Monday, November 2, 2015

Wedding Toast Tips

Wedding Toast Tips

Performing at thousands of weddings over a long career I have heard it all and seen it all in terms of speeches and audience reaction. So in this article I will lend some advice on what I believe can help you achieve a successful toast. 

I will not tell you what to say, let's leave that to the poetic and heartfelt writers. What I will do is give you some helpful pointers that could very well make the difference in this honor that you have been given.

So here goes :

FOR STARTERS: it's more than likely that the DJ or band have already introduced you so PLEASE don't start your speech with the words "For those of you who don't know me".  Try something original like "Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen, Friends and Family. To the many friends I know and to the new friends I look forward to meeting tonight, My name is ........"

BRING YOUR GLASS WITH YOU : you'll want to have something to raise up in toast to the newlyweds.

WHERE TO STAND : Pick a spot as close to the Bride and Groom as possible but where you can be seen by all and stay put, don't wander around. (makes the videographers really happy) . If there is a sweetheart table that seats just the Bride and Groom, Best Man should stand off the Groom's shoulder , Maid of Honor off the Bride's. If Mom and Dad or relatives give a toast, a nice place to stand is just behind the couple.

HOLDING THE MIC ; If you have a strong voice, hold the mic 6 inches from your mouth if soft spoken 3 inches. Listen for your voice through the speakers. The closer the mic , the better you will be heard. DJ or band will control the over all volume. Practice holding the mic in advance if necessary. 

HOW LONG ? : Under 5 minutes, everyone will love you but the average successful toast is 5-8 minutes long. REMEMBER, AFTER 10 MINUTES YOU WILL START TO LOSE THE CROWD.
Better to be brief and have everyone's attention. If you go too long the tables farthest away will start talking. While this is certainly rude, that's what happens when they lose interest in what you are saying. Toast givers with pages and pages get the worst response.

SHOULD I BE FUNNY ?  You can certainly try, not everyone can pull this off. If a joke bombs, don't feel bad, make light of it. 

SPEAK FROM THE HEART AND INCLUDE BOTH BRIDE AND GROOM : Often times we build our speech around the person we know best with funny stories from our past. Always include some words for the spouse. A sincere "I have never seen him/her happier" always works. Most great toasts start off with some ribbing of the Bride and Groom but if you remember the advice from Owen Wilson in the movie Wedding Crashers :  a little something heartfelt works every time.

BE TASTEFUL : Ok here is the most important tip I can give you. This is directed mostly at the Best Men out there. These are the people that have occasionally made us cringe over the years. Keep in mind that the Bride's entire family is listening. Save the really embarrassing speeches for the Bachelor party. DO NOT bring up past relationships .

IN CLOSING : Keep in mind that in most cases the Bride and Groom have spent the extra money to include a champagne or wine toast. That makes it your duty to ask everyone to raise their glasses in toast to the happy couple.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Control Your Lighting

(Topsfield Commons is a facility that understands atmosphere and proper lighting)

Control Your Lighting

     I worked a wedding recently at a south shore facility that will remain nameless. I have worked at this place many times and I really enjoy working there . The facility is really nice and the staff are warm and welcoming. On this occasion I noticed that the main ballroom was unusually bright. No matter because they did have the ceremony in the main room and being that this was a barn essentially it would not really concern me until it was time to dance.
I asked permission between salad and main course if I could get the guests out for a few dances and was told no, which again wasn't a big deal because they really did have the meal ready to be served within about 10 minutes time.
So after dinner we did cake cutting and then it was time to dance. I sent my assistant to see the banquet manager to get the lights dimmed as I had Unchained Melody playing and it was still as bright as a hockey rink . He returned and told me that he was told that the lights needed to stay up that the photographers were taking group pictures. WHAT ????
First off, I will tell you that it was not the photographers who had requested the lights stay as bright as they were. I am not exaggerating when I tell you how bright it was. So I went to the manager, who up until this point I had gotten along with, and TOLD her not asked her to turn the lights down. She was killing us. So after she delayed even more by clearing it with the Bride and Groom, finally the lights were dimmed.

Note to Manager : Nikon and Canon provide flash devices with all their cameras. I'm not asking for Halloween dark, just some atmosphere.

Sorry for ranting here but the point needs to be made that especially in an era when couples are spending good coin on uplighting, the control of the lighting should be of some concern.

