Designing A Remarkable Wedding Reception with Shawn Stom

Weddings from the Pros

Episode 63 with Nathan and Shawn Stom

A huge and equally important part of a wedding is the reception and any couple would want it to be an enjoyable time for everyone. Shawn Stom of Jumping Jukebox, LLC imparts his views and creative suggestions on how to materialize your dream of a wonderful reception and fill it with amazing moments that will surely be memorable.

You can get in touch with Shawn through their website at or on their FB page – Jumping Jukebox LLC.

In This Episode We Cover:

  • How important it is to have a vision of what your wedding reception should be. 
  • Why is it important to consider the venue, number of people, lights and music.
  • Why do you need a DJ or MC who knows how to create a good ambiance and good music that will make the crowd excited.
  • Creating a wedding reception where fun is created and memories last.

Listen to the Full Podcast Here!

Read the Full Transcription Below!

Here at Angled light photography, we believe marriage is an amazing adventure and your wedding is the jumping off point. We'll explore planning an authentic and meaningful wedding experience as we connect with real life couples and the industry's top professionals. We're here to inspire and encourage you as you begin this journey of a lifetime. Hey, everybody welcome back to another episode of the show, Guys, you are in for a treat. So today I'm here with Shawn Stom from jumping jukebox. How's it going man? It's going great, it's going great.

It's halfway through the week between weddings and weddings and wedding events. It's just, this is the moment where we're just kind of sitting back and trying to relax and just rejuvenate for the next few days. Yes, yes, and it's so funny, I'm really glad that you're here before we start diving into designing the perfect reception, you know, for you and your wedding. I just want to give you some props really quick. So at this point I've seen a number of weddings and I tell people this all the time.

Like one of the great things about being a wedding photographer is that you really get to experience a huge variety of all kinds of different celebrations and weddings and dude, like it's not often that I come across a DJ and DJ company that is quite as diverse as you guys are, you know, that's able to really work the room like you guys are dude, I've, I've been apart of some incredible raging, you know, like everybody's jumping on the dance floor just packed to the walls, kind of crazy nights with you guys and I've also been to other weddings where like we got into the reception and I was like, I don't think anybody's gonna be dancing and I don't think this is gonna, it's gonna be a dancing crowd and bro, you went out there and like just like wave your wand and like and like make some magic going to cast a spell, you know, sometimes you just got to like I need you to do this for me, please to make this night more enjoyable.

Let's just all have a good time. Yeah, I've seen you really work some magic, so like that's what I'm trying to say, and I think that that's super special that I don't see that very often, you know? And so I think it's just a huge testament to you guys and jumping the box and I appreciate that. Yeah, man, it's you know like when we go into, when you, like, like you said, when you go into an advance and you go into a wedding, like it's every crowd is different and you never know, like you said a second ago, you never know what you're going to get, like you never know, it really comes down to the people that show up and their personalities and you just got to, like you said, you get sometimes you have to catch a spell sometimes you just got to hope for the best.

Yeah, well so this topic that we're gonna be talking about today, I'm really excited about because it's um, you know, I've sat across the table from some couples when they come in for the Discovery meetings and sometimes I'll ask them are oftentimes I'll ask them. So what's the wedding reception that you're envisioning? Like, what are you guys planning on designing for your wedding reception and do their eyes just get real big because they're like, I don't know, like, like, what do you mean? What do you mean design?

Like, we're just right, so, like, what I wanna do is I want to kind of talk about, you know, how can a couple become more intentionally thoughtful about the kind of reception that they want? Because I mean, let's be honest, like, that's a huge part, as far as the experience goes of your wedding day. I mean, this is a big part of it, right? We were kind of talking before we started recording, especially for your guests. Like, you know, for the people whose coming your friends in your family that you invited, that you feel very close to and you want to, you know, provide this amazing experience for, like, the reality is the reception is probably where there's more that needs to be thoughtful and, and that more than there's more that needs to be intentional than what most couples think about, right?

So what I wanna do is I want to kind of talk and dive into the idea of like how did the design, you know, the reception especially for the couple, because that's something that we're really big on. Like how do you design a wedding that's intentionally thoughtful and intentionally designed for the couple on his reflection of the couple? How can we take that thought process into reception? Yeah, So, you know, I think one of the first things that comes to my mind, like us as a wedding professionals, right?

It's in our media, it's on our website, but we often use the term to make your dream come true and make your dream day reality. And you know, I think I like to say that most of us mean what we say when we say that right, we really want to make that a reality for them, if not we wouldn't be in the wedding business, I don't think. And so I think the step one comes to you. Like you said, like when you sit down with the bride, when I sit down with the bride, one of the first things that I asked, one of the very first questions that I ask is tell me about your vision, tell me about your wedding.

What do you want, what are you looking for? What is what excites you? Like, what makes you happy when you dream about your wedding day? And I think that question provokes a lot of brides, a lot of people especially, you know, females, they have envisioned this day for so long. They, they thought about it since they were a little girl and but sometimes in that moment when you provoke that question, I think they they stop and they say because nobody just dives right into it, they usually have to like, hmm, you know, I don't, sometimes I haven't thought about it that way.

And to me that's step one for us, right? We get to really tap into them, tap into their brain and to like, what is their dream? Like, what is their vision? Because we can't even begin the design process until we know a little bit about that. Um, I think, you know, I think that's where it all begins for us and once we start doing that, then the next step we start, what I think is an important step is now that we know this information, then the relationship between us as a wedding professional and them as a couple where a bride or a groom, we can start building that rapport.

