Yes, You Need to Plan Out Your Wedding Timeline

When you hire a wedding vendor, one of the first things they'll ask you about is your wedding timeline. A clear, detailed sequence of events allows everyone involved in your big day to understand exactly where they need to be and when.

But your wedding timeline involves more than just the start and end times for your ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception. You need to break down every step of your day -- from wedding party preparations to your final dance -- to keep everyone moving and on track. While your photographer, videographer, MC, and venue staff can help with this, you and your fiance need to work out a plan for each of these vendors to follow.

What does a wedding timeline look like?

Your wedding timeline is a list of specific time blocks set aside for each event throughout your day. The more detailed your timeline is, the more likely you are to stay on track.

Below is an example of a wedding timeline. Not every couple's timeline will look like this, as many modern brides and grooms choose to omit or reorder certain "traditions" during their reception. However, this list should give you an idea of what the average wedding day looks like:

  • 1:00 pm: Photographer and videographer arrive to capture wedding party preparations.
  • 3:00 pm: First look
  • 3:30 pm: Wedding party and family portraits
  • 4:30 pm: Couple portraits
  • 4:45 pm: Guests seated for ceremony
  • 5:00 pm: Ceremony
  • 5:30 pm: Ceremony ends / cocktail hour begins. Additional photo and video shots with couple.
  • 6:30 pm Cocktail hour ends / guests seated in reception room
  • 6:40 pm: Wedding party introductions
  • 6:50 pm: Newlywed grand entrance and introduction
  • 7:00 pm: Couple and parent dances
  • 7:15 pm: Toasts
  • 7:30 pm: Dinner served
  • 8:30 pm: Cake cut and served
  • 9:00 pm: Open dance floor
  • 11:00 pm: Final dance/couple's grand exit

A well-planned timeline is very important for keeping your vendors on schedule, but the biggest benefit is eliminating a huge source of stress for you on your wedding day. Your vendors are professionals, and with your plan in hand, they'll be able to facilitate seamless transitions from one event to the next, while you two enjoy your celebration.

Can our vendors help us with our wedding timeline?

Yes! When you book Hurricane Productions for your wedding, you'll have access to our easy-to-use online planning portal, which allows you to customize your wedding timeline exactly the way you want it. This will ensure that your Hurricane DJ, MC, photographer, and/or videographer all have access to the exact same information and can coordinate with each other ahead of time.

If you're struggling to plan your timeline and need some guidance, our full-time staff members are available to help you every step of the way. Our general manager, Chelsea, assists every single Hurricane client in their planning process, and can give you some insights on how other couples have structured their wedding day. You can also speak directly with your media and entertainment team to get their thoughts and come up with a plan that works well for everyone.

Your vendors can also help you with any day-of changes to your wedding timeline that may arise. Let's say you decide that morning that you really want to get a certain photo or video shot that you didn't plan for. You can discuss it with your media team to see where else during the day you can fit that shoot in. Similarly, if you realize right before the reception that you'd rather scrap the planned bouquet and garter toss, just let your MC and DJ know and they'll add a few extra tracks to the playlist.

Do we need to include every traditional wedding element in our timeline?

Your wedding timeline is your own. There's no rule saying you need to have a first look (although we highly recommend it!), nor do you need parent dances, a formal cake-cutting ceremony, or anything that doesn't feel like "you."

Your family, friends, and vendors can certainly make suggestions, but ultimately, it's up to you to decide what you do and don't want to include in your wedding day events. Just be sure that whatever you do want to happen, gets a spot on your final wedding timeline.

Haven't booked your wedding day entertainment, photography, or videography yet? Check out Hurricane Productions' all-inclusive wedding packages or request a quote to confirm our availability for your day.

Cannabis Wedding Trends to Incorporate Into Your NJ Wedding

Cannabis has been a hotly debated issue in recent years, and as more states vote to legalize recreational use, it's no surprise that so-called "weed weddings" are becoming hugely popular across the nation.

As of January 2019, more than half of the United States allows for medicinal marijuana use, and recreational use is fully legal in 10 states plus the District of Columbia. More states – including New Jersey – are expected to follow suit this year, so it's highly possible that some 2019 and 2020 weddings in the Garden State could incorporate cannabis.

