After 30 years in the industry, we really have seen and heard it all.  Below is a list of what we consider to be the best centerpiece games to play at your reception!  These options will be fun for your guests, allow you to show your personality, and give someone the chance to take home a piece of your wedding in a really special way!

Closest Birthday Centerpiece Game – Usually an announcement made by the MC. The guest at each table whose birthday is closest to the wedding day wins the centerpiece.  This is one of our quickest centerpiece games if you don’t want to spend a lot of time on this part of your reception.

“Been together the longest” – Usually announced by the MC. The couple at each table who have been together the longest wins the centerpiece.  This is another one of our faster centerpiece games and is also pretty straightforward.

Pass The Toonie – The DJ asks all the guests to stand up and get 1 guest at each table to hold up a Toonie or a Loonie for this centerpiece game. He will then play a fun song like “The Twist” and tells the guests to pass the coin around the table until the music stops. When the music stops the guest holding the coin is “out” and the coin keeps going. The DJ starts and stops the music eliminating the guests until there is one guest left at each table holding the toonie. The DJ then announces that the guest holding the Toonie WINS THE TOONIE.  The guest who offered up the Toonie in the first place wins the centerpiece. This is one of those centerpiece games that really shocks everyone!

Sticker Winner – Place a sticker on the bottom of one guest’s teacup at each table, MC can announce to look for it and that guest wins the centerpiece!

The Salt and Peppers Game – You must have an open dance floor during dinner for this centerpiece game. The same set-up as pass the Toonie, the guests stand and one guest picks up the salt and one picks up the pepper. The DJ plays a fun song and the guests pass the salts and peppers in opposite directions around the table. When the music stops, the guests holding the salts and peppers and asked to come to the dance floor and line up facing each other in front of the Bride and Groom. The DJ will then announce that we are going to have a dancing competition!  This takes place between the Salts and the Peppers to a funny song like the Macarena or Gangnam Style, with the audience cheering them on. The Bride and Groom select whether the Salts or the Peppers wins the centerpiece.

The Number Draw – Have an envelope on each table with numbered cards for each person at the table (table of 8; use the number 1-8). At the appropriate time, the MC can ask the guests to draw a number from the envelope. The MC should also have an envelope of numbers and will draw a number as well.  That will be the winning number at each table for the centerpiece!

The Time Traveler – The DJ or MC asks one person from each table to stand up with their napkin. DJ plays a song, and asks those people to dance around the table.  Then they will also lead their table to the dance floor.

DJ / MC says “We are going to travel through time” and plays about 1 min of each song.
50’s Rock Around the Clock
60’s Twist Again
70’s Stayin’ Alive – BeeGees
80’s Thriller – Michael Jackson
90’s La Vida Loca – Ricky Martin
00 Promiscuous – Nelly Furtado & Timbaland – Full song plays and the winner is announced as the person who stood up and led their table to the dance floor!

This one takes a bit of time but is one of our favourite centerpieces games!

The Left / Right Game – The youngest person at the table will pick up their spoon. “I’m going to read a story out to you, listen carefully for me to say “left” or “right”. When you hear it you’ll have to pass the spoon along accordingly”. Whoever ends up with the spoon at the end, wins the centerpiece.

DJ / MC reads this (email us and we can send you a sample!)

The spoon should end up back with the same person who started it 🙂

Not all DJs are created equal.  Many are great at their craft but may not be right for your wedding and reception.  There are many variables at receptions and like an iceberg, just 90% of what the best wedding DJ is doing is invisible to your guests. Here is what we believe separates the best wedding DJ from your average DJ.