Yeah, and I think that's so important, man, Like fundamentally, if there's one thing that I've discovered the last few years is that every couple is different, right? Like every single one, every single one is different. And what people come in generally speaking, I agree with you when they sit down and you're like, what's your vision generally speaking, they have a hard time articulating it, right? They can see it in their head, but they have a hard time getting it out, they always go, um I don't know, you know, we want it to be fun and we want to be fun.

That's what they say. We want good pictures, right? So, like, that's what you hear often, but I totally agree with you that because every couple is different as a wedding professional, it's hard to know how we can best help them and how we can best serve them and how we can best design the experience that they're going to have without really knowing what it is that they're looking for. And I think that's great, and I would even say that that's a great piece of advice to lead off with, which is kind of think about that, and like, have a really good idea in your head of what you want, this place to look like, what you more so than look like what you wanted to feel like, right?

Like when you walk into that reception, what do you want that space to feel like it's kind of like, when you're building a house, right? Like you have to have a floor plan, you have to have a plan before we can have that plan, you have to know what type of house you want, like, what do you want to build? Do I mean, what is your dream home? And I think it's kind of a similar process, right? So you have to have the idea that you have to have the foundation 100%.

So once they kind of described to you and I actually, I want to go back to something else you said that I thought was interesting, Tell me about your, the people that you're inviting, right? So like, do you talk a little bit about their family and you know their friends, how many of its going to be older? What kind of audience are we talking about? How many, how much of the, what percentage is gonna be younger? Like took me through some of those things like when somebody were to come to and they were to say, hey, so I'll just give you two examples.

They say the first one comes in, they say, hey, so it's gonna be like mostly my friends, we've got some family is gonna be coming, but mostly it's gonna be my friends, people my age and we are looking for a party, right? So like when they say that, what kind of does that invoke in your response? So when I hear those words, right, and for a DJ, that's like the dream answer by the way we want that. You know, if we here, that's gonna be a lot of their friends in their young crowd, then we know that more than likely they're all going to be celebrating together on the dance floor, having a great time and it's gonna be more cohesive, I think.

So the first thing that strikes my mind is okay, so we, this tells me we can probably, like if you know based off what their music choices are, we can make this really energetically make it really fun, We can make it really exciting and just, you know really, really drive home, just the celebration, the party part of the night, like make that a key focus for us and a lot of those cases when we have weddings, like you just described to us, a lot of those people will probably choose to opt out of stuff like bouquet and garter or did the cake cutting really earlier kind of do even secretly not make a big deal about it because once the party starts they just want to go, I just want to celebrate that just want to, do you want to dance?

They want to dance. And I think the yin to that yang right, the opposite scenario would be. We got, you know, I heard this just the other day, our age demographic is all over the map. Like we have people in their twenties, people in their thirties, forties, fifties, sixties, I mean you name it and whenever asked the question so out of all of those different age groups, where's our niche? Like what's the bigger number? Like, oh it's pretty, even like pretty evenly spread, which I would imagine is the hardest situation.

It is as a DJ, like it doesn't get more difficult than that. Like how do you create a fun atmosphere for literally anybody who's been alive over the last right. Well, I mean, yeah, exactly. Because then again, you know, like I'm not saying, you know, the older generation doesn't dance. I've seen weddings where I've seen them get down. But you know, history, if history proves itself over and over again, they're going to come out for a few songs and they're gonna go sit down, right, They're going to come out and dance a little bit and go sit down.

But the problem with this is, you know, if the age demographic is truly split, that leaves you with only a smaller number for, you know, that younger crowd that stays out there a little bit longer. So it takes a little more effort in thinking and planning to keep everyone engaged as if it were, you know, primarily a younger crowd close to the bride and groom's age. Yeah. Yeah, I think that's so true because what I've seen happen in a lot of cases that this isn't necessarily true.

And we're talking about music selection and kind of what kind of audience you have and what, you know, with the demographic of your friends and family that you've got there. But I've seen a lot of cases when a wedding typically has more family that arrives in friends and this isn't always right. I don't want to paint this gigantic brush. There's no always, but a lot of times. what happens is that it is a much more difficult group to start dancing like that. That doesn't typically happen. They tend to sit around a little bit more.

They tend to compensate. It's mostly family, right? So they're just catching up. They haven't seen each other in your family. It's a family reunion. Right. Right. It's a family union. And I think what I tell brides and couples often is, you know, kind of be realistic with what you're wanting when you walk into that situation if most of your so let me give you kind of an example. I'll often say, so do you have more family coming to the wedding and more friends? If they were to say more family, I'd be like, well, how much more family?

And I'd say just gets to me like, what's the percentage? And they say, well, 80 90% is gonna be a family of maybe 10% friends. And then my next question would be, so does your family like to dance? Like, do they like to get up and move with a very active. And you know, it's funny because a lot of times when they start talking about the reception, they will mention things like, we want to dance a lot. We wanted to be a party. But then once we kind of talk about what the makeup of your reception is going to be who the people are going to be there, but it gets to the point where it's like, well, you know, I don't know that that'll happen now if anybody can do it, jumping to box is going to be able to get them to go to the dance, we pulled it off a time, I've seen you guys and that was actually a scenario, the last scenario that I was in with you guys and I was like, I don't think that's going to happen.

It was mostly family, which there's nothing wrong with that, right? Like there's no good or bad. And the age range was very diverse, very diverse. And you know, you guys were never have probably never seen you work so hard man behind the board trying to play next and then you get on the floor and you would work to get people out there and doing something that I think there was a point that night that we end up playing like 60 Yeah, for a while, because you just, you know, like at the moment that was the only thing that was working with the people that wanted to dance at the time.

