Shawna and Joel June 11, 2011

Shawna Chezem contacted us last February looking for some lighting to enhance her June wedding reception at the Botanical Center Event Canopy. We met with her at the venue shortly after the big blizzard of 2011. Shawna looked at some various up-lighting colors and configurations and she decided upon 20 magenta (purple) up-lights arranged in an angled pattern.

It was a great choice. Shawna and Joel Swain’s reception hall came alive with color and light. Guests arrived in the events canopy shortly before 8PM after an outdoor Botanical Gardens ceremony and were awed by the purple lighting and the permanently installed white lights in the canopy.

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Since I had previously set aside June 11 as a night off from spinning tunes it was convenient for Robin and I to deliver, set up and remove the lighting ourselves.

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Shawna’s reception was scheduled to end at 1 AM. We arrived to remove the lights around 12:30 AM, in time to enjoy watching the party as it concluded. It’s always fun to watch a party when another DJ is spinning tunes. Shawna and Joel’s DJ was a family friend, from Cedar Rapids I think. Guests were enjoying the dance floor right up to the last song.

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Thanks Shawna and Joel for having us Light Up Your Wedding!

Copyright© 2011 Black Tie Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved

Black Tie Entertainment Inc. – Quad Cities – Iowa Illinois


The Lester and Fobert Families Celebrate on June 4, 2011

The Radisson Quad City Plaza witnessed the joining of two great families on Saturday night when Abby Lester and Jeff Fobert celebrated their marriage with a spectacular party in the hotel’s ballroom.

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A 2pm ceremony at Edgewood Baptist Church was followed by guests gathering in the beautiful Radisson Atrium for cocktails at 5pm.

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The banquet room doors were opened shortly before 6pm.  Stepping into the ballroom guests’ eyes feasted on a visual treat consisting of floral arrangements by Clazzy Designs, white chair covers with dark purple sashes and purple accent lighting by Black Tie Entertainment.

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A cake made by family friend, Darrell Hill, was on the middle of the dance floor accentuated by spotlights furnished by event and wedding planner, Exceptional Events.  Peg and Jim of Exceptional Events were the planners and coordinators of this event.

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After the bridal party made an exciting entrance into the room, Brad Lester, the Father of the Bride eloquently welcomed the guests.  Dinner was served after a blessing by Pastor Mel Brown.  The Radisson served up their always awesome feast with your choice of Chicken or Pork as an entre.

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Tommy Fobert (Best Man) and Jessie and Molly Lester (Maids of Honor) toasted the new bride and groom and the dance party was on!

Abby and Jeff danced their first dance as husband and wife to “Free” by the Zac Brown Band.

Abby and Jeff’s guests were not shy and they utilized the whole dance floor for the duration of the night.  The dancing was enhanced by our “Dynamic Accent Lighting” which allows us to transform the entire ballroom to the colors of our choosing, depending on the mood of the moment.  This feature has become highly popular and sought after from our brides this year!

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Members of Abby and Jeff’s bridal party were:

Maddi Rockwell and Aidan Rodriguez – Flower girl and ring bearer

Brandon Hollenback, Josh Hughes, Mike Jones and Collin Shutt – Ushers

Tammy Rodriguez, Abby Meuser, Breanne Young, Michelle Mann – Bridesmaids

Tony Quintana, Tom Rockwell, Adam Johnson, Jay Cousineau, Justin Taylor – Groomsmen

Jessie Lester and Molly Lester – Maids of Honor

Tommy Fobert – Best Man

And of course Jeff and Abby Fobert – Bride and Groom

Quad City area wedding vendors assisting the couple were:

Exceptional Events

Creative Wedding Package (Photography)

Radisson Quad City Plaza

QC Trolley


Hopes Bridal

Clazzy Designs

Black Tie Entertainment

Thank you Abby and Jeff for allowing us to play a role in your very special day!

Kristen and John, A Love Story 05/28/2011

The Love Story of Kristen Koupal and John Rose is a story of Italian Restaurants, the Navy, Facebook, The Kerryman in Chicago, “classrooms” of stuffed animals, graduate school and a Michigan marriage proposal.  A new chapter of Kristen and John’s love story began on Saturday the 28th of May 2011 with their Grand Wedding Reception in the Radisson Quad City Plaza Ballroom.

After an afternoon wedding at Holy Family Church in Davenport Iowa, guests arrived for a 5PM cocktail hour in the Radisson’s atrium.  Dinner chimes rang at 6PM and the wedding party was introduced to the guests at 6:30.

