Wednesday, May 2, 2012


(Pt. VII)

 I've been involved with nearly
1,000 bridal events during my
30-year DJ career. The vast
majority of which, truly have
been incredible experiences.
Occasionally, however, I'm
involved with wedding that
has a little extra fab-factor —
one that truly is off-the-chain.

Since the inception of this continuing series last fall, my primary advice for brides-to-be simply has  been to:

A) Remain calm at ALL times.
B) Make smart, realistic choices.
C) Keep the gig indoors (or have an easily implemented, rock-solid back-up plan).
D) Involve only experienced professionals.
E) Remain calm at ALL times.

Oh, and did I mention to remain calm at ALL times?

Jennifer and Pat got it ALL right! Hence, I'm dedicating this entire installment of Here Comes the Bride to bragging (in great detail) on this delightful bride and groom and to celebrate the greatest day of their lives. Furthermore, I want to offer encouragement and recommendations to future brides and grooms, and their families. Although achieving a "perfect" wedding is a completely unrealistic expectation, I want to convey to readers by way of Jennifer and Pat's example, that an "awesome" wedding is quite doable — and you don't have to go "Bridezilla" to succeed in the endeavor.

When my longtime friend, Jonna, first contacted me in August 2011 regarding her daughter's April 2012 wedding, I knew instinctively that it was likely going to be a fun gig — for various reasons. First of all, the nuptials were to take place at Front Street Park. Nestled along the Indian River in Melbourne, Florida, Front Street's reception hall offers a fantastic waterfront view — making it appealing to brides, grooms and guests — and an ideal locale for photographers. Plus, the Front Street facility is available for rent to the general public with NO in-house staff. In short, along with Jennifer and Pat's family members and the other independent professionals involved, I'd be free to "do my thing" at Front Street without the usual scrutiny of hotel and banquet managers.

I became further ramped up about this wedding when I met with the bride-to-be at Starbucks for the ol' itinerary planning pow-wow a few weeks prior to the big day. Jennifer was prompt, prepared and as "calm" as a seasoned pro (see tip "A"and "D" above).

Given that both Jennifer and her groom-to-be were young 20-somethings, I expected their ceremony playlist to include selections from such contemporary artists as Jack Johnson and Ben Harper, which certainly was the case. However, the couple also requested super-groovy, yet lesser-known tunes from the likes of Donavon Frankenreiter and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. Ahh, this job was shaping up to be hip and unique!

Jennifer and Pat planned to take advantage of Front Street's beautiful gazebo area, which provides the perfect setting for outdoor ceremonies. Although they opted for outdoors, the bride and groom did have a back-up plan (see tip "C" above) — as I learned upon expressing my concern when clouds began rolling in on the morning of the wedding. But wouldn't you know it, there wasn't a cloud to be seen by lunchtime and the sky remained clear, henceforth.

Another potential hurdle for the couple was the issue of parking. Typically, Front Street provides ample parking space, even for larger affairs. However, Jennifer and Pat's gala just happened to coincide with the Melbourne Spring Arts Festival. With hundreds of artists displaying their work throughout the Historic Downtown District, numerous food vendors and outdoor stages presenting live entertainment, the annual art show runs from morning 'til night and attracts an estimated 60,000 people — 60,000 people with limited parking options. Unfortunately, Front Street is located about 14 inches from Downtown Melbourne and its parking lot became desirable real estate for art show enthusiasts. Even I had to heed my own advice (see tip "A" above) when I had difficulty navigating through traffic onto Front Street property and locating a spot. But whadaya know? In the end, one way or another, all of Jennifer and Pat's guests succeeded in ultimately arriving at the desired destination.

I've worked a variety of near-countless events at Front Street over the last 20 years and it's always been one of my favorite venues. However, I've never seen the room look as absolutely stunning as it did when I arrived to set-up for this wedding. And I must give mad props to Tenting by Ken and Linda Davis at Petals Flowers and Gift Shops in Melbourne for helping to transform the local reception hall into an upscale, wedding-type fantasyland. Kudos!

