How to power a tent Wedding Reception

Outdoor weddings are wonderful........when planned properly. For some reason however I've had a lot more conversations lately with brides-to-be regarding outdoor events and, more specifically, some of the pitfalls of tent setups. I thought it deserved some attention so here goes. (WARNING: Boring techie stuff follows but stick with me, this stuff is important) We do a lot of tent events and I have to be honest, I usually pull onto the property, cringing because I don't know what I'm up against (power-wise). Let's cover some basic dos and don'ts for powering a tent-based Wedding Reception. For a visual, here's an event we did in Manchester, back in March, 2012.

Power Requirements A typical circuit is 15-20 amps or 2000 watts. An amp is roughly 100 watts. It's important that you always calculate what's needed, then make sure there's twice as much power available as required. Here's a breakdown of items that we often see on tent events:

DJ sound gear

< 10 amps

Tent lights (par64, incandescent-style)

5 amps


(2-6 needed)

Perimeter lighting (LED, 20 fixtures)

2 amps

Dance lighting (LED)

2 amps

Dance lighting (non-LED)

10 amps

Leko lights (pattern gobos)

5 amps each (1-2 used)

Coffee makers

10 amps each

Food warmers

10 amps each

As you can see, it adds up quickly. The setup above is fairly modest and uses three full circuits. On the pictures included, our DJ setup included sound, dance-floor effects lighting, 20 perimeter uplights, and 2 Lekos (the gobo pattern at the top of the tent). And that doesn't even count catering or the Photobooth.

Here's a shot from an event we did in June, 2012. This included sound, dance lighting, 20 perimeter lights (hung from the roof-line of the tent), dance lighting and the tent company hung 6, Par64 incandescent cans. These units alone were 500 watts each, or 3000 watts (2 circuits). This entire setup ran off 3 circuits with a generator on-site as backup, in case of failure. By the way, side note here, if you're doing Uplighting (colored perimeter lights), be sure and have the Uplighting contractor coordinate with the tent company. In this case the tent company had too many lights and used yellow gels, which clashed and washed out the gorgeous red Uplighting the bride had requested.

There are two ways to get power to a tent setup; land power or generator. Let's cover generators first.


Generators come in two varieties; inverter and non-inverter. Here's a non-inverter style:

In short, DO NOT USE THIS TYPE! It's okay for incandescent lights, coffee makers, etc. but DJ gear (computers, audio, controllers) will go nuts. You do want your entire first dance song to play without stopping, right? Keep in mind also that these smaller generators only have about a 3-4 hour runtime. There's nothing worse than having a couple hundred of your closest friends standing in total darkness while dad is out trying to re-fuel and restart the generator. And that's not even to talk about the fact that this probably won't even be enough to power the entire setup either.

If you're going to use a generator, rent a multi-circuit, inverter-style, pull-behind generator. that has at least 8-10 hours of runtime between fueling. It should look something like this:

In the Nashville area Art's Pancake Rent-All is a good source. You'll want something that has a fuel tank large enough to power your entire event at full load for twice as long as you're planning for. These pull-behind units typically will have a break-out panel (multiple circuits) and a couple hundred feet of cabling with it. This lets you put the generator out of ear-shot of your guests and puts the power where it's needed (without a bunch of extension cords).

Land Power Wherever possible, we always recommend land power to be used as it's more reliable but you need to be aware of extension cords. Never run more than a couple hundred feet of extension cords and never use anything less than 10 or 12-gauge wires. If you pull 16 or 18-gauge cable (the common orange extension cords you use for the weed trimmer) that far, the voltage will drop and that's what burns up electrical gear of all kinds.  Bear in mind that you'll need multiple circuits and no, you can just put a multi-strip on the end to power everything in the tent. If you're doing it right, the extension cables should remain cool. If you're overloading them, they'll get hot and that usually means the circuit will fail at some point during the evening (remember that guest in the dark pic?).

One other little "gotcha". Getting proper voltage at the end of the line is important. After everything has been wired up, use a volt meter to make certain you have the right voltage. Good voltage is anywhere between 115 and 124 volts. If your tent power is dipping below that, you may be in for trouble. This is often caused by using too-light gauge or too-long extension cords.

Uplighting (another "gotcha") As a side note, I wanted to address something specific to Uplighting issues. There are two ways to do perimeter lighting on tents. Hang the fixtures at the tent roof-line and shoot the color onto the roof or use sidewalls on the tent and paint the walls from the ground up.

In the case where sidewalls are being used, be sure to stake the walls into the ground. First off, it keeps rain off the lighting fixtures (we lost a fixture due to rain on the purple job above) and it keeps the color hitting where it's suppose to.

Drainage Issues You need to be careful when selecting the location for your tent. Of course, you'll want a good, flat surface but something most people miss is drainage. Be sure and survey the area just after a heavy rainstorm. Is there water running through the area where you want to put the tent? Pick someplace else to put it. Water running through your tent not only makes for muddy shoes (and unhappy guests) but it can also be dangerous if you have electrical cables running across it as well. Better safe than sorry.

