Wednesday, April 24, 2013

7 Secrets to Sucessfully Working with Your Wedding Band!

7 Secrets to Successfully Working with Your Wedding Band!

Today, we are looking at tips on how to work with your wedding band!  Now, instead of the team at Liven It Up just giving our opinions, we thought it would be great to have the expert in his field, David Rothstein with David Rothstein Music weighs in on what it takes to make your experience with working with a wedding band a success!

Here is what David had to say!
1. Communicate Regularly. If you have any questions, updates, or concerns with either the schedule or repertoire, email the music company right away so that they can take the necessary action. Set up at least 2 meetings with your band leader prior to your wedding. If you live out of state, use one of the screen sharing programs with your band leader, such as Join.Me. This will allow you and your band leader to be looking at the exact same schedule at the same time.

2. Keep Your Schedule Consistent. If you make changes to the schedule with either your wedding planner or the venue, make sure your band leader is aware of them. Even if there is a small change, such as moving toasts earlier or extending your cocktail hour by 30 minutes. All of these changes must be taken into account before preparing your final schedule. It also may require adjusting the contract and the remaining balance. The clearer your schedule is for all your vendors, the better results you’ll have for your big day.

3. Request Danceable Songs. When selecting your song requests, try to envision you actually dancing to the song. There are many songs that we all love, which are great for driving around, cleaning the house, or singing to in the shower, but don’t necessarily translate to being a great dance song. Many times that same artist will have songs that do work well for dancing. An experienced band leader will know the difference and be able to recommend some alternatives, ideally by the same artist. You can also tell your band leader you love Motown, The Beatles, and Sinatra, without having to provide specific songs. The same applies for songs you don’t want to have played. Don’t feel that you need to give your band leader a list of 75 songs. We need to have the flexibility to adjust to the crowd. All of your requests will be honored, but it’s important to trust the experience and judgement of the band leader as to what’s going to be best to keep your dance floor packed.

4. Put Your Requests In Early. Submit any song requests that aren’t in your bands current repertoire as early as possible. All great music companies are happy to learn any song you request, but there is a process that does involve some time and effort to make it happen.

5. Ask Us for Advice. If you’re looking for a suggestion for a father/daughter dance, don’t be afraid to ask the band leader. They have likely performed hundreds of weddings and can give you some recommendations to choose from. That’s the benefit of hiring a high quality music company to perform your wedding. They have all the resources and experience to make sure you get the ideal results for your wedding.

6. Create Memorable Moments. Tell them if there are any unusual songs, special dedications, anniversaries, or birthdays that you would like to have acknowledged for your wedding. If you both went to the same college, you might want to include your college fight song. If you have many friends from New York, you may want to request New York, New York. If there are any specific ethnic songs you would like to have included, communicate that as well with your band leader. This ability to customize the songs for your wedding will add a personal touch that all your guests will really appreciate.

7. Dance! At your wedding, be sure to spend time dancing and trust that your band leader will keep your dance floor packed based on the songs that you have requested to play and will avoid the songs you’ve requested to not have played. By both of you being on the dance floor all night, will definitely inspire all your guests to join you. Make sure you don’t have your photo booth, bar, or sweet table in an adjacent room while dancing is going on, as this may dilute your wedding. Do your very best to keep all of your wedding related activities in the same room. You’ve done your homework, you’ve helped prepare the schedule and song requests. Now it’s your time, simply be the Bride and Groom and enjoy the moment!

What makes DRM different than average bands?


We provide all our couples and clients like you with consistently packed dance floors, custom tailored schedules, a state of the art sound system, and so much more. Our events range from 400 guests at the Drake Hotel to a dinner party with 30 of their closest friends. Our goal is to make your event a 100% success based on your specific needs. We also provide our clients like you with special resources that you can tap into to make your schedule and music fit in with exactly what you envision. The bottom line is that we listen to you more than the average wedding band.
To learn more about David, visit his website at and see how he can make your wedding band experience a memorable one!

All photos have been provided by David Rothstein Music and their website at

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

7 Tips on Keeping Your Wedding Flower Budget in Check!

One of the areas that we think is driving up wedding budgets these days is in the floral and decor department!  Now, don’t get us wrong, we love Pinterest and all of the online sources that display wonderful ideas for weddings, but sometimes, it can get overwhelming and the simple looking arrangements and ideas can cost more than you would think!  Here are our secrets on how to keep your wedding flower budget in check!

1.  Setting a Reasonable Wedding Flower Budget.  Liven It Up Events is located in Chicago, the third largest city in the country.  Our costs, by far, tend to be on the high side for most things like a 10.75% sales tax, parking in a garage downtown for an hour can cost $28, and flowers for a wedding can get pricey!  See what you need from your florist.  Start with a list of personal flowers, Bridal Bouquet, Groom’s Boutonniere, wedding party flowers, parent flowers, grandparents, ushers, readers, flower girls and ring bearers.  Then, look at what you need for the ceremony.  Alter arrangements, chuppah, mondop, aisle runner, flowers for the aisle, flowers for the back of the aisle and so on.  Then think about your guest count.  How many people will you have your wedding, assuming you have those folks at 8 – 10 people per table, plus your table, sweet heart or head table, place card table, cocktail tables and so on!  There is much to think about!  If you have a large wedding party (say 8 on both sides) and more personal flowers, an elaborate set up for ceremony, 200 guests and so on, your flower budget is going to be more than $1,500.00!  Set a realistic number and then you can start configuring on how to save in some areas and spend where the money will make an impact on the design and perception of the room.

