Sometimes when you wake up on the morning of a wedding, you get worried looking outside and seeing rain. You remind yourself that they always say it's good luck to have rain on your wedding day, but you still feel bad for the couple. Those were the feelings that passed over me as I packed the car for Amy and Anthony's wedding. As noon came and went, the skies cleared up. It wasn't in the forecast, but the sun fought through so Amy and Anthony would have a beautiful, dry afternoon for their wedding.
If you've read my recaps before, you know I have a soft spot for the Purpoodock Club. I love doing weddings there. The staff, the room, the ambience are all just awesome for a wedding. I was certainly happy the sun came out for my load in. As I first stepped into the room I was taken aback at the sheer number of tables and chairs set up. It was easily the largest group I've seen in that room. The layout was very tight, but I slalomed my equipment through and got set up. You'll see in the pictures below, that they had a great theme going with the homemade wooden centerpieces and the flowers provided by the bride's aunt. It's great to be at a wedding where you can tell the families came together to help build the day, not just the bride and groom.
I was informed early on from the coordinator that we were running a little behind. There was a mishap with the ceremony script and it was pushing things back about a half hour. Never-the-less, things got back on track by the time the reception started thanks to the quickness of the photos. It's certainly worth noting that I was once again working with a friend and excellent photographer, Clare Norton of Clare Norton Photography.
We got the bridal party introduced and launched into a couple of great toasts from the best man and maid of honor. Dinner was served, which due to the size of the crowd, did tend to push things back a little. Once everyone had been served and Amy and Anthony had a chance to mingle and thank guests, we cut the cake. The first dance came next. The crowd took pictures and gathered around the dance floor to show their love and support of the newlyweds. The father/daughter dance as well as the mother/son dance drew some "awwws" from the crowd and then we were ready to dance.
I've been blessed with some great groups over the last few years, and this one was among the best. They were ready to dance to anything and everything. They were packed like sardines on the dance floor, throwing their hands in the air and singing along to the music. Amy and Anthony had picked out some killer songs and I was doing my best to work as many in as possible. The room was electric and we only slowed it down a few times. Even for the slow dances, no one seemed to leave the floor. When the time came to call for the last dance, I thanked the crowd for being so awesome and we took them out with the same music we brought them in to. I thought we were done from there, but the "ONE MORE SONG" chants kicked in. I'm always at the mercy of the club, but the manager said to go ahead and play one more. We wrapped things up with a classic journey sing-along and the crowd went home happy.
I couldn't ask for a better beginning to the season than I had with Amy and Anthony. Congratulations again to them and thank you again for making me a part of your special day. I hope I can work with them again sometime in the future!
Introductions: Timber by Pitbull ft. Kesha
First Dance: At Last by Etta James
Father/Daughter Dance: I Loved Her First by Heartland
Mother/Son Dance: Simple Man by Shinedown
Cake Cutting: Grow Old With You by Adam Sandler
Last Dance: Timber by Pitbull ft. Kesha
Encore: Don't Stop Believin' by Journey
It's like dejavu! I was once again back at Sliders Restaurant at the Grand Jordan Hotel at Sunday River to wrap up my wedding season. I did the same sort of thing to wrap up 2012. In fact, Lori and Jeff booked me back before that gig because they really wanted to get married on Columbus Day weekend at the resort.
As I gathered the paperwork together for their wedding, I could tell this would be a little different from your average event. They had such a laid back style on the phone when we went over everything that I felt incredibly relaxed heading into it, despite my concerns with some of the requests. As I told Lori, she had forced me to greatly expand my Phish, Grateful Dead and Damian Marley catalog. There was plenty of that on the list, mixed with some wedding favorites, some top 40, some old rock, and even a little early 90s rap. It was a very eclectic request list.
The drive up to the mountain saw lots of low cloud cover and misting on the windshield. I was already having my concerns about the outdoor ceremony before I even got there. We brought in all the gear, met with Betsy, the event coordinator, and talked about the plans. We set up outside and crossed our fingers that the sky would cooperate. As it turns out, it did. A little light mist here and there, but overall, a clean outdoor ceremony. On the technical side, I couldn't have been happier with how it all worked out. The music was perfect. They asked for acoustic guitar, relaxed wedding music to all the guests to get seated. The same artist performed the bridal chorus and it timed out perfectly for Lori to get down the aisle. The Rev. Coverdale got us rolling and about the only thing working against us was the cold. Working a mixing board outdoors had my fingers absolutely frozen. BUT, the mic picked up the whole ceremony nicely and the music sounded good, so everything on my end went great.
