Setting the Stage: Wedding Reception at Ford’s Colony
Kris and Shelley celebrate their marriage at Ford’s Colony in Williamsburg, VA after winning The Inspired Bride’s, Be Inspired Bridal Show’s $25,000 Dream Wedding giveaway from Williamsburg Wedding Pros back in February 2015!
To begin with, I’d like to acknowledge all the wedding professionals who donated their time and talent to make the Dream Wedding a reality. First, it couldn’t have been possible without the generous contribution of a wedding ceremony and reception site that included catering provided by Ford’s Colony and managed by Director of Catering, Brittany Rice. The club was gorgeous as always and the staff couldn’t have been nicer!
Full Service Event Planning was provided by Kelly Coronel and her associate Ashton Hathaway of Inspired Events by Kelly, who worked tirelessly to insure even the most minute details were considered and taken care of, including encouraging moving the ceremony inside just days before the wedding when it was obvious the temperatures were going to be well of 100 degrees! Kelly even chose to include many of her decor items free of charge, just to make sure the reception had that special “zing”! Everything looked absolutely amazing and flowed seamlessly!
The wedding cake was not only gloriously designed by Alice Cooke at Cakealicious, but it was absolutely scrumptious! And, just for those detail oriented people…the cute Flower Girl’s ruffled white dresses perfectly matched the confection! (Scroll back up to the first picture to see…)
The centerpieces, corsages, bouquets and boutonnieres were donated by Arlene Aitken-Williams of Morrison’s Flowers , and the colors just popped in the white background of the Garden Pavilion at Ford’s Colony.
Jeff Bristow of Colonial DJs donated Uplighting and his Photo Booth, which was a huge hit throughout the night, as Shelley and Kris collected fantastic blackmail material on their adult-beverage loving guests!
My favorite local chanteuse, Jocelyn Oldham, who has the most amazing voice…EVER, shared her talent during the cocktail hour! If you’ve not heard her sing, check out her schedule online…it’ll be worth the trip!
Wedding photographs are one of the most important aspects of the wedding day, capturing specific moments in time as families combine and expand. These photos are shared with generation after generation, so how lucky it was that the entire day was chronicled by local photographer extraordinaire, Kelly Mihalcoe, who was with Kris and Shelley all day long, making sure their memories were lovingly captured. Be sure to keep an eye out on her blog to see all the professional shots!
And finally, DJEntertainment and Master of Ceremonies services for the ceremony and reception were provided by Liz Daley Events. The ceremony went flawlessly, as they chose contemporary music to begin with as Kris, the bridesmaids and groomsmen entered to “Giving It All To You” by Haley & Michaels, but chose the traditional “Canon in D” as performed by The Boccherini Guitar Quartet for Shelley’s entrance with her father.
The reception began with personalized introductions of the bridal party that lovingly roasted them as they entered the room to a song chosen especially for them by Kris and Shelley! This started the evening out with lots of fun and energy!
First Dance: “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran Father/Daughter Dance: “Unforgettable” – Duet Version by Nat King Cole & Natalie Cole Mother/Song Dance: “A Mother’s Song” by T. Carter Music
Last Dance: “The Story” by Brandi Carlisle
Time to Celebrate & Party!
The guests were ready to party and everyone had a fantastic time and even though most had to work on Monday morning, when the last song played, they were not ready for the night to end! Shelley & Kris departed their celebration through a tunnel of sparklers while “Disco Inferno” played in the background!
Local Williamsburg Wedding Professionals
Here’s a sneak peak at all the wedding professionals”behind the scenes”. Enjoy!
Congratulations again to Kris and Shelley on winning the $25,000 Dream Wedding Giveaway!!!
Liz was absolutely wonderful. She was always available for a phone call or meeting. She kept everyone engaged at the wedding and had a lot of special surprises that we could incorporate into the wedding. Everyone commented on how great she was to me!
Westover Plantation Wedding in Charles City, Virginia
Sun-Soaked River-Side Wedding Ceremony filled with love and laughter!
Jonathan and I just wanted to express how pleased we were with your services and how much we appreciated everything you did to make our wedding day so WONDERFUL and SPECIAL! We couldn’t have asked for a more professional or talented DJ to work with!
We had so many people tell us how wonderful you were and how you made our wedding! That is exactly what we wanted to hear! We will definitely tell others about you.
Thanks for EVERYTHING!
Jonathan and Amy
Amy shares a moment with her father after surprising him with a special recording.
Dancing by the River
Masters of Ceremonies with the Bride and Groom
Liz Daley and Peter Merry served as co-Masters of Ceremonies for Amy and Jonathan’s riverside wedding ceremony and reception at Westover Plantation in Charles City, Virginia.