10 Best Wedding DJ Traits

  1. Fast and Professional Responses: Your inquiries will be answered promptly from the first contact to end of the reception. You’ll never be left feeling ghosted.
  2. Staying Organized: Your DJ will have a clean and easy-to-understand system to collect and curate your details.  You know your DJ will be delivering exactly what you envisioned.
  3. Song Curating and Editing: The best wedding DJ will source all the songs you requested.  They will also take time to shorten or modify them for your dances too.
  4. Teamwork: Proper teamwork is key for a wedding.  Your DJ should be a part of a team focused on YOU!  They will be collaborating with your other vendors to bring your vision to life.
  5. Create a Flow: The best wedding DJ will also be weaving your musical tastes with that of your guests.  This is a learned skill that not all DJs have!
  6. MC Responsibilities:  If requested, the best wedding DJ will also have no problem being a great coach and/or supporting act to your MC.  Or they could also jump in and cover this role for you as well!
  7. Capture Every Photo: Your DJ will ensure the photographer is also ready for all your special moments.  This could be with proper announcements, or by working as a part of your vendor team.
  8. And Who’s on Deck?: Along with the photographer, they will also ensure anyone giving a speech is ready.  They will have everyone cued so they are all set when their introduction comes!
  9. Troubleshooting: The best wedding DJ has seen it all and they have a plan to deal with any misstep, or unexpected changes.  You won’t even know something went wrong!
  10. Taking Requests: Your DJ will need to be dealing with your friends and family who may also want the music to deviate from your vision.  It is important to make them feel valued and respected without the reception going off the rails.

 

Ensure you have the best wedding DJ for your big day!  Get in touch with Maximum Music, and see what we’re talking about.

Your wedding and reception will have approximately 8 hours of music.  When you break it down, there is usually 3 to 4 hours of background music before the party starts.  Rather than occupy that time with filler tunes, this is a great place to show some personality! Give your wedding a signature music stamp that will be remembered as unique.  Here is a suggested wedding day playlist that 90% of our weddings follow.

30 Minutes Pre-Ceremony

As your guests arrive, this is a great spot for string quartet versions of music you like (Vitamin String QuartetPiano Guys, or Brooklyn Duo)

30-Minute Ceremony 

This is where you will need a processional song, register signing music, and a recessional song after you are pronounced married, and everyone claps and cheers for you!  We suggest classier and elegant songs for the processional, something lovely and sweet for register, and then something really fun to celebrate at the end.

90-Minute Cocktail Reception 

A great place to show some personality during your wedding day playlist is during your cocktail hour.  We like to suggest some medium-tempo Motown, indie singer-songwriter, or mellow covers of top 40 songs.  We have also found a more recent crowd favourtie to be some Tropical House music.  There are no speeches or interruptions during this time, so you can use the music to set a positive tone.

2 to 3 Hour Dinner Time

This is the perfect time to play some much that will be personal to you and your families.  Think of some classics for the older guests like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Ella Fitzgerald.  Another option is to go more contemporary, with some Jack Johnson; songs that are not dance-floor favourites, but will still have the guests singing along and tapping their toes.  Dinner is also a great place to fit in some cultural or ethnic music if you want to give a nod to those international guests.  By doing this, you’ll also keep Nonna happy without giving up your party choices.  Remember that dinner music will stop and start depending on your schedule for spotlight dances and speeches, more on that in the Blog on wedding flow.

Dance Floor Open  

This is where we earn our money as professional wedding DJs.  If the job was done right, energy has been building through the earlier part of the day and now you are ready to celebrate!  In a perfect world, you have 4 hours of dancing.  The reality is if there are any delays, they all compound to reduce your time for dancing. It is normal to have the dancing start between 9:30 and 10:00 pm most nights.

Some parties are energetic and the floor is full of both young and old from the very first song.  More realistically, you can expect a bit of a dip in the first part of your party.  During this time, washroom or smoke breaks happen, and people at the bar will all play a factor right at the start.  This is a great time during your wedding day playlist for a set of cultural dancing if needed.  2 or 3 Italian tunes, golden oldies, or cross-generational favorites (think Michael Jackson or Abba) will be perfect during this time.

When you hire a professional wedding DJ, you’ll have some favourites that you want them to play.  Once the party has loosened up, your DJ will work in those favourites you requested, take other requests, and use judgment to keep the party going.  At Maximum music, we do this every week and understand what songs work well together, and when to change the genre or tempo.  Every song will be chosen based on the reaction we are getting in real-time.

