Westchester Wedding Guide From the Pros for 2012: Local Wedding Vendors Share Trends and Favorites for DJs, Live Reception Entertainment and Bands, Popular Reception Music, Ceremony Music, and Songs

The “Celebration” in Your Celebration



Even the most frugal Westchester couples are still looking to add some kind of live entertainment to their weddings, and they’re finding creative ways to squeeze it in.

ON THE RISE When it comes to booking music and other entertainment, local couples have been tightening their belts. “People are looking for the biggest bang for their buck,” says Steven Burchard of Magical Memories Entertainment in Thornwood. “Although budgets are starting to creep up, shoppers really know they can shop around and get some good deals.”

That doesn’t mean, though, that live performance aspects of the wedding are out—they’re just in different forms. Instead of splurging on 12-piece outfits, brides and grooms are instead booking smaller, more unusual combinations. “Band and DJ combinations are very popular,” says Jay Prince of Hal Prince Music and Entertainment in Rye Brook.

“Wedding percussion is really picking up,” says Mike Allan of Extreme Music Productions in Ardsley. “It’s a great mix of the sound of a DJ and the beat of a live band.”

Sometimes, the live element to a wedding isn’t music-related at all. “Magical Memories Entertainment has booked both fire performers and wedding magicians at several recent weddings, as well as jugglers, stilt-walkers, and some fortune-tellers,” Burchard says.

ON THE DECLINE In terms of music, “hip-hop and rap seem less popular than a few years ago,” says Aaron Minsky of Castle Dream Productions in Bedford Corners. “There is more interest in rock music. Today’s bride has parents who grew up on rock as opposed to the standards loved by the previous generation.”

In addition, couples that find they don’t want to skimp on live performers means that instead they’re skipping the high-tech add-ons that don’t add a live element to a reception. “I am finding fewer requests for large TVs and projection displays,” Allan says. “We have forty-two- and fifty-inch TVs to live simulcast an event and to show montages. At one time, this was an add-on that every bride needed at her wedding. Now, people are more concerned about great music and making sure their guests are up and dancing.”

CEREMONY MUSIC The walk down the aisle is no longer synonymous with Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March” or Pachelbel’s “Canon in D.” In ceremonies, Minsky says, "I’m seeing more requests for popular songs played by strings and other classical instruments.” 

FROM THE PLANNERS “’All You Need Is Love’ by the Beatles has been huge for the recessional song of choice,” says Lauren Sozmen of Loli Events.

“The first dance will forever remain,” says Sarah Lusardi of NY Engagements in White Plains. “We have not once had a couple not want to have a first dance together no matter how bad they admit they dance.”

CROWD-PLEASERS
“Dynamite” – Taio Cruz
“Evacuate the Dance Floor” – Cascada
“Give Me Everything” – Pitbull
“Don’t Stop Believin’” – Journey
“You Are the Best Thing” – Ray LaMontagne

DO NOT PLAY It seems that Westchester crowds are over any kind of group or line dance. “‘The Chicken Dance’ is just a no!” Burchard says. “Same with many of the group dances.”
“‘The Electric Slide,’ ‘YMCA,’ and ‘Hands Up' are out!” Allen says, adding, “‘The Cha Cha Slide’ is still in, and recently added is the ‘Cupid Shuffle.’”

I’M SO SICK OF PLAYING…
“‘Sweet Caroline.’”     
—Jay Prince

Hal Prince Music and Entertainment
“Black Eyed Peas’ ‘I Gotta Feeling.’”
—Steven Burchard

Magical Memories Entertainment
“Kool and the Gang’s ‘Celebration.’”
—Mike Allan, Extreme Music Productions

“A lot of musicians are tired of the Pachelbel ‘Canon,’ but I still like it.”
—Aaron Minsky, Castle Dream Productions

ADVICE FROM THE PROS Though all wedding vendors will tell you to book as early as you can, this goes double for music and entertainment professionals. “The best get booked first,” Prince says. It’s simple as that.
Allan adds: “See your DJ live. Don’t book on just a great video. Anyone can make an unbelievable promo video. We all have one.”

MOST MEMORABLE REQUEST
“‘Dance with Me to the End of Love’ by Leonard Cohen.”
—Jay Prince, Hal Prince
Music and Entertainment

“‘Cinnamon Girl’ by Neil Young—on cello and guitar. It actually sounded great.”
—Aaron Minsky,
Castle Dream Productions

“One groom asked to sing YouTube sensation Rebecca Black’s ‘Friday’ to his guests.
I didn’t think I had it…but I actually did.”
—Mike Allan, Extreme Music Productions

SAVE The best way to save on wedding music is to scale down. “Smaller bands can do the same songs, if needed, without the horn section.” Prince says. Adds Minsky: “Believe it or not, small groups of musicians are often less expensive than DJs.”

LOCAL ENTERTAINERS

Stolen Moments Entertainment
Dobbs Ferry
(914) 693-2309
stolenmoments.com

Bock & Blu
White Plains
(914) 682-7078
bockandblu.com

Castle Dream Productions
Bedford Corners
(914) 241-9111
castledreamproductions.com

Classical Consorts
White Plains
(914) 948-0902
classicalconsorts.com

Double Image
Yorktown Heights
(914) 773-1950
doubleimagedjs.com

Extreme Music Productions
Ardsley
(914) 478-3895
extrememusicprod.com

Hal Prince Music and Entertainment
Rye Brook
(914) 937-4700
halprince.com

H&R Music
Cortlandt Manor
(914) 737-2925
hotbandnewyork.com

Jimmy Dee Music Productions
White Plains
(914) 428-9231
jimmydee.com

New York Harpist Lois Colin
White Plains
(914) 834-4714
loiscolin.com

Magical Memories Entertainment
Thornwood
(914) 548-2048
mme123.com

Peak Entertainment
Croton-On-Hudson
(914) 631-0052

Perrone Bros. Entertainment
Yonkers
(914) 237-5214
perronebros.com

That’s Entertainment
Harrison
(914) 381-7150
tenewyork.com

Westchester Entertainment
Valhalla
(914) 769-6013
westchesterentertainment.net