Category Archives for Wedding

Inglewood Estate

Inglewood Estate in Kangaroo Ground is a great venue option for a Yarra Valley wedding.

With their own Chapel you can have your ceremony inside or in the courtyard in front, then have the reception in the refurbished barn.

I recommend having it set up for a cocktail wedding as you can still have tables for some guests and everyone else can hang out on the dancefloor and outside as the weather is great in summer and it’s a great rustic wedding venue for theming as there is so much you can do!

Here’s some photos from Jacinta and Mark’s wedding last weekend with DJ Daniel Toop

Celebrant Camille Abbott

We recently had a chat with Camille Abbott about Celebrant life –

• How did you get into being a celebrant?

Haha – it’s all my brother’s fault!

He knew that he wanted to include me in a special way during his commitment ceremony to my now sister-in-law (over 10 years ago). In his typical ‘all or nothing’ fashion, he decided that I should be the person to conduct it.

Like, run the whole ceremony!

What?!? 🤣

I remember asking him during the phonecall “and how would I go about that?” and him responding “isn’t that what the internet’s for?”

So my first ceremony was an induction by fire, but as it turned out, I did pretty well. And when my favourite uncle came up to me afterwards to congratulate me, he also added ‘I think you’ve found your thing, Camille’.

I attained my qualifications shortly after that and, although it took around 18 months to get registered by the Attorney-General’s office, I was excited and nervous in equal parts to start conducting legal ceremonies as a civil celebrant from September 2008.

Celebrant Camille Abbott

[ Credit to Dan Evans Photography ]

• Why do you enjoy what you do?

Oh, man – there are so many facets of being a full-time marriage celebrant that absolutely rock my world.

But I think it’s the job-specific perks really set it apart; helping gorgeous couples in love to express themselves authentically in front of their nearest and dearest on one of the most celebrated days of their lives.

Making them feel empowered and confident in doing things their own way. I love to watch them shine and their guests to respond to that with tears, cheers and knowing nods.

The high that I used to get from playing gigs as a musician, when I was much younger, just can’t compare to the experience of conducting a kick-ass ceremony.

• What are the biggest misconceptions about wedding celebrants?

Hmm, I guess one of the biggest would be the idea that my job consists of just the 20 minutes of the ceremony.

On average, I will spend 15-18 hours in meetings, answering emails/phone calls, completing legal paperwork, traveling, conducting rehearsals, writing several script drafts and other associated tasks per wedding.

The other thing that I don’t think is widely understood is that every celebrant does those tasks very differently.

Apart from the Marriage Celebrant Code of Conduct, celebrants don’t operate under any standard of business, require a minimum level of experience or service level or have to charge a set fee.

So, while you can book a celebrant for a couple of hundred dollars to ‘make it legal’, those who run fulltime businesses and offer premium services to deliver unique ceremonies for every couple and those who go the step further to coach couples through the process (understandably) charge more.

It’s like comparing apples and oranges, you know? And most couples don’t understand the difference and the huge impact of choosing the right celebrant for you can have on your wedding day.

• What book or resource should a bride or groom read before their wedding?

Unbridely (my wedding blog) – hands down!

It’s exactly why I created it with the help of my trusted colleagues and wedding industry pros; to help couples navigate their way through the wedding planning process with practical and relevant advice while experiencing less stress.

Hot topics like unplugged weddings, wedding photography copyright, if you need an MC, how to cull your guest list, first look photography, how to do a great speech and soooo much more is covered.

In the lead up to a wedding, what have you noticed your clients doing that ensures a great wedding experience?

You know what? You can pick them within the first 2 minutes of chatting.

They are the ones who understand that gravity will still occur on their wedding day. They know that it may be sunny, but there may also be rain.

They know that he world won’t stop for them and with that perspective, their expectations are realistic and consequently they have a much better chance of enjoying their wedding day and maybe even some of the planning process too.

I LOVE those couples!

• What trends have you noticed over the last 12 months?

There is a definite focus and an increased appreciation for smaller wedding celebrations.

Less people, but not always cheaper, as such.

I’m finding more couples are treating themselves and their guests to an exceptional experience, whether that be the very best champagne, live music, a food truck for midnight munchies or gin bar.

Micro weddings are gaining in popularity too – an abbreviated ceremony and photos sometimes followed by a separate big party with everyone else later on. Smart!

• How can people get in contact with you?

You can read some of my stuff at Unbridely, HuffPost or my celebrant blog and drop me a line at:

Celebrant Tracey O’Connor

We recently had a chat with Tracey O’Connor about Celebrant life –

• How did you get into being a celebrant?
I was kind of pushed into it, to be honest! Haha, best thing ever though. I found I was often asked by family and friends to be the one to stand up and deliver speeches on their behalf at birthday celebrations and other functions; until my mum (and number 1 fan) told me I should become a celebrant – she knew something I didn’t at the time I guess.
When I became licensed as a marriage celebrant, I was already running my own fairly successful Interior Design Consultancy, and figured I’d enjoy ‘marrying’ people as a wonderful hobby on the side! However, I found that by my 3rd year as a celebrant, wedding business was booming just through word of mouth/referrals and I couldn’t ignore the fact that I’d truly found my calling, so to speak; and have never once looked back.

• Why do you enjoy what you do?
I genuinely love to help create meaningful moments in people’s lives, and to celebrate those milestones with them. From meeting couples and getting to understand them and their ‘story’; then having the opportunity to re-tell their unique story in a fresh, fun and engaging way among their closest; followed then by the thanks and appreciation that comes from knowing you’ve just made their wedding ‘next level’ special, is the best feeling ever! And because each and every couple I meet is different, my job is always interesting!
Celebrant Tracey O'Connor

• What’s the biggest mistakes and myths about wedding celebrants?
Sometimes I hear people say, “what a great gig – just show up and deliver, and you’re outta there”, when referring to a celebrant’s job. There is SO much more to it than that, just come along to one of my weddings, and you’ll understand! To confidently ‘show up and deliver’ a great story with the level of detail and content required to make it especially memorable, takes a great deal of time, focus and skill. Luckily my couples see full value in what I give them in terms of service and peace of mind that they’ll have an amazing ceremony.

