Entertainment

LGBT Weddings: Forms and Formalities

Image credit: KRISTA GUENIN/FLICKR/CREATIVE COMMONS

Our Experience

As a company that embraces our amazing friends and clients in the LGBT community, we’ve been honored to be a part of many elegant same-sex weddings. As part of our evolving communication with engaged couples, we’ve invested the time into creating some forms which take into account the feedback they’ve given. We offer them here as a gift to the community, wedding planners, wedding venues, officiants, and other DJs. Feel free to use them and/or change them to suit your company or your clients.

So What Has Changed?

Language. We’ve asked our same-sex couples how they’d like to be formally presented to their family and friends, and the response has been “newlyweds”.

Formalities/Activities. Most of our same-sex couples aren’t interested in activities like the garter removal and bouquet toss, so we’ve changed those sections of our document so that they can write in these kinds of activities if they would like them.

Besties. Traditionally, most of our grooms have had a best man, and most of our brides have had a maid or matron of honor. However, one of the greatest toasts I’ve heard in my 24 years as a DJ was by the female best friend of one of the grooms at a recent wedding. This client asked for her to be presented as his “Best Person”.

Special Dances. The father/daughter and mother/son dances still play a very important role in paying homage to loving relationships with our clients’ parents. Recently, we’ve hosted some partners who have chosen formal dances with special people other than the opposite sex parent. Our planning tools now reflect those wishes.

How can we help?

More work is still needed to address same-sex couples with the level of dignity and respect they deserve on the most important day of their lives. NYX Entertainment & Events is working toward that goal and if these documents can assist you, it is our honor to present them. We’re open to your feedback on how they can be improved, and what other considerations we can make to produce for all of our couples their #BestDayEver.

Download:

http://bit.ly/NYX-Events-Same-Sex-Wedding-Docs – zip file contents are virus-free .pdf files.

Top Tips for the Perfect Party

A lifelong entertainer and certified event planner with over 25 years experience, NYX Entertainment & Events CEO and Creative Director Howard Teger knows a thing or two about throwing a great celebration! Here are his Top Tips for the Perfect Party.

1 – Timing Is Everything!
Spacing out food, formalities, and dancing is the key to a party that flows naturally for the best guest experience. It is essential to balance these three main elements of your party. Fight the urge to have all of your formalities at the beginning. While these moments are critically important to you, making sure all your guests have fun should be important as well.

2 – Meet and Greet!
You absolutely need to go meet your vendors at their offices! There is invaluable peace of mind in shaking hands with the people you’re counting on for one of the most precious days of your life. Referrals from your friends and reviews from websites like Yelp! are valuable, but they are only part of the equation. Friends and reviewers may not know which parts of your big day are the most important to YOU.

In addition to being able to see the professionalism of the environment in which they work to prepare for your event, you should get a feel for whether a vendor’s personality is compatible with yours. You will be spending a lot of time working on event details with these people. Meeting them at their headquarters will reveal crucial insight on the scale and scope of their operation as well as the level of time and attention they will devote to making your event a resounding success!

3 – For A Good Time, Call… A Professional!
Just as you wouldn’t go to a part-time doctor if you needed surgery, you shouldn’t go to a part-time vendor for your once-in-a-lifetime event. Full-time professionals often have years more practice and experience under their belt, which helps them deal with the inevitable curve balls so smoothly that your guests never even knew there was an issue! And should your part-time vendor strike out, you may have very little legal recourse.

When someone’s livelihood depends on making sure your event is flawless, you will get a much higher standard of performance and customer service. This applies to florists, caterers, photographers, entertainment, party planners, and decorators. We would be happy to point you in the direction of the industry’s finest professionals in all of those areas (and we recommend you go meet them! – see #2).

More info…
So there you have some quick tips that will help for your first interactions with potential vendors. If you have any questions or need help getting started, we’d be glad to help you. Email info@nyxevents.com or drop us a line at 301.984.0500 anytime.