Summary If you've made it this far and are still awake, congratulations! You are in the minority that is doing diligence and that is the first rule of pulling off a successful outdoor event. If all this techie mumbo-jumbo is confusing, don't worry. It is for most people. That's what you hire the pros to help you with. If there are any questions we can ever answer for you, even if we're not doing your event, please call or email anytime. We're always here to help.

DISCLAIMER615DJ is NOT a licensed electrician and makes no claims to such expertise. The article above is offered in the spirit of helpful advice, from the DJ's perspective. We recommend you seek the advice of a competent, licensed professional for your electrical wiring needs. 

Nashville Wedding DJ, Uplighting and Photobooth Service

Anastasia and Jeremiah

A view of a wedding day is a story that unfolds gradually, steadily and differently for each couple. That's the beauty....individuality. No matter the common thread, the day is always unique and a beautiful reflection of the two becoming one. 

This story unfolds at the Silo. The farm house where the Bridal party gathered in preparation is stylish and comfortable while still maintaining the charm of a country style home. The Bride and Groom repeated vows and exchanged rings in an outdoor ceremony followed by dinner and dancing in an elegant in door area. The couple took a moment to enjoy a beautiful sunset before rejoining their guest for more dancing. 

Congratulations Anastasia and Jeremiah! Happy Anniversary!

The Lighthouse - Rebecca and Phil

There's nothing more beautiful than two people in love. Meet Phil and Rebecca! There is something about the way they look at each other or maybe it's the way they can never stop smiling. Anyway, if you're a hopeless romantic like me, this blog's for you! Their wedding day was simply magical. Even when a few raindrops fell it didn't put a damper on anything and guess what? After the rain shower, there was a beautiful rainbow! These two chose The Lighthouse in Hendersonville as their wedding venue and said their vows by Old Hickory Lake. Afterwards, family and friends enjoyed a meal on the upper level. As the evening continued, everyone applauded as the wedding party made their grand entrance for the reception. Phil and Rebecca beautifully choreographed their first dance as husband and wife. The dance floor stayed full for the rest of the evening. There was cake. There was a bouquet toss. There was a garter toss. There was a sparkler exit. But most of all there was joy, laughter, and love. Happy First Anniversary, Rebecca and Phil.

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Kari and Nick - Lost River Cave - Bowling Green KY

There is a romantic eeriness about caves. Yes, something strange and frightening about going down into the earth surrounded by rock walls into natural halls that have been carved out over centuries by underground rivers. Formations of stalactites and stalagmites decorating the neutral interior create a natural Feng Shui as the path winds through this cavity in the earth. Yet, there exists a quiet, peacefulness that allows a place of refuge for awhile.

Kari and Nick chose Lost River Cave for their ceremony and reception. White chairs on the banks of the river, created an aisle for Kari's entrance. The wooded area provided a natural cathedral for this real life fairy tale.  After portraits, the couple made their grand entrance into the historic Cavern Nite Club, located in one of the largest cave entrance areas in the United States. The up-lighting on the cave walls added charm and elegance. When Nick took Kari into his arms for the first dance, there was magic in the air. It was obvious they were meant only for each other forever. After dinner and visiting with guests the couple moved to the cake table and put on bibs! There were lots of giggles and laughter as these two weren't afraid to get a little messy with the traditional 'feeding of the cake.' Then there was dancing! Congratulations Kari and Nick!!! 

Carolyn Ryan


Jennifer and Mike

Nashville is a great place for a destination wedding. If your guest, friends, and family are traveling from different locations anyway, why not invite them to a celebration in the heart of Music City? The options are endless for venues and vendors offering everything from outdoor barn weddings - some of which offer cozy Bed and Breakfast accommodations for out-of-towners, historical homes, Botanical Gardens, Country Clubs to beautiful Hotel weddings (Opryland Resort) or Chapel and Cathedral weddings. Travel arrangements are easy with Nashville International Airport available. The area has some of the best Caterers and Wedding Cake designers in the region. If you like good food, you're going to love Nashville where you can treat your guest to a sit down meal with everything from carved roast beef, filet mignon to a buffet with waffles and hot chicken. 

Jennifer and Mike did just that, a destination wedding! So much fun and such a beautiful day! They chose the Cathedral of the Incarnation for their ceremony. Their family and friends filled the pews as Mike saw his bride walking down the aisle, radiant and beautiful holding onto the arms of her Mother and Dad. There were so many beautiful moments as the priest who officiated spoke to the couple and the congregation. After the release of doves, the couple and the wedding party left in a party bus for Riverfront park to have a few pictures of the heart of the city for their collection. One of their guests actually traveled hundreds of miles by boat, so of course that picture was a highlight. Terian Farms was the perfect choice for the reception. The grounds offer a nostalgic indoor barn, perfect regardless of weather conditions. We also loved the horses and beautiful country scenery. Their evening was full of good food, smiles and laughter and dancing. Well-wishers lined the side walk with sparklers as these two made their exit for the evening. Congratulations Jennifer and Mike! 