Thank You for helping us to create the most beautiful wedding reception in history! Your beautiful voice and excellent hostessing skills were what helped mold our evening into a warm and inclusive yet fun and celebratory event. I am forever in your debt for helping me to see how much we needed all that you did that night. 🙂 ”
Since meeting Liz, we have laughed, we have cried and ultimately, we have made a new friend. Her energy and laughter are contagious and her knowledge and ability to keep the party going are unequalled. She did such an AMAZING JOB!
Katie and Brian chose Legacy Hall for their Wedding Reception in Williamsburg, Virginia! Legacy Hall was the perfect location considering their favorite “hang-out” spot while dating was New Town! Brian even proposed to Katie in the Gazebo adjacent to Opus 9 Steakhouse!
Liz Daley & Peter Merry share their expertise with Canadian DJs
Liz Daley and Peter Merry joined forces and shared their expertise teaching their two-day, 16-hour marathon training session for DJs and Masters of Ceremonies called “Make it Grand Workshop” in Toronto, Canada.
Welcome to Canada!
Dave Hastings, President of the Canadian Professional Disc Jockey Association picked Liz up at the airport along with Peter Merry who was already in town. Liz was greeted with flowers!!!! What a great way to be welcomed to another country!
The intimate class of six attendees got “lots of love” and “on their feet” training as Liz and Peter nurtured and guided each professional to improve their performance skills as Masters of Ceremonies.
Attendees practiced their “Opening Statements” to wedding guests: getting constructive feedback from Liz, Peter and the rest of their peers. They also wrote and delivered multiple variations of Wedding Party Grand Entrance Scripts.
The intense exercises gave all attendees immediately usable tools for their very next wedding!
It’s not easy to flip food around on a hot grill. (as our chef so kindly allowed us to demonstrate with hilarious results)
It Takes Training!
A lot of training goes into the chef’s presentation. First things first: he must he be an expert at cooking food to everyone’s liking, but then begins the EXPERIENCE! He must also engage, delight and entertain us! We had an amazing experience!!!! Why? Because we had an EXPERT who was well-trained who clearly LOVED what he did and we all had a fantastic time because of our talented CHEF!
It’s also not so easy to be a great Master of Ceremonies: guiding brides, grooms and their guests through an evening of formalities, fun and frivolity. Just like the chef being able to cook, first things first: we must be able to play music that everyone likes. Second, just like the chef, it is also our job to engage, delight and entertain our audiences. (and it’s the second part that really matters)
Oh my gosh!!!!!!! It has been YEARS since I was actually an attendee at a wedding and I just had the time of my life!!!!!
My friend Wendy married her high school sweetheart this past weekend and I was weeping like a baby as I listened to the vows she and her new husband Roger spoke to each other with words almost 30 years in the making.
The tears continued as her “grown up” son spoke from the heart as he welcomed and supported the union. The intimacy, the joy and the connection was felt by EVERY person in the room.
Cameron welcomes Roger and honors his Mother
It was truly one of the best ceremonies I have ever been privileged to be a part of, and it was presided over by Wendy’s childhood minister, Rev. Dick Hamlin who’s gentle nature captured the heart of every person in attendance.
Wendy’s “BFF” Jennifer, sang a tribute to friendship as her “Maid of Honor” toast.
Let the dancing begin…with the two most “reluctant”dancers in the room.
(my husband and his friend and Maid of Honor, Jennifer)
1950’s Supper Club
Part of Wendy’s vision was that of a “1950’s” supper club, wherein the “headline” act generally performed as guests enjoyed their dinner. In our scenario….Wendy was the “star” attraction and let me tell you….this bride….who is also a NYC cabaret veteran, brought the house down with her beautiful voice!!!!!
Roger gets a little “PSYCHO” during the cake cutting!
Liz makes a new friend
(and discovers they have about a gazillion mutual friends)
Do I really need to hire a professional “anybody”.
Answer: NO…But it SURE does help!
Around the time that Lady Diana Spencer married Prince Charles in 1981… Weddings got a lot more lavish and an industry catapulted out of control.
The latest Royal Wedding had a budget of such magnitude that it easily could support me as a woman of leisure for the rest of my life just sitting in a bank account collecting 1 percent interest. Most of us have to work for a living.
Costco and Sam’s Club have “Veggie Platters” and “Ready to Eat” Appetizers to die for.
Your Local Grocer has fantastic cakes.
(Or perhaps you have someone in your family who can still BAKE?)
Photography & Videography
Everyone and their brother has a digital camera (both video and still) on their Smart Phones.
