Long before the COVID 19 pandemic would forever alter our lives and the way we celebrate weddings, Keeland completed a contact form on my website on December 31, 2019. Normally the time between Thanksgiving and Valentine's Day is always a busier time on the website for recently engaged brides and grooms looking for a great wedding DJ. Over the past several years there have been so many wedding vendors (mostly amateurs) getting involved in the industry. I've found myself having to work even harder to attract brides and grooms. I was so excited to see Keeland's contact form come in on the last day of 2019. Perhaps this would be the momentum needed to kick start 2020 and have a great spring wedding season. Little did I know that the world would soon be turned upside down and never be the same again as COVID would shut down weddings as we know it.
By the time Keeland and I talked around January 5, 2020, she had already called upon other wedding DJs and booking agencies to try to find a DJ that would fit her and AJ's personality. She took issue with the less than personal approach that a lot of these companies expressed over the phone. Keeland appreciated the fact that I ran my DJ business as an owner-operated DJ company. Her observation and desire to hire me based on the fact it was only me she had to work with was one of the things that sold her and allowed me to earn her business. I've written about this plenty of times on the blog in one way or another. Back in September of 2020, I put together a post of Why You Should Work With A Wedding DJ Who Performs At One Wedding Per Day <------Learn more by clicking over. In a world where everyone is a wedding DJ, this was the best way for me to separate myself from the mediocrity that was continuing to permeate the wedding industry all over the country.
Booked for 5.22.21 - 16 Months To Prepare The Wedding Playlist
Keeland made it official around January 6 and took no time at all to begin to log into my website to begin filling out all of the fine details and music for what would become a very memorable day at Old Wide Awake. I could tell Keeland & AJ were very particular about their music, and I think this is very important. Most of the brides and grooms who tend to hire me are very much into their music and want to create a playlist that is custom to theirs and their guests tastes. This is in stark contrast to most of the wedding DJs who think they can be great by playing the same 100 or 200 songs. Simply put, the music is ALWAYS about the couple, NOT about me. As the weeks turned into months, Keeland & AJ were planning some trips down to Charleston. In August of 2020, I finally got to meet Keeland & AJ at one of my favorite places to meet my clients, Butcher & Bee in downtown Charleston. Having met in college at Appalachian State, Keeland and AJ currently live in North Carolina but made a decision to get married in Charleston because it's where AJ would propose to Keeland. For more of the best proposal songs ------>CLICK HERE
I've always thought the best thing a true professional wedding DJ can do to set any nervousness aside with prospective clients is to meet them. I like to get to know my clients a little better so I can not only get to know their musical tastes, but also set them at ease to let them know they are in excellent hands and that we will put together an amazing wedding playlist. And since I only perform at one wedding per day, none of my clients ever have to worry about me NOT showing up to their wedding.
With COVID messing up a lot of my scheduling for 2021, Keeland & AJ's special day would be my first wedding of the year. Their day had become so highly anticipated that the pressure was on to provide the best performance possible, despite having a long layoff. You can learn more about my thoughts on this by clicking over to this link, but I took a lot of extra time to test equipment, make sure I had all the songs, and etc. As soon as I got down to Old Wide Awake Plantation, I realized that being a great wedding DJ is just like riding a bike, you never forget how to do it. All photos you'll see in this post are compliments of one of Charlotte's best wedding photographers Candle & Quill. You'll find a link to their website at the end of this post, and you'll probably find yourself booking them for photos because they did a fabulous job at capturing this very special day for Keeland & AJ.
5.22.21 | Keeland & AJ's Wedding Day
On May 22, we had not quite hit that time of the year in Charleston where the humidity can easily make the heat index hit 100, or when you need to worry about those pop up showers and thunderstorms. 80% of the guests had come to Old Wide Awake from New York and North Carolina. Temperatures were in the low-mid 80s that afternoon, but had we waited a few more weeks longer, the humidity monster would have shown his face.
Photo Credit: Candle & Quill
Keeland & AJ's Ceremony Prelude Music
"Your Body Is A Wonderland" | John Mayer
"Crazy Little Thing Called Love" | Queen
"The Way You Do The Things You Do" | The Temptations
"LOVE" | Nat King Cole
"Let's Stay Together" Al Green
"Have I Told You Lately" | Van Morrison
"Can You Feel The Love Tonight" | Elton John
5.22.21 | Keeland & AJ's Ceremony Music Selections
Bridal Party Processional Song: "Here Comes The Sun". - The Beatles (looped twice so parents / grandparents could also be seated to the same song)
Bride Processional Song: "From This Moment On" | Shania Twain
Recessional Song: "You Make My Dreams Come True" | Hall & Oates
Keeland had hired a company that provided a blue vintage pickup truck for her wedding day. She rode up to the ceremony site in this truck, and when her father took her hand to walk her down the aisle, I cued up that signature song from Shania Twain.
5.22.21 Keeland & AJ's Cocktail Hour Music Selections
After a beautiful ceremony, Keeland & AJ would take to the wonderful grounds of Old Wide Awake Plantation for photos. Part of the Charleston connection for Keeland & AJ was their love of Hootie & The Blowfish. They have travelled down for the annual Hootie homegrown concert that is usually held each August. For more of the Best Hootie & The Blowfish songs for your wedding, <---CLICK HERE - I put together a playlist for cocktail hour that was heavy into Darius Rucker and Hootie & The Blowfish
"Hold My Hand" | Hootie & The Blowfish
"Alright" | Darius Rucker
"Use Me" | Hootie & The Blowfish
" I Go Blind" | Hootie & The Blowfish
"Time" | Hootie & The Blowfish
"Wagon Wheel" | Darius Rucker
"You Are The Best Thing" | Ray Lamontagne
"Beer Never Broke My Heart" | Luke Combs
Keeland & AJ with "Aspen"
5.22.21 Keeland & AJ's Introductions & Special Dances
Keeland & AJ wanted me to mix things up just a tad by playing a different song during the introductions of the parents, bridal party and bride / groom.
