Category Archive: Ideas
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Making a Difference instead of Making a Splash
Planning a wedding is a serious task – there’s so much to consider in order to reflect the two of you, how to entertain your family and friends, and sometimes as we know “the devil is in the details”. In the process of planning it is possible to lose sight of what is important in the middle of all the tulle, lace, invitations, favors, and photo booths. Ultimately, the point of a wedding is the marriage – how you two will live your lives together. A recent trend has couples making a difference, opting to spend or donate their wedding budget on a cause or charity close to their hearts. If you want to give back and extend your celebration to the wider community, consider looking into some of these different options.
Pinterest can be a helpful tool but it can also lead to a serious case of “wedding envy” and spur competition to make each wedding more opulent and fantastic than the last. Instead of the hottest wedding trend, try researching your church, community center, or a cause close to your heart to find a way you can contribute. Gather your wedding party to work for a weekend on a Habitat for Humanity project or spend a few hours serving meals at a homeless shelter.
Check out vendors – from wedding dresses to venues to photography – who give back to charities on Black Sheep Bride to find one that fits you. You can find someone in nearly every vendor category that will support a cause that’s special to you, making even your wedding expenditures count.
• Are you environmentally conscious and looking for a stunning but Eco-friendly gown? Check out Pure Magnolia gowns and Restitch Studio, both Black Sheep Bride vendors specializing in making you gorgeous for your day while reusing already existent or sustainable materials.
• Looking for a photographer who gives back? Check out Sandrachile Photography in Pittsburgh – she donates to Too Young To Wed, an organization that combats forced child marriage as well as Rabbit Wranglers, which rescues neglected and abused rabbits.
• A major wedding budget item is food, and quite often there are lots of leftovers from weddings. In Pittsburgh, consider donating leftover wedding reception meals to 412FoodRescue, an organization that collects good food that would otherwise be discarded and distributes it to community organizations in need.
• Flowers are a considerably large chunk of a wedding budget, and are often completely neglected after the few hours they are used to grace the reception tables or other parts of the venue. In Pittsburgh, why not give those flowers a second chance to bring a smile to faces by donating them through an organization such as Centerpieces 4 Seniors to a Senior retirement home, where they will be enjoyed for days. Started by Kelli Burns and Rose Davidson, these ladies collaborated by asking brides and venues to donate floral arrangements to the organization, which delivers them to senior care homes. They will pick up arrangements after any event, and often brides who choose Kelli Burns Entertainment for their DJ services will opt to donate their floral arrangements after seeing how much Kelli and Rose care for their service to Centerpieces 4 Seniors.
Recycled Weddings recently got national coverage in an article in The New York Times, highlighting four couples who chose to donate their time, money, and host their special day in a non-traditional but meaningful way. One couple chose an LGBT community center integral to their relationship for their venue, another was married at a homeless outreach shelter where they serve meals. An Indian couple traded the traditional Indian wedding for a simple ceremony at City Hall and dinner with family and friends, instead donating $20,000 to a charity that feeds children victims of Boko Haram violence and encouraged their guests to donate too. For every “big wedding” aspect they celebrated, a final couple involved their wedding party and families in packing brown-bag lunches for homeless shelters and other outreach.
How can your wedding make a difference?
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This is an exciting time of the year, the very beginning of the year. It is also a very weird time of the year. We are still emotionally hungover from the holiday season, the marathon run that begins the day after Thanksgiving and ends the second day of January. In addition to feeling a hurricane of emotions, some good some bad, we are also riding high on optimism and hope for the future. That is why we make New Year’s resolutions, but resolutions are not the only thing we pay attention to; we also pay attention to trends. Like resolutions, trends affect everything around us and ultimately change how we behave. We build weddings on a foundation of what is popular at the time and 2016 is poised to be a very interesting year for weddings. For starters, they will be more techie than ever before.
Marta Segal Block of The Huffington Post writes, “For the past few years technology has been at the top of every wedding trends list. But what those lists mean by “technology” has gotten a little old: hashtags, charging stations, that cool thing Disney does with the movie on the cake…Hardly the stuff of fairytales for most couples interested in technology.” Some technological innovations Block touches on are photo apps, drones, on demand bar service, and more. Perhaps the most important of these things is the on demand service, which is preventative measure against overspending on alcohol at your wedding. This is accomplished by giving the bride and groom the ability to order more alcohol if needed during the wedding itself.