• What do you believe about the wedding industry that no one else believes?
Before I became a celebrant and understood the wedding industry, I had the same belief as many couples do – thinking that the moment you mention the word ‘wedding’, the cost of any product or service you’re considering using immediately increases in price…. I’ve since come to appreciate the great amount of care, time and effort my fellow industry professionals invest in their businesses, giving nothing but full value back to their clients.

• In the lead up to a wedding, what have you noticed your clients doing that ensures a great wedding experience?
Reading through the wedding pack I give them! I love to share lots of helpful tips and inspiration based around my own experience in getting married; as well as the eight-plus years of professional experience I now have in celebrancy. As I’m always looking for new and fresh ways to ensure the wedding pack I offer is helpful to my couples, those who take it all in really gain from it.
When it comes to their actual wedding day, I find that my couples place full trust in my ability to give them and their guests a great ceremony experience, so they can simply relax and let the day unfold. If the celebration starts with the ceremony, the rest of the event is sure to follow on a high.

• What is the disaster that you closely averted, that the client never even knew about?
One time a mother-of-the-bride had a considerable wardrobe malfunction; and we spent around 15 minutes in the bathroom getting to know one another whilst I assisted her; and at the exact same time I was on the phone to the limo company, asking the driver to take a scenic route with the bride and her dad until the issue was sorted. I’m not sure if the bride was told by her mum later, but she certainly knew nothing of it at the time.

• What trends have you noticed over the last 12 months?
Lots of Navy and Nude! A stunning colour scheme that always looks classy.

• What trends do you see developing over the next few years?
With the new Laws of marriage equality, I see far less of the traditional ceremonial elements happening, and scope for even more amazingly unique ideas to be shared in the industry. Exciting times!

• What kinds of wedding ceremonies are you not good at?
I’d sound conceited if I said I was good at everything – though at the same time I can’t think of anything I suck at… So let’s settle with saying that I give my best performance when I’m asked to deliver a relaxed, friendly, fun and engaging ceremony. I do easy-going really well :-)

• How can people get in contact with you?
Any which way it suits, I can be contacted. I’m always happy to chat over the phone, or if email works better for people, then that works for me too. It’s my job to make your wedding planning easy; let’s start there….. xx

Celebrant Julia Handford

We recently had a chat with Julia Handford about Celebrant life –

• How did you get into being a celebrant?
I was just a young’en when the idea of being a Celebrant popped into my head! I was waitressing at a few weddings and I always loved getting to work early to catch the end of the ceremonies. I was flipping through a course book and saw that you could do a cert 1V in business management and Marriage Celebrancy, so I signed up! By 20 I was registered and by 21 I was performing weddings running my own little business!

• Why do you enjoy what you do?
I love that weddings are always changing. People are inspired by their love of the outdoors, by music, by festivals, by food! Weddings have become a beautiful combination of what’s in fashion and what is meaningful for the couple. I love that this means my job is always changing and I get to travel to beautiful places and create ceremonies that are unique and fun. It suits me to a tee!
Celebrant Julia Handford

• Who trained you and what are they up to now?
Oh lordy, Marriage Celebrancy training has come a long way in the last 10 years and in my course there was a lot to be desired… Let’s just leave these details out as I don’t want to promote which training institution I used, they weren’t very good! :-)

• What’s the biggest mistakes and myths about wedding celebrants?
That we only work for a couple hours on the weekend! It’s been my full time job for nearly 7 years now and most of the work is predominantly mid week. Meeting clients, writing ceremonies, administration, data entry and just general business up keep. The actual wedding is only one part of the whole process so we definitely deserve to be acknowledged for more than just the 20 minute ceremony.

• What are your favourite instructional books or resource on what you do? what book or resource should a bride or groom read before their wedding?
Good question. I feel like there is no instructional book on how to be a kick ass Celebrant. It takes intuition, courage to try something new, confidence, beautiful ceremony writing and delivery skills. The best resource is other people, watching other Celebrants do their thing and then finding your own groove. Brides and Grooms should go with what feels right. A Celebrant who brings out the best of their personalities and makes them feel comfortable. If they loved the Celebrant at their friends wedding, then use them!!

• What do you believe about the wedding industry that no one else believes?
It could exist beautifully on it’s own without social media!! I have a love/hate relationship with social media and feel that even though it is so powerful for the wedding industry, we could definitely manage without it. Without it couples would simply just ask around more for recommendations, bringing more strength to word of mouth advertising. Too many images online of beautiful weddings I feel can actually make planning a wedding more stressful and overwhelming.

• In the lead up to a wedding, what have you noticed your clients doing that ensures a great wedding experience?
Taking time out to have some ‘down time’ in the lead up to the day can work wonders! I once had a Bride that told her family she was going on a yoga retreat the week before the wedding when really she just turned off her phone and had some quiet time to herself before the big day. She was so much more relaxed at the wedding! I also highly recommend the ‘pre-ceremony photo shoots’ that are growing in popularity. Doing the majority of your wedding photos prior to the ceremony leaves more time for fun on the day!!

• What is the disaster that you closely averted, that the client never even knew about?
Haha oh good question! There have been many many of these and I always thank the wonders of technology when it comes to a ceremony being in a pickle! Many times the wedding music has been put on a format that just does not sync with the PA system and thankfully we can always use the ‘good old internet’ to download music onto someone else’s phone and the crisis has been averted!

• What trends have you noticed over the last 12 months?
Couple’s are either going ALL OUT with their wedding and spending an absolute fortune, or they are eloping. There doesn’t seem to be as many fun backyard weddings happening anymore which is sad.

• What trends do you see developing over the next few years?
More and more elopements!! Bring them on I say! Less stress, more focus on what is important to the couple. Cheaper, easier to organise, the benefits are endless, plus you can still have the most gorgeous meaningful ceremony.

