How to Hire Vendors for Your Unique Hudson Valley Wedding

While all couples should have a firm budget in mind for their wedding that they are comfortable with and that they can work within effectively, it’s also important to consider this question when planning your wedding: Who are my wedding vendors?

Hudson Valley Wedding First Dance at Villa Borghese with DJ Bri Swatek Courtesy of Owl's Eye Studios

Hudson Valley Wedding First Dance at Villa Borghese with DJ Bri Swatek Courtesy of Owl’s Eye Studios

It sounds like a simple question, but the truth–as always–can be a bit more complicated. In fact, this question actually answers a second question which all couples do consider at some point: Why are all of these wedding vendors’ prices so different?

Here’s the truth: full-time, professional wedding vendors set prices that are a reflection of the time, effort, quality, and service that they will provide for your once-in-a-lifetime event.

First, are your wedding vendors full-time wedding professionals? If they are, chances are you’re going to have a vendor who is responsive to your emails and calls, and treats your wedding as the most important event on their calendar that day. If your vendor is not a full-time wedding professional, it’s good to find out if a) they’re a wedding vendor first with a related sideline second to bring in a little extra income outside of the wedding season, or b) it’s the opposite: being a wedding vendor is really a part-time job for them and they have another career that takes up the majority of their time and energy. Imagine doing your own job as a part-time, weekend sideline–would you be able to do it effectively?

Second, who is actually coming to work at your wedding? If you signed a contract with a company that has several staff members, who is the actual person who will be working at your wedding? Make certain you know *who* your vendor is going to be on your big day.

Hudson Valley Wedding Cake Cutting at Patriot Hills Set to Music and Uplighting by DJ Bri Swatek Courtesy of Custom by Nicole

Hudson Valley Wedding Cake Cutting at Patriot Hills Set to Music and Uplighting by DJ Bri Swatek Courtesy of Custom by Nicole

There are many great companies in the Hudson Valley that offer multiple DJs, photographers, etc. for you to choose from for your event. They offer the opportunity for you to see samples of their work and meet with your personal vendor before the big day. However, there are also a number of services in the tri-state area that offer “too good to be true” prices for “someone” to come work at your wedding.

I’ve said this many times in my career as a DJ, MC, and event host: the words “surprise” and “wedding” rarely go together well. You should know exactly who your wedding vendors are and you should have the opportunity to be totally comfortable with them well in advance of the big day. Anything less than that feeling of complete confidence is not worth it.

Hudson Valley Wedding First Dance at the Villa Borghese Set to Music by DJ Bri Swatek Courtesy of Majestic Studios

Hudson Valley Wedding First Dance at the Villa Borghese Set to Music by DJ Bri Swatek Courtesy of Majestic Studios

Here’s an example from a bride named Lauren who confesses that she “made a mistake” and “took the cheap photographer route,” only to regret it after her wedding:

Lauren’s Wedding Story: “I Took the Cheap Photographer Route”
You can hear it in Lauren’s voice as she tells her story: she regrets her decision to not hire a wedding professional.

In addition, consider what professional Hudson Valley wedding photographer Autumn Thomes has to say on why

“Hiring Professional Hudson Valley and CT Wedding Vendors Matters!”
Clearly, Autumn has had the privilege of working with some great Hudson Valley wedding vendors, but she has also seen some vendor horror stories that could really ruin your big day.

Madison, Wisconsin photographers Primavera Studios further highlight the importance of paying for the time and effort that goes into quality wedding photography when they answer the question,

Why Does Good Wedding Photography Cost What It Does?
Most of this article could really apply to any of the Hudson Valley wedding vendors you are considering for your big day.

At I Found The Place, Stacie Tamaki asks the question

How Much Should Your Wedding DJ Cost?
and encourages couples to raise their expectations when it comes to a wedding DJ’s level of professional service at your once-in-a-lifetime event.

Taking her own personal “horror stories and success stories” as a bride “into account,” Jill Tooley at Best Hudson Valley Wedding Ever offers “seven red flags to watch for when you’re interviewing/researching wedding vendors”:

7 Signs It May Be Time to Find a New Wedding Vendor

Moral of the story: “It’s your wedding, not anyone else’s.”