Back inside, as the guests flooded into the warmth, Becky (my lovely assistant) got the cocktail music going while I packed up the ceremony gear. Cocktail hour seemed to fly by, and next thing I knew the bridal party had joined me in the balcony to line up for introductions. A little Party Rock Anthem brought them in, and the reception was officially underway. Lori and Jeff shared their first dance together and with their friends and family joining midway through. We had a couple of nice toasts from the best man and maid of honor, then dinner.
Dinner was served to Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Nat King Cole, Diana Krall and other similar artists. I fun, jazzy background for dinner. People seemed content to relax and dine and dinner seemed to go on for a bit longer than I expected, but we still had plenty of time. We cut the cake and broke out the dance music.
This crowd was a little different. I'm used to people getting up and dancing for fast songs with a beat and slow dancing occasionally to catch their breath. This night seemed to be almost more like a hang out. We were all there to relax, have some drinks (well, them, not me...) and just listen to some good music. If the song moved you to dance, so be it, but otherwise they were mostly content with just hanging out on the dance floor. The eclectic list seemed to be exactly what the crowd wanted as I found myself playing a lot of stuff that would likely not work at 95% of the weddings I've done.
It was a fun night and we even took it a little past the original end time of midnight and pushed the limit to 12:45. Becky and I packed up the car and took a very long, tiring drive home. Arriving home at 3am, I was definitely ready for bed. It was a looooong day, but a fun one. A great end to an awesome wedding season. Can't wait to do it all again next year. For now, I think the gear is ready to hibernate.
It's always a great time when I get to go back to the Purpoodock Club in Cape Elizabeth. It helps when you're working with one of your favorite photographers, Clare Norton, and working with a fun couple like Amy and Derek. I met up with Amy about a week before the wedding to go over the final details. She seemed so laid back and relaxed. I love it when couples are just ready to get married, get dancing and have fun. Nervous brides can tend to make you nervous.
I've gone into great detail in previous write ups about why I love the Purpoodock (the proximity, the ambiance, the staff, etc.) so I won't list it all again. Doing receptions there, they always go very smoothly and everyone always has a great time. Amy and Derek's guests looked like a fun-loving crowd as soon as they filed in. We went with some instrumental, upbeat jazz for a fun feeling through cocktail hour.
Amy had requested the Bruins' goal song for the introduction music (Zombie Nation's Kernkraft) which, I guess, was a surprise for Derek. Everyone seemed pretty pumped when the music hit. We brought the bridal party in and Amy and Derek shared their first dance. We invited other couples out to the floor to join them about halfway through.
Dinner was served with some instrumental acoustic guitar. Still pretty upbeat, but really just background music to encourage people to converse while they ate.
We did the cake cutting, then a combined father/daughter, mother/son dance. Then, we were ready for some fun. The crowd took turns on the floor for the most part, rotating in and out for songs they wanted to dance to. There were a few people who were planted on the floor all night with no breaks. That's dedication!
The end of the night was pretty early as we wrapped things up at 7:45. It was a great time had by all, myself included! I can't wait to get back to the Purpoodock in May 2014!
If you have ever come up to me at a wedding, you've undoubtedly seen my "cheat sheet" I create for myself before every event with the timeline for the day spelled out with music cues and announcements. It's something I put together myself, usually. In this case, I feel like half of my job was done for me! Jon emailed me a few weeks before the wedding with the most detailed rundown of a wedding day I think I've ever seen. When I met up with him and Melony for a final consult before the event, we were able to literally just go through the email and double check everything. It was fantastic! I've come to find that the better the prep work before a wedding, the easier and more successful the wedding tends to be. Go figure!
First off, let me say, I really love the Maple Hill Bed & Breakfast. It's not too far away (about an hour), and it's an absolutely beautiful venue. It's set on an open farm, up in the hills. You're within 5 minutes of Augusta, and yet you feel like you're way away in the countryside. The reception room is great with a grand fireplace, high vaulted ceilings and really cool lights hanging from the ceiling. The side of the room is lined from one end to the other with big, glass double doors that lead out to a lawn area. For the weddings I've been to there, they have a tent attached to the building with some of the tables and chairs for dinner set up outside. The dance floor is just inside the doors, right in front of me, and is, thankfully, quite large.