• What wedding trends are you seeing overseas that you hope come to Australia?
To be honest I’m not really paying much attention to what is happening overseas in the wedding industry. I do hope though that the white wedding dress goes out of fashion and Brides start wearing colours that they love and what makes them feel happy.

• What kinds of wedding ceremonies are you not good at?
Hmmmmm very formal ceremonies aren’t really my thing. Whilst I do enjoy dressing up formal, my style of language and the way I like to add colour to a ceremony definitely doesn’t gel well with ceremonies that are very traditional, or overly elegant and sophisticated.

• What is your advice for people that have just had their wedding and they want to start their own wedding business?
Be prepared to start off slow, be the little turtle that wins the race! Good decisions should feel light and exciting. Go with what feels right and mix with people who inspire and encourage you! Try to become good friends with wedding suppliers that share your target market. Spending a huge amount of money at the start with not much experience in the industry isn’t a good approach. Build your relationships and invest in them.

• How can people get in contact with you?
0402 916 245

Celebrant Sarah Aird

We recently had a chat with Sarah Aird about Celebrant life

How did you get into being a celebrant?
After a lengthy career in senior administration positions, I had recently left a toxic job and didn’t know what I wanted to do next. I went to my cousin’s wedding and was totally inspired by the celebrant! I decided right then and there that that’s what I’d do, and I haven’t looked back.

Why do you enjoy what you do?
I’m a hopeless romantic, completely in love with love. Every week I get to bear witness to people at the absolute height of their relationship, pledging to be the best partners they can be for each other. I love hearing and telling their stories, I love hearing their incredible vows to each other, and I love being part of people’s best day of their lives!

What’s the biggest mistakes and myths about wedding celebrants?
That we just turn up for 20 minutes on the day of the wedding! Hours and hours go into every single wedding, from writing personalised scripts to managing legal paperwork, not to mention the hours that go into running our businesses and learning everything we can about the wedding industry so we can make every wedding ceremony incredible.
Celebrant Sarah Aird
In the lead up to a wedding, what have you noticed your clients doing that ensures a great wedding experience?
Clients who trust in their selected suppliers are going to have the best wedding experience. Ensuring we all have what we need is of course important, but contacting us every five seconds to ask us questions or check that we’re going to do certain things just makes life stressful for everyone! Trust in the people you’ve hired to do the job you’ve hired them for to the very best of their ability, and you’ll have a great day!

What kinds of wedding ceremonies are you not good at?
Formal ones. I get super excited about my couples and their weddings, and I struggle to rein it in and keep myself formal and conservative! I think there should be lots of cuddles and laughter and tears during a wedding ceremony, and some couples want something that’s very formal and traditional; that’s just not me.

What is your advice for people that have just had their wedding and they want to start their own wedding business?
Consider it very carefully. Working in the wedding industry is completely different from planning your own wedding, and it’s bloody hard work. There’s a lot of competition and a lot of work required to stay at the top of your game, so unless you’re absolutely passionately sure that this is what you want to do, maybe just offer to help friends with their own weddings, or just enjoy being married for a little while before reconsidering your plans!

How can people get in contact with you?,, 0458 022 190
sarahairdcivilcelebrant on Facebook and Instagram!

Italian Centre

Italian Centre
262 Carrington Street, Adelaide SA 5000, Australia



Matthew McTaggart

Because he is the best.

Smoke machine vs Hazer vs Dry Ice at a wedding

The difference between these three Atmospsheric Effects seem quite similar but are actually 3 entirely distinct effect. It can be really hard for our wedding clients to decide which they would like, so here is a quick explaination:

Smoke Machine

– Water based fluid that is pumped past a massive heater block and dispersed like a cloud in the air.

– Cheapest to hire as the fluid is relatively inexpensive and can last years
– Great for showing the beams from your dancefloor lighting
– Takes 15 mins to heat up the machine and quick to fill a room

– most likely to set off fire alarms
– evaporates into the air relatively quickly (because its water based)
– Can make a wedding reception look a bit like a nightclub (pro or con depending on teh wedding)
– Can obscure the photo and video footage if used too much

Hazer machine

– Oil based fluid (used to be called “Oil-Crackers”) which is Compressed (not heated) to disperse as fine oil droplets in the air.

– Hang time of the haze is much longer than that of smoke machine fluid. If there is no air conditioning or air movement then it can last for hours after the machine is turned off.
– Lower use of electricity since it doesnt need a huge heating element
– Makes dancefloor lighting and lasers look the best of the 3 as the haze is finer and dispersed more evenly in the room
– Less likely than smoke machine to set off smoke alarms
– Fluid lasts for years

– More expensive than Smoke Machines for both the machine and the fluid
– Some Smoke Machines are labelled as “Hazers”, proper hazers use oil based fluids, stay away from water based hazers!
– The haze is created as soon as you turn the machine on but does take a while to fill a room completely, especially with draughts, making them useless for outdoor events


Dry Ice

– Is a Solid form of Carbon Dioxide which turns straight into a gas instead of going to a liquid. You put the blocks or pellets in hot water and the gas bubbles over and flows onto the dancefloor

– The gas hugs the floor as the carbon dioxide is heavier than air.
– Looks like a “dancing on the cloud” effect that you can’t get with smoke machine or dry ice
– Looks amazing for 2-4 minutes
– Safe with fire alarms as it is a gas and not particles in the air like a smoke machine and to a lesser extent, haze machine.

– Very, very expensive for equipment, staffing and materials compared to smoke machines and hazers
– The Dry Ice needs to be purchased within 8-36 hours of the event as it evaporates very quickly
– Dry ice is -78.5°C, so causes burns if not handled correctly (esky, proper gloves and eye wear)
– Dry ice can only be bought from chemical supply companies or through distributors such as SupaGas or BOC gas
– Needs a special machine to get a good effect, you can use buckets with boiling water but the effect is not as great as with a “pea souper” (3phase power required) or a Chauvet Nimbus (240 volt required for heating)
– Lasts a few minutes
– Dry Ice needs to be handled correctly, can cause loss of consciousness or death if handled incorrectly in an enclosed space as it turns into carbon dioxide gas



Griffin Alliance can supply each of these services if you like, just ask us for a quote with your wedding DJ

How to Wedding MC for Beginners

Want to know how I stay organised as a wedding MC while Im DJing events all across South Australia, from Adelaide city to the Barossa Valley?

