Some DJs have trouble sticking to a music list prepared by the bride & groom. I see posts by DJ's on DJ boards and Wedding Wire telling their brides to pick "10-15 songs max" so they can feel free to take requests and use their usual mixes of the same music they played last weekend. They cannot adjust to new music or thinking outside their box. They complain if popular songs are marked as "do not plays" and when a DNP song is requested they hold out that list like a "get out of jail free" card and blame the B&G. Good DJs make the experience all about the bridal couple. They encourage songlists and input from the B&G so that the couple will feel like it is their event, an event as special and fun as they are. I love couples that have a strong point of view. Katy & Justin fit that bill perfectly.
They had seen me deejay at Heather & (a different) Justin's wedding last year (see blog). It was a phenomenal event at Rancho San Rafael that really was special and unique. This wedding was to be just as unique and fun. After a couple of meetings we were able to really bring out their personalities and love of music with the selections they made for the ceremony and reception events. Katy gave me an extensive music list with around 90 songs for cocktails, dinner and dancing and then told me to take no requests- just use the songs off the list. No worries! Her picks were well-thought-out, with something for everyone and really reflected her and Justin's musical likes. Again, some DJs view this as an obstacle, but I look at it as an opportunity. I have a list that is golden in regards to the newlyweds. That means they are going to dance to them which is a huge catalyst for the guests getting up and doing the same. My job is to read the crowd and group those songs together so people will stay on the dancefloor. (BTW if you haven't figured it out, playing weddings is an absolute blast and I actually get paid to do this!). But the music was only one component of this special day.
They chose to have their ceremony & reception at the Chism House. This is a unique venue near the Truckee River in West Reno that really gets better and better every time I play there. For the last couple of summers, it has been under new management, and they really are a class act and are continually upgrading the gardens and the house itself. If you want an outdoor wedding in a beautiful garden setting just a few blocks from downtown, then look into the Chism House. Tina was their coordinator from the Chism House and she did a tremendous job from beginning to end. No issue was too small for her attention and she kept everything going with a minimum of fuss and always with a big smile. Great to work with other exceptional vendors such as Jo from Reno Photobooth, Monique & Scott from Photography by Monique, and the great staff from Fig Tree Catering. Jo kept the guests and bridal party busy all evening with her booth and her great personality. To have a photo booth can really boost a party. To have a photo booth run by Jo, that is a party in itself! Monique & Scott were professional, unobtrusive, and just flat-out great to work with. Their work will knock your socks off as well. Fig Tree were their usual selves- delicious food and service with a smile. But let me tell you about the ceremony...
|Bridal party watching their first dance as husband & wife|
When I was changing clothes prior to the nuptials, I spent a little time with the groomsmen doing the same. However one member of the party didn't have a tux or suit- he had a set of dress blues of the USMC. Lloyd was not only a fine example of a patriot but he was also the officiant and friend of the B&G. He had never officiated a wedding before, but he did an outstanding job and received many compliments throughout the evening. Justin & his folks entered to "Blackbird" by the Beatles and the BP came down the aisle to "With a Little Help From My Friends" by Joe Cocker, and then Katy appeared, taking everyones breath away (especially Justin's) and walked down the aisle to a beautiful rendition of "In My Life" by Johnny Cash. After a nice ceremony and a reading by Amy, Lloyd pronounced them married and they kissed and exited to "Lucky" by Jason Mraz. The guests were off to drinks and delicacies while the BP took their pictures around the beautiful grounds.
|Katy & her dad Jeff|
The Bridal Party entered the reception a little while later to Beyonce's "Crazy in Love" which was immediately followed by Justin & Katy's first dance, "I'll Be There For You" by Boyce Avenue. I liked the fact that the bridesmaids & groomsmen stayed standing while Katy & Justin danced- a simple but elegant gesture that I don't always see. The toasts followed a delicious dinner buffet and then the cake was cut, with Marvin Gaye playing in the background. Dancing then resumed with Katy and her father Jeff dancing to Heartland's "I Loved Her First" followed by Justin and his mom Lori doing the same to Good Charlotte's "Thank You Mom". That song was new for me and I thought it was a great choice. Dancing followed and the floor was busy all night long. Again, a happy bride & groom = happy guests which means the whole level of the party goes up a few notches. By playing their list, I made them happy, comfortable, and above all, special. It is all about the bride & groom!
|The guys are getting carried away, literally!|
Okay, I did stray from their list once. When the songs slowed down and people got romantic for a moment or two I slipped in Heather & (the other) Justin's first dance song, "Smile" by Uncle Kracker. I love being able to instantly take a couple back to their first dance whether it be one or sixty-one years ago. It is a nod to a previous wedding which makes the current one even that much more memorable. Celebrating love & marriage is what the day is all about.
|Heather & Justin from last year :)|
When it was time to toss flowers & lingerie, David Guetta's "Where Them Girls At" was the soundtrack for the bouquet, and a moment later Van Halen's "Hot For Teacher" punctuated the garter removal. When Justin tossed it, the theme from "Baseball Tonight" framed the catch, a great idea Justin had that his boys really liked. Again, these little touches really amplify the reception. Katy is a teacher who teaches autistic kids- probably the most difficult teaching there is. I was happy to extend her an Educator discount, as I appreciate what she and others like her do every day for the kids in our community.
|The bridesmaids were a fun group!|
When it was time to end the evening, Led Zeppelin's "Thank You" was the last song to be danced to and then the guests grabbed sparklers and formed a pyrotechnic tunnel for the newlyweds exit to, accompanied by Motley Crue's "Home Sweet Home." I was happy to be able to be a part of Justin & Katy's amazingly special day. J&K- Thanks for allowing me the privilege & pleasure to be a part of your day! Many, many happy years!