We also have had ballrooms on occasion that have defective dimming controls. There is a facility in Framingham that does a ton of weddings and for some reason won't fix their ballroom lighting. It is defective and unbalanced.

There is a banquet facility in Haverhill run by two very old school owners who WILL NOT dim their lights until every part of the meal including dessert has been cleared by their servers . I'M SORRY, WHAT ?? "We don't want our servers to trip and fall". Really ? So, they don't know their way around the ballroom ? This place is huge . Oh Well.

So, the point of this story : 

1. Ask the question, who controls the lighting and when can we expect the lighting to be dimmed to create some dancing atmosphere ?

2. When shopping around for function facilities ask them to show you the room at different lighting levels that will expose any problems that exists with their dimming capability.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Why should we put our faith in a Professional DJ?

Why should we put our faith in a Professional DJ?

Like many other skilled trades, electrician, carpenter, plumber or even a lawyer, a DJ will spend years practicing his or her craft through repeated engagements from clients. A pro DJ will average 100-150 events a year. In the busiest years that number can climb to 200 events. Throughout these events, a DJ is a keen observer on how the music they play is affecting their audience. It is within these observations that a DJ will develop a skill set that allows them to get a feel for what works musically and what doesn’t. The longer the DJ has been at it, the more events they will do and the more you can rely on their expertise for picking just the right blend of music for a successful event.

What it all boils down to is: who is the best qualified to select music that will make people want to dance and therefore maintain a packed dance floor throughout your event? The answer is a skilled professional DJ with exceptional reviews and references. Let’s face it, just about anyone can put together a playlist for cocktail hour that the majority of people present will enjoy. When it comes to getting that same group of people to “Get Up and Boogie”, leave it to a professional.
Music Factors:
Most music played by DJs at events is actually an educated guess on the DJ’s part that the song will be enjoyed by a good amount of the audience at hand. That can either be from past results that we have had or by radio play or top 40 chart reputation. New music is usually worked in after it has a chance to become popular either on radio or in clubs. Playing songs that are too new runs the risk of mixed results. No matter how good a song may be, you need to let people get to know it first before it starts becoming a hit at private events.
Have you ever approached a DJ for a request and gotten a slightly less than positive response? That may be because most people don’t put real thought into whether a song actually fits into the mix that is playing. Additionally, most DJs believe that a request from an individual represents that person’s taste and doesn’t necessarily reflect the mood of the entire audience. Especially when in a public setting like a nightclub.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Noise Restrictions at Weddings

The Decibel Meter and Why It May Affect Your Wedding

There are many questions an engaged couple will ask a prospective reception site. Often times couples arrive at the meeting with a prepared checklist of what to ask the sales manager concerning their wedding reception. I will bet money that very few couples are aware enough to ask the following question :
Are there any noise restrictions at your facility ?

I would then go double or nothing with my bet if that question is not asked, the subject will never be brought up. Although I'm sure there are some facilities that believe in full disclosure, why bring up the negative aspects to a potential client?

Depending on the kind of reception you are planning, noise restrictions can certainly have an impact on your wedding . If you envision a high energy dance floor then it is important to make sure your facility allows for a level of sound that will entice your guests to dance. While most wedding DJs and bands will not elevate the sound to nightclub levels, there are points during your evening when you will want a rich full sound to create a lively dance floor. Especially during the top 40 sets.
Make certain that you and your facility have an understanding that a reasonable sound level can be achieved and that your entertainment will not be harassed throughout the night by someone carrying a decibel meter. Get it in writing.   

The majority of wedding facilities, I mean 98% of them do quite well with no noise restrictions and no decibel meter.

What is a decibel meter ?  A decibel meter is a listening device that is used to read the level of sound, commonly referred to as "dB" . Facilities that use this meter usually target the entertainment to not exceed 85-90 dB. To give you an idea of of how restrictive they are being, your guests talking at the table is about 60 dB, a garbage disposal 80 dB, inside a subway car is 95 dB and a rock concert is 110 dB. So a wedding DJ or a band during a top 40 set will be hovering around 90 but if the staff is constantly telling your entertainment to turn it down it becomes a problem. You need that good pulse on the dance floor.

Who uses a decibel meter and why ?

