Catamaran Resort and Spa is another great San Diego destination wedding venue for out of owners to come and enjoy the best we have to offer. It is in Pacific Beach, on the bay side and a block away from the Pacific Ocean. I really appreciate the exotic plants that decorate the property. That gives the resort a very tropical feel. Inside the lobby, there is a large waterfall that dumps into a Coy pond. I am the wedding dj for 3-6 events a year here and love the variety of people who I work with. The staff is very friendly, helpful and always work hard for the clients.
I was referred to Jonothan and Lindsey through Mary Bowerman of Elements of Style Weddings. They were from Washington state and looking for a San Diego beach wedding. They got married on the lawn on the south side of The Catamaran Resort and Spa and also had their cocktail reception out there. It was a gorgeous day to get married on the bay.
Keeping Guests in the Same Room
The reception was inside one of the smaller rooms because there were less than 75 guests. With such a small group, I usually recommend keeping the bar and photo booth in the same room. This keeps everyone together but that’s not possible in this particular room because of it’s size. Therefore the bar and photo booth were just outside the room in the foyer which pulled people away from the dance floor. With that considered, the energy stayed up throughout the night. Guests would run to the bar, get a drink and then run straight back to the dance floor. I was impressed how many people were dancing until the very last song. What was the last song? Journey – “Don’t Stop Believing.”
Omni La Costa Resort & Spa is the perfect event venue with event spaces over looking the perfectly kept greens of the golf course. There are many options for ceremony sites around the resort with many rooms and open spaces to select for events. I am only a wedding DJ there regularly but I also do corporate events for Destination Management Companies.
Steve and Jeannie reached out to me through the venue and they lived in Nevada. She wanted to have a party and he wanted to drink beer with his friends and family, haha. Steve had a career as a sky diving instructor and I believe that’s how they met. Previous he was a Navy SEAL with much jump experience which lead him into his instruction career. Overall they wanted a small intimate wedding with their closest friends and family.
“Free Fallin'” Into Love
My services started at the cocktail reception where they wanted me to MC a very special moment. The groom was to jump out of a helicopter and parachute onto the putting green in front of the cocktail reception area! Everything was to be timed out perfectly with a stunt coordinator. My music and announcing for the guests to look up in the sky needed to be perfect. When I took my position at the speaker and grabbed the mic, I looked up to see that a heavy marine layer had rolled in. Undeterred, the groom and stunt coordinator stayed the course and wanted to execute. I got the signal form the stunt coordinator to start the music which was Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’” which was appropriate in many ways. Tom Petty had just passed away a couple days earlier.
After getting the signal to announce the jump to the guests, I made the announcement for everyone to look up. Right as I said that the groom free fell through the marine layer, pulled his cord and deployed the chute. This seemed to be at the last minute because the marine layer was so low. The crowd gasped as the parachute quickly opened and then cheered as he gained control and safely but quickly ascended down to his awaiting bride. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house as the bride and groomed embraced in a hug and kissed. Check out this video of his entrance!
After a grand entrance like that, how could you possibly entertain your guests more so? They knew how. The groom’s daughter set up her keyboard with a mic and sang the first dance song in perfect pitch. This wedding was one for the record books.
I love doing weddings at La Jolla Woman’s Club! The property is laid out perfectly for a 150-200 person wedding. Ceremonies are typically on the East side of the property in the garden, cocktail receptions are on the westside in a cute court yard, dinner is sometimes out on the from lawn and the dancing is inside.
Ceremonies at the La Jolla Woman’s Club are typically on the south patio. I set up under the patio with a speaker facing the ceremony area. It’s a small area so one speaker works pretty well as there are buildings on both sides.
The cocktail receptions are typically on the north patio. I also use one speaker because there is an elevated platform that is perfect to place a speaker on. Setting a speaker high like that will lay sound across the tops of people’s heads rather than shooting through their bodies.
When there is a dinner on the lawn, I have two speakers spanning from one side of the patio to the other so that everyone hears the music as well as the speeches perfectly. For the dancing inside, I usually bring two speakers and a sub placed with iron the stage or on the dance floor. This is perfect sound for that room even when it’s at capacity because the acoustics are nice.
An Eclectic Mix of Music
Sandy and Drew were a couple of kids that wanted to have a great time and their music selections reflected that. I was referred to them by a mutual friend to be their wedding DJ. Their seating music was r&b and soul music. The bride wanted me to play Jagged Edge ft Run DMC “Let’s Get Married (Remarkable Remix)” right before she started her procession song. For cocktails they wanted lots of Salsa, Cumbias and Mariachi music. For dinner they ordered up some 60’s, 70’s and 80’s soul, r&b and pop music. The dance music was all over the place but every word of every song was sung by every one there.
