An April Weekday Wedding in New Hampshire – Chad + Ashley

This one time at Band Camp, Chad, a smooth sax player met Ashley and said “look at that cutie with the Flute over there.” One date, watching Finding Nemo, and she was hooked. Chad and Ashley were headed for a Journey that would land us right in the heart of Portsmouth on a Thursday afternoon with only their very closest family and friends. 

Chad and Ashley's New Hampshire Wedding

One Day, At Band Camp

Chad and Ashley know how to laugh, play, and have fun together in a very rare and wonderful way. It’s almost as if it’s what they do for a living. They are so sweet and fun! Part of the reason they are this way is that they are very good at making the complicated seem simple. Their wedding day exemplified that.

Small Guest List, Large room. Let’s get creative!

With maybe 60 guests, they were able to make very creative use of the Portsmouth Harbor Events Center Ballroom. Lauren, their coordinator, took care of every detail to a T. The ceremony was in a section of the ballroom, completely separate from the cocktail hour. The cocktail hour was completely separate from the Ballroom, until the guests were invited in and seated. Almost like magic, the cocktail hour walls disappeared! The bar was now in the ballroom, and the guests were ready to receive the bridal party with open arms and rowdy cheers!

Simple Elegance

The ceremony was sweet and simple. The only flowers were those being held by the bride and bridesmaids, along with corsages for the groom and groomsmen.  The bridesmaids walked in to Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring. Ashley walked in to Canon in D. Their ceremony was brief, at 10 minutes or so, but heartfelt, and sprinkled with humor. Ashley’s uncle officiated masterfully. After presenting the Newlyweds, the happy couple exited to OneRepublic’s “Feel Again” Forming a receiving line that welcomed their guests to cocktail hour.

Chad and Ashley's Wedding Ceremony

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The Reception!

Chad + Ashley entering their Wedding Reception

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After a relaxing, yet upbeat cocktail hour, the guests took their seats as the cocktail hour room magically became part of the ballroom. Amanda Perkins from Amanda Rai Photography was there with her assistant ready to capture the introductions and festivities to follow.  Chad and Amanda chose to make their entrance to the tune of Imagine Dragons On Top of the World!

Chad and Ashley's first dance

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They went right into their first dance – Aerosmith’s I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing – They are huge movie buffs, and while almost no one wants “wedding” and “Armageddon” in the same sentence, especially when talking about their own wedding, for Chad and Ashley it was a must! The song and movie had very special meaning to both of them.

Dinnertime fun

Toasts to Chad and Ashley!

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Fun and sweet toasts followed by Chad’s Best Man Kevin, his brother Anthony and Ashley’s Maid of Honor Jasmine, and dinner was underway. During dinner the glass clinking began getting overwhelming, so we leveled up. Now everyone at a table had to sing a line or a verse of a song with the word love in it. That didn’t stop this fun and crazy bunch, in fact each table went around and did it! It was time for some serious action. This time, if they want to get Chad and Ashley to kiss, the whole room had to do the wave! They did it not just once, but twice!

Fun Centerpiece Giveaway

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Let’s get this party Started!
Father Daughter and Mother Son dances

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As dinner was wrapping up, we had a high energy centerpiece giveaway that brought them to their feet! Ashley danced with her dad to the acoustic version of Forever Young by Rod Stewart. Chad danced with his mom to Mom by Garth Brooks, and we kicked of the dancing with Beyond the Sea from Finding Nemo, the very first movie Chad and Ashley saw on their very first date together.

Dancing at Chad and Ashley's wedding

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Guests dancing at Chad and Ashley's Wedding

And the crowd goes wild!

Chad Leading the conga line

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Everybody is getting down at Ashley and Chads April Wedding

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The Shoe Game with no shoes

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Wedding Guests Dancing

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This wedding was so much fun! Thank you Chad and Ashley for asking me to be a part of it!

A Maine DJ’s Proposal Stories

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As a DJ in Maine, I have heard many proposal stories over the years. You might think it would get old. No way. You might think the more wild and over the top the better, not necessarily, You may think the more extravagant the better, that’s not even true. In fact believe it or not, there is a difference between over the top and extravagant. Allow me a brief explanation.