The most common facilities that make use of a decibel meter are those that use tents or have a portion of the wedding outside. There are also certain towns that place strict noise restrictions on wedding venues such as Cohasset, Lincoln and many towns on the Cape. Most weddings on Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard end at 10PM for that very reason. There are facilities whose neighbors constantly complain like Castle Hill in Ipswich , Smolak Farms in Andover . 
Facilities with cranky neighbors should be taking their readings at the edge of their property NOT on the dance floor near the speakers. Which brings up another point. Most of the time, the person using the meter doesn't know the first thing about audio. They were just told how to turn it on. (Hey lady, if you hold the meter up near my speaker of course it's going to be loud.)

Here is who has noise restrictions :

The Pierce House                                                        Lincoln, Ma
Wentworth By The Sea Country Club                        Rye, NH
The New England Aquarium                                      Boston, Ma
Smolak Farms **                                                        Andover, Ma
The Crane Estate                                                         Ipswich, Ma
Linden Place                                                               Bristol, RI
Rosecliff                                                                     Newport, RI
Wayside Inn                                                                Sudbury, Ma
Ocean Edge (Tent)                                                      Brewster, Ma
The Lyman Estate                                                       Waltham, Ma
Commander's Mansion (Tent)                                     Watertown, Ma
Endicott Estate                                                             Dedham, Ma

** We are told they installed their own sound system to allow them to control the volume. Can you imagine ? A function facility in charge of the overall volume. I don't think so. This is why we would never work there. There is a restaurant in Kendall Square Cambridge that does that as well.

While I can appreciate the fact that many of these facilities cannot help the fact that they have these restrictions and that often times they are imposed by their neighbors or communities, my advice to them is : GET OUT OF THE WEDDING BUSINESS !! Maybe your facility wasn't meant to do high energy weddings. Cocktail receptions yes, festive receptions no. 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

How to put on a great Karaoke Show


What makes a great show

This article is a guideline for karaoke hosts, karaoke companies and venues that put on karaoke shows.
First, forget about every other karaoke show you have ever seen.. What we are going for here is not your typical run of the mill karaoke night. What I am giving you here is the recipe for a high energy "kick ass" show. If your show is really good it shouldn't sound like a typical "cheesy" karaoke night.

Here are the elements you will need :

1. Your Sound System

Think of the last time you went to see a live band. Whether that band was good or bad, big or small, they most likely had someone who knows a little bit about sound running a mixing board. These sound engineers take great care to balance each instrument with the vocals to create what we call in the industry a great "mix". The good news for you is, you don't need to be a sound engineer to get a good mix on your karaoke system. You just need a decent ear for sound and set your levels so that the music and the vocals match up nicely. You start by using a good mixer. I recommend the Mackie Pro FX 8 Channel Mixer. As of this writing you can get one online for $229.99 . 
This baby is all you need for karaoke with great sound and built in effects. For speakers, it's a matter of what you can afford but most commercial grade speakers will suffice. 
Here is a very important point when it comes to tying your mixer into a club's sound system. Make sure your mixer is not running full and sending a distorted signal to the house. The house mixer should be up higher with your mixer  sending less of a signal. It will sound much better , trust me.

Vocal Effects :

Simple : VOCAL EFFECTS ARE CRITICALLY IMPORTANT TO KARAOKE SINGERS .The mixer above has built in effects that work great for karaoke. Reverb or a little bit of delay or echo. Do not let singers sing with a "dry" microphone.

def "dry microphone" - a microphone with no effects

Microphones : 

Simple Tip : spend the money and buy Shure SM 58 mics. Around $100.00 each. They have been an industry standard for many years and there is a reason for that. They sound great, they take a beating, and for 5 bucks you can buy a replacement windscreen after a few years and they will look like new.
DON'T USE CHEAP MICS : Give your guests a great experience.
I use electric tape to secure them to the mic cord so that they can't fly off and hit someone or they can't get stolen.

Compression :

If you are not familiar with this term, compression is done by a processor in a club system that pulls the sound level down when a sudden burst of audio is presented to the system. Sort of a fail safe to keep the speakers from blowing. When used on karaoke vocals it is very commonly overdone so that the singer really can't "belt it out". Relax your compression enough to give your singers a good "rock star" experience . If they can barely hear themselves sing what is the point? 
Let the singers sing !!  I can't tell you how many times I have had to ask a host to increase the level of my mic when visiting another show. . Singers never have to ask at my shows. I make sure that the singers can be heard. If this means that you have to reduce your compression or eliminate it altogether then do it.
I have no compression on my karaoke systems and I have never blown a speaker .

