Spencer and Rosalie Hess – June 20th, 2008; Calamigos Ranch

Posted in Wedding Celebrations on November 24, 2008 by mattgraumann

It all began with an email one evening from Rosalie.

I just happened to be sitting at my computer, so I called her back a minute later.  She sounded (pleasantly!) surprised, and a big “Thank You” to my friends at Calamigos Ranch for telling them about my services!

We set up a meeting, and I remember one of the first things Rosalie said to me:  “Thanks for being on time.”  I learned that they were looking for a fun and comfortable wedding, and a great celebration with all of their friends and family.

We reviewed some personalized ideas including their music preferences, (no chicken dance) and chatted about lake arrowhead and big bear…but the whole time, Rosalie seemed a little quiet.  However, the very next day they called to reserve their date, and Spencer told me that when Rosalie is quiet when she first meets someone, that means she likes them….whew!

We kept in touch, and discovered that we had some mutual friends in common (I had DJ’ed Spencers’ Best Mans’ wedding back in 2002), so we were looking forward to a meaningful ceremony, and a reception party.

Their ceremony rehearsal went off without a hitch, and I enjoyed talking with Bryon and Gretchen (Spencer’s Best Man and his wife) and catching up with what was going on in their lives.  I remember that their rehearsal dinner became quite “festive,” and Spencer gave a great toast recognizing and thanking all of their family and friends.  It was obvious that everyone was happy….happy for Spencer and Rosalie, and happy to be together.

On a nice, warm, June evening, their wedding party walked down the aisle to “Only Time” by Enya (which fit perfectly with the outdoor setting), and then Rosalie entered to an Andrea Bocelli selection, and we had perfectly timed it to end as she reached the front row.

For cocktails, Jack Johnson, Norah Jones, Louis Armstrong, and other crooners enhanced the social atmosphere; then their reception began with an energetic bridal party entrance, followed by Spencer and Rosalie dancing their way in!

After dinner, before their first dance, we shared a personalized introduction for Mr. And Mrs. Hess, then they took the dance floor to the sentimental and romantic “You and I” by Michael Buble.  Shortly thereafter, they did a special wardrobe change into more traditional Filipino and Chinese wedding attire.  They both looked ready to dance the night away!

Everyone joined in to disco, funk, Top 40, and a few Latin songs, and I loved playing their requests because we’re all about the same age. Before we knew it, it was time for the grand finale with everyone dancing and singing to “One Love” by Bob Marley, as they were off to their honeymoon in Jamaica, mon.

Mr. And Mrs. Rosalie and Spencer Hess, thanks for being such a fun and easy couple to work with from our first meeting, through the planning stages, and on your wedding day!

If more couples just enjoyed life and each other like both of you do, the world would be a better place.

Kate and Matt Underwood – January 5th, 2008; Annandale Country Club

Posted in Wedding Celebrations on November 23, 2008 by mattgraumann

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I met Kate and Matt through Katie and Greg Pappianou (see my next wedding post for June 8th, 2008), as Kate and Katie had been roommates at USC, and they were in each other’s bridal party.

They also told me that they had seen another DJ who was “obnoxious” and had made some “awkward/offensive comments.”  Where do all of these guys come from?!

So of course if Kate was one of Katie’s friends, I knew they would be a great couple to work with since they were looking for a fun and relaxed celebration!

We weren’t able to meet in person right away because Kate was on the east coast finishing up grad school, and Matt was in Los Angeles, but working crazy hours.  As I type this (on November 22nd, 2008), it’s fun to note that we met on November 23rd, 2007 at Annandale for a location visit and planning session.

As we got to know each other better, it was apparent that their group of 240 guests were going to be quite a fun dance party group!  We got a lot of the planning done that afternoon, so all they would have to do was show up, enjoy, and have plenty of time to dance and socialize.

On January 5th, I arrived very early to set up, and one of the first groups of guests to arrive were Katie’s (Katie and Greg’s June 8th, 2008 wedding) parents.  I really had to be on my toes, as I didn’t want to accidentally announce or say “Katie” and Matt Underwood during the reception, and to complicate things, Kate and Katie look like they could be sisters!

The ceremony was in another room with a piano player, but I still watched and enjoyed hearing their vows, and seeing everyone clap as they were announced as, “Mr. And Mrs. Underwood.”