2.  Making Your Personal Flowers, Count!  What has been more and more common, that couples have been doing and florists have been doing is to save some dollars for a couple is to reuse the personal flowers, mainly the bouquets from the bridesmaids, as table decor for a long head table.  All they need are the vases, and with some candles and a small amount of loose blooms to spread out on the table, a long head table can be turned into a luscious table setting with flowers already accounted for!
Using bridal bouquets on the head table for flowers! 

3.  Ceremony Flowers Are Your Reception Flowers!?  Another way to save on your bottom line is to use some of the reception flowers down the aisle, and maybe taller pieces on rented pedestals at the front of the ceremony space, so you get the maximum amount of use out of your arrangements.  Just keep in mind this only works if the ceremony is in the same space as your reception!  Look at the example below!
IMG_5594 IMG_5598

4.  To Have An Aisle Runner or Not?  We have been finding that aisle runners are used about 50% of the time these days.  If you are in a church, there are some churches that do not allow runners!  In some private venues, the flooring is beautiful and does not require one either.  Think about how important this is for you and then see if you really need one!  If you do not, you can save some money right there!

5.  Lows & Highs for Your Wedding Reception.  You might think what are lows and highs when it comes to a wedding reception, right?  Well, in floral terms, low and high arrangements mean how tall they are.  The low pieces, tend to be more cost effective options than tall arrangements.  They can also be designed to be used down your aisle.  The talls can make that “WOW” impact on their guests as they walk into the wedding reception, not to mention that can be used to flank your alter to create beauty!   Now, to maximize what you have, you can split up the number of how many arrangements you do.  If you have 20 tables, split the amount of lows and highs.  This way you get the “WOW” and your budget will not take a huge hit!
Wedding at The Newberry Library with Lows & Talls Centerpieces!

6.  Candles, Props, Vases, Oh My!  Tons of votive candles, (make sure they are at least 10 hour votives!) can help transform a room.  If you can put candles on ledges, window sills, and all around the room, it will help create a fantastic ambiance for you.  Adding props like candelabras, logs, or birch pedestals, can get costly, but again, if you use them in the impact areas, head table, a few of the guest tables, they can be used to create the “WOW” factor!  And when it comes to vases, clear glass is the most cost effective.

7.  Flower Collections, Blue Mason Jars, and Vintage Vases.  These are the items that can get costly.  Collection of flowers on a table can be an assortment of 3 – 5 vases, with flowers in each vase, candles around and maybe loose blooms around them.  These become costly because of the labor.  It takes a team to get a room of these type of arrangements set up.  Remember, each one of these tables have 5 vases, 6 candles, the flowers and water to go in them.  To make them look fantastic, they have to arranged individually on site!  Blue Mason Jars and Vintage Vases, depending on the season, can be hard to find and can be expensive!  We LOVE collections, mason jars, and vintage, and think they can be used, again, using them in certain areas, not on every table will help the overall flower budget work for you in best!

Thanks for reading our wedding flower tips!  If you have questions or comments, feel free to leave them below!

Until next time…. happy planning!
The Team at Liven It Up Events

****All photographs have been taken by Liven It Up Events

Thursday, April 11, 2013

7 Secrets to Planning A Wedding in a Chicago Venue

It seems to be more and more common, that planning a wedding, a wedding in a Chicago venue specifically, can be challenging.  Not looking for a ballroom feel, something modern, unique, different has been all of the rage for years.  Hosting a wedding in a photography studio, flower shop, loft, warehouse, museum, or privately owned space really is what Liven It Up Events is all about!  Here are our 7 Tips of Planning a Success Wedding in a Chicago Venue. 

1.  Set your budget and understand costs before you book the venue.  You must understand all of the items that go into planning a wedding in a venue. Make sure you have some understanding on costs on what is included in the venue rental rate, catering, and decor.  Remember, you have to have music, a photographer, dress, transportation, invitations, hair, make-up, videography, valet, and so on!  Make sure you know everything that goes into planning a wedding before you make a decision on any venue!

2.  Make sure your venue has hosted weddings and events before.  There are new venues popping up all over the place and there is nothing wrong with that.  If the person in charge has experience in weddings, that is a great sign that your wedding will be a success!

3.  Hiring a professional and reliable caterer.  Catering has come a long way from dried chicken and mushy vegetables.  There are a multitude of caterers out there that will do a phenomenal job catering weddings.  Ask your venue manager if they have a list of caterers that they prefer!  The wedding industry is all about referrals.  The more great things you hear about a company, the better they will most likely do on your wedding day!

4.  Hiring an experience decor or florist that has worked in the venue.  Understanding how a venue works, as in what the lighting is like in a space a certain time of the day or the rules of loading into and set-up for the space.  Some venues literally give you an hour to set up.  Having a decor team that knows how to work under this pressure is key!

5.  Making your guests feel comfortable.  When guests walk into a venue, especially those family members who might never have dreamed to see a wedding in a photography studio or warehouse!  What you can do to make them feel comfortable comes in your timing.  Make sure that you include things that are familiar to them, like a cocktail hour, toasts or speeches, formal dances with parents, cake cutting.  You know, the wedding things!  Great food, great drinks, and great music make for a fabulous wedding no matter where you are.  Just make it “look” like a wedding and it will be a success!

6.  Keep it simple… when it comes to the extras!  Most venues are what we call same day in and out.  That means whatever is needed for the wedding day, any DIY projects, toasting flutes, cake knife & server, favors, menu cards, place cards, etc, have to come into the venue on the day of the wedding and leave that evening.  It’s important to put your stamp on your wedding, just remember you may have to think about those items at the end of the night!

7.  Have a Day of Coordinator assist you in planning your wedding.    If you budget can allow it, we know more and more and more, that our Day of Couples are glad they had us!  We were able to help them with all of the above and make sure that the wedding day runs smoothly from start to finish!  To learn more, visit our website here!
Hope that this is helpful to you in planning your wedding in a cool venue!