Team NYX at Tour de Cure

As this year’s Tour de Cure approaches, we’d like to call attention to this great cause. While team NYX on bicycles would be entertaining in and of itself, the American Diabetes Association brought us on-board for their 2013 event to do what we do best:rock the crowd! We wish them continued success with their fundraising goals again this year.

Thanks for letting us be a part of your team in the best way possible, American Diabetes Association! We’re looking forward to our continued partnership, and many more successful events!

Get Engaged, Flash Mob Style

Ladies and gentlemen, the bar for marriage proposals has just risen to new heights! Watch Jamin sweep his unsuspecting fiancé-to-be right off her feet with a flash mob style engagement to the tune of Bruno Mars’ “Marry You”!

Flash mob style proposals embody all of the things we love at NYX Events! It has the visual impact, emotional appeal, and whimsical fun that your partner, and everyone around you, will cherish forever. Believe it or not, this kind of proposal isn’t as hard as you might think. But the thought and preparation you put into it will demonstrate your commitment and will not be lost on all those involved.

Step 1: Pick a Song (or Five)
Pick a song that you want your partner and your audience to eternally connect to your proposal. Choose wisely, though. While the proposal itself may last five minutes or so, the memories will last a lifetime!

When picking your song(s), think about which ones have special meaning for you as a couple. Perhaps a song that played on the radio during your first date, or the song that was playing when you had your first kiss would be good choices. Another consideration is that you’ll have lots of people dancing to this song or these songs. So make sure to choose something that has some energy!

Step 2: Pick a Location
So, you’ve picked your song(s), and now you’re ready to pick a location that is both sentimental and appropriate for you and your fiancé-to-be. Do you want a more public proposal like Jamin’s engagement at Disney World, or do you want your mob to be more intimate? We would be glad to suggest some of our favorite scenarios if nothing comes to mind right away. Wherever you choose, we can set the mood with details like sound, lighting, and logistics so you can focus on your performance and making the moment memorable for your partner!

Step 3: Choose an Entertainment Company
Once you’ve pondered your music selection and your location, you’ll need to start choreographing the dance. If choreography isn’t your thing, you’ve come to the right place! As the nation’s leading entertainment producers, we have several professional choreographers and veteran dancers on staff to create the perfect flash mob that is personalized for you as a couple. And we’ll work within your dancing skill level when helping put together your magic moment. Whether you’re a former “Dancing with the Stars” champion (one of whom we worked with on his wedding between hoisting Super Bowl MVP trophies… *ahem*), or you would like to take lessons as part of working with Team NYX, no previous dance training is required to pull off this kind of epic proposal! We would be honored to help you create an unforgettable performance regardless of your skill level, and we will gladly handle professional photography and videography to capture your theatrics in pristine HD forever!

Let us Help!
How do you go about arranging the perfect flash mob for your engagement? Contact us today – we’ll make it easy for you.

Here are some other flash mob proposals that we loved, and we think you will too!

 

 

 

 

The Best Playlist Ever Made!

One of the most important aspects of any great party is the music. With guests ranging in age from 8 to 80, multiple cultures, religions, and personalities, the best playlist ever made must not leave anyone out.

No one understands this better than the DJs at NYX. When you combine the talent and experience of our seasoned professional DJs with your personal favorite songs, the result is your perfect playlist.

Our state-of-the-art online music portal allows you to engage with your NYX DJ 24/7. In addition to the ability to manage all the details of your event, you’ll be able to browse our library of hundreds of thousands of songs and create the dream musical landscape for your occasion using the following categories:

1. The “Must Play” List
These are the important songs that must be played. They’re the songs that we’ll use for special introductions and any other formalities you may have planned. They’re the songs that aren’t negotiable. Think about the anthems of your generation that you’ll adore hearing throughout the night or maybe songs that take you back to a specific, happy time of your life that you want to share with your guests.

2. The “Do Not Play” List
We like to keep you and your guests happy. We know your NYX DJ will only play the best tracks, but we want YOU to know that, too. Just to be sure we’re on the same page, we offer you the “do-not-play” list.

