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For the bride and groom, planning the honeymoon gives them a chance to focus on something after the big day. And, it’s also a way to relax and unwind after months of planning! Ten years ago, Tom and I had the DREAM honeymoon…we went to Tahiti, Moorea and Bora Bora. While the 9 hour flight from LAX to Tahiti did leave a lot to be desired, the experience once we arrived was amazing!! At that time, I didn’t have THE person to go to ask all of the questions, so I ended up using a friend’s advice for where to go — and luckily she didn’t steer us wrong. But, now I have Christi from Travel Bug and I never have to worry about a vacation again! She has planned every trip for me since…Riviera Maya, Key West, Orlando, Disney…and they were all perfect!!!! Today, I want to share my interview with Christi, along with some pretty pictures of tropical locations. I feel the need to fly away….right now!
Q: When did you start Travel Bug and why?
I started TRAVEL BUG, LLC in January 2005. I had worked in the travel industry for approx 10 years (9 years at AAA) prior to opening and really wanted to branch out and offer a more personalized experience for my clients and a business that I could call my own.
Q: You have to have a love of travel, so I want to know your #1 favorite vacation destination?
WOW..I LOVE to travel and there are so many wonderful places…I would have to say that St. Lucia has been my favorite place. It is so beautiful and lush and very romantic. I did not want to come home from that trip.
Q: What are your favorite destinations for honeymoons and why?
The most popular destination that I book honeymooners to is St. Lucia. I also have booked a number of clients to Tahiti, Antigua, Jamaica, Italy and yes…there is usually at least 1 Disney honeymoon.
Q: With websites like Orbit, Tavelocity and Kayak, why should brides and grooms use a travel agent to plan their honeymoon or other vacations?
When people ask me the ‘internet” question….I always tell them that if you connect with a good travel agent, you will not only have a professional that knows the destination, you will have someone that you can count on to get you the best value for your money (not always the cheapest price) and to be there to assist you prior to and through the vacation. Try calling one of the well known travel internet sites at 8AM on a Sunday when you have a problem or situation that you need assistance with and see who you get. I also email the resort managers prior to my clients arrival to notify them of my VIP clients for possible upgrades or amenities and I always mail the clients a Welcome Home card and follow up a week later with a phone call. I do not think that the internet companies offer those extra services…..personalized travel services.
Q: What are the top three things a bride and groom should ask a travel agent?
When I talk to my honeymoon couples I ask them if they have passports, as most places now require them. Most brides will not change their last name on documents until after the honeymoon, so I almost always book the travel in her maiden name. I recommend resorts that are “adult only” especially for the spring and summer honeymooners because the regular resorts will be full of children and though you may like kids…you may not want to see them while on your honeymoon. The third thing that I would ask would be what type of experience are they hoping to have…there are many great.
Q: If money and time were no object, where would you recommend that a bride and groom on their honeymoon?
If money (and time) were no object, I would recommend the Tahitian Islands…Bora Bora and Moorea
Q: Describe Travel Bug in 5 words
I couldn’t agree more…now to decide on a second honeymoon….hmmm…where to go this time and when should we go???
One of the things that I had left lingering on my “to do” list for the renewal was to pick a DJ. I know so many wonderful DJs and there are really a lot of great choices out there, but I have to admit I have a little soft spot for MyDeejay. So, months ago, I contacted Jennifer Reitmeyer (aka fellow mom and business owner) to see if Evan (aka as her husband) could be the DJ for my renewal. Alas, Evan was out of town. I was bummed. I sat on the decision for a long time. Then, a client of mine said that they were meeting with Devin from MyDeejay after our appointment. I told her to let me know how it went. She emailed me later and said that she really liked him and thought his personality would be a good fit for me and Tom! And, imagine my excitement when while reading his bio, I find out he is a season ticket holder to the Redskins. My hubby, his cousin, my cousin and my uncle would all approve! Yay! Thankfully, Devin was available for our renewal evening. We met with him last week and thought he was a great fit for us too….now, I can finally say that I have a DJ!!!
This blog post is really a two for one…because I got the opportunity to interview Jennifer from MyDeejay and want to share that interview with you today, along with some shots of their DJs in action! Enjoy!
Q: Why did you start MyDeejay?
My husband Evan and I had both previously worked at a larger DJ agency, and saw firsthand a lot of business practices with which we didn’t agree. We felt we could offer a better experience, both for the clients and for the DJ. We worked very hard on our business plan and feel we really were able to bring something new and fresh to the wedding industry here in the DC/Baltimore/Annapolis market.
Q: What makes you different than your competitors?
There are a lot of differences, but I’d probably highlight two as being the most important. One is the emphasis we place on the personal relationship between the client and their DJ. Our clients always meet their specific DJ before they sign a contract – there’s never a separate charge for this, and this meeting helps to build the foundation for a great relationship throughout the client’s planning process. The DJ a client initially meets with is guaranteed by name on the contract to be the DJ performing for the wedding, and the client works closely with that DJ from start to finish to plan the perfect playlist.
The other thing that sets us apart is the consistency of the service we give our clients. We’re a very purposeful company: everything we do is to create the best possible experience for our clients, and I think this shows in the hundreds of fantastic reviews we’ve received. We don’t just have a couple of superstars – our reviews, and the referrals from former clients and other wedding professionals, are spread out among our entire team.