It's all about love, family, and happily ever after. The details Sonia chose were exquisite. It's always an incredible privilege to be invited to be a part of someone's wedding day from beginning to end. The excitement of preparing for the day, the planning that leads up to the day, the nervous expectation of everything running smoothly and yet the calmness of knowing your love waits for you. 

Saint Catherine's was filled with guests as Sonia walked down the aisle with her Dad. The moments to follow were a witness to a life beginning together, two souls joining from this day forward. 

The Reception was an incredible celebration of a day well planned. Congratulations Sonia and Joseph!



The first words of the lyrics to Etta James' immortal hit 'At Last'..."At last my love has come along. My lonely days are over and life is like a song..." pretty much sums up Carol and Jim's beautiful wedding day at The Legends Golf Club.  Even though rain threatened, Legends offered a beautiful covered outdoor area for their ceremony. Carol and Jim chose Nashville for their destination wedding and Carol designed beautiful details for her day including boots filled with flowers to line the aisle. The food and reception area was perfection along with the outdoor patio games like Jenga, Four in a Row, Tic Tac Toe and more. Later, after the meal, cake, and lots of dancing the couple had Krispy Creme Donuts delivered hot! How do you top that? You have a sparkler send off with a vintage red mustang waiting to drive you away!!! Congratulations Carol and Jim!


Rebecca and Hunter

Rebecca and Hunter choose Baskin Wedding Chapel at Brentwood Baptist for their ceremony. The moments leading up to the wedding were full of friends and smiles. Some of my favorite emotions were: 1) the first moment her Dad saw her, his little girl, now a bride, 2) When she and Hunter exchanged gifts and held hands around a door without seeing each other, 3) And my absolute favorite, when Hunter saw her walking down the aisle towards him.

The sanctuary was beautiful and I loved the piano prelude. The wedding party stood beside these two as they said 'I do', creating a beautiful memory full of support and love. The sun streamed through the windows as the ceremony ended and these two walked down the aisle together.

They chose Old Natchez for their reception. There's nothing like a jump for joy on the green overlooking a beautiful range. The bubble exit  and a sunset portrait completed the day. These two were full of joy and blessed with family and friends as they celebrated. Congratulations Rebecca and Hunter! (Happy Anniversary!)

SAMANTHA AND COREY - March 18, 2017

Samantha and Corey's wedding day was beautiful! They chose Opryland Hotel for their venue. The Bridal suite overlooked the conservatory from the top floor and offered ambiance and natural light. The day was full of smiles as Samantha and her Dad walked through the garden to the Gazebo. Corey and Samantha exchanged vows with family and friends in attendance. After formal portraits, Corey and Samantha enjoyed romantic moments by the waterfalls for a few images before their Grand Entrance into the Magnolia Ballroom. Check out their wedding day. Congratulations Samantha and Corey.

Nashville Wedding Photography, DJ & Lighting

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Katherine and Gregory - Schermerhorn Symphony Center - 8/12/2017

Katherine and Gregory are some of the most kind and sweetest people that you could ever hope to meet. We were privileged to be party to their wedding, which was held at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center in downtown Nashville. If you've never been to this facility, it's the absolute most elegant venue in Nashville and it was the perfect location.

Entertainment was provided by The Downtown Band, one of the top wedding bands in the nation, and they certainly live up to their name. Carolyn and I split photography duties (she goes with the girls and I go with the guys), then combined for the remainder of the evening. We'd like to thank Katherine and Greg, for allowing us to be a part of their special day. We wish them both all the happiness in the world.


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Ryan Wedding photographers, DJ and Lighting


Hannah and Daniel - King's Chapel, Arrington TN - 5-7-2016

Please meet Hannah and Daniel. The two are simply made for each other and we loved, loved, loved working with them on their special day. Their ceremony was held at history King's Chapel in Arrington, TN (about 15 miles south of Nashville). This chapel is a wonderful historic location and their ceremony was just perfect. After the ceremony was over, our couple and their guests moved over to the clubhouse for a night of dancing and partying with our very own DJ Rob acting as DJ and MC for the occasion.

Services provided: 2Xphotographer, DM/MC, dance lighting



Jennifer and Mike - Cathedral of the Incarnation and Terian Farms (10-17-2015)

Meet Jennifer and Mike. They had one of the most interesting combinations of venues for their beautiful fall wedding. The lucky couple is from Chicago, and chose Nashville for their very special destination wedding.

The ceremony was held downtown at the beautiful Cathedral of the Incarnation. This is one of the most palatial churches in Nashville, and provided the perfect backdrop for their full-length, traditional Catholic ceremony. After the ceremony was over, the couple and their (quite large) bridal party were whisked away by a 50-person limousine, where we made stops at Riverfront park where Mike's friend had driven his boat down from Chicago, where staged some fun, bridal party portraits. After this, the party moved over to Mt. Juliet at Terian Farms. This is a quaint, working horse farm. Jennifer was even brave enough to get up close with one of the horses for some tremendous party shots.

