Nov 052011

The Museum of Photographic Arts (MOPA) is a modern San Diego wedding venue tucked within Balboa Park. One nice thing about this space is that there are many options nearby for an outdoor ceremony in the park. Our couple hired me as their San Diego wedding DJ for the reception but also decided to have their ceremony in the Casa Del Prado courtyard. This allowed for a semi-private ceremony in a very busy place. There is no electricity in the area so I had to use a battery powered system for music & microphones. The bride’s uncle performed the ceremony. He was extremely nervous in the beginning but ended up doing a nice job for them and made the ceremony personal.

Balboa Park San Diego Wedding Ceremony Balboa Park San Diego Cocktail Hour MOPA San Diego

After the ceremony guests headed out of the courtyard over to the cocktail hour located on the East Lawn in front of the Botanical Gardens building. This lawn area is also next to the reflecting pond which makes for a scenic backdrop.  Balboa Park does not allow any electrical powered amplification so I once again had to use a battery operated sound system in the cocktail hour area.

Balboa Park Wedding Venue Unique Wedding Favors African Scarves San Diego Wedding Escort Cards

Our couple lives in Tanzania so of course there was an African theme throughout the entire wedding reception. This theme was evident in the personalized table runners & linens that they had hand made in Africa. An artist they met in Africa designed the beaded table number card holders. For unique wedding favors they gave out packets of spices from the Zanzibar region and also colorful handmade Zanzibari scarfs for all of the women. They brought these back from Dar Es Salaam & Zanzibar’s Stonetown. You can see the handmade scarves displayed on the hand railing at the entrance to the museum.

San Diego Wedding Centerpieces Wedding Favor African Spices San Diego Wedding Sweetheart Table

Instead of a traditional wedding cake our couple decided to have a variety of different flavored cupcakes with a smaller cake on top for the two of them to cut. Check out the “mustachio” cupcakes! These were a white chocolate pistachio cake with pistachio butter cream and of course different shaped mustaches to top them all off.

San Diego Wedding Cake & Cupcakes San Diego Wedding Cupcakes Mustachio Museum Of Photographic Arts Photo Booth

The museum is an all white space so you really need to bring in some lighting to warm things up and create more of a wedding environment. I provided 10 red uplights around the reception gallery that added some necessary color.

Museum Of Photographic Arts San Diego Wedding Venue

San Diego Wedding Lighting San Diego Wedding Red Uplighting Museum Of Photographic Arts DJ

This is probably my most musically unique wedding this year. They hired me as their San Diego wedding DJ over the phone since they were planning from a distance. Once they arrived in San Diego a few weeks before the wedding our couple gave me lots of DJ friendly African music that they brought back with them. We all knew that typically (American) wedding guests will only dance to songs they have heard many time times before so all of us were not sure if their guests would dance to this music since it was unfamiliar to most of them. We talked it over and thought we would test out the waters that night and see what happens. I listened to and categorized all of this music in advance. This allowed me sort the music by beats per minute and to seamlessly mix in their African songs in between some mainstream dance music and popular American favorites. It was sort of a back and forth between the styles all night. They actually ate it up and had a great time. I honestly think the seamless beat mixing really helped keep that momentum going from a familiar song into an unfamiliar song and then back to something familiar again. Essentially I didn’t give them a chance to have a “conscious moment” to think: What song is this? Do I like this song? Do I want to dance to this song? It just happens. This was a really fun and unique wedding that I will definitely remember.

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San Diego Wedding Lighting & Extras Provided:  10 Uplights,  Battery Powered Sound System for Ceremony & Cocktail Hour


Ceremony Wedding Party Entrance – “A River Flow in You” by Yiruma

Ceremony Bride’s Processional - “Neria” by Oliver Mtukudzi

Ceremony Recessional – “L.O.V.E.” by Natalie Cole

Bridal Party Introductions –  “Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)” by Shakira

First Dance – “Malaika” by Harry Belafonte and Miriam Makeba

Cake Cutting – “Closer to the Bone” by Louis Prima


Catering =  Personal Touch Catering

Coordinator =  San Diego Weddings by Gina

Florist =  Haydee’s Creative Flowers

Photographer =  Amazonas Photography

Cake & Cupcakes =  Elizabethan Desserts

Transportation =  Haynes Antique Car

For more information about this event or to hire us as your San Diego wedding DJ click here to visit us:   Positive Energy Productions  |  858.490.0445