The Dana on Mission Bay is a venue I typically am a wedding DJ at 3-6 weddings a year. Every time I show up, I am greeted by the staff with warm hand shakes and high fives. Adrienne who does the event sales and some coordination is my homie and she does a fantastic job. She is the perfect combination of fun and friendly but on point and hard working. Anytime we are on the same program, all will be executed to the fullest.
Alex and Jamie wanted to have a beautiful wedding. Wanting to have the dance floor packed with everyone having a great time was also on their priority list. They wanted to make sure that the Dj had club experience and could pay their preferred style of music. I was for sure up to the task. When they decided to hire me for my wedding Dj services I paid extra close attention to the music they wanted to hear.
When we got down to the music selections Jamie wanted to make sure that the music earlier in the day and night were geared towards the older crowd. Later in the night she wanted me to switch over to house music for the rest of the night. When I got the requests in for the House Music, there were artists like RÜFÜS DU SOL, Zhu, Disclosure and Hayden James. These are all great artists and music I love to dance too. I got very excited to be able to play these styles at a wedding.
Music Every One Could Agree On
For the ceremony I played Vitamin String Quartet. During cocktails I played Michael Buble. Dinner was all jazz and big band. When we opened the dance floor I got it packed with classic Michael Jackson, Earth Wind and Fire as well as some other classics. When the bride was ready, she gave me the signal to switch to house music for the rest of the night.
The first track transitioned well but the farther I got into the house music she selected, the more people would leave the dance floor. Eventually there were just a hand full of younger guests on the floor dancing. After a while, some of the older guests including the mother of the bride asked me to switch the music up but the bride refused to let me open it up. About an hour went by and the guests started to leave. Finally the bride gave in and let me cater the music towards everyone. The dance floor was packed for the rest of the evening. We ended on a high note, which I am thankful for.
This is a perfect example of the need to be flexible and adaptable with the wedding music. When requesting songs, the bride and groom need to be aware of what all the guests want to hear and dance to, not just what their handful of friends like.
Solitude Mountain Resort in Utah is a great place to ski, or so I have heard. When the snow melts, it’s a gorgeous place to get married, that I know. My friends Brandon and Erica decided to get married there away form San Diego because their guest list at home would have been over 300 people. By having a destination wedding, they got the guest list down to around 150 people.
Planning a destination wedding can be difficult for a wedding DJ but I view it as a challenge. I enjoy the challenge of having to find resources in another city to execute a wedding. Sometimes it’s easy where a rental company or event planner can provide all the speakers, microphones and cables. Other times I have to find all this gear on my own, organize the pick up or delivery then get it all back. It’s a lot of work, but again, I enjoy it.
Packing For A Road Trip
In this case, Brandon rented a large RV that had plenty of space to take what he needed from San Diego to Utah. Before he left, I packed all my gear for him to take. This required me to thoroughly plan out exactly what I needed to send. I was in contact with the site coordinator and received all the measurements of the ceremony, cocktail reception and reception areas. That enabled me to pack my gear properly.
Once we all arrived, we had a wonderful weekend together on top of a beautiful mountain resort. To top it all off, the next morning, there was a partial eclipse of the sun that we all got to share together.
Hazy Meadow Ranch sits in the El Monte River Valley in Lakeside California. Originally a horse boarding and training facility, Hazy Meadow Ranch expanded into doing western themed weddings in the early 2000’s. From the arrival of the bride in a horse drawn carriage to the facades mimicking an old country western miners town, the theme is country and this place nails it!
Nick and Sami are longtime friends of mine from the San Diego club and bar industry. I met Nick at a long gone club in downtown San Diego called Aubergine. That club was later renovated into Fluxx Night Club. Anytime I would bump into him, it was always bear hugs and high fives. Sami and him made such a cute couple! When they asked me to be their wedding Dj I was truly honored and humble. My favorite weddings are always the ones I do for friends.
There’s a Snake in My Boot!
The ceremony was in a gazebo in the middle of a large grassy area. The Reception was in front of the country western miner’s town facades. Many of my close bar and club industry friends were there. Most of the staff and owners of a bar I invested in called Single Fin. Since it was western themed, country music flowed through out the wedding. Acoustic country ballads played for the seating music. Country drinking music was appropriate for cocktails. Country love duets for dinner paired well with the BBQ. Once the open dancing started, since I knew most of the people in attendance, I played mostly 70’s, 80’s and 90’s throw back sing along jams. The night was a blast!
Rancho Las Lomas in Silverado California is hidden away in the foothills of Orange County. This private estate has a rich history starting with coastal Native Americans livings on the land, to the land being given as a Mexican land grant to a wealthy family. Finally the Lawrence Family acquired it and have built it into a wondrous private estate and event location complete with a zoological garden. Upon doing my research about the Rancho Las Lomas, it was no wonder my good friend Shifra chose this place to marry the love of her life Blake.
