Thursday, February 25, 2010

Game. Set. Match: DJ!

We booked a DJ! What a long crazy ride it's been. How did this happen?!? How'd we get here? Sit back and I'll tell you about one of the best decisions we've made for our wedding.

[cue music: Song TBD by our DJ]

Chapter 1: Splurging all over dueling pianists!

When we first started planning our wedding we were pretty positive we were going to book a band. In one of my first blog posts, "Band, DJ, iPod?" you don't have to be in the FBI's behavioral analysis unit (god I love "Criminal Minds") to tell that I was very pro-band. I had high hopes that I would book some sort of dueling pianos set up. Although live musicians are very expensive we tagged "reception entertainment" as one of our "splurge items". We would definitely watch our spending everywhere else, so we could spend a few more bucks on musicians. It was a perfect setup. So I set out to find a dueling piano act, and I found one. It was, perhaps, a little more expensive than I figured it would be, but I was ready to pay for it.

That's when paranoia set in about the dueling piano act. Is it danceable? And I know they say they can rein in the kitsch factor of their shows, but could they REALLY? I was prepared to take my chances with the kitsch (certainly I could have put something in the contract), but I still wasn't very sure our guests could dance to a few pianos. It would be a good show, but not for dancing. So I looked into adding a drummer to the piano show which raised the already high price. Then I figured while I was adding a drummer, why not add a guitarist.... I realized that I was just building a rather large band - one with 2 baby grand pianos.... and completely out of our price range. I had to let the dueling pianists go. They were unobtainable. It would have been fun, but just too much money. I wasn't prepared to spend that much, and at the end of the day, it seemed like thinking outside of the box was just too expensive. There's a reason there's an inside of the box.

Chapter 2: Counting all my Benjamins (so far, 0)

So after my failed attempt to sign a dueling pianos band I decided to further disappoint myself and try to reach out to the real reason I wanted a piano band in the first place. I desperately wanted to book Ben Folds for our wedding. In my head it made perfect sense: he'd somehow find the blog, see how awesome Rebecca and I are, and it would make him remember why he got into the music industry in the first place. He'd want to play a free 3 hour show for sure. I don't think I need to make this chapter any longer than it should be - we all know the outcome - it was short lived, kind of a joke, and didn't pan out the way I expected it to.

Chapter 3: Finding a band OR How do I stop bands from repeatedly calling my cellphone?
I hit up GigMasters, and spent hours and hours searching for a band. We were wading through a pool of punny band names mixed with a glorious level of so-so talent (disclaimer: there are some really talented bands on GigMasters, I'm not saying they are all bad). I really want to tell you some of the names, but would that be too mean? Should I? Oh man... fine. Phat Chants, The Ringtones, Buster Groove, and about 50 bands w/ some variation of the word Sensation in the title. I read profiles for bands that made my day they were so ridiculous (like this one). It seemed like a high quality band that was capable of playing 3 hours worth of music that we liked was going to cost us at least 1/2 of our wedding budget. And for the most part, the bands that we liked were a little too "glitsy" for our laid back & casual wedding. For instance, ones that came with dancers, or ones that sent me riders about needing a green room w/ specific foods & specific stage requirements needed for their show... Seriously?! You're not playing Dodger Stadium, you're playing a Bed & Breakfast in an off-the-beaten-path beach town in central California. Your deli tray, m&ms, and skittles are the LEAST of my worries on my wedding day. (The rider w/ specific foods is not a joke - one band included this with their quote!)

There were a handful of talented, young, & fun bands that were close to our price range. So I requested quotes. All the bands got back to me and were willing to work with their rates, but at the end of the day they were just all a bit out of our price range, AND at the end of the day we just weren't excited enough about any of them to splurge!

Currently I have the awesome fortune of getting 3-5 voicemails a week from all of the bands asking me if I've reconsidered, or if I've booked anyone else, or if I just changed my mind. Today I got a phone call from a band and it stated (verbatim) "I left you a message on January 18th, February 4th, and February 15th, this will be my last call..." Um really?! Do you promise?! I've already spoken with you and let you know I've gone a different route, but you still call! Take a hint, we broke up... move on. (BTW, if you're the guy from a band that's been calling me and you're reading this, I know you're just doing your job, you seem like a really nice guy, and your band is one of the ones that I liked, but we just can't book you, I'm sorry.)