Daniel, who DJs for brides across Victoria, from Melbourne CBD and right down the Morning Peninsula, swears by this checklist as well.

Before event

Ensure you have a list of the full names of all the speakers and accurate running sheet of whole night

Check name pronunciations will all people who will be announced

Clear jibes with people who will be jibed

Liaise with bride, groom and best man as to what would constitute a speaker crossing the line and what the actions is

35 minutes before

Check with function coordinator that the room is prepared for on time start and adjust time schedule if not

30 minutes before

Gather ushers and ask them to start letting people know to take heir seats

25 minutes before

Mic Check

20 Minutes before

Tell Best Man that people will be seated shortly

15 minutes before

Address guests formally asking them to take their seats

10 minutes before

Address guests formally asking them to take their seats

5 Minutes before

Check that bridal party is ready to enter, send ushers to gather straggling guests


Ask all guests to stand for the entrance of the bridal party

Announce bridal party

Let people know when they can take their seats


Welcome distinguished guests

Introduce self, define host (usually best man) and introduce function coordinator by name

Define how the guests of honour would like to be interacted with and how they wish the guests to behave

Explain any cultural elements of the night

Overview the basics of the running sheet for the guests

Explain menu and service style

Explain restroom location

Explain the event exit process and timing

Key Elements to Introduce

(This is a typical order used, timings and order vary)

Entrée Speeches – Parents & Others

Cake Cut

Main Speeches – Best Man, Maid of Honor, Bride, Groom

Dessert Speeches – Telegrams, Open Mic

First Dance

Open Up Dance Floor

Father Daughter Dance



30 Minutes to Exit

Announce last drinks and ask people to charge their glees for final toasts and bride an groom preparing for exit, explain exit procedure

Thank host, room captain, parents, distinguished guests

15 minutes to exit

Ask people to begin the exit procedure

5 minutes to exit

Conclude exit procedure, farewell toast to bride & groom

I hope this is useful! If you are looking for any more Wedding MC ideas, Im here to help!

David Bartholomeusz

presidential wedding

Unplugged Wedding ideas from Obama

Before Donald Trump took office in 2017, it was common practice to make every person attending a meeting at the White House to put their phone in a basket and leave it outside the meeting room. The idea was that everyone should be engaged in the meeting and not distracted.

We’re finding that even with Unplugged weddings there is still the odd guest that pulls out their phone or tablet during the ceremony and ruins your professional photographer shots as well as taking your guests “out of the moment”. It’s what we in the industry call “doing a Sharon”.

Here’s how to make sure your family and friends can’t pull a Trump in the middle of your ceremony:
1. Get a 2-3 big boxes or baskets that will fit in with your ceremony decor. Buy some post-it notes, rubber bands and markers.

2. Organise at least 2-3 people (cousins or kids are good for this and it gives them a way to be included in your wedding) to go around prior to the ceremony and pick up mobile phones and tablets. You may need to frisk the “Sharons” for their decoy phones. Get guests to write their names on the post-it note. Have Prozac available for distressed guests.

3. Enjoy your wedding.

4. Give back their phones after the ceremony or sell them to fund your honeymoon.

Wedding Band versus Wedding DJ

There are lots of differences between bands and DJs at weddings. They both have their Pros and Cons. Since we have heaps of information about DJs on our site, I’ll go through the main differences with bands:

  • Live music is great and creates a great vibe.
  • Bands are better for live music and generally specific genres (ie some bands are awesome at rock music, others at RnB etc) there are also bands that cover the full spectrum but I would go for a theme if you’re going for a band as the ones that do a “bit of everything” are often not that great at anything unless theyre big $$$
  • How much space do you have? A 4 piece with amps and drums takes up about 4-5 metres squared and not all venues have a stage or enough room.
  • Cost: an equivalent band will cost 2-4 times as much as a DJ (of the same standard) as there are
  • Some venues have Noise Restrictions that mean they don’t allow bands due to the noise of the instruments (especially drums) which are often above the limot just by themselves without amplification
  • Do you like band music? We find a lot of our customers like RnB wedding DJs or also want a little bit of dance music too, something really difficult for most wedding bands.
    – How much does your venue charge for Supplier Meals? Some venues are great and only charge a nominal fee for your DJ, photographer, band, videographer etc but you will find that some venues charge upwards of $180 a head, so that adds almost $600 to the price of the band.
  • Which bands are available? There are very few good entertainers and bands are definitely in short supply, if you can’t find a good one then it might be worth looking for more options
  • Bands usually play 3 sets throughout the night, usually one through entree, then another dancing set after mains and the last set after desserts. We find most of our customers use us because we DJ through the whole rest of the night and usually have people dancing for 2-4 hours straight after the formalities are over. With bands its often a bit more of a peak experience. Both have positives, you just need to decide what you prefer personally.

What to look for in a Wedding Venue

As Wedding DJs we often get booked after venues do. It’s a bit unfortunate as the Venue is one of the most important decisions you can make and it has a huge impact on all aspects of your wedding (including the disc jockey and entertainment experience overall)


Here is our checklist to help you ask the right questions at a wedding venue inspection:

  • Is our preferred wedding date available?

  • Will we have exclusive use of the venue on our wedding day?

  • What are the rates for different days or times?

  • What is the ideal number of guests for this space?

  • How long do we have at the venue? When can vendors load in and out?

  • Do you supply location maps/directions we can include with invitations?

  • What parking facilities are available? If they do have parking, how many spaces?

  • Wedding party parking, including limos?
  • Is a shuttle service available?

  • Is public transportation easily accessible from the venue?

  • Is there a minimum spend or booking fee?

  • What are the payment terms?

