How to Make Your Wedding ‘Something Special’: Michael and Caitlin Celebrate Their Love at The Meadow Wood Manor

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Usher’s smooth r&b track, ‘Something Special,’ not only served as the perfect first dance song for Michael and Caitlin, but its title also perfectly described their wedding reception from start to finish.  The same could be said for the song that Caitlin chose to dance with her dad, The Best Day, by Taylor Swift.

I knew this wedding was going to be awesome from the first phone call.  I recognized Caitlin’s voice instantly.  She sang beautifully at another exceptional wedding ceremony that MMP had the honor to direct and entertain at a few years ago.  That wedding was for Michael’s mother, Patty, and my uncle, Lou Vetere.  As guests, Michael and Caitlin danced the night away along with their family and friends.  Since many of the guests would be attending this celebration and I knew I was working with a bride and groom who weren’t shy about literally ‘gettin’ jiggy with it,’ I knew an unforgettable evening was on the way.

s a2 Large 300x239 How to Make Your Wedding ‘Something Special’: Michael and Caitlin Celebrate Their Love at The Meadow Wood ManorSpeaking of Will Smith, another dance he made famous called The Apache, from the Fresh Prince of Belle Air, turned out to be a nostalgic favorite of Michael and one of his groomsmen, Mike DiGiacomo.  During our final design session one month before the wedding, I found out that Michael used to host some of the best house parties in town and that he and Mike would crank up Apache out by the pool and perform the dance moves so all the party goers could watch and join in!  We incorporated Apache into one of the evening’s classic dance sets and the crowd loved it… Mike and Mike had the floor pumpin,’ jumpin,’ and smiling’ from ear to ear!   This is why we always encourage our clients to personalize their reception.  The more questions we ask, and the more information you give us, the more we can suggest how to make your reception a true reflection of your personality and style.

s mom Large 300x195 How to Make Your Wedding ‘Something Special’: Michael and Caitlin Celebrate Their Love at The Meadow Wood ManorMichael and Caitlin also put a cool spin on one of the traditional feature dances of the night, the Mother-Son dance.  Since we knew from the design session that many of their friend’s moms would be there as guests, we arranged to have all the moms dance with their kids for the second half of the song, Hey Mama, by Kanye, after Michael and his mom enjoyed the spot light.  What a great way for your guests to feel like they are a part of your celebration, and not just at your celebration.

Another highlight of the evening came from Caitlin’s input during the design session.  First, she let me know that she and her friends were fans of Taylor Swift.  Then, she told me about the special relationship that she had with her grandfather, “Pop.”    Since we like to spread the love (spreading out the parent’s dances and special dedications throughout the evening instead of doing everything back to back to back) we carefully planned a feature set specifically for the post-dessert portion of the reception.  We always encourage our clients to empower us with ways to bring the focus back to the guests of honor and the dance floor area.

s ts Large 300x172 How to Make Your Wedding ‘Something Special’: Michael and Caitlin Celebrate Their Love at The Meadow Wood ManorIn this case, since the Meadow Wood hosts a delicious Viennese reception in an adjacent room after the cake cutting, we needed a way to tastefully and seamlessly guide the guests back into the ballroom when they were done enjoying all of their sweet delights.  (p.s.  Michael and Cailtlin chose the  vintage track, You Make My Dreams Come True by Hall and Oates for the cake pics… very cool!)   By simply playing Taylor Swift’s Love Song just loud enough for the right people to hear it, Caitlin and some of her closest friends excitedly made their back to the dance floor to put their arms around each other and sing their hearts out.  Then, after making sure that the V.I.Ps were back in the ballroom by personally notifying them, I played Caitlin’s request and dedication to her grandfather, Wind Beneath my Wings.  “Pop,” was a crowd favorite.  All of the girls from the Taylor Swift sing along starting to chant, “Pop, Pop, Pop!” like he was a rock star!  It was such a cool thing to watch and hear.

s pop Large 252x300 How to Make Your Wedding ‘Something Special’: Michael and Caitlin Celebrate Their Love at The Meadow Wood ManorAll of this positive commotion created an organic invitation for the rest of guests to return to the ballroom and enjoy the Kodak moment.   Sensing the participatory momentum that was brewing, I went right into another request from Michael and Caitlin’s play list, Adele’s gorgeous version of “To Make You Feel My Love,” to pack the dance floor with couples…  and then it was Party Rock Anthem time!  The energy was off the charts right up until the final song of the night, Save The Last Dance for Me by Michael Buble.

To make your reception ‘something special,’ team up with an entertainment company and an event producer that are experts in preparation, personalization and pacing, as well as music programming and a Master of Ceremonies skill set.   As a certified Wedding Entertainment Director, I’m proud to provide all of these specialized services to my discerning clientele.

Best wishes to the new Mr. and Mrs. Michael and Caitlin Smith.  It was an honor to serve your family again.  We wish you a lifetime of health and happiness!

