We were first introduced to Erik, a police officer, and Kristen, a physical therapist, through some colleagues who we greatly admire — the wonderful staff at the Historic Tudor Arms Hotel (by Doubletree).
After speaking with Erik and Kristen about what they were looking for in an entertainer for their Saturday, May 31, 2014 Wedding Reception, Vanessa at the Tudor Arms had recommended me, personally, as a potential match for their Master of Ceremonies. Shortly later, Erik got in touch.
I first met Erik and Kristen, in person, for lunch at a Cleveland pub between shifts of setting up for the Supa Fresh show. It was a cold, snowy day in early February, and I had been working hard on allllll those lights for Supa Fresh, and I was so grateful to take a break and eat and chat with these two really, truly kind and modest service people who were in the thick of putting together a very elegant and understated event that was warm and inviting for their guests — really quite a perfect match for their personalities!
We talked so much, that first day, such a nice, uplifting hour out of a busy and blustery day, and just a couple of days later, Erik let me know that I was hired! I was absolutely thrilled to be working for such admirable and kind people.
Over our months of planning, we put together a wonderful evening of entertainment that I know Erik and Kristen’s nearest and dearest won’t soon forget.
Here’s an overview of some of the highlights of this sophisticated fairytale. Special thanks to Andrew Jordan Photography for the photos featured in this article.
Erik and Kristen planned an early afternoon ceremony at Parkside Church, followed by a later afternoon cocktail hour in the Tudor Ballroom at the Tudor Arms Hotel.
Their cocktail hour sound design included a variety of vocal jazz favorites, both classic and contemporary. Here are a few of the selections we chose for them:
‘S Wonderful by Ella Fitzgerald
All of Me by Billie Holiday
Beyond the Sea by Bobby Darin
Fly Me to the Moon by Frank Sinatra
L-O-V-E by Nat King Cole
The Nearness of You by Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong
Volare by Dean Martin
Just before I would have been inviting the guests to move across the hall and into the other ballroom for dinner, Erik and Kristen asked if they could sneak a peek at their guests, and we arranged a nice vantage point for them from the balcony, above. They could see that their guests were having so much fun, and Erik and Kristen really wanted to join them, but they also didn’t want to “miss out” on the tradition of the fanfare of their Grand Entrance.
One of the most important components marking a skilled event spokesperson — and something that’s even covered on the application to become a Wedding Entertainment Director® — is how one handles change and the opportunity to improve upon a plan.
In this case, we changed the original plan, and I announced them (to MUCH applause) from the balcony, and they were able to mingle with their guests for a few minutes, before dinner.
It was a really beautiful impromptu moment that allowed them to enjoy their event just a little bit more!
Being able to enjoy this level of trust from my clients that they feel safe confiding in me is what enables these little moments of magic to occur.
Shortly after Erik and Kristin’s brief foray into the room, I invited the guests to join us in the Crystal Ballroom across the hall for dinner.
Erik and Kristen saw the Grand Entrance as an opportunity to honor some of the people who are nearest and dearest to their hearts. They arranged a seating chart that included a sweetheart table for the two of them but also two round tables on either side with ample room for not only their bridal party but also for their bridal party’s spouses and guests, instead of a “traditional” head table.
To the bridal party’s surprise and delight, Erik and Kristen had worked with me, at length, to prepare personalized introductions for each of them, as they entered the ballroom.
From Brian and Robin — Erik’s “brother he never had” and his wife, who Kristen described as “an all-around beautiful person,” — to Holly and Jon — Kristen’s childhood best friend with an uncanny resemblance (“Twinny”) and Erik’s colleague who shares a deep passion for the vow “to protect and serve” — to Sara and Joe — Kristen’s closest confidant from Physical Therapy School and Erik’s next-door neighbor, colleague, and closest friend — each member of the bridal party received a welcome that was carefully personalized using biographical information that Erik and Kristen submitted to me.
Finally — the big moment was here!
There were still two *very important* people who were missing from our celebration:
The New Mr. and Mrs.!
Erik and Kristen!!!
Before Dinner, Erik and Kristen, themselves, were honored by toasts by Best Man, Joe, and Kristen’s Father, Jeff, as well as a blessing by the Reverend.
The couple’s dinner sound design included a similar vibe to their cocktail hour with the inclusion of some more modern artists and some more upbeat rhythms. Here are some of the selections we chose, for them:
A Wink and a Smile by Harry Connick, Jr.
Come Fly With Me by Michael Bublé
I’m Yours by Jason Mraz
Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole
The Nearness of You by Norah Jones
Cheek to Cheek by Billie Holiday
I Won’t Dance by Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong
Papa Loves Mambo by Perry Como
Just after Dinner, Erik and Kristen took a few moments to gather on the velvet-covered stairs of the Crystal Ballroom’s small stage to pose for a memento photo with Erik’s fellow Police Officers from around the Northeast Ohio area who had gathered to attend the event.
Then… we verrrrry quietly snuck them around the back of the stage, where their cake was hidden from the view of their guests.
A few moments later, with the help of the Tudor Arms staff we drew back the stage curtains to some fanfare to reveal Erik and Kristen as well as their beautiful, white-on-white cake by Michael Angelo’s Bakery.
It was a fun and unexpected surprise to the guests to see it there, since the curtains had been drawn, throughout dinner.
The couple cut their cake the sweet strains of a modern classic — “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)” by Michael Buble.
A short time later, Erik and Kristen shared their first dance to Nora Jones’ “Come Away With Me.”
Then, it was time for Kristen’s dance with her father, Jeff to “The Way You Look Tonight” by Michael Buble.
Next, Erik’s Dance with his Mother, Diane, to Carole King’s “Child of Mine.”
Afterwards, Erik and Kristen opened the dance floor for a little while before Kristen’s bouquet toss. They opted to skip the Garter Toss, as they didn’t feel it was very “them.”
Just before the bouquet toss to “It’s Rainin’ Men” by the Weather Girls, Kristen and I discussed moving her upstairs to the Romeo and Juliet Suite for a better photo op. For safety reasons, I encouraged her to face forward rather than doing a more traditional over-the-shoulder toss, and I’m sure glad I did, because I love this photo by Andrew Jordan, mostly because I love Kristen’s smile!!!
Afterwards, we reopened the dance floor.
Here are some of Erik and Kristen’s “Must Play” selections for the evening:
At Last by Etta James
Blurred Lines (Radio Edit) by Robin Thicke
Dancing Queen by ABBA
Don’t Stop the Party by The Black Eyed Peas
Give Me Everything by Pitbull (featuring Ne-Yo)
I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me) by Whitney Houston
Let’s Get It Started by The Black Eyed Peas
Old Time Rock & Roll by Bob Seger
Only Girl (in the World) by Rihanna
Poker Face by Lady GaGa
Push It by Salt-N-Pepa
Shots (featuring Lil Jon) by LMFAO
Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It) by Beyonce
Take Me Home Tonight by Eddie Money
The Way You Look Tonight by Frank Sinatra
We Found Love by Rihanna
What Is Love by Haddaway