Then there are trends that have nothing to do with technology, nothing really to do with increasing the efficiency of your wedding planning, but they deal more with the aesthetics of the wedding. This might involve your stationary and it seems that glitter on your stationary is out and foil stationary is in. The most aesthetic jarring change in trends for weddings in 2016 seem to involve the things that you sit on and at: Tables and chairs.
Danielle Rothweiler of The Huffington Post writes, “Keeping with the idea of tossing the formalities aside when planning a wedding, banquet round tables are starting to not be “in” anymore. Long tables, square tables and even a mix of everything look amazing at a wedding. However, the lucite and mirror tables are how you kick your wedding up from a 9 to a 10.”
Kicking your wedding up from a 9 to a 10? Who doesn’t want that to happen at their wedding? That is a big jump and if it requires something as simple as a changing of the guard in terms of tables and chairs, you should absolutely consider it. Remember how important aesthetics are to the overall vibe and success of your wedding.
In 2016, there will be technological innovations, a change in aesthetics, and last, but certainly not least, a greater presence on social media that may psychologically impact a bride and groom’s mentality going into the ceremony and reception. Rothweiler writes, “It doesn’t matter if it’s a massive celebrity wedding or a random “Real Weddings” feature that a bride wants. Everything blends together in social media land, and a bride can drown in the inspiration available to her. Getting overloaded on wedding details is not the bad part here. What’s bad is when the bride figures out what she wants, and her decision was influenced (unbeknownst to her) by hashtags like “Wedding Goal”.”
In 2016, a couple preparing for their wedding is more vulnerable than ever when it comes to hashtag psychology, pooling over Instagram photos of pricey weddings and wondering if their wedding can ever match up. This adds unnecessary pressure to an already stressful situation. You have to keep in mind that every wedding is different and no one set of standards applies to them all. Weddings should not be competitions; they should be about two hearts coming together as one and that is something you will not find in a toy box of hashtags.
At Kelli Burns Entertainment, we always keep our eyes on trends, because that makes us better at making your wedding the best it can possibly be.
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In only a couple of days, most of us will be sitting around tables with friends and family sharing in delicious food and good conversation. Then, after that, we have about two more months of these gatherings until the New Year opens the glitzy drawbridge and we can enter the next stage of our lives. This is a very exciting time of the year as we give thanks for all the people and things that make us happy.
When you think of Thanksgiving or this time of the year, chances are you do not think of weddings, bridal parties, or anything related to nuptials. Perhaps you should; after all, “The holiday season is a popular time for popping the question and more than a quarter of engagements take place between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s day,” according to HNGN.
Hmm…that makes sense. This is the season of celebrations, friends, and families. If you are going to pop the question, now is a good time, especially since you are constantly with loved ones. Maybe there is no better time of the year to do it. At the very least, it is convenient. The specialness and cheerful atmosphere is there for the taking. So yes, there is a wedding-like enthusiasm in November and December, but this is not a blog post about the surge in engagement proposals this time of the year; rather, I want you to think of what you are thankful for when it comes to weddings nowadays. Now hear me out.
If Thanksgiving reminds us of all the ways in which we are fortunate, and of all that we take for granted, we should apply that same attitude to weddings and wedding planning. In other words, what wedding trends do you take for granted? What wedding trends do you like? Regardless of how you feel, the ball is in your court when it comes to imagining and reimagining wedding trends and that is something we should all be thankful for. These days the most beautiful thing about getting married is that you can completely customize the wedding, make it all about you and your partner. Just look at this Huff Post Weddings article.
Stefania Sainato writes, “We surveyed top wedding planners and vendors across the country to get the inside scoop on how they’re modernizing the most popular wedding trends to date. Get their expert advice on how to breathe new life into tried-and-true favorites and make them your own!”
