Have you ever heard of a “Surprise Wedding”? Well, I can tell you that it was one of the most wonderful events and experiences that I have ever been a part of! My gorgeous sister, Julie, and my awesome new brother-in-law, Ali, were married on June 18th, 2017 on a perfect, sunny but not-too-hot-for-summer day at Haue Valley in Pacific, Missouri.
This whole wedding was a different take on, well, everything! You see, Ali planned the wedding…in a matter of six weeks! Yes! The GROOM planned it! Granted, he had a little help from me, Mandy and a handful of others, but his love for my sister meant that he wanted her to be stress-free on her wedding day and the weeks leading up to it.
It all started when Ali proposed to Julie in the beginning of May, 2017. Once Julie shared her wonderful news of becoming engaged to marry Ali, the wheels started turning! All of the sudden, within a couple of days, a wedding was being planned!
You see, Julie has never been one of those gals who have spent their entire life dreaming of her perfect wedding. Jokingly, when she was in her late teens, I recall her saying she wanted a renaissance themed wedding…with women wearing corsets and men having sword fights. In my head, all I could think of is sitting in a Medieval Times arena, having wenches bring me my food while the smell of horses wafted in my direction. Once she met Ali and they became a couple, I am sure she thought about marriage, but never really the wedding.
Once Ali presented Julie with the idea of him planning their wedding, she saw the absolute gift that she was being offered and said she was okay with not having full reign in the planning process. She mentioned the color scheme that she liked, and with that, Ali and his helpers went to town and the Best Day Ever was born!
It helps when you “know” people in the biz. Obviously, with our company being in the wedding DJ and videography business, we had that covered, but we also know many awesome vendors in the field. So many vendors wanted to be part of this “Surprise Wedding” that we had no problem making this day very special.
When I say surprise wedding, the plan was not to wake her up that morning, cart her to the venue, slap a dress on her and shove her down the aisle…I mean all that was planned was to be revealed to Julie that day. Ali told her what day they were to be wed, ordered invitations, and left no stone unturned when planning. Julie picked out her own wedding dress, but other than that, she had no idea what the venue was like, the décor, her bouquet…heck, she had no idea what I was going to wear, and I was her Matron of Honor! Throughout the day, from the time she arrived at Haue Valley, the reveals were scheduled for her…and it was awesome!
As Julie and Ali were preparing for the ceremony in their separate dressing rooms at Haue Valley, some of the fantastic reveals started taking place. First to be revealed was my bridesmaid dress, and the flower girl’s dress. I wore a vintage 50s style lace dress in red, and Emma, Julie’s niece and flower girl, wore a jewel embellished coral dress. She was starting to see how her vibrant color scheme was being incorporated, especially when she was presented with her bridal bouquet. As she opened her eyes after it was handed to her, Julie saw that this gorgeous bouquet was completely made from handcrafted paper flowers! Katherine Elizabeth Events is a paper florist who made every single stem of Julie’s bouquet, my bouquet, corsages and boutonnieres plus all of the flowers for the tables and the flowers that graced the wedding arbor. These look-alikes were exquisite in their peach, coral and red colors and were the ideal unique touch for such an extraordinary and special bride!
Once Julie and Ali had donned their wedding best, they were separately escorted to the entrance of Haue Valley for their First Look. Ali looked sharp in his gray tuxedo, ivory vest, and aqua tie as he stood by the large gate awaiting his Bride. His tuxedo was provided by Savvi Formalwear, as well as his groomsman’s tux. When it was time, Julie walked to Ali and placed her hand on his shoulder as he faced away from her. Upon his turning around, his gaze was on Julie, who was absolutely stunning in her ivory, ball gown style wedding dress she bought online from Dresslily.com. Her dress had a “vintage” appeal, with its three-quarter length sleeves and chapel length train, along with lace appliques and well placed buttons in the front and the back of this beauty. Of course, I was privy to the dress before she bought it and one look at the pictures of it online and I knew it was the dress for Julie! In lieu of a veil, Julie chose to adorn her up-do with pretty floral barrettes.
VSM Event Creations took great care with the final touches to ensure all was perfect in the venue and at the ceremony site, which made the day more enjoyable and stress free for family and friends who would usually be in charge of these things.
