Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Mato & Amy at The Old 1862 Ranch with Take the Cake Events, Kaylynne Kroshus Photography and Men Wielding Fire

There are many benefits to being a wedding DJ.  You get to meet people from all over, from all walks of life, and all backgrounds. You get to help make an amazing couple’s most special day that much more memorable and fun. You get to work in fabulous settings and venues. And you get satisfaction knowing your efforts were an integral part of the overall experience of the bride & groom and of their guests.
The ceremony
You could attach all of these benefits to wedding coordination as well. There are some coordinators who embody the same spirit and love for their work as I do, and I was fortunate to be a part of a day and evening with a fabulous couple, their family and guests, and my favorite coordinators, Cassie and Pattye from Take the Cake Events.
Lawn games
The couple’s marriage we all were so happy to be a part of was that of Mato and Amy. They are head-over-heels in love and wanted everything about their day to celebrate their love for each other as well as the love for their families and guests.  They had a very clear vision for their day- from the venue to the food to the look of the whole thing. They made sure the day would be perfect- perfect for them and for their guests and it certainly was.
The bar
The venue they chose is really unique. It was the first time there for me and it really exudes the atmosphere that Amy & Mato wanted to bring out- country gorgeous. It is called The Old 1862 Ranch, and it has been an active ranch from that date, lovingly restored by its owners Jan & Jim. Two nicer hosts I cannot remember. They helped out all throughout the evening and talked with guests about the history of their beautiful spot in the rolling Long Valley northwest of Reno. The ranch has extensive acreage and several outbuildings evoking simpler times gone by. They had set up a tent and dance floor on the wide lawn and the ceremony and reception surrounded the stately ranch house.
Dining tent, dance floor, and ranch house
The ceremony was simple yet beautiful. The natural arch of a tree branch provided the arbor for the focus of the event with views of green fields, livestock and distant mountains making for a perfect backdrop.  The bridal party entered to a great version of “Fireflies” by Jurgen Johannes followed by a radiant Amy entering to one of my all-time favorites, Van Morrison’s “Into the Mystic.” The ceremony itself was fairly quick, perhaps quicker than it should have been as the officiant forgot the “I do’s” and was about to pronounce them married!  Everyone, especially the bride & groom had a chuckle as someone brought it to his attention and it was soon rectified. I loved how Mato & Amy and their bridal party just rolled with it and enjoyed the moment. I knew then that it would be a fun and happy group that evening. It will be something they can laugh about for years to come. I would rather have a memorable moment if it turns out fine than a ceremony that fades quickly from memory. Their ceremony, with the beautiful bridesmaids and bride, the gorgeous backdrop, and the love that encapsulated everyone will never fade from people’s memories.  They exited to “You Are the Best Thing” by Ray LaMontagne to rousing applause and were off on the wonderful grounds of The Old 1862 Ranch for pics with Kaylynne from Kaylynne Kroshus Photography.

Kaylynne is a fantastic photographer. I have had the pleasure of working with her several times and she always has an easy-going vibe with the other vendors as well as the bride & groom and guests. She really captures the feel of the moments and events she photographs, and her work is stunning. Follow this link to see how a real photographer documents a day through her talent and artistic eye. Much better than the pictures I take for my blog... :)
Speaking of music, I really loved the choices Amy & Mato made for their ceremony and reception.  They live in Austin Texas, probably the greatest city for progressive music in the country, and their selections reflected their high music IQ and eclectic tastes. When a bride & groom give me specific songs not just for events but for cocktail hour, dinner and dancing, they are putting themselves into the mix. They gave me a songlist that ranged from Louis Armstrong to Ghostland Observatory, from Johnny Cash to Cake, and from Cat Stevens to the Wheeler Brothers. Many guests complimented me on the selections- I was quick to let everyone know that Mato & Amy had programmed the majority of the songs. It is a day all about them, but they included songs that were special to family and friends and when the dancing started, they encouraged requests. A recipe for a fun night as the dance floor was always humming.

First Dance!

While the happy couple roamed the grounds for pictures, their guests enjoyed a fun bar area and a whole variety of lawn games. They had cornhole, croquet, bocce ball and two sets of mega-Jenga using 2'x4's. The guests that weren't inclined to play wandered around the ranch and sat on the porch and laughed and talked. When Amy & Mato were ready to rejoin the reception, Cassie came over and let me know, and within a few moments we were welcoming them with their Grand Entrance. Men Wielding Fire catering provided the BBQ that followed and soon everyone was enjoying dinner.

All during this time, and well before everyone started to arrive, Cassie & Pattye from Take the Cake Events scurried around solving problems big and small and preparing for the guests and their needs. It is hard to know where to begin describing what a good wedding coordinator does, let alone a great one, and two great ones to boot! They prepared beverages, placed fans, fixed flowers, drove down the road to affix a sign for directions to the wedding, met with all the vendors and helped them with their setup and the schedule, assisted the bridal party, found missing items, figured out where and how things should be displayed or placed, and welcomed the guests and family as they arrived. These and another couple hundred things that I haven't mentioned. They are always the first vendors to arrive and the last to leave, after cleaning up, organizing linens, collecting gifts and making sure the people coming for chairs, tents, and tablecloths the next morning would find all of their items quickly and organized. I can't say enough about them. They went above and beyond with a goal, like mine, to do everything possible to make the bride & groom's day better than they even imagined, and they succeeded with flying colors. When Cassie & Pattye are at an event where I am deejaying, my stress level immediately drops down to almost nothing, allowing me to concentrate on the music and emceeing. Many coordinators can be imperious and bossy. You want them to be assertive, as they are trying to get things done and solve issues that arise, but while being assertive the girls at Take the Cake Events are also friendly and cooperative- just the sort of coordinator you want interacting with your guests and loved ones.
Father & Daughter
Lori and Jenny, Amy's sisters, led off with a pair of tremendous toasts as dinner concluded, and John, Ray and Steve followed up with great ones of their own. Then Mato and his bride started the dancing with their first dance, using "I Can't Believe You're in Love With Me" by Hot Club of Cowtown. They had a few moves to wow the audience with, and their loving enthusiasm warmed the already attentive crowd. Ray then danced with his daughter in the Father-Daughter dance using the appropriate "Daughter" by Loudon Wainwright.  Next Judy danced with Mato for the Mother-Son dance with "I Will" by the Beatles capturing the moment perfectly. Everyone joined the newlyweds for the dancing that followed and it never really let up except when it was time to cut the cake (they also had cupcakes) and toss the bouquet and garter. As the summer night darkened, the lights around the tent and ranch house came on (and a couple of lights from yours truly) and the dancing took over. I played many great requests mixed in with Amy & Mato's playlist, sprinkled with a few choices of my own. I couldn't have asked for a friendlier or active bunch of dancers- it was like the whole day was magical and they were trying to capture some of that magic forever by dancing and having fun alongside the B&G.
Mother & Son
I sure enjoyed the entire experience. Like I said, there are so many positives to being a wedding DJ, you don't mind the load-in or out, especially with a bride and groom like Amy and Mato and their family and guests. I was honored to be a small part of the magic.
Dancing begins!
Thanks to Kaylynne from Kaylynne Kroshus PhotographyMen Wielding Fire, Cassie and Pattye from Take the Cake Events for all their help and hard work and a huge thank you to Jim & Jan for opening up The Old 1862 Ranch for the evening. It is a special place, and they do only a very limited amount of events each summer, and it is really an undiscovered gem. But most of all, thank you Amy and Mato. I truly enjoyed your day and I am so happy for you as you discover the world together.  Magical...

Congrats Amy & Mato!

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