I think I’ve mentioned before that Stallion and I will be having a live band at our reception, but I’ve never discussed how we made that decision. No time like the present!
Honestly, bees, I kind of assumed we’d be going the DJ route. I swear, weddings in New Jersey are astronomically more expensive than the rest of the country. The few people I knew that had had bands at their weddings paid astronomical sums of money for the privilege. Like, approaching five figures. Not. Happening.
So let’s review the pros of a DJ …
In conclusion, I was fully on board with Team DJ.
Just kidding, that’s not the conclusion!
Truth be told, Stallion and I haven’t given a ton of thought to the ceremony yet. All we know is that it will be a civil ceremony officiated by my second cousin, it will (fingers crossed!) be held outside on a deck overlooking the gorgeous Cape May beaches, and it will be short.
Now that we’re five months away, we have started to consider some details surrounding the ceremony—namely, music. Basically, you’ve got two options here:
Check out Part One of my vendor reviews, here!
Haute Floral, www.hautefloral.com, Highly Recommend
I mentioned in my previous post that I wanted my reviews to focus on the vendors I would absolutely hire again if I had to start the whole process over. Kristen of Haute Floral is definitely one of those vendors. Not only is this girl crazy talented, but I just had the best time working with her. And lets be honest—having a wedding florist that you love to talk to and plan with is one of the best things that could happen to a bride.
When I first met with her, I loved how quickly she jumped on board with my ideas and saw my “vision.” A few months later, she completely wowed me with my gorgeous bridal portrait bouquet. And when it was finally time for the wedding, she knocked it out of the park—I loved every part of the flower arrangements and bouquets she put together. I talked about my experience choosing her here, and she certainly lived up to my expectations.
I want our wedding guests to dance.
I NEED them to dance.
So I’ve put a lot of things in place to get people moving.
First, we’ll offer all the traditional goodies like the generation dance, the dollar dances, group dance favorites like “The Cupid Shuffle,” “Cha Cha Slide,” and “The Wobble.” However, we will also incorporate another way of ensuring tables get up to get down.
At first I struggled with whether or not to review my vendors because the information is only relevant to those people getting married in Minnesota. But being that there are not very many Weddingbee blogger bees from MN, I decided to go ahead and write the post.
The reason this is cathartic for me is because I had a bit of an issue with one of my main vendors. I’m not sure how to handle my frustration while still being the bigger person and avoiding pointless catty comments, other than to be as vague as possible while still letting it all out.
I am disappointed in how things went down with my photographer. Sister Big Eyes’ and I shrendored her, which makes my frustrations doubly upsetting.
Our photographer is a talented artist—no doubt—but she was not easy to work with. For example, my photos were late, multiple other promised deadlines were missed, and there was an overall lack of business savvy. Days before Sister Big Eyes’ wedding, there was an issue via email that could have been easily avoided with better communication. There were misunderstandings about expectations, excuses instead of apologies, and both of us are still waiting on a part of our package—an album we were promised.
While I do love my pictures and am incredibly thankful for them, it’s hard for me to encourage others to hire her when she caused us both so much unnecessary stress, which is why I’m not linking to her website or recommending her. (Although her information is not difficult to find if you go to any of my recaps.)
To turn this into something positive, here are a few things to remember that I wish I had known when interviewing photographers besides the usual—look at all the photos from one wedding, not just the favorites, and make sure they match your aesthetic/vision.
Picking the Right Photographer:
“Looking for cute and affordable favors? Put the treat of your choice in adorable boxes from Weddingbee Favors!”
Japanese weddings don’t have dancing and therefore don’t have DJs. It’s up to the bride and groom to choose the background music (BGM) for the entire evening and for special moments like toasts, speeches, and events like the cake cutting and the bouquet toss. I was looking forward to choosing the BGM. I love J-Pop and had tons of good ideas for upbeat songs for the reception. Unfortunately, Mr. G hates J-Pop and insisted that we only have English music at the reception. I relented, agreeing that we wanted to make the Japanese wedding as American as possible so our guests could get a special experience.
Hive, choosing two hours of BGM is hard. The Internet is full of suggestions, actually it’s too full of suggestions. There are so many great songs too choose from its overwhelming. The Knot and Wedding Wire are very helpful with their lists, but I found that looking at other couple’s wedding playlists was an easy way to go about it. People’s playlists show their personalities—some are upbeat, some are indie rock, and some are country, so its easy to see if a playlist has what you want. I enlisted the help of my already married friends and looked through their playlists.