Chapter Four: Ripping the band-aid off quickly and painlessly!
So Rebecca and I kicked up a lot of dust in our multiple band quote request, and once the dust settled and we saw the bands we could afford, we asked ourselves, "Why do we want a band anyway?". The ones that we could afford generally sounded a tad cheesy/campy, and when we thought about our wide wide tastes of music we realized we would be asking way too much of a band to be able to adequately play everything we like. We started to look at bands' playlists and saw a lot we liked, but at the same time saw a lot we didn't like. Bands in our price range just couldn't play enough music we love. At the end of the day we realized that if we were able to find a DJ... the RIGHT DJ..... one that we could trust and felt comfortable with - that would be the best option for us. But with my trust issues that would prove not to be such an easy task.

The Final Chapter, Chapter 5: I'm starting to sound like a Groomzilla
Ms. Temple of Groom and I set out to find a DJ. Friends recommended a few. Some seemed too cool for school w/ their house trance music mixes and some seemed really good, but overpriced. After all, we were trying to save money by hiring a DJ. We went on a wide rampage looking for DJs. Hell, I even went to a DJ's website that I found from being in traffic on the 101. He was the car in front of me, and had his DJ bumper sticker advertisement on his back window. Something told me that DJ Dandy wasn't going to be the right fit for us, but I still had to see his site. If you're bored, and want to see it, you can click here - spoiler alert: the front page has an english bulldog in a jester hat.

So needless to say, I became more and more hesitant about entrusting our wedding reception to a DJ. Sure they are a little less expensive than a band, but at what cost? I've been to weddings where the DJ seemed to have his own agenda no matter what the he and the bride & groom agreed to. I've seen some DJs literally do magic tricks for the party. I've heard horror stories where DJs made the night about themselves talking on the mic at any given chance, or played the chicken dance. It just seemed like such a risk. I started to think I didn't need a DJ, I needed a music babysitter. I don't think I could come up with fun playlists on my iPod for the entire day, and I don't think that a pre-made playlist can match up with the energy of any given moment. I would be stressed about it all evening. I think that reading energy + manipulating it is something so beneficial that a DJ brings to the party.

SO, I found some DJs close to the venue, and I started drafting my emails to them - bitchy bitchy bitchy groomzilla-esque emails. Ones where I would tell them I didn't want them to speak. Ones that asked them if they'd honor a "do not play" list and would use their judgment and not play songs similar to songs on our do-not-play list (IE if we said no "macarena" you shouldn't play "come on ride the train"). I was proofreading my email and I felt dirty. Like a mean person. I didn't like it, but I just don't want to be burned. Before I hit "send" I sent out a tweet that changed everything:

Oh man, I'm drafting an email to potential DJs and I can't help but come off very groomzilla-esque. I need to sound more positive!

Mere minutes later I received a tweet in response to mine from someone named @TeamBride. It said: @TempleofGroom I can help you out if you want...I wouldn't want you to sound like a groomzilla and I'm a DJ...

Wow. Someone was coming to my rescue to give me DJ advice. Not just SOMEONE, a wedding blogger... a bride-to-be that sends out tweets that I follow... and she was going to help me sound like a better person.

So we started instant messaging, and talking about our weddings, and talking about music in general and TeamBride (Samantha) is extremely knowledgeable and extremely willing to help with any questions I had. During our chat I started reading through her blog, found her top 10 songs at the moment - I love them all. Then it hit me... Samantha is a DJ, I love her taste in music, and she seems like she's completely on the same page as us in terms of what we want our wedding to be. I wanted TeamBride/Sam/DJ Evoke to be our DJ.

By far one of the smartest decisions I think I've made during my months of wedding planning is confiding in and entrusting a DJ that also happens to be planning her own wedding as well. She truly understands my fears and what I want my day to be. More times than not, I don't think the DJ really understands the importance of the day for the bride & groom. Not only because he's single and living in a basement of his parents' house (kidding kidding), but also because he's most likely a guy that doesn't worry about weddings or wedding planning. He may have just "shown up" on his day if he's married. Samantha truly GETS it. I couldn't feel more confident in our decision. Rebecca and I already had a disagreement on what music to play during the cocktail hour - so we got in a chatroom with Sam, and she diffused that bomb so effortlessly. She's truly the best. I'm so happy to welcome DJ Evoke to the Temple of Groom family.

