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Being a wedding DJ & MC is (admittedly) an odd profession. Most of us did not set out to be a “wedding professional”, but over the course of years as a professional mobile DJ, some of us naturally gravitate to the energy, excitement, meaning and beauty of a wedding day.
In the “old days” people would hire an etiquette coach, consult a wedding procedure book, hire a seasoned wedding coordinator, etc. But in modern times, newly engaged couples and their families often turn to the DJ for this information! This can be a crazy shot-in-the-dark for those couples who know little or nothing about what to expect in the ways of wedding procedures and etiquette.
Up until the last 5 – 10 years, the thought of using a DJ for wedding ceremony music was almost unheard of – now it is commonplace. This also lays an extra responsibility on a DJ & MC. What music to play and when? Classical or pop music? Is there a singer or live musician added to the mix? How long is each song? When does everyone walk down the aisle, etc.? How do you handle different family dynamics like divorced parents, children, etc.?
Also in the last 5 years, lighting has become a major component for a lot of DJs. This means that not only does a DJ & MC need to be responsible for music, announcements, ceremony etiquette, timeline, event flow and more, but now many events also rely on the DJ to help decorate the room with UpLights, GoBo Monograms or other lighting effects.
Many times, I will receive an email simply asking for a quick quote. But with so much to be responsible for, it is always best to talk about it in person (or at least over the phone) to get a complete picture of the vision the bride & groom have in mind for their special day.
These events only happen once in a lifetime and I want to do everything I can to help my clients understand what they need to achieve their vision and then help them get it. :^)
When most people call me, they are in need of checking out my services to play music at their wedding. But by the time I am actually hired, my clients are happy and relieved to know that they have someone who can help them through the entire process of planning their wedding day event.
Am I a wedding coordinator?* No. But the planning process I provide helps to diminish the need for additional paid professionals on your wedding day. A a good Wedding DJ is also a Master of Ceremonies. Unlike a nightclub or Party DJ that occasionally “does weddings”, a true MC will be able to speak effectively on a microphone in front of (sometimes) hundreds of your guests. Can you imagine a nightclub DJ who works night after night in a club trying to effectively communicate to your grandmother about the cutting of a wedding cake? Some can, but at the same time, I am not the guy you would want in your nightclub every night either! :^)
As a Master Of Ceremony, I have a written planning guide that I help you think through and put together in the months prior to your wedding. I can help with ideas about lighting, video slide shows, monograms, the order of events, etc. Since I have seen hundreds and hundreds of weddings (in 2013 I will surpass 1,000 weddings that I have been a part of), I can help you with money-saving ideas about your decorations, candy stations, catering, your officiant, photographer, photo booth, and any number of other things.
I am an advocate for my brides & grooms. Sometimes, I can help weed-out vendors that may be treating you wrong or give advice about what to look for in a venue. I help put your mind at ease about contracts, insurance, staff turnover, day-of expectations, and so much more. As a quality wedding DJ & MC, you cannot just put on your headphones and play music because you are wearing too many hats!
*A wedding coordinator is a paid professional that helps put your wedding budget together, contacts and interviews all of your vendors, hotels, etc. (and sometimes pays them on your behalf). They also create detailed day-of time-lines that include travel times, flowers, beauty salon visits, airport pick-ups, etc. Wedding coordinators also help with the flow of the event, which for an average Dallas/Ft. Worth wedding is a service that I already provide as a part of my wedding DJ & MC services.
There are so many wedding options in Texas; different facilities, number of guests, private residences, time of year, food choices, entertainment, etc. The lists go on and on until it makes some brides and groom’s heads spin. One of the first choices that a bride has to make is whether to have an indoor or outdoor wedding ceremony and reception.
This choice is sometimes a result of a budget constraint. Do we have a family member who is willing to let us use their lake house or estate property to host our wedding? Other times, it is simply a long held wish to be married in a beautiful garden or beside a body of water.
Whatever the reason, there are some things to consider. The most important factor to consider for everyone’s peace of mind is a contingency plan in case of inclement weather. A rainy day plan often must be put into effect several hours before the wedding time is scheduled. So there needs to be a person who can “make the call” and decide if the wedding festivities are to be moved indoors.
If the wedding is to be held outside, then there are other considerations. Sound is critical to a successful wedding. Even if you are having live musicians, an outdoor facility can quickly gobble-up a preacher’s voice or a beautiful harpist’s song. Having a sound system with wireless microphones is a great solution to these issues. Additionally, once you have a sound system, any type of recorded music can be played. Pre-planning is the key if you are using a DJ for a wedding ceremony. There is only one chance to get things right and it is no place to cut corners with an inexperienced sound man or DJ. An “iPod wedding” is just asking for trouble.