3. The “Play Only if Requested” List
These aren’t your favorite songs, but you wouldn’t mind hearing them if your guests would like to. Often what makes this list are songs that have choreographed line dances. Your DJ will only visit this list when your guests ask for something, it’s clear that they will have fun dancing to it, and it fits appropriately into the schedule and flow for your event.

4. The “Dedications” List
These are the songs for which you would like your DJ or MC to make an announcement. Is someone at your party celebrating a birthday or anniversary? Perhaps you’d like to have a special dance for someone that has traveled particularly far. Maybe you’d like to rile up your rowdy college friends or sing along to your team’s fight song. Let’s be sure we note it in this section so we don’t miss that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!

Make It Memorable
Our goal is to deliver a happy mix of music ensuring that every guest leaves your party having heard their favorite song. Our experienced DJs can read the crowd and will intuitively know what to play to keep your dance floor moving. The best playlist ever made is the one you will make with us… The one that will make your #BestDayEver memorable for years to come.

Need Suggestions?
The soundtrack to your event is a huge part of what makes it memorable for your family and friends. Need help getting started? Call us today so that we can begin creating the best playlist ever made.

Sweet 16: Harry Potter Style

Team NYX produced a Harry Potter themed Sweet 16 celebration at the Bethesda Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland. Needless to say, the event was a fun, whimsical, and all around amazing night!

Scroll down to transport yourself to the Hogwarts that we created with the help of Da Vinci Decor & Lighting. Photo credit: Focus Fine Photography.

Every detail was carefully orchestrated, from the themed seating cards and gated entrance…

NYX Entertainment & Events Sweet 16 entrance

NYX Entertainment & Events Sweet 16 seating closeup

…to the candle-lit ceiling, Harry Potter multimedia and custom Hogwarts drapery.

NYX Entertainment & Events Sweet 16 roomshot 1

NYX Entertainment & Events Sweet 16 roomshot 4

NYX Entertainment & Events Sweet 16 roomshot 3

NYX Entertainment & Events Sweet 16 roomshot 5

NYX Entertainment & Events Sweet 16 Table

And the cake, of course, was the finishing touch!

NYX Entertainment & Events Sweet 16 Cake

Now, back to reality. Elevate your experience.

DIY New Year’s Eve: Party at Your Pad

Part Three: Music and Entertainment

When was the last time you went to a party that had no music? Probably never, right? That’s because music is a major contributor to the overall atmosphere of an event. It has the power to draw your guests in, get everyone on the dance floor and bring the night to a 882078_10151389061503857_69302952_oclose. Further, “It creates the emotion you want to evoke from your guests,” says talented entertainment producer, Andrew Larris.

But, how do you go about providing music and entertainment for your New Year’s Eve bash? Here, you’re faced with two options. You could either hire one of our talented DJs, or be your own via an Ipod playlist and some speakers.

Regardless of your choice, we’re here to help.

Playlist Perfection: It’s Easier than You Think
Sure, there are people whose sole jobs are to figure out the perfect music for your party. They’re called artists, and they’re phenomenal at what they do, but you too can pick a great soundtrack for your night as long as you have two things in mind: the length of the party, and who will be attending.

The length of the party will more or less dictate the length of your playlist, but you want to make sure that your playlist will run long. Our rule of thumb: more is better. “Just make sure you have way more hours than you need to make sure your run out of music or if the party should go longer you have that little extra you need,” said CEO and Creative Director of NYX Entertainment & Events, Howard Teger.

You also want to have the demographics of your guests in mind when you’re crafting your playlist. Hosting an older crowd? Sprinkle in more classics. Younger crowd? Go with more of the Top 40 hits. It truly is that simple.

Crowd Control
Regardless of the demographic and genre that you choose, you’ll need to get the party started, and bring it to a close. These can be two of the trickiest times for you as a DIY DJ, but again, let’s stick to the basics.

As guests arrive, entertainment producer Andrew Larris suggests playing “not danceable” music – the kind that can facilitate both energy and conversation. This is a time that people can feel comfortable getting drinks, eating appetizers and catching up.

Once you’re ready to switch gears, turn the volume up a pinch and transition to something more upbeat. These are songs that you’re likely to find on Top 40s and Greatest Hits lists (a quick Google search will help you hunt these down).