It was an outdoor ceremony and once again nature provided a perfect afternoon of weather for the couple. After the ceremony, the crowd made their way into the reception room for happy hour. People lined up at the bar for over an hour straight to get some refreshments for the celebration. We introduced the bridal party, had some awesome toasts from the best man and maid of honor, and moved into dinner. Jon and Melony had asked for some classic jazz for cocktail hour and dinner. We had a great mix of Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and lots more of that upbeat big band sound from the 30s and 40s. Once everyone had been served and had a chance to eat, Jon and Melony took to the floor for their first dance. They put on a show! They danced a carefully choreographed dance to Lady Antebellum's "When You Got A Good Thing," complete with a dip and kiss to close it out. It was easily one of my favorite first dances I've seen.
Once the cake was cut, we cut loose on the dance floor. Jon and Melony had no specific requests for the dancing portion of the evening, just that people danced! I tried to feel the crowd out with some old stuff, new stuff, some classic Michael Jackson and a little mid-90s stuff to see what they liked. Turns out, they liked it all! It's so great when you have a crowd that is game for anything. If it had a beat of a lyric they could sing to, they were on the floor, hands in the air and having a great time. We partied steadily for a few hours and even took the night into extra innings by tacking on an extra half hour. As I said, I could not have asked for a better crowd. I'm just glad I didn't get into trouble with the venue when I obliged the chants of "ONE MORE SONG! ONE MORE SONG!" even though we had hit our limit.
The night was just awesome. One great moment that stands out, which you can see in a picture below, was when the crowd all formed a circle around Jon and Melony during the last dance and cheered them on as they reprized some of their moves from the first dance. This whole crowd of friends and family were there to celebrate a great couple and they made sure they knew that this was their day and they were the center of attention. It was very special.
When a friend asks you to DJ their wedding, it's an honor. When an old friend you grew up with and spent so much time with in years past asks you, it's an even bigger honor.
I grew up with Lindz and her family. Her brother Greg and I were practically inseparable through high school and I was constantly hanging out at his house. In turn, I spent a lot of time with Lindz and their mom, Jane. Lindz contacted me through Facebook and asked me about DJing their wedding, telling me that they weren't looking for any sort of traditional reception with all the fanfare and special dances. They wanted a party. They wanted to have friends and family come to their home, hang out, have some drinks and have a kicking soundtrack in the background. I was happy to oblige!
It was a perfect day for an outdoor event. Not too hot (mid 70s), no humidity, lots of sun and a cool breeze. They had a Hawaiian theme to decorate the backyard and people dressed for the occasion. Including myself! The beer flowed for the adults while the kids had a great time playing in the yard, limbo-ing to some classic Chuck Berry and knocking the crap out of a pinata to "I Want Candy."
The music for the night was a great mix of classic rock, some folky stuff, some beach music and even a little early 90s hip-hop mixed in. Lindz had one request: no top-40. She allowed the rule to bend a couple of times for the kids who had a hankering for Beyonce and Psi.
All in all, it was a great day. Everyone had a great time relaxing and celebrating with Lindz and Colin. It wasn't the kind of party that people danced at, necessarily, but people were still constantly saying how great it was to have the music playing all afternoon. As I said, it was an honor being asked to play for an old friend and I was very happy I could be there to help them celebrate. A few pics below. For me in a Hawaiian shirt, you may have to visit the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/hicksproductions.
First off, if anyone ever invites you to an event at the Treworgy Gardens in Gorham, you better check it out. The grounds are absolutely beautiful and I'm not sure we could have asked for a better day for an outdoor wedding. Sunshine, temperature in the low 80s, a light breeze made this garden party just perfect.
Set up was pretty easy. Had everything up and running in time to walk the grounds a little and check out the gardens. Got some nice pictures mixed in below. I have to thank the homeowner, Linda and Nancy from CVC Catering for helping me with getting situated. Nancy was especially accommodating, allowing me to change into my suit in her giant van versus using the port-a-potty.
I would be remiss if I didn't also thank Vicki Card, Risa's mom, for all her help with planning the wedding. I know she was quite instrumental with helping Risa plan and she was the first to approach me and see if I was all set and needed anything at the wedding.
I met up with Brian as he directed arriving guests to the parking lot. He was as relaxed as any groom could be. Him and Risa never seemed nervous, just anxious to get it going and have some fun. The entire bridal party was very laid back, joking around and having fun as we lined up for introductions. Risa hand-cuffed Brian and dragged him into the tent. That definitely set the mood for the rest of the afternoon.
The timetable was tight, with everything happening from ceremony at 3 to last dance at 8, but everything flowed incredibly smooth and nothing ever seemed rushed. It was a giant letdown to call it quits at 8, but that just means everyone was having a great time.
