…the Vitamin String Quartet!
Hive, if you’re planning a wedding, surely you’ve come across this fantastic little group. I have no idea why “Vitamin” is in their name, but the VSQ is a string quartet based in Los Angeles, California that creates, performs, and records string versions of modern rock and pop songs.
Image via last.fm
These range from pretty much everything you can think of—they do “string quartet tributes” to Alice in Chains, Green Day, 311, Led Zeppelin, Adele, Beach Boys, Coldplay…this list goes on and on. Seriously, if you look at their website or iTunes page, they have upwards of 260 albums. Cray.
Dad and daughter relationships have always made me slightly emotional. Whether in a movie, a book, or heck, even a TV commercial, there is no doubt that I will get a little misty eyed. (Mrs. Armadillo’s recent post about her dad walking her down the aisle? Pass the tissues, stat!)
The worst emo attacks come from songs. I was super into country music growing up, and this one always got me.
The father-daughter dance. The moment where your daddy spends two to three minutes swaying with you to a sweet song about true, unconditional love. You are surrounded by friends and family who feel that love and often shed a few tears of joy.
Uh, this is not going to be my dad.
Papa Camera is one of those extra-special dads. He’s always been there for me, gotten me out of about a million jams (mostly car-related), and can always make me laugh. He’s supported me emotionally and financially through 27 years of life, and loves Cam to pieces.
Cam told me that when we were up in Pittsburgh last summer for MOH JJ’s wedding, he asked my dad permission to propose to me. Here is how he said it went:
Next to food, music is the second most important element of the Airplane wedding. So it’s no surprise that it is also one of the largest line items on the Airplane wedding budget. But it could have been a lot (a lot) more, if we would have stuck with our original plan…
Working at the club, Mr. Plane has seen his fair share of wedding entertainment, from 12-piece bands to Elvis impersonators (no joke). Within about two days of us getting engaged, Mr. Plane was convinced he knew exactly who we should hire to play at our wedding: the incredibly talented cover band, Your Generation in Concert, featuring Fifty Amp Fuse.
Yes, the orchestra was an option! As were belly dancers…
Booking YGC was the plan for a long time. We would go out to the bar, watch the band play, and chat with the manager about the set list for our wedding. Every time we would see them play, it gave me goosebumps to think about how amazing such a show would be at our wedding.
Want to copy our wedding playlists? Well, you’re in luck, because I’m about to share them with you, from the beginning of the day to the end.
I thought I would make a playlist for this since I planned out every single other godforsaken detail of the day, but I ended up just switching on my ’90s Pandora station. Needless to say, NSYNC and Britney were played.
Photo by Jennifer Shaffer Photography
Probably rocking out to Michael Jackson or something.
I asked the church pianist ahead of time if he could play instrumental versions of some secular songs. He said yes, as long as he could find the sheet music. I sent him a list of six songs, and he responded that he was able to play three, and unable to find the sheet music for two. If you’ve been following along with the math, you’ll realize that leaves one mystery song. So I’m not sure which three songs he was able to play or which he actually played, but these are the four that he wasn’t not able to play:
Again, since I was busy freaking out in the church basement and vestibule, I have no clue what was actually played. I’m sure our guests enjoyed/didn’t listen to whatever it was, though.
Guys, of all the decisions we have to make with this wedding, narrowing down our large, eclectic music collection to a coveted few is turning out to be a lot harder than I ever thought it would, should, or could be.
By and large, Cam and I like the same music. Which was a major factor in the early days of our relationship. Some would call our taste “indie,” which by definition means music on independent labels that isn’t played all over the radio, i.e., most of our friends have no idea what we listen to and ask us to turn it off when we attempt to play it. I mean, up until a few months ago they told us to turn off Mumford & Sons.
I also have a huge girl crush on Britney Spears.
I’m all over the map, y’a’ll.