1:00 am

Finish with your guests wanting more, having danced hard, and fully enjoyed themselves.  Older guests will have danced in the 1st hour, enjoyed the cocktail and dinner song choices.  Meanwhile, you and your friends will finish up drinks at 1:00 am having relived all the glory days.

With over 30 years of experience let our team at Maximum Music work with you to design a wedding and reception playlist that will be stress-free and tick all your boxes.  We ensure you’ll please that diverse and eclectic group of guests that are your family and friends.

Your wedding day is one that you will look back on for the rest of your life, and you want to make it perfect! Achieving this means hiring experts with the skill and experience to make it memorable. In Toronto, there are a ton of wedding vendors.  This is both a curse and a blessing as finding the right ones can be a challenging and stressful experience!  Here are a few tips to find your wedding vendors and some insider information, too.

1. Research Wedding Vendors

The key to picking out your perfect team of wedding vendors can be summed up in one word, research. The best place to start is Google or Facebook.  Punch in whatever you’re looking for, like “Toronto wedding DJ” and dig through the results.  Also, Facebook and Google reviews tend to be from real clients!

Referrals from family, friends, and co-workers are also great resources.  This is very helpful from those who have experience planning their own wedding or hiring vendors for other events. Find out whom they used and what they liked and also didn’t like about their experience.  Smart couples trust the advice of people with similar tastes to themselves.

Insider tip #1

Wedding expos and open houses can also be a good way to meet potential suppliers firsthand. Just remember, it’s always a good idea to research them online as well, to see real customer feedback and reviews.

2. Visit Websites and Directories

Visit official websites and also wedding directories like WeddingWire.ca, EventSource.ca, and local blog sites like BlogTO.com and take note of those that appeal to you. Pay attention to sites that have unfiltered feedback from real clients, and not just what the vendors post about themselves on their website.

Insider tip #2

When looking at wedding directories, it’s also important to keep in mind that listings labeled as “Top”, “Featured” or “Premium” simply mean these vendors are just paying extra to be listed at the top. Looking at numbers of reviews as well as average star ratings are a much better way of looking at these types of websites. Keep in mind, you also want your vendors to be real so not all reviews are going to be 5/5.  Look at honesty and how they respond to constructive criticism as well.

3. Make a Shortlist

After some research and referrals, you’ll probably notice the same names pop up again and again in each category.  Make a shortlist of roughly 3 wedding vendors from each service you plan on using, and collaborate with your partner to make sure you are also both on the same page.  Talk about what appeals to you, or doesn’t as you narrow down this list.  It can be a great date night for the two of you.

4. Contact the Wedding Vendors on Your Short List

Now that we have a list of potential wedding vendors to work with, it’s time to start getting info from them! These days, most wedding vendors will have a contact form on their website, an email address and phone number, and also a social media page! Contact the vendors on your shortlist via whatever method works best for you.

5. Interview Those Who Reply Promptly

A professional vendor should contact you back within 24 hours.  They will provide you with all the information you need to get started and answer any questions you may have. Set up a phone or video meeting with the vendors you feel best about and have a conversation about your plans, vision, and expectations for the day. Right away you should be able to get a good gauge on the company’s customer service, professionalism, and also what it will be like to work together!

Insider tip #3

If it takes more than a few days to get a reply, or you get poor information back, this may be a bad sign. Trust your gut feelings!

6. Hire Your Wedding Vendors!

A good wedding vendor is one who knows what to do but is also flexible and willing to work with you to make your vision come together. So, with you and your partner pick wedding vendors who understand you both, your vision, and who share your excitement for your big day.

Insider tip #4

Price is not the only measure of a good product or service.  It is easy to spend too little or too much. Feel good about your choice, and make a decision that you feel gives value and quality.

It’s been said that knowing the right vendor is like picking out a soulmate.  Trust your gut, and stick with someone you can count on, communicate well with, and who will help you reach your dreams! If any of these tips for finding wedding vendors helped you, let us know!

