Tony Schwartz Productions

I am super excited to be ending this month on a high note by featuring Tony Schwartz from Tony Schwartz Productions.  I truly believe that DJ’s can make or break your wedding reception.  A DJ’s job is way more than just playing music.  I have seen Tony perform multiple times in various capacities, he reads the room so well and makes a party great.  He is one of my favorite DJ’s so I am excited to be able to share his business with all of you.  If you are needing a DJ do not hesitate to book him.  Now onto the interview.

1) Tell me a little bit about yourself and your company?
Well, I’m a fun guy who loves long walks on sunset beaches…
Oh, wait, wrong audience. ;)
Professionally speaking, this is my 14th year of DJing, and my eleventh year as the owner of Tony Schwartz Productions.  Within the wedding industry, I serve clients through three distinct brands: Tony Schwartz: Wedding MC & DJThe Puget Sound Photo Booth Co., and PLAY Event Rentals.  On average, these three companies help between 300-500 couples each year.  There are some weekends where we are helping 30 couples in some form or capacity!
As a wedding MC & DJ, I will limit myself to working with a maximum of 40 couples per year.  This allows me to devote the necessary amount of time and energy to producing some amazing presentations and productions.  I seek couples who want to throw a “That was the best wedding reception I’ve ever attended!” kind of party.  It’s not just about packing the dance floor with smiling faces from wall-to-wall, but also about perfectly presenting all of the formalities with polish and flair, from Grand Entrance to Grand Send Off.

2) How do you prep couples for their wedding?  Do you meet for coffee and have them write a list?  What is the process like?  
My clients are free to begin prepping for their reception the moment they receive access to my exclusive online client area; however, I ask that they don’t start until four months prior to their wedding date.  At this point, they have some homework to do: in addition to completing their planning forms to the best of their ability, they are reviewing over 250+ Presentation Ideas and making notes of what they like and what they don’t. I also encourage them to be creative and jot down any creative ideas they are inspired by.  My couples are encourage to think big, because the sky is truly the limit when working with me.
About three months prior, we meet for a site visit at their selected venue.  Here we make sure everyone - the couple, the planner, the venue coordinator, and myself - are on the same page for the floor plan.  Furthermore, with the planner and the couple, we discuss presentation elements and walk through possible ideas from the vantage point of both the couple and the guests.  This is so helpful for seeing what ideas will work, what won’t, how formalities will flow together, and what they still need to think about before they make a final decision.
This brings us to the final part of the planning process: the Entertainment Planning & Design meeting.  My couples are invited to come to my office, or for my out-of-area couples, we’ll meet virtually via Zoom video conferencing.  In addition to songs and playlists, we discuss how we’ll present the formalities.  It’s a long meeting - usually two hours - but at the end, we have a four to six page Entertainment & Production Script.  Over the next few weeks, we’ll make adjustments and it is finalized two weeks prior to their wedding date.  There’s a few behind-the-scenes elements I take care of, but for the most part, my couples are fully planned and ready to celebrate - they just have to wait a few more days. ;)

3) When you are DJing a wedding how are you able to read the room and do you make last minute changes?
There are constant changes and improvisations!  For the most part, most receptions go according to the script, but things do happen and people are unpredictable!  For weddings, you have to learn to read the room as both the MC and as the DJ. It takes experience to master, but it is also a lot of common sense.  Body language is very telling: if everyone is laughing and having a good time, there is no need to rush into the next formality.  If people look like they are getting antsy, or they show signs of boredom, then move things along… and quickly!
I think couples overwhelm themselves with what time things should happen, and how long formalities will actually take.  In my opinion, only three times really matter: when the ceremony starts, when dinner is served, and what time the evening comes to a conclusion.  In between those times, allow things to flow naturally - people will only look at their watches if they are bored.  Hint: that’s another sign it’s time to move things along!
Oh, and while we try to be perfect, things do go wrong or run behind for vendors, too.  For example, if a photographer needs more time to get all of the requested photos in, I need to know so I can cover for them.  Communication among vendors is key - we are all on the same team making sure that all of the guests, including the guests of honor, have a wonderful experience.
I almost forgot… how do I read the room as a DJ?  This takes lots and lots of practice.  I’ve always found it beneficial to look at the edges of the dance floor as I transition to a new song: how many people are coming on versus how many are exiting.  If more leave than stayed or joined, then that instant feedback tells me I need to re-evaluate the direction I’m going.
Another secret?  Try to figure out when your crowd was in high school and college.  The music we listen to during those years tends to stick with us forever, and that’s how you create those “Oh no, he just didn’t… this was my jam back in the day!” reactions.
Oh, and as a DJ, you are constantly improvising.  Sometimes a request comes in that is so good, you HAVE to mix it in next because it mixes in perfectly.  The only problem? The current song playing has 25 seconds left and I need to move quick to find it, cue it up, and mix it in creatively!