And so you have to kind of cater to that. So I think, you know, when we're talking about designing like, I think the biggest thing is you have to have some form of plan B, like some type of backup plan. Like, you know, you can intentionally designed the reception and intentionally plan, but sometimes things don't go as planned, right? Sometimes, you know, things go straight. But yeah, I think those are all great things to think about when you're talking about a variety of different types. Yeah. And I think that's something that a lot of wedding professionals don't like to talk about.

And I think that's something that a lot of brides don't want to hear, right? Like they don't want to hear. Oh, so you, are you saying that my wedding might not be the dancing kind of wedding? I think it's an expectation that they can't grasp just yet. Right. 100%. And I'm not saying that it has to be that way. But what I am saying is you need to find the DJ right. If that's what you're wanting, the odds are somewhat stacked in your favor, right? You need to find the DJ and the DJ company that's probably going to be able to handle that vision the best under the circumstances, right?

And that kind of situation, there's a lot of people that you can go to that can come and they can play music and they can play dance music and the latest hits that you would want to hear with your friends to be on the dance floor. But the reality is it takes a special kind of DJ to be able to read the room like what you're talking about, read the room, understand the demographic and do things in the right way to get people on dance 400%. And to achieve the vision that you walked into that wedding with?

That's what I'm trying to say. Yeah. And I think for me this is going to sound borderline creepy. But like I start people watching and reading as they arrive to the ceremony. 100%. And I think photographers do this to you, right? Because photographers, they want their job to be when it comes dance time a little bit. They want to have a good dance floor. Because I make sure the job easier to capture the moment you've got a lot of stuff happening, A lot of moments taking place. So I think we all kind of start watching people arrive and I'm like, okay, all right.

We got a we got a young crowd, but it's not just the age, demographic. It's also like, is everybody just sitting there not talking or are they interacting with people? Is there a lot of people talking to each other? Can you tell that people are genuinely excited to be here? They're ready to celebrate. You'd be surprised. I've seen as people come into a wedding ceremony, they just sit there and just outside of the music that's playing. It's just nobody's talking nobody's and you get the feeling and then that's like part one of knowing the crowd.

Part two is whenever we open up the mic for the first time we do our introduction and say, you know, good evening ladies and gentlemen welcome tonight. You know, we're so glad you're here. How is everyone doing? Right? Did you hear that? So you try it again? Let's try that one more time. How are you guys doing tonight? And somebody's like somebody in the corner rooms like, alright, does the bar open yet? I don't know. So, I think, you know, part of all of that is, I think back to the design part, right?

Like knowing that the people part is a huge component of whatever you're designing from the ground up, make sure you share that with your, with your DJ, right? 100%. And base your decision of who you're choosing to come and DJ your wedding with that in mind. Right? Just like we said earlier. So that's cool. So we're talking a little bit about, you know, dancing versus not dancing and DJs who can help kind of get the party started and have the group having fun, no matter what kind of demographic you've got at your wedding.

Let's talk a little bit about the atmosphere of the space. Right? So what are some things that people can think about when it comes to venue selection? Maybe if you even want to talk a little about that, but more specifically, like what can a DJ company do and what can they bring in to really kind of enhance the space and to get it closer to what your vision of your wedding might be. Right? So I think a good way to start is to kind of talk about venue selection just a little bit right because especially in our area in Greenville there are tons of different types of venues.

You get everything from really modern and sleek too rustic, tons of barn venues and then there's venues where the walls and the ceiling are literally made of glass and its floral everywhere. Right? And some venues like that, it doesn't need a lot of extra. But there's some venues you walk in and it's just about white walls, that's all you have which can work to our favorite because you know from a lighting perspective that's like a huge blank canvas for us to do work with. So I think venue selection is very important when it comes to designing the reception, not just from a decor and layout perspective but like what your D. J. Can do in that space and a lot of that from us comes from I think people are starting to catch on, photographers and coordinators are really starting to push that.

But I think for a long time when I first started deejaying with jumping jukebox lighting was kind of undersold a little bit right. It wasn't really taken advantage of by a lot of brides as it probably should have been. That's the number one thing I tell people is if you're going to get anything extra, if there's anything extra that we can offer you. The one thing you need to get, no matter what your venue is is up lighting like it's a must because for two parts actually.

And so the first part is the ambience, right? The general ambience, like just with it's a color that we use accent in the room or you know, sometimes we don't just up like walls, we can apply florals and you know, things like that and put a light on the wall behind the cake to kind of showcase the cake. A little bit more different things that we can do until people often. So to me this is very much and I think people can relate to this. This is like if you were to walk into McDonald's, you're going to have those fluorescent lights on the top, just getting down everywhere, everything's going to be equally lit.

There's not gonna be that sexy factor, right? With the really good lighting that just kind of elevates the experience and makes it feel a little bit more luxurious. As opposed to if I were to walk into, let's say Ruth Chris right? Like there's going to be lighting that's designed in a place like Ruth Chris or chop chop house 47 like halls or any of the great steakhouses that at least the ones we have locally here, like the lights are going to download and they're going to have accent lighting that's strategically placed in places to where it draws your attention to, the things you wanted to draw your attention to and it's going to help you not see the things that you don't want to draw people's attention to write and DJs actually have the ability to be able to do that.

Even with color, DJs can bring in their own lighting systems to literally, and what I've seen is literally transform an atmosphere. I've seen places that look like an auditorium just well think about a hotel, banquet room. That's a great example. It's white wall, some air walls like you really with the right light, you can walk into a room and it's like a luxurious venue, like it's got that luxury hint to it and that's kind of what we want to do. The starting point for us, right? How do we get to that luxurious feel because it is a wedding after all and I can't tell you a bride who's not going to say we want our wedding to feel like, you know, boring, like you want it to be, you know, aesthetically pleasing, right?

