When it comes to choosing a song for your first dance as a married couple, it can be hard to know where to start. There’s so much great music out there! How can you possibly choose?

Jeff Stitely, our fearless leader here at Stitely Entertainment and an expert in the field for 25 years, has a few recommendations to help the process along.

First, he says, when considering a song, pay attention to how it makes you feel. Does it give you chills? Make you smile? Do you love the feeling you get when you hear it? If so, those are sure signs of a great song choice!

Second, pay attention to the lyrics. Do they resonate with you? Do they reflect your outlook on life, love, and/or relationships? If so, great! Looks like you’ve got a contender.

On the other hand, what if the song makes you feel great, and you love what the song has to say about life/love/relationships in the first two verses and the chorus… but then the third verse takes a left turn into darker territory? (What if the people who were so in love at the beginning of the song break up? Or what if the person’s love is unrequited? etc.)

Don’t give up on that song just yet – there are ways we can make it work!

If you’ve booked a live band, it can be as simple as changing a few words – past tense can become present tense, for example – or even omitting that last verse entirely. It’s as easy as that! If you’ve booked a DJ, it’s possible to fade the song out before that troublesome verse comes up. Either way, you have options that will help to make your first dance extra special.

Here’s a great example of how someone chose their perfect first dance song. Consider Jeff Stitely’s story:

“When I got married, I was a jazz drummer and loved all the old classic ballads. My favorite song was called “My One and Only Love”. The lyric starts with “The very thought of you makes my heart sing” and the whole song is that scrumptious in addition to being one of the most beautiful melodies ever written from that era. Maybe two other people in the country chose that song but we didn’t care about that. It is a personal choice. Check it out.”

Still need inspiration? Here’s a list of the top 10 most popular first dance songs of 2016 according to the music streaming service, Spotify:

 

  1. Thinking Out Loud (Ed Sheeran)
  2. At Last (Etta James)
  3. You Are the Best Thing (Ray LaMontagne)
  4. All of Me (John Legend)
  5. A Thousand Years (Christina Perri)
  6. Make You Feel My Love (Adele)
  7. I Won’t Give Up (Jason Mraz)
  8. Everything (Michael Buble)
  9. Better Together (Jack Johnson)
  10. Amazed (Lonestar)

 

Join John Sabal at Cetta’s on Taylor Street for drinks and great music.

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Mary Morris, a third grade teacher in Strawberry Plains. Tennessee re-vamped the lyrics to Adele’s “Hello” to sing about school snow days from the teacher’s point of view.  Not only are her lyrics spot on and hilarious, her voice is amazing.  She originally sang the song for her fellow teachers at  a school in-service day meeting.  Lucky for her, she has friends in the marketing industry who created a top-notch video for the song.  Check it out here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YnIRfvFLiWQ

 

Stitely Entertainment is honored to have been chosen for the Couples Choice Award again in 2016.  Thank you to all the couples who shared their day with us and then shared their experience with future brides and grooms.

While the big Chicago St. Patty’s celebrations have more or less come to a close, here at Stitely we are still looking forward to our St. Patrick’s Day Event with the Trinity Irish Dancers! Check out the video below when they were featured on Conan.

As many artists are gearing up for their Spring and early Summer album releases, it begs the questions: are albums still important? Sure we all know that music matters, but does the physical album, vinyl or otherwise, still have a candle to hold in this digital day and age?

Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy has a few thoughts on the subject. In a recent article from Chicago radio station 93XRT, Tweedy says he is “not worried about the ‘experts’ saying that the album is a music medium that is dying out.” He continued saying, “an album is a journey…It invites you into its environment and tells a story. I enjoy albums, and I assume that if I enjoy them there must be others who feel the same.” (Read complete article here.)

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While personally I agree with Tweedy—my personal record collection continues to grow much more rapidly than my digital one—many do not. The vinyl resurgence has been condemned as a fad, kitsch, hipster and a waste. Yet Jack White, whose Third Man Records label played a major role in the increase in vinyl sales, is hopeful about the resurgence of vinyl. White says “All of those people who preach the gospel of the vinyl; it’s all come back into the mainstream…It’s an incredible resurgence. It’s the only part of the music business that’s growing in sales…”  (View complete video of this interview here.)

For White and many of his disciples, vinyl is the best way to listen to music at home. The warm tone is often referred to as the way music is supposed to be listened to. The vinyl resurgence has also promoted creativity. Many artists include special features in their vinyl packages, like their own artwork on record sleeves, to create a more holistic creative experience rather than just downloading an album from iTunes.

So what do you think? Are albums still important to the music world, or will our digital age continue to reign?

This week we feature another astounding planner: Clementine Custom Events. Not only do they have one of my favorite company names, but they are great woman to work with, incredibly helpful, cordial, and really put their clients needs first. See below for our conversation with the lovely ladies of Clementine.