Special thanks to the Meadow Wood Manor for their hospitality and professionalism.  It’s always a pleasure when we have the opportunity to collaborate.  Special thank also to Tav Jinivisian, Michael & Caitlin’s photographer from Tav Images, for sharing his artistry from the festivities.

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Encore Gallery:

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Kudos to Michael Bublé, to Sam and Pushy Mothers

Michael Bublé is a ridiculously-talented and successful entertainer.  He’s been mentioned and written about here on the MMP blog numerous times.    He’s also brilliant when it comes to improv.

If you’ve ever gone to one of Michael’s concerts, you know that you’re gonna sing along, dance and have a lot of laughs before the night is over.  Sometimes, you might even get invited up on stage for a duet…

Another gem sent in from Mike Walter.

signature1 Kudos to Michael Bublé, to Sam and Pushy Mothers

p.s  Mr. Bublé is the real deal on stage and off so be prepared for a few harmless expletives. icon smile Kudos to Michael Bublé, to Sam and Pushy Mothers

“It’s Just a Party for 15,000 People, and You’re Invited.” – Michael Bublé is the Perfect Host at Madison Square Garden

Michael Buble 674x1024 “It’s Just a Party for 15,000 People, and You’re Invited.” – Michael Bublé is the Perfect Host at Madison Square Garden

Michael Buble

In the mobile entertainment industry, my good friend, Jim Cerone, is known as the Perfect Host.   In the contemporary pop-jazz category that features old-school romance and classic performances  like Sinatra and the rat pack used to bring to the table, Michael Buble is as close to perfection as they come.

I know a lot of talented emcees, but I’m not sure if any of them could make 15,000 people feel like they were sitting in the front row at the Copacabana with such poise and savior-fair.  Did I mention that Michael can accomplish this without a microphone too?  (If you’ve never been to a MB show, Buble always performs one track…un-plugged-acapella.   I wouldn’t believe it either if I hadn’t seen him do it at three concerts.)

As always, Michael mixed in just the right amount of newer releases like Everything and Haven’t Met You Yet with his modernized versions of classics like Georgia and Heartache Tonight.   What everyone will be talking about today though will be his heartfelt impromptu shout-out to his grandfather who was in the audience and his mini-Michael Jackson tribute. The band ripped into Billie Jean to the delight of the crowd and Buble almost brought the house down when he did the moonwalk after singing the first chorus.

I’d like to welcome Danielle, Joanna & Luigi to the MMP family.  They sat behind us and were the perfect fans.   They were reading all of Buble’s Wikipedia stats on their iPhones before the show started, (“did you know he was Italian and that his middle same was Steven?”) and knew almost every word to every song.   They also joined our little dance party when Michael did his homage to Ferris Bueller and sang Twist and Shout! The whole stadium, (except for about 18 party poopers who refused to get their butts up off their seats, smile and enjoy life for a few minutes) was up and dancing the night away.  What a moment!

Michael Buble 2 219x300 “It’s Just a Party for 15,000 People, and You’re Invited.” – Michael Bublé is the Perfect Host at Madison Square Garden

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When Michael Buble told us “it’s just a party for 15,000 people and you’re invited” after the first set… we believed him.

I know we’ve got readers from all over the country so check out the Crazy Love Tour dates and treat yourself to a night of what Andy Ebon and James Cameron might consider perfection, you deserve it. Special thanks to our good friends, Mike and Kelly, for treating us last night. And it was a pleasure catching up with Dominick and getting to know his girlfriend, Sarina… best wishes with your nursing career.

P.s   Kudos to Mike who got up and ran the NYC half marathon in 1:45:18 this morning.   At dinner last night, Kelly joked that Mike only scans the first section of lengthy e-mails and articles- so he probably won’t even see this.

2010 Begins With ‘Perfection’ for Nicole & John at The Villa

Nicole 11 2010 Begins With Perfection for Nicole & John at The VillaYou know you’re in for a special wedding reception when the bride sends her dress all the way to China to get some custom work done.  Not only did Nicole look gorgeous, she and her husband, John, were smiling from ear to ear the whole night.  At the end of the evening, Nicole summed up the day she’d been dreaming about since she was a little girl with this highly illusive and sought after bridal phrase… “It was perfect!” What a nice way to start off the New Year.

If you tuned in to the TLC channel last year and watched the hit show, Masters of Reception, you’d be familiar with The Villa in Mountain Lakes and Frungillo Catering.   The Frungillo family is well known in the special events community and deserves its stellar reputation. It was an amazing experience.

John and Nicole were an ideal bride and groom.  They brought a lot of joy and happiness to their own celebration. From the initial phone calls to the e-mail exchanges to the final design session at their home, John and Nicole were committed to making this one of the best days of their lives; fortunately, their family and friends had the same game plan.  When you bring that much positive energy to a first class venue and put some of the industry’s finest professionals in charge, simply let nature take its course and enjoy the ride.

nicole and john 12 2010 Begins With Perfection for Nicole & John at The VillaI was delighted to work with The Villa’s expert banquet manager, Joe’l Falco.  We’ve teamed up several times over the past decade and it always resulted in a stellar event.  When the menu was finalized and the special details were confirmed, Joe’l and I designed an event timeline that enabled us to produce a seamless blend of hospitality and entertainment for all of the guests.