Maybe that is the overarching message of Thanksgiving, “breathing new life into tried-and-true favorites and make them your own.” Sainato covers 10 different wedding trends, including mason jars, burlap with lace accents, photo booths, candy bars, chevron, barn or Gatsby-themed weddings, overly produced wedding photos, muted color palettes, creative signage, and sparkler sendoffs.
Now that list might make you dizzy, but the trick to customizing your wedding is to take these “classic” trends and spice them up or, in other words, show them how thankful you are in a different way. Take photo booths for example, which are a staple at most weddings. Having your photo taken is always fun, but it is easy to become complacent because of the same old photo booth where you and your date or you and a bunch of friends cram into something that is the size of a cubicle and make funny faces for a few seconds. Photo booths should be about emotion and fluidity. It should not turn wedding guests into stiff, almost-stoic mannequins. Sainato suggests we add things like unique backdrops and funky-looking furniture to the photo booth experience. We need to have the photo booth match the personality of the wedding reception. This might also mean upping the technological magic and offering a video booth option for your wedding guests.
Remember, every aspect of your wedding is completely up to you, so you must determine what trends you are grateful for and what trends you could do without. Although Sainato offers up some nice suggestions, the ball is always in your court. At Kelli Burns Entertainment, I will help you breathe new life into tried-and-true wedding favorites and make them your own, and that is something I am very thankful for.
October is almost here, and the changing leaves and cool weather have us thinking of Halloween and how much fun these seasonal weddings can be – especially with the holiday falling on a Saturday this year! From touches of orange to a gown with ornate, black detailing there are so many ways to add a spooktacular touch to your nuptials.
Whether you are a bride looking to stray from the white dress norm or are interested in adding a pop of bright color to your big day, Halloween is the perfect time to do so. In recent years, black wedding gowns have become a fashion-forward alternative to the traditional white gown, providing you with plenty of options to choose from. Every bride deserves to feel beautiful and confident on her wedding day, so choose the dress that speaks to you, regardless of its color.
Looking for a more subtle homage to the holiday? Pumpkin colored ties and bright orange bouquets are two great ways to incorporate some spooky spirit. One of my favorite ideas: A pumpkin basket for your flower girl to carry. Orange flower petals or dried leaves in shades of spice and burgundy with look stunning on the aisle.
From your save the dates to the wedding cake, there are so many little touches that can be added to your event. Touches of orange throughout the venue, glowing jack-o-lanterns and themed décor are some of our favorite ideas. Vintage candelabras and cobwebbed branches will add to the bewitching fun. Add a unique spin on the popular cookie table and create a candy buffet instead! Choose all your favorite chocolate treats and let your guests fill goodie bags to take home.
Set the mood with a dance floor that looks like it came straight off the set of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” music video. Smoke machines and mood lighting paired with Halloween hits like “Monster Mash” and “Ghostbusters” will have your guests on the dance floor in no time.
There are so many fun and unique ways to incorporate Halloween into your October wedding. Make the day your own with these ideas and enjoy the haunted fun!
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There are plenty of details to consider when planning your wedding day. After months of preparation, the big day will go by in the blink of an eye. And then it’s time to relax and enjoy a week or two of newlywed bliss. So how do you decide where to go?
First, discuss time and budget with your significant other. Before you choose a location, consider how much time you will be able to take off of work and how big your travel budget is. From exotic, far off locations to a cozy trip across the country, here are options that will fit every lifestyle:
With soft sand and all-inclusive resorts, beach honeymoons provide an escape from the world into your own private paradise. For the couple looking to unwind and enjoy some time alone, a tropical resort is the perfect option.
When choosing a beach destination, consider weather. We recommend avoiding a trip during hurricane season, or choosing a warm, sandy location outside of the hurricane belt. One hot honeymoon destination is Bora Bora. A coral island in the French Polynesia, Bora Bora is an exquisite, volcanic island surrounded by coral reefs. A well-known tourist destination, there are plenty of adventures for you and your spouse to encounter – think snorkeling, swimming and quad touring the mountains – as well as time to relax and enjoy each other’s company and the crystal clear waters. Newlyweds Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux spent their honeymoon here – and so did our celebrity clients, Lisa and Henry Swager!