In my experience, an actual wedding ceremony typically starts late and sometimes can be a bit  chaotic. Yet Jennifer and Pat's ceremony ran smoothly and started on time. And literally lasting only approximately three minutes (total), it was the quickest of my entire career. Git 'er done!

One rather touchy subject in the bridal biz is the involvement of young children. Simply put, sometimes kids cooperate, and — well, sometimes, not so much. And just because youngins manage through the rehearsal, that doesn't mean they'll actually "rock it" at show time. But holy cow, Jennifer's Flower Girl and Ring Bearers TOTALLY delivered the goods and were absolutely adorable as they walked down the aisle.

And speaking of walking down the aisle, Jennifer's Bridesmaids, Groomsmen, Maid of Honor and Best Man, ALL looked impeccable — so did the guests. In fact, from military guys and hipster dudes to fabulous fashionistas and bubbly beach bunnies, pretty people were seemingly EVERYWHERE at this party! Heck, I was feeling so inadequate being surrounded by such a stellar-looking group, that  if I could have effectively done the gig from under the table or wearing a paper sack over my head, I certainly would have.

On to the first dance — one of my favorite wedding traditions! Although initially the newlyweds were set on dancing to a song by Hank Williams Jr., Jennifer notified me late in the week that Pat had changed his mind and the first dance now would be to Percy Sledge's 1966 #1 classic, "When a Man Loves a Woman." No disrespect to Bocephus, but I think that the last minute switch-a-roo was absolutely the smart play — and who doesn't love Percy Sledge?

Perhaps the biggest challenge of this event belonged to the catering crew. Jennifer and Pat's guest list was enormous, and a few folks were a bit hungry. Meeting the needs of this type of gathering would require a cracker-jack outfit. Robin and her staff at A Chef's Touch rose to the occasion. They were completely on-point and totally "brought it." The spread looked incredible, smelled amazing, and judging by the mountain-like platefuls I saw coming from the buffet line, I'd wager a guess that the food was equally delicious! Well done, Robin!

And while I'm on the subject of top-notch professionals, I want to mention how wonderful it was to work with Martina Tannery from Martina's Photography. The proper chemistry between photographer  and DJ is essential in the success of a wedding event. Martina is one of the best and I'm eager to work with her again — soon and (hopefully) often!

I've often referred to the cake as the "crown jewel" of any wedding reception. And Jennifer and Pat's cake bedazzled guests with diamond-like splendor. In short, this creation from Sue Ann's Bakery in Indialantic, Florida was beautiful. I usually don't eat while I'm working weddings, but I had to sample this work of art. One word: DELISH!

In past installments of Here Comes the Bride, I've encouraged couples to think outside the box (Yikes, I really hate that saying!) and to incorporate unique elements into their receptions. Jennifer and Pat accomplished this. Artist Rafael Diez from Cartoon You Caricatures was on-hand throughout the evening, creating fun, crazy and quick caricatures of various guests.

Okay, let's party! Despite the youth-factor of the bride, groom and most of the guests, tried and true disco classics such as "Brick House," "Play That Funky Music" and anything Michael Jackson were bona fide dance floor hits. But fear not, hipsters — we also boogied to chart-busters from such  current faves as Pitbull, Rihanna, Flo Rida and J. Lo. This was a fun group, indeed!

I'd like to offer an additional shout-out (I hate that saying too!) to Jennifer and Pat's bar staff. Linda from The Chart House and Megan from Cantina Dos Amigos had their hands full, yet they both shined. Great job, girls! 

Congratulations Jennifer and Pat!
Jennifer and Pat showed sound judgment by limiting the shindig to four hours. It was ample time to celebrate properly without going too long. The classic show biz mantra still holds true —  "Leave 'em wanting more!" Jennifer and Pat knew when to say "when." And in the end, their wedding was one of the most fantastic parties that I've ever DJ'd.

-Christopher Long
(May 2012)

I'm very accessible and happy to assist folks at any time regarding wedding-related questions, concerns and comments. I can be contacted through either the "Comment" forum of this blog or directly via my personal email address.

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Here Comes the Bride 



C'MON! -

1 comment:

  1. Chris,
    I love it!! Very well written (of course)
    You were a driving force to the success of the evening as well!!