I recall that they had quite a festive cocktail hour, and that was the perfect prelude to a personalized and upbeat grand entrance!  Their wedding party danced their way in, and you should have seen the look on some of Matt’s groomsmens’ faces.  (I can’t share all of my secrets in public, but it was quite entertaining!).

Now originally, Matt and Kate were trying to see if they could get the USC marching band to lead them in for their entrance, but that didn’t work out.  However, they entered to one of their favorite dramatic soundtracks, and went right into their first dance.  What happened a minute or two into their first dance?  Let’s just say that their practice paid off!

Then, as the USC fight song and “Tusk” came on, Kate, Matt, and their entire wedding party got pumped up and they sang along and belted out the “family friendly PG” version.

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We toned it down a bit for dinner, with rat pack classics played at a “background” level (per Matt’s mom’s request….not that I ever crank it up during dinner!) so everyone could enjoy each other and the country club setting.

The celebration continued after dinner with a special dedication from Kate’s father to his daughter before their father daughter dance, and then?  It was one of those nights where their guests were just so into Kate and Matt’s music requests, and I knew what other songs to mix in to take them to the next level!

Sing a long songs, classic rock, top 40, a little old school…it was a blast!  Another song request was “Tell Me Ma” by Gaelic Storm.  This song has special meaning to them, and as I listen to it on my computer and picture them hopping around, it was, quite simply, an awesome moment.

For the bouquet, all of Kate’s USC friends went wild for the toss…

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…and for the guys and the garter, we paid tribute to Matt’s baseball skills by playing “Centerfield” as he showed off his baseball arm.

The party went on for quite a while, and although most guests were still there, everyone was starting to get a little….winded.  After getting Kate and Matt’s “OK” to end things on a high note, all of the couples surrounded Kate and Matt for Michael Buble’s “Save The Last Dance For Me.”

Finally, with boisterous applause and cheering, Matt and Kate ran through a shower of rose petals to escape to Bora Bora!

Mr. And Mrs. Underwood, it was my pleasure to work with you, and keep on dancing.

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Erika and Andrew Barnes – December 29th, 2007; Calamigos Ranch

Posted in Wedding Celebrations on November 22, 2008 by mattgraumann

What do you do when you’ve been recommended by a mother of a bride (Mary Joy P.), their wedding location Calamigos Ranch, and your wedding coordinator friend, Kathy Bailey, and 300 guests from all over the country converge on Malibu?

I knew that I had better bring my “A” game!

(Of course, I bring my “A” game to every wedding, but it seemed appropriate as Erika was a former softball star and works in the athletic department for the University of Arizona, and Andy is a pro golfer).

Erika’s mother contacted me and wanted to make sure that I was willing to work with them on their play list, and after reassuring her, they secured their date!

We kept in touch and Erika made it into town in October, and she was looking forward to our planning meeting (Andy couldn’t make it…something about being off travelling the world playing golf…rough life!).  But I had already been alerted that Andy is a big dancer…a “Justin Timberlake” type of dancer.

On a crisp starlit evening, the stream of cars began to arrive.  After their ceremony, we began their cocktail hour with contemporary selections including Jack Johnson, Ben Harper, Coldplay, Edwin McCain, and The Fray…then it was time for their grand entrance.

I should probably mention that Erika and Andy aren’t shy…nor boring, and neither are their friends!  It was quite the entertaining grand entrance…personalized, with upbeat music cued and perfectly timed!  I won’t publicly give away all of the details because a wedding is a private family function, but I assure you that it was quite memorable (in a good way).

Andy and Erika entered to a standing ovation, and since they love the band O.A.R. (they had seen them perform on campus back in 1999), they took the stage to “Nasim June.”

The toasts were entertaining and personal, and I still remember one special part from Erika’s father’s toast.  He was reminiscing about commitment to practice, sports, studies…and how he would remind Erika “To show people, don’t tell them.”  And he was so happy for Andy and Erika because he saw, (through their actions, not just words), that they truly love each other.

Towards the end of dinner, they were both proud (and brave?) to have their college coaches give a toast, and these guys could go do stand up comedy if they wanted to!

The dancers and the dancing more than lived up to the hype!  The song of the night?  “That Was A Crazy Game of Poker” by O.A.R. of course!  I think their singing partially drowned out my sound system (and that’s not an easy thing to do, especially since the song is over 8 minutes long!).

