Brianna and Dan - James Ward Mansion

Brianna and Dan Hengst were married at the elegant James Ward Mansion in Westfield, New Jersey. Referred to as Union County's "best kept secret," this magnificent venue boasts 24-foot ceilings, spiral staircases, and fireplaces, along with a sky-lit garden atrium room. These gorgeous features provided a romantic atmosphere and the perfect backdrop for the couple's big day.

Laura and Matthew - Liberty House

Jersey City's Liberty House is known for its breathtaking views of the New York City skyline. Whether you're in the garden, on the patio, or looking out from the floor-to-ceiling windows, you'll always see the bright, beautiful lights of Manhattan. This sophisticated restaurant and event venue was the perfect location for Laura and Matthew Chervenak's fall wedding.

What Music Do You Need for Your Wedding Ceremony?

When you think about wedding ceremony music, you probably think of pipe organs or string quartets playing Richard Wagner's "Bridal Chorus" (better known as "Here Comes the Bride") and Felix Mendelssohn's "Wedding March." While these two compositions are certainly traditional, they are far from the only options you have for your own ceremony soundtrack.

While some religious weddings require certain song or hymn selections, many couples are able to customize the music that plays during their ceremony. This is more than just the processional and recessional songs, though – there are several other opportunities for you and your fiance to choose background music that enhances the overall ambiance of your ceremony.

Whether you're hiring live musicians or having your reception DJ provide sound for all your wedding events, here are a few key points during the ceremony where you will want to plan out your music:

1. Prelude

Prelude music usually plays for 20 to 30 minutes before the ceremony begins while guests gather and take their seats. A set of seven to 10 light, romantic songs will set the mood for the ceremony and your overall wedding day.

2. Processional

This is the music that plays while honored family members (e.g. grandparents and parents of the couple) and the wedding party walk down the aisle. The processional song signifies the official beginning of the ceremony, so there should be a tonal shift from the prelude music. You may even wish to choose two songs to distinguish your family members' entrance from the wedding party.

3. Bride's Entrance

Aside from "the kiss," the bride's entrance is easily the most anticipated moment of many wedding ceremonies. Guests typically stand up and turn around to see the bride as she walks down the aisle. While you can use one processional song for family, wedding party, and bridal entrances, most couples have a pause before the bride enters to switch to a more dramatic piece of music.

4. Interludes/Special Ceremony Events

If your wedding includes special traditions like a unity candle ceremony, you may want to choose a subdued, emotional song to play while this is happening. Some couples also choose to have a friend or family member perform a musical interlude during the ceremony.

5. Recessional

Your recessional should be a joyous, upbeat song that celebrates the start of your life as a married couple. You and your spouse will exit the ceremony during the recessional song, followed by your bridal party and family members.

6. Postlude

Depending on when your cocktail hour begins, your guests may not leave the ceremony site right away. You may want to select a song or two to play in the background as they mingle and chat. Like the recessional, postlude songs should be cheerful and celebratory.

Other Wedding Ceremony Sound Considerations

Once you've chosen the songs for your ceremony, you'll need to think about sound amplification. A good audio system is essential if you want your guests to be able to hear your music, your officiant, and your vows.

Check with your wedding vendors to see what kind of sound setup they have, especially if you're having an outdoor ceremony. Weddings held at locations like beaches, lakefronts, and gardens may look beautiful, but it can be difficult to find a power supply for microphones and speakers. One potential solution to this problem is a wireless ceremony sound system, which we provide with each of our wedding entertainment packages.

When you hire Hurricane Productions as your wedding entertainment, we'll work with you to plan out the timing for each musical moment of your ceremony. If you're having live music, our high-quality sound system ensures that every musician and speaker at your ceremony is heard loud and clear.

Looking for entertainment and media services for your wedding day? Visit Hurricane Productions' pricing page to learn about our all-inclusive packages or contact us for a quote.

Should I Hire One or Two Wedding Videographers?

If you and your fiancé have decided to invest in wedding videography, then you already know the value of having your day documented on film. Photography is still important, but pictures alone won't allow you to relive your wedding the way a beautifully edited cinematic video can.

The question, then, is whether you hire one or two wedding videographers. There are pros and cons to each, and the right choice for you depends on your budget, your timeline, and your vision for your wedding film.

Here are a few important factors to consider when you're deciding which route to go for your wedding videography package.

How much do you want to spend on wedding videography?