So whether it's in color choice is a big part of that a lot of times, we either will do a color that is the wedding color or will complement the wedding color or sometimes we don't have to do that. Like it's a barn venue on a wood wall. We might do something like a warm white just to give that this nice romantic glow or a candlelight feel. And a lot of times that changes for this season, like for christmas weddings, you know what colors they want and it's not always red and green.

You know, sometimes they want that just romantic soft lights and so again, all these things come into venue selection and lighting and how we do all that definitely plays a huge factor in the design process. Yeah. Okay, so let's talk about the design of the timeline then, which I think is a different perspective. So, you know, I've seen you guys and maybe this talks about timeline. Maybe maybe it's not so much timeline, but I've seen you guys where at specific points of the night, it was very intentional that you guys would do something specific, right?

Or you would build up to a moment and then something would happen right in order to either get the crowd excited to get the crowd going or to build up the crowd and then something would happen. And then I've just seen like the room lose it right over and it's done through a coordination of like maybe some kind of really cool accessory that you guys have like a Ceo to cannon or something like that. But it's the way you build up the lighting design and how the lights sinking with the music and then the music that you're playing the track, the tracks, you're playing what you do with volume, how you cut out a track and it's silent and then something happens.

And then you beat drops, you turn it back on like those kind of things. And I guess it's not really timeline, but those kind of things that production value, right? A DJ can bring is significant to the design. I think of the way a wedding reception fuels. Yeah. So, again, this goes back to talking to the bride and building that rapport in learning a little bit about the crowd and the size of the wedding we were talking about before we started how that can play a factor into some of these production values and special effects.

Because I think a lot of people would say, well, like, you know, like this is this really small wedding. I think some of that stuff may not fit or you've got people who, it's a really small wedding, but we want that stuff. Anyway, then you've got to kind of use it differently, right? You know, you can have the crowd where they're going to I call it the woo crowd. To reference from how I Met Your Mother. I'm not watch that show or not, but you have, there's crowds out there that you can say anything on the mic and they're going to clap, They're going to woo, they're going to be excited, right?

So I could just, no matter what I do, I could blow out some C 02 in the air. I could shoot off the sparks. So I could do whatever they're just going to love it, no matter what, then you got the crowds, who is like you have to do the C. 02 at the right time with the right song. Really, really build it up, make them excited because there may not be like, you have to make them excited sometimes. So yeah, a lot of that when it comes to planning up that I would say that timeline that process how we get from that point, I think a lot of it comes down to the crowd and so some of that is intentional.

Some of it is playing it by ear, playing it off the cuff a little bit and I think as the night progresses we start to learn what's making this crowd tick, right, what's working what's not working? So for example, we have something like C. 02, There is no matter what the crowd is, you can do it too early, right? You want to save that moments, like you're in the movie, you get to the climax of the movie, like you have to do it at the right time and so you build up the intensity of the music as an emcee.

I'm hyping the crowd up, I'm having to put their hands in the air and have them getting ready and then somebody will see me pull that little C 02 gun out, right? They'll see it come out almost like something's about to happen. So the crowd will start swarming towards the middle and the next thing, you know, you play a song like, turn down for what the beat drops, right? You just shoot it all over the place and people go nuts over it. That's really fun. We can give it to the bride and let her fire it off.

I think that's the thing that really gets that moment because when they, when they see me hand that to her, the photographer is getting on her, the photographer's ready. You know, unless they've seen this particular effect before, they have no idea what's about to happen. I mean, they could be shooting out confetti for all they know, and then this cold white puff of smoke comes out and just like, wow. And it's just, it's a really fun thing to do. And then again, there is just like I said, it's all about being intentional because not only what we just did is do something fun for the crowd, but we created a moment for the bride, right?

We created a moment to be captured for the bride. I actually don't think that that side of it's talked about enough, right? Because I do think it's funny, I've talked with a lot of DJs over the time that I've been a wedding photographer and it really is, it comes down to the DJ, like to create moments throughout the night that is memorable for the bride. Like, I tell people all the time, like nobody wants an unmemorable wedding, right? Like nobody wants for their guests to leave and then the next monday just now, I'll tell you, I'll tell you the king of Moment making was the one and only Blake von, I have to throw him in here because he is lesson that, he taught me was this like our job as an emcee is not to be in the spotlight, but if you can get that spotlight just for a second and then shift it over to the bride and groom, you put them in it and then you create a moment, right?

You constantly do that throughout the night and you're constantly creating moments and sometimes it's, you know, instead of just playing the song shout and the people go nuts, sometimes it's doing this thing where you can make a circle and you put the bridegroom in the middle and you really put that focus on them, you know, do something cool with that and like sometimes you just really got to think outside of the box and make those moments happen and he would always say that like sometimes you just grab that spotlight and you take it and you shift it to them, make a moment happen, that's so smart, that's interesting.

Yeah, you know, so when it comes to designing the wedding, you know the other thing that I think about two and again, Blake was so good, how he would maneuver these things is using these special effects, right? A lot of the special effects for us in the wedding industry, I feel like we've seen them a couple of times, we're kind of used to them. But man, there are still so many guests who have never seen what cold spark fountains look like, right? So like when it goes off to see as a photographer, I turned around and I see the audience's reaction behind me, they are always, what's the number one thing you always hear when it happens?

