Posts Categorized: TWIG Member Spotlight
Southern Barbecue Meets the North Shore
Moe’s Original Bar B Que, known for its Southern victuals, is an amazing spot in Tahoe City for a rehearsal dinner, engagement party or other wedding event.
Ginger Karl, Catering Manager at Moe’s, handles all of their special events and group gatherings. Although she has a busy schedule, Ginger recently chatted with Tahoe Engaged about her life and her work.
Moe’s Grows in Tahoe City
First, some background about how Moe’s made its way to Tahoe City. Owners Joshua Wallick and Eric Pilcher studied under the founders of Moe’s BBQ for five years to perfect their “pit master” Southern Barbecue skills. Then in 2013, they moved Westward to North Lake Tahoe.
The next year, Moe’s opened its first lakefront location, at 120 Grove Street. Then in 2018, they moved next door into the Tahoe City Marina building. This facility, at 700 North Lake Boulevard, has four times the seating capacity of their previous space, as well as additional catering capacity for larger groups. Patrons of Moe’s can arrive by car, boat or bicycle.
“Moe’s is a great option for casual lakefront catering in the dining room,” says Karl, noting that the dining room seats 70 people, the front porch accommodates 60, and the outdoor patio can host 80 guests.
Photo: Julie Stanley
Photo: Jacqueline Robbins
Moe’s also caters off-site events with a BBQ trailer that can be incorporated for smoking ribs and chicken at outdoor locations.
Recently Moe’s released their first brewed beer, the “Moe’s-aic IPA.” The restaurant also has a full bar. Their next project is a brewery bar which will open in a new space within the 700 North Lake Boulevard location.
“We focus on a fun, casual experience for the group,” Karl says, explaining that groups can choose from paper plates and plastic-ware or upgrade to porcelain plates, cloth napkins and silverware.
Ginger Karl enjoys live music, camping, biking and anything in the great outdoors. She loves spending lots of time with her new black lab puppy, Roxxy.
Ginger Karl with Joshua Wallick, Moe’s Bar B Que
A native of Columbus, Mississippi, Karl graduated from Mississippi State University and moved to Vail, Colorado, where she handled catering at a high-end bowling alley. Later she moved to North Lake Tahoe, where she became Membership Director for the North Lake Tahoe Chamber. In 2018, she became Moe’s Catering Manager.
Karl comes from a long background of restaurant and catering/event experience. She says Moe’s serves the style of BBQ she grew up on in the South. She says it’s the perfect venue and food for laid back couples who want to have a good time with their friends and family. Think red and white checkered table cloths, casual fun and great food!
Here’s how it works: for a standard catering menu, couples would typically pick one meat: Chicken, Pork or Turkey; and then choose two sides, such as Mac & Cheese, Marinated Slaw, Baked Beans or Potato Salad. Top off the meal with desserts like Banana Pudding, Mud Pie and Chocolate Icebox Pie.
“We’re experts in portioning meat for parties,” says Karl. “You’re never going to run out of food with Moe’s.” Aside from meats, Moe’s also offers items for guests with dietary restrictions, including a gluten free, dairy free, or egg free menu. Many of the sides at the restaurant are vegetarian – they even offer a smoked tofu called “SMOFU”.
Karl’s advice to couples planning their rehearsal dinner? “The wedding day is such a whirlwind, it’s nice to incorporate something that’s going to be memorable,” she says, noting that some couples have added lighting or special decorations to their rehearsal dinner.
Photo: Julie Stanley
The mood at Moe’s? “Laid back, fun, not stressful, with great music playing,” says Karl. And best of all, “You’re right on the Lake.”
Contact Moe’s Original Bar B Que:
Ginger Karl, Catering Manager
Email: [email protected]
A Celebrated Celtic Harp Virtuoso
In the Fall of 2016, Anne Roos first captured our attention with her gentle manner and thoughtfulness when she inquired about membership in the Tahoe Wedding Industry Group. Within days, Anne had completed the rigorous membership application process, receiving the highest of accolades from former clients and wedding industry colleagues.
Who is this impeccable lady with the cool Celtic harp and gorgeous hats?
Anne Roos is a Los Angeles native who went to North Hollywood high, then slightly westward to UCLA, where she studied a seemingly unlikely duo – Math and Music. But Anne was quick to point out, “Einstein played the violin, so it’s not such a strange combination!”