4) When looking for a DJ what are some things couples should ask?
Oh, Korrine, there are a ton of questions couples should ask; I’ve even wrote two blog posts on this very topic!  First, there are the standard ones a couple should ask when making inquiries, such as “Have you worked at my venue before?” or “Do you carry liability insurance?” Those are all fine and dandy, but they don’t really determine if that MC & DJ is the right fit for the couple.
Most couples have never hired a wedding DJ before, so it can be a daunting task.  Especially since most DJ’s all say the same thing, and unlike photographers, make up artists, caters, etc. they don’t feature much in terms of their past work other than a few photos.  I try to at least offer mixes and video footage, so my prospective couples can get a feel if I am the right DJ for them or not. It is imperative, especially in 2019, to ask for the DJ to provide a demo mix or video footage, if isn’t featured on their website already.
A second blog post I published features 6 questions a couple should ask before they book a DJ for their wedding, and I think two of them are really important to ask at the consultation:
“We’d like to audition your talents as a Master of Ceremonies. How would you introduce our [insert formality here]?”  This is a great way to “audition” your MC, and it will give you insight into how talented they are.  Do they speak well?  Do you like their style and personality?  After it asked a few times, couples will realize it is a brilliant question; I wish more couples would put me on the spot by asking it!
“We want our reception to be [insert descriptive terms here]. How can you help us create that and/or accommodate that?”  Does the MC & DJ understand your goals for the reception?  This answer will tell you if they are going to deliver a cookie-cutter reception or a custom tailored experience that perfectly encapsulates your vision and expectations.

5) DJ’s really are the heart of the reception, how do you explain that to couples who think they can just hook up an iPod?
Since the iPod has been around for a while, I don’t think couples really need convincing anymore, as just about everyone has experienced a party with an iPod playlist.  There are weddings where an iPod or computer with a playlist is perfectly suitable.  Through my photo booth company, I’ve attended receptions so laidback, that more guests are more interested in drinking, hopping in the photo booth, and playing lawn games then dancing. And that’s perfectly okay, if that is an acceptable outcome for the couple.
Then there are weddings that require someone to direct the event, introduce people and moments, all while influencing the atmosphere through music as the night progresses.  They want someone to put on a show and work the dance floor in a total frenzy!  A great MC & DJ also knows how to use human emotion and psychology to their advantage; technology can’t do that, and never will be able to replicate it as well as a live performer can.
I believe today’s engaged couples are savvy enough to know which they want, and they’ll make the appropriate choice.

If you would like to learn more about Tony or book him for your wedding please go to his website at  

Videos:  OR  YouTube

Also go give his business a like or a follow you will not be disappointed!

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5 ways to make your wedding day run smoothly

Photography by Rachel Walker Photography

There is a lot that goes on during the getting ready process of a wedding day.  There is always food, coffee, and some form of an alcoholic beverage going around.  There is hugs, tears, excitement and a lot of visiting.  There are gifts, getting dressed and packing things up and making sure everything is put away.  There are a lot of things that can slow your timeline down.  This blog post gives a few key hints on how to keep your timeline on time and it doesn’t involve buffers although everybody knows buffer time is a good thing.  So here it goes your weekly musings from a Bonney Lake bridal makeup artist.

Photography by Sara Carlson Photography

Timeline: Every good bridal beauty team should have a timeline for you for your wedding day.  Here are ways to make sure the timeline works best for you.  First there should definitely be buffers it is important to have a little more time than not enough time to get you all ready.  Second figure out who in your bridal party is your early birds.  Have those girls go first and be up and ready by the time your beauty team arrives.  If you don’t have an early bird in your bridal party than designate someone responsible enough to be up and ready to go.  Nobody will want to go first but somebody always has too.  Also if your mom and mother in law want makeup and hair done and they aren’t helping with the set up have them go last because usually depending on your photographer family portraits are last so if you do run behind it won’t affect your photographer’s timeline.

Skin and hair prep: Every artist is a little different in how they want your hair and skin prepped for your wedding.  What ever they tell you to do please do it.  Please come and be in your artist’s chair with clean dry skin (i.e. no makeup or mascara that needs to be cleaned off especially if you have thick waterproof mascara that takes a ton of time to wipe off.  And when you sit in your stylist’s chair don’t have wet hair nine times out of ten they don’t have a hair dryer and honestly they don’t have 10 extra minutes to blow dry it.  