It's whoa, the claw. So yeah, I think you know that's the new sensation over the last couple of years as cold sparks. I mean we have been using them time and time again at weddings and it's the one thing that like, you know, like you can take that for our first dance or even an exit. You know, we use it for both. The first dance to me is one of my favorite places to use it because when you have that song, it's a very romantic song. Like you know, it's just for example like Ben Director forever like that when that first chorus hits and that sparks go up, it's like, you know, for a moment whether you're watching or you're the bride and groom dancing, you're just like in your own dream world at that point.

Like especially if you combined sparks with like the dry ice, the dancing in the clouds is what we call it, right? When you combine the two, you just like, even with the pictures, like for a second, just like, man, like it looks right and for that one moment, you know, it doesn't last forever. But for that one moment we completely transformed the venue. If you think about that, like, at that point were like, we're in a whole different world. Yes. Even if it's for 10 seconds. Yeah, it's so true.

I can tell you from looking at the expression on everybody's face in that room, number one, there's nobody looking at their phone. There is nobody who's like shooting off a text or checking Facebook or writing an email. Nobody, everybody's eyes are right there on the couple in the middle of dance floor because they're experiencing something that is extraordinary, right? Like the coordination of all these events, I tell people all the time, I used to be a music teacher and you know, when you go see like a Broadway level production, a musical of some kind, like, the reason is enthralling is because of the coordination of the effects plus the timing plus the volume and the pacing and the DJ world.

The quality of the M. C. To bring the attention to it. Like, all of those things are playing together to create this overall effect, right? And man, when it's done right, and it's done well, dude, there is not a single person in that venue who doesn't believe they were just transported to another place. So Exactly and like even the bride and groom themselves right? And they know it's coming because they paid for it right? They know what they're getting, but I don't think they know what they're getting because until there in that moment and the sparks go off the clouds come out there, looking down there, looking over at the Sparks and they're smiling from ear to ear and when you see that as a DJ like as a team who set this up, I mean you just feel like that's a win.

Yeah, you guys were again able to create that memory for them. Had you not been able to do that then that would not have been a significant memory and from production as a whole. Like when it comes to, I would say when people here the term design design a wedding production as a whole is a big part because people associate design with aesthetics but the experience is the other half right. The experience of the reception itself is the other part of the design. How they feel like what are they experiencing from the point they walk into the venue at the point, they walk out the other night, great design in my opinion is all about creating incredible effect right now, that could be aesthetic, that could be visual design, right?

But what we're talking about is other things other than visual design. I mean obviously spark fountains and things like that. But emotion, emotional design, right? Yeah, that's so true. You talk about the timeline a few minutes ago and one of the biggest things that we do is how do we get from Point A to Point B. So, whenever we're designing this reception right in our head, when we're planning it out, not every wedding starts off the same way. We do start off a lot the same way with the open and welcome and to kind of everybody's attention, we're starting on stuff.

But how do you go from? Well, good evening, ladies and gentlemen, thank you for coming out tonight to ladies and gentlemen for the first time. Tonight, I want to introduce to you, you know, Mr. and Mrs. and you get really energetic, but then you got to go back down to this romantic, they're about to go into the first dance. And so like for us, a big part of our planning is our transitions in our Segway's. Like, what am I going to say in this moment to take it from here to here, But not just something I can say to every wedding, I want to make it fit for them, you know, like for example, and I've used this one multiple times, but for example, it's like, especially if the ceremony had this really gorgeous backdrop, like you're in the mountains or there's a pond or a lake or something behind them.

I can say something like, you know, just a few minutes ago, right over there, you all got to witness their first kiss. Yeah. Their first kiss as husband and wife. And usually that's like that's an emotional tug, right? Because like, you know, this beautiful scenery and this beautiful venue together as a whole, we got to witness that and then keep the music and now ladies and gentlemen, their first dance. And so I think when you say something like that coming out of this energetic, like, you know, bring them out, bring them out like whatever it is that they're coming into like, because if you came into this energetic song, right?

And also the music just stops and the slow song starts and that's it kind of awkward. It kind of feels a little weird, right? Doesn't it doesn't feel right. And so that's again, the attentional part is how do we get from here to here, but also make it personable to the people who are on the dance floor at that moment. And you know, now that I think about it because that's something that honestly that I have not ever thought about number one. The transitions is typically where you lose people, right?

Like the transitions are probably the most difficult part of reception to keep everybody. I've been a part of receptions before. We're literally the crowd had no idea what they were supposed to be looking at what was going on, right? It was a little bit chaotic. I've seen that before, right? And so I think that that's such a big deal that a DJ is able to walk in and intentionally designed the timeline and be thoughtful about the transitions that are occurring and where those are happening and how those are happening, you know?

And again, like, I think what's so interesting is that what we're talking about here is we're talking about things that are somewhat subconscious for most people as they're experiencing it. They're not thinking about, well, why is this making me feel the way I feel right now, right? Like they're not intentionally thinking about why this is effective. All they're doing is they're just experiencing and enjoying it, right? And actually to that point, if they're not thinking about it and then we're doing our job, doing it, we're doing it, we're doing it right.

And they have to stop and say, well, this is a little awkward, somebody we messed up somewhere. I can tell you that, like, one of the things I always tell the bride's on the first meeting we ever have is if we can get from Point A to point B and you're like, wow, like we're already saying good night, Like, what happened? Yes, because it's everything from, again, the introductions to how do we go to the father daughter dance, How do we transition to the mother son dance and then dinner and then toast and then cake cutting and all that stuff, like, and then next thing, you know, like ladies and gentlemen, here's the last long of the night, like, and then like, it's all about point A to point B that experience from beginning to end.