Not all Wedding Proposals are Romantic

First and foremost, I want to be clear, Not all DJ’s in Maine or elsewhere are romantic, I am not a natural romantic. As a Maine DJ, it’s bound to come up in conversation more for me than most. More than that though, my intrigue comes from a different place. I am fascinated by people, and what makes one person giddy, and another just shrug.

I’m curious as to how well the proposal fits each personality. Does this sound like something he or she would do? Did you expect her to ask you to marry her? What would make a non-planner go to such lengths to ask for ones hand in marriage? If plans fell through, how was it handled? For me, and perhaps this is why I became a DJ in Maine, I simply really enjoy people. I love hearing their stories, and I love learning about what really matters to them and why.

Extravagent? Over the Top? or simple and sweet?

OK,  the difference between extravagant and over the top. Here it is, extravagant means a trip to France, and he proposed at the top of the Eiffel tower.

Over the top means he (or she) sent a limo to your house to pick you up. When you step inside, there are 1,000 origami cranes he hand folded himself, and a card asking you to unfold each crane because he wrote something on each one he loves about you.

You arrive to him waiting dressed to a “T” on a red carpet. You then enter the old theater to what appears to be Gone With The Wind, until you read the credits and realize that instead of Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler, it’s starring the two of you, and the rest of the “movie” is a slide show of the two of you in all of the most amazing places you have ever gone together. At the end of the movie are the words “Will You Marry Me”. You look over as the lights come up and he is on one knee with a ring in his hands.

In short, Extravagance equals extraordinary expense, over the top equals extraordinary effort. The one thing I noticed is that, even when they know it’s coming, they are is almost always an element of surprise. Incidentally, this is a combination of two real marriage proposals. I was blown away by the 1,000 cranes story, and the Gone With The Wind story was how my sister’s husband proposed to her.

The Marraige Proposal Stories

Ron & Cindy – How did you ask her/him to marry you? – Plan B

Ron proposed to me on the walking bridge in Brunswick, my home town.  He had planned it out for a few months but was waiting for the ‘perfect moment’ with the ring for a couple of months and then wasn’t sure what that moment would be.  He realized one day when we were having a perfect moment that he had forgotten the ring!  This was when we were staying in a yurt.  He proposed later that week by booking a nice dinner reservation and arriving early to go for a walk on the bridge.

Was He/She Surprised?  Yes!  I was not expecting it to happen that day.  After the previous weekend I thought he would be waiting for a while.  


Mary & Will – How did you propose?

  • We had a trip planned to Zion National Park with many of our closest mutual friends from college to go hiking. On our first hike of the morning, once we got to the top of a lookout, our friends all posed for photos, and then suggested we take a photo as a couple in front of the vista of the entire park. As we posed for the photo, Will proposed. Our friends were all in on the surprise, and Will had asked them to take some photos of the proposal – it’s so special now to have the photos to share with our families and to remember the day. We then spent the weekend hiking and celebrating with our friends.
  • Will had actually gone to Las Vegas for work earlier that spring, and unbeknownst to me, he and a friend had driven to Zion to scout out the perfect location for the proposal!

Was He/She Surprised?

  •  We both knew we were going to get married and had talked very candidly about it. I suspected he might ask me that weekend. But the exact location and timing were a surprise – and it was so special to have all our friends there and to be in nature.

Tyler & Salome – How did you ask her/him to marry you? – Plan B

Salome had kept mentioning wanting to go to these expansive, and beautiful Flower Fields here in California – which seemed like a beautiful place to propose. So that was the plan. I had the ring in my pocket ready to go. However, once we got there – while it was very beautiful – you weren’t able to walk to far into the flowers, remaining on the dirt roads surrounding. Pair muddy dirt roads with the tractors full of tourists going by – it didn’t feel right. I had to come up with a Plan B.

Later that night, we went to get drinks in downtown Glendale where we live, and ended up going for a walk along the cliffs on the ocean at sunset. The clouds created a very beautiful pink/purple sky. While she was taking photos of the sunset I got down on one knee, and when
she turned around – she was shocked”

Was He/She Surprised?
Salome: “I was very surprised! So much so that I asked him ‘You really want to marry ME?” Then I gave him my right hand for the ring instead of my left, oops.”


