Throughout my wedding DJ career, I've kept a list of "unofficial records" in my head. Earliest and latest wedding dates. (January 14th and December 28th, if you're wondering.) Longest drive (east of Binghamton). Things like that. Bethany and Brian's wedding at Highland Forest park's Skyline Lodge probably sets the record for earliest wedding to date. I arrived shortly after 9:00am to set-up for a 10:30 start. The setup was a little different than my previous weddings here -- find out why in today's blog post!
Usually, the plan for weddings at Skyline Lodge is to have the ceremony outside on the deck, which overlooks a giant valley, providing a panoramic view for miles and miles. Then, everyone moves back indoors for cocktail hour and the rest of the reception. The venue layout makes it super-easy to cover both the deck and the ballroom with one sound system. Unfortunately, the rain was going pretty strong on this particular morning. But knowing that (or even snow -- it is November in Central New York after all) could be a factor, we had an alternate plan in place.
The ballroom -- normally set-up for dinner and dancing -- was reconfigured to accommodate the ceremony. Seats were lined-up chapel-style. All the dining tables (already set) were all gathered at the opposite end of the room.
And here's a first: the ceremony was officiated by none other than the bride's father! A colleague took care of the very beginning part of the ceremony so that Bethany's father could still walk her down the aisle and give her away. You could tell Bethany's father put a lot of preparation into the ceremony, providing scripture-based advice on love and marrige for his daughter and new son-in-law.
Once the ceremony was over, cocktail hour lured guests into the adjoining hallway / lobby area. This made way for the wait staff to shuffle the tables and chairs into place for dinner and dancing. More photos from the dance floor to come, but first...
Bethany and Brian's Key Song Selections
- Processional: Ingrid Michaelson / I Can’t Help Falling in Love
- Grand entrance: Craig Owen / Bridal Chorus for violin & piano
- Recessional: Etta James / At Last
- Wedding party intros: Erhling / Sthlm Sunset
- Newlyweds' intros: Kruzer intro / Trap Sax Beat (prod. Nish)
- First Dance: Righteous Brothers / Unchained Melody
- Father / Bride Dance: part of Al Martino / Daddy’s Little Girl, then changed to Van Morrison / Brown Eyed Girl
- Groom / Mother Dance: Louis Armstrong / What a Wonderful World
- Cake Cutting: Jack Johnson / Better Together
- Last Dance of the Reception: Donna Summer / Last Dance
To explain the use of two songs for the father/bride dance, they wanted to start out making everyone think it would be a "typical" slow dance, but quickly had me change it to the more upbeat "Brown Eyed Girl" so they could launch into a choreographed routine that surprised the crowd.
Photo Album Highlights
Admittedly, it can be tougher to get people dancing for an early afternoon reception, but Bethany and Brian had a great crowd! They spent much of the remaining time on the dance floor themselves, which is also a big motivator for the guests. Here's just a select handful of my photos -- scroll down for a direct link to the full album on Facebook.
Click any photo to see larger version
And I need to give a shout-out to Samantha Ludlow Photography -- as you can imagine, Samantha and her husband took many more photos, including some great shots of the father/bride dance and the shoe game, which I couldn't get from my vantage point. Check out her blog!
And here's the 5-star review Bethany posted about my services afterward:
Peter is extremely organized, quick at responding and will do exactly what you ask of him. He almost felt like a wedding planner for us because he has so much experience with weddings. The website covered things I would have never thought about so it was very helpful and detailed. We highly recommend Peter!
Thanks again, Bethany and Brian, for choosing me as your wedding DJ! You're an amazing couple, you had a great crowd, and despite the rain, the wedding was incredible! I wish you all the best as you move into this next chapter in your lives together!