Tag Archives: Down-to-Earth

The House that Built Me

I’ve been meaning to write this for years now, and I’ve finally felt that I’m in the right place in my life to tell it. This is one of my favorite bride stories:

A bride named Nikki was referred to me by one of my favorite venues, a cowboy themed ranch in the hills of Corona. She loved my videos and web content and was adamant about booking the venue and having me as part of her big day. She was incredibly sweet over email and phone, and even sent me an adorable photo of herself and Keith, her fiance. This personal touch really made her stand out. People can be incredibly impersonal and defensive, and I suppose they have a right to be when shopping in our industry, which at times seems to be full of blood sucking sales people.

I made a custom contract with discounts for being Organ Donors (that’s a good sign) and awaited her signature and retainer. A few days pass and she gets back to me telling me that she and her FH had decided to not hold the wedding at the ranch, but instead to hold it at her house, and she also asked for a meeting. I went to meet with Nikki and Keith at their home which was a few miles from my apartment. What I found was a salt of the earth, hard working couple who just bought a fixer-upper in a humble neighborhood.

Holding back the tears noticeably forming in her eyes, Nikki tells me that for the cost of the venue, they could repave their driveway of their home, and though it killed her to sacrifice her dream wedding day, they had decided that it would be best to start off their lives one step ahead, making improvements to the house.

I was utterly floored by this revelation. I knew how much the ranch meant to her from the conversation I had with her days ago, and for her to put her future as a mother to the children who will grow up in this home first, really spoke to me. We created a new contract based on the changes and I went back to the office on a high.

When I got to my computer to follow up, I was reminded of a Miranda Lambert song called the House That Built Me. The second verse goes like this:

“Mama cut out pictures of houses for years.
From ‘Better Homes and Garden’ magazines.
Plans were drawn, and concrete poured,
And nail by nail and board by board
Daddy gave life to mama’s dream.”

This song was already 3 years old by this time, but whenever it came on the radio, this verse would make me cry (and it still does). I become nostalgic for a past that I never had. To me, it describes the values that the people in our country had, once upon a time. Fathers worked hard to give their wives the homes they wanted so that their children could grow up strong and moral. Things are different now. Just as the middle eight goes:

“You leave home, you move on and you do the best you can.
I got lost in this old world and forgot who I am.”

I feel that we’ve lost our way as a society, chasing after bigger and shinier things for pleasure and status. To meet a young couple in their twenties, especially in Orange County, that intrinsically understood what ultimately mattered to them made me really reconsider the life that I wanted for myself.

Needless to say, this was one of the most memorable weddings I had DJed, and the only regret is that it was on a Friday before another wedding that weekend, so I couldn’t stay longer when they wanted to keep the party going. Nikki and Keith are by far, one of my most memorable couples.

If you’ve never heard the song, buckle up, and listen to the words closely:

Newland Barn Wedding DJ Video

It’s easy to adore your clients when they are adorable! Such a pleasure to serve Aimee & Shawn on their big day, and very memorable time working with Emily from ebeweddings.com, the Roaming Hunger food trucks and of course one of my favorite venues, the Newland Barn in Huntington Beach.
video by Triptych Weddings

And here’s another wedding video from a wedding at Newland Barn.

Fitzgerald’s Flowers took some awesome photo’s too!

Waterfront Beach Resort Wedding DJ Huntington

Photos by ABM

Here are some photos from a wedding I DJed at the Waterfront Beach Resort in Huntington Beach. It’s much less hustle and bustle compared to the Hyatt Regency next door, and has a much more laid back beachey feel to it.

This was a mixed culture couple which made for a one of a kind event. I provided sound technician services for the Ceremony (venue provides the PA and microphone), Cocktail Hour music on the terrace, DJ, MC & Uplighting in the Vista Ballroom. Can’t wait to be back!

Here’s footage from a wedding I DJed there years before:

To Do or Don’t? Song Requests on RSVP

There’s been a trend of couples asking their guest to send in a song request along with their RSVPs. Is this helpful? Should you do it?

With a little planning, the song request (suggestion) thing can be a great idea. It would be wise to put a disclaimer on the invitation card that their song might not make the list, but that they are helping to create one. Say you have 120 guests with 120 different selections, and they expect to hear their songs for 3 minutes. That would be a program of 360 minutes or 6 whole hours. There simply won’t be time for the you to get married or to have your First Dance!

The best strategy is to create one set of top priority selections, including your parent’s first dance, and the request from the bridesmaid who remembered THAT special moment during college. Label these MUST PLAY. Second, spreadsheet the rest of the suggestions and identify the songs which you agree with, and requested frequently, all the while exercising veto power.

Remember that there is only 60 minutes to each hour so for cocktails and dinner, you’re limited to about 17 ~ 20 songs each. You get about about 30 songs per hour you can program at maximum during dancing, depending on how fast the DJ mixes the songs.

Last but not least, don’t forget to leave room for music that YOU and YOUR FIANCE are actually dying to hear during dinner & dancing!

Yorba Linda Community Center Wedding DJ – Yorba Linda, CA [HD VIDEO]

This is a video from a wedding I DJed at the Yorba Linda Community Center with uplights and wireless satellite speakers (6 total).

The bride and groom were very down to earth, and very community oriented. They had most of their decorations made by family members who apparently have quite a bit of experience in theatrical work (always nice to have resources like that!) but they were clear from the get-go that having a wild dance party was their most important desire for the reception. I’m glad that they showed their satisfaction in the form of a Yelp review!

To be completely honest, the energy of the crowd was so intense, it would have been impossible to screw up the dancing portion. They really ate up the line dancing and participation songs, but also danced to the clubby music too.

I also got a chance to work with a Hawaiian food place called Ono Grill, which is about two blocks from my shop on 17th street, so that was a total treat! Unfortunately the owner, who I knew most, wasn’t there, but the food was delicious none the less!

Yorba Linda CC is a relatively plain venue, but very easy logistically to move in and out of, and they have an auditorium sized video screen and projector build right in, which from what I understand, comes with the room with no extra charge. It’s right down the street from the Nixon Library, but it’s a fraction of the cost to rent, and they allow outside catering. I definitely recommend the Yorba Linda Community Center for large modular weddings, and if you’re looking into doing DIY on the flowers and decorations (which is not advisable for most other locations because of logistics).

Can’t wait to be back!

Special Offer:

Book this package for the Yorba Linda Community Center at $1300* (Normally $1400; you MUST mention this post at the time of inquiry).


5 total hours of lighting, DJ & MC services
Cocktail Hour Music:

  • Stand-alone sound system (3 speakers)
  • 1 handheld microphone for addressing crowd

Reception Package:

  • 800watt PA system
  • 1 Satellite Speaker
  • DJ console (Media Used: MIDI, Vinyl, MP3s)
  • 10 channel mixer
  • 1 wireless microphone for toasts
  • 4 piece dance lighting

Uplighting (Standard):

  • Up to 18 fixtures of static, one color uplights (Par38 Halogens or Par64 LEDs, depending on color)

*Offer may not be combined with any other offers.