’s brand on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/Stacys-Original-Famous-Bloody-Mary-Mix-LLC-1639150116369345/.  Alternatively, enjoy a Bloody Mary using Stacy’s mixes at City Streets Cafe in our company’s home town of East Windsor NJ.  Bottles of the mix can also be purchased at DeMarcos Gourmet Italian Deli in Aberdeen NJ.

Following the playlist below, you can enjoy the music on the embedded Spotify app.  Cheers!

The Bar Rock Wedding Cocktail Hour – Compiled by DJ Gregg Ambient

  1. What’s Up – 4 Non Blondes
  2. Black Velvet – Alannah Miles
  3. Hold My Hand – Hootie & the Blowfish
  4. Slide – Goo Goo Dolls
  5. Every Morning – Sugar Ray
  6. You Get What You Give – The New Radicals
  7. Dancing in the Dark – Bruce Springsteen (* Stacy’s favorite song!)
  8. Two Princes – The Spin Doctors
  9. Run-Around – Blues Traveler
  10. Big Yellow Taxi – Counting Crows w/ Vanessa Carlton
  11. Drift Away – Uncle Kracker
  12. Heaven – Los Lonely Boys
  13. No Rain – Blind Melon
  14. One Headlight – The Wallflowers
  15. If You Could Only See – Tonic
  16. Save Tonight – Eagle-Eye Cherry
  17. Santeria – Sublime
  18. Amber – 311
  19. Short Skirt, Long Jacket – Cake
  20. Closing Time – Semisonic

Listen on Spotify

About Ambient DJ Service

Ambient DJ Service is an award-winning mobile DJ entertainment company specializing in weddings and based in Central NJ.   Connect with us online at www.ambientdj.com

To view our 2016 Wedding Music Master Class, click here

Wedding_Music_Master_Class_2016_Sarah_Michael

The Stone Cold Soul Wedding Cocktail Hour

It’s the latest installment in the wedding cocktail hour blog series, the “Stone Cold Soul” Wedding Cocktail Hour playlist.  The set contains a mixture of new and classic R&B artists by some of our favorites including Sade, the Robert Glasper Experiment, Maxwell, Anthony Hamilton and Jill Scott.

For a signature drink, we’ve selected the “Laid Back” – an upscale version of Snoop Dogg’s “Gin & Juice.”  To mix a Laid Back, combine one ounce Tanqueray Gin, one ounce Ciroc Apple Vodka, two ounces of pineapple juice… and top off with club soda.laid_back_snoop

You can enjoy the playlist on Spotify at the link immediately below the playlist.  Cheers!

The Stone Cold Soul Wedding Cocktail Hour – Compiled by DJ Gregg Ambient

  1. If I Ain’t Got You – Alicia Keys
  2. Cherish the Day – The Robert Glasper Experiment (f/ Lalah Hathaway)
  3. Everybody Loves the Sunshine – Roy Ayers
  4. Suddenly – Adriana Evans
  5. A Long Walk – Jill Scott
  6. Best of Me – Anthony Hamilton
  7. Ascension (Don’t Ever Wonder) – Maxwell
  8. Power of Love (Love Power) – Luther Vandross
  9. Lovely Day – Bill Withers
  10. I Blame You – Ledisi
  11. By Your Side – Sade
  12. The Sweetest Love – Robin Thicke
  13. Do You Feel – Jose James
  14. The Way – Jill Scott

Listen on Spotify

About Ambient DJ Service

Ambient DJ Service is an award-winning mobile DJ entertainment company specializing in weddings and based in Central NJ.   Connect with us online at www.ambientdj.com

To view our 2016 Wedding Music Master Class, click here

Wedding_Music_Master_Class_2016_Sarah_Michael