2. Your karaoke library and song book 

Now here is where I differ from EVERYONE else that does karaoke. Let's say you are a club owner and you are paying a DJ to play music at your club. Do you let the customers pick all the music that he or she will play ? Of course not !! So why then would you let some poor slob come up and sing My Way in the middle of a busy night and kill whatever mood you have going for you ?
This is why you have to "trim the fat" from your song books. Why advertise that you have 60,000 karaoke songs to choose from when about 56,000 of those songs suck? My song books offer the customer upbeat hit songs to sing that will keep the energy in the room. We carry every conceivable hit and are very up to date buying new hits every month.  We keep a careful limit on the sappy love songs and usually only allow those to be sung on slower nights.
Anyone that shows up with 2 songbooks to put out is lazy . How would you feel if you went to a crowded restaurant and they only had 2 menus for everyone to share ? Songbooks are like menus , customers like to browse before they make their selection. Make sure they are clean of old beer stains and make sure there are plenty to go around.

Pet Peeve about songbooks : Duplicates !!! People, stop listing 6 different versions of one song. Pick a good version and list that one . Do you really think thicker books makes you a better show ? 

Sign Up Slips (Don't Use Them)

Again here we differ from most other companies. We feel it is important to know just who signed up and in what order. That's why we keep a signup sheet on a clipboard with a pen attached. So when you get the inevitable "When am I up", you can just show them the waiting lists. It also gives each person signing up a look to see if someone else has already signed up for their song. 

3. The Host

Cannot emphasize enough how important this person is. Keep in mind that a good singer does not necessarily make a good host. I will say that again for you : A good singer doesn't always make a great host. The reason I say that is so many places go for singing ability over Emcee skills. I would rather have a great Emcee who can handle a few tunes (me) than a great singer who has zip for personality on the microphone. The good news is that you can teach someone to be a better host, the signing thing not so much.
Is your host friendly ? Do they greet the customers warmly with a smile ? Do they make a nice appearance or are they dressed like a slob ? These are all important factors that make a great karaoke host or hostess.

Do and Don'ts for the Karaoke Host :

  • Do dress well
  • Do start on time every single night that you work
  • Do make a big deal out of every singer even the bad ones
  • Do develop unique intros for different singers 
    • For example : "Let's welcome independent recording artist xxxxxx xxxxx"
    • "In his only Boston area appearance   xxxxxx xxxxxxx"
    • "Last year's runner up for vocalist of the year xxxxxx xxxxxxx"
  • Do keep the tempo of your evening rolling by switching the order of singers from time to time
  • Do check the mics to make sure they are on before handing them out EACH TIME
  • Don't sing too much
  • Don't scream or shout - announce 
  • Don't favor the regulars too much over new customers
  • Don't let offensive music slip into the mix if the audience is older or there are children present

4. Intro songs or "Bumpers"

This is a real simple assignment : Instead of introducing a singer and having dead air until the karaoke song kicks in, have a folder full of great intro songs. Intro songs used at sporting events make for great "Bumpers" between singers. This practice keeps the energy of the room going and will be a big hit I assure you. Save one singer during the course of the night for the now famous "Elvis Intro" using the 2001 Space Odyssey Intro. If you search for Elvis Intro on YouTube you will see what I mean. Another standout intro to use is the Chicago Bulls Theme - Sirius. More recommendations to follow, check back soon.

5. Have fun with it !!

If you are not enjoying yourself you are in the wrong business.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Weddings - Time to Dance

Very often I get asked the question : How much time will we have for dancing ? While there is no exact science to it and there are a lot of variables to consider, a better question might be : How much time SHOULD we have for dancing.
Here is why : 

With 2 1/2 -3 hours of dance time your DJ will be able to play enough hits to keep your dance floor jumping . My routine for that stretch of time is to accommodate 30 dance requests from a couple and fill in 15-20 that I know work for a perfect evening of dancing. 