Computers and software have made custom playlists ridiculously easy.
(Most people have huge music libraries stored in their Smart Phones)
Decor & Design
Mail Order and the Internet Warehouses have brought wholesale invitations, flowers, linens, chair covers and anything else you can imagine to the masses.
Everything today is “Do-It-Yourself” and for good reason.
Today’s weddings can cost a fortune!
Why not put a downpayment on your first home and elope?
Nothing about what you are hiring on your wedding day is rocket science……However… you don’t want to be a “working stiff” on your own wedding day!!!!
And while nothing is “rocket science”…..don’t fool yourself either. The results can be catastrophic!
Don’t imagine yourself as Martha Stewart if you’ve NEVER been crafty in your life.
Don’t imagine yourself as Betty Crocker, if your idea of preparing a meal involves opening a pre-prepared package of anything.
Don’t believe that your friends will be able to focus their cameras on ANYTHING after consuming a few adult beverages.
If you’ve NEVER been an organized person and never planned anything more than 24 hours in advance, don’t fool yourself into thinking you can do it alone.
And don’t even get me started on all the things that can go wrong with an iPod…..woof!!!!! The only time that REALLY works is if you only want background music for 5 hours and you don’t really care about the ebb and flow of your event.
If you REALLY want the big party….
The secret is to prioritize your costs and spend your money on the items you value most.
If your wedding gown is your #1 priority…go and get that Vera Wang dress!
(Or the knock-off which is still quite pricy.)
If you want to get married at The Waldorf-Astoria because the location is important…put down the cash and wait 3 years to get married.
If having the most amazing food you and your guests have ever tasted is your priority…hire the very best chef! (Or go to the best venue who has the best chef.)
If you want your guests to walk into your ballroom amazed at the beauty…hire the best designers, florists and lighting designers to create the “WOW!”.
If wedding photography and videography that captures your memories for the next generation is most important…hire the best photographer and videographer!
If you are a very busy professional and don’t have time to handle all the little details…hire a professional wedding planner! Even if you are just a crazy working woman who needs a little help…hire a professional wedding planner! (It’s not really fair to ask your mother or sister to do that…you want them to speak to you after the wedding.)
If you want an amazing party that friends and family will remember forever…hire a professional DJ or Band and a professional Master of Ceremonies!
Everyone has different priorities. Decide what your priorities are…and make decisions accordingly.
Trust your own instincts and you WILL have the wedding and reception that is right for you!
The question of when to do formal wedding dances as you plan your wedding reception agenda can seem daunting, however there are three very popular choices that have proven to work very well in my experience.
Do your First Dance…FIRST…directly following your Grand Introductions.
This is generally the most popular choice. One of reasons why the “First Dance” should be FIRST is because wedding protocol suggests that no one should dare dance until after the bride and groom have shared their First Dance as husband and wife.
If you take care of this formality immediately, then your guests can feel free to dance with their spouse earlier in the evening: during dinner, or between courses, if the DJ or Wedding Band plays a song that inspires them or is very special to them. ( and they can do so without fear of being “rude”)
Another reason for doing the “First Dance” first, as well as the Father/Daughter Dance and the Mother/Son Dance is to simply get them OUT of the way. Many brides and grooms (as well as their parents) get nervous about 200 of their friends and family eye-balling them for 3 to 5 minutes while they struggle NOT to appear awkward on the dance floor. (not everyone looks as good doing the waltz as Derek Hough on Dancing with the Stars)
Quick Suggestion: Ask your Wedding DJ Entertainer or Wedding Band to prepare a shorter version of your songs. This can cut as much as one to two minutes time from each dance, which is quite a relief to the shy and reserved. Better yet, you can combine the parent dances (Father/Daughter and Mother/Son) to save even more time if being the center of attention isn’t your thing.
Wait until after dinner to do all the formal dances. People have eaten, they have had a drink and generally they are more relaxed. Making this decision can also create an impetus to “get the dancing started” with a bang!
Quick Suggestion: Make sure to have your Wedding Band or Wedding DJ Entertainer play your favorite uptempo song immediately following the formal dances to “jump start” the action…to let everyone know that it is time to dance. In fact, you could “hand pick” that song and make sure its one that you absolutely love …one that you love so much, that you and all your friends will immediately storm the dance floor.
Do the “First Dance” First and the Parent Dances after dinner.
This combination gives you the best of both worlds for all the reasons stated above. You have followed tradition and still done the First Dance, “FIRST”….but you also get the benefit of breaking up the formal dances so your guests can be served their meal just a little bit earlier and you can have a clear “starting point” to the dancing portion of your party!