Awesome Venues–Waterfront Convention Center

This is the first in a series of articles featuring some of the greatest locations in the Quad Cities where we have worked over the years.  Our first venue is the amazing Waterfront Convention Center located on State Street in Bettendorf Iowa.  The Waterfront Center is a big venue, capable of hosting banquet events for up to 650 guests in a wedding setting.  The room is very nearly acoustically perfect and has some bold architectural texture that looks great with up-lighting.

Here are some of our favorite photos from past events at the Waterfront:

2013-05-18 Jessica and Travis Wedding 029

Red and white uplighting highlighting the main banquet room entrance at the Waterfront Convention Center. The room has a lot of architectural features with texture that are further accentuated with the up-lighting.

2013-05-25 Meg and Paul 009

For this wedding the dance floor was exactly in the center of the room. Barely noticeable on the stage is one of our BOSE speakers which are very effective at filling the room with amazing and crystal clear sound. This room was designed by Tamara Wendt Design, who supplied the crystals and the teal up-lighting.

2013-06-01 Brooke and Ben 030

Purple, Purple, Purple! Brooke and Ben’s wedding featured the color purple, for which we supplied lots of high powered purple uplighting which bathed the Waterfront Convention Center in the luxurious color!

2013-11-26 Sugar Plum Ball 2013 001

A shot prior to the opening of the doors at the 2013 Quad Cities Festival of Trees Sugar Plum Ball, for which we have provided the entertainment for the last 8 years. Notice the Waterfront’s capacity to seat lots of people in a banquet setting!

2013-11-26 Sugar Plum Ball 2013 031

Another shot of the Sugar Plum Ball. The Waterfront Convention Center features lots of room to dance, which is a good thing, because this crowd always packs the dance floor!

2012-03-10 Snyder Wedding Waterfront 013

For this peacock themed wedding at the Waterfront Convention Center we furnished uplighting to accent the peacock colors that were found throughout the room.

2012-09-22 Roush Sullivan Wedding 014

Nothing beats a fall wedding at the Waterfront Convention Center. To go with the couples’ theme we provided high powered yellow and orange uplighting.

Velez9

At this wedding reception in the Waterfront Center we installed programmable uplighting, allowing us to change the color theme throughout the night. It made for quite a party!

0021

Celebrate!

 The Waterfront Convention Center’s website is http://qcwcc.com

Advertisements

Themed Wedding Receptions–Success Stories

So you’re planning a wedding reception! You want everyone to remember your big day forever.  Why not stamp your personal signature on your once-in-a-lifetime event through the use of a distinctive theme?  You may want to showcase a particular interest of yours, or maybe a vacation or honeymoon destination that really appealed to you. The sky is the limit when it comes to wedding themes!

Why use a theme?  Simple.  A theme sets your wedding apart and gives your guests something visually powerful to help them remember it for years to come.  And it gives you the opportunity to let your creativity shine through!

So let’s take a look at four ideas from our past clients that I thought were extremely successful, and more importantly, created vivid memories. 

Kelly and Justin Diercks got married in August of 2007.  Their Davenport River Center reception featured a garden theme.  On a scale from 1 to 10 they took their theme to an 11!  Their 420 guests enjoyed a grand selection of gardens, some of which could be walked through, and all of which were beautiful!

Landscaped Wedding Reception

Landscaped Wedding Reception

Johnson Diercks Wedding 024 resized

Landscaped Wedding Reception

Johnson Diercks Wedding 009

Landscaped Wedding Reception

Landscaped Wedding Reception

Marilee and Michael Godsil selected a Hawaiian theme for their Galesburg wedding reception in June of 2007.  From décor to attire to catering, their wedding reception made you feel as though you were on the islands!

Hawaii Wedding Reception

Hawaii Wedding Reception

Hawaii Wedding Reception

Authentic Hawaii Food for Wedding Reception

Theresa and Tom Hull’s January 2011 wedding reception guests will never forget the Disney Cinderella experience that Theresa and Tom created for them.  Music and décor was carefully selected to complete the Cinderella theme.

Cinderelly Wedding Reception

Cinderella Wedding Reception

And the best theme award goes to Jessica and Salomon Andrade, who got married in the dead of Winter 2007.  Jessica chose to create an ice castle theme for her wedding reception.  Her reception hall was decorated with artificial icicles strategically hanging from the ceiling.  To complete the effect she selected an arctic white fur parka to wear for a portion of the evening, along with arctic white polar boots trimmed in white fur. 

She could not have imagined that on her wedding day a massive ice storm would shroud the area with a thick sheet of ice just before the reception.  Not only that, but the storm rendered the reception hall powerless.  It was dark and it was cold.  But with the use of a generator, we were able to provide some great ambient light from our dance floor lights which enhanced the ice effect.  We had music, we had food and we had dancing and fun!   Jessica was able to wear her arctic parka and boots the entire evening, as it was so cold in the reception hall.  People danced to stay warm.  And it was the best wedding reception ever!

Strangely enough I cannot find the photos of this event anywhere on my computer.  They’re gone.  Kaput.  But it doesn’t matter.  It further serves to illustrate my point that a great theme makes your wedding reception unforgettable.  While I used photos from the other events to help write this article, I had no photos from the “Ice Wedding”.  But the images from the event are vividly etched in my mind forever.  If a great theme can help your wedding DJ remember your wedding, imagine how much better you and your guests will remember it!

So be bold!  Find a theme and use it!  Create an event that will live forever in your memories!  For more photos and themes please visit our Facebook site under Seamless Wedding Reception series.

A Years Worth of Wedding Cake

One of the best perks of being a Wedding DJ is the frequent close encounters with the slice of the food pyramid known as “Wedding Cake”.  This article is totally devoted to my 2012 exposure to the delicious and artistic treats.

I try to photograph the wedding cake at each and every wedding reception, primarily because the wedding cake is considered one of the centerpieces of the event, worthy of honor.  I know how much the cake means to the bride, and how much effort and expense goes into the selection, procurement and display of the perfect cake.  Each wedding cake is an original; intended to mirror some aspect of the wedding itself, whether it be the décor of the event, attire of the wedding party or personality of the bride.  Grooms, likewise, sometimes have a cake unto themselves, which is solely intended to reflect the occupation or preoccupation of the groom.

If you have any questions or want the name of the creator of any of the below cakes please feel free to leave a comment at the end and I will be happy to furnish the details.

So here, displayed in all their glory, are some of the wedding cakes of our 2012 wedding season.  Enjoy!

2012-03-10 Snyder Wedding Waterfront 001

The above cupcakes go with the cake below.  The theme of this reception was peacock!

2012-03-10 Snyder Wedding Waterfront 009

2012-03-24 Wood-Youngren Wedding 007

2012-04-21 Daufeldt Grieves wedding 083

The cake above is a groom’s cake.  Can you guess his occupation?

2012-05-12 20120512 Emerson Porter 001

2012-05-19 Lafrenz Neff Wedding 038

2012-05-27 Dunn Loger Wedding 012

2012-06-02 Frank Kranovich Wedding 022

2012-06-09 Pryor McGee Wedding 016

The above cake was accented with pin spot lighting from Exceptional Events.

2012-06-16 Romero McKee Wedding 024

I believe that the cake above is one of the biggest I have ever seen!

2012-06-30 Blaser Svendsen Wedding 014

2012-07-21 Laud Reception 010

2012-08-04 Chicago Wedding 005

2012-08-11 008

2012-08-18 125

2012-09-01 Swanson Coussens Wedding 002

2012-09-08 Vermost Lynch Wedding 012

2012-09-15 McMullen Beverage Wedding 004

2012-09-22 Roush Sullivan Wedding 004

2012-09-29 Chickris Bollaert Wedding 001

2012-09-30 Wooley Kucharo Wedding 003

2012-10-06 Summers Lewis Wedding 051

2012-10-06 Summers Lewis Wedding 054

Sweets tables (above) are standard fare in Chicago, and they are becoming more popular here.  I like sweets tables because of the wide selection presented.  It’s fun to make choices.

2012-10-13 Luxmore Barnett Wedding 005

2012-10-13 Luxmore Barnett Wedding 015

Sheet cakes (above) were all different flavors.

2012-11-03 Stevens Burns Wedding 004

2012-11-24 Seaba Harden Wedding 019

Don’t forget to leave comments if you need contact info for any of the above cake creators.  Thanks!

More Elegance, More Value, More Fun in 2012

Our 2012 brides are awesome, and we at Black Tie think they are worthy of “Rock Star” treatment.  Every year we explore new ways to make our brides’ events more elegant, exciting and memorable, and this year is no exception.

So we are happy to announce that we have added a complimentary Focal Point Up-Lighting feature to our Signature Wedding Packages for 2012.  This feature is now offered (free of charge) to all Signature wedding events this year, even if we weren’t offering the option when you booked your event!

20110730 Ream Wedding 015

The Focal Point Feature means that we will up-light any particular area of your event you wish to highlight, in the color of your choosing.  Many will choose the head table area, but other options include the wedding cake area, dance floor, buffet, you name it!

With this starter package it now becomes even more economical to light your entire venue if you so choose.  We make it easy for you!

One thing that sets our Focal Point Feature apart is the enhancement of our newer up-lighting fixtures.  Most fixtures create a particular color by mixing the primary colors of red, green and blue.  Almost all popular wedding colors can be simulated with a mixture of these three.

However, some colors, such as orange, pink, and white are difficult to reproduce with just these three colors as a base.  White can be accomplished, however the result is a very cold, bluish shade of white.

Our new fixtures simulate colors with the standard Red, Green and Blue L.E.D.’s and add a fourth color, Amber, to the mix.  With the addition of this color we can now create a warmer shade of White in addition to the popular wedding colors like Honeysuckle Pink and Tangerine Tango.  These are all much more realistic when mixing 4 colors instead of 3.

We have also added some battery powered light fixtures to our inventory to assist in lighting areas that may not have convenient access to an electrical outlet.

At Black Tie we believe that investment in innovation is an important part of providing Black Tie Service.

“Let The Fun Begin!”

Nicole and Adam August 6 2011

Whistling Straits Golf Course located on the shores of Lake Michigan near Kohler, Wisconsin is an absolutely stunning and unforgettable location for a summer wedding and reception.  The breezeway between the luxurious clubhouse and the rustic Irish Barn is covered with a pergola and looks out over the golf course and Lake Michigan.  And this is the exact spot where Nicole Strittmater and Adam Wise were joined in marriage on a picture perfect day in August.

20110806 Nicole and Adam 096

Nicole is my Niece’s daughter.  I’ve always referred to her as my “grand niece”, and I’m not sure if that is the correct relational term but I think it works well.  When I found out that the wedding would be on August 6 (also my birthday) I immediately reserved the date on my calendar.  This, of course, would mean that on one of my few Saturdays of not having to emcee a wedding reception I would be attending one instead.  And I really savor those opportunities!

Nicole and Adam’s wedding and reception were awesome, memorable and enjoyable in so many ways.     I have been a part of over a thousand wedding receptions during my career as a DJ and I always remember the good ones.  And this was a really good one.

For the trip I cleaned up the “Black Tie Van”, which usually serves as our DJ equipment truck, and made it suitable for people hauling.  Then Robin and I left the Quad Cities and headed up the river to Fulton Illinois, where we joined up with my sister Kathy and her husband Denny (from Fulton) and my brother Irvin and his wife Donna who had flown in from Texas.  Irv and Donna were very happy to get a break from the Texas heat for a few days!  And then we were off to the land of cheese and bratwurst!

20110806 Nicole and Adam 078

Here I am at the driver’s seat, and that’s my brother Irv riding shotgun and navigating.   No, I’m not about to crash into the white van.

20110806 Nicole and Adam 079

We had great family fun on the road, shared some trail mix, and arrived in Sheboygan around 1pm, just in time to check in to the hotel and have lunch.  The Holiday Inn Express on I-43 in Sheboygan is very nice incidentally!

After lunch we joined up at the hotel with my other brother Allen and his wife Becky, proud Grandparents of the Bride!   There were many other wedding guests at the hotel, and we formed a caravan of sorts as we winded our way to the beautiful Whistling Straits.  There were plenty of scenic places there to take some family snapshots .  Here’s one of the happy Grandparents!

20110806 Nicole and Adam 081

Barb and Dave, Aunt and Uncle of the Bride.

20110806 Nicole and Adam 082

At 4:00 it was time to begin the ceremony.

Here’s Groomsman Ryan, Brother of the Bride:

20110806 Nicole and Adam 106

And Bridesmaid Jessica, Sister of the Bride:

20110806 Nicole and Adam 108

And of course, the beautiful Bride Nicole escorted by her Father Terry:

20110806 Nicole and Adam 116

Adam and Nicole enjoyed a moment during Ryan’s reading of I Corinthians 13 during the ceremony:

20110806 Nicole and Adam 129

My brother Allen did a reading entitled “The Promise”:

20110806 Nicole and Adam 136

Adam and Nicole Wise are introduced for the first time!

20110806 Nicole and Adam 142

Here’s the Maid of Honor, Angela, (my wife really liked Angela’s shoes) and one of the Best Men, Matt.

20110806 Nicole and Adam 143

The bridal party heads off for some photos –20110806 Nicole and Adam 155

While we enjoy cocktail hour in the rustic Irish Barn –

20110806 Nicole and Adam 056

The tables were each named after one of the couple’s favorite movies.  Our family was seated at “Christmas Vacation”.

20110806 Nicole and Adam 090

The Bridal Party was seated at “Beauty and the Beast”.

20110806 Nicole and Adam 087

The Irish Barn is very rustic and strictly a seasonal building.  With no air conditioning or heat, weddings can only be scheduled during the Summer and early Fall seasons.  Fortunately there was a very cool breeze coming directly off Lake Michigan.  The East wall is entirely open, providing great views.  What a lovely setting!

20110806 Nicole and Adam 025

20110806 Nicole and Adam 028

The flowers were all beautiful, consisting of Grapevines and Hydrangeas.

20110806 Nicole and Adam 086

These two were looking especially cute for Nicole’s wedding!

20110806 Nicole and Adam 154

My sister Kathy and brother Allen (Grandfather of the Bride).

20110806 Nicole and Adam 158

Formal photos complete, the wedding party is ready to enjoy the cocktail hour!

20110806 Nicole and Adam 163

Soon it was time for dinner.  The menu was absolutely 5 Star!  We all enjoyed Corn and Sausage Chowder (a local favorite), a Gazpacho Salad,  a Japanese Summer Salad, Grilled Beef Tenderloin with Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Baby Green Beans and Cognac Sauce, Herb Crusted Chicken with Cheesy Potatoes Gratin, Baby Carrots and Tomato Cream Sauce, and Pecan Encrusted Tilapia with Wild Rice.

Afterwards we enjoyed some of the best wedding cake ever, consisting of layers of Almond Raspberry Cheesecake, Chocolate Sponge, Strawberry Mousseline, Natural Buttercream and Fondant Icing.  Wow!  The wedding cake was accented in fresh fruit rolled in sugar.  Note the groom on the recliner with the remote.

20110806 Nicole and Adam 164

20110806 Nicole and Adam 162

You can understand why we all look so very happy!

20110806 Nicole and Adam 168

20110806 Nicole and Adam 167

After dinner, and before the dancing got started at dusk, we had some more time to enjoy the surroundings.  I feel bad for this guy trying to hit out of the sand on number 18:

20110806 Nicole and Adam 044

The wedding guests formed a sort of a mini “gallery” and clapped for the golfers as they completed their rounds.

Nicole and Adam had a friend of theirs D.J. for them, and the guests enjoyed dancing in the rustic Irish Barn until midnight.  It’s always great for us to enjoy the evening while another D.J. does all the work!

20110806 Nicole and Adam 063

20110806 Nicole and Adam 193

The bride and groom are in here somewhere!

20110806 Nicole and Adam 074

Sue and Terry, the happy and proud parents of the bride!

20110806 Nicole and Adam 069

Nicole and Adam had a great time!

20110806 Nicole and Adam 192

Mom and Daughters!

20110806 Nicole and Adam 198

Members of Nicole and Adam’s wedding party included:

Parents – Terry and Susan Strittmater, Russ and Nancy Wise

Maid of Honor – Angela Dekanich

Best Men – Matt Inda and Severin Guzzonato

Bridesmaid – Jessica Strittmater, Kristin Zittlow, Amy Winter, Jennifer Olness, Carrie Beggan and Tracy Komasa

Groomsmen – Dan Zittlow, Ryan Strittmater, Josh Wood, Ryan Alexander and Mark Massoglia

Ushers – Daren Willems and Tom Moniz

Officiant – Elizabeth Jaeger, St. Luke Lutheran Church, Sheboygan Falls

Ceremony Music – Jubilate String Quartet

Harpist – Mary Molepske

Some things about Nicole and Adam’s wedding that make it stand out as truly memorable and unique:

Southern Pralines, made by Nicole’s sister Jessica-

20110806 Nicole and Adam 169

Of course, the setting was truly beautiful!  And the food was fantastic!

20110806 Nicole and Adam 183

The hosted beers: Guinness and New Glarus’ Spotted Cow.  My two favorites!  Thanks Terry!

Find out more about Spotted Cow.beer_photo_fes_glass[1]

To adhere to the old adage “Something Borrowed, Something Blue” Nicole wore blue shoes that she trimmed and accented herself.  I thought this was really original and creative.

20110806 Nicole and Adam 140

And most importantly, being together with family on a very special occasion makes August 6, 2011 a day that will always stand out as one of the very best!

The next morning we enjoyed a great breakfast at the Holiday Inn Express, said our goodbyes to Wisconsin, piled into the van and hit the road!