In legal-use states, the annual Cannabis Wedding Expo has set the bar for industry vendors that want to help weed-friendly couples celebrate their big day. As more of the country says yes to recreational marijuana, here are a few cannabis wedding trends you're likely to see in the near future.

Cannabis Wedding Trends NJ Couples Can Jump On Now

Give a nod to cannabis on your big day with these subtle incorporations.

Cannabis Plant Bouquets and Décor

One of the easiest (and least controversial) ways to incorporate cannabis into your wedding is in your bridal bouquet, floral arrangements, and other décor. Get some fresh cuts of cannabis plant to add to your greenery for a bright, natural look. You can even add some cannabis leaves to your wedding cake to tie the theme together.

Wedding Party Gifts and Guest Favors

While you can't get high at your New Jersey wedding reception just yet, you can show your love of cannabis through your favors. Personalized pipes, match boxes, and even small packages of rolling paper are all thoughtful gifts for your cannabis-consuming guests. As an alternative, you might consider gifts that contain the non-intoxicating compound CBD, which can be found in cannabis lotions, oils, and edibles. CBD-infused products provide all the benefits of cannabis (including muscle relaxation and reduced anxiety) without the potent high you'll get from products containing THC.

Hemp Attire and Cannabis Leaf Accessories

For the cannabis-consuming couple who's looking for a much more understated approach, your best bet may be attire made of hemp (think dresses, ties, and anklets) or adding cannabis leaves to your wedding day accessories.

Trends for Future New Jersey Weddings

These next few trends might have to wait until New Jersey legalizes recreational cannabis use, but are good to keep in mind if your wedding happens post-legalization.

Infused Edibles

Cannabis-infused olive oil and butter are becoming more popular in the edibles market. If you're having your wedding reception catered by a third-party vendor, consider asking for an "infused" food station of dishes cooked or garnished with cannabis, such as flatbreads, pasta, and soup.

Cannabis Cocktails

Alcohol is already a staple at most wedding receptions, so why not add a little cannabis to the bar selection? Cannabis-infused mixers like tinctures, syrups, and creamers can make it the star of your signature wedding drink.

Open Cannabis Bars

Having an outdoor wedding reception? Consider hiring a "budtender" to serve 21+ guests a selection of gourmet cannabis strains, including low-dose edibles. Like a regular bartender, your budtender will be a knowledgeable professional who can help you and your guests achieve a safe, responsible high. If you or your guests are sensitive to THC, you can also consider strains that contain more CBD.

Dedicated Cannabis Consumption Areas

While some venues allow for cannabis use throughout the establishment, couples that can't find a cannabis-friendly location can set up a dedicated area near the reception for guests who want to discreetly consume or smoke during the wedding. Limos or party buses are also a viable option for this purpose.

Planning a New Jersey wedding? Check out Hurricane Productions' all-inclusive media and entertainment packages on our pricing page or contact us for a quote.

Empower Your Teen to Plan Her Sweet 16 with Hurricane Productions

For many girls, there's no birthday party more special or memorable than her Sweet 16 or Quinceañera. It's a day dedicated entirely to her, with family and friends gathered to celebrate the young woman she's become.

Of course, before the big day, there's the lengthy and sometimes stressful Sweet 16 planning process. Because her parents are booking -- and paying for -- the event, the birthday girl may feel like she doesn't have as much say as she'd like in her celebration.

At the same time, planning a Sweet 16 or Quinceañera for your daughter can be overwhelming. Not only are there countless details to address, but you also have to make sure a crowd of teenagers and older family members will both have a great time.

When you book Hurricane Productions for your daughter's event, we empower her to plan her own party. She has her own vision of her birthday celebration and she knows what kind of entertainment she and her friends will enjoy. Here are just a few things we do to make it easy for you to delegate the Sweet 16 planning process to the guest of honor:

She can get insights from someone who's been through it.

It's important that your teen talks through her musical tastes and vision with her Sweet 16 DJ and MC. However, the DJ entertainment industry tends to skew male -- and while we love our guys, your daughter probably wants a fellow female perspective. Our General Manager, Chelsea Rutkowski, personally communicates with every client throughout their planning process. The birthday girl can reach out to Chelsea if she has any specific questions or just wants a second opinion about some details of her party.