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How and why did you get started in the wedding planning business?
My involvement in the wedding planning business evolved over my career in off-premise catering. I began coordinating social affairs in 2005 and was given the opportunity to really focus my attention to the wedding business with I joined Clementine in 2012.

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What are some of the main services you offer and how do they set you apart from other competitors?
We offer month-of coordination, full-planning and everything in between. I feel that the “Custom” in Clementine Custom Events really speaks to our core principles. It is important to us to really take the time to listen to the needs of our clients and what they wish for their special day. From there, we work as a team to prepare a plan that will best suit their needs, while providing expert guidance within the evolving wedding landscape.

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What are some things couples should consider when creating a design/style for their wedding?
Take the time with your significant other to jot down how you both envision your day and what is most important to you. Keep the top three elements top of mind as you begin to research, brainstorm and make decisions. I also recommend envisioning how you will feel when you look back on your wedding day photos 10, 20, 30 years from now. Sometimes that point of reference can really help in making decisions on design and style.

 

How do you go about interpreting a couple’s vision and designing a unique look or style for an event?
I feel that this can be an evolving process. Many times we will prepare a thorough plan based on the preliminary design thoughts, and use this as our guide for the duration. Thoughtful vendor selections for who will enhance the design plan is incredibly important. Of course, as important as it is to listen and reconfirm direction, it is equally important to be flexible. As we all know, plans change.

What key qualities should couples look for when choosing a planner?
Experience
Responsiveness
Trustworthiness
And comfort…you are hiring this professional to be a partner in one of the most special moments of your lives.

What part of your job do you find the most satisfying and the most challenging?
My catering background will always be a major factor in my love of this job. I find the production and logistics of the day challenging and satisfying. I also have to say that my most favorite moments in every wedding day is sending the bride down the aisle, a fluid dinner service, and seeing our timeline tick along with ease.

What is the craziest event story you can share?
My lips are sealed ;)

For more information, check out the Clementine website here.

As we inch closer to wedding season, we thought we would take a look at some trends we’ve seen that are sure to reappear in 2015!

1. Wedding Attire

For men, we’ve seen an increase in blue and navy suits, rather than traditional black or gray (although gray is still prevalent.) For the bridal party, brides not longer feel pigeonholed in the traditional cookie-cutter choices for their bridesmaid dresses. They are choosing bold prints and patterns that reflect their style and are very fun! Check out these sequined dresses and this simple pink print!Paul+Jessica380Chicago printed bridesmaid dress

2. Indie Music

Couples are also feeling free to play their favorite music during their reception. Rather than sticking to just the Top 40 dance music, many couples are slowing it down during dinner with eclectic indie rock groups, highlighting singer/songwriters and indie bands that they love.Kowalski0434-L copy

3. Family-Style Receptions

For many couples, table décor is becoming less formal and more family style. They feature colorful and comfortable table decorations that make everyone feel at home in their seat.paper antler - 0002(1)

4. Personalized Cocktails/Hors d’oeuvres

Couple are also personalizing their cocktails and guest favors to reflect their personal preference. From unique personalized cocktails named after the bride and groom to this party favor that plays off the couple’s first dance song (Tupelo Honey by Van Morrison) adding that personal touch is sure to be a hit!BeckyBrown0724

5. Technological Innovations

Broadcasting your wedding for out-of-town loved ones has also been a trend. With friends living out of state or abroad, or parents and family haling from all over the world, couples are coming up with creative ways to use Skype, FaceTime, or other broadcasting video services so other family members can tune into the special day.Guests snap their own photos of the bride and groom at a Chicago wedding

6. Music Requests

Finally, for those special dances songs, we at Stitely have already seen an increase in requests for Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” for the First Dance and Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk” for dancing!

For more trends from other sources, check out this great post on Wedding Wire here.

When one thinks of wedding planning, certain things often come to mind. For many it’s all things bridal–lace, pink flowers, and possibly bridezillas. But with both men and women establishing themselves in their careers and have busier lives before tying the knot, the load of wedding planning is starting to be more equally distributed.

Take a look at the following articles that include interviews with grooms-to-be who feel their opinions and responsibilities should be equal to those of their fiancé.

Grooms as wedding planners?

Grooms Playing Bigger Role in Planning

What do you think? Are weddings still all about the bride? Or should both parties be equally represented in the event?

This weekend folk duo The Milk Carton Kids and singer/songwriter Sarah Jarosz teamed up in a collaboration tour and headed to Milwaukee, WI for a Halloween performance. While listening to mellow folk tunes may not be everyone’s ideal Halloween night, it was truly a show worth seeing! The musicians even got in the Halloween spirit during the encore! Check out the link to their encore performance (feat. “Joni Mitchell” and “Simon & Garfunkel”) below!