The beauty of it all is that I didn't even have to send 1 bitchy email out to potential DJs. This was just meant to be. Very excited.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Here's what's going on:

Wow, I'm in awe of how wedding bloggers can juggle daily life, work, wedding planning, and STILL find time to blog. Not only do some of you find time to blog, but yo also find time to find awesome and interesting wedding stuff online, THEN blog about it! [slow clap that builds to a standing ovation] I have not been that good! Perhaps I overvalue sleep.

So, we're steadily moving forward with our wedding plans. It's 165 days away. Which seems like such a short amount of time, but I've realized as friends have gotten engaged then married within the time we've been engaged, is plenty of time to get things done. No need to panic about things that aren't done yet!

We've made some progress in the last couple weeks or so! As you've read, we finished registering which took way longer than expected. We also came up with the idea for our E-Session photographs (you'll have to wait and see). I think we potentially found our wedding ceremony musicians, and our reception DJ. OH! I bought my wedding suit! That was awesome. Thanks to a blogger named BowieBride ( who gave me the tip that Barney's Warehouse sale was happening. The suit is beautiful. As soon as I can fit into it, I'll take pictures. Kidding, I can fit.... kind of. Okay, I confess, I bought a suit that has pants that are a little snug. It's my inspiration to lose's working. Anyway - it's a Michael Kors 3 piece suit. Awesome. Now I just need to find a great shirt, and my sneakers.

On our plate right now we're thinking about videography. I think I came up with one particularly great way to cut costs which I'll share with you later if it comes to fruition. One thing I decided I'm going to do to help combat the astronomical rates I've seen on some of these videographer websites is edit the footage on my own. I know that it's most likely a LOT to chew, but I think that I could easily lay "I had the time of my life" over some reception footage as well as the next guy. Capturing moments on video has always been very important to my family so it's something we need to book, but we're having trouble budgeting it. My dad has been converting all our family videos to DVD and he's been sending me copies. It's been awesome to watch them all, and it makes me realize we really need a videographer.

We're also trying to figure out what our tables are going to look like. I'd really like to go with that "casually eclectic looks effortless but really wasn't" tablescape. SO, at some point we're going to hit up some flea markets and look for cool mismatched vases and potential knickknacks. Also, we're thinking more candles - less flowers.

Which leads me to the next morsel of business! We're going down to the flower district this weekend. Any fellow wedding bloggers out there want to meet us? We'll most likely buy our chuppa poles - and I think Rebecca wants to get some ideas for flowers to carry. I also think she wants to buy flower seed to potentially make her own bouquet.

I know I'm forgetting a whole bunch of stuff we're doing. We need to start designing our invitations. I'm so worried I've bitten off more than I can chew with Gocco. I know we'll eventually understand it, then fall in love with it - I'm just apprehensive. We also need to make time to get up to our wedding venue and meet with rental houses about certain things. Wow.

Oh man... So much to do. Anxiety and panic setting in. Overtaking body. I need a brown paper bag to breathe into. Maybe I can find a cool vintagey decorated one on etsy, or better yet regretsy.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Save the Date!!!!

Our Save The Dates went out last week, and I'm pretty sure all of my guests have seen it already - so I figured this was a great time to let you all see it too!

(Oh, um.... look, if you're finding out that you didn't get invited to the wedding this way I'm really sorry.... we're trying to keep the invite list WAY down for budget purposes, and dude, you're totally the 1st one we're inviting as soon as we find out someone can't make it!)

SO, here it is! Our facebook inspired save-the-date. I did everything in Illustrator. Nothing was taken from the actual site!


The blurred out sections are where I put links to our wedding website. I thought I would keep that private for now. Also, everyone featured on the save-the-date is in either one of our immediate families. The two couples that "like" the status update are our parents, and the two girls that left comments are Rebecca's sister, and MY sister Rebecca.