Photography by Bella Bella Momenti

Food and Drink: If you can eat and drink before your appointment please do.  I can promise you that you will probably not get a chance to really eat or drink anything until after your appointment is done with makeup.  This is honestly what ends up happening is we are prepping the skin and you get a plate of food then you eat some of it.  Then I ask you to look down and close your eyes because I do that next so you put your plate on the table and then I do your face and you eat a little bite and then I do your airbrush and you end up moving your plate way far away.  Drinking your mimosa there could be a casualty because it is really hard to drink out of a fancy glass without looking and spills have happened.  So if you can wait 30 or 40 minutes to eat and drink that would be amazing.  If you can’t I totally understand and am very much used to doing the food dance so all will be well.

Bathroom breaks:  If it is at all possible to use the bathroom before your appointment that is best so we don’t have to pause and take 2 to 5 minutes out of the timeline for bathroom breaks.  This also helps keep the timeline on time as there is no pausing.  

Photography by Autumn L. Rudolph Photography

Dresses and Bags:  Here is a really helpful hint have everything that you are taking to the venue packed and ready by the door so that way when you are done with hair and makeup you do not have to take the time to find everything.  I always give 15 minutes at the end of my timeline for clean up and packing and it never fails that once we are done with our work and I ask if you have everything packed bridesmaids start freaking out because they forgot to pack there stuff while they were sitting and chatting.  Also if you have anything that you are bringing to the venue than make sure you have a list of those items and check them off as they get put in the car so nothing is left behind.  This will save you a lot of time and head ache.

Photography by Chris Klass Photography

Trust me I know that all of this seems like common sense but one of these incidents happens at nearly every wedding I do even when I send reminders.  Your vendors want the best for your wedding day and we have the experience to make sure that your wedding goes smoothly.  We want you to have a fun and stress free day.  I hope this post has given you tips to make sure your wedding day morning runs smoothly.

Should I tip?

Photography by Ella Florence Photography

Okay so this blog post might get a little awkward as we are talking about duhduhduh… money.  Yes this post today is all about tipping your wedding vendors.  Why am I writing about this on a makeup blog you may be asking yourself?  Well because my last 3 weddings brides have been talking about it.  So I want to clear up some things from my perspective which is yes a makeup artist, wedding vendor and also a consumer.  There seems to be a lot of confusion about tipping which I honestly don’t know why because it seems straight forward.  I personally tip based on my experience with businesses.  A tip is additional so if I have poor service than I am not going to be inclined to tip extra, so with this blog post you are not going to find a guide on who should get tipped but rather why they should get tipped. So here it goes your musings from a Bonney Lake bridal makeup artist.

Photography by Anne Burgess Photography

Did your vendor have good communication with you throughout the wedding process?  If you felt your vendor was there for you and had good communication skills, was able to talk to you throughout the wedding planning process and you felt confident in their skills.  Were they able to problem solve with you?  Then yes you should tip them.  Good communication skills is lacking in this social media world especially when there is a problem and the first response is to run and hide.  If you have found a vendor who communicated well with you then by all means tip them as a thank you.

Did your vendor follow through on what they promised you in their contract?  If you had a vendor who promised things to you that went above and beyond your expectations than by all means tip them.  It is very easy to over sell our selves to book weddings and it is very easy to not follow through.  If your vendor checked all those boxes for you than as a thank you tip them.

Photography by Lauren Lilly Photography

When they showed up to your wedding ready to go?  All your interactions with your vendors up until the point of your wedding day have been before your wedding day.  You still have no idea how your wedding day is going to go.  My suggestion would be to bring tip envelopes and tip each vendor at the end of their services.  That way if something happens or you feel like your vendors weren’t putting effort into your day or just going through the motion you can reevaluate how you want to use your money.  If your wedding day goes flawlessly all your vendors show up ready to go then by all means tip them they deserve it.

Should you just tip businesses with employees and not business owners?  Honestly this question shouldn’t matter you tip people based on how you get treated and if you felt they were an asset to your wedding day.  Being a business owner or not should have nothing to do with your tipping process.  

Photography by Gina Paulson Photography

Here are some alternative ideas that you can do instead of tipping your vendors that are equally as meaningful.  Find out your vendors favorite drink and buy them a bottle of wine or a gift card to Starbucks.  Give them a gift card to a nice restaurant so they can celebrate the end of wedding season with a nice dinner.  Put together a nice gift basket with little trinkets.  Give them a nice thank you card.  And last but not least don’t forget reviews.  A meaningful well written review is what keeps our businesses going.  Remember that tipping doesn’t always have to be monetary and most people would be very thankful with a well thought out thank you gift.  I hope this helped you in your decisions to tip your vendors or not.