Yeah, yeah. So cool man. And just out of curiosity, like how much of that should the brand, because I can just imagine the bride and groom right now listening to this and sitting there thinking to themselves like, wow, this is a lot, like, I don't know what to tell the DJ as far as what to do for these trends. Like, these aren't really like what we're talking about now is just kind of bringing the cover back a little bit on what the DJ thinks a good DJ is thinking behind the scenes, right?

But this isn't like really a conversation that you typically have with a couple, right? Like they're not having to think about, okay, so I want this trans and then I want this and right now and I may give them an example of a transition or a Segway, but that's to prove a point that we don't just come out to play music. I think a lot of times people would think the term DJ, they're not thinking of them as an emcee or as a hype guy or somebody who can engage the crowd.

They're thinking of somebody's gonna come out there and play tunes and that's it and don't get me wrong, I'm not poking at those types of DJs, So that's what they do. But in the case of being a really good wedding, DJ, I think it takes a lot more than that. I think it takes intent. I think it takes planning. I think it takes just thinking about the whole picture versus just music selection. Dude, I've had the honor of documenting a lot of couples and their stories and the types of weddings that I've covered has been super wide.

Like I've done the backyard, oh yeah, like the backyard kind of wedding where it was very, very low key. They just wanted to have a great photographer. I've also covered the gigantic productions right next to the beach. Super high. Yeah. And what's interesting is, and I've said this so many times before on the podcast, but there tends to be two types of wedding professionals that most people try to go without. I mean, everybody gets a photographer right? Like that's gonna be a, like, that's always going to happen.

But a lot of times, people will try to go without a wedding planner or coordinator, right? And I always tell people like that's really important. But the other thing that I've seen so many times, people try to go without, even for those smaller backyard gatherings is a DJ, right? Like they don't have to bring a lot, but just having a great DJ who is a great m C and who understands how to communicate with the crowd, and that's the thing, right? Like, I think you're right. So many people do believe that a DJ comes and presses a button and it's just playing kind of one track after the other and a great DJ. That couldn't be further from the truth.

And you don't have to have all of the fancy toys, right? Like, I think we talk about again designing that perfect reception and it doesn't have to be all the fancy stuff. It's fun, but it doesn't have to exist and our job is to provide that experience, no matter if it's a backyard wedding or you're in a big ballroom, in a big fancy hotel. That's right. Like, you want every bride, if they're coming to us, they're coming. That's because they want a great wedding and a great experience, no matter what, no matter what their style is.

Well, and I can attest to this first hand, I have documented a small elopement wedding and I guess it really depends on how you define development, but they had a small gathering, I know these days, elopement weddings are playing as like elements micro wedding and elopement wedding and not long ago and it was on the books for like three months. I'm like, yeah, yeah, but they did. They had a very, very small group that was, you know, in my head, I was thinking, well, they probably could have just had dinner, like, and not done really much of anything, but they chose to have a DJ there and honestly they had such an incredible time, right?

It was so awesome because they had somebody that could read the crowd that could communicate with the crowd and not actually like literally sit there and talk to people, that's not what I'm saying, but to be able to see what's engaging the people who are there and to help them have a pathway towards fun, right? Which is a lot different than somebody showing up with an iPhone 100% playing Spotify 100%. You know, I've done those weddings in the middle of nowhere on some patio and some porch where like, man, this is different, but like again that we were hired to do a service and to give them their dream wedding no matter what.

100% and I am also a huge believer that you know, fundamentally everybody's different. We talked about that earlier and when we talk about designing the perfect wedding, we're talking about designing the perfect wedding for you, right, right for you. There's lots of people and they know who they are, who are a little bit extra who loved the spotlight, who wants to have all that extra stuff and wants to have that gigantic reception and I'm not saying that in a mean way or a bad way, I think that's amazing, like to know what you want and everybody, everybody has a different vision, every different vision, know if everybody was the same life would be boring 100% and I think you know, again that perfect reception that it's a hard definition to define because everybody's idea of what they're perfect is is completely different and that's what makes this whole conversation possible because like, you know, also back to the very first thing we said was listening to what their dream is and as we begin to sit back and after we break away from that first meeting and they book us right and then what I'm doing is okay, so what are the ideas that I have that I can give to them to like because you know, it's not about them coming to us and say, well I want this, I want this, I want this again, I want to reference blake one more time and things, I've heard him say again and this guy is he was a genius when it comes to creating experiences and so he would always say like, well how about this?

I have an idea and so our job is to listen to what they want, but also to maybe provoke some ideas to them to like so what you're saying is really, really good, but imagine if we do that and then do this with it, imagine how that's going to be like, you know what I'm saying? Like what can we do to take it from, you know, they give us something like, okay, well if we executed exactly what you told us that we still win, but if we execute what you give us and then some, then it's like, you know, an amazing win, right?

It's a big win because um, that allowed us to do the chance to not only execute their vision, but to go a little bit above and beyond as well. Yeah, I'm a big believer that a great wedding professional is a guide right there. Guide to trying to get you to where your vision is by introducing those thoughts and man blake was the best he would listen better than anyone. I know he would understand better than anyone I know and then he would provide better than anyone that I know he was really incredible at that.

Yeah, it's funny that this is our topic because I feel like this was his thing designing the reception was his thing because the emotion part, which I think is outside of listening to what they want. The emotion part is the biggest component because when you're excited about what you're doing like as me. So if I'm excited about what I'm doing, I'm passionate about what I'm doing, I'm going to want to do what they want so much more and I'm going to pour that much more into it.