  • Can they confirm any arrangements in writing?

  • How much do they charge for extra hours?

  • Are there hidden costs like cleaning fees?

  • Will there be any building works or maintenance carried out on the before or of our selected wedding date? If changes need to be made, will you put these in writing with a financial remedy?

  • Do we need any insurance or permits?

  • Is there a venue coordinator on the day? How long? Can you meet them?

  • Can you gain access for a Wedding Rehearsal?
  • Can we hold our ceremony here, too?

  • Do you provide a transition setup for a shared ceremony/reception space?

  • Can disabled guests be accommodated?

  • Does your venue have a wet weather back up plan?

  • Is your venue pet friendly (if they’re included in the ceremony)?

  • Is your venue child friendly, what is the cost for children as guests (per head)?

  • Is there a space for post ceremony canapés and activities?

  • Are there options for dinner the night before or brunch the day after for the bridal party?

  • Can we do a tasting before choosing our options? Is it paid for?

  • Is the venue flexible with their menu choices?

  • Can the venue provide alternative meal options to suit allergies and intolerances?

  • What vendor meals are provided for people such as your wedding disc jockey? If so, at what cost?

  • Are they able to be served before or at the same time as guests so that they can get back to work without rushing?

  • Is it possible to use your own caterer? If so, is there limitations on which caterers we can use?

  •  What is the venuesIn house beverage package? What does it include/exclude?

  •  Is a champagne toast possible? Price?

  •  What type of tables do you have?

  •  Do you have a list of preferred vendors such as Griffin Alliance Wedding DJs? Which vendors do we HAVE to use?

  • What restrictions are there on decorations?

  • What items can you remove from the room?

  • What decor is included? Can they accommodate changes?

  • What kind of confetti does your venue allow, if any?

  • Do you have signage to direct guests to the wedding?

  • When can my vendors arrive for setup?


Does the venue have:

  1. Bridal suite or private space?

  2. Toilets? Are they accessible for ceremony and reception?

  3. Dance Floor?

  4. DJ / band or Ipod facilities?

  5. Do you have noise restrictions?
  6. Do you have microphones for speeches?

  7. Photo booth?

  8. Is there heating / Air conditioning?

  9. Somewhere safe to store wedding gifts?

  10. Furniture available for hire?

  11. Props available for hire?

  12. Chapel on site?

  13. Gardens?

  14. Deck or undercover gazebo etc for guests/ photos?

  15. Do you have bridal or guest accommodation onsite?

  16. Do you offer a discount for booking multiple rooms?

  17. Do you provide a complimentary suite to the bride/groom for their wedding night?

  18. Can the wedding party get ready at the venue?




An Unplugged Wedding is a state of mind

You’ll see thousands of articles like “How do I have an unplugged wedding” but what about after the ceremony?

Why have an unplugged wedding?

  • The professional photographers get blocked by people with their phones and ipads
  • Its nice to have people be “in the moment” than on their phone

Why do you need an unplugged wedding?

Humans are about 200,000 years old, society as we know it is about 6,000 years old, industrialisation about 200 year and social media is 13 years old.

We’ve evolved over hundreds of thousands of years to be social mammals, social media shortcircuits all of our ancient way of existing.

A unplugged wedding is a way of pulling guests out of these interactions for 6-10 hours and to be present to the other people in attendance. It can be very tricky for guests to get used to it as Social Media is very pervasive and now that smart phones are so ubiquitous it means that there is ample opportunity to space out and get on social media.

Not only that, but your guests know that they will get heaps of “likes” or “hearts” from adding photos from your event, which is actually addictive. Research shows that when we see “likes” on our photos it releases serotonin. Which is GREAT when you’re at home on your couch, but it does take people away from the Present.

Unplugged weddings are really about returning everyone to the Present and listening, interacting and partying with all their friends and family.


Here are our tips on how to have a proper Unplugged wedding:

  • Hire a professional Photographer and LET EVERYONE KNOW. If guests dont need to take camera phones out theyre less likely to check their apps
  • Hire a professional Videographer who will do a 2 minute video, a wedding video that takes longer than 5 minutes generally wont be watched by many guests.
  • Hire great entertainers. We’d love yo supply you with a wedding DJ in Adelaide or Melbourne but you can also go for a wedding band. You need to keep people entertained as our ability to concentrate has decreased markedly over the years, primarily because of social media
  • Let your guests get involved in the wedding, whether its making song requests or making a speech or making a reading. Guests will feel more involved if they have something to do when its boring. Even something like handing out cards etc
  • If you want to take photos with guests, then a photobooth is a great idea and will generally give you better photos than a selfie will
  • Enjoy Yourself! If you’re on the dancefloor then most of the guests will be too
  • Consider “cancelling” your social media accounts. Some guests will tag you in social media posts to “get more likes” because it will tag you in photos. If you dont want to be looking at your own Facebook or Instagram accounts on your wedding day, but also want to be the first people to add photos then leave it until you’re in the limo on the way home or the next day to reactivate it!


wedding DJ tips Melbourne

How to deal with Children at your wedding

The age of marriage has gone up in Australia and what that means is that there are lots of people with kids at your wedding (and with baby sitters)

I’ve seen the changes over the last 14 or so years DJing at weddings in Adelaide and Melbourne and it’s HUGE! Especially with people deciding to have children before their own wedding (especially if they’re in their mid/late-thirties)
One of the main things to be aware of is the impact on your guests of the wedding itself. Often the location needs to be central if they’re coming from interstate otherwise it’s a 3 day trip for your wedding.
Consider getting a babysitter and/or nurse if you have lots of friends with small children, it makes a huge difference if there are professionals at your wedding to look after their kids, even if its just so they can relax over dinner.
Keep the wedding relatively compact, its easier if the wedding ceremony and reception are at the same venue, it cuts down on the time of the entire day for the parents (who got up at 6am and will be up at 6am the next day!)