Even on a nice day, wind can be a factor too. Microphones can be sensitive to wind. Candle lighting ceremonies rarely do well in wind (there are alternatives). Bridal veils can become unruly and have even caught fire due to wind + candles. Table clothes that are not clamped or properly weighted down can cause havoc. But the worst offender on a windy day is the dreaded chocolate fountain – messy!
The other consideration for outdoor events are proper bathroom facilities. There are many options if you do not want people going inside a private residence. Keep in mind that over the course of a 5 – 6 hour event, most guests will use the facilities at least once. If you have an average sized wedding for the North Texas area, that would mean over 150 trips to the bathroom! There are companies that offer elegant (somewhat) solutions for portable restroom facilities. Of course, if you are
having an outdoor wedding at a professional wedding facility, restrooms should be well taken care of.
During an outdoor wedding reception, sound is often overlooked. The same sound system that might be adequate for an indoor wedding reception with 100+ guests, could be woefully underpowered when it comes time to dance outdoors. Additional bass or subwoofer speakers are usually needed to make up the difference. Outdoor lighting is also a factor once the sun goes down. Many DJ effect lights are designed to project onto a ceiling and therefore do not work well outside. String lighting looks great, but is sometimes cost-prohibitive or may not even be allowed.
Whatever your choice in wedding facilities, the best weddings (large or small) are those that have been thoughtfully planned in advance with an experienced professional. Remember, a seasoned wedding veteran will give you money saving alternatives and save you from headaches and pitfalls that a bargain wedding will often run into. This means that you will often get better results for the same amount of money or less. As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Have you ever texted somebody a note and they got the wrong idea about what you meant? I love texting, but it can be problematic if the conversations get too deep. I also love shopping online. It allows me to do so much that was not possible just a few years ago. But in the entertainment business, or more precisely, the wedding/entertainment industry, there are some things that just should not be bought sight unseen.
By simply looking at a website, it is very difficult to understand all the intangible things that a quality DJ & Master of Ceremonies can bring to the table at a wedding. Do I offer a wide range of services within the wedding entertainment business? – yes. But what do you (as a bride or groom) think that means? I am a mobile disc jockey by definition, but that puts me in the same catagory as anyone with a portable sound system and a loaded iPod. Yes, I have LED lights, sound, video screens, lighted monogram GoBos, microphones, etc. But how are you supposed to know what “package” to choose from without ever having planned a major event? Do you want the Bronze, Silver or Gold package? The Basic, Elite, or Deluxe package? How can someone know what they need when they have never planned a wedding before? To me, it seems like the wrong way to book business. That is why I do not offer “packages”. Rather, I have a range of services that may suit your needs. But we have to speak about it first for me to understand what you want - your vision.
Almost daily, I will receive an email asking if I am available for certain dates and how much will I charge (with no additional information; sometimes not even a phone number). Without more to go on, I cannot give a proper and informed answer. I know most DJ Companies have a “book-it-now” philosophy, but this short changes a lot of Brides & Grooms and sets false expectations. The only way to know what a bride and groom want is to ask questions and make sure that they understand what each piece of the puzzle means. Otherwise, an uniformed customer may have expectations that are far different than what is really being offered. I even have seen DJ websites from “wedding factory” type companies that require the brides & grooms to come up with their own timeline and order of events!
So often, DJ services are based on the amount of time for a certain night. A 4-hour package is $$ and a 5-hour package is $$$. For me, that does not work either, since I will only be at your event that night whether your event is one hour or six hours. Not to mention that many hours will go into planning everything in advance. I would rather find out what a bride wants at her wedding and give it to her at a fair price than find out her budget and give her the bare minimum based on “what she can afford”. Big DJ companies can’t do that since they mostly use sub-contracted labor. That is why you never really know what you will get when you pick a package.
In my case, I must actually speak to my clients and usually will meet face-to-face to make sure we are a good fit. I can offer options for things that do not have to be decided right away since the wedding may be several months away. This way everybody knows what I can do to help them get what they want on their special day – even if we do not know exactly what that is yet!
I am available to speak with brides and grooms at almost any time day or night by appointment, over the phone or in person. Many of my clients work crazy hours or are full-time students and need someone who can guide them through the ins & outs of planning a wedding. Some of my clients live in other states before coming to DFW for their big day. That is why I am here: because I love helping people figure out what they want and then help them get it… and all I have to do is ask!