Finally, when you’re through with dancing, start to bring the night to a close with a decrease in volume and some slower-tempo songs. CEO and Creative Director of NYX Entertainment and Events, Howard Teger, suggests closing the night with a few classics. “Time of My Life from the Dirty Dancing Soundtrack and Three Little Birds by Bob Marley are my favorite,” he said.

If your guests aren’t quite getting the musical-nudge, couple your slow songs with a general PSA to let them know it’s time for the evening to come to a close.

Have questions? Comment below, or call the pros! We’re happy to help!

DIY New Year’s Eve: Party at Your Pad

Part Two: Food & Beverage
Now that you’ve picked the kind of party that you want to have, we’re ready to graduate to Food and Beverage. New Year’s Eve is now three weeks away, and time’s a tickin’ – take your seat and let’s learn!

Beverage
We’ll start with the bar because regardless of the kind of party you’re having (cocktail or dinner), champagne isn’t a “want,” it’s a “NEED.”

First, you’ll want to select the appropriate space. Talented event designer, Mitchell Crosby of JMC Events, Charleston, SC, notes “…it’s wise to put the bar as far from the front door and food as possible!” You want to strategically place the bar away from your front door so that you can draw your guests into your space, rather than letting them linger around the entrance. The second tip is less intuitive, as people usually think ‘I’ll want to drink something with my food, so why not put the two stations next to each other?’ Here’s why: putting both stations in close proximity will clog your space. People will be magnetically attracted to that area of your home for majority of the night, rather than circulating the party.

But, what should you serve? Unless you’re having a massive slumber party, remember to have both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. The designated drivers are thirsty, too. But, either way we suggest stocking your bar with your favorite drinks, and of course, champagne!

Experienced caterer Michelle Fishman of Main Event Catering, Washington, DC, suggests incorporating a champagne-concoction station for the event, which allows guests to mix-and-match their own flavors to create their perfect New Year’s tincture.  She suggests stocking the station with “…champagne and maybe a sparkling rose, as well as ginger ale and assorted mixers; cranberry juice, pomegranate juice, St. Germaine’s, sprigs of rosemary or mint, possibly some candied ginger or just some fresh raspberries.”

Here's an example of a create-your-own champagne bar, as suggested by Michelle Fishman of Main Event Catering.

Here’s an example of a create-your-own champagne bar, as suggested by Michelle Fishman of Main Event Catering.

And, her advice doesn’t stop there! She even lets us know how to set up the station: “Place all of the sparkling beverages on ice along one side of a table, glass pitchers filled with the mixers and small bowls of garnish on the other.  You can go with disposable champagne flutes or glass!”

So, the takeaway message for the beverage aspect of your event? First, have drinks for everyone – both drinkers and designated drivers. Second, place your bar strategically. The farther away from the front door, the better, and make sure that it’s not directly next to the food station so there’s not a clog in the arteries of your party-flow. Third, open the doors for creativity! Consider adding an assortment of mixers, garnishes and fruits to the station.

Food
If you’re serving cocktails, you’ll probably want to serve food with it. As we mentioned in last week’s blog, both cocktail and dinner parties feature snacks.

For the snacks, Michelle Fishman of Main Event suggests serving one-bite options. Think of things …” that you can eat with your hands and use only a beverage napkin,” Michelle said. “One of my favorite fillings is mushroom and brie (cooked diced Portobello mushrooms and brie cheese).  Another easy item is purchase a package of raw boneless skinless chicken tenders, slice them in half if you feel they are too big, skewer them, then glaze them with apricot ‘jam’ and roll them in crushed pecans.  Cook and serve room temp or hot!”

Main Event suggests serving your appetizers on sticks! They're great finger foods without the mess. Photo courtesy of Sweet Tea.

Main Event suggests serving your appetizers on sticks! They’re great finger foods without the mess. Photo courtesy of Sweet Tea.

The takeaway for snacks: keep it light, keep it small. Don’t think appetizers and hors d’oeuvres have to be an entire course – the simpler, the better, and no plates necessary. And, are your friends the kinds of people that are dying to help? Let them. Answer “what can I bring?” openly and honestly.

