Far from Plain

Silvi and I enjoyed a great night of music at Mix 106.5’s Very Merry Mixer at the Campbell Heritage Theater. The invite-only, intimate concert for 800 people featured The Plain White T’s, and Lee Dewyze. We parked ourselves in the fourth row and had the camera ready!We were fortunate to meet the artists as well and take pictures with them. Here we are below with Lee, the American Idol champion. Silvi was proud to point out that she may have been taller than him, if you included her hair as part of the measurement. The Plain White T’s are a very talented bunch of guys and reminded us of the Beatles. I will post a video that I shot of them as they sang, “1,2,3,4,” a very popular song at weddings, and one that was featured in a Hallmark Cards commercial earlier this year around Valentines Day.

Of course, they sang their popular Grammy-nominated song, “Hey There Delilah,” and their latest hit, “The Rhythm of Love.” Here is a shot of us with the band at the end of the night before they headed back to their rooms at Hotel DeAnza. What a fun night and a great way to kick off the holiday season!

Just because

Okay, I know, I have been absent for a while on my blog since I have been so busy. So, to make myself feel better, I will post a picture of Silvi and me in the snow last week on Thanksgiving. There! My work is done…for now.

Halloween Bowling

The African King and his Ballroom Dancer wife went bowling the other night at 300 across from Oakridge Mall! It was all part of an event for Silicon Valley NACE (National Association of Catering Executives) We had so much fun and I got to network with other professionals in the Special Event/Wedding Industry. I also won a prize for high game!

A Roaring 20’s Wedding

Steve and Christine did not initially set out to do a Roaring 20’s themed wedding; it just happened! And judging by the response of their guests at the Allied Arts Guild in Menlo Park that evening, it was a huge hit.

They started with cool table names, which included Sinatra, Crosby, Clooney, and Hepburn. Then, they bought a 1925 Sonora Phonograph from Craigslist, along with a big box of 78 rpm records. They asked me if I wouldn’t mind changing the records on the phonograph during the dinner and, of course, I said yes. I had no idea, though, that I would have to change the needle after every record! I even had to wind up the phonograph every 5 minutes since it did not run on electricity. It sure is a lot easier to play music these days! It was a lot of fun, though, and the music was beautiful. Here were some of their special songs requested:

Bridal Party Introductions: “When The Saints Go Marching In” – Louis Armstrong
First Dance: “Cheek to Cheek” – Fred Astaire
Father-Daughter Dance: “As Time Goes By” – Rosemary Clooney

They also dedicated the song “Our Love Is Here to Stay” to Christine’s parents who were celebrating their 40th Wedding Anniversary.

Keeping with the theme, they arrived in a 1927 Stutz. What a cool car! I want one!

I’m Married!

I met a Spanish Princess at Starbucks. Next thing you know, we’re married! OMG! How did that happen? haha! It was a wonderful wedding day and I look forward to sharing some pictures soon. Here is a fun picture of me sticking my tongue out at my beautiful bride Silvi. I did it just as the reverend said it was important to have humor in a relationship. Our incredible photographers, Lucie XYZ, had impeccable timing to capture that since I did it so quickly. I love it!!

A Persian Wedding

Persians love to dance (Of course, I already knew that since I am Persian!) Here is a short clip of the action at Sheeva and Mark’s Wedding. at The Opera House in Los Gatos.

 

Engagement Rings only $19.99 at Target!

I took this photo with my left arm stretched out in front of us just 5 minutes before I proposed to Silvi. As for the proposal, everything did not go according to plan (but we wouldn’t want to change a thing!)

My plan was simple: get the ring, spend a romantic weekend by the ocean, and pop the question. The day before Silvi and I were leaving for our romantic getaway in San Simeon, I found out “the real” engagement ring would be not be delivered on time. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to propose another weekend or get a “stand-in” ring until the real one arrived. I decided to look for another ring the day we were leaving. I told her that I wanted to stop by a friendly, neighborhood Target store to get some of those jalapeño-flavored pretzels that I love. The first Target had only size 7 and 8 rings but her finger is a cute little size 4.5! After the second Target store, I found out they didn’t carry any smaller sizes so I decided to buy her a size 7 ring with a fake 2-carat diamond. I felt like a high-roller walking out of the store with that ring.