The love of music was instilled in Anne at an early age, as her father frequently took her to summertime concerts at the Hollywood Bowl. Anne recalls, “I have fond memories of experiencing the L.A. Philharmonic performing classical works, watching the bows of the stringed instruments rhythmically undulate up and down.” Professional musicianship also ran strong in relatives on her mother’s side of the family – a concert pianist, a jazz pianist, a guitarist, and another Celtic harpist in Israel. So it’s obvious that Anne was born to be a musician!
An important turning point in her life came when Anne attended a Winter Solstice Festival, which included an exhibit booth populated with all kinds of Celtic harps. The woman in the booth said, “If you want to learn to play, I can rent a harp out to you and teach you.” Anne remembers thinking to herself, “I have a stressful job. This is exactly what I need.” The rest is history, as Anne got hooked on the harp and her wedding business was born!
Now based in Lake Tahoe, Anne has been creating beautiful music for more than 30 years, with consistent 5-star ratings across social media platforms and a prestigious Grammy® Award to her credit. She stays on top of the latest wedding music trends by perusing lists of popular downloads on iTunes, listening to “Wedding Music Radio” on Pandora, and checking out new movies containing song possibilities for weddings. Anne adds, “Of course, when a couple requests a new song that is not in my repertoire, I quickly order up the sheet music online and create a harp arrangement.”
Photo: Ciprian Photography
When asked what she loves most about working with wedding couples, Anne remarked: “I love the surprise element of creating music organically for weddings. The experience leaves everyone in amazement and touches their hearts in ways that the original recording of the same song can’t duplicate. Frequent feedback from guests is, ‘Wow! I didn’t know you could play THAT on the harp!’” From classical to Broadway, from Celtic to new age, from rock classics to heavy metal, Anne can do it all!
Selecting Music for Your Marriage
So what should you do for your wedding? When guests first arrive at your wedding ceremony location, they are filled with anticipation for your big day ahead. But if they are greeted with dead silence, it’s an awkward feeling. That’s why it’s important to have music in the air, to set the tone for your ceremony. It signifies that “something special” is about to happen.
Your ceremony venue may control the type of music selected for your auspicious occasion. If you are in a house of worship, you may be required to abide by strict rules and regulations. Check with your ceremony site before you have your heart set on a particular selection of music and musicians.
On the other hand, if your ceremony site is in the great outdoors of the Lake Tahoe region, you may select just about any kind of music that you love. There are hundreds of options beyond “Here Comes the Bride,” so consider your favorite songs – whether Top 40’s or classics, just make it sing to you!
No matter what kinds of tunes you choose, your ceremony is typically divided into five musical phases:
- The Prelude Music typically begins 30 minutes before the ceremony. For example, if your invitation indicates a four o’clock ceremony, begin your prelude music at 3:30 p.m. The music welcomes and entertains your guests as the excitement builds. Depending on the length of the songs, you will want to select up to ten pieces for your prelude music.
- The Processional Music is for the Wedding Party to make their grand entrance. This is where the “celebration” comes into play – you definitely want to get your guests’ attention. You typically will select three music pieces: one for your officiant, readers, and groom’s party; another selection for the bridesmaids; and a third selection for the bride’s magical moment as she walks down the aisle.
- During the Ceremony, you may have several opportunities to personalize your musical selections. You could have musicians playing if you choose to have a blending ritual or some other symbolic rite. Also, ask the musicians to play an interlude while readers are walking to and from their seats. Another great moment for music is immediately following your exchange of vows and rings.
- The Recessional Music is played when the wedding couple exits back down the aisle as newlyweds. Making this piece lively and celebratory is definitely the way to go. Your attendants and parents may or may not walk out to this same selection; if not, select two recessional pieces.
- The bucks you paid for ceremony musicians shouldn’t stop here – they should continue playing the Postlude Music as your guests continue to file out of their seats. Festive music should continue until all guests have departed the ceremony area.
If you are planning to have live music for your Lake Tahoe wedding ceremony, please consider Anne Roos and her Celtic harp. Her versatility makes her the perfect choice for every wedding. And if you want to hear more, the harp harmonizes well with just about any instrument. Common choices are the flute, violin, and guitar, but Anne has also played with a piano, sax, percussion, and even a trumpet!