If you’re serving a dinner course, Michelle Fishman suggests prepping the meal the night before. “Prep and platter everything the day before that way you just need to place it out on the table or pop it in the oven for a few moments to take the chill off.” Michelle said. The one-step process keeps things simple – and trust us, as event and entertainment production professionals, when it comes to event production you’ll want to keep the areas that can be simple, simple.

An alternative to cooking the entire meal yourself is throwing a potluck-style dinner. This approach will help bring your crowd together as your guests enjoy the opportunity to taste each other’s dishes and swap recipes! Afraid of two people bringing the same dish? Assign them to a specific style: pasta, vegetable etc.

But, what about third meal? After a night of drinking, dancing and mingling, people are sure to be hungry. Leftovers are a great option (if there are any), but here’s a creative idea we love from Mitchell Crosby of JMCWe love making Strata (egg and sausage casserole) a day ahead and throwing them in the oven at 11:30pm to cook through.  They will be firm and can be placed on small plates with forks to pass out once the kissing and celebrating is done. No need for fruit, grits, hash browns.  Make this a one-dish wonder and be done with it.”

So, this week you’re homework is brainstorm where you want your bar, and the items you want on it. You also need to brainstorm the small items you plan to have for snacks, and if you’re throwing a dinner party, the meal that you plan to serve!

Feeling overwhelmed and want a chance to talk to a professional? Comment below, and we’ll put you in touch with some of the pros!

 NYX To-do list 2

What Happens When Entertainment Designers Collaborate with Graphic Designers: Our New Brochure

We’ve been waiting to show you these brochures for what feels like forever! We teamed up with the creative mind of Mareta Creations to create our new, elevated “brochure,” which you can get a sneak peek of below:

The Box
One of our “brochures” takes on the box-invite form. Check it out:

NYX Entertainment & Events DC LA Brochure

NYX Entertainment & Events DC LA Brochure 6

The Invite
Our other “brochure” takes on the classic invitation-look. After all, who wouldn’t want to be invited to the entertainment experience of a lifetime?

NYX Entertainment & Events DC LA Brochure 4

NYX Entertainment & Events DC LA Brochure 5

Performers We Love: Michael Franti

After producing events all week, it makes perfect sense that we’re inclined to attend one. This past weekend, members of the NYX Entertainment & Events team went to the Mermaids of Alcatraz Tour that featured Train, Michael Franti and Spearhead at Jiffy Lube Live. 

While we thoroughly enjoyed the concert from start to finish, Michael Franti’s performance quickly became our personal favorite. His stage presence, unique talent and musical prowess created a sort of love-at-first-song connection among our team that we haven’t been able to shake.

Stage Presence 2.0: Make a Visit
The staff at NYX Entertainment & Events love both producing events and entertainment, and attending them. After being in the business of crafting the ultimate entertainment experience for more than twenty years, we’ve practically seen it all: the good, the bad, and the just plain terrible. And, given our natural inclination to be hyper-critical of any performance, we have nothing but rave reviews for the Mermaids of Alcatraz Tour, specifically Michael Franti’s act.

Michael Franti submerges himself in the crowd during a performance.

Michael Franti submerges himself in the crowd during a performance.                        Photo courtesy of Rob Chapman.

Michael Franti gave us one of the greatest entertainment experiences of the summer. He commanded the crowd for the duration of his set, sans the help of creative lighting and multi-media effects. Michael took initiative to walk through the crowd and visit his audience, rather than relying on technology as a crutch to get his audience’s attention, Michael commanded the crowd by making a meaningful connection with them, something that only the best of performers can accomplish.

Positive Performance
Our current musical climate is littered with content that, more often than not, speaks to nonsensical violence, lewd behavior and overall negativity. Michael Franti happens to be one of the few artists that don’t participate in the widespread negativity that plagues the performing industry. Rather, he focuses on peace and positivity, something that we appreciate, not only as audience members, but also as professionals at NYX Entertainment & Events.