She has a direct contact to her DJ and MC.

Chelsea facilitates direct connection between your daughter and her DJ and MC for her Sweet 16. At some DJ companies, you have an initial consultation with the manager, sign a contract, and don't talk with the actual DJ or MC until you finalize the playlist. We believe in having your birthday girl meet the team who will be working the DJ booth at her party.

Whether you book Robbie, Alvin, Nate, or one of our other talented entertainers, you and your teen will have a chance to speak with her DJ and MC to get a sense of their personalities and musical styles. Entertainment can make or break a party, so this direct communication helps ensure your team is a good fit for the crowd at your daughter's Sweet 16 or Quinceañera.

She can use our online planning portal to customize her day.

Our clients love how easy it is to use our online planning portal. Your teen can log in and select the musical genres she wants played at her party, set her "must play" and "do not play" lists, and designate special songs for her Father-Daughter dance and/or candle ceremony. Meanwhile, you can use the portal to manage your contract and payments in just a few clicks.

Let Hurricane Productions help you and your teenager through the Sweet 16 planning process. Check out our all-inclusive entertainment, photography, and videography packages for Sweet 16s and Quinceañeras, or contact us directly for a quote.

Hurricane promotes Markus Robinson to Media Director

Hurricane Productions announces the promotion of Markus Robinson to Media Director.

He assumes the lead role for video and photo projects related to Rutgers University, non-profit partners, and private events. He will co-manage media staffing and logistics with General Manager, Chelsea Rutkowski.

He will also continue to assist with corporate video for MediaCutlet (A content creation and consulting company owned by Hurricane's co-founders Strato Doumanis and Vincent Velasquez).

"I'm most excited for growth in the company, continuing relationships and also creating new ones," Robinson said.

Robinson graduated Rutgers in 2016 with a degree in Visual Arts and Digital Filmmaking.

As a student, he was a member of the University's Media Team and produced videos for all platforms.

Robinson first learned about Hurricane Productions as a student. Hurricane's former GM, Julia Crimi (Assistant Director, Major Events and Programs - Rutgers University) mentioned Hurricane's video capabilities to Robinson. At the time, Crimi was working on an initiative for Rutgers Against Hunger during the school's summer orientation program. Robinson filmed and edited a video recap of the program.

Later that year, one of Robinson's directors at the Media Team - Larry McAllister II - sent him an application for an open position at Hurricane.

Shortly after college, Robinson joined Hurricane's team at as a freelancer and increased his portfolio while working with MediaCutlet's former Media Director, Austin King (Commercial Video Editor at Raycom Media).

His promotion as Hurricane's Media Director marks his first full-time job opportunity.

"Markus elevated himself to this position with a rare combination of talent and work ethic," Velasquez said. "I'm thankful that our former employees and our partners at Rutgers recognized his potential and helped him transition from a student to a professional. Joining us full-time energizes our entire staff."

About Hurricane Productions:
Hurricane Productions® is an integrated media organization and a recognized leader in DJ entertainment and event production. The company consists of a portfolio of businesses that create and deliver original content to live and online audiences. DJ entertainment, multimedia, and event production are Hurricane’s principal creative content and production activities. The company is headquartered in Red Bank, NJ.

Wedding Trends: Cannabis, Brunches, Minimalism and More

Someone tagged you in this post because you're engaged and planning a 2019-2020 wedding. It's time to get to work : Set a date, pick a venue, book vendors, find your dress, etc.

Hurricane Productions helps hundreds of tri-state area couples celebrate their big day with DJ, Photo, and Video services. Our full-time staff recently compiled this list of wedding trends.


If you're reading this in New Jersey, New York, or Pennsylvania: Cannabis isn't legal, yet. But its coming. And couples are drawing from cannabis wedding ideas in states where it is legal and anticipating that they can incorporate it in all aspects of their wedding day including decor, favors and dessert.

Engagement Brunches

Many couples host an engagement party to kick off their wedding activities well before the big day. If you’re not already planning a daytime wedding, consider celebrating your engagement with a late-morning fête featuring breakfast foods, endless mimosas, and a DJ. Your friends are sure to have a great time -- after all, millennials are known for their love of brunch!