Make sure the venue has places to breastfeed (although it’s becoming socially acceptable to breast feed in public now, which is awesome) and also quiet spaces that parents can take their children if they need a bit of a ‘timeout’ from the festivities.
Encourage your friends to have a “backup” plan in case their babysitter falls through, nothing worse than a best friend that can’t make it to your wedding at the last minute!
Make sure you have lots of seating, shade and water for your guests during the ceremony if it’s outside, this is always a good idea but it’s imperative if you have pregnant women, children or the elderly at your wedding.

Have something for the kids to do at the wedding. I’ve seen clowns, Duplo blankets, Crayon stations and even included some choreographed kids dances during the reception to make sure the kids had something to do throughout the night so that their parents don’t need to keep them amused.

Another important consideration is whether to make your wedding children-free. A good rule is to allow parents with breast/bottle fed aged children as they may not be able to come otherwise (due to the feeding schedule) and small children are generally pretty easy to deal with. Since young children don’t require a meal it also might save you thousands on your food and beverage package, especially if you’re at a venue that charges full adult rate!
You should also get some children’s ear muffs for little children if you’re going to have a raging dancefloor, not only do they protect the childrens hearing, infancts usually love them as it reminds them of the sound of being in the womb and the gentle pressure of the earmuffs can be comforting (much like a swaddle)


A plea to wedding planners

I’ve recently been reaching out to some Wedding Planners around Victoria (I’m a Melbourne Wedding DJ) and recently had a few weddings where my clients have hired the venues themselves or DIY’d certain segments of the ceremony or reception and been a bit stressed as they’ve had to coordinate parts of their weddings days themselves (something I don’t advocate, enjoy the day rather than deal with logistics).

After reaching out to a few of the top planners (“Hi, what do you do and what do you specialise in?”) I got the same responses from a few:

  • I’m a wedding planner
  • We do wedding planning and on the day services
  • We do everything
  • Are you getting married?

After explaining that I run a DJ business and often have Brides and Grooms that need help i then get the following types of responses:

  • *crickets*
  • We do everything, so just send them to us
  • We mainly do “X” kind of weddings for “Y” types of couples in venues around the “X”, “Y”, “Z”, Yarra Valley, Melbourne CBD and Mornington Peninsula

Can you guess which one we’ll be passing our clients on to?

Nightshift covers band Melbourne

Entertainment that Will Take Your Wedding from Awesome to Epic!

So you’re looking at booking some fab entertainment for your wedding and you’re leaning towards a Melbourne DJ instead of a Melbourne wedding band? Great choice! They’ll bring along their own professional equipment, they’ll look and sound amazing, they’ll get the party rockin’, they’ll play all the right music, they’ll even let you choose your own songs.


How do you know? Unless you meet them beforehand, see and hear them in action, it’s a hard call, isn’t it?

During my 18 years as an MC and entertainer, let me tell you, I’ve seen some disappointed brides and grooms who have been ripped off by unprofessional DJs –– shifty operators who have turned up looking scruffy, whose equipment may as well be a home stereo unit, who turn up late, or don’t turn up at all, who haven’t even got a copy of the bridal dance.

That’s why we love working with Griffin Alliance. With these guys, you don’t have to worry about any of these risks. I respect the fact that all Griffin Alliance DJs are professionally trained and experienced in weddings and functions. That’s a point I can’t emphasise enough to brides and grooms who, let’s face it, are probably booking entertainment for the first time in their lives.

And since it’s your first time, you can’t be expected to know the ins and outs of how entertainment is run on the night. I’ve seen brides and groom make their grand entrance to a big fat silence because the DJ hasn’t bothered to communicate with the wedding co-ordinator, or is outside having a smoke instead of manning the decks.

Incidences like that would never happen with Griffin Alliance. These guys keep on their eye on the ball and their head in the game, so they’ll never miss a moment. And only a professional wedding DJ will know to follow your schedule closely, will be able to provide guidance on timings and types of music, and will ensure all your entertainment needs are met –– whether it’s a special song for your dad, or a microphone for the speeches.

And these guys actually enjoy what they do. Your wedding isn’t just another gig to them. They care about your big day, they care about their music and importantly, care about their reputation.

You’ve probably heard the term ‘attention to detail’. It’s thrown around a lot in the wedding industry, in online advertising, on brochures. But let me assure you, I can confidently say it applies 100% to Griffin Alliance. Your entertainment is in no safer hands. These are DJs you can trust, DJs who will give their all to make your day the best you hoped for.

Whether you’re feeling that you don’t know much about planning your entertainment, or whether you know exactly what you want from your DJ, these guys will deliver.

It’s pretty rare for me, as a live entertainer in a Melbourne wedding band, to want to promote what is essentially my competition, but a wedding is wedding –– the one day of a couple’s life where they can’t afford to take risks. So if your heart is set on a DJ, I would wholeheartedly point you in Griffin Alliance’s direction.

Annie Collins
Nightshift Band
0418 594 524

Daniel Toop Wedding DJ Nik Edser Wedding DJ MC

Griffin Alliance on The Wedding DJ Show podcast

I just got off the phone with Nik Edser from NikNat Entertainment  as a guest on his podcast, The Wedding DJ Show.
We had a chat about lots of different DJ and Wedding industry topics including our history, changes in the DJ industry in general, benefits of DJ bodies such as the DJAA for the industry and Brides and Grooms and the pros and cons of Elitism in the industry.
Check the Podcast out here




wedding DJs Melbourne - Griffin Alliance

Do you need a meeting with your Wedding Vendors?

If you look at most Facebook Wedding Groups as well as Wedding Advertising Websites then you will see the common phrase “You HAVE to meet up with your suppliers (especially wedding DJs) before you book!”

No you don’t. Seriously.

a) the first meeting with a wedding vendor is called a “Pre-Sales meeting”, that means that the meeting is 100% about selling to you. Have you noticed that 99% of wedding suppliers don’t ask whether or not they’re the right person for your type of wedding before they ask you for a meeting?

