Sarah and Andy's wedding reception brought me back to a venue I haven't seen in a few years: Daniele at Valley View in Utica. It's always nice to see what's new and different in the city where I got my start as a radio DJ years ago. There was one change in Utica which took me completely by surprise -- I'll explain in today's blog post. And as usual, some photos from the DJ booth and the happy couple's selections for the key moments of the night.
As the latter part of the name implies, Daniele at Valley View is located at Valley View Golf Course. Those who've ever run Utica's famous Boilermaker Road Race know the uphill climb to Valley View as one of the toughest parts of the 15K course. From the deck looking north, there's a sweeping view including the downtown Utica skyline, and plenty of the farms and forests beyond the city limits.
I had a little extra time to grab some shots of the decor before things got started. While I always bring my own black tablecloth just to be safe, the venue provided its own table and maroon linens to match the rest of the room. (In that shot, you'll notice just one speaker; the other speaker was on the other side of the wall for cocktail hour, then moved to the other side of the dance floor for the rest of the evening.) The centerpieces were quite impressive, and the clear sweetheart table is a new addition since my last wedding here, nearly five years ago.
Click any photo for a larger view
Sarah and Andy's Key Song Choices
- Wedding party intros: Justin Timberlake / Can't Stop the Feeling
- First Dance: Calum Scott & Leona Lewis / You Are the Reason
- Father / Bride Dance: Tim McGraw / My Little Girl
- Groom / Mother Dance: Faith Hill / There You'll Be
- Cake Cutting: Michael Buble / Everything
- Last Dance of the Night: DJ's choice, but "something upbeat"
So, what did I choose to end the night with? Well, I don't remember what I originally had planned, but a look back at my DJ software log shows I played Bon Jovi's "Living on a Prayer" at 9:51pm. During that song, the groom requested the Buffalo Bills version of "Shout," so I played that next. The song runs just slightly over one minute, taking us to 9:56. "Sweet Caroline" by Neil Diamond proved to be a great choice to close things out -- not only did the crowd sing along enthusiastically (including the traditional "bum-bum-bum" and "so good!" chants), but the song ended at 10:00 on the nose.
Photo Album Highlights
Sarah and Andy had a great crowd, and although their pre-submitted request list wasn't very long, it covered a lot of different types of music. The crowd loved the variety and had lots of good requests of their own. As always, this is just a select handful of my photos -- I have even more photos on my Facebook page! Scroll down for a direct link to the album.
Click any photo to see larger version
In addition to returning to a familar venue, I once again had the pleasure of working alongside some familiar photographers -- Ellen and Mark Dunbar from Auntie El's Photography and Videography, based in Canastota. They and their team took care of the professional photos and videography, along with a photobooth, which was a big hit with guests.
For some reason, their Facebook posts have custom privacy settings which prevent me from embedding their posts within this page, so here are some direct links:
- "Getting ready" shots
- Ceremony kiss silhouette shot
- Group photo: Clarkson University alumni in attendance
After the wedding, Sarah shared this wonderful review on a few different platforms including Facebook and Google:
Peter was our DJ for our wedding reception on 9/28/19. Let me first mention the planning process... Peter was so helpful, organized and thorough! He took the time to explain how everything would go from start to finish on our big day. By the end of our first meeting, my husband and I were confident that he would do an excellent job at our reception! The choice to go with Peter was a no-brainer for us!! Now to the big day... Andy and I both have received sooo many compliments regarding our DJ! And we could not have been happier with Peter!! One of our top priorities for our reception was to make sure that all of our guests were going to have a great time and that the dance floor was never empty. He kept everyone dancing and on their feet the whole night, even people who I have never seen dance before were on their feet!! There was never a "lull" in the music and everything flowed from start to finish. He played music that catered to every age group that attended our reception which was something that he promised us from the very beginning as this was one of our biggest requests. He did not disappoint at all!!-Sarah and Andrew Milne
Andy and I highly recommend Peter to anyone who is searching for a DJ!! The search for a DJ for a wedding can be so stressful but I can honestly say that after meeting with Peter, Andy and I were not worried at all. Whoever chooses Peter to be their DJ will not be disappointed!!
Thank you again Peter! It was great working with you and we will be referring many people to you!! We sooo appreciate all of your time, dedication, and attention to detail for our reception it truly showed!!
Sarah, thanks for the wonderful review! And thanks again to you and Andy for choosing me as your wedding DJ! I know there are lots of great choices in both Syracuse and Utica, so it was an honor to have the privilege of helping you plan your wedding celebration. All my best to you both for many years of peace, love and happiness!
The "Big Change" in Utica
I almost forgot, I promised to share the "big change" in Utica that took me by surprise! After the wedding was over, I decided to ignore the GPS and get on the Thruway in Utica, rather than Westmoreland. Sure, it would be a slightly longer drive, but sometimes I just get a feeling to avoid back roads (like those leading to the Westmoreland exit) at night.
So, I left the venue and headed west on Memorial Parkway. After crossing Genesee Street, I stayed in the right lane, intending to merge onto the North-South Arterial (a.k.a routes 5, 8 and 12), which would take me to the Thruway.
But as I got closer... and closer... and eventually found myself passing over the arterial, I realized there was never any ramp. Had I lost my mind? Was confusing this interchange for another?
Well, side-by-side Google Street View photos proved I wasn't going crazy -- it's just been too long since I last visited this part of Utica:
Look closely: the ramp to 5 East, which veered off to the right, was replaced sometime between 2011 and 2015. Getting on 5 East from here now involves going up a bit further and making a left turn. How wacky is that? I had a good laugh about it once I compared the two Street View images.
Next time I find myself in Utica, I guess I should pay closer to attention to my GPS!