If I’m being honest, this is my current favorite from last year. Sweet, simple, and very effective!

Derek & Emily – How did you ask her/him to marry you?

 We were up on Prince Edward, one of my favorite places growing up.  The place means a lot to me because my Dad grew up there on the ocean and the small cabin we have is right on the ocean.  He was being weird all day; refusing to go for walks on the beach, then asking to go and deciding not to once people joined (umm, but now I get it!!). 

Finally it was just him and I walking, and my heart was POUNDING.  I swear I felt my Dad near, but there was nothingggg concrete about any of it!  Derek had the ring designed and shipped from California. It went to my mom’s house, and they had code words so I never knew it was coming!  Anyway, we kept looking for sea glass, but when I ‘felt’ him kneel down I’d spin around and ask him if he found a piece, and he’d just pop up and say “nope, nope, that’s not a piece.”  In hindsight I think he was trying to get himself settled on one knee but I kept butting in and ruining it!  Hahaha 

Getting super close to the cabin (the walk was over 2 miles!) he said something and I stormed off a bit, and then he said my name, I turned around, and he was on one knee.  I have NO IDEA what he was saying, I just saw him and the ring, and started crying and saying yes (looking back, he could have been asking to buy a new truck or something but I had NO IDEA what he was saying!!), and we went from there.  When we got back to the cabin, we were able to share the news with family; it was wonderful.  But I did ask him “so you still have 3 days here with us; what if I said ‘no’?”  Hahaha!  What a beautiful day!!

Was He/She Surprised?

 YES.

I hope you have enjoyed these, perhaps found a way to casually slip them passed your boyfriend or girlfriend, just in case they have been thinking about a proposal. I would absolutely love to hear your proposal stories. Send me a note with yours at mike@wickedgooddj.com And of course if you have been proposed to I know a great Maine DJ 🙂 Happy Valentines Day!

~Mike Mahoney – M&M Entertainment

Why you shouldn’t shorten your wedding dance

Everyone is shortening their wedding dances these days. Heck, Brides and Grooms are shortening or eliminating practically everything. Here we are focusing on the wedding songs, first dance, parent dance, last dance. I am rarely a fan of shortening a wedding song. I covered the questions of whether or not to edit a wedding song in To Edit or Not to Edit Your Special dance Here I’m telling you not to, sort of.

Why is your Maine Wedding dance important anyway?

There are few bigger joys a father has than holding his daughter on the dance floor just a short time after giving her away at the alter. Holding his own wife on their wedding day might be one of them. Mom feels much the same way about holding her son on the dance floor the day he has chosen a partner in life. This embrace may be long or short, but it begins the tangle of feelings, emotions, and thoughts that run through a parents mind in that moment. Have a real conversation with your parent or spouse before making the decision to cut the song short.

There are really only 2 reasons to cut a song short:

Fear of emotions running high (crying) or

General fear of the spotligh

First we’ll take a look at ways to break the tension with a little levity.

Lighten up the wedding DJ!

One way to lighten the atmosphere is to start with a slow song and breakaway halfway through into a fast song. We can do that, maybe with a record scratch sound effect or something, and a short announcement so your guests know it’s planned. It can be a fun way to have your moment, then break the tension.

Another possibility is to use a fake out. Start playing a song like YMCA, or enter sandman, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun. Play just a few seconds of the song. You just want the guests to recognize the song, chuckle, and move into the song.

When your Maine DJ makes you the Main Attraction

If The spotlight is the concern, the best way to minimize the spotlight, and maximize guest enjoyment is to invite them to join you. It can be halfway through, right away, or any interval in between. The advantage to this style is it instantly creates a bond with you and your guests. It also begins to break what I refer to as the seat to dance floor barrier. People eat, they get comfy, they may even get chatty. That first trip out to the dance floor can be daunting, especially if no one else is out there. Why not get them used to making that trip? make them comfortable in knowing everyone will be out there with them.

