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. ūüôā 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. ūüôā

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/



Wedding budget part 2

In my last post we walked through the budgeting process. There were many great tips on wedding budgeting and links to my favorite wedding coordinators. I also listed the budget numbers for a real Maine wedding. In the interests of full disclosure, that example was my wedding in 2014, and represented a fairly basic, no frills wedding. In this post we are going to look at another wedding, more typical of my clients in many respects. I will point out some differences and some reasons why you may make different choices based on your wedding priorities.

The Wedding Budget

Wedding Service Actual
and/or ProductsBudgetPrice
Ceremony Site Fee (Courtyard) included in pkg
Officiant  $400.00
Marriage License $40
Music (incl in venue pkg)  
Catholic Church $600.00
catholic marriage prep $100.00
church tips & Music. Piano 175, singer 150, Fthr, dan 125, alter server 20  $470
Room Rental Fee  Included
Venu & Food & Beverage / Vista (F&B $13,000++)$10,000.00$13,250
Wedding Night Suite incl in pkg  Included in pkg
Cake included with venu  Included in pkg
Specialty Linens  Included in pkg
Flowers $1,072.92
Photography $2800
Videography $2,900
DJ/MC – Lighting Technician (delivery, setup, & strike) 4 Intelligent light fixtures, 10 LED lights, 2 truss pillars covered with spandex featuring pillar up-lights (4 Hr Pkg), Add’l Hr(s)(1) – $850.00 Star Maze(1) – $350.00 LED Light(s)(10) – $1,000.00 Video Screen & 3000 Lumens Projector w/ Dress Kit(1) – $1,000.00 (4 to 10 pm)¬†$2,507.35 pkg price
Invitations & Save the dates DIY $525
Stamps $175
Guest Book/Cake Knife/Glasses  
Gown / Veil /  Accessories (not to include in budget) $1,083.00
Rings/bands $1975
Bridal party gifts/groom part gifts $175
Tuxedo Rental $175
Valet Parking   Included
Vendor Meals  Included
Limousine $600.00
Make-up  $500.00
Hair  Included w/makeup
Favors $183.00
Wedding planner $1,200.00
Dance Floor  Included
Cash Bar & Champagne Toast  Included
Honeymoon $2,687
wedding website $0
save the dates $0
GRAND TOTAL $33,418.27

Where did the Money go?

This was a bigger wedding, with about 175 guests and a budget of $30,000. It was also an off-season date wedding, so they were actually able to get some great deals. In fact, between the venue, DJ, Photographer, and Videographer, they were able to save nearly $8,000.00. All of their chosen wedding professionals, including the venue were well established professionals referred by friends. The only thing they went over budget on was the venue, and it was well over their budget, but in the brides words “Once we saw it, there was just nothing else that would do”. The best part for them is that the videographer was a gift from the parents, almost certainly made as a concession for having 2 wedding ceremonies. The rest of the overage was made up with wedding gift money.

What is Off-Season?

Off-season dates vary around the country, but November through April are generally considered off-season dates in Maine, as well as Fridays, Sundays, Holiday Mondays, and select dates such as the weekend prior to Christmas, or the weekend after Thanksgiving. This wedding was the week before Christmas at a resort hotel.

As I mentioned, the couple in this example were catholic with may non-religious friends, so they had 2 ceremonies. Beyond that, and the lighting effects they chose, there is very little that could be considered extravagant. They had a cash bar that was included in the hotel’s package with a minimum total tab, which was cleared easily. Champagne toast was also included in the package offered by the hotel. Check out my Money and Alcohol blog for more tips on saving at the bar while treating your guests right.

The venue costs how much?!?!

When pricing a venue, always ask what is included. This is what makes the comparison of this wedding with my own so illustrative. We paid $1,500 just for a location for our wedding to take place. Everything else was extra – the caterer, linens and associated rentals, decorating, everything. Our wedding had 100 guests with a total venue, catering, rentals, bar & champagne costs of over $9,000.00. This wedding had a space with everything included for 175 people for $4,000 more, and the majority of that cost is for feeding the extra 75 guests. Some of that fee my hinge upon food choices.

How many guests are you expecting?

The number of guests you invite is the biggest variable cost of your wedding. Double your guest count, and you will significantly increase the cost of your wedding.  It will double your invitation costs, your food costs, sometimes it affects facility cost. Doubling your guest count will double any costs presented to you as a per person cost. If you can DIY any of these, invitations, place cards, favors, seating charts, etc, you can save a nice bit of money that could be put to a static or fixed cost.

Fixed costs

We’ve discussed variable costs, the costs that rise and fall based on your guest count. but what about fixed or static costs? Your Videographer, Officiant, Photographer, DJ, Limo, wedding dress, photo booth, and so on. These are the same price no matter how many people are invited. There may be slight variations, but nothing like the variations that come with per person pricing. With these, choose based on quality, value, and priority.

More to come..