Services used: 2Xphotographer, DJ/MC, lighting, photo booth



Nashville wedding photographers, DJ and lighting


Brittany and Wes - Opryland Hotel 11-20-2015

We fell in love with these guys from the moment we met them. Wes and Brittany chose Opryland Hotel for their nupitals and wedding reception and wow, what an event. Their ceremony was held out by the Lion's Head fountain. It's in the old section, and a gorgeous spot for a ceremony. After the ceremony, they moved over to the Delta Pavilion, where they danced the night away with their family and guests. Thank you for allowing us to be a small part.

Service provided: Photography, DJ/MC



Emily and Kenneth - Scarritt-Bennett & Musician's Hall of Fame - 11/14/2015

Meet two of the sweetest people in the world; Emily and Kenneth. This lovely couple chose the stately Scarritt-Bennett chapel for their nupitals. We simply LOVE this venue and there's just none others like it in the area. After their ceremony, our couple and their guests moved over to the Musician's Hall of Fame where they danced the night away.

Services provided: 2 photographers, DJ/MC, Lighting and Photo Booth

Venue; Scarritt-Bennett (ceremony), Musician's Hall of Fame (reception)


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Nashville wedding photographers, DJ and Lighting


Adrianne and Jake - Hutton Hotel - 11/7/2015

Meet Adrianne and Jake. They had an absolutely perfect day with their wedding being held at the elegant Hutton Hotel in Nashville. The ceremony and reception were both held at the same location, and both families had a wonderful time, dancing the night away. Check out the images we got of this beautiful (and handsome) couple. We wish them all the happiness in the world for their future.

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Adrianne's bridal portrait session

Adrianne's bridal portrait session

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Nashville wedding photographers, DJ & Lighting

Justin & Lindsey - Indian Hills Country Club - Bowling Green KY

This had to have been one of the most high-energy parties of the year. Held at the Indian Hills Country Club in Bowling Green, KY our lovely couple had their wedding Ceremony out on the green complete with a live string section. Something a bit out of the ordinary, Lindsey & Justin came back after their exit and released their guests, row by row, which gave them a chance to personally visit with each person. A very nice touch. Kudos to my good friends at B&B Portraits. It's always a thrill to work with you guys.

After the Ceremony was over, we moved things indoors. If you haven't been there before, Indian Hills is a first-class venue. The main banquet room is perfect for groups of 100-150 and opens out to a rear patio area that's great for chatting or just enjoying the scenery. This event was scheduled for our Live-Pics live slideshow but when we arrived there was already a memories slideshow running, using the in-house A/V system (two large screens). After checking with the mother of the Bride as to whether she wanted me to run Live-Pics (during the dance set) or just leave it as is Lindsey piped up "What? I LOVE the Live-Pics thing." Yes ma'am.

After dinner I ran "The Shoe Game" as a lead-in to cake-cutting. It was fantastic and, judging from the applause and laughter from the guests, I knew we had a real live one here. As soon as we hit the first tune the dance floor filled (completely) and it stayed packed the entire evening. I threw a very wide variety of material at these guys. The amazing part was that practically everyone stayed on the dance floor regardless whether it was a song from "their era" or not.

The Live-Pics and text-messaging was also a huge hit and I'd have to say this group probably ran more text messages than any other I've ever seen (and almost all of them were clearn too). Lots of good-natured ribbing back and forth over college sports teams but also lots of well-wishes for the lucky couple. I normally provide my own screen, usually behind the DJ stand, but this venue was setup so we could tap into their system. The layout of these screens was perfect and I wish every venue had an A/V setup like this one.

At the end of the evening Lindsey's dad absolutely made my night. He came up to thank me and told me that as the bride was getting into her Limo she looked at him and said "Dad, this was absolutely perfect." Guys, all I can say is "thank you" for allowing me to be part of your "perfect" evening.

The couple's First Dance

Time to party!

Lindsey's sis & dad enjoy a slow dance together

Event Playlist
2011-10-01 Wedding Reception - Indian Hills Country Club - Bowling Green KY