Your selection of ceremony musicians is of course dependent upon your personal tastes. But in any case, music brings a sense of joy that amplifies the amazing experience of a wedding celebration.
Contact Anne Roos
Email: [email protected]
Oh So Pretty on the Big Day – Hair and Makeup
Bonus Interview with a Pro – Michelle Campbell
Every bride wants to look and feel beautiful on her wedding day. You will certainly want your hairstyling and makeup to hold up throughout the day while you’re enjoying the celebration (and while your photographer is snapping away). Since this is one of the most important days in your life, you should seek out the services of professional hairstylists and makeup artists, who have the skills and knowledge to make you look spectacular!
Your attendants, your mom and future mother-in-law will also want to get their hair and makeup professionally done. In most cases, you’ll need to secure 1 hairstylist and 1 makeup artist for every 4 ladies in your group. It’s an amazing, fun experience spending this time together with your attendants and moms!
All Photos Courtesy of Underwood Photography
But on your wedding day, you don’t want to be running all around Lake Tahoe to get your hair and makeup done. Tahoe Engaged recommends a full-service salon that can do both hair and makeup, and that can travel to the location where you and your bridal party are getting ready. It’s a super timesaver for them to come to you, because you can slip into your gown immediately afterwards, while your photographer and videographer capture every moment.
You will want to find hairstylists and makeup artists that are state-licensed cosmetologists and aestheticians, and have a business license and business insurance. Licensed stylists and artists have been through many, many hours of training and certification. The right hairstylist and makeup artist will enhance your natural beauty, not cover you up with a mask. These beauty experts will help you truly look your very best on your wedding day.
You may be wondering if makeup artists who work at department store cosmetics counters would be an appropriate cost-saving choice. Keep in mind that these people are not necessarily professional makeup artists and usually do not have a state cosmetologist license. Typically, they are trained only on the products that the stores carry, and are behind the counter primarily to sell the line of cosmetics they represent. They are generally not required to blend or create specific colors needed for a professional quality of makeup, and are limited to the colors and products they have in stock.
On the other hand, seasoned makeup artists will have the skills and expertise that are beyond what most behind-the-counter artists are required to learn. The professional licensed makeup artist works with both professional makeup and consumer products, custom blending and color matching whenever necessary. Their goal is not to sell you more makeup, but to beautify your face on your wedding day.
Timing Is Everything
Having a relaxing, fun start to your wedding day is crucial, and your professional hair and makeup artist team will certainly get you off to the right start. That’s why it’s important to choose wisely, with a team of professionals who understand punctually and timing – they will develop a detailed timeline of services for you. Without a professional team to help you, if your hair and makeup runs late and creates havoc and stress, it just might ruin your day!
Tahoe Engaged believes in a flawless execution of hair and makeup, and we are here to guide you every step of the way. We highly recommend that you allow 45 minutes for each bridesmaid or mom to have her hair done, and 45 minutes each for makeup. For the bride, we recommend 1 hour to have your hair done, and 1 hour to have your makeup done. We prefer having hair done first, followed by makeup. The bride always goes last, so she looks freshest for photos.
For more insights into the essentials of professional hair and makeup, Tahoe Engaged spoke with Michelle Campbell, Owner of Love Is In The Hair. With over 15 years in the beauty industry, Michelle has trained under Eufora Global, Kevin Murphy, Glo Cosmetics, Redken and MAC, along with several nationally recognized freelance artists. One of the top professional companies in Lake Tahoe for hairstyling and makeup artistry, Love Is In The Hair offers the best in fully mobile, on-location services. Each artist on Michelle’s team is handpicked, licensed/insured, and continually educated.
What beauty tips do you have for a bride-to-be who is newly engaged?
Love Is In the Hair is a destination bridal beauty glam squad, but you will also need to assemble a local glam team and stick with them! Select one hair dresser, one aesthetician and one spray tan tech, etc. Don’t skip around town and try every beauty pro, you don’t want too many cooks in the kitchen. Allow time for your hometown pro to develop a haircare/skincare regimen, and stick to a schedule to allow time to work toward your beauty goals.