What do you guys think?!

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Over the last couple weeks Ms. Temple of Groom and I have registered for our wedding. Registering was something I looked forward to ever since I got down on my knee and asked Rebecca to be my wife. Needless to say, I was excited!

So after all the dust settled, the registry guns have cooled, I have just one question: Is it just me, or does anyone else think registering is totally overhyped?! There were moments where we had a blast registering, however I wouldn't say that we were skipping down the aisles of the stores, but we were on a roll, finding stuff we liked, and zapping it.

While we were trudging down the aisles of Bed Bath & Beyond, I did come up with some ideas that I think would make the whole registering thing more enjoyable for an engaged couple.

1. Use real guns, then tell the store to go tally up everything with a bullet hole and THAT'S what you want on your registry. (kidding)

2. Jump start your registry online before going into the store. This is my biggest morsel of advice for you. If you've already started your registry online you don't have to go through the store clerks hour long lecture about how registries work. He'll do 15 solid minutes of registry humor that will leave you miserable. Then you get to tell him the entire story of how the two of you met, and when you're getting married. If you're like me, and generally get annoyed pretty quickly, this will put you over the edge. It honestly tainted the entire day. I'm guessing that a lot of you women out there have much more patience for this than us guys, but keeping your fiance happy and attentive will make for a better registering experience.

3. Register for everything, everywhere. If you're going to multiple stores, don't kill momentum by standing in the middle of the aisle thinking "Did we like this food processor more than the one we registered for at the other store?" just zap it! You can decide which one is cooler online later.

You should either go into each store with a specific list of things you want (IE. Crate & Barrel get accessories only, Bed Bath & Beyond get kitchen things only, etc) or just go in prepared to gun just about anything that looks appealing that you want with the assumption that you'll get online later and clean up your registry list.

4. Take turns playing with the gun. If you want your fiance to help, you should let him get some target practice as well. It's only fair. Additionally, even if you know he's breaking the gun, let him figure it out. Rebecca did a good job of sharing the gun and that was much appreciated.

5. Get online. I really have enjoyed managing our registries online. It takes pressure off of being in the actual store and forgetting things. Additionally AMAZON's registry has been incredible. You can add anything that's for sale online into your amazon registry. It's been great. Let your guy make a list of cool items he wants that you may not find in the stores you're registered. Then perhaps you can weed out items like the 3 video game systems and the Monkey Art off the list, and narrow it down to that awesome Popsicle machine he found.

5a. Some stores are just better online than in person. When we went to Bed Bath & Beyond, we had a terrible time registering. We couldn't get out of the store fast enough. Spoiler Alert: Readers that work at the North Hollywood Bed Bath & Beyond should skip down to tip #6. First of all, even though we registered online - they STILL made us go into some seedy room for 40 minutes to talk to a "Registry Specialist" who showed us Bed Bath & Beyond's website on a 10 year old monitor. It was a little less fun than I'm making it sound. We had perfect intentions to look for everyday casual china, but much to our dismay when we inquired, she brought out a binder with terrible picture printouts of the plates. That's when we got to watch her browse the internet looking for better pictures. Then we had to make chit chat with her before she gave us our gun. Rebecca also told me to add a tip not to drink too much coffee before you go to these things...I digress...

Finally when we got out into the store, we quickly realized that Bed Bath and Beyond only shows about a quarter of their inventory in the store. We asked for multiple items only to be told "Oh, you have to register for that online!" While it's mandatory that you see specific items in person - china, linens - there are a whole lot of items you can just register for online. Plus you don't have to deal with screaming babies and people that just seem to stare at the ceiling and lights when they walk around the store.

6. Not all stores are created equal. Sometimes it's cool to register at a store that nobody you know registered, HOWEVER, more times than not there's an absolute reason nobody has registered there.