Capturing the once in a lifetime moments throughout the day was one of the best photographers in the business, Dave Kotinsky, from Visionmasters. His work is all over the MMP website and the MMP blog.  I appreciate his photographic artistry.  Special thanks to Dave for providing the photos for this entry.

Among many highlights, one of my favorites was when John and Nicole presented the bouquet to John’s grandparents, Lester and Erna.  After playing Unforgettable by Nat King Cole and At Last by Etta James, we determined that out of all the couples on the dance floor, Lester and Erna were together the longest… over 50 years!    As Nicole handed the bouquet to Erna, a collective “aww” could be heard from the sentimental crowd.  I asked Lester and Erna if they had any advice for the newlyweds and Lester said, “be flexible.”  Then without missing a beat, Erna replied, “I’m usually right.” It was a classic Kodak moment. To top it off, we went on to play Lester and Erna’s wedding song, Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White.  The look on Erna’s face was priceless.  As a result of the detailed planning session two weeks prior, we already knew who the longest married couple was going to be.  Marcello at the Villa Mountain Lakes 2 January 1 2010 150x150 2010 Begins With Perfection for Nicole & John at The VillaWith the help of John and Nicole’s Sherlock Holmes-like investigative research; we had Lester and Erna’s wedding song cued up so they could experience the joy of their first dance as husband and wife one more time.   I love my job.

We finished the night with one of John and Nicole’s favorite artists, Michael Buble. Their guests enjoyed Michael’s version of Save The Last Dance For Me for their grand finale and then The Best Is Yet To Come for their goodbyes, hugs and kisses outro.

Perfect indeed.

I Got A Feeling: Isabella & Jay Get Married at The Manor

isabella and jay 2 I Got A Feeling: Isabella & Jay Get Married at The Manor If you are looking for “the perfect place to get married,” the New York Times will point you in the direction of West Orange, NJ.  One of their top recommendations is The Manor, a picturesque estate that boasts formal gardens, timeless decor and classic elegance.

Without dating myself too harshly, my senior prom was held there when the Father of the Bride movie premiered on VHS.   If you haven’t seen it yet and need a sanity break from planning your wedding reception and a few laughs, rent it asap  (on DVD or On-demand of course).

Isabella and Jay had a gorgeous fall day for their wedding.  The grounds of the Manor looked exquisite as the guests arrived for the ceremony.  We worked with Reverend Mitchell, whose humor and polish created personalized and entertaining nuptials for everyone in attendance.  As always, we provided professional audio support including lapel microphones so the guests who were  seated more than two rows back could enjoy all of the special vows, musical selections and heart-warming moments.

the manor2 I Got A Feeling: Isabella & Jay Get Married at The Manor After an impressive cocktail hour in the Manor’s atrium, family and friends entered the ballroom to await Isabella and Jay’s grand entrance.  They were tapping their toes and snapping their fingers to the sounds of Michael Buble, Spiral Staircase, Michael McDonald, The Beatles, Michael Franti and Stevie Wonder.   After the bridal party was introduced with customized audio clips and pre-programmed lighting effects, Isabella and Jay came into a personalized edit of Paradise City, by Guns and Roses, which brought the energy of the room up to the next level.

Isabella and Jay chose Stuck on You by Lionel Ritchie for their wedding song, Daughter by Loudon Wainwright for the father-daughter dance and Simple Man by Lynyrd Skynyrd for the mother-son dance.    One of the dance floor highlights was watching Isabella’s family doing a seven minute Hora before the main course was served.  I felt like I was doing a Bat Mitzvah; the guests were loving it.

After the cake cutting, which Isabella chose the 2nd verse of Your In My Heart by Rod Stewart to be played in the background, family and friends returned to the atrium to enjoy the Manor’s Viennese stations.

isabella jay 13 I Got A Feeling: Isabella & Jay Get Married at The Manor For the last dance, we played a crowd favorite to get all of the remaining guests back onto the dance floor.  It was I Gotta Feeling by the Black Eyed Peas. Isabella and Jay sang and danced along with their family and friends to end the night with everyone cheering for the brand-new Mr. and Mrs. McMahon.

It’s always a pleasure collaborating with the Manor.   Marwan Jurri, the maitre d’ and Jim Levinsky, the banquet manager, extended their hospitality throughout the evening and were instrumental in orchestrating a smooth reception.

Special thanks to Rich Janniello, from Ciro Photography, who shared his fantastic photos for this blog entry.  This was the first time we had the opportunity to team up.  Based on his professionalism, I hope we get to collaborate again soon.  Rich was always in the right place at the right time in an un-obtrusive manner.  We also had nice chat before the ceremony about why he always had three different cameras ready to go.  Rich explained why the right lens for the right moment is crucial and why having back-up equipment is paramount.   That’s the kind of event professional a bride and groom want to work with if they value peace of mind.

Encore Gallery:

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