The biggest song, our first-dance song, took a lot of time to decide on. We discussed both indie and mainstream songs, fast and slow, new and old. We whittled down the list to include Van Morrison, Mumford & Sons, Old Crowe Medicine Show, and Jack Johnson. None seemed to fit the exact vibe we were going for.
In the end, the answer was so ridiculously clear and awesome it’s almost unbelievable how perfect it is for us. It’s indie enough for Cam, it’s romantic, it’s a little upbeat, and not a boring three-and-a-half-minute sway-fest.
Introducing our first-dance song for your listening pleasure:
If there was one thing I fretted about the most during this planning process, it was the band.
Jack is a songwriter. He’s a musician. There is an expectation that we will have a kick-ass band at our wedding because that’s what he does.
But it really isn’t that easy. Just because he’s a songwriter doesn’t mean he knows loads of bands well, and the bands that he does know are definitely not suitable for our wedding—no one wants to be on the dance floor boogying on down to…tech metal.
Not exactly wedding material—sorry boys! / Personal photo
So we couldn’t use personal contacts and had to do this the normal way—check out wedding bands online. We searched website upon website upon website, but nothing stood out. In fact, the exact opposite happened. Instead of finding what we did want, we found out exactly what we didn’t want. We didn’t want a Rat Pack style band singing golden oldies. We didn’t want an indie band doing covers of Kings of Leon and The Killers. We didn’t want Motown.
Let’s talk about music again. For someone who only listens to the radio, doesn’t own a music playing device, and self-proclaims that she has bad taste, my wedding is going to have the most wide-range of kick-ass music ever!
For starters, the ceremony will begin with our bagpiper Evan and will also feature my Sister/MOH Big Eyes singing a song from the TV show, Smash. For the parents processional, we’re having this song by Sigur Ros—have you heard of it? Mr. Sword picked it (obviously), but I love it.
The bridal party is completely stoked about walking into this princess gem, (I say sarcastically).
This brings us to cocktail hour, which I have yet to talk about. I assume most people have their DJ’s play some sweet tunes during this hour of hosted bar and passed hors d’oeuvres, but we are lucky enough to have my talented future brother-in-law playing his guitar and singing instead!
Yep, totally made that word up.
But now that we’re 15 days out from our wedding, I realize I’ve neglected to really mention anything about the plans we have for our ceremony! And since the ceremony is kind of an important element of the wedding day (duh!), I figure I better fill you guys in on the ceremony elements we’re planning on implementing.
First of all, you should know that music is a VERY important part of who I am and where I come from. My dad and two of his three siblings were all vocal performance majors in college, and I grew up in a musical household. I, myself, was a vocal music minor in college, and my biggest passion lies in musical theater. I’ve been in something like 30 musical theater productions, starting at the age of seven. Our local community theater was my haven growing up, and my entire life I’ve been a member of a choir of some kind. When I say I love music, it’s kind of an understatement.
Naturally, then, when it came to selecting music for our ceremony, I took the job seriously. I didn’t want to use anything overly done in weddings, but I didn’t want to go so out of the box that the pastor wouldn’t approve what we selected. Right off the bat, there were a few pieces I knew I absolutely did NOT want to be included: “Canon in D,” “Trumpet Voluntary,” and “Ode to Joy.” I still wanted to use classical and/or religious pieces, but I wanted something a bit more unique. So, I brainstormed with our pianist and we’ve come up with a pretty smashing lineup of selections that I hope are fairly new to our guests! Here’s what we’ve got:
“Sheep May Safely Graze” from Bach’s Birthday Cantata
On my laptop’s hard drive resides a very special spreadsheet, aptly named “Best Wedding Playlist Ever.xls.” Ok, the file name might be a bit presumptuous, but Mr. Wallaby took our playlist-creating task very seriously.