Kaitlyn and Alex had an absolutely gorgeous Credit Valley Golf and Country Club wedding on June 1st of 2019. They were lucky enough to have the sun on their side as it was a perfect day for an outdoor ceremony overlooking the stunning grounds. Like us here at Maximum Music, they enjoyed listening to music from many different genres.  Everything from R&B to EDM was in the mix and we were happy to be a part of their special day.

Along with the reception music (which we will get to in a moment) we also provided our ceremony music service.  For this package, where we take care of the music for the processional, register signing, and recessional. The processional was composed of Yellow (for attendants) and I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You (for the bride) by Kina Grannis, Somewhere Over The Rainbow was played for the signing, and A Sky Full of Stars by Coldplay for the recessional.

Bridesmaids EntranceWe Found Love (Rihanna & Calvin Harris)

Groomsmen EntranceBring Em Out (T.I.)

Newlyweds EntranceFeels So Close (Calvin Harris)

First Dance – From The Ground Up by Dan + Shay

Father-Daughter Dance – You Are My Sunshine Cover by Noah Guthrie

Mother-Son Dance – Celin Dion’s Because You Loved Me

4 bridesmaids dancing at a Credit Valley Golf and Country Club wedding!

Kaitlyn’s bridesmaids dancing at her Credit Valley Golf and Country Club wedding!

This venue has a beautiful 40,000 square foot facility that includes stunning views overlooking both the valley and the course. Only 22 minutes away from Toronto Pearson International Airport, and located near the Hilton Garden Inn, Holiday Inn Toronto-Mississauga, Fairfield Inn Toronto Oakville, and several other hotels makes the club an easy venue if your guest list includes a lot of people traveling!

Other Vendors

Day-of Coordinator: Victoria Fleming from Credit Valley

Photographer: Margaret Diotalevi from Avenue Photo

Decorator: Cheryl Jorritsma from The Creative Occasion
Thanks so much, Kaitlyn and Alex!  It was such a pleasure to be a part of your Credit Valley Golf and Country Club wedding.

Cheryl & Kent met during their time at university together at Wilfred Laurier (where they both majored in Math). 11 years later, they tied the know at their beautiful Arcadian Court Loft wedding.  To really add something special to the day, they had their wedding on their dating anniversary! Cheryl and Kent had been to dozens of weddings during their relationship.  when it came time to plan their own wedding, they both knew exactly what they did and also did not want.

“What we did want, was a huge party with our closest friends and none of the traditional stuff – no speeches, no bouquet toss and most importantly lots of dancing”

Seemed like a pretty straightforward request to us!  We were thrilled to follow their request and bring their vision fully to life. After all, knowing what makes guests dance, is something we consider ourselves to be experts about.

First danceBaby I’m Yours – Arctict Monkeys

Music Genre Requests
50’s / 60’s Rock & Roll
70’s / 80’s Rock & Roll
Motown / Funk
Disco
Current Top 40
Current / Indie / Blues Rock
90’s R&B, Hip Hop, Urban

Other Vendors

Venue: Arcadian Loft

Catering: Oliver & Bonacini

Hair & Makeup: Eryn Shannon

Dress: The Brides Project

Tux: Surmesur

Cake: Dufflet Pastries

Dessert: Prairie Girl Bakery

Thank you for having us be a part of your Arcadian Court Loft wedding

Do you have a vision of having beautiful Wedding Day String Quartet Covers played on your big day? You’re not alone!  If you’re familiar with Vitamin String QuartetThe Piano GuysBrooklyn Duo, and the like, then you already know why these songs make such amazing cocktail hour and dinner music for your wedding.

For the uninitiated, here’s why!

Groups like Vitamin String Quartet cover well-known songs from all different genres in traditional string group style.  This makes them perfect for your cocktail receptions or your dinner-time music because of their classy, non-intrusive sound.  It’s also a fun touch that guests will often recognize these songs and get to appreciate them for this new style.   It gives a cool factor once it’s recognized and they saying, “Wait a minute, is this….?”