You know the saying “Cobbler’s children have no shoes”? Well, Mami and Papi Waterfall are both computer programmers, but I have zero skillz. I knew early on that I wanted a wedding website to relay much needed information to our guests, but had no idea how to go about it. Mami W actually volunteered to make our wedding website for us, but she already had a lot on her plate, so I decided to see what I could manage on my own. I fell in love with Mrs. Wallaby‘s and Mrs. Camel’s amazing wedding websites using Wix, so I gave it a try and failed. I was overwhelmed by their customization options and quickly gave up. When I say I have zero skillz, I mean it. ZERO. I knew I had to look for something even more foolproof.
Image via someecards.com
Thankfully, the hive is such a great resource for reviews that I was able to quickly form a decent list of contenders. After checking out a few different websites, I finally settled on WeddingWire. Some of the most important criteria for me was that it had to be free (because I’m cheap—we’ve established this) and it also had to have the ability to RSVP online because I wanted to make responding as easy and convenient as possible for our guests.
Mr. Rucksack recently received an email of wedding song suggestions from one of his groomsmen. Some of them were wildly inappropriate and some of them were totally awesome, but they definitely reminded me that we need to start thinking more about music choices.
Having just solidified our DJ for the big event, Mr. Rucksack and I sat down with little cousin GM Brobot to start thinking about our “must have” and “do not play” song lists. GM Brobot focused on the reception, putting lots of thought into his choices. My favorite picks from my nine-year-old cousin’s list? “Boombastic” and “Safety Dance.” Yep, I told you the kid is cool.
Mr. Rucksack and I focused on our ceremony and first-dance songs. Luckily, we have a full list of songs we consider “our songs.” With our extreme love of music (hello, we met during karaoke) I’m happy that we’re getting married on the beach and don’t have any restrictions on the music we can play.
Prelude: “Home” by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros. This is one of our all-time favorite songs and one that we duet together all the time. We knew we had to fit it into our ceremony somehow.
“I Will” by the Beatles. It’s a classic and also a favorite here in the Rucksack house. It’s also the first song Mr. Rucksack played for me on his guitar.
You may have noticed that there’s been little talk of bridesmaids or groomsmen in the Road Trip world. That’s because we’re not having any. This is one of a handful of “traditions” we’re opting out of for our wedding.
It’s not that we’re morally opposed to having our closest friends stand up with us, it’s mostly that with only 40 or so people at the wedding at all, having eight or so people up front would feel like half the audience! The other part of our reasoning is that our friends are each wrapped up in their own day-to-day lives and aren’t really into the whole wedding entourage thing, so why force it? I’d even considered asking said closest friends to act as our House Party (an honorary title for helper monkeys who don’t have to wear certain things or stand up with us, but still help out), but with a DoC it didn’t seem necessary.
On the one hand, it greatly simplifies how many metaphorical cats we have to herd on the wedding day. On the other hand, it means there’s not much processing going on—especially when you consider how brief our aisle will be!
Admitting that I want a touch of pomp and circumstance to properly kick off the ceremony, we’ve decided it would be nice to not just have the ceremonial seating of the mothers, but also the rest of the immediate family that will be there, since we’re not all that many to begin with.
I have a confession to make. I am kind of a geek—a video game playing, anime watching, and J-pop loving geek.
The good thing is that Mr. G is too, so we can play video games and watch anime together!
We both wanted to make both of our weddings be very “us,” and we were always looking for ways to portray that in the wedding while still keeping it classy.
One night we were both on the couch discussing what music we would use for the recessional. We had mostly been joking, “Let’s walk down the aisle to Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’!” “No, let’s walk down the aisle to theme of Jem and the Holograms!” Then Mr. G had a brilliant idea: “Hey, why don’t we use the theme for Final Fantasy?”
Mr. G and I both love the video game Final Fantasy, and most of the music for the games are beautiful orchestrations by the composer Nobuo Uematsu. We quickly YouTub’ed the video and knew this would be perfect for our recessional.
Feel free to play along at any point:
I have been thinking about our first dance since before we were even engaged. I would hear a random (Al Green?) song and think, “This could be it!” I had quite a few in mind until one day our first dance picked us.
Mr. B and I were driving on I-10—I can’t remember where we were coming from but we were heading east on our way back to Tallahassee. He was driving and I was using that opportunity to scout for venues. I looked through photographers’ websites and videographers’ videos. I stumbled upon a video that made both of us have this moment where we just looked at each other and knew—the song playing on the video would be our first dance: Ben Rector’s “White Dress.” (I wish I could find that video but I can’t seem to track it down—sorry!)
