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!

https://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/28/upshot/maiden-names-on-the-rise-again.html?_r=0

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.

 

Sources:

https://www.theknot.com/content/wedding-traditions-superstitions-facts-trivia

http://www.infoplease.com/spot/weddinglore1.html

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)

 

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.

Copy of logo TM

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.

When many people think about karaoke, there are usually a few things that come to mind. For some it’s a fun night out at a bar with friends, gladly making a fool of yourself. For others it’s disco balls, flashing lights and the cheesy bouncing balls that hops from word to word on a screen, accompanied by computerized melodies of your mom’s favorite songs. These were my ideas about karaoke before I started working at Stitely Entertainment and learned how cool karaoke can be when accompanied with a live band.

So, how does it work? To successfully channel your inner rock star via live band karaoke there are a few things one should know. First, even people who are a little on the shyer side can fully participate in this activity. To make people feel more comfortable we provide sunglasses, boas, hats and fun costumes to break the ice a bit and bring them out of their shell—so don’t let stage fright keep you from participating!

Secondly, we have a huge selection of songs just waiting to be chosen. Not only do we play the top pop hits of today, but you can also choose from classic rock, Motown, classic standards, country, indie music—anything that floats your boat, we’ve got it covered. Although we don’t have the fun bouncing ball to keep you in time, we do provide the lyrics on stage, as well as a top-notch professional band to keep you on track. The singers adjust to your comfort level—if you’re feeling confident they let you lead the way adding background and harmonies, or if you’re a little more nervous they help you start each line on time. Either way, having professional singer backing you up and joining in on the fun is an experience unique to Live Band Karaoke.

Finally, there are even options to sit in on percussion instruments, or even guitar if you’re really talented!

At what kind of events does live band karaoke work the best?

We’ve found that LBK works well for any group that wants to be interactive and have a great time showing off their talent and having a moment being a rock star. Corporate events—where people are gathered to have a good time and bond as coworkers—are a great example. We’ve have companies split guests into teams and have them perform together. This breaks the ice and creates great camaraderie!

LBK also works well at bar and bat mitzvahs, especially if the boy or girl is into singing and music. We’ve even done LBK at a wedding! A couple that met singing karaoke decided they wanted to incorporate it into their celebration, so a karaoke wedding was born. The bride and groom sang 4 or 5 songs each and were really talented! Many of the guests regularly sang karaoke as well so it was a blast.

In the end, Live Band Karaoke is really a major step up from the regular karaoke with a machine. The quality of the backing music, the personalization that is available, and the energy that is created in the room when a live band is performing cannot be matched. When the lights are shining on you and all your friends are clapping and yelling and supporting you, it really is like being a rock star—it’s exhilarating!

For companies who want to do something extra special, we can also bring in a video team and project the performers onto a live screen in real time. Check out our star cam in action in the video below!

Happy New Year one and all! Here at Stitely we are so looking forward to what this year has in store for us. Some vendors we’re looking forward to working with again in 2015 include:

LK Events

Clementine Custom Events

Big City Bride

Café Brauer

Kenilworth Club

Warwick Allerton Hotel

Art Institute of Chicago

…and many more!

One of our resolutions this year is to take more photos and document more beautiful moments! Luckily we had some experts to pick up our slack in 2014. Let’s take a look back at some best moments from some of our favorite events in 2014. (Each photo links to photographer’s page) Enjoy!

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Here’s to another rockin’ year!

 

If you’ve watched any TV this holiday season, it’s likely you’ve come across Acura’s commercial featuring a familiar holiday tune – “I Wish It Was Christmas Today.” You’ll remember the original version from the maroon-clad foursome Horatio Sans, Jimmy Fallon, Chris Kattan & Tracy Morgan on Saturday Night Live in 2000. This hilarious song was an immediate SNL classic.

The version featured in the commercial (as well as topping my holiday playlist) is former Strokes’ lead singer Julian Casablancas’ 2009 cover of the comedy sketch.

Both videos are featured here—which one to do you enjoy more?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFfXqz1h5AY

 

Wedding days are exciting. They are days to look ahead at what is to come for the newly-married couple and mark the first day of the rest of their lives. While weddings are often future-oriented events, they are also times when families look back on where they came from. Many brides choose to celebrate their ancestors in unique ways. Here are some of our favorites from this year:

1. Photos of Grandparents

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[Photo by Averyhouse Photography]

I’ve always loved when couples set up photos of their parents and grandparents on their wedding days. Not only is it fun to look back and see how your family has changed, but it’s also a nice way to remember those who have passed. (Laughing at the old fashion choices is always a blast as well!)

2. “Something Old”

00068_081714[Photo by Cage + Acquarium]

The age old tradition of incorporating “something old” into the bride’s ensemble is still alive and well. The photo above notes the women in this bride’s family who all wore the same garter!

3. Vintage Voice Recordings

View More: http://brittamariephotography.pass.us/kim-john[Photo by Britta Marie Photography]

This year we also had the unique opportunity to be a part of a fun surprise between father & daughter. The bride incorporated a recording of herself as a child into her Father-Daughter Dance. When her dad heard the 4-year-old bride singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” there wasn’t a dry eye in the place!

How have you incorporated media from the past into your wedding plans?

View More: http://brittamariephotography.pass.us/kim-john

Photo by Britta Marie

When it comes to weddings and technology, couples have a lot of choices. Do we create a wedding hashtag? Do we encourage our guests to Instagram the day and offer well wishes on Facebook and Twitter? While many couples embrace technology,  a new trend is starting to emerge–unplugged weddings. Many couples are choosing to ask their guests to be fully present during the day by putting their phones away and leaving the photography to the professionals. The hope is that people would engage more with each other and enjoy the day in-person rather than through their phone screens. Besides, who wants to be that guy holding up his iPad trying to get a good shot of the couple while blocking the view of everyone behind him?

So what do you think? Should guests be keeping their electronics away during the wedding, or should we encourage celebrating on all social media platforms? Comment below!