At every wedding reception, there are a number of special dances – the first dance for the bride and groom, an anniversary dance, mother-son and father-daughter dances, etc. However, an important special dance for any wedding reception is the last song of the evening. As with any special dance, it can be hard to know where to start when it comes to choosing a song.
Here at Stitely Entertainment, we believe it comes down to one simple question: Do you want to end the evening on a sweet note or with a high-energy vibe?
Ending the night sweetly often takes the form of a ballad or a song that holds a great deal of sentimental meaning. Examples include, “Our Love is Here to Stay,” John Legend’s “Stay With You,” “Lean On Me,” or “Can’t Help Falling in Love with You.”
High-energy songs get everyone in the room out on the dance floor! Think popular songs that everyone knows and loves and will be guaranteed to create a celebration. For instance, “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey – a song played in every college bar. Another example would be “Beginnings” by Chicago. A tune with a great horn section, message, and groove. Other examples include, “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life,” “Raise Your Glass: by P!nk, or “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.”
Jeff Stitely adds that the last song of the evening should create a “unified field” or a sense of oneness with everyone gathered for the wedding – a way for everyone to participate in celebrating the bride and groom’s new life together.
Having trouble deciding which way to go? Do what feels best to you and what fits your personal style! Ultimately, what matters is the way you want to feel at the very end of your special day.
Picture this: you’re sitting outside on a beautiful late spring day. One of your best friends has just said “I do” to the love of her life. As the happy couple turns to face the gathering of family and friends, the officiant proclaims, “It is my great pleasure to introduce, for the first time – “
Ah, there’s the variable! How exactly will they be introduced?
It’s a question many couples face while planning their weddings – not only for the first introduction at the end of the ceremony, but also for the one that happens at the beginning of the reception. Introductions range from informal and casual to traditional. And, depending upon whether or not either person is changing their last name these introductions change further.
For example, say the bride is taking her husband’s last name. On the casual side, they can be introduced as “Tom and Jane Smith.” On the very formal side, “Mr. and Mrs. Tom Smith.” And semiformal: “Mr. and Mrs. Tom and Jane Smith.”
If, however, the bride is keeping her last name, they can be introduced by their names, (“Tom Smith and Jane Johnson”) or, more formally, “Mr. and Mrs. Tom Smith and Jane Johnson.”
Or, if the couple is combining their last names, “Tom and Jane Smith-Johnson” or “Mr. and Mrs. Tom and Jane Smith-Johnson.
But hey, what if you’re not sure yet what will happen with your last names? Wondering what the current trends are?
According to the New York Times, before 1970, 14% of women kept their maiden names, though the first wave of feminism, which reached its zenith in the 1970’s, pushed that number to 17%. Things took a dip in the more conservative 1980’s, but the number of women keeping their last names has actually been on the rise again since the 1990’s, up to 22% of women in the 2010’s.
Whatever you and your fiancé decide, you have plenty of options as to how you can be introduced to your friends and loved ones on your special day. Do what feels right for you!
Ever been at a wedding and found yourself wondering about where some of these old traditions – like the ring worn on the left hand, the bouquet toss, and the tiered cake – come from? Here at Stitely, we looked into the history of some of these practices – turns out, the history of weddings is full of fascinating tidbits – some sweet, some superstitious, some strange.
1. Before 1840, brides simply wore their best dress on their wedding day. It was Queen Victoria who set the standard of wearing white for one’s wedding – at least in the Western world (whereas wearing white had already been standard practice in Japan for a long time). Fun fact: her wedding cake weighed in at 300 pounds!
2. It’s widely accepted that traditionally, wedding rings are worn on the 4th finger of the left hand. This dates back to the Roman Empire, when they believed that a vein in the 4th finger of the left hand ran directly to the heart, thus symbolizing the love and commitment between the newlyweds.
3. According to Hindu tradition, rain on your wedding day is a sign of good luck!
4. The bouquet toss, that ever-popular battle for the bridal airborne floral arrangement, has its roots in England, where women used to try to tear off pieces of the bride’s dress and bouquet to try to get some of her good luck. At this point, the bride would ditch the bouquet by throwing it over her shoulder and making a run for it! Now, the bride gathers her single female friends behind her and she throws the bouquet high in the air – and the first woman to catch it is thought to be the next one to be married.
5. And, of course, there’s the garter toss. Back in the days when couples were required to prove that their union had been consummated, relatives would be invited into the bedroom as “witnesses.” The relatives would then try to obtain pieces of clothing – undergarments were considered particularly lucky. Eventually, though, newlyweds got sick of this – to the point where the groom would toss the bride’s garter out the bedroom door so everyone would leave them alone. Now, however, the garter is tossed to the single men in the room – and the one who catches it is supposedly the one who will get married next.
Of course, weddings continue to change – some brides opt not to wear white, some people have alternatives to cake for their dessert, and some couples decide to do variations on the bouquet and garter toss or omit them all together. It’s all up to you! You can take what you like from the old traditions, and maybe create some new ones yourself.
Last time, we brought you a few tips for choosing the perfect song for your first dance. Now that you’ve picked the song, there’s the dancing part. One very common worry among brides and grooms alike is how they will look to those watching during their first dance.
