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I recently DJ'd the wedding of Allison (a librarian) and Matthew (a zookeeper/musician).  No, really he's a zookeeper.  Pretty awesome, right? Great, fun, down-to-earth couple.  They asked for some help with their cocktail hour: "...just keep it quirky, fun, indie, atypical....and please include "A Mighty Wind." -- Done!  

To compliment their loft-style wedding in Brooklyn, we picked out some tunes from Noah + The Whale, Vampire Weekend, They Might Be Giants, I'm From Barcelona, Kate Nash....and a few other surprises.  With guests decked out in 3-piece suits, fedoras and argyle socks galore....the cocktail hour music seemed to fit just right.

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25 Songs Your Music Playlist is Missing!

Photo by Clean Plate Pictures (Erica Beckman)For many couples researching their wedding music playlist, it’s a daily routine of polling friends, scribbling down songs heard on the radio or running their Shazam app while in Starbucks. How do they ensure their playlist isn’t the same old, tired wedding playlist?

Here are our favorite 25 unique songs, compiled from client playlists, commercials, movies, our own iTunes library and of course running the Shazam app while in Starbucks. Many of your guests will go to several weddings a year.  We've been invited to six this year alone.  It’s a great idea to come up with a playlist unique to you as a couple and offer your friends’ and family’s ears something different and guaranteed to keep them dancing.

25 Songs Your Wedding Reception Playlist is Missing

Dinner/Cocktail Hour:

1. The Littlest Birds – The Do Good Tanyas

2. Better Than Love – Griffin House

3. Neopolitan Dreams – Lisa Mitchell

4. Just Like Heaven – Katie Melua

5. Sweet Disposition – The Temper Trap

6. Bim Bam Baby – Frank Sinatra

7. Gotta Have You – The Weepies

8. Today – Joshua Radin

9. Your Love is a Song – Switchfoot

10. The Book of Love – Peter Gabriel

11. Us – Regina Spektor

12. Nightswimming – REM

13. Dreamgirl – Dave Matthews Band



14. Skokiaan (South African Song) – Louis Armstrong

15. Jump In the Line – Harry Belafonte

16. Get Ready – Temptations

17. Give It Up (Pt. 2) – Marvin Gaye

18. Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground) – The Jacksons

19. Get Up Off That Thing – James Brown

20. A Little Respect - Erasure

21. (I’m Gonna Be) 500 Miles – The Proclaimers

22. Late In The Evening – Paul Simon

23. La Vida Es Un Carnaval – Celia Cruz

24. Shut It Down – Pitbull featuring Akon

25. When Love Takes Over – David Guetta featuring Kelly Rowland



Lisa + Vincent recently were married in North Jersey, with family coming from Brooklyn, Baltimore and South Philadelphia.  It was a giant, Italian family affair and they wanted a cocktail hour playlist to compliment the night: Doo Wop and 50s + 60s favorites. Here's the list we came up with, full of fun, vintage vocal harmonies.

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Jamie + Dave are looking for some Top 40 hits for their upcoming wedding. So here it is -- the big, fat list of Top 40/Dance hits.  

They're all mostly between 120-132BPMs (beats per minute), scientifically proven to be the ideal dance beat. Not really.  Oh, and Pitbull.  If Pitbull's rapping, you can dance to it. He's this year's Will.I.Am. Here's a list of what I've been playing lately, in no particular order...

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Playlist: Greatest Cover Songs of All Time

UB40 puts a twist on Elvis.  Obadiah Parker covers Outkast's "Hey Ya." Yael Naim does Britney's "Toxic."  And it's good. Seriously. Here's a playlist of our favorite covers of all time.  Some are throwbacks, some are new tunes but all are perfect for cocktail hour, dinner and everywhere in between. There's some lounge-y Mel Torme, Jack Johnson, Joe Cocker, the Killers and Willie Nelson doing Coldplay.  Let us know if we haven't covered everything.  (elbow jab -- get it? get it?)



Clean Plate Pictures (Erica Beckman)When Sandra and I were married back in June, I reached out to the ladies of Exquisite Affairs Productions (EAP) for coordinator services at our wedding.  We needed help with planning, finding vendors and just managing all of the little details that go into the day.  Having worked with Christine, Janine, Tara and Annie before, I knew they were some of the best event planners + wedding coordinators in the biz.  

