On Saturday, September 7, 2013, we (DJ AJ9 and DJ Mike) had the pleasure of providing Ceremony Sound Services, a Master of Ceremonies and Disc Jockey, and Lighting Design for Amber and John’s charmingly-chic, rusticly-sweet fall fete at the historic Conrad Botzum Farmstead in Akron’s Merriman Valley near the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Special thanks to Anna Zajac of Anna Zajac Photography for sharing her lovely photographs of this beautiful event!
I remember when I (DJ AJ9) first met Amber at the Boutique Bridal Bazaar, this past January, where I was MCing the fashion show with DJ Justin backing me up on lighting design, sound design, and music. Amber and I REALLY hit it off, right away, and we made plans later that same week to meet for coffee and chit-chatting (with her then-fiance (now-husband!)), the following Sunday at one of my favorite local spots, the Valley Cafe near Botzum.
After talking for just over an hour, it was obvious that Amber and John were a Something New Bride and Groom. We made it official, but no one was ready to say “good bye,” just yet! I knew the couple had an appointment at the Farmstead shortly after our meeting, and we were all just having such a great time planning, so we decided I would tag along on their visit (including a special guest star from the genius sustainable chef team at Sowfood) to talk with them about lighting design in the space, as the barn can become quite dark at night.
In addition to working as a Senior Account Executive at a boutique PR firm, Amber also serves on the board of directors for a Farmers Market and contributes to a Edible Cleveland magazine, so being able to serve responsibly-grown, local food to the most important people in her life on her wedding day was very important to Amber. Since Conrad Botzum Farmstead typically encourages couples to choose from a small list of preferred caters, the Sowfood team arranged a time to meet at the farm to go over the details and guidelines for this historic barn, and we also brainstormed about Pinterest-worthy lighting design solutions that would give the barn some extra sparkle — and visibility.
Fast forward just over seven short months later, and, arriving on site early for setup, Amber’s vision beginning to unfold was absolutely breathtaking, with a stunning mix of modern elements and rustic, homespun charm.
The earlier-in-the-day scattered showers cleared just in time for Amber and John’s wedding ceremony, which took place in the grassy meadow just beyond the historic barn’s porch area, surrounded by the scenic Cuyahoga Valley National Park forest. What a great backdrop for a perfect day!
Can you spot Something New Entertainment’s sound system in the photo, above? Nope? Good. That’s always the plan. 😉
After the ceremony, it was time to celebrate! We helped Amber and John to prepare personalized bios for each member of their bridal party to honor their friendship — and make them laugh just a little, too!
Because of our unique approach to working with our clients to create special moments, photos of the Grand Entrance are often some of our very favorite from each event! Amber, John, and the delighted members of their Bridal Party are no exceptions!
Last — but certainly not least — the couple of the hour, the NEW Mr. and Mrs.!
Next, time to toast the newly-married couple and to enjoy the feast prepared by SowFood’s Bryan Doyle and Maggie Downey!
John and Amber’s musical taste was very broad, so the couple decided to “crowdsource” some of their music from their guests! Each RSVP card had a line for requests, and we incorporated some of those to identify musical trends among the guests — it was still a pretty wide variety, though! During dinner and cocktail, guests were serenaded by a variety of artists both classic and contemporary from Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin to Michael Buble, Gin Wigmore, The Rolling Stones, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Hall & Oats, the Lumineers, and the Avett Brothers, to name just a few.
As the night drew on, we were glad for the ambiance and luminance of the globe lights — perfect for a semi-outdoor space like Conrad Botzum Farmstead! With a bride named *Amber,* I had a dream of seeing a warm, amber (colored) glow, throughout the evening, and our beautiful design did not disappoint!
After dinner, Amber and John cut their cake privately (to Cake’s “Love You Madly”) before we moved into their Love Story and Traditional First Dance.
Amber and John’s story has all the elements of a classic romance — the yearning of long-distance love, John in the Navy and Amber still in college, John’s sneaky plan to surprise Amber with a custom-made engagement ring, and (let’s not forget!) the 36-hour car drive to deliver said ring from SanDiego to Cleveland! Spending time talking with my clients and learning about what makes them special — especially what ties them to one another — is so important to creating special memories and is — without a doubt — my favorite part of my work.
Being able to share these moments of such acute, pure joy as couples hear their love stories told before family and friends for the very first time is amazing, heart-wrenching, and incredibly rewarding! Special thanks to Anna Zajac of Anna Zajac Photography for all of her wonderful photos from this event, but this one (above) is one that I will especially treasure. Stay tuned for an interview with Anna, later this month!
Amber and John shared their first dance as a newly-married couple to “Can’t Help Falling In Love” by Elvis Presley.
After their traditional First Dance, Amber and John danced with their Father and Mother, respectively. Amber and her Father (Toby) to James Taylor’s “You’ve Got A Friend” and John and his Mother (Mary Jo) to “Stand By Me” by Ben E. King.
And — then — there was DANCING!