I had known Shifra for years. We originally met in Pacific Beach when I used to play a local bar called Thruster’s. She lived a block away and became friends with my wife, friends and I. Throughout the years we kept in contact. When Blake came into her life, we all knew it was for real because of the way she would stare at him lovingly. I saw her engagement photos pop up on social media and got very excited for her. With in a few days, I got the phone call to be her wedding DJ.
Multiple Locations, Same Venue
The Ceremony was at the bottom of the Rancho in an area that looked like a mini organ pavilion. The Cocktail Reception was at the top of the property where the pool was. The pool reminded me of one of the pools at Hearst Castle, yet much smaller. The dinner and dancing were back down at the bottom of the Rancho where the ceremony was. The after party was back up top in what seemed to be a dance hall. The decor, food and flowers were all stunning. For all the fanciness of the wedding, the vibe was very relaxed and celebratory with Shifra’s laugh contagiously infecting anyone within earshot.
Laura, a catering sales manager at The Dana on Mission Bay, and her fiance Ryan were a super sweet couple to work with. I know Laura through the wedding industry. She is an event coordinator who refers me to her clients at her hotel as a wedding DJ. Not only does she refer to her clients but I have done weddings for her coworkers at her hotel.
You know The Dana on Mission Bay is a great hotel and event venue when the event staff from other hotels get married there. What was super cool about this wedding was that so many of the guests I knew from the wedding industry were invited. This was a great time for everyone to enjoy a wedding from a guest’s point of view and not as staff.
Laura and Ryan were looking for a laid back vibe in the beginning and wanted a packed dance floor towards the end. I set the scene at the ceremony with beach acoustic songs for the seating music. During the cocktail hour, I created an Island Vibe by playing reggae music from artists like Sublime, Bob Marley and UB40. During dinner, I played many 70’s and 80’s soft rock jams like Hall & Oates, Ambrosia, the Doobie Brothers and Fleetwood Mac.
The open dancing was kicked of with Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop Until You Get Enough.” I rode that straight into Bruno Mar’s “Uptown Funk.” From then on the dance floor was packed and the sing along songs in full effect. We wrapped up the night with Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” and ended the reception with a group hug.
I have a few vendors that I have become pretty close with and consider friends. One of those vendors is the wedding planner Suher Haidar with Francine Ribeau Events. She’s my buddy and referred me to her clients who were getting married at The Mission Inn Hotel. The couple was looking for a club vibe on the dance floor by a DJ with club experience. They also needed someone to be on point with the equipment because there were a few challenges.
The Mission Inn Hotel was built in the late 1800’s and grew in size to span an entire city block. The owners of the Inn decorated it in a classic Spanish theme and included a small church to hold weddings at. Inside that church is where the ceremony was and the clients wanted to be sure that the sound was well heard but not seen. I did my magic and accommodated both requests as you can see in this blog post’s picture.
The reception area was a huge indoor room with 25 foot ceilings and almost looked like another church. The walls and ceiling were intricately designed with gold sculptured ornaments and pillars. The clients wanted up lighting throughout the room that would hit the pillars and the ceiling. No problem there.
Most of the music was classical and jazz but when it came to open dancing, the music went full club vibe. Something that had me laughing was when I played Drake and Migos, it felt so out of place because of the formal nature of the venue. The guests loved it!
Aj and Sherron had a San Diego vacation rental wedding. It was at a big house on the west side of Banker’s Hill facing the San Diego Airport. The house looked like a 3-4 story Spanish villa. A beautifully landscaped back yard with a refreshing looking blue tiled pool set the scene.
Aj and Sherron were a super sweet couple to work with. Their youthful energy was contagious and their love for each other was admirable. I am not sure how we met, but I am glad we did because this wedding was a blast! I was honored to have been chosen as their wedding DJ.
Lights and Music
There were several 10 foot tall white pillars that lined the large patio on the 2nd floor which over looked the pool and the back yard. These pillars were perfect for my up lights to accent their pink wedding color.
The Ceremony was in a small gazebo that was close to the pool and the dinner reception was in a big lawn right next to the ceremony. I was set up next to the pool over looking the gazebo and the open grassy area.
The music was primarily reggae and acoustic beach music throughout the entire reception until open dancing. I opened the dance floor with Michael Jackson – Don’t Stop Until You Get Enough. From then on people danced all over the property and never stopped.
There was a HUGE Lemon tree that had the most green leaves and most yellow and ripe lemon’s I had ever seen. The property manager welcomed anyone to pick Lemons and take them home, which of course I obliged. Congrats AJ and Sherron!