Next to be revealed was the venue. Julie was led into the reception area and saw the most beautiful wedding reception décor she has ever seen! The tears flowed as she was introduced to all of the intricate details that Ali planned for her from the Monogram and Uplighting that Applause Weddings provided, the movie themed seating charts and the popcorn cart provided by BAM Party Rentals, our family’s wedding pictures on the huge wooden mantle, the striking glassware and paper flower décor on the tables, and so much more! As Ali took her from detail to detail, she commented on how beautiful the venue was and even remarked, “It’s ME!”
Next to be revealed was the wedding ceremony area, which produced more tears for Julie. This venue is stunning on its own and with the décor that was used and in the colors that were chosen, the place was breathtaking. I told her after she saw how beautiful everything was, “This is the wedding you never knew you wanted!”
Applause Weddings provided ceremony music, videography and DJ services for this special day, of course!
Officiant Reverend Doug Robison performed the wedding, which included a Handfasting Ceremony. Julie and Ali recited vows, exchanged rings and were pronounced Husband and Wife! The Bride was kissed and the celebration began!
Photography was by Chameleon Imagery and Be Lovely Photography, and with a beautiful couple and the pretty scenery that surrounds Haue Valley, Julie and Ali’s wedding photos turned out spectacular!
A delicious meal was provided by Graze, toasts to our Newlyweds were made and everyone danced in merriment until this glorious day had to come to an end, but not before Julie sang “Faithfully” to Ali in her remarkable voice.
I must say, this day will forever be one of my absolute favorites and it could not have been pulled off without all of the wonderful vendors who participated. Hats off to you all…you helped make “The Wedding Julie Didn’t Know She Wanted” the most beautiful, stress free, incredibly special day for two very important people in my life!
April 15th, 2017 was a beautiful but breezy day for a wedding! Michael Woelfer married his love, Simone Wood, at Aeries Terrace in Grafton, Illinois. Simone was stunning in her mermaid gown with a sweetheart neckline, which was perfectly adorned with lace and sequins. She carried a bouquet of white wood flowers and she wore two red flowers in her pretty up-do. Breezy days make cathedral length veils have a mind of their own, and Simone’s was no exception! As her veil flowed in the breeze, her five beautiful bridesmaids, who wore floor length dresses in a soft shade of lavender and carried bouquets that matched the Bride’s, held on to Simone’s crazy veil during the ceremony. Both the Bride’s and Bridesmaids’ dresses were purchased from David’s Bridal.
Michael looked handsome in his blue suit with a yellow tie and pocket square. With a while boutonniere on his lapel, he matched his sharply dressed Groomsmen. Simone gave Michael a new Fossil watch as a wedding gift, which he promptly put on after he opened it.
Michael and Simone exchanged vows on a deck that overlooks where the Mississippi and Illinois rivers join together, making it a perfect place for their lives to be joined together in marriage. With Colleen Callahan officiating, Our Couple were married in a touching ceremony that was surrounded by love. Rings were exchanged, his was purchased at Qualo and hers was an heirloom ring that belonged to Michael’s grandmother. The Woelfer’s vows were sealed with a kiss and then it was time to celebrate!
Simone happily danced her way into the venue with her new husband by her side. The Bride and Groom chose a wine theme for the reception...but really it was a “drunk with love” theme! The napkins even had “Drunk with Love” printed on them! The cake topper was a glittery gold silhouette of a bride and groom with wine and the bride was falling into the groom’s arms. (CUTE!) Speaking of the cake, it was a tiered white cake with scroll décor and the base of it was covered with cake balls with black and white scrollwork. In keeping with the wine theme, the table centerpieces were made with stacked, rustic wood slices with a simple doily, a wine bottle, a wine glass filled with corks, and grape clusters atop them. We provided lavender purple uplighting and lighted custom wedding monogram, which made the venue look super classy!
Before dinner, toasts to the Newlyweds were given by the Maid of Honor Felicia, Bridesmaid Sherry, the Best Man, Rudy and Groomsman Steven. Dinner was catered by Toarmino’s. Once everyone’s bellies were full, it was time for CAKE! Our Newlyweds cut into their awesome cakepop cake and then moved to the dance floor for their first dance as Husband and Wife. (Of course, the DJ service was provided by Applause Productions!) The Bride and Groom danced to “Never Stop” by Safety Suit. Simone and her father danced to “Sweet Child o' Mine” by Guns n' Roses and Michael and his mother danced to “My Wish” by Rascal Flatts.