Daytime Weddings

Evening receptions are still the standard, but more and more couples are opting for afternoon weddings. There are a few good reasons to consider a daytime reception. First, many venues offer incentives for off-peak events, like a discounted per-head rate or no minimum guest count. It also may be more convenient for your guests to head home in the early evening, rather than 11 p.m. or midnight. The biggest advantage? You'll be able to take advantage of more daylight hours for gorgeous, well-lit wedding photos and videos.

Sunday Weddings

While not necessarily a new trend, Sunday weddings are becoming more common as well. As with daytime events, hosting your wedding on a Sunday is considered an off-peak time for most venues, so you'll likely save some money on the reception. If you do opt for a Sunday wedding, set the time early enough so your guests aren't still in "recovery mode" come Monday morning!

Unique Locations

Forget the traditional banquet hall: Today's couples want a wedding venue that reflect their unique personalities and aesthetic. Wineries, barns, and historical villages are all on the list of locations today's NJ couples are considering for their celebrations. You can check out a few of these gorgeous NJ wedding backdrops we've captured if you need some inspiration.

Natural Greenery and Foliage

Floral arrangements make an appearance at just about every wedding, but many couples are opting for a more natural, outdoorsy feel in their wedding decor by incorporating lush greenery, tree branches, and grasses. According to Martha Stewart Weddings, pampas grass and wheat will be included in more wedding florals this year.

Minimalist Aesthetic

The price tag on a wedding can skyrocket quickly, so couples are saving their budget for the important stuff (e.g. the venue and vendors) and going minimal on their wedding details.  WeddingWire says the "bold, minimalist look" can be seen everywhere -- invitations, florals, table settings, cakes, and even wedding dresses. Many wedding experts say modern brides have been inspired by Meghan Markle's simple but sophisticated Givenchy Royal Wedding gown, leading them to embrace minimalist attire for their big day.

Fully Customized Lighting

LED Lighting was the "it" feature for the early part of the decade. But couples are customizing lighting for more than decor purposes. Ever try taking a photo on your phone at night? It's not so easy.  Lighting can enhance photo and video - not just the moments captured by professionals. Everyone has Instagram (yes, even Grandma). And lighting can make guests' DIY photos from their phones look better, too.  Hurricane Productions has always been ahead of the curve on this trend -- we offer tons of custom-designed lighting add-ons for your big day, including full venue uplighting and Name in Lights monogram displays.

Do I Need a DJ and MC at My Wedding?

When people look back on the weddings they've been to, the one element that usually stands out in their mind is the entertainment. The entertainment company you hire can make or break your reception. If you want your guests to remember how much fun they had at your wedding, you need the right event host and musical talent.

While some couples still opt for a live wedding band, many choose DJ entertainment to save on cost and venue space. DJ companies will often give you the option of hiring one person as a combination DJ and master of ceremonies (MC), or one DJ and one MC. If you're on the fence, we highly recommend having a separate wedding DJ and MC.

Why hire a two-person wedding entertainment team?

Much like having two videographers, a two-person entertainment team will only enhance your wedding day. Each entertainer brings their own style and flair, but can collaborate together to produce an engaging, unforgettable experience for your guests.

Just ask any couple who's hired our main wedding entertainment team, DJ Alvin Gay and MC Robbie "Maserobbiee" Padovano. The combination of Robbie's larger-than-life personality with Alvin's energy and musical flow keeps guests out on the dance floor and having a great time throughout your entire reception.

"Over the years, Alvin and I have built a flow were we are able to create memories and moments that will last a lifetime," says Robbie. "From Alvin bringing the energy from behind the decks, to me not only entertaining guests, but coordinating the timeline to keep the overall flow of the event on track, we are the perfect team."

Having a wedding DJ and MC allows each to focus on their strengths.

At Hurricane Productions, all of our entertainers are comfortable behind a microphone and can seamlessly transition between DJ and MC. However, a combination DJ/MC shoulders a lot of responsibility in keeping your event flowing. They'll need to step away from the DJ booth to make announcements and speak to you and your guests, meaning they may need to line up a few tracks to auto-play while they handle MC duties. With a separate MC at the helm, the DJ can focus on taking requests, mixing tracks, and crafting a musical flow that's truly in-the-moment and unique to your event.