…is what the Edison quote should really say.
If Blair Waldorf, Charlotte York, and Monica Geller-Bing somehow had a child together, I would be the super-obsessive, high- strung, plan-to-the-last-detail, everything-must-be-perfect fruit of their loins. I love lists, and I especially love checking things off lists.
So, with all of that in mind…you guys, I had a moment. I’m not talking a good moment either; I’m talking frantic texts to all three of my bridesmaids and panicked voicemails (emphasis on the S) left on Mr. B’s phone kind of moment. I wouldn’t say that I was quite in bridezilla town, but I was definitely close.
Why, you ask? Simply put: The Knot.
Like many newly engaged brides-to-be, I found the Knot and happily entered my wedding date, and was so glad to see a little planner thingy with all my bridal tasks and when I should complete them by.
Now, if you recall, when we got engaged, we decided that we were looking at a two-year engagement—21 months to be exact. I had just gone back to law school for a one-year master’s program, and we knew we wanted to wait until I finished it. So when we started planning, the wedding just seemed like this concept, this far away thing, as opposed to something tangible and fast approaching.
“Ocean Avenue” by the VSQ (original by Yellowcard) started playing as the cue for BM E and GM P to start walking. We relate this song to our friends, specifically the groomsmen. There used to be an inside joke about this many years ago that I can’t remember anymore.
Too close (for my taste) behind them came BM L and GM L…
Mr. Jet and I LUUUUURVE music. Mr. Jet’s father was an award-winning Fado singer back in Portugal and Mr. Jet taught himself to play the guitar early in life, which led to him playing in several local bands, which led me to be like, “Wow, that is so hot.”
I grew up in a largely musical family as well—my mother and two aunts all have great voices and have sung for their respective churches and have won karaoke competitions, two of my uncles were in local bands, two of my cousins are currently in national and world-touring punk bands, my sister and I both sang in school choirs, and I have always been active with musical theater. It’s just in my bones, I guess!
So needless to say, music is a VERY important part of our wedding. We found our DJ over a year ago and snagged him up quickly, as he has received stellar reviews from other brides in our area for his knowledge of music and breadth of selections for ALL music lovers. DJ Frank Baptista of FB Events will be our fabulous emcee for a night of pop, rock, standards, alternative, and dance tunes and we absolutely cannot wait!
To keep things fair for the both of us since our musical tastes only sometimes intersect, Mr. Jet will be in charge of cocktail hour/dinner music as his tastes fall into the more ambient, off-beat genres, and I will be in charge of THE DANCE. I’m talkin’ Janet, Michael, Def Leppard, Britney, Bel Biv Devoe, Justin Timberlake, Stevie Wonder, Journey, Notorious B.I.G., Duran Duran, Eddie Money, MGMT, Earth Wind & Fire, and soooooo much more! I already have a 100-song playlist on my Spotify—a little somethin’ somethin’ for everyone! Don’t you just want to dance right now?!
Still, there are a few songs that Mr. Jet and I do have to see eye-to-eye on. Here are our “special song selections”:
I’m just going to be honest here. I want our wedding ceremony to last for as long as possible.
I’ve been there, as a guest, flicking through the order of service thinking “Howwwww much longer do we have left?!?!” and either miming along to hymns I don’t know, or giggling inside at the primary school memories being evoked from singing “All Things Bright and Beautiful.” (I’m looking at you, Beth!)
But the thing is, this will be my wedding and I kind of don’t want it to be over quickly. I want to milk that ceremony for all it’s worth.
So we’re having three hymns. And two readings. And our reverend will do a sermon.
I think that’ll be plenty of time.
That said, I don’t want my guests to be bored to death. I can’t stop people from looking at their watches, but I can give them a couple of songs to sing that they actually know.
I spent a lot of time researching “popular wedding hymns” and eventually gave up. If I don’t know these hymns, then my friends and family certainly won’t, so I figured I’d pick something we all know.
Jack is really set on having “Jerusalem” and I would absolutely love “I Vow to Thee, My Country.” I love how nationalistic they are, and due to the past two years being very Royal-centric (that’s not a word) with the Royal Wedding the and Jubilee, I’m pretty confident that everyone will know the tunes.
(I’m going to throw in the videos of these hymns being sung at Will & Kate’s wedding and Charles & Diana’s wedding, because I love a good Royal knees-up!)