Hudson Valley Wedding DJ Bri Swatek at Christo's Courtesy of Cheryl Bolton-Reuter Photography

Hudson Valley Wedding DJ Bri Swatek at Christo’s Courtesy of Cheryl Bolton-Reuter Photography

Don’t ever be afraid to ask your wedding vendors any of the following questions:

– Are you a full-time wedding professional?
– How many years of experience do you have in the wedding business?
– Why did you decide to become a wedding vendor?
– What do you enjoy most about being a wedding professional?
– How many weddings do you work per year?
– How many weddings do you (or does your company) work in one day?
– Do you ever “subcontract” your work out to other wedding vendors?
– If we hire your company, who will be working at our wedding?
– Are you registered as a legitimate business? (DBA, Inc., or LLC)
– Are you a member of a professional association?
– Are you insured for liability?
– Do you use professional equipment?
– Do you provide backup equipment at my wedding?
– What’s *your* backup plan?
– What happens if I cancel the wedding or need to change the date of the wedding?
– When will you arrive on my wedding day?
– Will you be suitably dressed for our wedding?
– Will you be willing listen to me, and follow my plans for my wedding?
– What are your pricing packages, options, and services offered?
– How much is your deposit, how do payments work, and what methods of payment do you accept?
– Do you provide a written contract?
– Can I have references and contact information from previous customers?
– Can I have references and contact information from other wedding professionals?

The American Disc Jockey Association provides questions like these, as well as things to look for in your vendors’ potential answers, online. While the ADJA article is mainly focused on hiring a DJ, these questions could easily be applied to most of the wedding vendors you are looking to hire for your big day.

Hudson Valley Wedding Dance Party at Le Chambord Set to Music by DJ Bri Swatek Courtesy of Elissa I Davidson Photography

Hudson Valley Wedding Dance Party at Le Chambord Set to Music by DJ Bri Swatek Courtesy of Elissa I Davidson Photography

Once you begin looking at true professionals as vendors for your wedding, you will find that while there are always differences in packages, options, and approaches to your big day, the price range for quality service is actually fairly consistent in the Hudson Valley. As always, you get what you pay for!

Need help looking for professional wedding vendors to make your big day the best it can be? Start with the list of true wedding professionals located on this blog: Your Unique Hudson Valley Wedding, including recommended

– Venues and Locations,
– Caterers,
– Photographers,
– Videographers,
– Florists,
– Photo Booth vendors,
– and much, much more!

Congratulations on your upcoming wedding!

Bri

__________

DJ Bri Swatek, Spinning with Style
Your DJ for Your Unique Style
in the Hudson Valley of New York

Email: briswatek@gmail.com
Phone: 845.235.0080
Online: www.djbriswatek.com

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Jill and David’s Favorite Music, Colors, and Style Create a Unique Theme for Their Hudson Valley Wedding

Uplighting in Red by DJ Bri Swatek Bride and Groom's Table at a Hudson Valley Wedding at The Links at Union Vale

Uplighting in Red by DJ Bri Swatek Bride and Groom's Table at a Hudson Valley Wedding at The Links at Union Vale

Looking to create a unique theme for your Hudson Valley wedding? 

Read here how my bride and groom Jill and David incorporated their favorite music, colors, and style into their “Beatles Love in Black, White and Red” wedding on Best Hudson Valley Wedding Ever.

Special thanks to Stephanie and Jeff Padovani for interviewing Jill and posting her wedding reviews of The Links at Union Vale, WishIMay Photography, and my disc jockey service, DJ Bri Swatek, Spinning with Style, on their fantastic website, Best Hudson Valley Wedding Ever.

While you’re there, check out my featured interview on Best Hudson Valley Wedding Ever as well, here.

Thanks Steph for capturing all the fun we had talking about wedding planning and turning it into a great article for Hudson Valley brides and grooms!

Congratulations on your upcoming wedding,

Bri

________________________________________________________

DJ Bri Swatek, Spinning with Style
Your Professional Disc Jockey and MC Service
in the Hudson Valley of New York

Email:   briswatek@aol.com
Phone:  845.235.0080
Online:   www.djbriswatek.com

DJ Bri Swatek’s Featured Interview on Best Hudson Valley Wedding Ever

Check out my featured interview on Stephanie and Jeff Padovani’s website, Best Hudson Valley Wedding Ever:

http://www.besthudsonvalleyweddingever.com/how-to-plan-a-wedding/how-to-make-your-wedding-unique

.     .     .

“DJ Bri On the Fly: How To Make Your Wedding Unique”

Jeff and I met Bri Swatek of Spinning With Style quite a few years back at a Knot mixer for wedding professionals held at the incomparable Round Hill House in Washingtonville, NY.  We were immediately impressed by his eagerness to learn and his friendliness to us (his DJ competitors!)  It wasn’t long before we were personal and professional friends.

So as I attempt to bring together the best wedding planning tips and advice for Hudson Valley couples, I know we HAVE to talk to Bri.  He simply rocks when it comes to incorporating a couple’s personal style into their entertainment.