Make sure NOT to introduce any new products or services in the weeks leading up to your wedding. Use the months leading up your big day to hone in on your beauty regimen. The last thing you want is to have a reaction to a new product or new services in the days leading up to your wedding or worst have an orange spray tan.
Once the couple has selected Lake Tahoe as the destination for their wedding, what should the bride do?
Book a trial appointment. With Love Is In The Hair, the trial appointment is a great opportunity for us to get to know one another, for you to see how your hair and makeup will look on your wedding day. And it gives us a chance to look over your skin and hair. We also can determine if hair extensions need to be incorporated to achieve your desired hair style. Book this appointment up to three months prior to your wedding date.
What else should the bride do as her wedding day approaches?
Schedule pre-wedding day beauty appointments. We recommend booking hair color appointments 10-14 days prior to your wedding day to allow hair color to settle and blend. Don’t overlook the peach fuzz because the camera won’t! Squeeze one last facial in with your trusted skin care pro along with waxing appointments two weeks prior to your wedding.
Make sure to avoid salty, fried food or alcohol leading up to the wedding. Think green and lean. I recommend the Glowing Green Smoothie from Kimberly Snyder:
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 head organic romaine lettuce, chopped
- 3 to 4 stalks organic celery
- 1/2 head of a large bunch or 3/4 of a small bunch of spinach
- 1 organic apple, cored and chopped
- 1 organic pear, cored and chopped
- 1 organic banana
- Juice of 1/2 fresh organic lemon
What about when the bride arrives in the Lake Tahoe region for her wedding?
Be sure to stay hydrated especially at Lake Tahoe’s high elevation. We want to avoid dehydrated skin and lips because healthy hydrated skin equals youthful illumination and glow.
Are there any misconceptions about wedding day hair and make-up services?
The most common misconception about wedding day hair is to arrive with dirty or day old hair. This is the exact opposite, please arrive with clean dry hair and let the beauty pros prep your hair with the proper products to ensure longevity to your wedding day style. Oftentimes dirty or day old hair has an excess of oil, weighing down the style or making the hair look greasy. Your wedding day pro will be able to properly evaluate your hair and prescribe just the right hair care cocktail for success.
Any other advice for bridal beauty?
Skin Care is EVERYTHING. Make sure you have major moisture in your skincare routine. Hydrated skin illuminates and radiates youthful beauty. Great makeup starts with great skincare.
At Tahoe Engaged, we are your trusted confidante for wedding professionals that have been carefully vetted by submitting their references, business license and insurance. We are grateful to Michelle Campbell, a Tahoe Engaged member, for offering her professional advice to our readers. If you would like to learn more about her company, Love Is In The Hair, click here.
Your Guide to Tahoe Wedding Transportation
As a Managing Member of the leading transportation company in the Lake Tahoe region, Danell Wilson-Perlman is always on the move. But she was kind enough to put the brakes on her busy schedule at Reno Tahoe Limousine and talk with Tahoe Engaged about her background and business. Danell brings amazing life experiences to the Reno – Lake Tahoe community, and she is a wealth of information about moving people in style.
Born and raised on the southernmost tip of Africa, Danell started working at a local tourism office when she was 16 years old, and that’s when she began to dream about living overseas. After graduating from a college in Cape Town with a degree in Tourism and Travel Management, she landed a job in 1994 at the Royal Gorge Cross-Country Ski Resort near Soda Springs, and eventually was offered full-time employment there. In 1997, when Danell went to rent a car from a Truckee rental agency, she happened to meet the owner, Ron Perlman. She not only rented the car, but ended up marrying the owner!
Danell has many fond memories of both her life and business partnership with Ron. She recalls, “My husband started Royal Limousine in 1987 in Truckee as a hobby. He had an automotive shop, part shop and car rental agency at the time, but always had a love for cars, so he bought a used limo he restored for fun. Then his friends started calling to see what it would take to rent it, and that is how it all started. I already saw the potential of the company from early on, so in 2002 I came on board to assist him with the operations of the car rental and limo companies. We moved the operation to Reno in January 2008 with 6 vehicles. We now have 28 in our fleet.”
Danell and Ron are very proud of how they have built Reno Tahoe Limousine from the ground up to become a leader in the transportation industry. Wedding couples often have important concerns about getting their guests – and themselves – to their celebration, so we asked Danell to enlighten us all on the finer points of people-moving.