Here's my note to you, SUR LA TABLE. Get with it! People love your store. I LOVE your store. Your registry division is a JOKE. Your website is not navigable. Rebecca and I went to register at one of the most popular store locations in LA. When we stepped foot in the store we got excited about registering for the first time! Everything we saw we wanted. It was the feeling we were looking for. When we asked for a registry gun, the store apologetically told us that the ONE registry scanner they had was broken. ONE?! Really?! So we went to another sur la table store, and while their gun was working, the clerks certainly didn't know how to load our registry into the computer. We had to go through and tell them everything that we wanted, and everything that was on our list that we did NOT register for. It was a mess. So we went home, checked our registry online, only to discover that on the site they don't include thumbnail pictures and adequate descriptions for every item. Nobody will want to buy us an item they can't see, or don't know what it is. No joke, one item was called "Made in Thailand" and it didn't have a picture. Needless to say, we wound up deleting our Sur La Table registry. So my advice is to stick with the stores that seem to know what they're doing. There's a reason you haven't seen people use certain stores.

7. Spoil yourself. Originally we didn't register at Bloomingdales because I figured it was just way too overpriced and I took my guests pocketbooks into consideration. However when we went into the store last week it was completely competitively priced with other places we registered. The best thing about Bloomingdales was the layout of their store. They had everything displayed nicely, and most of their inventory is out and you can touch it (they had every color kitchen aid, every le creuset item, china, everyday plates, etc). Additionally, the store was much calmer than a Crate & Barrel. We had such a fun time picturing everything in our house and deciding what to get. Another definite pro of going to a finer store was that the sales staff knew the product. They were very knowledgeable about every item we asked about and when we asked for suggestions they were able to supply opinions. Whereas at another store we went to coughBED BATH & BEYONDcough when we asked for a suggestion we got this as an answer "You know, you can really do whatever you'd like. It's like you either like this plate or you go a different route and get something totally different. The thing to remember is that it's your registry so you can like get anything you want! It's like you want to look for a plate, and you can totally go to our website to see everything!" Go to a nice place. You'll be shocked at the serenity... you'll enjoy the service... and you'd be surprised that it's not more expensive.

8. Add some fun items to your list you don't think anyone will buy. There are a couple of items that I really want that are obviously crazy overpriced. Look, there's really only two things that can happen - your friends get a good chuckle that you registered for a $5400 photograph of a monkey (monkey 1 or monkey 2) or someone is going to be crazy enough to buy you that monkey photo! Okay, maybe the latter is never ever going to happen, but there are most likely some items you think are a tad excessive to put on your list that others wouldn't think are all that bad. Or maybe you have a couple relatives that will go in together to get the big ticket item. The moral of the story is don't hold back. You have nothing to lose.

Monday, February 8, 2010

A potential wedding band?!

I think I may have found our wedding band. Great idea to reunite a family member's band!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Things I learned from my 1st Vegas bachelor party

I recently attended my first Vegas bachelor party (and actually my first bachelor party total). In the grand scheme of things it was tame compared to what I’ve seen in movies – no animal “shows” or sacrifices, no high speed chases or little Asian mafia men jumping from car trunks. Just a lot of drinking, gambling, and a few strippers sprinkled on top. Nothing really had to “stay in Vegas” that I couldn’t bring back to me in California though (which isn’t a such a bad thing). I think it was a more realistic version of what we see in movies or on TV. So I’ve come back with a six pack of tips for the newbies on the block who don’t really know what to expect.

1. Pay more to get your own bed. This was something I should have been more adamant about. Because most of my friends are on a TIGHT budgets, we opted for the “how many guys can we cram into this room” approach. Sure it was great that we only owed $40 for the room at the end of the weekend, but it really wasn’t worth sleeping with my ear infected buddy on top of me for a night. During the bachelor party planning stages, you need to do everything in your power to insure that you will get your own bed. Even if you only sleep for 45 minutes over 2 days like I did, it’s at least a COMFORTABLE 45 minutes. Additionally, it’s not enough that you simply suggest this to your buddies (this is my fatal error), you seriously need to make this your bitness. If that means you put a few extra dollars down, it’ll be money well spent. Find someone else that feels the same way and split a different 2 bed room with him. Additionally, and this may be tip 1a, when picking a bed at the end of the night if you’re sharing a room, don’t assume that the bed with the messier sheets was the one that got “slept in” – do a more thorough ocular investigation.