We love music. I wouldn’t say that we listen to the hippest, most underground/indie music out there. But we both listen to a lot of music from a fairly wide variety of genres, and we love to have impromptu dance-offs in the kitchen while dinner’s cooking, in the car on long road trips, or anywhere we just are in the mood to dance. My favorite music is folksy music from the 70s (Van Morrison, Neil Young) and 80s rock (I would be so.happy. if the cast of Rock of Ages could’ve performed at our wedding). I also have never gotten over 90s pop and rap. My iPod is full of Biz Markie, Britney, Shaggy, and Will Smith.
And we’ve been to a lot of weddings already in the last year, so we’ve grown a little tired of some of the standard wedding tunes (see “Do Not Play List” below). I do think it’s important to play some classic songs everyone’s heard of, but I do not want to hear “We Are Family” ever again, for the rest of my life. Some of you will probably think we’re crazy or obnoxious for our extensive playlists. But we put a lot of thought into which songs would appeal to our guests, our DJ was cool with it, and it worked out—our dance floor was packed all night.
Without further ado, the Wallaby Playlist (songs in no particular order):
One of the best parts of wedding planning has been coming up with completely ridiculous ideas of what could happen at our wedding. Because really, one shouldn’t take oneself too seriously.
We had a good laugh over picturing our first dance to “Kung Fu Fighting.”
Then, Mr. Whale suggested that the wedding party run into the reception football-team-style and bust through a big banner.
Right around the time we got engaged, I started thinking about ceremony music (wayyy too early in the planning process, I know, but I couldn’t help myself). While I think classical/traditional wedding music is beautiful, I knew Mr. M and I would want to have songs that were more contemporary. After all, we are major music junkies. While browsing online one day, I came across the various works of the Vitamin String Quartet. Now I know VSQ is old news to anyone with wedding on the brain; however, I had never heard of them prior to planning my own wedding…and I remember feeling like I had just struck gold. This was exactly what we had in mind for our wedding—string versions of our favorite contemporary songs.
We asked our wedding planner for string quartet recommendations and we ultimately decided to move forward with Ontario-based Cadenza Strings. They have a TON of contemporary songs in their repertoire and charge a small fee to learn any new ones. Last month, it was time to submit our selections so they could learn any new songs in time for the wedding.
Attention! Calling all hive members who walked down the aisle to an upbeat song! I need your help!
Okay, here’s the deal. I’m trying to decide what song to walk down the aisle to. I’ve been debating whether to share it or keep it to myself until after the wedding. But I need the advice of the hive to make my decision, so I guess that means I’ve got to share.
I really really want to walk down the aisle to “Save Me” by Gotye. Take a listen.
Video from YouTube
Here are the lyrics:
Sorry for my extended absence…life has a way of throwing you some crazy curve balls when you least expect them!
As the days close in on our big day, it’s time to make some game day decisions—like what song I’ll dance to with my dad.
Over the years, I’ve shared so many dances with my dad. From dances in the kitchen when I was little and dancing on his toes, to bat mitzvahs and family weddings, they are special moments in my life I’ll never forget.
Personal photos: Clockwise from top left to bottom—at home in the kitchen (circa 1985?), my sister’s bat mitzvah, my bat mitzvah (1993—rocking that sweet bow), and my brother’s bar mitzvah
The dance itself is very important, but finding the song was equally important to both of us. My dad has shaped my musical personality, he has always been on the cutting edge of the musical world, and has introduced me to some of my favorite musicians and always encouraged my siblings and I to be adventurous in our musical taste. My dad’s musical taste ranges from classic rock to hipster indie rock to heavy metal and almost everything in between. I knew finding a song to dance with my dad to at our wedding wasn’t going to be the easiest task, mostly because I knew how opinionated he’d be about it. It needed to be something that wasn’t too overdone, not too trendy, but not too obscure that we couldn’t actually dance to it. And I preferred that it would be lyrically moving.
I used a similar tactic that Mr. Ly and I used for choosing our first dance song. I sent him an email with five choices, and hoped he liked at least one of them.
My top five dance with my dad songs:
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