Taking Your Reception to the Next Level Is All in the Details


Receptions are more entertaining than ever;  here are a few reasons why.

Philadelphia master wedding consultant Lynda Barness thought she’d seen it all. Until her clients Shelby Zitelman and Dan Stamm proposed the idea of a silent disco for their June wedding. It was a first for Barness, of I DO Wedding Consulting in Philadelphia

“I still love surprises, and Shelby and Dan had one at their wedding that I had never seen before,” she marveled. The couple got married at the Abington Art Center last June and they decided to contain the noise and have fun in a new way. So, they hired Silent Storm, a company that supplied 200 wireless headsets and transmitters for the 7-10 p.m. after-party.

“For the after-party, there were two — yes, two — separate DJs, and the guests could listen to the DJ and music of their choice through the headsets and dance to the music. But if you were standing in the room, all you could hear was the chatter of guests talking and no music. This would be great for a wedding in a township with a noise ordinance, too!”

“Yeah the headphones are an awesome, easy and inexpensive gadget to add to any affair,” said Zitelman. “We’d experienced the headphones at a music festival and wanted to recreate the amazing experience for our wedding.”

Once again, technology grabs the headlines.

Whether you’re planning a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, wedding or corporate event, there’s no dodging the high-tech bullet. Depending on the occasion, tech can be in the spotlight, or on the down low, but it’s always going to factor. Even if you want low-tech, there are some fun developments on the social and corporate scene that can add a sense of Right Now to your next Big Day.

Social Media — Yes or No?

According to a survey by Wedding Paper Divas, the average nuptials guest shared 22 wedding-related photos to social media sites, and four in 10 recent wedding guests reported a specific hashtag was provided and social sharing was encouraged for the event. The company’s etiquette maven, Amber Harrison, advises thinking before you post. “Be very thoughtful and deliberate about what and when you choose to post. When in doubt, hold off. Nothing will be harmed by waiting a few hours, or even days, to post that photo.”

There’s no right or wrong approach to social media for a special occasion or event, but the reality is that attendees need to know how the host feels. In the case of weddings, Harrison says that “it’s important for the engaged couple to establish the tone and make a decision about what best suits them, so they can clearly communicate those wishes to guests along the way.” If the hosts are all about the share, then the simplest thing to do is create a unique hashtag for use on social media channels such as Twitter or Instagram, and inform your guests to utilize it. That way you can also track the great photos they’ll capture, too.


Who doesn’t remember Pepsi shaking up Super Bowl XLVII with its crowdsourcing campaign that invited fans to upload a photo of themselves recreating a daily pose by Beyonce?  The photos were all in one place where anyone and everyone could view them. This technology isn’t just limited to a big corporate marketing gimmick; it’s here for everybody. WedPics is an app that brings the same crowdsourcing idea to wedding guests. Available for the iPhone and Android phones, the app allows high-def sharing between social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest, and in one click, the bride (or anyone with admin rights) can download all the pictures or send them to Facebook, creating an instant photo book.

Turn That Cake Upside Down

Joe Volpe heard about the hanging chandelier wedding cake created by Butter End Cakery for the California wedding of Big Bang Theory star Kaley Cuoco, and he was inspired. Working with Jennifer Roach, Cescaphe’s award-winning cake artisan, Volpe added a winch to the newly renovated Cescaphe Ballroom to ensure stability and maneuvering. Voila! A chandelier cake done up in icing, roses and crystal swags is lowered from the ceiling. Smack-dab at the intersection of delicious and drama, the chandelier wedding cake sure does jump-start the cutting of the cake.

Interactive Video Wall

The video wall at the Comcast Center is a big wow, a place to take visitors and kids for a dose of Philly cool. Get your own version of that wall at your party or event with the help of PSAV, a technology provider with locations from Philly to L.A. and the Virgin Islands. Think of the wall as a large iPad, with custom videos, maps, logos, games and slide shows. Use a live feed, put guests in the spotlight in the moment, and turn up the wattage on your next big shindig.

Fantasy Realized

Bar and Bat Mitzvah parties are more engaging than ever. One hot trend in this department include TV-show themes – think Walking Dead or Game of Thrones, according to party planner Marla Mace, whose company, Party Poopers, plans elaborate Bar and Bat Mitzvahs in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Adventure and involvement are popular, she added, ranging from circus arts stations to scavenger hunt boot camp and laser tag. Karaoke, always fun, is bigger than ever these days.

Long Live the Selfie

Do you have social media fatigue? Consider following the advice of the party pros at 2LifeTalent in Philly and bring on a social media concierge to manage it all for you. This person will be your go-to for assisting guests with hashtags, taking pictures with a designated phone throughout the night and more. Also trending: video DJs who can mix music videos and live feed for a truly real-time party. These visuals, when synced perfectly in line with the audio, puts technology in the spotlight to give your special day an extra wow.

This piece first appeared in the Spring Simchas, a special section of the Jewish Exponent. Beth D’Addono is a frequesnt contributor to Special Sections.


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