Filename Song Artist Year Genre
Black Eyed Peas5 - I Gotta Feeling.mp3 I Gotta Feeling Black Eyed Peas 2009 Pop
Jason Mraz\We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things_3 - Lucky featuring Colbie Caillat.mp3 Lucky featuring Colbie Caillat Jason Mraz & Colbie Caillat 2008 Pop
Louis Armstrong1 - What A Wonderful World.mp3 What A Wonderful World Louis Armstrong 2007 Jazz
10-16-2010 wedding (Megan Elliott)\GARTH BROOKS - IT'S YOUR SONG.mp3 It's Your Song GARTH BROOKS 0 genre
Various Artists\Motown\19 - I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch).mp3 I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch) Four Tops 2008 Pop
Beyonce\Put A Ring On It-CLEAN.mp3 Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It) Beyonce 2008 Pop
- downloads\Destiny's Child\#1's\11 - Bootylicious.mp3 Bootylicious Destiny's Child 0 Pop
- Hip-Hop\Nelly\Hot In Here-CLEAN.mp3 Hot In Herre Nelly 2002 Rap & Hip-Hop
@PrimeCuts\Train - Marry Me [Album Version].mp3 Marry Me [Album Version] Train 2010 AAA
Zac Brown Band2 - Whatever It Is.mp3 Whatever It Is Zac Brown Band 2008 Country
- Jazz\Steve Baxter Feat. Randy Crawford - 4 More Days [Album Version].mp3 4 More Days [Album Version] Steve Baxter Feat. Randy Crawford 2009 Smooth Jazz
@PrimeCuts\Patrick Lamb - Sweet Tea [Radio Edit].mp3 Sweet Tea [Radio Edit] Patrick Lamb 2011 Smooth Jazz
- Jazz3 afterglow.mp3 afterglow Dwayne Jones 0 Jazz
- Jazz2 If You Care.mp3 If You Care Dwayne Jones 0 Jazz
- Jazz4 any port in a storm.mp3 any port in a storm Dwayne Jones 0 Jazz
- Jazz5 steppin' out.mp3 steppin' out Dwayne Jones 0 Jazz
Frank Sinatra1 Come Fly with Me.mp3 Come Fly with Me Frank Sinatra 2008 Vocal
Frank Sinatra8 - Fly Me To The Moon (In Other Words) (Remastered Album V.mp3 Fly Me To The Moon (In Other Words) (Remastered Album Version) [The Frank Sinatra Collection] Frank Sinatra 2008 Pop
Frank Sinatra9 Summer Wind.mp3 Summer Wind Frank Sinatra 2008 Vocal
- downloads\Diana Krall\All For You (A Dedication To The Nat King Cole Trio)7 - Hit That Jive Jack.mp3 Hit That Jive Jack Diana Krall 1996 Jazz
Michael Bubl?\Call Me Irresponsible9 - Everything.mp3
Frank Sinatra1 - I've Got You Under My Skin (2006 Digital Remaster).mp3 I've Got You Under My Skin (2006 Digital Remaster) Frank Sinatra 2007 Broadway & Vocalists
Nat King Cole1 Unforgetable.mp3 Unforgetable Nat " 0 Easy Listening
Michael Bubl?\Sway.mp3
Frank Sinatra7 The Girl from Ipanema.mp3 The Girl from Ipanema Antonio Carlos Jobim 2008 Vocal
- downloads\Diana Krall\All For You (A Dedication To The Nat King Cole Trio)4 - Frim Fram Sauce.mp3 Frim Fram Sauce Diana Krall 1996 Jazz
Nat King Cole7 L-O-V-E.mp3 L-O-V-E Nat " 0 Easy Listening
Sara Bareilles\Little Voice\10 - Many the Miles.mp3 Many the Miles Sara Bareilles 2007 Pop
Various Artists\Motown\(Disc 3) 09 - ABC.mp3 ABC Jackson 5 2008 Pop
@PrimeCuts\Little Big Town - Little White Church.mp3 Little White Church Little Big Town 2010 Country
Stevie Wonder2 - Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I'm Yours).mp3 Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I'm Yours) Stevie Wonder 2000 R&B
Michael Bubl?\It's Time\10 - How Sweet It Is.mp3
Darius Rucker7 - Alright.mp3 Alright Darius Rucker 2008 Pop
Zac Brown Band\Zac Brown Band - Toes [Single Edit - No 'Ass'].mp3 Toes [Single Edit - No 'Ass'] Zac Brown Band 2009 Adult Contemporary
Michael Bubl?\Moondance.wma