When a couple is contemplating wedding videography services, the package they choose is often dictated by how much they can afford to spend. Hiring a second videographer means paying for an additional person's time and talent, so if you're on a tight budget, you may only be able to afford one. However, couples with a little more flexibility in their funds can explore their options for a two-person team.

A mid-point between having one and two wedding videographers is a package that includes one main videographer and an assistant. The assistant won't be operating the camera for the whole day, as a second videographer would, but this person can help the main videographer set up audio equipment, scout out good angles and locations, and direct the couple and their wedding party while the videographer captures that perfect shot.

How soon do you want your wedding video?

We make our couples' edited wedding videos available within 8 to 12 weeks after their event. Most videographers give this type of range because the time it takes to create the finished video product(s) depends on the package the couple selected and the amount of footage we need to review.

There's no guarantee you'll have your wedding video a month earlier if you opt for a single, half-day videographer, but there's a chance it could take longer to edit if you choose two: Editing six hours of footage from one videographer is a very different process than piecing together footage from two videographers who filmed for 12 hours each.

Regardless of how many videographers you hire, your service provider should be able to give you access to all your raw footage long before the final edits are completed.

What kind of wedding film do you envision?

The biggest advantage of a second videographer is the variety of shots and perspectives that can be included in your final wedding video.

Wedding photography and videography is often heavily focused on the bride, but with a second videographer, both you and your fiancé will be able to have your moments in the spotlight. This is especially important for couples who plan to get ready for the ceremony in separate locations. One videographer can only film one of you at a time, but a second videographer ensures that both the bride and her ladies and the groom and his guys have their wedding prep time documented.

As with many creative endeavors, two heads are often better than one when it comes to shooting and editing a wedding video. While your videographers will be able to collaborate and work as a team, each will also bring their own individual style, flair, and vision to the finished product. A video that combines the work of two wedding videographers means you get two unique perspectives telling the same beautiful love story: yours.

No matter what kind of wedding videography you want, we have a package to fit your needs. Visit our pricing page to learn more, or reach out to request a quote.

Do I Need to Use My Venue's Preferred Vendor List?

If you and your fiancé have started looking at wedding venues, you've likely noticed that many of them advertise a "preferred vendor list."

This list may include local photographers, videographers, florists, entertainers, bakers, officiants, limo rental companies, etc. – and at a quick glance, it may seem like your venue has helped you plan your whole wedding in one shot.

But what exactly is a preferred vendor list, and what does it mean when a company appears on one? Most importantly, are you required to use vendors from your venue's list? These are some of most common questions engaged couples ask as they begin their vendor search, and some of them aren't always easy to answer. Here are some of the basics behind the concept of preferred vendor lists and what you should consider before booking your wedding service providers.

Why do venues have a preferred vendor list?

Venues often create preferred vendor lists with their own policies in mind. Some have restrictions about the third-party vendors that come in to work events, so the preferred vendor list makes it easy for couples to choose one that meets all the requirements. In fact, the venue may even require you to use certain vendors, such as their preferred caterer or cake baker, as part of your contract. Alternatively, the venue may charge a fee for using non-preferred vendors.

In other cases, a preferred vendor list is simply a collection of wedding professionals recommended by the venue. These vendors have an established, positive relationship with the venue and may have paid for their spot on the "preferred" list. The venue might also receive a commission from their preferred vendors when couples book them. With this type of preferred list, couples are usually under no obligation to use the recommended vendors.

Before you book your wedding venue, be sure to ask whether you would be contractually required to use certain providers. If the answer is yes, carefully consider whether you want to work with a venue that limits your vendor options. You don't want to fall in love with a wedding DJ company or videographer, only to find out the venue won't allow you to use them.

Should I use preferred vendors?  

Assuming your venue doesn't require you to choose from their preferred vendor list, you should always explore all your options before going with the venue-recommended professionals. That being said, a preferred vendor list might be a good starting point for your own research if you're not sure where to begin.

When evaluating preferred vendors, approach it the same way you would if you were looking for vendors on your own. Check out the vendor's website to get an idea of the work they do and the clientele they serve. Read online reviews and find out what other people have to say about working with them. Talk to them over the phone and in person to get a better idea of who the vendor is and how they approach their work. For example, if it's a videographer, ask them about their style of filming and how they typically edit wedding videos. For DJs, ask about the planning process and how much they incorporate the couple's requests when creating the playlist.