I removed all of the songs from my Ipod and then added only one song: “Eres Para Mi” (You are for Me) by Julieta Venegas. This was the first song I bought for her when we first started seeing each other almost 2 years ago. On a bench by the ocean, I told her to listen to my ipod. As she was enjoying the song and singing out loud, I stopped a couple from Holland who were walking by and asked if they could snap some pictures because I was getting ready to propose to my girlfriend. They were so excited to be a part of it and said yes. The man took a practice picture of me hugging her and the camera died instantly! He said, “Don’t worry, I have the exact same camera as you and I always carry an extra battery”. He reached into his shirt pocket, pulled out a freshly charged battery, and stuck it in our camera. Amazing! What are the chances that a guy from the other side of the world would have an extra battery that fit our camera? He ended up taking about 20 photos.

Silvi loved my proposal and we had a very romantic weekend. She also loved that I got down on one knee too. She has her real ring now but will keep “the cheapy” forever because it will always be a part of our history (and she thought what I did was funny). I am so glad she has a sense of humor! Here is a picture of us with the couple from Holland. They were so sweet.

Disco anyone?

Lucy and Steve requested a variety of fun music for dancing at their wedding reception at the beautiful Los Altos Hills Golf & Country Club. Their guests were having a wonderful time when I decided to switch it up and throw on some disco. To everyone’s surprise, Lucy’s Dad, Toby, headed to the dance floor to show us his moves. He was, without a doubt, the hit of the party! Here he is dancing to “Stayin’ Alive by the Bee Gees. Photos by Teresa Halton PhotographySteve and Lucy wanted a classy and fun reception and that’s what they got. It was so much fun to watch them dance too. Instead of a traditional wedding cake, they had cupcakes. Yummy!

Special Requests:

First Dance: “Unforgettable” – Natalie and Nat King Cole
Father-Daughter Dance: “Wind Beneath My Wings” – Bette Midler

Here is a picture of the happy couple dancing their first dance.

Hawaiian and Korean Wedding

Brianna and Jason got a chance to incorporate a few cool cultural traditions into their wedding day at The Ranch Golf Club in San Jose. The groomsmen had beautiful lei’s around their necks and the guests were treated to a special Hula performance after dinner. The Best Man, Dan, did a Korean Toast as part of his Best Man’s speech. It was great to see all of the 130 guests join him as they yelled something in Korean several times. What were they yelling? I DON’T KNOW! But there was awesome energy in the room and it was fun to watch! Special Music Requests:

First Dance: “Simple as a Sunrise” by Na Leo
Uncle-Bride Dance: “There You’ll Be” by Faith Hill
Farewell Dance: “Making Memories of Us” by Keith Urban

Jason and his Grandmother Betty joined Brianna and her Uncle Randy for the second dance. Halfway through the song, Jason’s Mom Robin stepped in to dance with her son. It was a very special moment.

My Favorite Wedding Photos

This photo of Josh and Julie says so much that I don’t have to say anything at all!

My Stanford Class

It has been suggested to me (more than a few times) that I should write a book about all of the crazy things I’ve seen at wedding receptions. Not a bad idea. Boy, do I have some stories to tell!

I love writing. It’s one of my other passions. It started back in the 80’s when I wrote some song lyrics. Being in the radio business, I’ve also had the opportunity to write hundreds of radio commercials over the last 20 years (I still write a few each week).I recently enrolled in another creative writing class at Stanford (to get my creative juices flowing) and it’s been an incredible experience. I have goals of writing a few screenplays and a book. My first screenplay is a romantic comedy and the story is centered around a crazy wedding!