Hudson Valley Wedding DJ Bri Swatek Spinning with Style Sarah Immel Photography

Hudson Valley Wedding DJ Bri Swatek Spinning with Style Sarah Immel Photography

Jeff and I held a conversation with Bri via Skype.  Through magic of web cams, we hold a conversation, Bri in his baseball cap and jersey.  (Do I need to tell you that I am in my sweats?  Too late.)

Bri reveals some of his story…

When Bri and his wife Brenda got married, they found a place within their budget.  Their wedding could have easily become lost in the “wedding factory” environment: “Bri and Brenda in Ballroom C.”

Bri learned from his own experience that it’s vitally important to choose your color, theme and music to reflect your personality so that your wedding really stands out.

Hudson Valley Wedding DJ Bri Swatek First Dance Links at Union Vale Cheryl Bolton-Reuter Photography

Hudson Valley Wedding DJ Bri Swatek First Dance Links at Union Vale Cheryl Bolton-Reuter Photography

Ideas For Making It Personal

First, Bri urges you to take the pressure off.  “You don’t have to have an elaborate ‘theme’ to make your wedding unique,” he explains.  “It’s more about personalizing the day so that it reflects you.”

Think about what you have in common and what you like about each other.  Do you have a favorite sports team?  Different ethnic heritages?  TV shows or movies you love?

One of Bri’s couples had a travel themed wedding.  Each table was named after a destination they had visited together: the Paris table, the London table.

Another couple hosted a Yankees vs. Mets wedding to highlight their team rivalry.  Half the wedding cake was decorated with the Yankees insignia and the other half was Mets!

Still another couple held a Hawaiian luau wedding at the Grandview.  Bri found a string quartet’s Polynesia tropical version of Pachelbel’s Canon in D for the ceremony and put together a cocktail hour play list of traditional Hawaiian music and steel guitar instrumentals.  They even chose Elvis’ “Blue Hawaii” for their first dance song.

“Okay, Bri.”  I smirk.  “It’s not too difficult to make a wedding unique when the couple knows what they want…but what if I don’t have a clue?”

I challenge Bri with a “hypothetical” scenario… Newlyweds first dance.

“Jeff and I are getting married.  I want be introduced to the Buffy the Vampire Slayer theme and he wants White Snake’s ‘Still of the Night.’  What do you do?”

Bri doesn’t even hesitate.  “Your wedding is a blend of your personalities, your family and your friends.  Maybe you could make an even exchange, a compromise that you are both comfortable with.”

He’s better than my therapist; my hypothetical feathers are already beginning to unruffle.

He clears his throat and smiles.  “Maybe you could agree on an introduction song…and you could use ‘Still of the Night’ for your first dance.”

Jeff grins at me in triumph.

“In all seriousness,” Bri continues as we stop chuckling, “A lot of couples don’t know what they want at first.  But I ask some questions and their interests emerge, the things they like and don’t like.  I feel a responsibility to get to know them to help them find it.”

Hudson Valley Wedding DJ Bri Swatek Courtesy of Bedinotti Photo

Hudson Valley Wedding DJ Bri Swatek Courtesy of Bedinotti Photo

Some frequently asked questions:

Do I HAVE to walk down the aisle to “Here Comes the Bride” or “Canon in D?”

“NO,” Bri answers.  “You do not have to do anything.  Every aspect of your wedding can be unique.  You don’t have to have house music and lights for a grand entrance.  You don’t have to play ‘Love Shack’ at 9pm.  We want to make your friends and family to smile and laugh and say, ‘Yes, this is so you!’”

If you’re really stuck coming up with ideas for your themed wedding, here are Bri’s tips:

•  Have conversations with other brides and grooms.  Not only your family and friends, but in forums on The Knot or Wedding Bee.  If you ask them for ideas about how to host a Yankee themed wedding, you’ll get 100 responses filled with ideas you would have never thought up.

•  Ask around on Facebook and Twitter.

•  Talk to wedding pros and experts.  They’ve seen a lot and will probably be happy to share their experiences.

“And remember,” Bri concludes.  “You don’t have to do anything.  Your songs should reflect you.  One of my brides danced with her dad to ‘It Takes Two’ and it was amazing.  It’s fun for me too, that unique moment I get to be a part of.”

“So I CAN have Buffy at our pretend wedding!” I announce to Jeff.

He pats my shoulder.  “Whatever you want, honey.”

Bri smiles.  Mission accomplished.

Bri Swatek is the owner of Spinning With Style Hudson Valley DJ service and he can be contacted at http://www.djbriswatek.com.

.     .     .

Thanks Steph and Jeff for capturing all the fun we had talking about wedding planning and turning it into a great article for Hudson Valley brides and grooms!