Parents Introduction Song: "Celebration" by Kool & The Gang
Bridal Party Introduction Song: "Hot In Herre" | Nelly
Keeland & AJ's Introduction Song: "Hey Ya" | Outkast
As I transitioned from Nelly into Outkast, our bride and groom Keeland & AJ danced into the reception with a lot of cheering and waving of the napkins. Keeland and AJ would do a little dancing to the hip-hop classic. For more of the Best 90s Hip Hop Songs For Your Wedding Playlist <------Click HERE - Check out some of the fun images down below before we get into the serious stuff that made shed some tears.
And after a minute or so of dancing to "Hey Ya" by Outkast, I faded the song down and had a beautiful song by Bryan Adams from the 80s cued up for Keeland & AJ's first dance. As we got to know each other in the days and months leading up to their wedding, I learned that Bryan Adams was one of their favorite artists. "Heaven" by Bryan Adams happens to be one of my go-to songs for dinner music at a lot of my weddings. Soft rock songs from the 80s appeal to couples who are young and old these days. As a matter of fact, I've published a playlist of 80s Soft Rock Songs, and it's consistently trending on my website. Bryan Adams had recorded an MTV Unplugged album and Keeland & AJ decided to use that version of "Heaven". The unplugged version packed more of an emotional punch. When I am getting ready for a wedding, I'll set up all my gear and practice. After I added this version of "Heaven" into my catalog, I played it and recorded a snippit and texted it to Keeland. She responded and said she was already balling up! I think a lot of people were balling up, including myself just a tad. It was the perfect choice for first dance song.
5.22.21 | Keeland & AJ's First Dance Song
"Heaven" (Unplugged Version) | Bryan Adams
Father / Daughter Dance Song
"My Girl" | The Temptations
Mother / Son Dance Song
"My Wish" | Rascal Flatts
Surprise Mother / Daughter Song For Keeland's Mom
"Because You Loved Me" | Celine Dion
After an emotional set of special dances, we moved into the dinner music portion of the evening. Check out some of Keeland & AJ's dinner music choices down below. For more of The Best Dinner Music Choices <----Click HERE
5.22.21 | Keeland & AJ's Dinner Music Selections
"Everything" | Michael Buble
"All My Life" | K-Ci & Jojo
"Could You Be Loved" | Bob Marley
"Bennie & The Jets" | Elton John
"Drops Of Jupiter" | Train
"Every Breath You Take" | The Police
"Faithfully" | Journey
"H.O.L.Y" | Florida / Georgia Line
"Love Me Like You Do" | Ellie Goulding
"Tennessee Whiskey" | Chris Stapleton
"Speechless" | Dan & Shay
"More Than My Hometown" | Morgen Wallen
"You Make It Easy" | Jason Aldean
"You're My Best Friend" | Queen
After some truly delicious barbecue and chicken from Jim & Nick's, Keeland and AJ, along with their guests were ready for a night of dancing. Destination weddings can sometimes be just a little more fun than local weddings because all the guests have travelled and are ready for a huge party. Check out some of the dance music selections down below that had people on the dance floor all night long.
5.22.21 | Keeland & AJ's Dance Music Selections
"Fergilicious" | Fergie
"Everybody (Backstreet's Back) | Backstreet Boys
"Brickhouse" | The Commodores
"Footloose" | Kenny Loggins
"Get Low" | Ying Yang Twins
"Hot In Herre" | Nelly
"I Wanna Dance With Somebody" | Whitney Houston
"Blurred Lines" | Robin Thick
"Ms New Booty" | Bubba Sparx
"In Da Club" | 50 Cent
"Ice Ice Baby" | Vanilla Ice
"Save A Horse, Ride A Cowboy" | Big & Rich
"On The Floor" | J-Lo - Pitbull
"Party In The USA" | Miley Cyrus
"Suga Suga" | Baby Bash & Frankie J
"September" | Earth, Wind & Fire
"Shots" | LMFAO feat. Lil Jon
"Party Rock Anthem" | LMFAO
"I'm The One" | DJ Khaled-Justin Bieber-Quavo-Chance The Rapper
"Ayy Ladies" | Travis Porter feat. Tyga
"Baby Got Back" | Sir Mix Alot
5.22.21 | Keeland & AJ's Last Song Of The Night
"Only Wanna Be With You" | Hootie & The Blowfish
Unfortunately, these wonderful times with friends and family have to come to an end. Keeland & AJ went with a fun Hootie song to round out the evening before the buses took friends and family downtown to Uptown Social for a little after party, but not before they were sent off with sparklers.
You know putting these blogs together is a labor of love of mine and is a constant reminder of how much I love what I do. I am tremendously humbled by how many modern brides and grooms have put their trust in me over the years, and who will continue to put their trust in me in the years to come. The experiences I've described throughout this post are not native just to Keeland & AJ's Wedding, but actually how I work with every single couple who hires me.
Keeland & AJ are a couple that I will not soon forget. Everything was flawless on this pleasant May afternoon at Old Wide Awake Plantation. I wanted to thank the venue manager Margaret McKenzie and her staff for the excellent hospitality while I was out there. I had not been to Old Wide Awake in a few years, so I set aside time to meet with her to familiarize myself again with the venue. Also, Stephanie Mollen of Dotted Weddings & Events was an amazing planner who put together an amazing timeline for the day.
For more information about hiring me to be your wedding DJ, you'll want to read over the link down below to see if we are a good match.
What It Means To Hire DJ Mike Bills For Your Wedding