We worked with Annie and it couldn't have been a better experience.  She was fantastic with vendor suggestions (our cake from Sugar Coated Bakery in Brooklyn was ridiculously affordable and delicious - highly recommend!). Annie coordinated everything from the day's timeline, to makeup artists + hair, the flower arrangements, pictures, videographers, the ceremony....the list goes on and on.

Photo by Clean Plate PicturesI can't imagine how hectic a day would be without a wedding coordinator - and honestly, it was essential to keep the stress level down.  It's also great to not have to rely on (perfectly willing) friends or family -- they can enjoy the day themselves without having to worry about finding a groomsman's missing vest.

There's a reason they have 200+ 5-star reviews on Wedding Wire.  You might think having a wedding coordinator is expensive but the planners at EAP are very, very affordable.  Definitely check them out, have a sit-down meeting and you'll see why they are so highly recommended in the NYC area!



Decorate your dancefloor with glam debauchery with this playlist of alt-music heavyweights - Bloc Party, Gogol Bordello, The Killers, Justice, Girl Talk, Chromeo, Two Door Cinema Club and more.



Thanks to our friend Elizabeth at Bridal Musings for sharing our 'Recessionals Playlist!'

Bridal Musings is a fantastic resource of wedding inspiration, style tips, photography, wedding films, hair styles, makeups....and tons of other wedding eyecandy!  Her Pinterest page is pretty awesome, too! 



Noticed a surge in songs about 'home' lately? -- Phillip Phillips, Edward Sharpe, the Lumineers, even Usher. It's all about being....home-y. So we've compiled a playlist featuring some of our favorite songs about being home, going home, building a home and...burning down a home. So get the fireplace goin', grab your favorite fleece blanket or Slanket and get cozy. Make's a great housewarming mix, too!



Meet Wedding Officiant Celia Milton. We've all been to weddings where the minister or officiant seems to have met the couple for the first time that day.  And you can drop in his/her names, wrap the ceremony up with that "Love is Patient, Love is Kind..." reading and move on to the cocktail hour.  And surprisingly, the most personal, touching, important part of day -- the heart of the celebration -- is over without feeling very personal, touching or important at all.

That's what makes Celia so unique. And why she gets rave reviews from happy couples and wedding professionals alike!  She has an amazing ability to capture all that is *you* and preside over a ceremony that's all about YOUR love, family & friends. She officiated Sandra and my wedding in June 2012 and it was one of the most memorable parts of the day -- it was  We received so many compliments: "Your ceremony was awesome."  

Read more... 

John: What makes your ceremonies so unique? 

Celia: Well, truly, they are not my ceremonies; they are ceremonies that are all about the couple, and THAT's what makes them unique.  Their love story is a large part, but we also include readings and music that they love, ritual elements that express their heritage, and touches that tell their story in many ways.

J: What can couples do to create a truly personal ceremony? 

C: The easiest way is to think about the things that make them unique; do they love dogs? Did they meet while skydiving? Are they both artists or musicians? Is the bride Jewish, the groom Hindu? All the things that make them the individuals that they are can find a way into the ceremony to make it truly theirs.

J: How can couples incorporate other family members or friends into their ceremony?

C: Many of my couples choose to keep their bridal parties small (or eliminate them all together) to eliminate the hurt feelings, political tussles and extra expense of having numerous people on each side. For many  friends and family, just being asked is honor enough. They may not have the time, the money, or (and I know this hurts….) the desire to be part of the bridal party with all the responsibilities that go with that request. They should have a gracious way out; that is a great gift to them.

But let's say they're in.  Unity candles and sand ceremonies often include different people to pour sand and light candles that are blended to symbolize the intermingling of each partner's lives. A traditional Celtic hand fasting can include as many as six people to drape the different cords that will 'bind' the couples' hands. Readings can be included; and many are appropriate and very cute for children if they are old enough to enjoy that spotlight. (Dr. Seuss' ' Oh the Places You'll Go" and Taylor Mali's, "Falling in Love is like Owning a Dog", are two that are great for kids.) Some readers may even want to write their own.

Almost every wedding has ushers (or usherettes!) who will welcome the guests, guide then to their seats, and tell them, (nicely of course) to turn off their cell phones. They can hand out programs, rose petals or bubbles for the recessional. They can also let alert the guests to anything unexpected they’ll be participating in;  a ring warming, for example.