With 3 1/2 - 4 hours of dance time you really need a high energy audience. First because that makes it a longer day for the guests and they will need the stamina. Secondly, there are only so many great songs for weddings. With this much time a DJ has no choice  but to venture into songs he or she wouldn't ordinarily play. Keep in mind that songs that may have been popular last year get so over played that they lose their steam after a while. Remember how popular "I Got A Feeling" by the Black Eyed Peas was at one time and now we consider it passé . Songs like "Shout" , "Old Time Rock n Roll", "September", "Twist & Shout" and "Bust A Move" are on the short list of songs that stand the test of time.  In other words songs that are more than a couple of years old and still pull a good dance floor at a wedding are in limited supply.
Many couples fall into the mindset of adding an extra hour thinking that they just won't have enough dance time. If you ask any DJ how much time is ideal for dancing, most will tell you 2 1/2 to 3 hours. 
More often than not a 5 hour reception will yield 2 1/2 hours of dance time. Keep in mind that we are talking about only the reception part of the wedding.

Dancing between courses :
Whenever possible, I like to invite my wedding audience up for some dancing between the salad and the entree. Most function facilities will allow a brief period of dancing as they clear the salad and ready the meal. It can be a very nice ice breaker and set a great tone for dancing later. My approach is always start with a well recognized slow song. My "go to" songs are "Can't Help Falling in Love" by Elvis and "Unchained Melody" by the Righteous Bros. The reason I do this is because I like a nice full dance floor when I launch into my first upbeat dance song. My first approach is normally a light oldie like "Oh Pretty Woman"', " Runaround Sue" or "I Can't Help Myself" . This approach works like a charm for me. 
Please Note: There are venues that discourage dancing in between courses. Some say it will delay the meal, I say "nonsense" . Any good DJ will not impede the progress of the meal. If they insist on the no dancing before the meal rule ask them to estimate the timetable just to insure that you have at least 2 hours for dancing. 

Slow songs :
Another popular question : How many slow songs will you play at our wedding? Again, no stock answer here. Usually the answer is 6-8 not including the first dance. I use slow dances sparingly when I think the guests could use a break in the action. I try never to break momentum so if the crowd is on a roll I don't look at the time and think slow song. It's more of an instinct I have for knowing when a fast song set has peaked. That moment occurs when I really believe that if I played one more fast song I would lose half my dance floor. Keep in mind that there are guests that will only dance slow.

What if a song bombs will you mix out of it? 
If your DJ reviewed your dance requests properly nothing should bomb, but the answer is yes. Maybe not right away but I would certainly cut it short if I was sure it wasn't drawing a dance floor. I always consider every song on a couple's list. If I don't think a song will work I bring it up for discussion. While I am not always right, after 30 years in the business I have a pretty good read on these things. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Wedding Floor Plan

This is the first of what I hope to be a series of blogs drawing on my 30+ years as a professional DJ. While I do consider myself qualified to write these pieces, keep in mind that there will always be arguments made from other perspectives. My goal to be be of assistance to couples planning their wedding as well as event planners and others interested in what I do.
I am first and foremost a DJ with one goal in mind when I approach an event. To bring that event to it's fullest potential and to exceed all expectations that my clients have.

The Wedding Floor Plan

(from a DJ's perspective)

For this particular subject, keep in mind that my goal is to have a full dance floor at a wedding. There are many factors beside myself that make this possible. In addition, your floor plan will differ from the "norm" if you have a large guest list or a very small guest list.

Location, Location, Location (proximity of DJ/Band to dancefloor)

Anyone that knows my style as a DJ knows that I never want to be the center of attention. I do however need to be front and center when it comes to setup. This is extremely important to achieve a healthy dance floor as well as delivering the right sound which I will discuss a little further below. .I did a wedding last year at five star downtown Boston hotel. While I love playing at this hotel, they drive me a little nuts because it always seems that their priority  is elegance, room decor and the comfort of the Bride and Groom over everything else. So with that in mind, I was allowed to set up in the back corner of the room about 30 feet from the dance floor. I had 2 tables loaded with guests between my speakers and the dance floor. These guests were younger but even so, not very happy about the setup either. It almost seems like the DJ/Band is an afterthought to many of these hotels . Message to Hotel : Entertainment makes or breaks the wedding. 
There is one facility on the North Shore that will remain nameless. They have a huge ballroom and for a while made a habit of setting the DJ up near the entrance door and giving the cake a better area to setup than the entertainment. Not anymore, I insisted that I be closer to the dance floor and they said I was the first DJ to complain about it in 18 years , REALLY ? There was such a disconnect having to throw your sound an extra 30 feet just to get to the dance floor that the weddings I did there were no getting the same results as most of my other weddings. Unacceptable ! I was happy to hear at a recent DJ luncheon that pretty much every DJ at the meeting was having the same problem at this facility.

