Ambience: A NJ DJ Blog

  • The Hip Hop Wedding Cocktail Hour

    It's your wedding day and there are no rules. Let your wedding be the first to feature a hip hop cocktail hour that is bound to be memorable with guests. The following Hip Hop Wedding Cocktail Hour playlist was compiled by Ambient DJs' Head of Musical Programming DJ Iron Mike who is a specialist in the hip hop, R&B, soul and reggae genres. Yes, rappers fall in love too! The track selections below showcase the softer side of hip hop, with a bias towards the 1990s. That said, be sure to use the edited song versions so as not to offend Grandma.

    The accompanying cocktail for this playlist is a bottle of Cristal champagne. First created in 1876 for Alexander II of Russia, the Cristal brand became intertwined with hip hop culture in the 1990s. The hip hop community, led by Jay-Z, boycotted the brand in 2006 when an executive from parent company Louis Roederer implied that he was less than thrilled with Cristal's association with rap music.

    Be sure to take a listen to Iron Mike's 1990s "Back in the Day" hip hop / R&B mixtape series immediately below the tracklisting. Need a hip hop / R&B specialist DJ for your wedding, private party or club event? Contact us today at to book DJ Iron Mike!

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  • The Fifty Shades of Grey Wedding Cocktail Hour

    Parallel to next week's Valentine's Day release of "Fifty Shades of Grey" on the big screen, Ambient DJ has released its own 50 Shades mix. Rather than compiling a tongue-in-cheek playlist, our DJ Gregg Ambient created a romantic mix, but with a naughty edge true to the plot of 50 Shades. This mix is dedicated anybody who's in love this Valentine's Day!

    This open format playlist/mix features musical genres including international electronica, deep house, R&B, funk and even trance. Sample artists include Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson, Prince, Rihanna, Kaskade, Amber and Sarah McLachlan.

    The accompany cocktail for this playlist is billionaire Christian Grey's favorite champagne to wine and dine his Anastasia, a bottle of 1999 Bollinger La Grande Annee Rose (retail price - $125).

    Be sure to check out the continuous one hour mix immediately following the playlist. Too racy for your wedding? Then save it for the honeymoon!

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  • New Jersey's Top Wedding Venues (2015 Edition)

    Through the years, we have had the opportunity to work as DJs in many of the finer banquet halls located throughout the state of New Jersey.  In this article, we share our top wedding venue selections. While our company is based in the Princeton area in central New Jersey, we perform across the state, from Cape May to Bergen County. With our referral sources and advertising programs scattered across New Jersey, we tour the Garden State heavily (it’s a lot of fun!) and you never know where Ambient DJ Service will pop up on any given Saturday night.

    New Jersey offers an incredible array of quality wedding reception venues that are diverse as the state itself. From rustic farm weddings to summer celebrations in the heart of the Jersey Shore to luxurious banquet halls with the most decadent Viennese spreads to romantic wineries, the Garden State is a great place to celebrate a wedding! We recommend couples to find a venue that suits their personal style. Do keep in mind that outdoors celebrations in unique venues can produce the most memorable parties, but that New Jersey's weather is unpredictable.

    To further explore the lures of New Jersey weddings, check out Erik Kent from's blog article “10 Reasons to Get Married in New Jersey”by clicking here.

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  • Wedding Music Master Class 2015

    Congratulations on your engagement! Now it's time to get planning. Building an appropriate musical playlist for a wedding can be a daunting task for many couples. Special songs such as parent dances can be particularly challenging.

    Unfortunately, there are many inferior musical playlists circulating the internet that were not compiled by working wedding professionals. To that end, we are sharing this Master List of our best song ideas for a wedding: from ceremony music, to the reception portion with lists for Grand Entrance songs, First Dance, Father-Daughter Dance, Mother-Son Dance, Cake Cutting, Bouquet and Garter songs and Grand Finale songs. We also share our Top 100 Songs for a 2015 Wedding, 64 Themed Cocktail Hour playlists, 10 Songs NOT to play at a wedding and 7 Musical Programming Tips for a Wedding. The majority of the songs in this blog were used by our actual clients, while the rest were selected with great care with regards to lyrics, mood and danceability.

    If you find these lists and ideas useful, please share them with a friend by posting on Facebook or Pinterest. You can follow us on Facebook here or on Pinterest here. We are a New Jersey-based mobile DJ entertainment company with an expertise in weddings. If you are a New Jersey-based bride or groom, please keep us in mind for your special day!

    For a wealth of additional planning tips, check out our new book available on Amazon "The Bride's Guide to Selecting the Perfect Wedding DJ". It is available as either a hard copy or ebook.

    Now let's get into the music!

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  • The All-Broadway Wedding Cocktail Hour

    For the 47th episode of our wedding cocktail hour playlist series, we called in specialists Kris Longwell and Wesley Loon to compile an all Broadway music wedding cocktail hour. Kris and Wesley are recent wedding clients of ours, and both have theater backgrounds. They are huge Broadway fans, and have compiled a terrific list of show tunes from recent and classic Broadway theater productions. Sample shows include Wicked, Rent, Ragtime, 42nd Street, Les Miserables and Evita.

    For their signature cocktail, this dynamic duo selected the Fuzzy Greyhound, a sweet, fruity, vodka-based cocktail. To learn how to mix a Fuzzy Greyhound, click here.