I'm going to put that much more thought into it and I think a lot of that comes from the relationship between the bride and the DJ. So when it's like when brides are searching for photographers, right, you spend a majority of your day with the bride, right? You're with them all day long. So one of the things I've heard, many photographers say when you're choosing a photographer, pick someone that you get along with, that you mesh with that you have that connection with. I think the same thing goes for us as entertainers, right?

Because that allows us to really mess with them and then really take what they want and extended on to making it more of a reality, if that makes sense? 100%. So if we mentioned Blake several times for people who don't know who that is, that was the owner and the founder of jumping jukebox, how long? 25 something years ago, 25 plus years ago he started deejaying and found a jumping jukebox and the man was a legacy. Everybody knew who he was. If he knew Blake, you loved Blake. And I don't think I realized, you know, we lost him back in August of last year, I knew it.

I don't think I really knew the people that he actually touched until after he passed and we made an announcement on our Facebook page and just the comments that you couldn't even read them without crying. And it's funny because you know in public, whenever you know me and him would go out to do an event or a wedding or something, or even just dinner, somebody knew him and be like, hey, you did my wedding or you did my daughter's wedding or you did my cousins, you know uncle's wedding or something like that.

And it never failed. And it made me so mad, so mad because it's like, I just couldn't even if he was coming to one of my weddings that I was deejaying, just help me out, Somebody knew him, somebody knew him. But it was, it just shows the testament to he was. And I think it's fitting the conversation that we had today because like we said before, he was so intentional about everything he did and he would constantly, if he was mixing music, playing music on his turntables, right, he would constantly look up and look around and see, see he was on his dance floor, that's exactly what I think.

He would poke his glasses off, look around and see like, and then, you know, and sometimes I'd be with him, he like, tapped me on the shoulder, like, watch this and he would do something and it never failed. It always worked because again, it's all about the intentionality and you know, Blake was one of those guys who just, he could wrap a crowd around his finger and do whatever he wanted with him and you know, if he said jump, they jumped, you know, if he said shout, they shouted like that's just what people, even if he didn't know him, like you just met him, he's your DJ at a wedding or your wedding guest and you see this guy deejaying the wedding, you just attached to his personality, you know, probably the biggest thing that I learned from him is you never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever half as the wedding, he never, he never said that to me, right?

He never used those words. But dude, like I never saw him slack, you know, like when he's there and he's at a wedding, he is 100 and 10% on the whole time and he never dials it in. He's always working hard to get to that and that and that and that's actually from the moment he arrived to set up because before he would even sit around before he bring his equipment in, he always walked in the venue first. Hey, what's up? Hey, hey, how you doing? Hey, Hey, you ready for some fun tonight?

You can have a good time tonight. Like let's go, let's rock and that was, that was just who he was and he would walk in. It's not so much making his presence known, but he wanted to make sure people knew that he was there to have a good time and he was, that's the moment, the moment he got out of his car, wherever he was before he even unloaded a piece of gear out of his, out of his truck, that was, it was game time, you know, it was game mode.

And actually I would, I would even bet to say that game time for him started that morning when he woke up on a Saturday or whatever it is, the day of the wedding. Like he woke up, Yeah, he's drinking his egg, the egg drinks, he's putting his jogging pants on, jogging around, getting ready. Yeah, that was him man. And he gave it 100 and 10% to the end of the night. Now, it's funny that after the last song playing everybody's gone, he's just like, You can tell he's tired, he's done because he went at it all day and I think that's just, you know, a testament to him and a shout out to him.

He was always that guy. Like, you know, if everybody, people always referred to the term that guy, he was that guy, he was that guy. You knew it when I walked into the room, you knew it 100% you knew it and you know, as a wedding professionals, we participate in these things called wedding festivals and his wedding expos and you know, when he said it, Us loading in to set up our booth, same thing man, everybody because you could hear him even in the convention center across the room, you could hear his voice, it just pierced through in in a good way.

But you always knew, you always knew when he was around. Yeah, 100%. Yeah. I think it's really incredible to think about the company that he built in really the legacy that he left on the community and on the wedding industry as a whole, not just wedding industry, but DJ's right. Other other, I would, I would consider our competition, like our competition companies, the legacy that he left on them and the impact he left on them. You know, like he never saw himself. I mean technically speaking, yeah, we're competitors right in the same market.

We did the same thing. But he never saw himself as that. He never saw himself as like, you know, you are my competition. Like we cannot be friends. Like that was never a thought in his head, right? Yeah. It was always, how can I help you? How can I make your job better? Like, what can we do together to make us as DJ is better in this community? It's funny you say that like one of the last, because I do remember there was one time we were at the gas, we mention there was one time that I did ask him and I said so because I asked him how long you've been doing it and he did, he said 30 25 20 years.

Somewhere in there. And I was like, man, it's a long time. I was like, so what's like the biggest piece of advice that you got for somebody else? And he said something very much along those lines, which was competition doesn't matter, support one another and everything's gonna be okay. Like that sounds like something he would say 100%. And I was like I was like man, that's that's really cool. So to wrap up to kind of put a bow on this really awesome episode was probably the one biggest piece of advice that you have for couples when they're trying to decide what DJs for them, what DJ to hire for their wedding.

What's the one piece of advice that you would give to couples book the most expensive package we had? You got to make that we know we got to make that money. You know I'm talking about that's a tough question because I mean photography is the same way there's there's so much I think it comes down to this, I think, you know, because there's you know, I'm thinking of the DJ companies in our network in our market, right? And there's a lot of us that can do the same thing, We can do up lighting, we can do C. 02 cannons, we can do sparks, we can do a lot of us can do the same stuff.