Are you and your spouse looking to kick off your marriage with the adventure of a lifetime? From mountains to rivers to ancient runes there are many ways to satisfy your desire to explore. Look into national parks and eco-lodges and plan a guided tour for one of the first days of your trip. Your local tour guide is sure to have better information than any site on the internet, so ask plenty of questions and learn about all that the area has to offer. Then spend the rest of your trip visiting and exploring the spots mentioned.
For couples looking for a trip a bit closer to home, a trip out west to Yellowstone National State Park and the Grand Canyon is a great idea. Another adventurous – and tropical – destination choice is Costa Rica. Spend an afternoon zip-lining through the jungle or kayaking a river, then relax on the beach in the evening.
If you love the rush of city life and the feeling of being on the go, a city honeymoon is the trip for you. From outdoor markets to museums and a bustling nightlife, there are plenty of cities both near and far that will give you the chance to learn and explore together. Immerse yourself in local culture with reservations at a popular restaurant, a tour around the city and tickets to a local theatre.
While Paris has always been the city of love, there are many other options to consider. Barcelona, Spain is one of our favorite choices. Looking for some other ideas? Visit The Knot to see their list of most romantic honeymoon cities.
No matter what trip you choose, your honeymoon will provide you with memories that will last a lifetime. Take some time to relax after all the stress of the big day and enjoy the company of your new spouse.
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For all you dog lovers looking for a way to make your special day memorable and unique, consider including your pooch in the ceremony. With help from local dog trainer Mr. O, your dog can learn to accompany you down the aisle! Whether you are looking for a flower girl, ring bearer or furry additions to your bridesmaids and groomsmen, Mr. O can train your dog to participate.
Mr. O’s Dog Training Place offers a variety of training options for dogs, including a wedding dog training course. This course will teach your pup to walk down the aisle and sit or lay with your wedding party throughout the ceremony. Training will be taught without a leash and when the ceremony concludes your pet will walk back down the aisle and wait with you to greet the guests.
Let your pets enjoy the festivities of your wedding ceremony as well. After all, they are a part of your family! The Dog Training Place can provide a trainer to attend your reception, allowing you to relax and avoid the worry of having to keep an eye on your pets all night. Instead, the trainer will watch over your pets, make sure they are fed and help to pose them for pictures while you enjoy your special night to the fullest.
Located at 2622 Leechburg Road in Lower Burrell, Pennsylvania, Mr. O’s Dog Training Place can be reached at 724-339-1962.
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There are many different decisions to make when choosing music for your wedding. There is your first dance, the father-daughter dance, and more to consider; including music to play before the ceremony and as guests wait for and eat their dinner. These are two of the harder musical choices to make, and a great idea is to personalize these playlists!
Choose hits from the years you were born, the year you met, got engaged and more. When choosing songs from the younger years of your life, ask your parents and grandparents for some of their favorites! This will not only include them in the wedding planning process, but also create another musical connection for your guests to enjoy throughout the celebrations.
What were some of your favorite songs when you first met and throughout your relationship? Use these songs as the basis for the rest of your prelude and dinner soundtrack; just remember to keep the music light and positive. By creating a mix of old and new hits, you will have a fun soundtrack that everyone will love listening to while waiting to watch you walk down the aisle!
Need more songs to add to your evening playlist? Include some of the older songs from your special years to give older guests and relatives something to dance to as well. Usually the dance floor is crowded with the young party-goers, but this is a great chance to incorporate tunes that all your guests know and enjoy!
Whether you are planning a wedding, bar mitzvah, corporate event, birthday party, or any other large celebration, one of the most important aspects is your entertainment. (Let’s be honest, nobody likes a boring party!) Hosting an event that has plenty of exciting things going on will ensure that each guest has a wonderful time. But before you rush out and hire the first disc jockey or the cheapest DJ you can find, do your research and ask the right questions. A DJ has the potential to make your event the hit of the season, so make sure you know exactly what you are paying for!
Here are six questions that you can ask your DJ before you hire them:
What special talents do you have?
It might seem like a funny question to ask, but you really want to find someone who has practiced their craft and can stand out from other DJs. Each DJ has their own personal skill set and not each of these individuals will have the best skills to meet your specific needs. Find out what kind of hosting and MCing skills your DJ has that can make your event a success. You want to be happy with your DJ, because they will be the one responsible for ensuring your guests are having fun keeping them at your event the whole time! The most important thing is to find a DJ who will give you and your event the attention and service you deserve.
