While in the midst of the lockdown at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, I received an inquiry from a luxury wedding planner based in the Seattle area. I'm always tickled to get these types of requests because the competition is so fierce in Charleston. Back then, the uncertainty with the pandemic practically put a halt in weddings across the entire country. It's so strange to look back now (pre-vaccine) at where our minds were back in the spring of 2020 versus where they are now. In the spring of 2020, we were all thinking that COVID might be over by the end of the summer of 2020, but little did we know that we'd endure at least another 2-3 more surges, thus putting even more uncertainty into the minds of modern brides and grooms trying to plan their weddings. Erin Lindeman and I spoke about her client's destination wedding that was planned for May 8, 2021. Her company, Erin Lindeman Weddings, has forged a stellar reputation over the years as a luxury and destination wedding planner. As a matter of fact, you can find Erin spending the bulk of her time in Greece and Italy planning the most elaborate wedding celebrations. Not too long after touching base with Erin, I would be on a Teams call with Rachel + Dan. Within minutes of speaking with Rachel + Dan, I could tell they were a couple who were very much into their music, and that we would work very well together.
Over 90% of the brides and grooms who hire me are very much into their music. They love the fact I give them 100% latitude to put together the music playlists for their wedding day. After receiving word that Rachel + Dan would be moving forward with hiring me to be their wedding DJ, I knew they would become yet another couple who would send me on an amazing musical journey just like so many others have done over the years. But before we get into the diverse musical tastes of this truly amazing couple, the course of planning a wedding during COVID-19 never did run smooth. After all, it took a global pandemic for me to experience my FIRST EVER CANCELLATION. At the end of summer 2020, Erin reached out to me about a change in the wedding venue for Rachel + Dan. Even as the wedding industry was beginning to learn how to adapt to the pandemic, changes were going to continue to be the norm. As 2020 turned into 2021, the pandemic would continue to rage on from the winter into the early spring, thus causing yet ANOTHER change in Rachel + Dan's wedding date. Their new wedding date would now be moved to October 16, 2021 at the magnificent Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina.
While I am AVAILABLE at ANY time after my clients hire me, I generally reach out to my destination clients and increase my level of interaction with 90-120 days in advance of their big day. Most of my clients have a good idea of the direction they'd like their music to go, but in case they don't, I begin a dialogue and begin to outline some of the things I would be looking for in regards to their music. I started that dialogue with Rachel + Dan back in July and pointed them in the direction of my Spotify profile, which was put together in 2020 to give my clients some much needed inspiration when thinking about the vibe they were looking for on their wedding day. For more information about how my Spotify profile helps the modern bride and groom put together their wedding playlist, <--Click HERE.
As the summer season waned and turned into Fall, I found myself preparing even more for Rachel + Dan's big day. Back on the afternoon of Sunday, September 12, I set up a call with them to begin to discuss how their day would unfold. We discussed some of their music selections, and it was at that time I could begin to hear their excitement over the phone. Communication is probably one of the most important qualities any wedding DJ should have while working with their clients, especially when their clients are 2,935 miles away. One of the things you'll see as you continue to read over this story of true love is just how much this beautiful couple is into their music. When I am hired by my clients, I make it my goal to get to know their musical tastes, and during that time, I make a few new friends. So my clients can put a face and personality to the person they've been communicating with for the past 12-18 months, I make it a point to meet them in the days leading up to their wedding. Every true professional wedding DJ should make it a point to meet their clients before their big day. Those wedding DJs who don't offer to meet you before your big day are probably the ones you should try to avoid. For more information on Why You Should Meet Your Wedding DJ <----Click HERE When I was walking into the outdoor area at Butcher & Bee to meet with Rachel + Dan, it was one of the most beautiful things to see them sipping on a wonderful adult beverage. It was even more beautiful when Rachel got up from their table to give me a hug. Here I was, meeting them for the first time and seeing them so in love and also seeing how appreciative they were of my efforts up to that point. This is one of the many reasons why I love being a wedding DJ.