So, if you’re looking for a classy and elegant feel with an added twist, this list is definitely for you! This list is a real wedding playlist requested by Adam and Frank, that were married at The Storys Building. We have helped host many beautiful weddings at this gorgeous venue in downtown Toronto.

Listen to their full list on our YouTube Channel!  Here is the list of our favorite 10 Wedding Day String Quartet Covers that your guests will fall in love with.

Find more great playlists like this one, and lots of other wedding music planning ideas in our Reception Planning area.

Thanks for reading and happy planning!

Everyone wants to have the best on their wedding day. Finding a good wedding DJ should be no exception. When you have done your research about a wedding DJ, you’ll be surprised to find out how much their price varies. Why is there so much variation in their prices?  Well, some DJs do their work as a hobby, then there are true professionals who have spent years learning.  After many years in the wedding industry, here are our opinions about hiring a professional wedding DJ. vs. a hobby DJ.

We all tend to look for the best value but also the most affordable price.  You may find yourself doing this when hunting for your wedding DJ as well. Many couples want a quality wedding DJ but at an affordable price.  There is nothing wrong with wanting service at a lower price, but you should keep in mind result could be disappointing.  The poor performance of a hobby DJ could totally ruin your day.  Professionals train for years to build their skills so knows how to handle hiccups and ensure your wedding runs smoothly.  You will feel better securing yourself with a professional wedding DJ and avoid disappointment and stress.  After all, you have to make this the best day of your life!

How many hours will a professional wedding DJ perform? 

Many people are confused with the “hourly” concept. When a wedding DJ has hours mentioned, people assume they will only work during that specific time. In reality, they work much longer than that.  A professional wedding DJ spends a considerable amount of time in planning, meetings, sending emails, gathering music based on your tastes, load in/ out, and travel. Instead of the few hours mentioned, a quality wedding DJ will be spending around 25 hours on your wedding.  Rest assured, by hiring a professional wedding DJ, you are getting more time than just what’s mentioned in the contract.

Professional Wedding DJ Equipment

Getting to know about the equipment used will help you understand a major reason for the cost variance between the hobby DJ and a professional wedding DJ.  The amount of money they spend on their equipment affects their performance as well as their overall cost. They need to purchase professional equipment for optimal playback, pay for music acquisition, top-quality lighting, and redundancy equipment. If you research the cost of these items, you’ll find it costs thousands of dollars.
Here is a comparison of investments.

The Hobby DJ Setup

  • $750
  • Inexpensive Laptop: $250
  • Inexpensive Speakers: $300
  • DJ Controller: $150
  • Corded Microphone: $50

The Professional Wedding DJ Setup

  • $23,400
  • Two Top End Laptops: $5000
  • Quality Speakers: $6900
  • Controller & Backup: $2000
  • Wireless Mics and Transmitters: $6000
  • Digital Mixers: $1500
  • Cases, Cables, Etc. $2000

A hobby DJ may not focus on quality. They will provide pirated music and other services at a lower price.  Whereas, a professional wedding DJ will put in the effort and money to provide high-quality services and ensure no issues occur on your wedding day. Some experienced DJs will bring additional equipment like expensive up-lighting, rigging, and monitors as well to give more value to your wedding day.

Reliability issues

Reliability issues are one of the most significant problems while searching for your wedding DJ. For hobby DJs, DJing is just that; a hobby, not a full-time job. Their real-life priorities fall under their “9-5” day job which could affect your wedding if they are required to work their full-time job on your wedding day.  When you hire

The Professional Wedding DJ Value

Value is the most important factor while choosing your Wedding DJ. Remember, they will not just be playing music; they will be responsible for the proper flow of your wedding and keep everything running smoothly. The ability to read the crowd and play the right songs at the right time is a learned skill. You should have a meeting with your DJ before your wedding to give them all the details. Your DJ needs to know the guests’ names who are speaking and have a friendly relationship with the other vendors. If something goes wrong, a professional wedding DJ will come up with a plan B or C to keep things moving. In short; they need to make your wedding day the best day of your life! This is the kind of value a professional wedding DJ will bring to your wedding.