I love you, in a short, sweet kind of way

If all of those options are just not enough reason to keep the full song, and you must cut the length of the song, we can do it. Shortening the song is the proper way to abbreviate a dance. The improper way is to “just fade it out”. Whether it’s a classic like Daddy’s little girl, or the newest Ed Sheeran song, songs have a rhythm, a cadence. You know when the song is finished.

When you fade the song out it looks unnatural. You have planned every other detail of how you will look in front of your guests. Why would you leave one detail out that makes you look awkward? Often you can find a spot in the tail of the song that blends into the section you want to cut. When it’s done right, all your guests see and hear and think about is you looking like a movie star on your wedding day.

More Maine DJ song Tips for your wedding

For more wedding song editing tips, check out these tips on when and how to choose and shorten your special wedding song. For more general event planning information, Check out our Home Page.

Thanks as always for checking in! I’d love to know your thoughts. Have I missed anything? Do you have questions about editing your own song? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

~Mike Mahoney, M&M Entertainment

To Edit, or not to Edit your special dance?

Your first dance with your new Husband or Wife, Your dance with your dad or mom. These are big moments, often a centerpiece of the event. Many couples are choosing to shorten their dance with their new spouse, or their parent.

Is editing your wedding dance right for you?

There are many factors to consider. and ways of doing it. In this post, I’m strictly focusing on things to consider when making the decision to shorten a wedding dance song. The very first thing you should do when making any consideration of a dance with dad or mom is to ask them. You can start with a simple statement; “You know, you are going to have to dance with me at my wedding”. What is their response? Are they excited? Dreading it? what excites them, or what do they dread? surely they don’t dread dancing with their son or daughter.

Making them comfortable

Most often the parent dance is for the parent, so you want to pick a song or artist they like, but hopefully they have something in mind already. Choosing a song or artist they like will go a long way to making the dance extra special and memorable. It may even be a song that brings back memories of you growing up.

The purpose of the special wedding dances

Now we know they love the person they are dancing with and they love the song. What else could make them feel uncomfortable? Maybe it’s the spotlight. I can tell you from first hand experience, as well as the experiences of the hundreds of couples I have worked with, that nervousness, the awareness of the spotlight, goes away quickly. As soon as you reach the dance floor and embrace, the spotlight fades, and all that matters is the person in front of you. this is more than a dance, this is their first completely candid moments with you as a married person. This is almost the whole point of the first dance with mom or dad after you are married. It’s a last check in. “you look beautiful. How are you feeling? I’m so happy for you. I’m so proud of you. You’re brother is next you know…” Maybe a little reflective, as many times mannerisms, actions, and scenarios remind them of something you said or did when you were younger. This is a big moment for them, whether they fully realize it or not.

Your first dance is not much different

When it’s your first dance with your new spouse, it is often also one of the first truly candid moments you have together, away from your bridal party, away from other eyes and ears. A moment when you can say whatever is on your mind, a moment to truly be together.

Yes we get it. Now lets cut that dance in half!

Woah, not so fast. 🙂 Once you have decided on the song, listen to it with and without them. You want a song that is long enough to get settled in and focus on each other. Some other considerations you may think about are:

How long is the song? Is it a story? Is it repetitive?

Does the whole thing fit you and your relationship?

OK, so how long should our dance be? We have a party to get to!

The ideal time for any parent dance or first dance song is 3 – 3.5 minutes, plus or minus. Many 4 minute plus songs have a musical bridge in the middle that ties two similar sections together. That is a convenient spot to fade down if you would like. I don’t want to get into all the myriad of ways to edit songs, as it would add up to a whole other post, but I do want to address time. What type of relationship do you have with your parent? The closer you are, the longer you will want the dance to last.

Does it speak to you?

The last aspect you really want to pay attention to are the words. If you have determined that the song is just a bit too long for it’s intended purpose, (anything over 3.5 minutes) Then you want to look at 2 factors. Is it repetitive? Some songs repeat a refrain over and over again. Mostly as a pattern of fours. Most repetitive songs are fairly easy to shorten.

something else to consider regarding words in a song is the story element. Does the song tell a story? If so, do all elements fit? Maybe you don’t want to edit for the sake of time but because a word or phrase doesn’t fit.