One of my couples had two children who were a little too old to be ring bearers or flowers girls. They had a big banner made, and the children preceded the bride in the processional with the side that said, "Here comes the bride!" and then followed the married couple with, "Just Married". It was adorable, and they wore normal dressy clothes, not outfits that matched the bridal party.

J: Whats been the most unique thing you've seen included in a ceremony?

C: I had a bride roar up to the end of the aisle (a flower strewn aisle down the middle of an apple orchard...) in a white convertable Mustang. Her and her dad hopped out (engine running, lol) and walked down the aisle together!  I've had guests do interpretive dance presentations (the jury is out on that one...), and one very memorable "reading" by the couples' dogs, via a powerpoint presentation and cartoon bubbles.  It was a riot...very hard to follow.  People think that when one of the bridal party faints it's unique. That happens about once a month.....

J: You've presided over a lot of weddings but for many couples, this is their first.  Any suggestions or tips?

C: Approach the ceremony planning just like the reception planning; with the goal of creating a meaningful, fun, personal celebration of your life together. Find someone who shares your vision and will let your wedding be about YOU, not about what "has" to happen during a wedding; if you're not in a church or a synagogue, nothing really does, except your vows and a pronouncement.




Jamie + Matt's wedding was one of the highlights of the fall!  The Metropolitan Building is one of the most beautifully photographed venues we frequent - vintage chairs, trunks, chandeliers and charm in every corner -- and Lindsay Madden of Lindsay Madden Photography captured every amazing detail. Fun times are ahead when the bride + groom and guests start dancing from the very first song!  

Pre-Ceremony was a nice mix of singer/songwriter and acoustic favorites to complement the sunny October afternoon, followed by selections by Vitamin String Quartet. Cocktail hour was a tropical mix ('Don't Worry Be Happy!'), followed by the classics of Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra for dinner. Dance sets were packed with motown, funk, 80s and 90s favorites; for the last 90 minutes, we went into Top 40-overdrive with tunes from Lady Gaga, David Guetta, Psy, Pitbull, Martin Solveig, Titus Jones, Beyonce, Girl Talk, MGMT, LMFAO and Katy Perry.  The evening ended with a crowd favorite: Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros' "Home." 

Below is a sample of some of the tunes on Jamie + Matt's playlist.  Thanks to Lindsay Madden for sharing their beautiful images.  Be sure to check out her blog here and her feature on Style Me Pretty!

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It's the moment after you say 'I do' -- the joyous climax to your ceremony -- finally, you're pronounced husband & wife, wife & wife or husband & husband! Your friends + family erupt in a wave of applause! We've compiled a list of our favorite modern recessional songs from client playlists and music libraries -- upbeat, happy and celebratory!  

You can always ask your DJ to edit a specific portion of your favorite song - the key is to time it so the moment the ceremony ends (the DJ should always get the exact cue to hit 'play'), the song makes it feel big and joyous.

We covered everything from the classics (Stevie Wonder, The Turtles, The Beatles) to happy-go-lucky (Hall & Oates, Colby Callait, Kyle Andrews) to left-of-center (Sondre Lerche, Angels & Airwaves, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros). 

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Owen is our go-to guy for all music electronic/house.  In addition to being a music genius when it comes to 60's/70's/80's/90's hits, he knows just about every electronic song out there:  Deadmau5, Daft Punk, LCD Soundsystem, Porter Robinson, Calvin Harris, Robyn, Swedish House Mafia, Avicii.  Here's a mind-bending list of his favorite beats made for dancing:

You'll need to sign up (free!) or log in to Spotify here.



After a busy fall/winter season, happy to be back blogging!  I've DJ'd quite a few weddings lately held in unique venues all over the NYC area and many brides have chosen unique songs to which they walked down the aisle. Thought I'd share of a few of them -- everything from Ingrid Michaelson to Eddie Veder to One Republic covering Beyonce's Halo.

Each sets a different tone and mood - so no matter if you're going for sweet & sentimental or dramatic or contemporary...there are many, many songs out there just waiting to be found.  

Your DJ should be able to trim or edit the parts you like or cut the weird lyrics (there are always weird lyrics). Of course, there are hundreds of great modern-tracks-with-a-classic-twist from the very popular Vitamin String Quartet.  Or, if you're looking to go back to the classics, the Lumiere String Quartet has great selections.  Both are available on iTunes or Amazon for download purchase.