Photo Credit: Sara Boyd Photography
Rachel + Dan's Ceremony Music Selections
Living in Seattle, I should have known that Rachel + Dan would probably put on their playlist some bands and artists from the Pacific Northwest. When I first set eyes on their ceremony prelude and ceremony music selections, I was in awe at their musical vocabulary. Rachel + Dan were determined to make their wedding ceremony sound unlike any other ceremony they had seen before. Their prelude music was a very finely selected mix of Indie alternative artists. For more of The Best Indie First Dance Songs <----Click HERE
Prelude Music Selections
"I Will Follow You Into The Dark" | Death Cab For Cutie
"Bay Of Pigs" | Rogue Valley
"Skinny Love" | Bon Iver
"Ends Of The Earth" | Lord Huron
"Fix You" | Coldplay
"Queen Songs / Human" | Judah & The Lion
"The Ghost On The Shore" | Lord Huron
Rachel + Dan's ceremony music would continue with that Indie / alternative vibe, and Rachel would actually send me a private message sharing her secret song choice for walking down the aisle. Music is a powerful force and tells a story, especially on a bride and groom's wedding day. For those bride's who are interested in creating an even more powerful moment for the man of their dreams, keep the song you walk down the aisle private. After their wedding reception was over, I went up to Rachel + Dan to thank them for having me be a part of their wedding day. Had their been another moment like that, I would have remembered to ask Dan what he thought of Rachel's surprise song she selected to walk down the aisle with her father to. You know what? Once Sara Boyd sent the gallery of her incredible photography out to me, I was able to find the exact moment when Rachel was walking down the aisle. Keep reading and scrolling and you'll see it! And I must admit that when I saw how emotional Dan had got when I cued up Rachel's secret bride processional song, I also got a little emotional too. One thing that my future clients should know is I am generally also flooded with emotions too. By the time that a couple's wedding arrives, I've spent so much time getting prepared, so to see everything play out flawlessly causes me to also get emotional. While Charleston can experience temperatures in the 80s at any day during the year, this lovely mid-October day saw temperatures hit 88 degrees. That first big Fall cold front would pass through during the evening, and as Rachel + Dan would get ready to go on their honeymoon to Cabo the next day.
Photo Credit: Sara Boyd
Rachel + Dan's Ceremony Music Selections
Bridal Party Processional Song: "Us Against The World" | Coldplay (Instrumental)
Bride Processional Song: "Sweet Child O' Mine" | Taken By Trees (Guns & Roses cover)
Recessional Song: "Rollercoaster" | Bleachers
It's true what they say. A picture DOES tell a thousand words. Dan got emotional, as did probably all of us at this moment as Rachel began to be in sight as her father was walking her down the aisle. Seeing the love of your life on the biggest day of your life with all your friends and family to see is grounds for happy tears! And if you add in a surprise song, those happy tears flow even more freely. This was truly one of the most beautiful moments of their day.
Photo Credits: Sara Boyd Photography
Rachel + Dan's Cocktail / Dinner Hour Selections
After Rachel + Dan exchanged vows down behind one of the Harbor Resort hotels, they recessed out along with their bridal party for pictures. The rest of their guests walked back over to the Lookout Pavillion for cocktail hour. At the end of their recessional song by Bleachers, I broke down my ceremony wedding DJ setup quickly and moved back over to the Pavillion to begin cocktail hour. Rachel + Dan once again hand-selected a lot of their personal favorites for cocktail hour, as well as for dinner. Their playlist during this portion of their wedding day consisted of a well-curated mix of light country and Indie, as well as classic rock.
Before dinner, Rachel + Dan would be officially introduced into the reception and would give a brief welcome speech before dinner. Their introduction song was an 80s classic from Dire Straits, "Walk Of Life". For more of the Best 80s Songs For Your Wedding Playlist <----Click HERE
"River" | Leon Bridges
"I Say A Little Prayer" | Aretha Franklin
"Landslide" | Fleetwood Mac
"June After Dark" | Eliot Root
"Billie Jean" | The Civil Wars
"Dreams" | Fleetwood Mac
"Friday I'm In Love" | Janet Devlin
"American Honey" | Lady antebellum
"Linger" | The Cranberries
"You're My Better Half" | Keith Urban
"Merry Go Round" | Kacey Musgraves
"Everywhere" | Fleetwood Mac
"That's What I Love About Sunday" | Craig Morgan
"Castaway" | Brett Eldredge
"Working Girl" | Train
"Drinkin' Problem" | Midland
"Complicated" (Avril Lavigne) cover | Olivia O'Brien
"Whiskey & Wine" | Towrs
"With You" | Illenium & Quinn XCII
"Wish Man" | Trevor Hall
"Come To Me" | The Goo Goo Dolls
"Coming Home" | Leon Bridges
"Mine Forever" | Lord Huron
"Follow The Sun" | Caroline Pennell
"Coastline" | Hollow Coves
"Riptide" | Vance Joy
"Into The Mystic" | Van Morrison
Rachel + Dan's Special Dances
After dinner wrapped up, we proceeded into toasts, which consisted of Rachel's father and maid of honor, as well as Dan's mother and best man. As soon as the toasts wrapped up, we transitioned right into the special dances. As has been the theme throughout their entire music planning process, Rachel + Dan would select some very memorable songs for their special dances. Rachel would select a Pearl Jam song for the dance with her father. Since Pearl Jam is one of her father's favorite bands, they would dance to "Just Breathe". When I first discovered this was her choice for father / daughter dance, I smiled :) It's really a beautiful song. Dan and his mother would get a little more animated and choreographed with their dance. Dan would choose a classic song from the 70s with "Everlasting Love" by Carl Carlton. For more of the Best Soft Rock Songs Of The 70s, <---Click HERE
Father / Daughter Dance Song: "Just Breathe" | Pearl Jam
Mother / Son Dance Song: "Everlasting Love" | Carl Carlton
And last, but certainly not least, Rachel + Dan would put together a beautiful combination of songs for their first dance. Since they wanted a combination of two songs, I created a special edit with each portion of the song merged together for a seamless transition. Their first dance song would start with "Good Thing Go" by Quinn XCII, and would transition into "Fishin' In The Dark" by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.