Then, it was party time! Our DJ kept the dance floor packed with people moving and grooving to great music! A conga line wrapped around the venue and a groomsman even did a back flip over the limbo stick! Who does that?! Let's not forget the awesome Fish Eye Photobooth pictures everyone took home as souveniers. As all parties do, the celebration of Our Wonderful Newlyweds had to come to an end. “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey was played as the last song. Michael and Simone certainly could make anyone believe in love! Congrats on your new life together!
Speakers? Check. Microphone? Check. Lighting? Check. Sounds like all Wedding DJ's are created equal, doesn't it? There's actually a lot more to being a great Wedding DJ than just music. Here are a few questions you should be asking when comparing DJ's:
1. How do you keep my event organized? There are a lot of details that need to take place for your reception to run smoothly. A DJ should serve as a Master of Ceremonies and needs to be familiar with everything you have planned prior to the event. We offer online planning forms to guide you through providing us with all the information we need to create the agenda for your reception. As well, we will work as a communicator between you, your venue, and your other vendors as each event unfolds.
2. How will introductions be made? Is there a wireless microphone for toasts? In addition to announcing in the wedding party (aka "The Grand Entry"), a professional DJ should be prepared to introduce anyone else that will be speaking or giving toasts at your reception. They should provide a well working microphone with which to make speeches so that everyone in the room can hear what is being said. We not only provide a wireless microphone, our DJ console has it's own separate microphone so that your DJ can remain at the console to make introductions and then operate the volume of the speaker's microphone. Furthermore, our wireless microphone system is kept up to date and in good working order.
3. When will the dancing start? Some DJ companies rely on you to tell them during the event when each portion of the reception will take place. Although this sounds nice, it is a lot to expect from you on the day of your wedding. If you get distracted talking to guests, you may not realize how much time is passing and before you know it, there's only an hour left for an open dance floor! Keeping events moving along is our #1 priority. We know your guests want to be entertained and a wedding is the perfect opportunity for them to dance. Even if it's just one slow dance with their sweetheart, they'll appreciate the effort to avoid long gaps during your reception.
4. What kind of music do you play? The answer here should be simple. ALL KINDS. While a DJ at a club will often have a specific style of music depending on the club, a wedding DJ must be flexible and play a wide variety of music. Weddings inherently have guests of all ages, with all types of taste in music. In addition to playing your requests, we will aim to play music that appeals to your friends and family. No two receptions are alike and no music is pre-planned. Instead, we play each song according to the response of the crowd. We pay special attention to the placement of songs so we can "break the ice" on the dance floor and give everyone a reason to get out of their seat. This means you will have a great party that your guests will remember for years to come!
5. What does your set-up LOOK like? This could be one of the least asked questions, and yet, should be one of the first. You will be spending months planning every detail of your wedding and much of that will be on how everything looks. At the reception you will choose tablecovers, centerpieces, lighting, seating chart, etc. How the DJ looks in the room should also be important. Our console is custom built; everything is black to make it fade into the background, rather than draw attention to itself. Best of all we believe in cord management! You will not see stringing or dangling cords on our system. We do not require a table, but a couple of chairs are appreciated. Our light bar houses multiple lighting effects and makes a big impression on the dance floor.
6. How often do you update your music? A DJ should carry regulary updated music, period. If they can't provide a solid timeline for how often they update, it could mean they aren't on a schedule of keeping their song library fresh. We automatically update our music monthly, and equally as important, all our music is profanity-free.
7. How are your DJ's hired and trained? Some DJ companies are able to book an unlimited number of weddings on any given date. Other companies are "single-operator", meaning whomever you speak to is your DJ. We are a very small company, hiring and training one DJ at a time, and always sending an owner with new DJ's until they have enough experience to handle a wedding with the same confidence and ease as we do. At no time do we outsource our personnel.
8. What is the Backup Plan? When you book with a "boutique" vendor (meaning a small business) it's a good idea to ask what their backup plan is in case of an emergency with personnel or equipment. Our company retains several backup DJ's who are on standby in case of any personnel emergency. We carry backup equipment at every gig. Although no back up plan is fool-proof, we are confident that we've taken steps to prevent unforseen circumstances from interfering with your booking.
Join us as we Blog our way through St. Louis Weddings!