I recently saw a bumper sticker on the back of a construction vehicle that said “Excellence has to be planned in advance”. I like that. As a full-time, professional wedding DJ & MC, I often hear from people in other professions about how great it must be to have my weeks off and just work one or two days on the weekends. But that is not how things work if you want to be the best at what you do – especially for weddings.
The way I look at things regarding wedding clients is that it is my job to help my brides & grooms get what they want on their wedding day. To me, I see it as a one-time chance during a 4-6 hour window to help create an atmosphere, a mood, and to facilitate several once-in-a-lifetime moments - all according to the vision that my happy couples have in their minds. It would be foolish and presumptuous of me to think that I already know what a bride may want at her wedding. After all, she may have been dreaming about this day since she was a little girl!
Fancy lights for a fancy night!
The only way I can know what she may want is by getting to know her. And the best way I know to do that is through a series of phones calls, face-to-face meetings (usually at a Starbucks – yum!), listening to music together, picking out lighting colors, emailing, texting and finally putting things in writing in my reception and ceremony planning guides. My brides & grooms can rest assured that on their “day-of” I know what they want and will not forget it because they have seen the written documentation.
This planning may take two, three or four times as long as the actual event, but it is usually spread out over several months. I can meet my clients during the regular business day. But because of my clients’ schedules, I will usually meet people after they get off work at a place that is convenient for them. Since I work all over Dallas & Fort Worth, I may find myself driving for an hour or more one-way just to have a 40 minute meeting. But that is what it takes to make sure that my brides & grooms are taken care of. Brides and grooms are usually super-busy with planning their wedding and often times they are in the midst of wrapping up a college degree or moving (or both!) – should I make them come to me and meet me when it is convenient to me? Do I limit how much time I give to my brides? Happily I say – NO!
It is true that some couples take more time than others, but people want to know that I can be there for them to answer questions and bounce ideas off of. This is what separates the true professionals from the part-time hobby DJs. The irony is that the difference in price is not much more than if you found a “wedding factory” anonymous DJ through a big nationwide company. Plus the value I bring to the table far outweighs that difference. Since I have been a part of hundreds of wedding receptions over a long period of time, I am able to help brides, grooms, and their parents figure out how to get what they envision. Sometimes that means that I provide things that will save them hundreds of dollars elsewhere and eliminate overcharges by other vendors for unessesary expenses. You just will never get that level of service and personal touch from a part-timer or a big company.
We had fun at Winstar across the Red River.
I am not writing this to simply toot-my-own-horn, but because I think it is important to help distinguish what constitutes excellence in a crazy profession such as mine. Anybody can buy a sound system and play pre-recorded music, but in my world as a Professional Wedding DJ and Master Of Ceremony, the actual execution of the ceremony and wedding reception starts from the first phone call months in advance and does not end until the the truck is packed at the end of your wedding night. :^)
UpLights and GoBo Monograms are some of the most popular options for wedding receptions and other special events. They can be customized for your personal tastes in infinite combinations and allow for a total room transformation.
With the right pre-planning, a party or event coordinator can save literally hours of setup and decorating time by bringing in an UpLighting and GoBo package. Compared to draping, paper, or other traditional decoration option, a lighting package is more economical too. Nothing has more impact on a plain/boring room than an UpLight / GoBo package. Watch the following video for more information:
I did not set out in life to become a “wedding DJ” and I did not become a seasoned wedding professional (haha) overnight. But I did get my start a long time ago as a teenager and thought I would share a beautiful story that came about recently because of that First Wedding Event.
When I was still in high school, my friends and I all worked at a local movie theatre. As things would have it, teenaged boys and girls that worked together would occasionally pair-off and shenanigans would ensue. One such couple, found themselves in the position of fast becoming teenage parents… and this is where our wedding-related story begins.
Under the circumstances of the time for this couple, they decided to get married and bring their child into the world with both parents under the same roof. The wedding was planned on a very limited budget, mainly with family & friends at a private residence. Since my friends at the movie theatre were also my high school pals, many of them had seen me DJ at a school dance or two. As a result, the happy couple asked me to play some music after the wedding… thus was born my career as a wedding DJ.
Flash forward to the Facebook era and I was happy to be reacquainted with some of my movie-theatre friends more than 20 years after we had all worked together. To my delight, the couple that had married under less-than-ideal circumstances back in the late 1980s had stayed together all these years and had had a beautiful, happy life. Not only that, but the daughter born just months after their wedding (now in her early twenties) was herself about to be a bride.
First, we re-connected through Facebook. Then we spoke on the phone for a bit. But when we got together at a local Starbucks, I was genuinely touched by meeting the bride & groom-to-be, and her parents (my old friends). We met and made the entertainment and lighting arrangements for their special day.