What are the most common issues you encounter when providing transportation for weddings?
Timelines are crucial and it’s very important to realize that we are in larger vehicles and in commercial vehicles, so we cannot drive the speed of a race car. Our chauffeurs have to abide by strict rules – you have to account for traffic and for loading and unloading passengers. It all takes time. Summer in Tahoe on a Saturday, you have to account for major traffic delays. In winter, there is traffic between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. from the ski resorts, and you cannot get around Emerald Bay.
If the couple or planner is not familiar with the layout of the property, we will send one of our staff to go scout the location to make sure certain vehicles will fit in tight spots, turnaround areas, steep uphills or downgrades. Certain vehicles will bottom out, so you have to be mindful. During winter, can the vehicles get into the property with snow on the ground or do we have to drop at the street and have SUV’s shuttle them in and out?
Are there any common misconceptions about wedding day transportation services?
Transportation can make or break an event, that’s why it is such an important piece of the wedding day plans. We still have couples call the day of, looking for last minute transportation, because someone forgot to order car service. We have pulled it off many times, but it adds unnecessary stress on their wedding day. The idea that family members or friends will be their drivers for the day – that is a recipe for chaos.
What things should couples ask about before booking their wedding transportation?
First and foremost, they need to ask if they are licensed in the state that the couple will need transportation in.
Ask for a certificate of insurance. Most commercial transportation companies these days carry $5 million, but they need to carry a minimum of $1.5 million if they are a commercial transportation vendor.
Make sure their drivers are drug tested and are part of a drug testing consortium where they will also be randomly tested throughout the year and that background checks are done before they are hired by the company.
What is the required uniform of their chauffeurs? This is super important, I’ve seen some scary outfits in this area before.
During winter, they want to ask if their drivers have snow driving experience, this is important. Ask if it’s a coach, will your driver be able to chain during winter conditions?
Finally, ask for testimonials from their clients which will include contact details.
How do you keep up with the latest developments in transportation services?
We attend the annual global limo and bus conference in Las Vegas to stay on top of trends. Our area is very unique and different than the large cities. The day of the stretch limo is done, unless you are based out of Vegas. Most weddings are using Mini Buses, SUV’s and Mercedes Benz Sprinters these days.
Any other advice for wedding couples?
Take transportation for your big day seriously and if you are moving large groups of people, make sure you have your wedding planner’s staff on the ground to help load and unload guest passengers onto the vehicles. Having ground staff is crucial when passengers are missing, and they can help make the process so much easier. Reno Tahoe Limousine needs to be in communication with your wedding planner and we need to know if cell service will be an issue. So many times with remote areas, passengers are not at the addresses where they are supposed to be, or they are running late, the list is long, so the chauffeurs need to be able to be in constant contact with a planner.
When you’re not working at Reno Tahoe Limousine, what other forms of transportation do you enjoy?
I love horseback riding, taking long walks with our dog, and motorcycle trips with my husband during Spring and Summer. Also, I started a travel program to take women entrepreneurs to South Africa to collaborate and exchange with like-minded women entrepreneurs and see part of my beautiful homeland. So this keeps me busy, but it feeds my soul!
Your Lake Tahoe Wedding Invitation – Getting It “Write”
Your Lake Tahoe wedding invitation should set the tone to elicit a “must-attend” response from your guests. Although electronic invitations may have become more feasible with technological advancements, it is still considered “proper etiquette” to send a beautiful paper invitation through the good old U.S. Postal Service. More importantly, in this day and age of incessant spam in our in-boxes, a mailed invitation shows your guests that you have made the effort to personally request their presence at your wedding, and it will better motivate them to be there.
Union Street Papery is the ultimate destination for sensational stationery. These paper mavens have their pulse on all the latest designs and trends, so you can express your style with pizazz, and get your guests buzzing about your big day.
Here are the typical components of your wedding stationery wardrobe:
- The wedding invitation piece is the main event and should include your names. If your parents are helping to pay for the wedding, it should include their names as well. Other details include date, time, ceremony location and reception if they are in the same location. Since you may want to frame your invitation do not write in the corners “Adults Only”, “Black Tie” or “No Gifts”. Save this information for a separate Information card.