Now we have the middle and lower middle tiers covered. I will do my best to furnish examples of a $10,000 wedding, as well as a $60,000+ wedding to round out the topic. and even more if I can get them. Remember I am including the costs of Honeymoon, rings, formal wear and wedding gowns in these examples. These are ancillary and not necessarily part of the average couples core wedding budget. When possible I am including these figures to give you a full picture of what a wedding costs.¬† These figures are provided by the grace of my clients, so I can’t predict specifically when I will get the next in this series up, but hopefully soon. In the meantime, stay tuned, as there is so much else to talk about!

What are your experiences?

I would LOVE to hear your wedding budget stories! Please let me know what experiences you have had, and any similarities or differences you may have had. you can send me your thoughts by email at mike@wickedgooddj.com if you would like. As always, the more information we can share the better. I can’t wait to here your story!

Setting your Wedding Budget

I recently revamped a 2016 post entitled¬†/wedding-client-meetings/in honor of the new year. This was one of my first posts and the title no longer fits the article as it has evolved over the past 2 – 3 years. It started as a primer for client meetings, and turned into a primer for what to do from the moment you recover from saying “Yes, I Will marry you”. In that post, I mentioned my next post would be about money, the container for this one of a kind celebration you are about to plan. I’ve adjusted my strategy to better serve you. Instead of a single blog post, this is the first of several showcasing real Maine wedding budgets. My aim here is to help you see how others do it, and how your tastes, preferences, and needs can best be served.

Your Budget is your container

If that container is a glass, think about it as a glass of beer. I specifically use beer for this example because of the foam at the top. You need to leave room for additions, subtractions, cost over runs, and the just plain unexpected. So you have the actual beer that represents your ideal wedding budget, and the foam/suds/head, what ever you want to call it that represents the unknowns. Everything should have a range you want to stay in. So when you set a budget, have a buffer. On a $30,000 wedding (just below the current average of $35000, but easier to work with) Your buffer should be between $3,000 – $6,000 so +/- %15

The fun part

Start with the fun part. Grab a couple adult beverages, and let your imagination run wild with all you can ever want for your wedding. Load it right up, this is your fantasy wedding day, make sure to include the total number of guests you would invite if you could. When you have this list built, pick out the musts, the priorities. Things that will absolutely make or break your wedding day. This will become your first draft of your lower range. Once you have that lower range, sleep on it, revisit it and prioritize what order all of these items on the wish list should be in for you. This will come in handy as you revisit the list and have to subtract, or have found a way to add something to your must haves. Now I am going to politely crush all of your dreams with this….

A Real Maine Wedding Budget

We’ll do this with a very basic $18,000 sample wedding. Initial budget was $15K, mom gifted the honeymoon, and the rest of the overage was made up through wedding gifts. While this is about half the average budget, it’s a real look at a couple who just wanted the basics, but wanted them done right.

Venue 1 (church) $500 + Flowers $350 = $850 total

Venue 2 Room With a View at Portland Company Complex $1,500

Catering for 100 ppl including Hors D’ Oeuvres and rentals $6,000.00

Bar – Drink tickets for guests $800

Photographer $2700

DJ $1500

Dress $750

Groom suit $200

Limo $500

Honeymoon $2,200.00 (not including pocket money)

Favors, Gifts, & Misc. $1000

Total: $18,000.00


Now of course cost and quality go hand in hand, and some people have different priorities than others. In the above example, the bride was not a huge fan of flowers, which gave her room to spend elsewhere. I’m sure this will apply to you as well. Book your priority pieces first, or at least make a significant effort to research the pieces you consider priorities to know how much of your budget that priority will consume.


Sometimes a relative will gift a vendor to you such as Videographer, DJ, Honeymoon, open bar, etc. Whatever you do, make sure you are part of the decision to hire the person you want for that role. Remind the relative that your piece of mind is paramount, and while you appreciate the gesture, you want to meet and get a comfort level with the wedding professional they have offered to pay for so you can relax knowing that it really is taken care of. 

First Base

You can use this as a basis for your budgeting. Do a little research, and don’t be afraid to inquire with people you feel may be out of your price range. Sometimes the difference in in customer service. In other cases the difference is in technical expertise. Quite often, there are personalities that just connect, or don’t, and the decision is made right there. If at the end of the day you are comfortable with the choice you have made, that is what matters. The whole point is for you to enjoy your wedding celebration without worrying about anything but having a great time with your friends and family.

Higher wedding budgets

More money gives you more venue options, allows for more guests, allows for options like photo booths or uplights, wedding bands, open bars, more flowers, you name it. I will be posting more Real Maine Wedding Budgets so you can get a sense of what is happening out in the marketplace. Feel free to share your experiences with me in the comments.

If all of this is overwhelming, reach out to a wedding planner such as

Meghan Torierri – http://www.bmerryevents.com/

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

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

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

Wendy Caron http://www.dragonflyweddingcoordinator.com/

Wedding Planners are not expensive, they are priceless. If you have a full time job, and your fiance has a full time job, hiring a planner can make your life so much easier. If you are from away and need a central contact who really knows the area and the offerings in that area, these planners are priceless. Please tell them I sent you!

Thanks for checking in, and I will see you in my next blog post