________________________________________________________

DJ Bri Swatek, Spinning with Style
Your DJ for Your Unique Style
in the Hudson Valley of New York

Email:   briswatek@gmail.com
Phone:  845.235.0080
Online:   www.djbriswatek.com

DJ Bri: Help! We Still Don’t Have a First Dance for Our Wedding!

With Spring in full swing, a lot of my brides and grooms at Your Unique Hudson Valley Wedding have been asking for suggestions for the First Dance at their wedding.

Besides finding a lyric that speaks to who you are as a couple, there’s a lot to consider when looking for a First Dance song.  I suggest taking a look at this article on my wedding planning blog to help you think about what type of song fits your unique style:

Choosing Your First Dance
https://djbriswatek.wordpress.com/choosing-your-first-dance/

Once you’re ready to go looking for First Dance ideas, check out this lists of popular First Dance songs I have put together from the past few wedding seasons:

Popular First Dance Songs for Your Unique Wedding
https://djbriswatek.wordpress.com/popular-first-dance-and-parent-dance-songs-for-your-unique-wedding/

Samples of many of these songs are available for you to listen to on my YouTube channel as well:

Your Unique Hudson Valley Wedding on YouTube
http://www.youtube.com/briswatek

Congratulations on your upcoming wedding!
Bri

________________________________________________________

DJ Bri Swatek, Spinning with Style
Your Professional Disc Jockey and MC Service
in the Hudson Valley of New York

Email:   briswatek@aol.com
Phone:   845.235.0080
Online:   www.djbriswatek.com

Green Wedding Ideas from DJ Bri

“Green Weddings” or “Eco-Friendly Weddings” are more than just a trend–they’re a new way of thinking about wedding traditions, many of which have their roots in a celebration of nature and life.  In fact, the bride’s bouquet as a symbolic connection to nature is a wedding tradition that dates back in various forms for thousands of years.

The Heather H Bouquet, Courtesy of A Night in Bloom Event Floristry

The Heather H Bouquet, Courtesy of A Night in Bloom Event Floristry

Today, more than ever, brides and grooms are looking to decrease their wedding’s impact on the environment.  The Sierra Club’s website 10 Steps to a Green Wedding has a variety of ideas for brides and grooms with an eye on their wedding’s environmental footprint.  Similar advice on going green on your wedding day can be found at How to Go Green: Weddings and Great Green Wedding and its blog.

The New York Times and USA Today have also recently published articles on green weddings as well.

When considering an eco-friendly wedding, the words “green” and “DJ” might not seem to go together at all!  Truthfully, a disc jockey’s mobile setup in the 80’s or even 90’s did consume a lot of power.  Turntables for vinyl records and the motors on CD players used a lot of energy.

Lighting was always the worst draw in a DJ’s environmental footprint though–traditional or halogen bulbs required at least 250 watts, and usually more in the neighborhood of 500 watts to have an impact on a banquet room or tent.  Most of these lights had powerful fans as well, to keep the units from running too hot.  DJs using 4 or more of these lights usually drew so much power that the lighting needed to be plugged into a separate circuit.

Technology has come a long way in the past few years toward allowing a DJ to run a much more green setup than ever before.  Laptops or hard drives have replaced CDs as a much more reliable, environmentally friendly source of music.

The real revolution has come in mobile DJ lighting though.  LED, or “light-emitting diode” lighting uses far less power than traditional or halogen lighting.  As Scott Davies, General Manager of the DJ equipment company American DJ explains, mobile DJs no longer have to “worry [about] finding enough power to run their lights. They can also run their lights longer without worrying about overheating. DJ’s will also be free of what is now a pretty much constant concern about replacing lamps, because of the very long useful life of LED units”.  In addition, more and more of these lights are running on rechargeable batteries, further decreasing their impact on the environment.

As the owner of Spinning with Style, I, DJ Bri Swatek, my entire lighting system for Hudson Valley weddings consists of eco-friendly, battery-powered LED lighting.  The two types of lighting effects I use in my DJ setup are the Eternal Lighting CubeEcho and EchoIcon.

At Spinning with Style, the lighting is always pointed at the ceiling and upper walls of the venue to ensure that the effect is “felt” but not distracting in terms of being at eye level.  The lighting system can kept turned off during important dances and special events to allow photographers to work with the venue’s normal lighting, ensuring the best photos possible.

LED lighting is just one of many choices that a bride and groom can make to decrease the environmental impact of their event and “go green” on their wedding day.

Congratulations,

Bri

__________

DJ Bri Swatek, Spinning with Style
Your DJ for Your Unique Style
in the Hudson Valley of New York

Email: briswatek@gmail.com
Phone: 845.235.0080
Online: www.djbriswatek.com