What is your planning process like?
How your DJ coordinates the planning and preparation for your event will make all the difference. Many DJs offer planning sessions over the phone or through online forms. While this type of planning is time-efficient, it typically results in cookie-cutter events. The best DJs ask questions about you that go deeper than just the music. Allow your DJ to get to know you and everyone involved in the big event. Usually face-to-face meeting will bring out more possibilities than just phone calls. This will help them to learn how they can make it a day to be remembered!
How do you select the music for my event?
Don’t you want to have control over the types of music and songs that are played? A great DJ will help you select the best playlist – every single song if you choose. If music isn’t your thing, you can count on the DJ to gauge the audience and play the right types of music to suit the crowd.
When selecting music with your DJ, there should be three categories. First, you’ll choose background music that guests will hear as they mingle, take a seat, or eat their meal. Second, you’ll pick out special songs to be played at times like when the bride and groom share their first dance and the father daughter dance. Lastly, you will select some dancing requests. This gives you the opportunity to let your music preferences shine. You can list which songs to play (or definitely not play) during open dancing to ensure you and your friends and family will be dancing the night away!
Do you have feedback from past clients?
Many DJs will have a system in place to gauge the satisfaction of their clients. Ask to see surveys or references from people whom they have worked with in the past. Any service provider who doesn’t ask for feedback is content with the services they currently provide and isn’t looking to improve themselves or their work. This is true of all types of vendors, not just DJs. You may see many reviews on wedding sites but to have your company evaluated is much more useful – and it is important to learn how they are improving their services as individuals and as a company.
What can you do to make my event personalized and unique?
The last thing you want is an event like all the others. You want to have an amazing and memorable time, and you want your guests to feel the same! What creative ideas can your DJ share that will help make your event more enjoyable and personal? This is where you find the distinction between a DJ who simply plays music and a DJ who provides a full array of entertainment and creates joy through music and human interaction.
What is your pricing?
Ask your DJ what their prices are and why. Will spending more on a full-time DJ be a better value? Is the DJ you are looking at below or above average, and why are they priced that way? Are they charging an average price because their services are average? Are their prices lower because they have less experience and lower quality work? Are their above average prices justified? Chances are that an above average priced DJ is taking into account that they are talented and that their unique services are in high demand; but definitely make sure they have the experience and references to back up their price!
Once you find the right DJ, you’ll know and will feel confident that you are hiring the best person to help you carry out an unforgettable event!
Planning a large event and looking to fill the entertainment void? You have so many great options when it comes to keeping your guests occupied and happy. You could hire a live band, assemble a playlist for your iPod, or (if you’re smart) you can hire a DJ for the whole night. The music at an event is always the main source of entertainment; this can make or break the occasion!
Bands vs. DJ’s
In theory, it sounds like a great idea to hire a band or musician to play at an event. And while we agree that there is a certain “je ne sais quoi” about having a 5 -8 piece band performing live, it’s not always the best choice to have live music throughout your entire event. There is a time for live music, and a time for a DJ.
Keep in mind that professional musicians often have a specialty. They can sing beautiful ballads but they might not be able to curate a set filled with Beyoncé and Pitbull. Even the best musicians have a limit.
There will often be breaks in between while the musicians are adjusting equipment or quenching their thirst. It’s impossible for live musicians to keep up a solid 3 hours of entertainment.
Pros of hiring a band
- Live music creates a great energy that can be felt throughout your venue. It’s not just music, it’s an experience!
- With bands you’ll have a unique, authentic sound that can’t be obtained any other way.
- The visual impact of live performances is awesome
- Live performances take things from a party to an “event”
Cons of hiring a band
- You’ll find that often times, musicians focus more on the music and less on the schedule you have laid out for the event. Cake cutting? Too bad – they’re mid song.
- A natural part of having live music is the break in between songs or sets. They have to set up various instruments, make adjustments, and rest for a moment (who can blame them?!) – but it doesn’t translate well for an all night long event.