In answer to this, Jeff Stitely offers a quote from one of his all-time favourite authors, Paolo Coelho:
“When I was an adolescent I envied the great ballet dancers among the kids on the block, and pretended I had other things to do at parties — like having a conversation. But in fact I was terrified of looking ridiculous, and because of that I would not risk a single step.
Until one day a girl called Marcia called out to me in front of everybody: “Come on!”
I said I did not like to dance, but she insisted.
Everyone in the group was looking, and because I was in love (love is capable of so many things!), I could refuse no further.
I did not know how to follow the steps, but Marcia did not stop; she went on dancing as if I were a Rudolf Nureyev.
“Forget the others and pay attention to the bass,” she whispered in my ear. “Try to follow its rhythm.”
At that moment I understood that we do not always have to learn the most important things; they are already part of our nature.
When we become adults, and when we grow old, we need to go on dancing. The rhythm changes, but music is part of life, and dancing is the consequence of letting this rhythm come inside us.
I still dance whenever I can. With dancing, the spiritual world and the real world manage to co-exist without any conflicts.
As somebody once said, the classic ballerinas are always on tiptoe because they are at the same time touching the earth and reaching the sky.”
Essentially, there’s no need to worry about how you look during your first dance. The dance is about sharing a special moment between you, the music, and the person you love. Just listen, be present, and let the music guide you! And remember, you’re surrounded by people who aren’t there to judge you – they love you, and they love to see you happy. They’re just enjoying the moment and sharing in the love. You’re a better dancer than you think. It’s in your nature.
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:
- Thinking Out Loud (Ed Sheeran)
- At Last (Etta James)
- You Are the Best Thing (Ray LaMontagne)
- All of Me (John Legend)
- A Thousand Years (Christina Perri)
- Make You Feel My Love (Adele)
- I Won’t Give Up (Jason Mraz)
- Everything (Michael Buble)
- Better Together (Jack Johnson)
- Amazed (Lonestar)
Join Stitely Entertainment at the Metropolitan Club this Friday, January 22nd for the 7th annual Boutique Bridal show “Love At Breathtaking Heights”.
The event is from 5:30-8:00pm and guests are invited to mingle among Chicago’s elite wedding vendors while enjoying hors d’oeuvres, signature cocktails & spectacular views.
Bridal swag bags and door prizes for guests will be available for you to enjoy.
or check it out on Facebook!
With cold weather still hanging on by a thread and wedding season just around the corner, we take a moment to look back on our favorite movie weddings. Here are our winners:
Best Wedding Music: Love Actually
This wedding was filled with surprise musicians popping up throughout the pews. Although I always wondered how no one notice some guy walking in with a trombone, this is still a sweet ceremony.
Worst (& the Most) Bridesmaids Dresses: 27 Dresses
This final scene from 27 Dresses is iconic when it comes to ridiculous bridesmaids themes and dress choices.
Most Classic: The Sound of Music
While this scene was never my favorite when I watch The Sound of Muisc as a child, I’ve come to appreciate the beauty in it. Maria has found love and the beautiful cathedral combine with her massive train evokes royalty like no one but Julie Andrews could capture. (Unless you are actually royal…)
Favorite from Childhood: The Parent Trap
If you grew up during the late 90s and Early 00s, there’s no way you missed Lindsay Lohan’s breakout role in the Parent Trap. Although I was upset for a while summer when I found out she was only one person, the final wedding scene backed by Natalie Cole’s “Everlasting Love” is still a favorite of mine.
Funniest: My Big Fat Greek Wedding
If anything, this entire movie taught us that while weddings are often stressful, what really matters is the marriage, not the actual ceremony. And also that Windex cures all.
4 Weddings and A Funeral
A Walk to Remember
Whether you’re reading this to get tips or finding ways to avoid the hipster scene, this post will let you know what details are considered “hipster.” Feel free to embrace or avoid.
1. The Dress
The style of dress you choose will often set the style tone for the whole event. Whether you choose a Bohemian hippie style or a short vintage look, there are unique ways that your attire can start the hipster vibe. Above all else, don’t get bogged down by the traditional tropes and brands—your dress should reflect your personal style, hipster or otherwise.
Your Save the Dates and Invitations will be your guests first look into the style and theme of your wedding. For a bonafide hipster invitation, be sure to team up with your favorite local artist or graphic designer to create something wholly unique for your big day. Your guests will be impressed and slowly realize that it’s not their grandma’s wedding style that they’re walking into.
For your hipster wedding, choosing a simple location will be key. Try finding a loft space or small outdoor venue that you can dress up to make it your own. If design is really important to you, then finding a blank canvas venue may be a great place to start. If you’re really going for that trademark hipster irony, try finding a more unique venue! A funky museum, an antique store or a coffee shop could make for a hipsterrific wedding experience to remember.
Again, non-traditional is key for a truly traditional wedding. Food trucks are a great funky option in place of traditional plated meals. Tacos are also really trendy and fun. For dessert, ditch the traditional cake and go for something a little more fun and surprising—ice cream sundaes, donuts, or pies are some options to name a few!