2. Get a key to your room. This was another fatal mistake I made. I thought when I was ready to go back to the room certainly one of the guys w/ a room key would be next to me. Looking back, I can’t believe how dumb I was for thinking I’d be able to track down 1 of 2 drunk friends in VEGAS while I was also extremely drunk. If you get your own bed, or your own room, you most likely don’t have to worry about this, but if you’re like me and pile into a room with guys, don’t be surprised if the lone key bearer is nowhere to be found at the end of the night. You could get screwed out of a bed all together if your name isn’t on the reservation and your buddy goes missing.

3. Bring your own soap.
This one is kind of a no-brainer, but I promise you, when you’re stepping into the shower, you’ll quickly smack yourself that you didn’t think about this sooner. Also, it’s a good idea to go grab a towel either from the front desk or the pool. Sharing a bed with a couple of guys is bad enough, sharing their soap is inexcusable.

4. Bring more cash than you think you need, but not more than you can afford to lose. The only faster way to lose your money in Vegas rather than the slots is the casino/strip club ATM machines. At the strip club, there was a $12 fee to take money out of their ATM. That’s insane. More often you’ll find yourself digging into your pockets for CASH not your credit card, and when you’re out, the only option is the ATMs. It’s brutal. If you’re out of cash, take your smart friends that brought cash out to lunch and pick up the bill on your credit card. Your friends don’t charge the ATM fee.

5. Drink 5 Hour Energy. This product got me through the weekend. No harsh crash when it’s wearing off, and the taste wasn’t bad!

6. When you’re at the strip club, “the truth will set you free.” I found that there was no really nice extremely polite way to get the strippers I wasn’t interested in to leave me alone. If I told them I wasn’t ready for a dance, they’d say “well I’ll wait next to you till you are ready.” If you said that you just got there, they’d say “so what?” There is just nothing you can say or do to get a girl to quickly stop badgering you except “I’m sorry, you’re pretty, but you’re not my type.” Most of the time after saying this, she’d give me a nasty look, but the fact that she would leave me alone was a pretty fair trade.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Engagement Session Ideas

As if I needed another reason to love our photographers (Callaway Gable Photography) they've gone and posted the most beautiful engagement session ever. While the session has made the blog world rounds, I thought I would post it here just in case any of you missed it.

A couple 1940's loving clients wanted a session that displayed their love of the era. The photographers delivered. Take a look:

So now Rebecca and I are mulling over what we want to do! We wish that we had a favorite pastime other than laying on the couch with our dog and watching television! It's not very photogenic.

I think I want a hint of humor in our pictures since we're not very serious people, but I really can't come up with anything good. We want our pictures to be creative and different and special, but we're having trouble figuring out what we should do. Does anyone have any good ideas. I mean this probably helps if you know us, but even if you don't maybe you have something creative up your sleeves!

Proposal Story

Check out my proposal story on Engagement 101 Magazine's blog! It was also featured in their current newsstand issue of the magazine along with the article I wrote about "Taking the Plunge."

Monday, February 1, 2010

For Your Enjoyment: 1988

As promised when I hit 100 blog followers, I'm uploading a few embarrassing videos of myself. More will come when I hit 150, then 200, etc etc etc.

The first video is from my great aunt & uncle's 50th wedding anniversary party. Apparently I wanted to showcase some truly great impressions. It's a tad hard to hear due to flawless 80's technology, but you almost don't need to hear it the impressions are so uncanny. I'm one of those people who transforms into the person he's impersonating. In case you can't tell what's going on first I do Yogi Bear then my dad gets mad it's not one of my better impressions. Next up is Robin Leach, ALF, then I end my set with Pee Wee Herman.

The second video was one that happened to be on the same vhs tape as the previous. Rebecca thought this was more embarrassing and that I'd be doing my followers wrong if I didn't add this.

Let me set this one up... it's 1988. It's a roller skating birthday party. It doesn't highlight my coordination. At some point during the party I must have seen some "cool" roller rink worker do a move where he skated extremely fast then enjoyed the wind in his hair while gliding resting his body on his knees... At the end of the day, I guess I was professional enough to give that a whirl.

Want to see more videos equally or more embarrassing than these? Click "FOLLOW" on the left side of the blog under "Become a Temple of Groom Follower"