Spread the Word
 With an unbeatable stage presence, sounds reminiscent of the great Bob Marley and messages that have the power to elevate practically any mood, Michael Franti’s music is this week’s obsession.

From the words of Franti himself, “everyone deserves music.” And, if you’ve never listened to one of his songs, the team at NYX Entertainment & Events urges you to do so immediately, with the highest of hopes that you’ll love him as much as we do. Not sure where to start? Try one of our favorite songs, “The Sound of Sunshine.”

Ted Talk Tuesday: Richard St. John

Everyone has his or her own definition of success. For some, success means earning money, buying a big house or maybe a fancy car. Perhaps for others, success is levitating to a higher social standing or winning an award.

For our team at NYX, success is nearly impossible to define as a single item or ideal. Instead, we’ve created our own definition by drawing from approximately eight components, as outlined by Richard St. John’s Ted Talk, “Eight Secrets of Success.”

[ted id=70]

While we haven’t taken the past 7 years to interview approximately 500 people about their personal definitions and secrets of success, we have taken the past 20 to design and produce entertainment for more than 15,000 events. Our alternate route to discovering the secret and definition of success led us to the same enlightenment.

Be Successful Every Day
Every day, the team at NYX Entertainment & Events acknowledges following elements to be sure that the day is, in our opinion, successful:

  • Passion
  • Work
  • Focus
  • Persistence
  • Creativity
  • Professionalism
  • Drive
  • Customer Service

The Perfect Recipe
The eight elements highlighted by Richard St. John, and adapted by NYX, are the best ingredients for a successful business day. We’ve used the recipe for countless days, weeks and years to produce award-winning events and entertainment, most notably:

We’d like to thank Richard St. John for fleshing-out his discoveries in such an eloquent fashion, and we’re proud to say that NYX Entertainment & Events is a passionate, hard-working, focused, persistent, creative, driven and professional team that focuses on customer service and delivering the highest level of entertainment for every client.

NYX Goes Hollywood

Three struggles we faced, and overcame on our journey to Hollywood fame.

About two months ago, we were sitting poolside at the Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, when President and CEO, Howard Teger’s, cell phone rang. Ten minutes later, NYX Entertainment & Events had accepted the challenge to fully produce an event in three weeks on the West Coast.

  1. Challenge 1: Time is of the Essence

Typically, we have about nine months lead-time to produce an event. During those nine months, we go through the process of consulting and planning with the client and vendors to be sure that our product and service matches their vision.

The production clock for our Hollywood challenge began to tick as soon as Howard hung up the phone. And, it wasn’t just your average production clock: it was shorter. About 33 weeks shorter.

Time doesn’t wait for anyone, and it certainly wasn’t about to make an exception for NYX. When the phone call was over, we realized we had three weeks to fully produce an event that was 3,000 miles away.

  1. Challenge 2: a Shot in the Dark

Every event producer dreams for his or her own means of teleportation. Unfortunately for us, not everything we can dream will actually happen. But, fortunately for our clients, we’ll do everything that we can to make their dreams a reality.

We were challenged with fully producing a party on another coast, sans the ability to teleport, without ever laying eyes on the venue. And, blueprints and floor plans can only go so far. How did we handle this challenge? We hired vendors that knew the venue. And not just any vendors, but the best; vendors we knew we could add to our team and aid our process of creative collaboration.

With the help of these fabulous vendors, we were able to eliminate much of the guesswork that we otherwise would have encountered. We were no longer shooting in the dark, but rather, we were guided to the light.

  1. Challenge 3: Keep Calm and Plan the Surprise

After having built a strong foundation on the West Coast, our team had to face one last challenge: planning three activity-packed, exciting days while keeping the guest of honor guessing. After all, what’s a surprise party without the element of surprise?

For three weeks straight, our entire team came together for countless meetings to solidify every detail of the three-day surprise, from an early morning yoga session on the beach to a very special dinner reception to a late-night “Glam Jam” at the Hotel Bel Air.

The following is photo-montage of the event’s highlights.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oC6L7C4fZeg]

A special thanks to all the vendors who were an essential part in the event’s production: