Saturday, July 30, 2011

What songs NOT to play at a wedding:

This month's blog is a shout out to my very talented and oh so unique friend, Chris Finney.  I recently got a text message from from him.  It said "The next chapter in our book needs to be "what songs NOT to play at a wedding."  This was followed by some hilarious follow-up texts back and forth of songs ranging from mildly suggestive to wildly inappropriate.  Trying to think of funny tunes to text got me thinking of real-life moments when the song selection made me cock my head ("huh?"), bite my lip ("yikes!") and drop my jaw ("they did NOT just play that!").
  For example, at a wedding where I was doing Day-Of Services, the bride and groom had picked a rather popular cover band, known for playing gigs on Bourbon Street and in music clubs around town.  I knew some of the players from back in my performing days, and I looked forward to hearing how they would do in hopes of adding them to my referral list.  My sister, Alison, Event Manager extraordinaire, was there assisting me.  As we stood next to each other in the back of the ballroom looking for an opportunity to perfect imperfections and prevent disasters, we had a moment when the world seemed to stop.  The band, that I so wanted to love, invited the well-dressed, tasteful mothers of the bride and groom up on stage and proceeded to challenge the two to a "Shake that Ass" contest.  Our jaws dropped as the two drunkenly turned their backs to the stage and shook what their Mama's gave them. That moment was one of few in my life when I just stood there, speechless.  The mortified feeling turned into uncontrollable giggles between my sister and me.  You know...the kind of giggles you get when you're so embarrassed for the other person but secretly glad it's not your fault?
  Another perfect example of "funnier in theory than in practice" happened with one of my favorite brides. In a phone conversation she asked me, "Do you Know that Movie Coming to America?"  "Of Course!," I replied.  "I've always wanted to be able to recreate that fantastic dance number from the wedding scene at one of my themed events."  I assumed her next statement would be something about the dress the bride wore in the scene or maybe a decor element that she wanted to incorporate since it's her favorite movie.  "What do you think," she asked, "of me walking down the aisle to She's Your Queen to Be?"  ...[silence as a try to decide if she's serious, then realize she is]..."I'm not sure that's such a great idea," I replied.  As she tried to convince me of how funny it would be, I explained that not everyone would get it--especially not Grandma.  I reminded her of the lyrics: "Completely free from infection, to be used at your discretion."  She laughed, agreed, and asked if we could have an instrumental version of it.  I channeled my mother's soothing tone as I answered, "Oh honey...No."
  I don't like to disappoint my brides, especially when they have such great attitudes, so I even suggested having the acoustic guitar player insert a riff from the song, as a little inside joke, thinking those that were in on it would laugh and those that weren't would be none the wiser.  Eventually the bride backed down and agreed to a more traditional entrance. Still wanting her to get everything she wanted from her wedding experience, I decided to surprise her on her rehearsal day with a singer who, when she walked up the aisle as her practice run, belted out the song in fabulous falsetto, just like the guy in the movie.  As she walked, I was stand-in for her father.  She looked at me, beaming with laughter and said, "Carolyn, you know my heart."  That turned out to be one of my favorite wedding moments. (Love you, Brandi ☺)
  Now I don't want you to think that I don't support unique musical choices for weddings.  My absolute favorite father-daughter dance in all the years I've been doing this happened just this past Memorial Day, when another one of my fav brides and her Dad did their own little rendition of the twist scene from Pulp Fiction, which then transitioned into all of the guests joining them on the dance floor for Let's Dance by Chris Montez.  Then in her backyard, Atlanta wedding, my cousin walked up the aisle to instrumentals from The Beatles.  I love doing things that are out of the ordinary...when done well.

Photo Credit: Bill Arthurs
  So to make things easy for those brides that are trying to decide if they want Stand by Your Man to be their wedding song, let's come up with a list of songs together that should NOT be played at a wedding.  I'll start:
1. Strokin'   (Have you ever listened the words to that song???)
2. Desperado
3. I Will Survive

Now you...