I do my best to make sure that every bride and groom have the special day of their dreams that they will never forget. And after all these years of working as a wedding professional, I wish I could say that I remember every one of the 500+ weddings I have been a part of. Specifics sometimes are forgotten along the way… but I will always remember being a part of my first bride’s daughter’s wedding.
Mike Mahnich DJ & MC – Voice – Music is now WeddingWire Rated for 2011.
WeddingWire, the nation’s leading wedding technology company, is pleased to announce that Mike Mahnich DJ & MC – Voice – Music is WeddingWire Rated 2011 for Disc Jockey Services. WeddingWire Rated is an annual award program that distinguishes wedding vendors across the country for their excellence. Based on hundreds of thousands of recent wedding reviews, WeddingWire Rated is the most recognized and trusted brand among engaged couples looking to find the best local businesses for their wedding.
Reviews by our newlywed clients include detailed ratings and insightful descriptions about their experiences working with our business and staff. Our reviews provide transparency for potential clients, assisting them in making the most informed decisions for their big day.
“We are delighted to unveil the 5th annual WeddingWire Rated program,” said Timothy Chi, CEO, WeddingWire, Inc. ” Mike Mahnich has made a commitment to capturing his clients experiences on the nation’s leading wedding review site.”
As the largest site for wedding reviews, WeddingWire empowers engaged couples with the most comprehensive and trusted review system available. The WeddingWire Rated program provides Mike Mahnich with a simple platform to capture customer feedback from their wedding planning experience. Newly engaged couples can easily access all of the reviews for Mike Mahnich on WeddingWire.com. We would like to thank our newlyweds for our WeddingWire Rated 2011 recognition.
For more information on WeddingWire Rated 2011, please visit www.WeddingWire.com.
The digital revolution has changed the music industry. No longer do mobile disc jockeys carry around hundreds of CDs (I used to carry as many as 2,300 to each event!). The advent of the MP3 allows us to use hard drives the size of a handful of CDs and have the equivalent amount of music.
In the same way that MP3 files have helped wedding disc jockeys be more compact and offer a greater variety, lighting has also been affected in a positive way by new technology. Specifically LED (Light Emitting Diode) technology has revolutionized the mobile event lighting industry.
These lights (by comparison to similar standard lights) are very compact, use a small fraction of the power, do not generate much heat and offer a wide variety of features and applications. One of the most popular trends in the wedding DJ industry in the past several years has been the advent of “UpLighting”.
UpLighting is the use of colored “can” lights to illuminate a room to a specific color to enhance the mood or atmosphere. Depending on the event, the lights may even change colors or effects during the course of the event. Additional lights can be used to highlight an area (such as spot-lighting a wedding cake) or even project a monogram of a newlywed couple’s initials on a wall or dance floor.
Church gymnasium without any lighting treatment.
A lot of DJ companies that specialize in weddings have very little to “up-sell” once you have selected your DJ and music/sound package, so uplighting has been sold a lot these days to couples that really receive very little benefit by incorporating uplights into their wedding reception. By design, uplights are made to transform a room from one look to another (more desirable) one. One example would be a warehouse-style wedding facility that basically offers a large empty room that is intended to be a blank-slate ready to be dressed up. Another example would be a large room like a church gymnasium that would be difficult to decorate with any impact.
Rooms that really do not require uplights would be a room that already has the elegance a couple usually craves for a wedding reception. Often times banquet facilities have sconce-wall lights, chandeliers, or even built-in uplights of their own that do not need to be complimented with additional lighting that is brought in by a DJ.
With any of my wedding couples, I never know if uplights are the appropriate match to their vision without asking a lot of questions. How many guests? What time of day is the reception? What room/facility are you going to host your wedding reception? Is it appropriate for the wedding budget that has been established? Are there any other alternatives that would suit their needs at a better value?
Blue-colored uplights with monogram GoBo
Once these questions are answered and we know uplighting is a good choice, then we move forward with the appropriate lighting package. Lighting takes a lot of time and equipment to get just right. If a monogram GoBo is involved, it may have to be ordered weeks in advance. Because of the amount of cable (wires) strewn throughout a facility to get the proper effects, many facilities require additional liability insurance in order to allow a company to light a room. Even specialized “gaffer’s tape” must be used to secure the cables without leaving a residue on the floors and carpets. It really take a lot more effort than just setting up a few can lights on the floor and pointing them toward the ceiling. But for the right facility and the right event, the impact of an uplighting package can transform the event from ordinary to extraordinary.