The point to all this : prioritize where your DJ or Band is setup. If the DJ or Band is not setup right next to the dance floor : Why Not ?? When I tell you this is critically important to the success of your dance floor you can take that to the bank. Ask any good wedding DJ.

Most facilities get it, some high-end facilities with reputation and ego do not.

Once place that really gets it is the Oakley Country Club in Watertown. There is a good reason why wedding after wedding we get an amazing dance floor.

Very simple, it's a short walk to the dance floor from anywhere in the room and there is a real connection between the entertainment and the guests. (pardon my crude drawing i'm sure Oakley has a nicer floor plan)

Sound and Acoustics

In the early 80's when I started playing weddings, most venues would offer a large square or rectangular room and setup for sound was very similar from place to place. These days with the wide variety of options couples have for wedding venues, we DJs are prepared for most any scenario. As mentioned already, we prefer to be right on the edge of the dancefloor. What that allows us to do acoustically is present a full rich sound with pulsating bass to the dance floor while at the same time not interrupting the social conversations that take place throughout the reception. Most often speakers are angled towards the tables during dinner when music is presented on the lighter side, then once dancing gets into full swing they are shifted back to the dance floor.
It is a common practice to have ceremonies and cocktail hour in different rooms or areas of a facility. Most DJs would use smaller mixers and speakers to accommodate these needs.
Whenever possible it is important not to have any tables of guests between the speakers and the dance floor. If this is unavoidable, make sure that the older guests are not at those tables. 
There is one facility in Brookline that makes it a practice to place and DJ on the balcony high above the guests and the dance floor. This is also a very bad idea. You are then forced to play at a heightened level and the sound is being projected over people's heads instead of directly at the dance floor. My suggestion for places like that : make room !! We DJs can be very compact if need be.

Dance Floor Size   

Good news !! Most facilities get this right. The dance floor is usually proportional to the amount of guests that a room can accommodate. If a dance floor is much too large for a smaller audience, facilities generally place a few tables on the floor to fill up space. Do you think it looks a little small perhaps ? Not to worry, think of what a full dance floor you will have then. When people want to dance they will find space.

The Bar

In most cases there is no changing where the bar is normally setup. A lot of facilities have permanent bars and there is no moving them The only reason I bring this up at all is concerning portable bars. When given the choice of the bar being inside or outside the room your answer should always be inside. Whenever a bar is outside the room and active, that is that many less people on the dance floor. Conversations always start up around the bar area as well.
The same can be said about Photo Booths. While they are extremely popular at weddings these days, the reason I don't offer them is why would I want to pull people away from my dancefloor? Whenever possible, put the Photo Booth in the room too.


I did a wedding recently in Merrick Valley area when an "old school" facility owner told me that the lights will stay bright until after his servers are done clearing the dessert . REALLY ?? Who are you worried about tripping , your servers ? Don't they know their way around this big spacious ballroom by now ? This particular facility is on the "don't book me there list" of a growing number of the top wedding DJs in greater Boston. He also does not allow dancing in between courses. I have liability insurance too, but nobody has ever tripped over my equipment in 32 years.
My point here is two fold :
  1. Beware of function facilities with a ton of rules. They are so set in their ways that it it hurting their wedding business and they don't even know it.
  2. Lighting is extremely important to the success of your reception.
Remember back to your high school days ? School dance, lights are bright nobody dances. Light are dimmed and simple as that, the grinding begins. Have I had successful dance floor when the lights were too bright ? Yes. Could it have been much better if that were dimmed at the proper time ? Without question. Ask the question of your facility salesperson, when will the lights get dimmed ? It takes little effort and makes a huge difference. 
It is especially important if you are spending the extra money for LED uplighting. The colors come alive when the house lights are dimmed. 

Great Planning !!

Dan McCarthy