Brad Paisley\Then-slow.mp3 Then Brad Paisley 0 Country
Various Artists\Party Starter- Funk Mix2 Brick House.mp3 Brick House The Commodores 2006 Soul And R&B
Miley Cyrus\Miley Cyrus - Party In The U.S.A. [Cosmo Remix Version].mp3 Party In The U.S.A. [Cosmo Remix Version] Miley Cyrus 2009 Top 40
- Hip-Hop\Cupid\Cupid Shuffle - CLEAN.mp3 Cupid Shuffle Cupid 0 Other
- Kids\Disney9 YMCA.mp3 YMCA Village People 2004 Disco
Otis Day\Shout.mp3 Shout Various Artists 1999 Children's Music
- Kids\18 - The Chicken Dance.mp3 The Chicken Dance KidzTown 2009 Miscellaneous
- Hip-Hop\Quad City DJ's1 - C'mon N' Ride It (The Train) (LP Version).mp3 C'mon N' Ride It (The Train) (LP Version) Quad City DJ's 1996 Rap & Hip-Hop
@PrimeCuts\Justin Bieber Feat. Jaden Smith - Never Say Never.mp3 Never Say Never Justin Bieber Feat. Jaden Smith 2011 Top 40
- Hip-Hop\Ludacris\Ludacris - How Low [Clean].mp3 How Low [Clean] Ludacris 2009 Top 40
@PrimeCuts\California Swag District - Teach Me How To Dougie.mp3 Teach Me How To Dougie California Swag District 2010 Urban
01 - Moving Like Berney.mp3 Moving Like Berney Isa 2010 Rap & Hip-Hop
Salt-N-Pepa\The Best Of Salt-N-Pepa 20th Century Masters The Millennium Collection1 - Push It.mp3 Push It Salt-N-Pepa 2008 Rap & Hip-Hop
Neil Diamond\13 - Sweet Caroline.mp3 Sweet Caroline Neil Diamond 1987 Pop
Old Crow Medicine Show\11 - Wagon Wheel.mp3 Wagon Wheel Old Crow Medicine Show 2004 Folk
Lonestar\Amazed - SLOW.mp3 Amazed Lonestar 1999 Country
ZZ Top\13 Cheap Sunglasses.mp3 Cheap Sunglasses ZZ Top 1992 Rock
Michael Jackson\Thriller.mp3 Thriller (Album Version) Michael Jackson 2008 Pop
Journey\Dont Stop Believin.mp3 Don't Stop Believin' Journey 1988 Pop
V.I.C_\Wobble1 - Wobble (Radio Version).mp3 Wobble (Radio Version) V.I.C. 2008 Rap & Hip-Hop
- Hip-Hop\Sir Mix-A-Lot\Baby Got Back.mp3 Baby Got Back (Album Version) Sir Mix A Lot 1992 Pop
Ying Yang Twins\Me & My Brother5 - Salt Shaker (Edited).mp3 Salt Shaker (Edited) Ying Yang Twins 2003 Rap & Hip-Hop
- Hip-Hop\DJ Casper\Cha Cha Slide - CLEAN.mp3 Cha Cha Slide Org Platinum Band 0 Other
Etta James\At Last.mp3 At Last Etta James 1999 Blues
Various Artists\Hits of The 60's Volume 19 - The Twist.mp3 The Twist Chubby Checker 2008 Pop
@PrimeCuts\Adele - Rolling In The Deep [Radio Edit].mp3 Rolling In The Deep [Radio Edit] Adele 2010 Adult Contemporary
Lady GaGa\Just_Dance - CLEAN.mp3 Just Dance Lady GaGa 2008 Pop
Bon Jovi\Livin' On A Prayer.mp3
Jagged Edge3 - Let's Get Married.mp3 Let's Get Married Jagged Edge 2006 R&B
@PrimeCuts\LMFAO Feat. Lauren Bennett And Goon Rock - Party Rock Anthem.mp3 Party Rock Anthem LMFAO Feat. Lauren Bennett And Goon Rock 2010 Adult Contemporary
Toby Keith\Greatest Hits, Vol. 2\Should've Been a Cowboy [#][Live].mp3 Should've Been a Cowboy [#][Live] Toby Keith 2004 Country
Garth Brooks\Friends In Low Places.mp3
Jason Aldean9 - Big Green Tractor.mp3 Big Green Tractor Jason Aldean 2009 Country
[Vanilla Ice] - Ice Ice Baby.mp3
Various Artists\Party Starter- Funk Mix4 Super Freak, Pt. 1.mp3 Super Freak, Pt. 1 Rick James 2006 Soul And R&B
Bee Gees _ Various Artists\11 - Stayin' Alive.mp3 Stayin' Alive The Bee Gees 2008 Pop
Lynyrd Skynyrd\Sweet Home Alabama.mp3 Sweet Home Alabama Lynyrd Skynyrd 2000 Rock
- Hip-Hop\[Young MC] Bust A Move - CLEAN.mp3 Bust A Move Young MC 0 Other
- Hip-Hop\Lil Wayne\Got Money - CLEAN.mp3 Got Money Lil Wayne 2008 Rap & Hip-Hop