Rachel + Dan's First Dance
"Good Thing Go" | Quinn XCII
"Fishin' In The Dark" | The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
Oh My God! Aren't they such a beautiful couple? So much joy to see these two and mix up their songs so that everyone has so much fun! As "Fishin' In The Dark" began to play, Rachel + Dan's bridal party came out on the dance floor and joined in on all the fun. As their first dance ended, it was time for everyone to "shut up and dance". That recurrent wedding crowd pleaser by Walk The Moon was their request to get the party started. With 80% of Rachel + Dan's guests coming in from Seattle and Los Angeles, they were a crowd who were VERY ready to dance, and became one of the funnest crowds I've experienced in quite some time. Check out some of their dance selections that made for a packed dance floor all night long.
Rachel + Dan's Dance Music Selections
"Scotty Doesn't Know" | Lustra
"First Date" | Blink 182
"Love Shack" | B52s
"Don't Stop Believin" | Journey
"I Like It" | Cardi B
"Tubthumping" | Chumbawamba
"All The Small Things" | Blink 182
"Take Me Home Country Roads" | John Denver
"Shots" | LMFAO feat. Lil Jon
"Paper Planes" | MIA
"Party Rock Anthem" | LMFAO
"Livin On A Prayer" | Bon Jovi
"Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" | Cyndi Lauper
"Good As Hell" | Lizzo
"I'm Gonna Be" (500 Miles) | The Proclaimers
"Yeah 3x" | Chris Brown
"Dancing Queen" | ABBA
"Fat Bottomed Girls" | Queen
"Mr. Brightside" | The Killers
"Run It" | Chris Brown
"Levitating" | Dua Lipa & Da Baby
Those were just a few of their song selections! Brides and grooms like Rachel + Dan who love to dance allow their guests to gravitate around them on the dance floor, which means that dance floor stays packed. Rachel + Dan were very particular about their dance music and asked that I did not field any requests from their guests. This is a fairly common request that comes from a lot of my clients who are very much into their music.
Rachel + Dan instantaneously have become one of my favorite couples of all time! I have to thank Sara Boyd, who used to call Charleston her home, but now is in Dallas for capturing this day. She did an absolutely incredible job at capturing this truly beautiful couple's love. The fine folks at Charleston Harbor Resort were very hospitable to our needs, and another shout out to Erin Lindemann and her assistant who travelled to Charleston after a lengthy streak of weddings in Italy to make sure that Rachel + Dan had an absolutely wonderful day. I'm blown away that she picked me out of all the incredible competition in the area to serve her clients. She and her assistant did an extraordinary job at making sure that Rachel + Dan had the best day of their lives.
In closing, throughout my tenure as a top wedding DJ, I have worked with some amazing clients! These clients are the ones who have taken the time to learn about my non-traditional wedding DJ approach to performing. From that research, they've settled on hiring me to be their wedding DJ. For as long as I remain in this wedding industry, I will continue to serve my clients with the best customer service possible to ensure that they and their guests have the time of their lives. The clients I've had the pleasure to work with over the years have permanently been filed away in my mind as lasting memories for me as a wedding DJ. If I am ever feeling down, I can dial up their playlist and be instantly taken back to their wedding day, and I can begin to smile. Rachel + Dan just became one of those couples of mine! The memories of this day will live forever, just like their love! Thank you so very much for making it all the way to the end of this post! I love being a wedding DJ. It's a passion of mine that burns so deep inside of me. Are you recently engaged and interested in setting aside some time to speak with a professional wedding DJ? I would love to speak with you! All you need to do is click the link down below and you'll be taken over to my contact form. There, you'll have the chance to fill out some of the basic details of your upcoming wedding day. I look forward to speaking with you about your wedding.