If they push for a meeting then you know it’s a used-car-salesman type situation.

b) The meeting tells you nothing about their performance on the day of your wedding. The best indicator of future performance is past performance.

c) Meetings are the greatest cause of the “Wedding Tax”. Did you need to have a meeting with your 21st birthday DJ? No. Do you think that wedding DJs in Australia are jacking up the price to compensate for 2-3 in-person meetings?  You’re dead right they are.

It’s literally 2-3x the amount of time for each event.

Smart clients that don’t require in-person meetings (Griffin Alliance have meetings on phone/Skype/Facetime to save on scheduling and travel time) are paying for those wedding vendors to meet with the harder clients. They’re paying for all those people they met with and never booked. Madness.

d) The easiest way to “add value” is to do more work for the same wedding. Would you prefer an amazing DJ on the night of your wedding or someone that spends 40 hours in preparation for your wedding and sucks on the night. If the price is the same then you can buy a DJ worth $200/hr or $30/hr for the same cost.

IF you need in-person meetings then you should be paying 2-3 times as much for the service as the average DJ. If not, beware.

e) Meetings were useful before the internet. Before I moved to DJ in Melbourne I was the lead DJ at The Wedding Source in Adelaide. I used to meet with every client as this was before Google was a thing. Now you don’t need to verify that someone is good face to face, you can check out their Facebook , Instagram, Pinterest, websites and Industry affiliations. We’re on ABIA and on the committee of the Melbourne Wedding Group, there are literally hundreds of people in the wedding industry you can ask about our ACTUAL DJ services that have seen them with their own eyes. Or you can check out the feedback forms we get back and talk to the venue managers that were working on the night. This is a thousand times more powerful than a meeting in person at a cafe or your home.

I’m personally one of only 3 DJs on the first 50 results on Google for “Wedding DJ Melbourne” that has a current weekly public DJ residency.

About 70% of the DJs in the “top 50” have never performed in public because they’re usually not good enough. This applies to all wedding vendors in some aspect. Meetings are the only sales tool that doesn’t depend on your performance skills.

f) Planning meetings in person are generally a waste of time. We used to always hear this phrase:
“oops i forgot to bring the planning sheet i filled out”
Most planning happens in fits and spurts. Thats the reality.
Ideally we send you the planning forms and you and your partner sit down for 8 hours and get your whiteboards out, fill out the required sections, do a brainstorm of all the potential songs and then whittle them down to a top 3 for each category and then make love in the moon-light while you consider what your “first dance” will be.
Realistically what happens is you chat about it while making spaghetti bolognese and your partner is on the toilet and any other time you have available. Then you hear a song 3 days later at the supermarket and go “This is RAD” and just chose your Cutting the Cake song.
It’s far better to talk briefly on the phone several times in the month leading up or emailing us for some song ideas that suit you (not googling “top 10 romantic bridal songs of 2016 that are unique but not shania twain”)

g) You can tell a lot about a person by talking on the phone or Skype. Follow up your intuition by confirming it by contacting their networks in the wedding industry.

h) Your time is valuable. Great wedding vendors (especially wedding DJs) are expensive. So is your time. If you only meet with the 10-20% of vendors that you NEED to meet with then you will save yourselves 40 hours of time. Thats a weeks wage that you could have earnt. It’s also a weeks wage that you’re wedding vendors don’t need to charge you for. Congratulations, I just saved you $3,000 – 10,000 that you can now spend on wedding professionals.

i) Weddings are the same as Corporate events.

  • They have to run perfectly
  • They spend a tonne of money
  • BUT they never do pre-sales meetings

The reason why is that they ONLY use companies like Griffin Alliance that have years of experience and industry references. If Tiffany & Co. or Sony don’t need to meet with us before the book our DJs for a $100,000 event then does anyone need to for a wedding?

j) “But I need to meet with the DJ or MC to make sure we get along”. Fair enough, just make sure they’re going to be great on the night and that you’re happy to budget the extra 100-200% to pay for their extra time. Being Friends with your wedding vendor on Facebook doesn’t mean that they will do a great job on the night. You don’t need to be friends with Gordon Ramsey to get a great Steak in Las Vegas.

k) Rapport is a SKILL that needs to be trained. Even if you get along with your wedding vendor over an hour at a meeting, doesn’t mean they have the skills to create rapport with not only you but all of your guests within minutes? This is especially important for DJs, MCs, venue managers and celebrants. The only way you can know is to either BE at one of their prior weddings or ask your friends of other people in the wedding industry.

Exceptions that prove the Rule:

  • There are some vendors you WILL need to meet with, it depends on your unique wedding needs. Celebrants are a great example of this.
  • If your wedding is all about the experience and planning rather than about on-the-day then you should have meetings with EVERYONE. I recommend that you meet with as many of our DJ and MC competitors as possible. Ideally every single one that has “free meetings before you book”. Every. Single. One.
  • You’re the type of people that collect coupons. There are a lot of desperate DJs and other vendors out there that are trying to get bookings like seagulls fighting over chips at the beach. If you don’t mind spending the time then you can meet with them all and then play them all off against each other, Joker style.

joker cheapest wedding dj technique - griffin alliance


Interview with Wedding Celebrant Joshua Withers

What sets you apart as a celebrant?
Weddings are chock-full of meaning and purpose, but over the years traditions and weird people have clouded the goodness with pretty and meaningless things that are supposed to make the event better, but surveys say it doesn’t.