Remember, the vendors on your venue's preferred list may have a good reputation, but that doesn't mean you'll get along with them or like their style. A wedding is a significant investment and it's important that you're completely happy with every vendor you choose. Take your time, do your research, and only book a vendor when you feel 100 percent confident that they're the right one for your big day.

Whether we're on your venue's preferred vendor list or not, Hurricane Productions wants to help make your wedding day truly unforgettable. Visit our pricing page or get in touch with us for a custom quote on our wedding media and entertainment services.

Alyssa and Alan - The Marigold

The Marigold is an elegant event venue in Somerset, New Jersey, featuring picturesque gardens and fountains, a unique marble gazebo, and two beautifully decorated ballrooms. Its stunning exterior and interior decor provided the perfect backdrop for Alyssa and Alan Cid's autumn wedding.

6 Beautiful Fall Wedding Venues in New Jersey

From the "off-season" price drop to the romantic colors of autumn, it's easy to see why October and November are becoming popular months to say "I do."

Peak wedding season runs from late spring to early fall, but more and more local couples are choosing to tie the knot later in the year.

Getting married in the fall also means you'll have unbelievably gorgeous wedding photos and videos. The changing leaves and colorful fall foliage in this part of the country provide the perfect backdrop for your big day.

Whether you're looking for historic charm, rustic beauty, or modern elegance, here are some visually stunning venues to host fall weddings in New Jersey.

The Palace at Somerset Park (Somerset, NJ)

Autumn trees provide the perfect color contrast for this venue's all-white, neo-Palladian exterior. The Palace at Somerset Park boasts lush, year-round greenery and exquisite gardens, so no matter when you hold your wedding, you're sure to get an incredible view.

The Marigold (Somerset, NJ)

Charming and sophisticated, The Marigold has everything you need for an outdoor fall wedding photo shoot. Your photographer can snap portraits and candids in the gardens, on the patio, in front of the gazebo, and outside the beautiful venue itself.

Mountain Creek Resort (Vernon, NJ)

Enjoy the majestic, tree-covered mountains of Northern New Jersey when you hold your wedding at Mountain Creek Resort. You'll have tons of options for photo backgrounds, from breathtaking mountaintop view during your ceremony to the rustic exterior and stone patio of the Red Tail Lodge.

 

The Olde Mill Inn (Basking Ridge, NJ)

At The Olde Mill Inn at Basking Ridge, you'll find the perfect blend of historic and modern aesthetics. Your guests will be welcomed by beautifully landscaped grounds that lead up to the impressive stone-front hotel. The Inn's stonewall terrace with lighted trees, scenic gardens, and outdoor gazebo offer countless romantic photo ops.

 

Porta (Asbury Park, NJ)

For couples seeking a more casual, intimate wedding, Porta is the perfect spot. Located in downtown Asbury Park, this pizza joint-slash-event venue is just steps away from the boardwalk. You won't have to fight the summer crowds for your beach wedding photos!

Waterloo Village (Stanhope, NJ)

Waterloo Village is perfect for couples that want to feel like they're stepping into the past. This 19th century canal town sits along the scenic Musconetcong River in Allamuchy Mountain State Park. With its stone buildings, outdoor pavilion, and working mill, Waterloo offers as much history and character as it does natural beauty.

Found your perfect venue but still need a DJ, photographer, or videographer for your big day?

Request a quote or visit our pricing page to learn more about Hurricane Productions' all-inclusive wedding media and entertainment packages.

Jessica and Doug - The Palace at Somerset Park

With its gorgeous all-white architecture, beautifully landscaped grounds, and elegant ballrooms, it's easy to see why The Palace at Somerset Park is such a popular place for special events. Jessica and Doug Dilloian chose this Somerset, New Jersey event venue to host their romantic fall wedding.

Jessica and Matthew - Waterloo Village

For northern New Jersey couples seeking a rustic, romantic wedding venue with tons of history, there are few better places than Waterloo Village. This restored 19th-century canal town is located in Stanhope, NJ, right in the heart of Allamuchy Mountain State Park. Its beautiful indoor event spaces are becoming a go-to choice for local engaged couples, like Jessica and Matthew Rozzi.

First Dance Songs: Classic, Popular, and Unique Options for Your Wedding

A newlywed couple's first dance is one of the most anticipated moments of any wedding reception. As one of the first big events of the evening, this dance gives the couple a few moments to slow down, appreciate each other, and show off their love to family and friends before the celebration begins.

