Thursday, July 23, 2015

Sarah & Matt with Angelina Ellis with The Entertainer and Fig Tree Catering

I am enjoying a fantastic wedding season so far- the best ever in 27 years of being a wedding DJ, and it is because of the amazing couples I am privileged to work with, the fun guests that attend the events, and the fantastic vendors that help make it all possible. I could not have asked for a better couple, crowd, and group of wedding professionals as I had earlier this month at Matt & Sarah's reception.
I have to say, first and foremost that Sarah & Matt are such an fantastic couple. From the moment I first met with them I loved their energy, fun ideas, and oh-so-apparent love for each other and I was so excited and honored to be chosen to be a part of their day and evening. I love meeting with clients. We are able to discuss all kinds of aspects of their day and make their vision a reality. A couple's excitement about their day is infectious and it makes me strive even more to go above & beyond their expectations. I don't want a reception to be ordinary- it should be extraordinary; one that everyone compares any other reception to from that point onward, and Matt & Sarah's reception was a highlight of an already stellar wedding season.
They had a church ceremony and then everyone headed to a private home off Mount Rose Highway for the reception. It was a perfect afternoon and evening amongst the lush grounds of this home: grapevines in the front, a patio and sizable pond on the other side of the house, and then a huge leveled area complete with a fantastic tent, bar area, and very sophisticated and clean mobile restrooms- not your average backyard wedding. The property's owner owns a landscaping company so the flowers and landscaping were park-like and perfect for the 200+ guests.
If the beautiful manicured surroundings weren't amazing enough, Angelina Ellis and her team from The Entertainer in Gardnerville really wowed everyone with their decorating and coordinating skills. I don't usually take many photos of the decor but Angelina's touches, both big and small were everywhere. The pics I took are a small sample of the thought and effort she put into making the grounds a wedding wonderland. I am so impressed with her skill and outstanding work ethic! In my experience, wedding coordinators are a mixed bag. Some are great at decor but no so much at coordinating. Others are good at day-of coordination but have average planning skills and little decorating vision. The majority of coordinators fall into one of these two categories. There are a few though that are outstanding in all aspects. I can count on one hand those I think excel at everything- those that I can recommend without hesitation. Angelina is a part of that elite group.
When you have an outdoor estate wedding, possible complications are multiplied. Things normally taken for granted like electricity, restrooms, lighting, and prep areas become possible challenges and must be planned for and dealt with. I was amazed at the lack of issues considering the number of guests and fantastic detail put into the evening. This was largely because of Angelina's preparation and the combined vision of the bride & groom, coordinator, and the property owner. When there were issues Angelina dealt with them quickly and efficiently and no one was the wiser. I especially loved the fact that even with 200+ guests, there were a myriad of things for them to do during the reception. I was pleased by the numbers of people just touring the grounds, looking at the plants, flowers and decorations so artfully grown and placed. Appetizers and cocktails were on the shady patio, a picture station was near the photogenic pond, lawn games actively played on the lush lawn, and many signs and stations directed the guests to all the happenings. There was a memory table for those who had passed on but were there in spirit. There were parasols and four types of lip gloss for touring the grounds while still remaining safe from the bright sun. Signs with their hashtag were put up so that their guests could post pictures instantly- several people were watching them as they were hash tagged. Angelina and her staff continually patrolled the large area smoothing out small details and making sure everything went smoothly.
After everyone had explored the grounds and settled in with a cocktail and appetizers, Matt & Sara arrived. I started up "Timber" and introduced the bridal party and when they had all entered I switched to a certain spot in at the Rudy soundtrack for Matt & Sara. They came in to thunderous applause and the huge smiles on their faces really just set the tone for an extraordinary evening. Everywhere people picked up on their exuberance and the energy level never subsided.
Instead of a guestbook, everyone signed a wooden leaf- very cool!
Soon Fig Tree Catering was in the spotlight as those 200+ people were served dinner. I especially thought that the bartenders were extraordinary, serving that many people without much of a wait. As people finished dinner, Angelina and Fig Tree began pouring champagne for the toasts and Sara's dad Alan started off with a funny yet heartfelt toast that set a high bar for the next toasters. After much bubbly was hefted and sipped, Matt & Sara moved to the dessert table and cut their cake as "Build Me Up Buttercup" played in the background. As the cake was cut and as guests came up for various goodies, Matt and Sara strode to the dance floor for their first dance.
FoB Alan giving the first toast
Now I haven't said much about them yet. I've told you about the spectacular grounds and Angelina's art and expert coordinating but the real stars behind the planning and countless details were Matt & Sara. So many were their great ideas they had and made happen. They gave me six pages of favorite songs spanning everything from cocktail hour to dinner to dancing. They encouraged me to go outside their choices though, taking requests and trusting me to put in songs that were perfect for the moment. I like a couple that has a musical point of view, and they do, making it easy for me to play songs that exuded their personalities and moods. Crafting a phenomenal dance mix is a balance of the likes of the bride & groom, the requests of the guests, and the discretion, knowledge and experience of the DJ and as a consequence the dance floor was full all night long.

Unbeknownst to everyone but the bridal party and myself, we had crafted a first dance mix of Keith Urban's "Making Memories of Us" into Andy Grammer's "Honey, I'm Good". Everyone enjoyed the slow, sweet Urban song and then "Honey I'm Good" hit. Sara & Matt began a coordinated dance routine that blew everyone away! If that wasn't enough, bridal party members then tried to cut in and Matt & Sara playfully waved them off as they danced. By the time we segued back into the last bit of "Making Memories" everyone was cheering. Just a fantastic way to start the dancing!
Lots of happy dads & daughters!
Then came the most sentimental dances of the evening. First Sara and her dad Alan danced to "Butterfly Kisses" by Bob Carlisle. After a minute or two I invited all the fathers & daughters up on the dance floor to join them- always a special, unexpected highlight for those dads and their girls.
Then Matt brought up his mother, Lisa, and they had a moment as "My Wish" from Rascal Flatts played. Soon more moms and sons joined them and then the dancing was off and running :)
After a great jam-packed set we stopped the dancing for a moment to toss the bouquet & garter. Sara chose "Dear Future Husband" by Meghan Trainor to pump up her girls for the toss, but Matt and I had a secret for his retrieval of Sara's garter. Instead of a background song, Matt and his boys donned sunglasses and sang "You've Lost That Loving Feeling" right to the surprised and happy bride! Very cool! Her smile is big and bright anyway, but I don't think she laughed and smiled more than that moment. Matt pulled off a special moment that will vividly live in his beautiful bride's memory forever. Such a great couple!
"You've lost that loving' feeling...
Whoa oh that loving' feeling..."
An Anniversary Dance followed that (Ben E. King's "Stand By Me") and then the rest of the night was filled with laughter and dancing. I really enjoyed every second of the evening- to weave a mix for such a fun and dancing crowd, to help bring an amazing night together, and most of all, honor a special couple on their most special day- this is why I do what I do, and it couldn't have gone any better. Matter of fact despite shuttles coming and going, most everyone stayed until the end and actually we went into overtime. Such an amazing night!
Thanks to Angelina from The Entertainer- you really knocked it out of the park in every aspect of coordination. Thanks to Mike for his beautiful home and perfect grounds- it was a perfect setting! Thanks to Fig Tree Catering. Finally, thanks to Matt & Sara. When I first met with you two, I saw how in love you are, how fun you are, and I knew it was going to be a monumental event that I wanted to be a part of.  Thanks for making me a part of your day! I wish you all of the best in your life together! Congrats you two!