- If your reception is in a different location than the ceremony, you will need a Reception Card with the name and address of the wedding reception. Also include the time the reception starts and provide information as to what type of meal will be served, such as “Dinner and Dancing”.
- A Transportation / Information Card typically is two sided with easy to read font. If you are providing group transportation to and from the wedding from one or more hotel properties, specify the name of the hotel and what time to meet in the hotel lobby for departure. If the guests are self-driving to the wedding, provide detail driving instructions that you have driven, do not rely on directions from Google. If you are having an outdoor ceremony, cocktails and/or reception provide this information, and give average temperatures for this time of year and advise on attire and proper footwear.
- For Pre and Post Wedding Weekend Events, you should have a separate card listing the activities, location, time, what to wear and if transportation will be provided.
- The Response Card should have a space for guests to write their name indicating if they will or will not attend the wedding. If you are offering a meal choice, have the guest indicate their entrée preference by writing their name(s) next to the choices you are offering. If you are providing group transportation, have guests confirm they are taking transportation and if there is more than one hotel in your room block, specify the hotel name. For pre and post wedding weekend events, have them RVSP to all events attending. You will want to pre-stamp all your response cards for your guests convenience (US only not overseas).
- The Envelope Please… It’s gorgeous to line your envelope, so select a lining that will wow and coordinate with your wedding invitation and all the wardrobe pieces going inside.
We caught up with Stacey, the Top Doll at Union Street Papery, to learn more about their approach to creating an inviting wedding invitation.
When and how did you get into the stationery business?
My first high school job was at a beautiful local stationery store that I had shopped at as a kid. I loved paper and stickers, and lucked into landing a job there. I quickly moved from general retail to invitation design and consultation which really captured me.
How do you stay on top of the latest stationery trends?
We have built some amazing relationships with designers and other stationers over the years, and are in constant communication with them. Instagram and Pinterest have been very influential (and helpful to dig into the wedding vibe of our couples), as have a few blogs and publications along the way.
New vendors/designers reach out to us on a daily basis, so we can follow up on what interests us and work for our clientele.
What’s the best way for a wedding couple to prepare for their first stationery visit?
Doing even just a little homework first is somewhat helpful: creating Pinterest board showing color, florals, site location can really help us focus in on their invitation style. Having an idea of budget and items that they want to include in the suite can really set us off in the right direction as well. We understand that this is usually a once in a lifetime experience that they need help and guidance with, so we also are prepared to explain all the options from the beginning. Their invitations are the first true glimpse into their wedding, and we hope that is as important to them as it is to us.
What is your approach to working with wedding couples?
We really try to get to know our couples story: How they met, where they come from, what they do, what is important to them, why they have chosen their venue, etc. We encourage them to put their personality into their paper, just as they will to the rest of the event. We can guide them as much or as little as they want, customize anything with art, graphics, or calligraphy to set just the right tone for their big day.
Other Inviting Tips
We recommend sending hotel information with your Save the Date, not the wedding invitation. Hotel room blocks should be secured as soon as you know your wedding date and reception location, because guests need to make their flights and other travel plans sooner than two months before the wedding. Also, many hotel properties have release dates on their room blocks, so you will want your guests to make their reservations several months before the wedding.
Once your wedding stationery ensemble has been printed, it’s time to take one invitation set to the post office to weigh. With all the components, it will definitely weigh more than your average envelope. Once you know the postage price per envelope, you can select a stamp that you love by either selecting something the post office currently offers, or having a custom stamp created for you. You can also have your wedding envelopes professionally hand addressed by a calligrapher – now that’s attention grabbing!
Finally, please, please make sure you have the stamps hand-cancelled when bringing them to your local post office. Do not drop them into the black hole of a blue mailbox, because the Postal Service machinery may not be kind to your wedding invitation. Then, sit back and experience the excitement as the responses start to roll in!
The Music Man… and So Much More
Just call him “Sawyer.” That’s the first thing you learn when you meet Chad Sawyer, a music maven and Owner of Moonlight Mobile DJ. But our inquiring minds wanted to know more, so we recently had the pleasure of speaking with Sawyer about his background and his business. And what we learned is that Sawyer is truly a man of many interests and talents.