Right after choosing your DJ, selecting the perfect first dance songs is one of your most important wedding entertainment decisions. Many engaged couples struggle to choose a song that's not only meaningful and personal, but also reflects the overall feel of their wedding day. Some choose a classic love song; some prefer a modern, popular song that everyone will know; and others want a musical choice that's completely unique.

No matter what kind of first dance song you and your fiancé have in mind, it never hurts to get some inspiration from other couples. Based on the choices of past Hurricane Productions couples and what's popular right now, here are some great music options for your moment in the spotlight.

Classic First Dance Songs

Looking for something tried-and-true? These first dance songs have stood the test of time and are still often chosen — modern brides and grooms.

  1. At Last — Ella Fitzgerald
  2. How Sweet It Is — Marvin Gaye
  3. Unchained Melody — The Righteous Brothers
  4. Endless Love — Diana Ross and Lionel Ritchie
  5. Your Song — Elton John
  6. Can't Help Falling in Love — Elvis Presley
  7. Amazed — Lonestar
  8. What a Wonderful World — Louis Armstrong
  9. You Are the Best Thing — Ray LaMontagne
  10. The Way You Look Tonight — Frank Sinatra

 

Popular First Dance Songs

On the Hurricane Productions online planning portal, our clients can find the most frequently selected songs for wedding timeline events, including the first dance. Based on this data, the following songs have been popular with our recent couples.

  1. Everything — Michael Buble
  2. All of Me — John Legend
  3. A Thousand Years — Christina Perri
  4. Thinking Out Loud — Ed Sheeran
  5. I'm Yours — Jason Mraz
  6. Bless the Broken Road — Rascal Flatts
  7. Make You Feel My Love — Adele
  8. Come Away With Me — Norah Jones
  9. Marry Me — Train
  10. Perfect (Duet) — Ed Sheeran & Beyonce

 

Unique First Dance Songs

While the following tracks may not immediately come to mind when you think of "first dance songs," they're certainly memorable. Some are upbeat while others are more soulful, but either way, you're not likely to hear them at anyone else's wedding.

  1. The Luckiest — Ben Folds Five
  2. First Day of My Life — Bright Eyes
  3. Better Together — Jack Johnson
  4. Crush — Dave Matthews Band
  5. All Night — Beyonce
  6. You Are the Reason — Calum Scott and Leona Lewis
  7. Africa — Toto
  8. Us — Regina Spektor
  9. Love on the Brain — Rihanna
  10. Next to Me — Imagine Dragons

Whatever type of song you end up choosing for your first dance, pick one that holds significance for you and your spouse-to-be. This is the song that, whenever you hear it in the future, will bring you right back to that happy memory on the dance floor, so make sure it's one you both love.

 

Should we edit our first dance song?

A standard song is three to four minutes long, but you not want to dance for the entire length of your chosen song, or perhaps you only want to dance to certain verses. Many couples choose to edit their first dance music, either to shorten the song or create a custom version of it that's special to them.

Don't know how to edit music? No problem. While some DJs ask you to provide them with the final version of your song, Hurricane Productions will help you edit your first dance – and any other music for your wedding day – as part of your entertainment package. We're here to help you through every step of the planning process, from the initial consultation to your final dance of the night.

Here are some examples of shortened first-dance songs:

A Thousand Years — Christina Perri
Originally 4:45 cut down to 2:40

Lullabye — Billy Joel
Originally 3:35 cut down to 2:15

Come to Me — The Goo Goo Dolls
Originally 3:45 cut down to 2:40

To learn more about Hurricane Productions' wedding entertainment and media services, including lighting, photography, and videography, visit our pricing page or contact us for a quote.

Gabriella and Mike - Blue Heron Pines Golf Club

Gabriella and Mike had a beautiful summer wedding at Blue Heron Pines Golf Club in Egg Harbor City. This elegant South Jersey wedding venue is just a stone's throw from the Jersey Shore. Its breathtaking view of the golf course and spacious, rustic ballroom provided the perfect setting for the couple's big day.

Christine and Tim - The Hamilton Manor

Christine and Tim's wedding was held at The Hamilton Manor. After the couple exchanged vows in The Barn, their friends and family headed to The Cellar for cocktail hour. Hurricane Productions' Nate Hawley provided ceremony sound and DJ/emcee entertainment for the newlyweds' reception in The Ballroom.

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