My teacher, Malena Watrous, is amazing and has helped me tremendously. She just published a book of her own that was a New York Times Editor’s Choice! Her book is called “If You Follow Me“. I bought a copy but haven’t read it yet (I am finishing up on a David Sedaris book!)

I Can DJ Blind-folded!

Sound crazy? Perhaps. But after Tim and Gerri’s reception, I would put money on it. Why? Because, for the entire reception, I was stuck behind a big curtain and none of the guests ever saw me. EVER! And I could not see them! Let me explain…

The Bride, Gerri, warned me ahead of time that there was a mural on the back wall of the stage showcasing a barn, some cows, and a pasture. I’m pretty sure I even saw some cow “droppings” on it as well. Of course, they didn’t want anyone to see this very “unique” mural so they pinned the curtain closed on the stage and then stuck me behind it. That’s right! THE DJ WAS BEHIND THE CURTAIN! It was very odd. I was like the person who makes the announcements at a department store (you always hear their voice but you don’t know where they are). Attention shoppers, we have a great deal in our garden department!

Now, I’m not a guy who needs to be in the spotlight. But, in order to read the crowd, it helps to actually see the crowd! Not an easy task when they bury you backstage with the broken chairs and empty kegs! It was a challenge and I had to adapt (and as long as they danced, I didn’t really care). But every now and then I would walk downstairs and peek outside to make sure there were people on the dance floor. Yup, still dancing! The funny thing is…they had so much fun that they paid me to stay an extra hour!
Overall, it was a great reception but definitely one of the weirdest experiences of my career. Hey! Next time, I will try DJ’ing with both of my arms tied behind my back and my mouth taped shut. I will be the Harry Houdini of the DJ world.

Hey, that was my water!

So, there I was, watching everyone dancing on the dance floor at my event, when something odd happened. Actually, it was more funny than odd. A woman came off of the dance floor, walked over to my side table, picked up my glass of water, and started drinking it. She finished what I had in the glass and then walked away!

My first thought was, Man, she certainly was thirsty. My second thought was, Hey, that was my water! I looked around to see if maybe there was another glass of water or another drink close by (maybe she was just confused and grabbed the wrong one). Nope. No other drinks in the area! I guess she was so thirsty that she was on a mission to find the closest glass of something, anything, to quench her thirst. Yes, I was the victim of water theft. I called security and had her removed from the facility. (Okay, I made the last part up)

Who was that man?

Was he a wedding crasher? Maybe a kid trapped in a man’s body? I may never find out…

Everyone was in the mood to dance. But there was one particular man who stood out more than any other person. It was not because he wore a bright-red Hawaiian shirt. It was not because he actually danced with a chair at one point. (no joke) He stood out because he yelled “WOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOO!” while he danced…ALL NIGHT. I’m surprised he didn’t lose his voice! This guy must have danced with every single person at the reception. You know that saying “there’s one in every crowd”? Well, he was that “one”. Here’s a classic shot of him defying gravity with another man. (photo by Kristin Jacobson ) As you can see by this picture, the guests loved him. Of course, the guests were in party-mode so they loved everything. The reception for Jennifer and John was held at Ralston Hall in Belmont. 120 Guests were in attendance for this lively reception. What a fun night! No bouquet. No garter. Just lots of dancing.

First Dance: “At Last” – Etta James
Father-Daughter: “What A Wonderful World” – Louis Armstrong
Farewell Dance: “Your Everything” – Keith Urban
Odd request of the night: “Fat Bottomed Girls” – Queen (requested by the bride!)

Wedding Ceremony with Personality

One of the things I often tell my clients is to infuse their personalities into the wedding ceremony. It doesn’t have to be so serious and so formal. Have some fun. Show your personalities. Try using some cool music you love instead the usual classical music or traditional church organ. Do something different or unique that stands out. Wedding ceremonies can sometimes be boring for the guests, so make it fun! (laughter is the best). The day will be much more memorable for you and your guests. Here is a great example.