The crowd was the usual mixed bag of dancers and wallflowers, but having the groom and his fellow officers occupying the dance floor as much as the bride and her friends was a pleasant surprise. Grooms are more often found sitting in the back with a drink in hand, surrounded by their male friends and avoiding the dance floor. Brian was leading the pack, demanding compliance from his groomsman, including his commanding officer who is usually the one calling the shots. Sarge did not let anyone down between his dancing and singing. Other officers brought cart wheels, break dancing and, I believe, even some traditional Russian dancing. The pictures will help paint the picture, but really can't tell the whole story of the day.
It was certainly an honor for me to be involved with this wedding. I've known Brian for a couple years as a customer at Pizza Time and met his beautiful bride when he brought her there for dinner. She's since become a regular (I guess the grilled chicken salad is pretty good...) with and without Brian. I got to hang out with some great people who I usually only see when they're on duty and are grabbing a quick bite to eat between calls. It was great to see how Westbrook's finest kick back and celebrate one of their own. I would love to do another event with this group somewhere down the line. Does Westbrook have a police ball? I should look into that.
Congratulations again to Brian and Risa. They're an awesome couple and you can tell when you meet them that they are a perfect fit for each other. They'll be taking their first real vacation since they've been together as they honeymoon in St. Lucia! Have fun, guys!
This was my fifth Relay For Life of Sebago Lakes Region. I have been involved with the planning and execution of this event for the last 4 years. I will only be writing my thoughts on DJing the event.
For the first time in five years, our event went through some last minute changes that made a significant impact. We normally take to the Windham High School track and we have access to their sound system and microphone for the evening. I'm able to hook my gear into the system and blast my music much like you'd hear at a football game.
This year, we were forced to move the event inside and go from a 12 hour overnight event to a 4 hour single evening event. Thunder, lightning and spot flooding warnings were what initiated the changes. For me, the biggest change was having to set up all my gear in the gym. Turns out, I can rock a gym with no problems whatsoever! Plenty of volume with plenty of power to spare. I was very pleased.
The benefits to this setup were definitely found on the microphone. When you use the wireless outside on the track, you tend to hear yourself in a delay because of the phasing speaker placement around the track. With the single, central set up we basically eliminated that which made things much easier on the speakers.
The music sounded great and it was nice to be down with the people. I felt more involved personally with the event and the participants than I've been able to in the past. I'm not ashamed to say that for the first time in five years I found myself being moved by some of the things I witnessed while on track level. When during the survivor lap, a man normally confined to a wheelchair, stood up and was assisted as he walked a lap around the gym. At one point a sweet older man asked if I could play some America because he and his wife, who was passed, used to dance to it. When I played "Sister Golden Hair," his face lit up with a smile and he proceeded to dance with his partner around the track. For at least that one song, he and his wife were together again.
Relay is always an amazing event and the fact that we were able to condense an entire night into such a small time period was no easy task, but I think ended up a big success. I can proudly say that some participants have already emailed their reviews including some positive notes about the music levels and song choices.
Obviously in the great scheme of Relay, the music isn't the most important part, but when you see how songs and artists can impact people the way they do, you remember how powerful music can be.
Incidentally, our event set a goal of $70,000 for this year and with money still coming in, we've already surpassed $65,000. Not bad. Not bad at all.
Once again I had the chance to work with a truly awesome and fun couple. The message was clear from the get-go: We're here to have fun and party all night! And that's what we did!
Now, as can be the case when planning an outdoor wedding, you're at the mercy of the weather. Passing showers had left us unsure about doing the ceremony outside on the patio and at times it seemed we would be in the clear, but then a down pour would hit. We set up our gear outside in anticipation of being outside, but ultimately the call had to be made about a half hour before the start that we would be inside on the dance floor. Murphy and his laws were in full effect as the sun shone brightly outside just as we started processing.
When I say a fun loving group, I mean it. Right from the bridal procession of the Imperial March from Star Wars, everyone knew the atmosphere would be light. There were laughs and even the groom (who was being surprised with the song choice by his bride-to-be) commented "I hope you don't regret this later!" in between laughs. I guess Bryan had joked about it months before with Liz giving an emphatic no. He certainly wasn't expecting it.
The ceremony was short and quite emotional as it was being performed by the groom's grandfather. There were tears and laughs mixed in before the pronouncement of "husband and wife."