- Some musicians will charge extra fees if you would like them to learn a particular song. It is extra time that they have to spend seeking out and practicing the new song.
- Not all musicians are great with crowds. Sometimes you can find one who really knows how to work a room, but it isn’t rare to only find ones that are strictly focused on music.
Pros of hiring a DJ
- With a disc jockey, your music selection is unlimited. Different genres, styles, instruments… you can truly have anything you want.
- DJ’s are interactive. You’ll often find your DJ joining in the audience of couple’s dances and even Father-Daughter dances.
- The whole JOB of a DJ is to keep the energy of the event moving. There are no breaks in disc jockeying.
- The price of hiring a DJ comes in much lower than hiring a whole band Cons of hiring a DJ
- DJ’s with no personality can ruin your event. Luckily this is easily prevented by making sure you know who you are hiring.
In conclusion? By all means – hire a live musician that can play a few very important songs, but make sure you have DJ to back them up when they are all done.
Why Use a DJ?
DJs can be very versatile with their work. We are able to play any song ever made, create remixes, andhost the event so that everyone is connecting. . We have an endless stream of entertainment at our fingertips. Your guests have special requests? No problem. We’re great at catering to the crowd and adjusting our list to fit the party.
How to Choose Your DJ:
Before choosing your DJ, meet with them in person. We have invaluable information that we share with our prospects.. We’ll explain our strong suits, our capabilities, ourspecial talents, and we can see if we’re a good match. Since we will be working for you on your special day, we are totally open and respectful of your likes and dislikes.
Don’t be afraid to request a list of references from our past clients. It’s a great way to hear directly from people who have worked with us and know how we perform.
If you have specific needs or accommodations that need to be fulfilled, mention it during our meeting, so you will know right away if we will be a good fit for your event.
If you think it is too expensive to book a professional DJ, then wait till you hire an amateur!
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What is Up-lighting?
Up-lighting is a light source that is placed around the perimeter of your event space. This lighting is typically aimed up towards the wall and ceiling to create a glow over venue. The secret to creating this ambiance lies within the type of lighting and also where to place the lighting fixtures. This simple process can create an aesthetically pleasing and exciting environment for every guest! Event up-lighting will enhance and boost the already gorgeous aspects of your occasion.
Up-lighting can usually come in an assortment of colors to accent your event perfectly. Also, it can be used just about anywhere in your venue, so you can spotlight certain areas or make your whole entire perimeter glow! Typically being controlled from the DJ or they can be wireless and battery operated, your up-lighting can change colors, patterns and intensity throughout the night.
You’ll be able to discuss with Kelli the details of how you want your up-lighting to perform. We can provide static lighting where the colors stay the same, or we can create programmable lighting which will change colors and create movement within the room. The size of your event perimeter and the number of people who will be attending your event will determine the amount of up-lighting you will need.
Benefits of Event Up-lighting
- You can bring your party from “drab” to fab!”
- This source of luminescence can completely change the look and feel of an entire venue and emotion. If your venue isn’t the beautiful setting you dreamed of (or even if you simply want to boost beautiful features) up-lighting could transform the space to a beautiful and stunning atmosphere, therefore creating more excitement.
- Make a room appear larger and more spacious
- Create a color scheme to perfectly accent your event
- If your venue is a stunning space, you want all of its features to be shown off
- Takes the place of extra or unneeded décor that may be more expensive.
Questions to consider with up-lighting:
Most event venues are rigged to be able to accommodate up-lighting with plenty of outlets spread throughout. But if you are celebrating with an outdoor wedding or have chosen a primitive location, you’ll need to make sure you have the details figured out. Wireless and battery operated units are available for these scenarios.
How many rooms are you lighting? Multiple areas filled with up-lights leaves a profound effect.
Are there areas that would do better with extra lighting? We can help you figure it out!
Is your event mostly taking place at night or day? Up-lighting leaves the best impressions in a normally dim ambiance and is therefore better suited for nighttime events.
Typical Uses for Up-lighting:
- Wedding Ceremonies and Receptions
- Bar Mitzvahs
- Corporate Events
- Anniversary Parties
- Holiday Parties
- School Dances
- Birthday Parties
- Graduation Parties
- Night time events