|Genoa Town Hall|
A referral from another vendor with whom you have a great relationship means so much, as they are putting their reputation on the line recommending you to a couple. And a referral from another DJ- well that is very meaningful, as we wedding deejays strive for perfection, and if we aren't available we want that client that knew enough to seek us out because of that dedication to have someone who is equally dedicated play their event.
But to me, the most important relationship is between the clients and myself. This is probably one of the most important days of their lives and I want it to be perfect for them. I want to exceed their expectations. But most of all, I want them to have a great time with their friends & family. I want them to look back on their day with nothing but amazing memories and I want the same for their guests. I want their wedding to be the yardstick with which all future weddings are compared. So when a couple whom has seen me at a previous wedding asks me to be a part of theirs, I take it as a fantastic compliment, especially when the bride of the previous wedding will be the coordinator. This was the case this past weekend with Jimmy & Crystal at Genoa's Town Hall.
Crystal is the kind of person that is everyone's favorite friend or relative. She is vivacious, funny, and empathetic. Her coworker, coordinator and BFF (and my past client) Erin said it best during her toast, about how lucky she is to get to work alongside her best friend everyday. She is also a great mother- her son Braedan is one of the most polite, kind and bright boys I've ever met, which says a lot about her parenting skills.
Jimmy seems to never frown. He is laid back and exudes a happiness and calm that seemed to infuse the night with a challenge to all of his guests: "Try to have as much fun as I am having tonight!" And that challenge did not go to waste- Jimmy & Crystal's crowd were fun, happy, and ready to celebrate. But Jimmy is serious as well. Crystal was a single mom when they met. Not only did he make a lifelong commitment to Crystal but he made the same commitment to Braedan, and the happiness that shines from all three of them, together as a family, is palpable.
So when you have a bride and groom (and Best Man/son) like these three, it's a pretty safe bet that the people in their lives are pretty special and fun as well. And that was certainly the case.
I had the honor of deejaying Erin and her husband Curtis's wedding last summer. They had their reception at the Auto Museum, and it was a fun crowd, dancing the night away amongst classic cars. Crystal was Erin's Maid of Honor and gave an emotional speech similar to Erin's on this night. Erin took over coordination of the reception, which in a blank slate like the Genoa Town Hall is a large task. She coordinated the decorations, the food and alcohol, the photo booth, the DJ and photographer, and did so with efficiency and organization. The weather threw her a curveball when it started pouring right before the reception, but she altered the floorpan and adjusted where the photo booth would set up, and the guests weren't any the wiser. Coordination is a continual series of adjustments where you put out small fires that spring up and streamline what is working well, along with keeping everyone on a flowing timeline, and she really excelled at it. Her husband Curtis was a big help as well, and even young Braedon helped me with some lighting and keeping the little ones amused and out of trouble all night. It was the kind of party in which everyone seemed invested to some extent, making sure that it went as smoothly as possible.
Crystal and Jimmy had had a small ceremony across the street a bit earlier, and many of the guests had not seen them yet, so I knew the Grand Entrance would be more special than most: in fact it is one of my favorite ever. It was simple for the DJ- I introduced the Best Man Braedan accompanied by Bruno Mar's "Uptown Funk" and he did not disappoint. He danced for about ninety seconds with the crowd cheering and clapping, and then I introduced the newlyweds. They danced in to Bruno, joined Braedan for a few moments, and then settled in to their first dance, "Turning Page" by Sleeping at Last. It was perfect. Braedan's enthusiastic dancing built up the excitement and then the utter love and happiness the couple dancing in front of them sealed the deal. I'm creeping towards 900 weddings now, and it is one of my most favorite moments, let alone favorite Grand Entrances.
After their first dance, Jimmy & Crystal mingled for a bit and Erin and company got dinner ready and served. The Genoa Town Hall is a beautiful venue right amongst historic bars, restaurants, and B&Bs but it is also a blank slate. You can bring in whichever vendors you'd like, which is great, but you also have to set everything up and tear it down at the end of the night. Sometimes this can be a problem. Not so with this group. A dozen people pitched in to help Erin, and as I'll relate a bit later, the cleanup crew was the best ever :)
Amongst all of this frivolity were Isabella & Cruz, our bartenders for the evening. They were so fun, and being friends of bride and groom they had volunteered their services. They kept everyone hydrated and still managed to dance quite a few songs (and lead a conga line!). I was appreciative of their help and friendliness. They are engaged as well, so hopefully I'll be watching two of their friends bartend their wedding ;)
After dinner, both dads and Erin made speeches. I've talked a little about Erin's toast, but James (Jimmy's dad) started off, was short and sweet in length, and set a great tone for the toasts to follow. Crystal's dad Mitch got everyone choked up bit, relating how, as a dad, he has been ultra-protective of his daughter and grandson, but that now he can relax because he knows that Jimmy will take on that protective mantle. To me, that is the highest compliment he could have made.
Mitch then started the dancing back up again, dancing with his daughter to "Daddy Dance With Me" by Krystal Keith. A money dance then ensued followed by open dancing. One of the coolest things in an already fantastic evening was their choice of dessert. A huge pile of donuts was on the buffet line, but even better than that was Yogurt Beach right outside. Yogurt Beach! Who knew they did onsite yogurt? But they do! A freezer full of various flavors awaited guests alongside a table with all the toppings. Yum! (I had a vanilla custard with chocolate chips, pecans, and Hershey choc sauce btw). Everyone loved it and it was a very unique and delicious twist to the evening.
After everyone had danced for about forty minutes, we invited Charles and his granddaughter Crystal up for a special Grandfather/Granddaughter dance with Frank Sinatra crooning behind them. Then we invited all the married couples up for the Anniversary Dance for which I played Tim McGraw's "The Rest of Our Life". Not surprisingly Charles and his wife Barbara were the last couple on the dance floor, having been married 59 years! Phenomenal people at this shindig! Lots of other couples were in the twenties and thirties as well.
The rest of the night was spent dancing with a bouquet toss thrown in for good measure. I played a wide variety of music, everything from Buffet to Aretha to Coolio to Journey to Spice Girls. It was a great crowd all night long, but I have to say the last 30 minutes were my favorite. You see, about 20 friends decided to stay and help clean up and break down tables etc. but they were still in a party mood so I started a 80's-90's hiphop mix that kept them dancing, laughing and moving. I went from Salt N Pepa to Vanilla Ice to Montell to Run DMC and on and on, getting spur of the moment requests like Backstreet Boys and Seal. Everyone sang along and the hall was cleared out and cleaned up in no time at all. Finally, to end a perfect evening I played Semisonic. I love how Crystal and Jimmy just naturally found the center of the dance floor- heck the entire Hall- and all their friends surrounded them and sang "Closing Time" to them at the top of their lungs. There is no better way to end an evening than with your best friends and family, who had pitched in to make the day so special, doing one last special thing and singing to the newlyweds. I love what I do!
Thanks to Erin for taking the brunt of the coordination off my shoulders- you did great! Thanks to Cruz and Isabella and Curtis and everyone else for pitching in and going above and beyond. Thanks to Braedan for helping me out, keeping the dancing going all night, and setting the tone for the Grand Entrance. And finally, thanks to Crystal & Jimmy. You two are the best and deserve all of the happiness and more displayed that night. Here's to playing Sleeping at Last at a friend's future wedding ;)
|Last dance! Note everything is cleared- what a great crew!|