Born and raised in San Diego, Sawyer took full advantage of its coastal location and year-round warm climate. But one thing kept Sawyer hanging around the house as much as the beach – his parents were music enthusiasts, and there was always a wide variety of tunes being played in his home. Sawyer began to develop a love for dancing, and by the time he was in high school, he became hooked on DJ’ing.
But being a DJ was just for fun (or so he thought at the time), so Sawyer began to embark on more scholarly pursuits. After high school, he spent a year in Japan, teaching English as a second language. While there, he studied martial arts and earned a 4th degree Black Belt in Aikido.
Returning to the US, Sawyer attended the University of Nevada Reno, where he majored in Secondary Education and History, and if that wasn’t enough, he also had a double minor in Japanese and English. After receiving his Bachelor’s Degree, he got a job as a teacher of Advanced Placement American History and Government. While teaching, he went back to UNR and earned a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration.
But all through this time of academic enlightenment, Sawyer’s love for music remained strong. He got some gigs DJ’ing in local clubs, then he transitioned into mobile and private events, including weddings. In 2003, Sawyer took the plunge and started Moonlight Mobile DJ. Now he says, “I couldn’t be happier DJ’ing for a living.”
Fortunately, we were able to get Sawyer to sit still long enough to answer a few questions about his profession:
There’s always the dilemma between having a live band or a DJ for your wedding. How should the couple decide whether to have a band or a DJ?
Cost is certainly one factor in this decision as bands are typically more expensive. Bands do bring something to a reception that a DJ cannot, the power of live animated music. A great DJ on the other hand brings versatility and a much wider library of music. Not to mention, if you love the sound of the original singer and musicians, a DJ is your only option. For weddings, I do love live music during the ceremony and cocktail hour – it adds a touch of elegance, and you can save the DJ ‘til when you’re ready to PAR-TEE!
Once you decide on a DJ, how do you select the right one for you?
Of all of the service providers that a couple will hire for their wedding day, the DJ has the ability to ruin their wedding the quickest! If the photographer is terrible, you won’t know until 3 weeks after the wedding, but if your DJ is bad, everyone is going to notice immediately! A wedding couple places a lot of trust in their DJ.
My recommendation is to interview 2 to 3 DJ’s. Start with a phone interview initially. Even though you are not physically there, tone and voice inflection is important. You can learn a lot with a phone call, Skype or Facetime. Asking the DJ about their style and how they plan to interact with your guests will help you get a sense of what type of person you are hiring.
[Publisher’s Note: At Tahoe Engaged, we take it a step further to ensure that our DJ’s, as well as all of our vendors, have a business license, business insurance and 5-star references from trusted wedding industry professionals and prior wedding clients.]
Can a wedding couple see a DJ in action before hiring him or her?
This is a tough issue because most of the events that I DJ are private, so you can’t see me perform. I do have a video on my website that highlights my style and past events. I also have multiple videos up on YouTube, Instagram and other social media platforms for wedding couples to see.
What are common misconceptions about DJ Services?
Some misconceptions about DJ’s are that we just play music. In a club setting this might be true. However at a wedding, a skilled DJ is a liaison between vendors, an MC, as well as mixing and playing music.
How has technology affected the DJ at weddings?
For the reception, technology for the most part has made accessing songs on the fly incredibly easy.
But cell phones during ceremonies have become a technological drawback. The data streaming on everyone’s phones can interrupt the wireless mics that the couple are using for their ceremony. I always ask guests to place their phones on Airplane Mode, and this helps a lot. Guests can still take photos, but stopping the data streaming allows the microphones to work properly.
Are there reception venues in Lake Tahoe that have restrictions on music?
Yes, there are noise restrictions in Tahoe. All amplified music outdoors must end by 10pm unless other arrangements have been made, or the venue is indoors.
[Publisher’s Note: These same restrictions exist at wedding venues throughout California.]
What have weddings taught you?
Weddings have taught me to be humble, listen to requests, and always go above and beyond for my clients. Customer service is everything.
What is the best advice you give a couple when planning their wedding?
Hire the best professionals, trust them, relax and enjoy your day. Don’t spend time worrying about details on the day of your wedding.
When you’re not DJ’ing, what activities do you enjoy in your spare time?
I love spending time with my kids – skiing, snowboarding, surfing, sailing and hiking… In Tahoe, there are sports for every season!