For the second year in a row, the final weekend of September finds me at one of the beautiful facilities operated by Onondaga County Parks. Last year, it was Pratt's Falls -- this year, I had the pleasure of DJ'ing Ashleigh and Sean's wedding ceremony and reception at Arrowhead Lodge, part of Oneida Shores Park in Brewerton.
The lodge has a wonderful deck area around back for staging a wedding ceremony. Since the parking lot's in the front, you see no cars or buildings -- just an open field, surrounded by a forest. It's also somewhat isolated from roads and other parts of the park, so you don't hear traffic, boats, or any other noises.
I had one speaker outside for the ceremony, sufficient for the crowd to hear the processionals and recessional. After the wedding party and guests filed inside, I quickly moved the gear around through a side door that leads almost directly to the dance floor... where my lights and other speaker were waiting. The cocktail hour music was going before some guests had even made it into the building.
Update 11/2017: For the past few years, I've had two sound systems available, specifically for weddings like this one. With two systems, there's no more "downtime" for equipment moves because there's already equipment in both areas.
For you idea-seeking wedding planners, here are the songs Ashleigh and Sean requested for the major points of the day:
- Ceremony Processional: Vitamin String Quartet / 1979 (string cover of the Smashing Pumpkins hit)
- Ceremony Bridal Entrance: Cat Power / Sea of Love
- Ceremony Recessional: Goldfinger / I Love You More Today than Yesterday
- Wedding Party Intros: Joe Esposito / You’re The Best (from "The Karate Kid" soundtrack)
- Bride and Groom Entrance: Slayer / Raining Blood (special edit provided by the groom)
- First Dance: Otis Redding / That’s How Strong My Love Is
- Newlyweds and Parents' Dance: Lady Antebellum / Never Alone
- Cake Cutting: Cake / Never, Never Gonna Give You Up
- Last Dance of the Night for Everyone: Righteous Brothers / Unchained Melody
Although "Unchained Melody" was the "official" last song of the night, everyone was having such a good time, it was decided to extend the reception by an extra half-hour. As you'll see from the photos, this crowd loved to dance!!
Between the wonderful weather (love those late September days when it's nice and sunny, but not too hot), and the great crowd on the dance floor, this was an incredible evening. Here's the 5-star review Ashleigh posted on WeddingWire:
Peter was fantastic! I was looking for a pretty basic setup (no photobooth, etc.), and Peter was able to provide that for a great price. He was very quick to respond to emails. Our first meeting was via Skype (per our request), which was convenient. He provided us with documents to help us along with our planning. We completed a form the walked us through every aspect of the day and what we needed. It brought things to our attention we would not have thought of otherwise. After we provided the completed form to him, he condensed it into one convenient itinerary that spelled everything out. He was able to edit songs for content and time. He was even able to make a major song change just a couple days before the wedding. Our ceremony was outside on the patio of the venue, and the reception was inside. Peter had equipment set up outside to play music for the ceremony, and seamlessly transitioned to music inside the venue for cocktail hour. He played everything we requested at the right times, and nothing on our "banned" list. He accomodated guest requests. The dancefloor was amazing! There were very few times when there weren't at least a few people dancing, and most of the time MANY people were dancing. We ended up extending our time with him at the end of the night because people didn't want the party to stop! Many of my favorite memories from that day involve watching everyone dancing and having a wonderful time. Peter was extremely professional and organized. We knew right after we met him that we could trust him, and it paid off. I would recommend him to anyone!
Ashleigh and Sean, it was an honor and a pleasure to be a part of your big day. I'm so glad you were pleased with my services, and perhaps we'll meet again when any of your friends or relatives walk down the aisle!