So I strip back all of the traditions, and peal back the curtains on your marriage and shine a big light on it so your friends and family aren’t celebrating a wikipedia entry on wedding tradition, but instead, they’re celebrating the fact that the two of you don’t hate each other, but you actually adore each other and that means that you have an awesome future ahead of you. Plus I wear wooden bow-ties. In fact, maybe just say I wear wooden bow-ties, that’s simpler :)

Why are you so passionate about what you do?
I’m passionate about what I do because it matters. What I do makes a difference in the world, but more importantly, it makes a difference in individual lives, marriages, homes, and families. How could you not be passionate about that.
I believe that awesome marriages make for awesome families which makes for awesome communities and an awesome world. It’s the small things that affect the big things.
Who trained you?
I learned to become a celebrant under a great man, Richard Nugent, who at the time was the Senior Pastor of SURFCiTY Christian Church. When he passed away earlier this year everyone talked of his love for people and I’m really inspired to carry on that legacy.
What gear do you use, and why?
In my weddings my sound gear is all Sennheiser portable gear simply because no-one else makes portable, all-in-one, battery-powered audio gear like Sennheiser. Their LSP-500 along with three of their wireless 1.8Ghz transmitter/receiver pairs just sounds amazing. Put alongside a MiPro, or a Chiayo competing units and the other two sound like they’re underwater.
I use a handheld microphone for myself, a Sennheiser E865, plus I have a backup E835 for a singer if there is one, and a beltpack transmitter for plugging in a guitar, or a sound desk, a DJ, or an iPhone.
The biggest complaint I hear about celebrants is that no-one could hear them, so I thought I best fix that.
What’s the biggest wastes of a couple’s time?
Arbours. The world arounds us is amazing, let’s stand in front of the world instead of in a poorly constructed wooden thing that is about to fall over. And after eight years in the business I can’t recall a couple that stood in the middle, almost everyone is off-centre which photographers love.
Who is the best wedding supplier you’ve worked with at weddings and why?
My wife, because she works me harder than anyone else! (She runs The Elopement Collective, an elopement planning business) but if I can’t vote for her then I’ve got to say wedding photographer, Michael Briggs. I work with happy people in every wedding on every day, but Briggsy is the happiest bloke holding a camera you’ll ever meet.
I know a bride and groom that want a really boring ceremony, what are the top 3 things to make that happen?
1. Google for “weddings”
2. Get as many people involved as possible. Get as many chefs in the kitchen as you can. Consider it a fun game.
3. Put as much focus on what makes everyone happy. It’s a well proven fact that the more people you can please in your wedding, the more boring it will be. Try not to listen to yourself or your partner and sacrifice everything that makes you you, and instead go as normal and mainstream as possible.
Where do you see weddings themselves changing in 5 years time?
Weddings are getting smaller, more personal, and more intimate. Less and less we’re trying to keep up with the Jones’ and instead we’re uninviting the Jones’.
What behaviour is common between couples who end up having a great wedding experience?
They have a simple and purposeful plan for their event, and they get the best people to make it happen. Simple.

– Interview with Daniel Toop @ Griffin Alliance (Wedding DJs Melbourne)

You can contact Joshua here:

Josh Withers
0411 849 404

Noise Restrictions at Wedding Venues

Here’s a bit of education if having a raging dancefloor is important to you:

– Noise restrictions are due to residents making complaints to council about sound from past weddings.
– Proper sound insulation or ceiling mounted speakers are really expensive and a lot of venues dont want to pay
– The restriction is put against their Liquor License, so they can lose their business if they get too many complaints. Email me if you want the links to figure out if a venue has current noise restrictions
– The “traffic light” systems that some venues have work this way:
The old systems actually cut all the power to the DJ, so it actually kills the power for about 20 seconds and then reboots everything. Peak volume SHOULD be when everyone is on the dancefloor and at the peak of the night. Having the music go off during a raging dancefloor can absolutely kill the mood. A lot of the newer “traffic light” systems also keep the music on but just compress it to keep it the same volume, which basically means that the higher the volume goes to the limit the worse the music will sound.
– Check the dB levels if the venue has restrictions. Some venues will tell you that 70dB is fine for DJ music. We usually run at about 70 for canapes up to 100-110dB for dancing and our speakers can put out up to 130dB.
Your TV at home is usually at about 70dB when youre watching a movie. Here’s a chart to give you a feel for how loud things are relatively. (see chart)
– There are ways to lower the volume passively at the boundary of the property if you have your heart set on a venue with restrictions.
– A good way to check if the venue has restrictions is to ask if your DJ can bring their own sound system in, if they MUST use the venue’s system then 99% of the time that means that they have restrictions

7 Deep Questions for an Engaged Couple to Ponder

As a wedding DJ, I never tire of watching couples as they unite for their first dance. This tradition has existed since time immemorial.

As I watch, I often think; what is a wedding? I mean underneath the lace and bubbles, the music & fairly lights?

The wedding is a custom that has been passed down from generation to generation, and has endured both because of its value as an institution in society, but also, and importantly, because we instinctively defend what we grow up with.

When we are young, we have experiences, and as we age, we often seek to emulate the success of the elders that we respect. The very fabric of our society relies on this fact, but as well as staying stable, society years to evolve as some members experiment with new practices that push the boundaries of the status quo.

Every couple has the choice. Do we want to maintain the status quo, or should we create a modern wedding? If we push for a non-traditional wedding, how will our family and friends react? Should we get married at all?

As a wedding DJ, I work with couples grappling with these questions every day, and based on my conversations with thousands of brides/grooms, as well as my work as a behavioural scientist, here are 7 questions that I encourage every person to ask themselves once between the time they get engaged and the time they say I Do.

7 Questions for a thoughtful bride and groom

  1. When  did the idea of a wedding first crop up in history?
  2. What suite of problems & opportunities was a wedding originally invented to address?
  3. Which of these issues are still relevant today and which are not?
  4. How has the institution of marriage evolved?
  5. How does a wedding strengthen the fabric of society?
  6. How could I adjust my wedding so that it helps my community thrive?
  7. What can I do to push the status quo, so my community can evolve?

The wedding is one of the oldest social institutions that survives to the present day, and its expression through time and across cultures varies greatly. Yet there are some elements of the wedding that have survived, unchanged, through time.

By understanding the history of such an ancient rite of passage, we can make informed decisions about whether a classic or modern wedding is our best choice, and we can figure to how to create a non-traditional celebration that is expressive of our hearts keenest hope while still making it a service to our community.

I think a lot of people get so obsessed with the wedding and the expense of the wedding that they miss out on what the real purpose is. It’s not about a production number, it’s about a meaningful moment between two people that’s witnessed by people that they actually really know and care about.

Jane Seymour

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