Q: You have many DJs on staff. How do you decide which DJ to assign to each wedding/event?
Because we think a great relationship between the DJ and his clients is so important, we put a lot of consideration into matching clients with the perfect DJ for them. I do a detailed phone or email consultation with each couple, reviewing their music tastes, their ideas for the wedding, and any preferences they may have regarding the DJ’s age and personality. Clients also have the opportunity to review our DJs’ extensive profiles on our website, and often will have their own ideas about which DJs they’ll click with best. Together we’ll determine which of our available DJs would be the right fit, and then the client meets with that DJ to see if they have the right connection.
Q: What are the top three things a bride and groom should ask a potential DJ?
Well, the most important thing in my opinion is to ensure that they’re meeting with the specific DJ who will be doing their wedding – anything a salesperson or the company owner says is of little importance if you can’t meet your actual DJ. Assuming that’s the case, though, here are the three questions I think are most important:
(1) Can you describe your overall style, in terms of music selection and microphone work? It’s great if a DJ says he’s willing to do whatever the client works, because of course the client’s wishes come first, but you want more than a “yes man.” It’s important that the DJ’s general approach is in line with your expectations – if you want an unobtrusive DJ, then a total ham will never really “get” that; and if you want a super-interactive DJ who’ll be out on the floor with your guests, then a minimalist DJ isn’t going to do that.
(2) What specifically is included in the rate being charged, and what other charges might I be faced with later? Contrary to what some companies might have you believe, pricing out DJ services is really not that complicated. You want to make sure you understand, well before signing a contract, exactly what you’re being provided in terms of performance time and equipment. The last thing you want is to have a surprise later when you need to add an hour or a ceremony microphone or an additional sound system.
(3) What will happen if you are unable to DJ my wedding? Emergencies do happen, and it’s important to know how your DJ would handle the unexpected. Does he have a specific person designated as a backup DJ? Are they relying on another company being able to fill in? Do they just refund your money and leave you without a DJ altogether? You need to be clear on, and comfortable with, your DJ’s policy for handling emergencies.
Q: We see so many wedding trends come and go…I’m sure the same goes for wedding music. What are you seeing now for wedding music trends?
I’m really excited at how much thought couples today are putting into their music. Gone are the days of “smooth jazz” cocktail hours and boring, clichéd choices for major dance songs. Couples are choosing music that is more personally meaningful to them, and in some cases, more adventurous – we’ve seen more uptempo songs for first dances, as well as fun elements like flash mobs, surprise singing performances, and choreographed dance routines. It’s been wonderful to see couples truly take advantage of the versatility of a DJ and the wide array of music available to them.
Q: Do you have any songs that you wish people would consider playing at their wedding?
I’d love it if more couples considered using contemporary songs for their ceremony – fortunately, this is another rising trend! I’d love to see The Beatles’ “All You Need Is Love” as a processional, or The Zombies’ “This Will Be Our Year” as a recessional (and will, in fact, use this myself if and when Evan and I ever do a vow renewal!).
Q: Do you only provide DJ services for weddings?
We exclusively perform for weddings and upscale corporate events. This seems like a natural pairing, as both of these event types require a sophisticated approach and a very high level of attention to detail. School events, mitzvahs, and clubs are fun, but they aren’t the right fit for our company, and we’re all about sticking to what we do best.
Q: Describe MyDeejay in 5 words.
Creative, positive, unobtrusive, purposeful, transparent
Thanks to Jennifer and MyDeejay for the wonderful interview and to the whole team at MyDeejay for just be all around great people!
So, I waited until a little later on Wednesday to make this renewal post…why? Because, I wanted to share our yummy day with you! We had our amazing tasting at Governor Calvert House today. I have to admit, Tom and I have been looking forward to today for a long time. Dreams of coconut chicken skewers and mashed potatoes have been filling my mind for far too long!!!
First, let me just say that the staff at Historic Inns of Annapolis is amazing. For the tasting, Michelle Vellon, on site wedding coordinator extraordinaire, sat down with us and went through our vendors (only the best, of course), basic plan for the event, linens, etc. Then, a beautiful display of seven (yes, seven! x2, since Tom had to eat too) different appetizers (aka passed hors d’ hoeuvres) were placed in front of us. I admit that we didn’t know where to start, but really, it didn’t matter…they were all amazing! And, really, when a plate of creamy, dreamy mashed potatoes is placed in front of you with oodles of good toppings, you can’t help but drool. Really…imagine Pavlov’s dogs here…
After we made some very hard decisions on the cocktail hour food, we moved onto the main event…the entree!!!! When the meals came out, Chef Allison (great name, huh?!) joined us at the table and we go to ooh and ahh over all of her creations. We were having a hard time deciding between giving our guests a few meal choices, or going with a duel entree. After trying four different options, we decided to go with a dual entree, because people get the best of both worlds and even if someone doesn’t eat beef, there is always chicken. We went heavy on seafood for our hors d’ hoeuvres, so really our guest will get a little bit of everything at our renewal! Oh and can I just say that those roasted red potatoes were just amazing! (Do you see a trend with me liking potatoes???)
Tom and I walked away saying, “That was really fun!” I hope that is what our guests will say when they walk away at the end of the night too. I do know that they will not go away hungry!