I have DJ'd a ton of weddings with my company, Michael Rock Music. Over the years, I've noticed a pattern of things brides and grooms can do to ensure their reception is particularly memorable. Here's my list:

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1. The Venue. When it comes to making your wedding memorable...this ABSOLUTELY tops the list. Let's face it, it's simply more exciting to attend a wedding at a mystical castle than the same place you went for your Dad's retirement party...and your work holiday party...and for the after hours of your grandmother's funeral. The more unique the location, the more your wedding will stand out. Consider having your wedding at a waterfront property. We live on the Southcoast, so take full advantage of any one of the nearby waterfront venues.

2. The Food. This is the second most important aspect to your wedding. People REMEMBER the food....both good and bad. My recommendation is to not get crazy fancy. My favorite is always a good, solid buffet with a bunch of different meat options. I attended one wedding a few years ago that had an INCREDIBLE cocktail hour selection of appetizers. It featured an ENORMOUS Chinese food box filled to the brim with pork fried rice, then surrounded by fried shrimp, chicken fingers, egg rolls, etc. People LOVED it. And...out of ALL of the weddings I've done...I still remember it years later.  The presentation was unique and the Chinese appetizers were delicious.

3. Open Bar. I'm NOT a drinker. At all. But if you can swing it...DO IT. An open bar can be less expensive than you'd think, but can really change the mood of the crowd. Just be sure to check out #4 before you book your bartenders.

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4. Shuttle bus service. If you have guests coming in from out of town...try to encourage them to stay at the same hotel. Arrange for a shuttle bus service back to the hotel after the reception. Your guests can relax and enjoy their adult beverages without having to worry about who is driving them at the end of the night. This makes a BIG difference.

5.  Smash the cake!  Guests LOVE to see the bride smash a little wedding cake in the groom's face.  It gets the crowd rowdy.  For best results...have the groom go first.  He's super sweet and gentle to the bride.  The bride goes next...and let's him have it.  People love it.  The cake smash sets the tone that it's going to be a fun and carefree night.

6. What to avoid.  Avoid daytime wedding receptions...people are less likely to dance in the afternoon.  Also, avoid having your wedding reception the night before a work/school day.  Avoid having a bar set up away from (or in a different room than) the dance floor.  Avoid seating old people near the DJ's speakers.  Avoid line dances and dollar dances.  Most brides are avoiding the bouquet and garter....just get right to the party!

7. Less is more. Don't be the bride that plans a marathon wedding. PT Barnum once said, "Always leave them wanting more." It is the Golden Rule of show business...and it applies to your wedding. The last thing you want is people checking their watches wondering how much longer your reception will last. Don't forget...attending a wedding is a long, sometimes tiring day for a guest. Guests wake up, get suited up, sometimes travel, sit through a ceremony, sometimes travel again to the reception venue, cocktail hour, dinner, dancing...then they face a drive home. Trust PT Barnum. Have your wedding end on a high note.  Less is more.  I strongly recommend a 5 hour wedding.

And here's a bonus one.

8.  Book your vendors early!  The best vendors can get scooped up quickly...especially if you are getting married on a prime wedding date.  There are only a finite number of Saturdays June through October.  It's not unusual for the premier wedding vendors to be book over a year in advance (sometimes more).  Identify which vendors will make the most impact on your wedding day and book them in that order.  You'll DEFINITELY want to attend the Fun 107 Wedding Show on January 28th, 2018 at White's of Westport.  It is a terrific place to start!