4 Secrets to the Perfect Wedding Reception

I meet regularly with brides (and grooms) to be and the most common comment I hear is "This is the first time we've done this." This is usually followed up by an hour of machine-gun-style tips and suggestions (from me) but I realize that sometimes it's a lot to take in and digest. I'd like to use this blog to share those ideas and concepts and hopefully help you to make the right decisions on how to structure YOUR special day.

#1 Planning

There simply is no substitute for proper planning. The diligence you do here will pay off in a smoothly-run event but even more importantly, it will pay off in putting your mind at ease and to understand better what to expect. It's always best to write out a Timeline of Events for your wedding and it's almost always a good idea to employ someone you can trust to help you in this process, ideally someone who has experience with this.

Now keep in mind, a Timeline of Events is a game plan. It's quite likely that your event will not follow the script exactly but that written timeline will give your vendors a clearer picture of how you want things to go and it will also give you peace of mind that all the details are taken care of, letting you actually enjoy the evening instead of worrying about it.

#2 Start Strong, Finish Strong

The moment your guests walk into your Wedding Reception is perhaps the most crucial of the entire evening. They should be greeted by soft (dimmed) lighting and quiet, beautiful music. This is also where uplighting comes into play. The goal is that you want them to pause in the doorway and tilt their heads back in order to take it all in. We call it the "tilt back effect". Anytime we see this, I know we're off to a good start.

The second strong start you want is the Grand Entrance, or the introduction of the Bridal Party. This is THE moment of your arrival. Even if you're the shy type who doesn't want to be the center of attention, understand that this evening is also about your guests. A great Grand Entrance is another great way to set the tone and raise the expectations of your guests. When you raise the energy level here, it pays off throughout the evening. Finally, make sure you have a strong, and definite exit. Without a definite exit, guests end up "sneaking out" and that dampens their perception of your event and how great it was.

#3 Room Focus Events

Most wedding receptions follow the same general format but I see a wide variety in how the special events are handled. One of the biggest mistakes I see made is when things like First Dance, Parent Dances and Cake are stacked up, back-to-back. The comment usually is "We're going to get those out of the way." BIG mistake. These special events are traditional elements of any good wedding celebration and we term those "Room Focus Events".

We recommend that you spread RFEs throughout the evening. It's always best to spread these events at 20-30 minute intervals, throughout the evening. First, it keeps your guests entertained but it also works to re-center the group's attention and holding their attention will pay off in holding them longer at the event itself.

#4 Let it Unfold Naturally

Your Wedding Reception is a huge event in the life of a young lady. You plan and plan and plan and every detail must be perfect and especially so if you're a micro-manager type. No matter how detailed your plans may be, you must keep in mind that your event involves people and the one constant about dealing with people is that there are no constants. Each Wedding Reception is different and has its own ebb and flow of energy and this just isn't something you control. You have to let it unfold, naturally. Do your diligence and planning up-front but when it comes to the day-of, sit back and take it all in. Don't let some small, un-planned event take away your joy and ruin your memories.


I trust that you find something in this blog that will be helpful in planning for your own special day. Enjoy it all.

Would you like more info on our services and how we can benefit your event?

About The Author

Rick Ryan Entertainment is Nashville’s premiere party entertainment service. Our team of DJs and support personnel provide the ultimate in DJ, Emcee, Lighting and PhotoCenter service for many of the area’s most discerning clients. We would be honored to be part of your very special occasion.

Nashville Wedding Photographers DJ & Lighting Service


Oscar and Doris (1-18-2014) Wedding Reception, Opryland Hotel (Magnolia Ballroom)

Client: Doris and Oscar

Date: January 18th, 2014

Venue:Opryland Hotel - Nashville, TN

Services Provided: DJ, Emcee, Live-Pics, Texting, Monogram and Photobooth

Photo Album: Doris and Oscar

Meet one of the sweetest couples in the world, Doris and Oscar.


This lovely couple tied the knot at the world-famous, Opryland Hotel. We were honored to provide DJ/Emcee, Live-Pics/Texting and Photobooth for their event. For those who have been there, you know that Opryland is one of the most premium venues in the Nashville market and the Magnolia ballroom is simply stunning with its very ornate columns, mirrors and carved trim work.

After exchanging vows, our couple and their guests joined us in the atrium for cocktails. It didn't take long to start having some fun with the Photobooth.


After cocktails, our couple moved into the ballroom for dinner, then dancing. Here is their First Dance (notice the gorgeous decor in the room):


After the formalities were finished it was time for open-dance. Our lucky couple certainly managed to dance the night away.


We'd like to also extend a special shout-out to Courtney Hammons and her wonderful staff at A Magical Affair, who provided planning and direction for the event. We wish both Oscar and Doris all the very best in the world and especially in their next great adventures in Belgium!

Nashville Wedding Photography, DJ & Lighting Service

Making the most of your Uplighting

The best events are always well-lit events and uplighting has gotten to be one of the top "must have" items on every discerning Bride's list. In this blog, I'd like to take a moment to go over some lighting basics, and help you to understand how to strike the perfect balance on your lighting and to get the absolute most "bang for your buck" possible. Perimeter Uplighting Colors

Color choice is key to making any lighting work and it also displays your personality, perhaps more than any other decor decision. In choosing a lighting color (or colors), we often see one of the most common mistakes; using a color that is too sub-dued. When used correctly, uplighting should make your room "come alive" and we always tend to lean towards more vivid colors. First, a vivid color is more eye-catching to your guests and it can't be stressed enough how important it is to overwhelm your guests' senses. This first impression is absolutely key in setting the proper tone and ambiance for your event. Second, vivid colors work to increase the depth-of-field for your photography and videography.