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Members of the wedding party included:

Father of the Bride – Robert Koepal

Mother and Stepfather of the Bride – Dean and Cathy Maupin

Parents of the Groom – John and Lynn Rose

Ushers – Mark Leja, Anthony Minette

Flower Girl – Kennedy Rose

Ring Bearer – Caden Rose

Bridesmaids – Victoria Smeaton, Lindsay Dodds, Abby Dillivou, Rebecca Rose

Maids of Honor – Kimberly Koupal, Karli Koupal

Groomsmen – Greg Adamiec, Jason Ruffin, Pat Galvin, Nick Eggett, Bryan Gage

Best Man – James Rose

Eloquent welcome speeches and toasts were given by Robert Koepal, Cathy Maupin, Kimberly Koupal, Karli Koupal and James Rose

Guests enjoyed a plated dinner and wedding cake.

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After dinner, Kristen and John’s Love Story was opened and read for the guests for the very first time (A Black Tie Entertainment Feature) followed by their first dance, “The One” by Gary Allan.

A large contingent of guests, many from Chicago, stayed well into the night and danced energetically until the party ended at midnight.

Kristen and John are truly in love and are destined to have a great marriage.  I offer my thanks to them for allowing me to play a role in their celebration.


Here are more Area wedding vendors who helped Kristen and John:

Radisson Quad City Plaza Hotel

Mens Wearhouse

House of Brides

Olde Towne Bakery

Brian Barkley Photography

Clazzy Designs

Black Tie Entertainment (me)


Kasey and John-A Volcano Wedding Reception April 16

A brisk wind and April snow flurries couldn’t dampen the spirit of Kasey Ciccarone and John DeTombe on their wedding day.  After all, this couple had stared down the barrel of a tsunami and braved cold mountaintop temperatures in John’s effort to create a unique and extreme engagement setting.

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After a 4pm wedding ceremony at Old St. Annes Church and a brisk photo session the wedding party arrived at the Mozart Room at the Lodge Hotel.  Guests enjoyed appetizers and the sound of the Avey Brothers Blues Band while waiting for the wedding party arrival.

Members of the wedding party included parents Pat and Ed Ciccarone and Chuck and Hilde DeTombe.  Ushers were Tom Timm and Shawn McBride.  The Flower Girl was Eden DeTombe and the Ring Bearer was Daniel Rosse.  Bridesmaids were Sara DeTombe, Gail Timm and Sheri Martin.  Groomsmen included Bob Stracuzzi, Ed Ciccarone and Justin Wilber.

The couple’s Matron of Honor was Kelly Royster and the Best Man was Steve DeTombe.

The wedding party entered the room to “Master of Puppets” by Metallica and Kasey and John entered the room to Lil Jon’s “I Do” and a round of cheers and applause from the guests.  Even Elvis was there to party!

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Kasey and John went immediately to their wedding cake, which was a replica of a volcano.  Yes, it was a real edible cake.  The volcano was a representation of the unique setting of John’s proposal on top of Mt. Mauna Kea on the big island of Hawaii.

The father of the groom welcomed guests with heartfelt speech and blessing and then the guests enjoyed a buffet dinner.

Kelly Royster and Steve DeTombe presented speeches and offered a toast to the bride and groom after dinner.  Kasey and John thanked the guests for coming and then it was time to party.

After hearing the premier of Kasey and John’s Love Story ( a feature offered by Black Tie Entertainment) they danced their first dance to “At Last” by Etta James.

The dance floor opened to guests at around 8:30 pm.  Guests also enjoyed an anniversary dance and the traditional bouquet and garter toss.

The DJ dancing portion of the evening concluded with a “Circle of Love” with all of the guests encircling Kasey and John for the final dance of the evening.  Afterward some of the members of the band entertained the remaining guests with a guitar and lead singer.

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It was a great night to celebrate indoors after the brisk snow showers and stiff wind earlier in the day.  Kasey and John will always have those unique memories of their April wedding day!  They are a fun couple and are truly meant for each other.

Thank you to Kasey and John for letting me help you celebrate your big day.   I wish you all the best!

Kasey and John’s wedding vendor team also included:

The Lodge Hotel

Clazzy Designs

Creative Wedding Package

Olde Town Bakery

Mens Wearhouse

Celebration Bridal

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.

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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.

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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!

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Clazzy Designs

Table Display from Clazzy Designs

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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.


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.


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!

Labor Day Weekend Wedding at the Gold Room

Black Tie Entertainment is pleased to welcome Jill Boulund to our growing family of clients.  Jill and her fiance Dave Naab will be welcoming their friends and family to help them celebrate their wedding on the Sunday before Labor Day in the Gold Room of the historic Hotel Blackhawk, downtown Davenport Iowa. 


We’re excited to welcome Jill and Dave and look forward to their fabulous event at an exceptionally beautiful facility!  It will be a wonderful evening.

We have only one Saturday left available during prime wedding season in 2011 and we hope to announce a new bride for that date very soon!