    Love to eat? Be sure to check out Kris and Wesley's cooking blog and subscribe to their email list for new recipes. You can check out a recent How To Feed a Loon video episode "How to Make Southern Style Crabcakes" below their song selections.

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  • The Motown Wedding Cocktail Hour

    Motown is a record label founded by Berry Gordy, Jr. in 1960. The "Motown Sound" is a style of soul music with a distinct pop influence. While the music typically sounds happy and bright, many Motown tracks contain bittersweet lyrical themes. Ambient DJ music mixologist Christopher Smith, aka DJ Spinz, was tasked with compiling a list of "wedding friendly" tracks for an all-Motown cocktail hour.

    For his signature cocktail, Spinzy selected "The Last Word," a gin-based prohibition era cocktail with an equal part of green Chartreuse developed at the Detroit Athletic Club. To learn more about The Last Word, click here.

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  • The Jamaican Love Song Wedding Cocktail Hour

    Warm up your Winter with this all-Jamaican wedding cocktail hour playlist compiled by Ambient's Caribbean Music Specialist, Music Mixologist Teshna C., aka "DJ Jazz." Jazzy was born and raised in Negril, Jamaica. While she formerly danced professionally in reggae dancehall competitions, Teshna's true passion lies with conscious reggae music, also known as "roots" reggae. The playlist that follows contains what Jazzy terms as Jamaican wedding music or "romantic reggae," incorporating talented artists like Barrington Levy, Beres Hammond, Gregory Isaacs, Marcia Griffiths, Carlene Davis and many more.

    For a signature cocktail, DJ Jazz selected "The Hummingbird" which is a popular local cocktail in Jamaica featuring fresh fruit and rum. Jazzy's favorite rum for mixing is Wray and Nephew Overproof Rum. To learn how to mix a Hummingbird and other popular Jamaican cocktails, click here.

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  • The Top 30 Songs of 2014 - by DJ Gregg Ambient

    2014 is nearly a wrap. It was an excellent year for music with a variety of styles in favor. On the pop front, artists like Iggy Azalea, Ariana Grande, Meghan Trainor and Taylor Swift reigned. Turning to hip hop and R&B, producer DJ Mustard ruled the roost with a series of catchy, melodic, club-oriented tracks. Most interesting to me was the increased presence of the early 90s UK house sound as popularized by artists like Disclosure and Kiesza. Trap music and EDM, two of the hot musical styles of 2013, remained popular but lost relative shine.

    The list that follows contains my Top 30 songs of 2014, presented in countdown fashion. These were tracks that I played heavily, either by guest demand or of my own volition. The Top 10 were particularly hot songs based on song requests from guests. Drum roll please.....

    Also, don't forget to check out my free, downloadable New Year's Eve party dance mix towards the bottom of this blog containing many of these top tracks.

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  • DJ Toad's Acquired Taste Wedding Cocktail Hour Playlist

    DJ Toad (aka "Douglas Scholten") is a nationally-known mobile DJ based out of Cincinnati. A wedding DJ specialist and winner of TLC's Four Weddings, DJ Toad offered to share select cuts from his massive cocktail hour crate, titling his set "The Acquired Taste Wedding Cocktail Hour." As per Doug, the selections are "funky and soulful contemporary tracks infusing hip hop elements that still have a classic sound. Artists that were before their time - like Soul II Soul and the Urban Dance Squad. The 'why didn't I know about this til last year ELO track?' How many of you blasted the Milli Vanilli remix cassette in your 78 Granada during high school? I did."

    For a signature cocktail, DJ Toad selected "Fernet Branca" - which as Toad, writes "ain't for everybody." Fernet is an Italian amaro - a bitter, aromatic spirit. Fernet Branca is a brand of Fernet from Italy that was invented in Milan in 1845. Fernet is made from a number of herbs and spices which vary according to the brand, but usually include myrrh, rhubarb, chamomile, cardamom, aloe, and especially saffron, with a base of grape distilled spirits. Fernet's smell has been described as like "black licorice-flavored Listerine." Fernet Branca has enjoyed a recent growth in popularity in the United States particularly due to an increase in the interest in and mixing/serving of apothecary cocktails (Fernet is used as a digestif).

    Read on to view the Acquired Taste Wedding Cocktail Hour playlist. For more information on DJ Toad, visit

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  • The Vintage Soul Wedding Cocktail Hour - by DJ Ali Gruber

    DJ Ali Gruber is a wedding DJ based in the Hudson Valley area of New York who spins vintage soul and R&B records using turntables and real vinyl LPs. We recently interviewed DJ Ali on our blog after one of our Photo Booth operators observed her rocking a wedding reception in Asbury Park. To access our interview, click here.

    DJ Ali graciously agreed to compile a wedding cocktail hour playlist titled "The Vintage Soul Cocktail Hour." Representative artists include Al Green, Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, Nina Simone, Aretha Franklin and Bo Diddley. According to Ali, most of these songs were inspired by her vinyl LP collection.

    For a signature cocktail, DJ Ali appropriately selected an "Old Fashioned." Learn how to mix one by clicking here. Read on to view DJ Ali's rich & satisfying vintage soul selections, followed by videos of each. For additional information on DJ Ali Gruber, visit her website at

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