Cocktail hour and dinner passed by as usual and we began the dancing. The anniversary dance was an amazing show as Liz and Bryan were flanked with countless couples with long marriages. A very inspiring room for sure. The longest married couples were both over 55 years and going!
The dancing was excellent with people taking their turns on the floor depending on what they liked. We mixed it up with some older disco, some 80s rock, some early 90s hip-hop and the best of today's top 40. The crowd was game for anything, which for a DJ is quite rewarding. At one point, appropriately set to I'm Too Sexy, the groomsman stripped off their tuxes and rode out the rest of the evening in tuxedo t-shirts. The bride had invited me to also participate, and who am I to say no to DJing an entire night in a tuxedo t-shirt?
The highlight of the evening for me came right near the end. The crowd looked like they'd have fun with the Grease Megamix, so I gave it shot. I had no idea what was to come. They danced and sang along through most of the song, but when it came to Summer Nights, Liz and her bridesmaids embodied Sandy and the Pink Ladies while Bryan and groomsman took on Danny and the T-Birds. They sang back and forth, playing out the iconic scene. It was one of the greatest things I've had the chance to see as a DJ.
As the night came to close, I thanked Liz, Bryan and their guests for being such and awesome crowd. So far it's been a great season for fun and dancing and I hope this momentum will continue through the remainder of the year!
Early Saturday morning, I made my way into Portland to pick up my lovely assistant for the day, Becky! We got in line quite early for the 10:45 ferry over to the island. I have to say, the most nerve-wracking thing about doing a wedding reception on Peaks Island is not being in control of the transportation. I'll admit we were probably much earlier than necessary, but for my first wedding out there, I wasn't going to risk it.
We arrived at the Inn just after 11 and waited for a while until the call was made whether the ceremony would be outside by the gazebo or inside on the dance floor. Jayson and Amanda made the call around noon to do it outside. Despite an 80% chance of rain in the forecast, the sky seemed to be lightening up, with no rain falling. The sun was doing all it could to break out that day. Natalie claimed to have done an anti-rain dance. It worked!
The setup at the Inn can be a little tough. Local ordinance forbids speakers outside the walls of the Inn, so you must throw your sound through the tent, over to the lawn. I'll be honest, it was tough making it through the ceremony, cocktail hour and dinner. It's so weird not being in the same room as your audience. It's tough to judge volume, quality of the music you're playing, whether the crowd is getting anxious, etc. It was great having Becky with me to help run the ceremony and keep me company during the down time.
Once we got things moved inside after dinner, the party picked up big time. We ran the gambit on music, feeling out the crowd and getting an idea for what they wanted. It seemed like early on, the crowd was demanding funk, oldies and disco. I hit them with a good dose of that and as they grew fatigued, the younger crowd started making their presence known. Next thing you know, we're time traveling through the 80s, 90s, 00s and beyond. We ended up in an outright top 40 dance party and that crowd was relentless. They would have had my head if I tried to slow them down. They had more energy than I could ever imagine.
The night came to a close at 10:30 (by ordinance, not by choice!). The crowd moved toward the dock and back to the mainland to continue the celebration at Bull Feeney's. Becky and I packed up the gear, got the car in line for the last ferry and took in a movie on the iPad.
Overall, it was a great day. A long, exhausting day, but a great day. We had one of the best dance crowds I've seen and a very happy couple, family and friends. I may end up back at the Inn sometime after all, something I never would have thought I'd be saying a week ago. Congratulations again to Natalie and Ryan as they move on to the next exciting phase of their life together!
It's hard to photograph dancing wedding guests when they're moving so fast and you're using a phone camera, but here are some shots from Saturday night!
May 18th marked the beginning of the 2013 wedding season for me as I had the pleasure of DJing Kim and Phil's wedding reception at the Purpoodock Club in Cape Elizabeth. I love that place. I had my first wedding there last year and was happy to be back. It's a beautiful room overlooking the golf course with plenty of windows, some very tasteful white lighting, and interesting architectural lines in the ceiling beams (my brother would be proud...). Kim and Phil have some awesome friends and family who packed the dance floor all night long. It marked the first, and I'm assuming the last time, I'll ever get to play Faithfully by Journey followed up by Gangsta's Paradise by Coolio. I can't imagine that scenario ever playing out again.
I had a great time, and I know Kim, Phil, their friends and family all did, too. That's a great way to kick off the season.
For some excellent shots of the wedding, please visit my friend Suzanne Simmons at her website. She rocks!
Now on to the next one: Natalie and Ryan on Peak's Island!