But I think in those scenarios it is take price out of the equation for a second. So when you're choosing a DJ when choosing that person. I think when I said a few moments ago is it's about choosing not just them and their skill set when they can do, but you're choosing that personality yeah right? You're choosing that person who you know 100% without a fact that can engage the crowd and take you on a journey from beginning to end at your wedding. Because without that personality part is such a huge deal because there's certain deejays and emcees who will go great with, you know, that good old boy, country boy and girl and then they may not mesh with someone else, right?

You know, to me that's the biggest, you know, because we can do all this stuff, right? And even if we couldn't do it I can hire somebody who can do something that we don't offer, I can rent whatever I need to rent. I can buy whatever I need to buy. But I can't be someone else, I can't pretend to be someone else. Like we're talking about Blake earlier. Like I think my first few years I try to imitate him and what he did at some point I learned like I need to be my own, I can do stuff that he does, but I've got to be my own personality.

I've got to be my own me and I think after a time I started coming to that shell a bit more so I think when you're going out, you know, if you're a bride or a groom, you're going out to book a D. J. You're not just booking a DJ, you're not just booking an M. C. You're not just booking a hype man or a special effects professional. You're booking a personality so well said. Yeah. And I think, you know, kind of going back to what we said earlier in the podcast, like it's really important to kind of have a crystal clear vision of what you want your night to look like.

I tell ask couples all the time. I'm like, what do you want to be saying about your wedding the next day? Like when you're going and you're getting on that plane to go to your honeymoon? Like what do you guys want to be saying to each other? Like, do you want to be talking about the amazing time that you had at the reception? Do you want to be talking about how thoughtful his vows were at the same time? Like be thinking about what are the things that are really important to you, that you really want to make sure that you guys are talking about during your honeymoon, you can't stop talking about it right?

Like have a crystal clear vision for what that is. And then really know when you come in to find your DJ, like really come in and and know what the demographic is, right? And ask the DJ like that? I think that's really important. Just say, hey, this is what our wedding looks like. This is what we're wanting. Even if you haven't invited the guests yet. No, you're thinking about inviting 100%. Yeah, yeah. You know, work to ask the DJ and just say, hey, do you think that this crowd in this situation, this venue, like what we have set up right now?

This is what I'm wanting to get, this is what we have. Are you the person to get us there? Right? Like, I think that that's really and I would encourage anybody, even if you're the entertainers listening right now, like, be honest to yourself, be honest to the situation and brides to like be honest to yourself. Like, you know, like you said before, they'll come to you. Like, we just want to dance all night. Okay, great, awesome. Do you feel like your wedding crowd is going to be dancers?

Well, yeah, but again, that doesn't mean it's impossible. That just means we change up the plan to change up the design. We change up the intention of all of that. And now one of the things I'll end with is this is like we talked about ending the night, right? And the whole design process from beginning the end, you said something a few moments ago like the next day, what do you want to be talking about? The one thing I always tell people is this is like when it comes to picking, like, into the night song or the song that we into before we say goodnight.

Everybody is very, very important and very intentional because my job, one of my goals as a DJ is if not only the bride and groom but the wedding guest, if they're walking out, getting ready to do this sparkler exit, whatever it may be. But if they're walking out of the room, they go, man, that was the best party ever. Then we really, really did our job right? Like we really executed that not only just you know, they're out there dancing at a great time, but they're saying something like that, that means they got hit emotionally as well.

Like they had a great, genuinely had a great time celebrating this couple. That's right. Yeah. And I want to go back one more time because I think it's so important to piggyback off what you just said that reception that makes those people feel that way when they walk out. Doesn't always look the same. Like it doesn't have to be the gigantic 200 person reception that's got all the bells and whistles and all of the effects and all. You can have a small backyard wedding with 20 of your closest friends and family and still walk away with that and it can be different types of music.

You know, you could have like one wedding, you know, the 200 the plus people wedding, you could have nothing but you know, 2000 throwbacks and club hits, not stuff and then the other one maybe more like, you know, shack music and funk or you know like country hits or something like that doesn't matter. Like if they still feel that emotion like that's what they want and they walk out, this was perfect than you know, job well done. I couldn't have said it better myself man. Dude, thank you so much.

Where can people find out more information about jumping jukebox or reach out to you if maybe this has brought up a question in their head that they want to reach out about? Yeah, of course. Well we're online, our website is jumping jukebox online dot com. Social media is a big thing for us. We're Facebook and Instagram is both jumping jukebox as well. And yeah, I mean obviously we're not here just to book potential brides, but we're also here to help, you know, like the other day we had a phone call come in, we were booked across the board, but the only thing I could think of at that point was to point them in the direction of photographers and cake and people like that.

So we're obviously here to help, I would say we're experts at what we do, but we I would say at the same time we're wedding experts as a whole, right. We all are as wedding professionals and can clearly help guide anybody in any hopefully and push them in the right direction at least 100%. Thanks Shawn man, thank you. Thank you for having me. Yeah, absolutely guys, I hope this really, really fascinating conversation about how to design the perfect reception for you resonated with you somehow. I hope that you were able to take a few things away from this that you know, made you think a little bit more about what it is that you're looking for and what you want.

If you have questions, please reach out to Sean at jumping jukebox, They're amazing. They won't do you wrong. And guys, I hope that this was helpful as always. Hope that you had a great day, a good week, a fantastic month and a stupendous year. I'll see you next time here, angle like photography, we believe marriage is an amazing adventure and your wedding is the jumping off point. We'll explore planning an authentic and meaningful wedding experience as we connect with real life couples and the industry's top professionals.

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