Playing songs from their list and mixing a few others in and out of  the dance sets made time fly, and at 10PM, we announced that the first round of shuttles had arrived, but I don’t think anyone left!

By 11PM, we had to wrap things up, and I’m pretty sure that was a good time to send everyone back to their hotels.  I chatted with Erika’s parents for a while, and hugged Erika and Andy.

That was the perfect way to ring in 2008.  Again, congratulations again to both of you and your families!

P.S.  Note to Andy…it’s just over one month to go before your one year anniversary!

Stephanie and Derrick Lorenzen – “A Christmas Wedding”; December 22nd, 2007; Spanish Hills Country Club

Posted in Wedding Celebrations on November 22, 2008 by mattgraumann

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Photo Credits: Cary Shapiro Photography

Before I even met or talked to Stephanie and Derrick, I knew they were good people and it would be a great wedding.

How did I know?  Because I had worked with Stephanie’s father at some of his Prudential Realty events, and those are always fun!

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They got engaged on Valentine’s Day, 2007. Stephanie’s mother is a former wedding planner, and for her daughter’s celebration, she didn’t want to “work;” she just wanted to show up and enjoy everything!

On March 1st, I met with both of Stephanie’s parents at their home, and learned that they were looking for a traditional princess wedding, with someone energetic and outgoing enough (but not a corny game show host) to keep up with the engaged couples’ personalities!  Even though Derrick is this big, fun, 6’ 2” guy, he’s a romantic at heart, and his nickname is “Daren” (long story!).

Because BOTH Stephanie and Derrick are Marine flight officers, during our planning meeting in June, it was a blast to learn more about what they did, and hear stories about their training.

Their reception began in the lounge area in the beautiful ballroom at Spanish Hills Country Club for cocktails, and guests were treated to music selections from Sinatra, jazzy instrumental compositions, and a few of her dad’s special requests.  Meanwhile, I was rounding up the officers who would be helping out with the special “Arch of Swords” grand entrance so everyone was on the same page.

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Before their entrance, there was another special moment as we recognized Stephanie’s parents and their anniversary that’s on December 12th.  Because it was a “Princess” wedding, their wedding party entered to the “Main Title From Father of the Bride,”

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…and then Stephanie and Derrick danced to the song that was playing when Stephanie knew she would be with Derrick the rest of her life… “The Chair” by George Strait.

Towards the end of dinner, I supplied an audio feed for their slide montage presentation, and asked everyone to keep an eye out for a special picture of “Daren.”  When that image flashed on the screen, all of their friends just about died laughing!

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Dancing was a fairly big mix from swing, a little country, Journey, 80’s hair bands, and a special song, “Strawberry Wine” dedicated to Stephanie and her sister, Becky.

On to the cake cutting, bouquet and garter toss, and for the garter, no, we didn’t use “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” or the theme from “Top Gun.”  But we did use Joe Cocker’s “You Can Leave Your Hat On,” because this was the song that they always sang together with friends at a dive bar called “Chan’s” in Pensacola, FL.

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After their evening concluded, I’m not quite sure if they had enough time to recover, as they were off to Illinois for a second celebration!

I just heard that Stephanie is back in California, and I’m sure that I’ll see Jim at future Prudential events.

I can’t believe it’s been almost a year since their wedding, and I’m glad that I was a part of such a fun day!

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What Are Your Wedding Colors?

Posted in Wedding Colors & Lighting on November 20, 2008 by mattgraumann

Colors and decor, toys and tech…with atmosphere uplighting, there’s something that both of you will love!

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Photo Credit: James Hickey

Do you want to match your wedding colors?

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Photo Credit: James Hickey

Or find one that compliments your primary color, yet accents the space?

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Photo Credit: James Hickey

With most lighting systems, you’re stuck with one color for the entire evening.  But if you picture fades and color changes for your first dance, dinner, romantic and fun dancing later on….you’ve found the perfect solution.

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Photo Credit: James Hickey

Looking forward to chatting more about your plans, and how to enhance your celebration, wow your guests, and put your personal signature in lights!

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Photo Credit: Chris Humphreys

Please contact me to schedule a meeting to see more pictures, or for video demos via a private YouTube link.

Love. Joy. Happiness. Style!

Posted in Welcome on November 19, 2008 by mattgraumann

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Photo credit: James Hickey

Would love to hear more about your wedding or event plans, thank you, and talk to you, soon!