In Conclusion…

Here is our quick checklist for hiring your DJ

  • Set up your budget and then research for wedding DJs.
    • A quality wedding DJ prices vary from $1000 to $2000 (if a wedding DJ is offering less than that it means they are lacking a thing or two).
  • Check the services of the Wedding DJ in detail.
  • Make sure their personality syncs with yours.
  • It will be best to book your wedding DJ for at least six months or more in advance.

Hiring a professional wedding DJ can make or break your wedding. Your wedding day is the most important day in your entire life, and you only get one chance to do it right. Contact us and remove all the stress and worry of possibly ending up with a hobby DJ.  At Maximum Music, we know what we’re doing!

 

Trish Quan and John Kantor hosted their beautiful Storys Building wedding in August of 2017. Their spectacular night was accompanied by music from Ed Sheeran, Bruno Mars, and many more. They also had a taste for one of our more traditional wedding DJs and preferred the songs be played out instead of being mixed together. At least until they hit the dance floor!

Trish enjoys listening to Ed Sheeran, Taking Back Sunday, and Linkin Park.  Any throwback songs from the 1990s and 2000s are also great for her!

John enjoys indie music such as XX, Ra Ra Riot, and also more relaxed music like Bonobo, St. Germain, and Emancipator.

First Dance – a cover of Ed Sheeran’s Perfect, by Tyler Ward & Lisa Cimorelli.

The father-daughter / mother-son danceMore Than Words by Extreme.

Maximum DJ Roman was the man with music for the evening! Keeping this party going and also making an unforgettable night for this amazing couple was his top priority.

The night was accompanied by a unique kissing game that got all the guests engaged. The introduction of a kissing menu kept everyone entertained; either Show Us, Tell Us or Give us. Everyone in attendance had a great time choosing off the menu and getting the couple to recreate all the kisses.

Venue Information

Located in the heart of downtown Toronto Entertainment DistrictStorys Building has also held many top premiere parties, including for the Toronto International Film Festival.

This 170-year-old classic brick and beam building maintains the integrity of its original heritage while seamlessly integrating elements of progressive design.  This creates a refreshing interpretation of modern Toronto. Storys Building also has over 14,000 square feet of event space over multiple floors which makes it perfect for all occasions.

Other Vendors

Wedding Planner / Day-of Coordinator
Photographer
Videographer   n/a
Caterer
Other Vendor

Lesley Leung and Brian Nguyen were both 29 when they married at their gorgeous Graydon Hall Manor wedding on June 7th, 2017. Their night was accompanied by music from Ed Sheeran, Elton John, and Rihanna.  They preferred their songs mixed together to keep the mood going and we couldn’t agree more!

There was no need to fight over the radio dial for these two, they have the same taste in music! It consists of Beyonce, Drake, Calvin Harris, Ed Sheeran, The Weekend, and many other modern rap/pop artists.

The first dance was extremely special.  It took place outside after dark with everyone surrounding the couple with sparklers.  We loved having everyone involved for their first dance and the combination of the sparklers in the dark was really romantic.

First Dance – Ed Sheeran (How would you Feel)

Second Dance (Mother-son / father-daughter)Elton John (Your Song)

Open the dance floor –  Rihanna – we found love

Venue Information

Toronto’s Graydon Hall Manor was constructed in 1936 and boasts a large ballroom for dancing, a terrace for cocktails, and dinner, a gorgeous courtyard with an outdoor space for ceremonies, and a fountain which is a popular area for group photos.  This venue has an incredible history with construction dating all the way back to 1936!  When it was first built, it was known as “Graydon House”, we can only imagine how many more beautiful weddings have happened at this venue, and are excited to see many more to come.

Testimony

“We were very happy with the services from maximum DJ. I liked how Rod gave us a call a few weeks before to work out the logistics. Everything went smoothly and the music was played exactly as we wanted”.

Other Vendors

Wedding Planner / Day-of  Coordinator
Photographer
Videographer
Blayre Ellestad

 

Your Graydon Hall Manor wedding was amazing Lesley and Brian, thanks so much for having us play a part!