By the same token, a separate MC is free to get out on the dance floor, interact directly with guests, and make sure everyone is having a phenomenal time. You won't have to worry about whether your friends and family are enjoying themselves; you'll be able to see it in the way your MC handles the crowd.

What should I ask my potential wedding entertainers?

As with any other wedding vendor, you'll want to sit down and chat with your potential entertainment team before signing a contract. Ask good questions to determine if this particular DJ and MC are the right fit for your wedding – what is their planning process like? Do they understand your wedding details and timeline? How willing are they to work with you on customized playlists and music edits? Do they also provide a ceremony sound system?

Through these types of conversations, you'll get a better idea of your DJ and MC's personalities and styles, as well as how they'll interact with each other during your reception. After all, you need to feel comfortable with the people who will help create your wedding memories.

Hurricane Productions offers a full suite of wedding entertainment services, including DJ/MC entertainment, custom lighting design, ceremony sound, and more. Visit our pricing page to view our all-inclusive packages, or request a quote to create your own.

The Gorgeous Garden State: Beautiful New Jersey Wedding Backdrops

When it comes to natural landscapes and scenery, it doesn't get much more diverse than New Jersey. We've got it all – beaches, mountains, forests, farmland, historical villages, urban skylines, and more.

But our home state is not a paid actor; we've photographed and filmed hundreds of New Jersey weddings and events over the years, we can confidently say that couples couldn't ask for a more beautiful place to get married.

No matter what type of aesthetic you're looking for, we guarantee you'll find it right here in NJ. Here are just a few examples of gorgeous New Jersey weddings to inspire your vision for your big day.

NJ Beach and Waterfront Weddings

For most of us in the tri-state area, no summer would be complete without a trip to the Jersey Shore. This is a place where so many families create happy memories, so it's no surprise that NJ couples flock to one of our dozens of beaches to get married. Venues like Crystal Point Yacht Club, Clarks Landing, and Jack Baker's Lobster Shanty offer fantastic waterfront views for romantic ceremonies and amazing photographs.

Real Wedding: Joe & Jamie, Clarks Landing

NJ Mountain View Weddings

If the ocean isn't your thing, New Jersey has plenty of picturesque mountains, too. Whether you're a ski fanatic or just love the majestic beauty of a mountain range, venues like Mountain Creek Resort, Neshanic Valley Golf Course, and Crystal Springs Resort will give you the view you're looking for.

Real Wedding: Melissa & Frank, Mountain Creek Resort

NJ Golf Course and Country Club Weddings

Many couples love the idea of an elegant, sophisticated wedding held at a country club. Luckily, New Jersey has tons of exquisitely landscaped golf courses with clubhouses for private events. If this is the look you're going for, you'll love venues like Battleground Country Club, Blue Heron Pines Golf Club, and Eagle Oaks Golf and Country Club.

Real Wedding: Gabriella & Mike, Blue Heron Pines Golf Club

NJ Farmhouse Barn Weddings

They don't call us the Garden State for nothing. New Jersey boasts acres and acres of farmland, and along with it, we've got spacious farmhouses and barns that are perfect for wedding photos. Try a venue like The Hamilton Manor, Perona Farms, or Bear Brook Valley for that rustic, country aesthetic.

Real Wedding: Christine & Tim, The Hamilton Manor

NJ Weddings at Historical Sites

If you want to be surrounded by a bit of American history on your big day, choose a venue like Waterloo Village, The Shadowbrook at Shrewsbury, or The Olde Mill Inn. New Jersey has a rich past, from its Native American roots, to the Revolutionary War, to the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Many historical venues in NJ date back to the 18th and 19th centuries, and offer a perfect blend of old world charm and modern amenities.

Real Wedding: Jessica & Matthew, Waterloo Village

NJ Weddings with the New York City Skyline

There's nothing quite like looking at the twinkling lights of a city skyline – and what skyline is more iconic than Manhattan's? When you get married at a venue like Liberty House, Maritime Parc, or The Water Witch Club, you and your guests will be able to enjoy breathtaking views of the city that never sleeps.

Real Wedding: Kimberley & Eric, Maritime Parc

Celebrating your wedding in New Jersey? Hurricane Productions provides a full suite of wedding entertainment and media services for couples in the tri-state area. Check out our pricing page or request a quote for more information.

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