If it doesn’t fit, edit it

A couple of examples readily come to mind. Tim McGraw’s “My Little Girl” where I have been asked to edit out the part where he sings “You and I both know He Won’t Be Good Enough” so many times I have dubbed the song where I edited that part out the wedding edit.

The other was a first dance song that fit the newlyweds so well they just had to use it, but there was a part that bothered them tremendously. They are both relatively high level professionals and there is a part of the song where the singer repeats “we don’t have a lot of money, no we don’t have a lot of money, no we don’t have a lot of money” for what seemed to them like an eternity and they in no way wanted their guests to think they were hurting for money. If it doesn’t fit, edit it. 🙂

Thanks again for checking in! If you have a song edit scenario you would like to run by me, drop me a note, I am always happy to help! Chat soon…

~Mike Mahoney, M&M Entertainment

Who is taking care of you on your wedding day?

Your wedding day is huge!

It is a big day, and you are a big deal. If you are used to being the go to person for everyone else, this is going to be extremely hard for you. Have someone help you, and make sure that person is an expert at delegating. I am not talking about a maid of honor, or Best Man here, I am talking about the person keeping them on track and on task. I am not talking about your wedding planner, and I am not talking about the venue contact or coordinator. Your point person is good at delegating. They are there to take care of you on your wedding day.

You need a CEO for your wedding day.

The wedding planner sets things in motion and executes the plan. You need someone who can catch things that fall through the cracks, or handle situations that come up. Why? Because you are the center of attention. You are a celebrity for the day. To some that will sound exciting, to others it will sound exhausting, and still others have no idea what that means. people and activities will pull you in a half dozen directions at all times on your wedding day. You will see guests you haven’t seen in years, you will meet some for the first time, you will want to catch up with people , and of course you will want to dance!

Go ahead, pull that thread

A simple single issue is no problem, but think of these problems like loose threads. pull on one and things begin to unravel. you stop to say goodbye to a relative. Like a snowball they start coming over one after the other. In the meantime you are missing sunset photos, or your favorite song on the dance floor. Your wedding CEO will keep you on track. Perhaps your bustle is not cooperating. Wedding CEO to the rescue. You have someone ready at the last minute to grab the errant relative who didn’t think you needed them in the picture. Your wedding CEO will run and grab the jacket, or corsage, or purse, or show aunt Matilda where the special seat is that was reserved for her. You are now prepared to be pampered!

Oh, like that’s gonna happen…

You may snicker or scoff at these, but that is the point. You don’t know what last minute thing will need attention. Wouldn’t it be nice to know you have a go to person for that? Maybe it’s an in-law, or your mom’s best friend whom you call aunt.   No matter who you choose, all they have to be is loyal and super dependable. There is no other requirement. Your wedding CEO will help the officiant run the ceremony rehearsal. Have your CEO arrive early to the ceremony site, and to the reception site. Your wedding CEO should ensure favors are laid out, the gift table is just right, the guest book table is properly set up and adorned. They can even make sure the champagne is poured for the toast.

That’s a wrap!

Decorating the reception hall or ceremony site yourself? Put your wedding CEO in charge of decorating and cleanup. This is your day. Unexpected things happen. The more things you can prep for ahead of time, the more distractions and interruptions you can avoid when you delegate someone to take care of it. Enjoy your wedding day to the fullest, you’ve prepared for it properly, and you’ve earned it!

Now, if all this feels a bit overwhelming, perhaps it would help to consult a professional Wedding Planner.  They’ve been there, and seen it all. Some of my personal favorites are:

Paula Cano/ A Family Affair – https://www.afamilyaffairmaine.com/

Meghna Torrieri/ B Merry Events – http://www.bmerryevents.com/

Lani Toscano – https://www.lanitoscanodesign.com/

Pinch Me Planning – https://www.pinchmeplanning.com/

Wendy Caron/ Dragonfly Events – http://www.dragonflyweddingcoordinator.com/

Catherine Fairbanks Cliffe – http://www.destinationmaineweddings.com/

 

~Mike