In selecting a color(s), we generally recommend the following: Magenta (bright purple), Royal Blue, or Amber (yellow-white, with just a hint of orange), Pink (for the girly-girl in you) or Red (especially for the holiday season). Keep in mind, it's not a necessity to try and match your table colors exactly, especially when using something like Silver or Gray. Go for a lighting color that works WITH your table colors. It's also highly-advisable to stay away from darkness-based colors (maroon, dark-blue, hunter-green, etc.). These colors are based on an absence of light (darkness), which means your fixtures will be putting out less light, not more.

Ambient Ties it Together

Before we talk about how to properly handle ambient lighting, let me give you an example of what NOT to do. This is an example from a wedding where we provided DJ service. Another lighting company did the lighting (they shall remain name-less) and they made the classic mistake of too much color and almost zero ambient:


As you can see, the room was simply too dark and the colors were over-whelming. The overall effect was almost a blacklight kind of look and, in my humble opinion, it detracted from the event more than it helped. On the opposite, here's an example where there's a much better use of ambient, striking a much-improved balance between ambient and perimeter lights:


A great lighting job takes more than just colored, perimeter uplights. It also requires a good blend of ambient light, usually in the center of the room, as well. The absolute first rule of good ambient is "NO fluorescent lights, ever". These can be traditional, stick-type bulbs or CFL bulbs installed into recessed fixtures (a lot of hotels are doing this these days). If your venue has fluorescent lighting fixtures, you need to plan on installing your own incandescent lighting. This can be traditional par cans bounced against a celing (for diffusion), leko lights (these can do nice gobo patterns) also bounced against the ceiling,


(Here's an example leko install for a church concert)

or Italian String Lighting. On ISL, make sure you're using commercial-grade stringers with incandescent bulbs in them. These usually are 15-watt bulbs at either 18-24 inch spacing. Here's an example:


Christmas lights and little 7-watt (1-foot spacing) bulbs just don't give the same effect. It's also highly advisable to make sure that whatever ambient lighting you use, it can be dimmed. For our events, we generally have ambient at 50% brightness for the guests' arrival (to maximize uplighting effect), then push it to 75% for dinner (so they can see to eat), then finally we'll dim it down to 30% for the dance portion.

Installation Tips

If you're using perimeter uplighting at your event, make sure you discuss table placement with your venue or planner (whoever is responsible for the floor diagram) that you are doing perimeter lighting. The biggest problem we run into is when the venue doesn't know about uplighting and they push tables, right up against the wall. This often ends up with guest chairs that are bumping into lighting fixtures, which are sitting on the floor and shining up. End result, fixtures get bumped and the nice, uniform wall color patterns get broken up. We recommend at least 36" spacing between wall and table, to allow the fixtures to be placed without having them knocked over by guests.

In addition to guest table placement, also be aware of wall table placement. Many times, rectangular tables are placed against the wall for buffets, candy tables, gift tables, etc. If you stack these tables end-to-end, it can cause a break in the color patterns. For best results, we usually recommend no more than a single 8-foot table without having a spacer.


I trust that you'll find the above info helpful. If you have any questions regarding the info provided, please feel free to drop us a line (Contact Us). For other useful event photos and ideas, please also see our event photo page. We're always glad to help.

Nashville Wedding Photography, DJ and Lighting Service 

Jordan and Andree's Reception (9-14-2013) at Liberty Park, Clarksville

Client: Jordan & AndreeDate: September 14th, 2013 Venue:Liberty Park – Clarksville, TN Service Provided: DJ, Emcee, Live-Pics, Texting, Uplighting, Monogram (Diamond Pkg) Photo Album: Jordan and Andree

Meet Jordan & Andree. Two of the nicest people you'd ever have the pleasure of meeting.

This was our first time to do an event at Liberty Park in Clarksville and what a gorgeous facility this is. Three of the walls are glass and overlook the rest of the park, complete with some of the nicest scenery you can imagine. With the reception beginning during the day, lighting was completely by sunlight.

Given this was our first time at this venue, we had a special challenge in that we had to "fly blind" on the lighting. The other challenge was that the walls were a fairly dark color, which makes it even harder to color match, much less to do it in full sunlight. However, Matthew was certainly up to the challenge and nailed a gorgeous color that we used around the building's perimeter.

For the dance floor, we used 2 Leko lights (theater lighting) to spray gobo patterns onto the dance floor. In the center, we placed the couple's monogram. The results were very good.

As the evening progressed, the dance floor heated up with our couple and guests dancing the night away to a lot of "old school" material. By the end of the evening we also had another special treat. As it turns out, we're also booked to do Lindsey's wedding in March, 2014. Both Lindsey and her fiance were in the bridal party for Jordan and Andree's wedding.

We'd like to say a huge "Thank You!" to both Jordan and Andree, for allowing us to be a part of your very special day. We wish you both many happy years together and wish you all the best.

Nashville Wedding Photography, DJ & Lighting Service