Finding a photographer that can capture your day in a way that communicates your style is really important for a hipster wedding. Not only should that photographer themselves embrace that persona, but their shooting style should as well. Be sure to check out their portfolio to see what they can do to create a lasting keepsake of your special day.
Finally, music is most certainly what makes a hipster wedding hipster. From artist choice to instrumentation, be sure to choose artists and songs that emanate your style. A Mumford-style ensemble for the ceremony, combined with an Indie music quartet for dinner and dancing could be the perfect combination for your big day. Make sure you are clear about what traditions you do and don’t want to include in your day. Your musicians will really play a big part in creating the soundtrack and mood for your day, so make sure you are on board with their style!
To truly find out if you’re at a hipster wedding, check out this fun flowchart at Refinery 29.
In light of our recent Vendor Spotlights in which we have been sharing some of our favorite planners, I thought I would highlight some reasons why planners can be incredibly helpful in making preparations for your big day!
Planners are no longer reserved only for the upper-class and extremely wealthy like they were once depicted in the movies. There is now a range of ways you can hire a planner to best fit your budget and your needs, so everyone can benefit from a little professional help on their big day. See our thoughts on why and how to make this work below:
Perks of the Planner: Although it can be really fun, planning your wedding day can quickly turn into a challenging project. Not only are brides and grooms trying to create the perfect vision for their event (a tiring task in itself), but they’re trying to do it with limited knowledge on how to put together a wedding. From catering menus to invitations to booking a rocking band for the reception, it’s all new territory for most couples. And unless you happen to have a ton of free hours every week to pore over details, it can get really stressful really fast. Brides-to-be may write off the idea of hiring a planner, thinking that they know how to throw a party or don’t have the budget for such a luxury. The reality is that the help of a professional is invaluable in letting you enjoy your day and the months leading up to it.
There are some wedding details that practically demand a planner. If you are planning on having a large wedding (100+ people) things can get complicated quickly. A professional has dealt with large guest lists in the past, and she can help you prioritize your tasks and help you make choices that will satisfy your expectations, as well as those of your family and friends. Even if you have a smaller crowd, it can be a good idea to hire a wedding planner if you are holding your ceremony or reception in a location that is atypical. For example, a wedding held in a museum, park or historic home can be a beautiful and unique choice, but that also means there could be less wedding-specific assistance and a lot of unknown factors. This is a time when hiring someone who has spent years planning events comes in handy.
A professional planner can also save you money through their established connections with local wedding vendors.
Not for Everyone: If you are holding your wedding in a full service location (i.e. a banquet hall) you may be able to take advantage of an in-house planner who can assist with the catering, seating, and music set-up. Couples who plan to have a small, intimate wedding may also be able to handle the details themselves, though that depends on the wedding location and time limitations of the couple. (No matter the size, it’s always good to have help planning a destination wedding).
A Happy Medium: Brides who like the idea of having a professional on their team but don’t think they have the budget for it still have some options. Consider hiring a “day of” coordinator. These wedding planners will learn your wedding details a few weeks beforehand and manage the day from start to finish. They confirm details with all booked vendors and arrive on the day of the event, clipboard in hand, to make sure that everything runs smoothly. Even if you spend your days, weeks and months leading up to your wedding in a planning tizzy, the day of the event is really when the planner is clutch. If you’re going to have a planner in any capacity, the day of the event is the number one day to utilize that resource.
After all the planning and preparing is done, sometimes we forget that a successful event isn’t about how well it went as planned, but rather, its impact lies in how much our guests enjoyed it. The following are some tips for you bride-to-be’s on how to give yourself the space and freedom to enjoy your wedding day!
1. Delegate someone—your best man, maid of honor, a family member—that will be responsible for communication between you and the bandleader/emcee throughout the night. They can let the band know if they’re too loud, too fast, too slow, etc. so you don’t have to deal with any awkward tensions. They can also help you both remember things like eating your dinner! On such a crazy night with so many people to say hello to, it’s easy to forget these major things. Make sure you’ve chosen one person as your right-hand man to watch your back throughout the night.
2. Hire a great bandleader/emcee. The best bandleaders take responsibility for the success of your evening. They should notice important details like confirming the photographer is in the room before making any introductions for toasts, or ensuring silverware is on the cake table before announcing the cake cutting. The bandleader should also be in communication with the catering manager and other vendors to help with the flow of the evening.
3. When creating your seating chart, seat the older guests farther away from the band, and younger guests closer. Some older guests may appreciate being away from the loud noises, and the younger guests will most likely add the energy to the dance floor that every good party needs.
4. If you can, have the bar near the dance floor. If you put the bar outside the main room, it will be much harder to keep the dance floor filled. People will go out to get a drink, get involved in conversation and not make it back to the dance floor for quite a while. If the drinks and dancing are side-by-side, you’ve set yourself up for a consistently filled dance floor
5. Have a good time! This is the day you’ve been dreaming about and working so hard for—enjoy it! Instead of wondering, “are things going as planned?” the whole night, forget the itinerary and soak up all the little moments—even and especially the unplanned ones! Leave the double-checking to the professionals and have yourself a joy-filled and memorable night.