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"Reign of Love"  – Coldplay

"She"  – Elvis Costello

"Halo" (Beyonce cover)  – OneRepublic

"Sparkplug Minuet"  – Mark Mothersbaugh

"Sky Cloud Winter Breeze"  – Orba Squara

 ...and more:



Here's Melissa + Michael's dinner playlist from last month: a delicious mix that's left-of-center, guaranteed to give your main course a warm, eclectic and we-can-talk-and-enjoy-our-meal vibe: Boyce Avenue, Lenka, John Legend, Tim Curry, Regina Spektor and Landon Pigg just to name a few.  

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Photo by Matt Rainey

I don't know how I feel about being featured on the same page as instructions for how to do the Chicken Dance (it's against everything we stand for!) but check out Aria Melody DJ on page 138 of BRIDES Magazine this month (June 2012)!

 click to enlarge



The Vibe: Happy, mellow

Classic Pick: "All You Need is Love" - The Beatles

Sweet Update: "Reign of Love" - Coldplay (PLAY)



The Vibe: Romantic, something you can walk to

Classic Pick: "Canon in D Major" - Johann Pachelbel

Sweet Update: "All I Want Is You" - Vitamin String Quartet (PLAY)



The Vibe: Upbeat, nostalgic

Classic Pick: "Clair de Lune" - Claude Debussy

Sweet Update: "Empire State of Mind (Piano Tribute)" - Alicia Keys (PLAY)



The Vibe: Joyful, celebratory

Classic Pick: "The Best is Yet to Come" - Frank Sinatra

Sweet Update: "Us" - Regina Spektor (PLAY)



The Vibe: Relaxed, Fun

Classic Pick: "Is This Love" - Bob Marley

Sweet Update: "Littlest Birds" - Be Good Tanyas (PLAY)



Need a Father/Daughter Dance or unsure of what to play during dinner?  Check out recent clients' playlists and see what other people are playing at their weddings!  Always being updated + refreshed, you'll find everything from Michael Buble to The Strokes to Kanye.  Take a peek and maybe you'll find something you'll like.  And, be sure to check out our music section for a little inspiration, too! Still not finding what you're looking for?  Drop us an email -- client or not, we'll do our best to help!  



Just in time for spring!  If you're getting in shape for your wedding or honeymoon, you need some tunes to get ya goin' for that run/weights/kickboxing workout.  We put together 68 minutes of Top 40 favorites, 130 beats per minute front to back, guaranteed to help give you that boost to pump out the last set or make it through the last mile.

Download the mix here.

Warning: There's some dirty words in "Pursuit of Happiness" & "N**as in Paris."  Maybe get some water during those two songs.


Glad You Came - The Wanted

I Wanna Go - Britney Spears

Sexy and I Know It - LMFAO

Feel So Close - Calvin Harris

We Found Love - Rihanna

Hello Girl, Let's Party Til The End - Titus Jones

Work It (Don't Stop Remix) - Missy Elliot

Barbra Streisand - Duck Sauce

You Da One (Dave Aude Radio Mix) - Rihanna

Starships - Nicki Minaj

Take Over Control - Afrojack

Bounce - Calvin Harris

I Know You Want Me - Pitbull

Levels - Avicii

Good Feeling - Flo Rida

Run the World - Beyonce

Party Rock Anthem - LMFAO

Pursuit of Happiness (Steve Aoki Dance Remix - EXPLICIT LYRICS) - Kid Cudi 

Mr. Saxobeat - Alexandra Stan

The Time (Dirty Bit) - Black Eyed Peas

D.A.N.C.E. - (MSTRKRFT Remix) - Justice

N**as in Paris (EXPLICIT LYRICS) - Kanye West & Jay-Z

Cinema (Skrillex Remix) - Benny Benassi 

Purchase these songs full-length:



Thank you to the truly fantastic clients who voted us "2012 Best of..." picks on The Knot and Wedding Wire in the DJ category for Northern NJ/NYC markets.  We appreciate you taking the time to leave feedback, give reviews and for loving us as much as we love you. Looking forward to another great year!



Today we received our 75th review on Wedding Wire -- thanks to all the wonderful couples we've worked with over the years who have taken the time to share their experience with Aria Melody DJ.  Number 75 came from Lawrence + Mae who had a beautiful October wedding at the Eventi Hotel on Sixth Avenue in Manhattan:

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