When Shaun and I first started planning our wedding, the first details that we squared away were our venues, naturally. After that, we kind of went a little out of order from the vendors that are normally booked early in the engagement. For example, an impromptu trip to a neighboring town resulting in a cake contract with a local bakery that we love (more on that later) and my first trip to the boutique where I would eventually find my wedding dress. Keep in mind that all of this was only about 2 months into an 18 month engagement!
Another “strange” thing we focused on booking pretty early on were our ceremony and reception musicians. Music is something that has played a huge role in my life. I played french horn from middle school until I graduated high school. In high school, I also learned how to play mellophone for marching band and trumpet for jazz band. My senior year, I was the drum major of our high school marching band and sang in the Chamber Choir. Then, in fall 2007, I joined the University of Wisconsin Marching Band and my life changed forever. Music taken me from Tampa Bay, Florida to Pasadena, California. It has been the vehicle for so many amazing opportunities in my life, and I’m extremely grateful for that.
Aside from performing music, though, both Shaun and I are the type of people who are deeply affected by music and lyrics. I strongly associate songs with certain memories, people or times in my life. Shaun is a walking jukebox…he can basically name any song that comes on the radio before the first few bars are completed. Needless to say, music is going to be an important part of our wedding day. Choosing the people who would make the magic happen was also very important to us.
Ceremony: Dan Weaver – Classical Guitarist
Dan doing his thing at a coffee shop
I met Dan, a classical guitar teacher and performer, my junior year of high school when I was dating his stepson. What I loved most about Dan then was his warm and loving personality – he’s just so easy to get along with! But I soon found out that he was also an extremely talented musician. I’m lucky enough to own a copy of “The Sun Trail,” a CD that he recorded a few years back. It’s still my go-to study soundtrack because the music is soothing without being distracting. It’s some of the only music I can read to!
When Shaun proposed and we decided to have our ceremony outdoors, I immediately started to think about what type of music would fit our vision for the ceremony. We ruled out vocalists right away. Again, we knew that we wouldn’t have a huge budget for this area of our wedding, and we wanted the music to reflect the small, intimate feel that we wanted our ceremony to project. Even if there were upwards of 200 guests in attendance.
That’s when Dan came to mind. I wasn’t sure if he had ever played for weddings – most of the gigs that I heard of him playing back in the day were in coffee shops or bookstores or that sort of thing. But I figured it couldn’t hurt to ask. After making sure that Shaun was ok with this choice for our musician (which he was), I shot Dan a message on Facebook and he quickly responded. The best news was that he’s well inside of our budget and reserved our day for us! I can’t wait to meet with him sometime over break to choose our ceremony songs.
Reception: Adam Benshaw – DJ
Our friend (and DJ) Adam with his girlfriend Katie
As far as the reception goes, Shaun and I both agree that we just want it to be a good party. With good food, good friends and good music to dance to. When we first started looking for a DJ, we were blown away by the prices. We honestly couldn’t find anyone who would DJ a wedding for under $1000…and that was way above our budget.
So we started asking around – seeing if we could find any “friendors” to DJ our party. It worked! Shaun happened to mention our predicament to a good friend from high school, and she told him that her boyfriend had just recently taken over his dad’s DJ business. Luckily for us, he was willing to give us a pretty steep discount because he’s a friend and he’s just getting the business up and running. We’re so excited to have a friend spinning the tunes at the party and know he’ll do a great job.
Did you do any of your wedding planning “out of order”? Did you hire any “friendors”?