I've got a little story to tell. See, there was this wedding...
A few months before Midwest FurFest, moryssa
asked if takaza
and I would provide assistance at her and wolfbrotherjoe
's wedding...which was five days after the convention. If it were anyone else, we problem would have politely declined, but Misti is a dear friend and we were flattered and pleased to provide any help we could. Plans were made, and we had a nice dinner with the bride and groom to discuss the details. Because the rehearsal dinner was unfortunately the day before the wedding (which is to say, Thanksgiving), we had to miss out on that. Neither Dan nor I felt 100% secure in our knowledge of how things were supposed to go, but we figured it would be pretty easy - get a quick briefing on who needed to be where and when, then make sure that happened.
The venue was outside of Madison, Wisconsin, in a lovely barn
that had been refurbished for these types of events. The dinner was to be served in the nicely-decorated shop which adjoined the building. It was a great set-up, and perfect for the intimate (100-person) wedding they had in mind. The rough plan (as I recall) was that the "First Look" would be at 4 PM, followed by pictures, then the wedding would take place at 5 PM. This would be followed by a cocktail hour, then dinner, then dancing for the rest of the evening.
Dan and I drove up to Madison (with a side-trip by Prime Outlets Kenosha to pick up some last-minute accessories from Casual Male - yeah, an outlet mall on Black Friday. Oy!). We arrived at our hotel at around 1 PM, got dressed, and headed over to the barn at 2 PM. We were the first ones there, which gave us a chance to inspect the facilities and admire the setup and decorating that the wedding party had done the night before. The wedding party arrived bit by bit over the next hour and a half, and Dan mostly made sure everyone was happy and moving along while I chatted with friends.
The first sign things were a bit askew was when the bride asked where the DJ was. Theoretically, he should have arrived in Madison at 11 AM and been at the barn shortly after. There was no sign of him. At 3:50 PM, Dan pulled me aside and we agreed that I would make the 30 minute round trip back to our hotel to pick up my laptop (and our complete 40 GB MP3 library) just in case. I got back at 4:30 and there was still no DJ. It looked like it was going to be me. I got a very quick briefing from Misti: she handed me a flash drive with the music for the ceremony, what cues there would be, and off I went. I worked with Dave, one of the barn owners, to get my laptop hooked into the barn sound system, and we were off and running. Dan did a great job making sure the wedding party entered at the right times, and I hit most of the cues properly (side note: it's really hard to even be a pretend DJ when the only music players on your laptop are iTunes and VLC). The important thing is that the music was right for the bride and groom, and the ceremony went off without a hitch.
Once the ceremony was over, I was helping to put away the folding chairs to clear the floor for dancing when I got the next bit of exciting news, which had come in right before the ceremony started: The caterers thought the wedding was on Saturday, not Friday.
Here's where I give huge props to Joe's mother. She made the call that we would be serving pizzas, and that the caterer would pay for it. So be it! Fortunately, they had vegetable trays and various chips and dips available, so those went out. While everyone nibbled on those and chatted in the shop, we piped a slideshow of childhood pictures of Misti and Joe through my laptop a few times, then commenced to work with Dave to make his sound system do things it was never designed for. He produced a 16-channel mixer he hadn't used much and Dan plugged my laptop and his iPad into it and got everything ready for the dance (through a bit of trial and error), then Dave went off to pick up 30 pizzas.
Dan and I went over to the shop and as soon as the pizzas arrived it was a mad rush to clear the appetizers off and get the pizzas out. Dan and I worked to get people up to serve themselves pizza in an orderly fashion, sending folks table by table (wedding party first, of course). When the first batch of 14 pizzas ran out, we cleared the table, asked everyone's patience, and when Dave showed up with the other 16 pizzas we got those out as well. Dave's wife Betsy was invaluable during all this, providing plates and helping move empty boxes and such.
Once it looked like everyone had had their fill of pizza, it was back to the barn and Dan started the dance music. He hit the requested songs (First Dance, Father/Daughter, Mother/Son) and the usual Bouquet Toss and Garter Toss, then he started creating playlists on the fly. I provided some suggestions on tempos and songs, trying to keep the flow going. I think we did a passable job, though if we had time to prepare it would have been a lot better :-) The laptop/iPad combination worked well, and he did a decent job of keeping people on the dance floor, which I'll count as a win. We wrapped up at about 10:15 PM, helped with a bit of the cleanup, and headed back to the hotel.
In the end, I think we had a blast. It wasn't what we had signed up for, but by the end of the evening, there was an infectious kind of "let's put on a show!" feel that made things feel less uptight and everyone a lot more willing to enjoy themselves. I do worry a bit about the DJ, since no one was able to reach him and he is a mutual friend; if anyone has heard from him, please let me know. But at the end of the day, Joe was happy, Misti was happy, and the bride and groom's families seemed happy. I think that counts as a win! As for Dan and me, anyone who knows us knows that this is the kind of insanity we thrive on, and I'm so glad that we were able to help out and make Misti and Joe's special day not only memorable but enjoyable as well. Congratulations to you both! I'll throw in an endorsement for Badger Farms as well - Dave and Betsy are incredibly nice folks. They were great to work with, and when things started to go pear-shaped, they jumped in and were a phenomenal help.
We slept in on Saturday morning, then took our time driving home. We picked up Buddy from Dan's mom's place and crashed once we got home. Our plans for today? Nothing! Absolutely nothing! And it's glorious :-)