20110806 Nicole and Adam 212

Thanks to Nicole and Adam and we wish you all the very best as you begin your lives together!

Miss Iowa Bridal Show On A Perfect Spring Day

Hundreds of brides, some accompanied by large entourages, took advantage of a very warm and sunny Spring day to view the newly restored Gold Room at the Hotel Blackhawk in Davenport.  Those who came took the opportunity to speak face to face with 20 of the top wedding specialists in the Quad City area.

Hotel Blackhawk

The Hotel Blackhawk

Miss Iowa, Pauli Mayfield, was present to meet and greet attendees and share information about the Miss Iowa programs.  The event was a fundraiser for the Miss Iowa Scholarship Program.

All of the wedding specialists welcomed the opportunity to discuss how they could help the brides create a wedding day that would become the bride’s own uniquely special day.

Black Tie Entertainment

My Wife Robin At Our Booth

Our booth featured some Teal Up-Lighting and one of our compact BOSE sound systems.  Black Tie Entertainment only participates in one or two Bridal Events each year and we were pleased to have selected this event in which to participate.  We met many new faces and enjoyed spending some time with familiar faces also!

Attendees Arrive

Attendees Begin Arriving

Clazzy Designs

Table Display from Clazzy Designs

Studio D

Studio D Photography

Exceptional Events

Our Neighbor Booth-Exceptional Events

I was really impressed with the new look of the old hotel.  It’s a grand old building that has been transformed into one of the finest hotels and wedding venues in the area!

The Seamless Wedding Reception: High Energy Endings!

Part 3 in a series:

One of the more important decisions to make in planning your “Seamless Wedding Reception” is to determine the start and stop time of your event.   Many couples are surprised to find out that something as simple as the duration of the event can make the difference between a so-so reception and an unforgettable party!

The amount of time that the reception venue will allow you to use their facility will obviously come into play.  Many have a set time (usually 6 hours)  available for your event regardless of the starting time.  Others simply state that guests must be out of the room by a particular time.

Another factor to consider is the starting time of your ceremony.  For example, in many churches you must have your ceremony completed early in the afternoon to allow for afternoon or early evening Mass.  This poses logistical and timing issues if you are planning an evening reception.  In a case like this it is important to provide out of town guests with a list of local activities to keep them occupied from the time the ceremony concludes until the reception hall opens.  That way they will arrive at your reception with renewed interest and energy.

Wedding1

Some brides have stated at the beginning of the booking process “we will have the reception hall from 4:00 PM until 1:00 AM” or something similar.  That may be a generous reception hall bargain, but in terms of a great party it may not necessarily be a good idea to utilize all of that time for your wedding reception.

This doesn’t mean cutting the evening short.  It simply means relying on the expertise of your entertainer in deciding how long your event should be.   A good wedding DJ / Emcee will know how to time the event appropriately for the very best conclusion possible.

mirrorball

The most memorable event will end with the guests still wanting more, with a large number of guests still on the dance floor and with enough energy left in the room to give the couple a wonderful sendoff.  This is far more preferable to a party that drags on, concluding with just a few of the die-hard partiers trundling off with the tired bridal couple and family.

Here are two options to consider on an impromptu basis if the event nears conclusion and the energy level is still very high.  Many entertainers offer the option of adding time to the event on-site if appropriate and if the banquet venue allows it.  Some banquet venues also offer additional late night options for those guests who wish to continue partying into the wee hours, such as close proximity to bars, casinos and other nightlife.

Be cautious when hiring DJ companies who work on an “unlimited time” basis.  Without a predetermined conclusion time for the event it may be more difficult for the DJ to time the event properly for a fantastic ending.

A general rule of thumb for determining the length of a wedding reception could go like this:

1 hour for cocktails (if having a cocktail hour).

1 to 2 hours for dinner (this could vary depending on the number of guests to be served, whether buffet or plated, and the efficiency of the serving staff).

A minimum of 2 hours of dancing and formalities (for smaller groups of 100 or less).

2 1/2 hours of dancing (for guest counts of 100 to 200).

3 hours of dancing (for larger crowds).

A good decision on the duration of your event will help your Emcee / DJ to do their job well, that is, to properly manage the energy level in the room.  That energy level should gradually increase and be timed to peak just shortly before the event ends.  A high energy conclusion will dramatically etch your event into the memories of your guests for years to come!

Next month, in part 4, we’ll take a look at the use of incorporating themes to make your reception more memorable.  Happy planning!